May 11, 2019

A research proposal is put forwarded by a researcher to his supervisor/external examiner with a view to outline his proposed area of study. The basic goal of a research proposal is to justify about the feasibility of the research topic. The prospective researcher should keep in mind that his proposal would only be accepted if it is presented thoughtfully. A unique topic may also be rejected due to poor proposal writing skill. Therefore, it is the quality of writing rather than the quality of the topic that determines the viability of a project proposal. Therefore, in order to get a research proposal approved, the researcher must take care that his proposed methodology is outlined in a convincing manner.

Contents of Research Proposal

Research proposal does not have any fixed format. Research content varies depending upon topic. Moreover, different disciplines, donor organisations and academic institutions adhere to different formats and requirements. However, every research proposal comprises several common components. The researcher has to opt the appropriate component based on his research problem. Regardless of one’s research area and the methodology he chooses, all research proposals must encompass the following points:
  1. Introduction: This section should describe in clear terms the research area and findings from previous studies. Moreover, the research proposer should structure his Introduction in such a way that the supervisor may have a very good idea of what the central issue of his proposal will be. The introductory parts should include the following points –
    1. The justification or background of the study.
    2. A clear statement of the problem.
    3. What is the field of study about and what is missing from it.
  2. The resources: This section should include all the information about various resources that the study will require:
    1. The source of the resources.
    2. Academic preparation for the research. It must be demonstrated that the groundwork has already been done.
    3. The proposed place of research.
  3. The significance of the research project: In this segment the researcher has to provide appropriate rationale for choosing the particular place for his research. The significance of the study justifies why the research is important:
    1. in a particular field of study, and a wider field of study, and
    2. in the context of the country.
  4. Plan after completion: This section should describe in detail about the benefits that the country or the place of work will receive after its completion.

  5. The timeframe: A detailed timetable scheduling all aspects of the research should be prepared. This will include time taken to conduct background research, questionnaire or interview schedule development, data collection, data analysis and report writing.

  6. Methodology: This section is very important because it tells the Research Committee how the proposer plans to tackle his research problem. This section should be quite detailed – many funding organisations find that the most common reason for proposal failure is the lack of methodological detail. In this section the proposer need to describe the following factors:
    1. Dependence on primary, secondary and other materials
    2. The steps to be followed
    3. The format of the paper
    4. Style sheet or the method of documentation to be followed
  7. Bibliography: At the end of his paper, the researcher has to provide a list of all the sources he used to gather information for the paper. The list of the sources should be arranged in alphabetical order by the first word. The list should consist all the available –
    • Books
    • Journals, and
    • Other materials.

April 28, 2019

Introduction

The manner in which a child acquires language is a matter long debated by linguists and child psychologists alike. During the twentieth century there has been a great deal of psycholinguistic research into how this process takes place. These research findings have revolutionized the way many linguists regard the language learning process. However, the interpretation of these investigations has always been under dispute and it consequently divided linguists into adherents of two contradictory hypotheses: behaviorism on one side and innatism on the other. The following segment presents a comparative study between these two diametrically opposite theoretical accounts of language acquisition, along with a brief inquiry into their theoretical assumptions.

Behaviourism

The behaviourist perspective dominated the study of learning throughout the first half of the twentieth century. Behaviorism is an approach to language acquisition based on the proposition that behaviour can be researched scientifically without recourse to inner mental states. It is a form of materialism, denying any independent significance for mind. It stands on the basic premise that children learn a language in the way in which other habits are learned and that change in observable behaviours are crucial in language learning. The behaviourist perspective’s significance for psychological treatment has been profound, making it one of the pillars of psychological language acquisition theory.

Innatism

Two years later, however, behaviourism came under bitter criticism when the American linguist Noam Chomsky (1959) proposed a completely different view of language acquisition. His innatist view was a direct challenge to the established behaviourist theories of the time, rekindling the age-old debate over whether language exists in the mind before experience. He argued that every human child possesses innate knowledge of language structure to detect and reproduce language. That is, language acquisition depends on an unobservable mechanism called Language Acquisition Device or LAD. Young children learn and apply grammatical rules and vocabulary as they are exposed to them and do not require initial formal teaching. The theory, in fact, has laid out an explanation of human language faculties that has become the model for investigation in other areas of psychology.

Diametrically opposite Views

Considering the theoretical principles of Behaviourism and Innatism individually, it seems that each theory accounts for different aspects of language. Both the behaviourist and the innatist theory provided some fresh insights into the psychological theories of language learning. The proponents of both schools contributed much to explain the possible logical explanation for language acquisition. But they moulded their models from different standpoints. Skinner’s behaviourism and Chomsky’s innatism are very much contradictory when they are judged in terms of their individualistic theoretical bases. The theories, indeed, stress on two distinct hypotheses of language acquisition. This divergence has created a gulf between the theories. Several differences arise between the behaviourist and the innatist theories of language acquisition which can be encapsulated in the following way :

Behaviourism Innatism
Acquisition is an outcome of experience Acquisition is an outcome of condition
Acquisition is a stimulus response process Acquisition is a congenital process
Children learn language by imitation Children learn language by application
Language learning is practice-based Language learning is rule-based
Language acquisition is the result of nurture Language acquisition is the result of nature
Stresses on observable behavior Stresses on internal thought processes
Human mind is a blank slate Human mind is no tabula rasa
Knowledge exists outside of individuals Knowledge exists inside individuals
Learning is determined by the environment Learning is determined by the individual
Learning requires formal guidance Learning requires no formal assistance
Considers the child as a passive recipient Considers the child as an active participant
Language learning is a mechanical process Language learning is a creative process
Is a theory of behaviour, not of knowledge Is a theory of knowledge, not of behaviour
Language is akin to other forms of cognition Language is a separate module

The Verdict

From the above comparative study it is obvious that the theories differ from each other in a myriad of ways. The study furthermore demonstrates that innatism is much more comprehensive and consistent than that of behaviourism.  The innatist perspective offers the promise of enhanced learning and creative thinking, both of which are vital for the child’s psycho-linguistic development.

Nowadays, however, it is hardly possible to espouse any of these two options directly. Psychological research has recently progressed in the direction of regarding the human being as a mixture of genetically determined capacities and knowledge gained by experience (Konieczna). The human child indeed, acquires language from his/her environment by imitating behaviours of other members of society. But the innatist theory exclusively ignored this issue and viewed language acquisition as the special product of LAD. Chomsky, the chief proponent of innatism opined that exposure to language is a marginal prerequisite for the activation of the LAD, and is irrelevant to the actual learning process. But this innatist claim is not entirely satisfying because history (e.g. Genie, Victor) evince that the child cannot learn language if he/she is isolated from society or human contact. Ruth Clark pointed out that:

“Situation has a fuller role to play in language learning than Chomsky implies, though not precisely the role assigned to it by the behaviourists” (Barman, Sultana, and Basu 31).

It might be possible that children are required a biological trigger for language acquisition but the genetic trigger could not be activated if there is nobody around them, from whom they could learn behaviour. That means language acquisition requires situational stimuli plus LAD:

Language Acquisition


In conclusion, neither account should be totally dismissed. They should be seen as complementary rather than contradictory. Statements about their validity should be examined carefully in the light of new available data.






References

Barman, Dr. Binoy, Zakia Sultana, and Bijoy Lal Basu. ELT: Theory and Practice. Dhaka:
FBC, 2006. 24-38.

“Behaviourism.” Encyclopaedia Britannica. CD-ROM. US: [Britannica Store], 2003.

 “Behaviorist Learning Theory.” Innovative Learning. 2008. InnovativeLearning.com. 20 Sep 2008
< http://www.innovativelearning.com/educational_psychology/behaviorism/index.html >.

Clark, Herbert H. and Eve V. Clark. Psychology and Language: An Introduction to Psychology.
n.p.: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1977. 258.

Cook, V[ivian] J[ames]. Chomsky’s Universal Grammar: An Introduction. Oxford: Blackwell, 1988. 1-2.

Foley, Mary Ann. “Cognitive Psychology.” Microsoft Encarta. DVD-ROM. Redmond: Microsoft, 2005.

Harmer, Jeremy. The Practice of English Language Teaching. 3rd ed. England:
Longman-Pearson, 2001. 68-69.

“Innatism.” Wikipedia. 2008. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 20 September 2008
< http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Innatism >.

Konieczna, Ewa. “First Language Acquisition”. Uniwersytet Rzeszowski. 2008.
univ.rzeszow.pl. 20 September 2008 <http:// www.univ.rzeszow.pl>.

“Learning Theories/Behavioralist Theories.” Wikibooks. 2008. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
20 September 2008 <http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Learning_Theories/Behavioralist_Theories>.

Pinker, Steven. How the Mind Works. New York: Norton, 1997.

--- .The language instinct. New York: Perennial-Harper, 1995.

Scovel, Thomas. Psycholinguistics. Oxford: OUP, 1998. 17-18

 “Second Language Teaching and Learning.” Macquarie University: Australia’s Innovative University.
2008. Macquarie University. 20 September 2008 < http://www.ling.mq.edu.au>.

Varshney, Dr. R.L.  An Introduction of Linguistics & Phonetics. Dhaka: BOC, n.d. 306-311.

Yule, George. The Study of Language. 2nd ed.  Cambridge: CUP, 1996. 177.


March 27, 2019

Rod Ellis is a British professor and a well-known researcher of second language acquisition, language pedagogy and teacher education.

Rod Ellis Quick facts

Profile

Birth Name: Roderick James Ellis
Date of Birth: May 29, 1944
Birthplace: Cheltenham, England
Zodiac Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British
Ethnicity: White
Father: James Donald
Mother: Anne Edith (Fleming) Ellis
Marital Status: Married
Spouse: Takayo Janagisawa (m. 1991)
Children:
  • Daughter: Anne Jennifer Ellis
  • Son: James Anthony Ellis
Rod Ellis is known as: the leading theorist of task-based language learning.
Alma Mater:
  • Bachelor, University Nottingham, 1965
  • Master of Arts, University Leeds, 1971
  • MED, University Bristol, 1978
  • Doctorate from the University of London, 1982

Awards

  • BAAL (British Association for Applied Linguists) Book Prize, 1986 for Understanding Second Language Acquisition
  • MLA (Modern Language Association of America) Prize, 1988 for Second Language Acquisition  in Context (ed.)
  • Duke of Edinburgh  best book prize,  1995 for The Study of Second language Acquisition

Quotes

“Instruction does not appear to influence the order of development. No matter what order grammatical structures are presented and practiced in the classroom, learners will follow their own “built-in” syllabus.” – Rod Ellis, 1984

Major Books

  1. Classroom Second Language Development (1984)
  2. Understanding second language acquisition (1985)
  3. Instructed Second Language Acquisition (1987)
  4. Second Language Acquisition  in Context (ed.) (1987)
  5. Second Language Acquisition & Language Pedagogy (1992)
  6. The Study of Second Language Acquisition (1994)
  7. SLA Research and Language Teaching (1997)
  8. Research and Language Teaching (1998)
  9. First Steps in Reading: A Teacher's Handbook for Using Starter Readers in the Primary School (1998)
  10. Learning a Second Language Through Interaction (1999)
  11. Task-based Language Learning and Teaching (2003)
  12. Understanding Second Language Acquisition (2nd Edition) (2005)
  13. Language Teaching Research and Language Pedagogy (2012)
  14. Reflections on Task-Based Language Teaching (2018)

Did you know?

  • Rod Ellis has served in the field of language teacher education for many years in different countries, such as Zambia, United Kingdom, Japan, United States, New Zealand, China, and Australia.
  • Ellis held the longest position in teaching at the University of Auckland where he served from 1998 to 2012.
  • In 2013 he was appointed as an Emeritus Professor in the University of Auckland.
  • Ellis is a member of Applied Linguistics Association of New Zealand.
  • Rod Elis is the recipient Marsden Research Grant, Marsden Fund, 2002.
  • Ellis has written numerous books on Second Language Acquisition and student and teacher-training textbooks.
  • At present many of his books on SLA and grammar have been adopted as the core textbooks in TESOL and Linguistics programs across the globe.
  • His Understanding Second Language Acquisition won the BAAL Book Prize in 1986.
  • His The Study of Second Language Acquisition was awarded the Duke of Edinburgh prize for the best book in applied linguistics.
  • In June 25, 1991 Ellis Married Takayo Janagisawa.
  • The couple has four children.

Media

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Rod Ellis

Rod Ellis

Rod Ellis

Rod Ellis
 
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February 12, 2019

Jim Cummins is a renowned SLA educator and one of the world’s most important theorists on bilingual education and second language acquisition. Cummins is also a prolific writer who authored and co-authored a number of notable books that reflect his theoretical perspective.

Jim Cummins Quick Facts

Profile

Name: Jim Cummins
Full Name: James Patrick Cummins
AKA: J. Cummins, James Cummins
Date of Birth: July 3, 1949
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Zodiac Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Irish/Canadian
Ethnicity: Irish
Siblings: 2 brothers
Education: University of Alberta; The National University of Ireland
Cummins is known for: his concept of Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS), Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP), and Common Underlying Proficiency (CUP).
Cummins was influenced by: Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Lily Wong Fillmore, Stephen Krashen, Merril Swain, Alma Flor Ada, and Denis Sayers.

Quotes

“When students' language, culture and experience are ignored or excluded in classroom interactions, students are immediately starting from a disadvantage. Everything they have learned about life and the world up to this point is being dismissed as irrelevant to school learning; there are few points of connection to curriculum materials or instruction and so students are expected to learn in an experiential vacuum. Students' silence and nonparticipation under these conditions have frequently been interpreted as lack of academic ability or effort, and teachers’ interactions with students have reflected a pattern of low expectations which become self-fulfilling.”

-Jim Cummins, Negotiating Identities: Education for Empowerment in a Diverse Society

Major Works

2007: Literacy, technology, and diversity: Teaching for success in changing times.
2005: Heritage languages.
2003: Lenguaje, poder y pedagogia. Ninos y ninas bilingues entre dos fuegos.
2001: Negotiating identities: Education for empowerment in a diverse society.
2000: Language, power, and pedagogy: Bilingual children in the crossfire.
1999: Taftotites ypo Diapragmatefsi.
1996: Negotiating identities: Education for empowerment in a diverse society.
1995/1997:  Brave new schools: Challenging cultural illiteracy through global learning networks.
1991: Language learning and bilingualism.
1990: Heritage languages: The development and denial of Canada's linguistic resources.
1989: Assessment and placement of minority students.
1989: Empowering minority students.
1986: Bilingualism in education: Aspects of theory, research and policy.
1984: Bilingualism and special education: Issues in assessment and pedagogy.
1983: Heritage language education: A literature review.
1981: Effects of French language experience at Kindergarten level on academic progress in French immersion programs.
1981: Bilingualism and minority language children.

Major Theories

  • Zone of Proximal Development (1994)
  • BICS (Basic Interpersonal Communicative Skills) (1981)
  • CALPS (Cognitive Academic Linguistics Proficiency Skills) (1981)
  • CUP (The Common Underlying Proficiency Model) (1981)
  • SUP (The Separate Underlying Proficiency Model) (1981)
  • Iceberg Theory (1981)
  • Due Icebergs Theory (1981)
  • Threshold Hypothesis (1981)
  • Length of Time Hypothesis (1981)
  • Blaming the Victim (1989)

Did you know?

  • Jim Cummins was born in Dublin to a middle class family with a respectable banking officer father.
  • Jim Cummins emigrated to Canada due to turbulent socio-political condition in the then colonized Ireland.
  • Jim Cummins earned his B.A. (honours) in Psychology with first class from the National University of Ireland In 1970.
  • Cummins attained his diploma in Applied Psychology from The National University of Ireland in 1971.
  • He earned his doctorate degree in Educational Psychology in 1974 from the University of Alberta.
  • During 1976 to 1978 period, he became involved with the Canadian “Parents for French” movement.
  • Cummins was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Bank Street College of Education in New York City In 1997.
  • He is currently a professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto.
  • His research centers on the nature of language proficiency and second language acquisition.
  • The corpus of his publications is voluminous which includes books, journals, monographs, tests and curriculum programs, book chapters, book forwards, and book reviews. 

Media Gallery

Jim Cummins

Jim Cummins

Jim Cummins

Jim Cummins

Jim Cummins

Jim Cummins

February 9, 2019

Dramatic monologue is a lyric poem wherein a single character speaks, often in a specific situation, either directly to the reader or to a listener. Such poem is dramatic since it features theatrical qualities. However, a dramatic monologue is different from a drama in many ways. Firstly, in a drama, characters develop through outward action and conflict, whereas in a dramatic monologue, the development occurs through the clash of motives within the speaker. Secondly, unlike a drama the character’s speech is delivered in monologue rather than dialogue since a single speaker speaks alone while the listener remains silent. However, a monologue should not be confused with a soliloquy. The former is different from the latter in the sense that in a monologue the speaker reveals his thoughts and feelings to the reader, or to any other character; whereas in a soliloquy, the speaker expresses his thoughts to himself.
The salient features of a dramatic monologue are as under:
  • The poem begins abruptly to catch the reader’s attention.
  • A single speaker talks to a silent listener.
  • The speaker is not the poet himself rather a persona created by the poet.
  • Psychological analysis and clues to suggest the reader about the mode and temperament of the silent listener.
  • The presence of the listener is ascertained only through the poet’s words.
Although this form is very old, the English poet Robert Browning contributed much to improve it. In fact, most of the outstanding instances of dramatic monologues are penned by Browning. Some of his best dramatic monologues include: My Last Duchess, The Bishop Orders His Tomb, Andrea del Sarto, Men and Women, Christmas Eve and Easter Day, Fra Lippo Lippi, Porphyria's Lover, and Dramatis Personae. Other examples include: Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, Tennyson’s Ulysses, Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven, and Sylvia Plath's Daddy.

Dramatic monologue

January 30, 2019

A national language is a source or sign of identity for a nation or a country. National language gets its status because it is spoken by majority of the population as the first language. Apart from a few exceptions, such as India and Australia, almost all countries have a national language. A national language may also be an official language in a country, like Bengali in Bangladesh.

An official language is a language that is given a special legal status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically a nation's official language will be the one used in that nation's courts, parliament and administration. Although most of the countries have one official language, a country may have more than one official language for historical, political and linguistic reasons. For example, in India there are 22 official languages; each state and union territory adopts one or more official languages.

A national language, however, should not to be confused with an official language. These terms are entirely separate concepts as they are theoretically different. The basic difference between a national and an official language are appended bellow:

National Language
Official Language
Defines the people of the nation, culture, history. Defines the existence of legislation and sovereignty of the nation.
A national language by default can become the Official language. An Official language has to be approved legally to become the National language.
Used for general communication. Used for official communication.
Is a socio-cultural manifestation. Is a politico-geographical manifestation.
Has nationalism as the core function. Has nationism as the core function.
Its function is primarily symbolic. Its function is primarily utilitarian.

Difference between National Language and Official Language

January 2, 2019

The code hero is associated with Earnest Hemingway’s novels. Professor Paul Totah maintains that Hemingway defined the code hero as “a man who lives correctly, following the ideals of honor, courage and endurance in world that is sometimes chaotic, often stressful, and always painful.” Again, Phillip Young considers the code hero as an individual who “offers up and exemplify certain principles of honour and courage which, in a life of tension and pain, make a man a man and distinguish him from the people who follow random impulses [...] and are [...] perhaps cowardly, and without inviolable rules for how to live holding tight.”

The Code Hero

The concept of the code hero heavily stemmed from the post-World War I disillusionment. The code hero generally adheres to some specific individualistic code or behaviour that significantly controls his decisions and conduct. Such hero has a recurrent presence in Hemingway’s novels. Some of Hemingway’s most memorable code heroes include: Frederick Henry of A Farewell to Arms, Jake Barnes of The Sun Also Rises, Robert Jordan of For Whom the Bell Tolls, and Santiago of The Old Man and the Sea.

The term “Code Hero” was coined by the scholar Phillip Young (1966). Some other terms for defining Hemingway’s heroes include the “Hemingway Code Hero”, and the “Hemingway Man”. But regardless of dissimilar names all of Hemingway’s protagonists display the same characteristics:
  • The code hero is courageous and honorable.
  • He is righteous and will not comply with evil.
  • He is essentially individualistic and free willed.
  • The code hero is adventurous and has a predilection for travelling.
  • He neither shows emotions nor does he give any commitment to women or social convention lest he becomes weak.
  • The role of the code hero is always played by a man.
  • He is generally a wounded man, not only physically but also psychologically.
  • He is a man of action and never boasts his achievements.
  • He does not judge others since he views men objectively.
  • He strives hard to break away from the customs of the conventional society, thereby alienating himself from the world.
  • He suffers from sleeplessness due to being tormented by his thoughts and ruminations.
  • He believes that life is enjoyable and it denotes everything while death is nothing (nada) and thus life after death is nonexistent.
  • Death frightens him since it is the end of everything and thus he tries his utmost to avoid death at any cost.
  • Night is a difficult time for the code hero because it implies to utter darkness which ultimately reminds him of death. Therefore, most code heroes are either afraid of the dark or avoid night by drinking, partying, or staying awake.
  • Although he fights hard in this violent and desolate world to live properly, he is rarely the winner.
  • The code hero catches many women’s attention and he sees them nothing but objects of lust and gratification.

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