M.A. - Second Language Studies

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    Surveying the Growth and Development of Spoken Language Interpreting in Hawaii
    ([Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [August 2015], 2015-08) Rouse, Andrew
    In this master’s thesis, I review the legal framework underpinning language access in Hawai‘i, and describe the development and deployment of a survey of spoken language interpreters in the state. Survey results indicate that most interpretation services are performed by L2 speakers of English, and that L2 speakers of English also account for the majority of languages interpreted, including languages of limited diffusion (LLDs). Among respondents, court interpreting emerges as the most common setting for interpreting assignments, followed by medical interpreting. Results show that advanced training is rare, and many respondents struggle with the question of certification. Through analysis of previous research in Interpretation Studies, I discuss survey results with reference to national and international trends in provision of interpretation services, interpreter training, and the role of the interpreter. Finally, I discuss implications of survey results, the importance of training, and the professionalization of community interpreting in Hawai‘i.
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    Language proficiency as a modulator of the processing of unattended text
    ([Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [August 2014], 2014-08) Peters, Ryan Ernest
    This thesis investigates the modulatory role of proficiency in implicit attentional processes that co-occur with noticing (Schmidt, 1990). The primary hypothesis was that higher Japanese proficiency would go hand in hand with a stronger inhibition of irrelevant stimuli made of Japanese hiragana characters. A secondary purpose was to explore a hypothesized link between saliency and proficiency upon which the primary hypothesis depends. The findings regarding the inhibitory effect were inconclusive. However, a significant correlation was found between language proficiency, as measured by a lexical decision task, and reaction times in a task originally designed to investigate Inattentional Blindness. This is taken as supporting the hypothesized link between proficiency and the visual saliency of written text. This thesis makes a first step towards bringing methods from Inattentional Blindness research into the field of SLA, and it is hoped that this foundation can be improved and built upon in future research.
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    Doing critical language pedagogy in neoliberal spaces : a materialist narrative analysis of teaching young learners of english in a Korean hagwon
    ([Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [December 2014], 2014-12) West, Gordon Blaine
    Critical language pedagogy has been practiced in many contexts, but there have been few reports of critical pedagogy being practiced in neoliberal spaces of private language education. In this thesis, I document critical English language teaching initiatives using the specific case of a South Korean English private language school (hagwon) to demonstrate the possibilities of such an approach in a private institution. Using a critical practitioner research perspective (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 2009), I collected data from my classes at a hagwon over a 15-month period in the form of artifacts (ballots, student surveys, etc.), images, and student writings. I use emplotment (Polkinghorne, 1995) as a means of creating a narrative from non-narrative data and a materialist analysis (Alaimo & Hekman, 2008) to examine the data. Student resistance, negotiating syllabi, and learner-created materials, and critical episodes in three classes, illustrate the possibilities, need for, and limitations of critical pedagogy in neoliberal spaces.
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    On the L2 acquisition of Korean wh-constructions with negative polarity items : adult L2, child L2, and child L1 development
    ( 2008) Song, Hyang Suk
    This thesis investigates the acquisition of Korean wh-constructions with negative polarity items (NPls) in two ways: (i) demonstrating L2 poverty-of-the-stimulus effects (e.g., Schwartz & Sprouse, 2000) and (ii) comparing three different groups of language learners - adult L2ers, child L2ers, and first language (Ll) children - in their developmental sequences (e.g., Schwartz, 1992, 2003). The phenomena investigated are Korean wh-constructions with NPIs. While scrambling in Korean (an SOY wh-in-situ language) is generally optional, in the context of negative questions with an NPI (e.g., amwuto 'anyone'), (i) scrambling of object wh-phrases is obligatory (i.e., OSV) on the wh-question reading (an Intervention Effect, Beck & Kim, 1997) and (ii) the non-scrambled question (SOV) has a yes/no-question reading (exclusively). These properties of Korean wh-constructions with NPIs constitute poverty-of-the-stimulus problems for English-speaking learners as well as for native Korean children. Adult L2ers and child L2ers, independently assessed for Korean proficiency, as well as native Korean children and adults participated in an elicited-production task, an acceptability -judgment task, and an interpretation-verification task. The results show: (i) that adult and child L2ers performed like the native adult controls on all three tasks, indicating that they overcame L2 poverty-of-the-stimulus problems, and (ii) that adult L2ers and child L2ers go through the same development sequences in their acquisition of Korean wh-constructions with NPls. On the basis of these results, it can be argued that UG constrains (adult) L2 acquisition.
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    Rater bias in assessing the pragmatics of KFL learners using facets analysis
    ( 2007) Youn, Soo Jung
    As interest in research on second language pragmatics increases, some pragmatics research has been done on Korean as a foreign language (KFL) learners. This research has focused on pedagogical aspects of Korean pragmatics and interlanguage pragmatics. However, very little research has been done on the pragmatics assessment of KFL learners, in terms of discussing appropriate test types and whether, certain speech acts and test types affect raters' assessment of KFL learners' pragmatics performance. The focus of this study is on investigating (a) whether factors such as test types and speech acts affect raters' assessments of the pragmatics of KFL learners and (b) which test types are most appropriate for assessing pragmatics of KFL learners. For these purposes, this study analyzes three interactions from the test results using the computer program FACETS (Linacre, 1996): the interactions between rater bias and test types, rater bias and speech acts, and examinees and test types. This study uses three different pragmatics tests adapted from Hudson, Detmer, and Brown's (1995) pragmatics prototype tests: Open-written' Discourse Completion Task, Language Lab, and Role-play. Within each of these three test types are three speech acts: refusal, apology, and request. The results of this research indicate that all three raters showed different degrees of severity in their ratings', depending on the type of speech act. Additionally, each examinee showed different degrees of proficiency depending on the test type. I will discuss which test types are most appropriate for assessing KFL learners' pragmatics performance, how certain speech acts and test types affect raters' assessments, and how what these research findings mean for KFL classrooms.