ASIAN JOURNAL OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE STUDIES
VOLUME 7, DECEMBER 2019
Language use is a fundamental human capacity; it serves as our essential tool for speaking, thinking, and feeling. Language embodies almost everything we do—telling a joke, sharing a story, naming a baby, writing a news report, utilizing voice-recognition software, and the like. Thus, to understand language is to understand the human experience—taking on a world, a culture. Linguists devote their time and effort to address diverse issues even from some little yet important things we do not seem to notice every day. For instance, in the purview of discourse analysis, the natural use of everyday language can be examined, which involves gender differences, language and politics, language and the media, among several others. Contact linguistics, on the other hand, explores what happens when cultures are exposed to different languages. In multilingualism and sociolinguistics, language-studies enthusiasts define what it means to be a multilingual, and describe how the language we use in a social context reflects who we are and what we know about this language and its significance in society, respectively. Therefore, language and linguistics take on an essential role in every human undertaking. It is within this perspective that AJELS has remained faithful in exploring the dynamic and shifting nature of the English language and in encouraging ongoing deliberations on World Englishes, linguistic landscapes, critical discourse studies, forensic linguistics, language documentation, and several other current issues on languages. AJELS, in its own little way, aims to improve the quality of language research, which can help meet our needs and goals for a better society.
It is my pleasure to announce the addition of highly qualified experts to the AJELS team: Dr. Francisco Perlas Dumanig of University of Hawaii at Hilo, Hawaii, USA; Dr. Paul Kei Matsuda of Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA; Dr. R. Dian Dia-an Muniroh of Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia, Bandung, Indonesia; Dr. Eva Ng Nga Shan of The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong; Dr. Isabel Picornell of Aston University/QED Limited, United Kingdom; Dr. Willy A. Renandya of National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Singapore; Dr. Supong Tangkiengsirisin of Thammasat University, Bangkok, Thailand; Dr. Xinghua Liu of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China; and Dr. Shaomin Zhang of Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, Guangzhou, China.
This volume features nine articles that deal with different fields in applied linguistics such as discourse analysis, critical discourse study, stylistics, and language education.
The first research article by Audrey B. Morallo deals with an analysis of linguistic mitigation strategies employed by language supervisors in post-lesson discourse. By using the recorded and transcribed post-conferences between in-service and preservice teachers, and language supervisors, three major groups of linguistic mitigation strategies were found, namely syntactic, semantic, and indirect mitigation techniques. The extensive use of these strategies would show the awareness of the supervisors on the need to balance clarity and maintenance of personal relationships. Likewise, these mitigation strategies in supervisory discourse demonstrated that politeness may be an important consideration for teachers to accept feedback.
The second paper “Keep the petulant testosterone off the court!”: A critical discourse study on the (re)production of sports machismo in social media” by Marie Claire Duque-Cruz investigates the discursive materialization of machismo in competitive sports (i.e., basketball) between and among men, and how it is (re)produced in social-media discourse. By using van Dijk’s (2016) sociocognitive approach to critical discourse study, it was found that the social understanding of the male ego is consciously internalized, disseminated, and embodied in social-media discourse. The article also reveals relevant findings on how the social constructions of masculinity can become problematic, specifically when men are exposed to public curiosity.
Another critical discourse study included in this volume was undertaken by Persieus S. Balog in his paper “Transitivity analysis of selected privilege speeches of Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.” The study was conducted to address the dearth of research examining women’s political discourse in the Philippines. By employing Halliday’s (1994) transitivity model, the study explores how Senator Defensor-Santiago used transitivity processes to manifest social problems, inequalities, and power abuse in delivering her privilege speeches.
The fourth article “Semantic deviations in Jose Garcia Villa’s ‘Poem 130’: A stylistic analysis” by Marvin Dominic B. Buena utilized Leech’s (2008) framework to determine the functions of semantic deviations identified in the said poem. It was found that these deviations manifest an excellent metaphorical sense, which is another distinct feature of the poem besides the use of eccentric commas.
In her paper “Against the old?: A critical discourse analysis of Philippine online news articles’ ageist ideologies,” Bridgette M. Lustañas examines ageism in the Philippine context by conducting an in-depth textual analysis of 30 online news articles using Fairclough’s (1995) Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) framework, and by describing the language used in Philippine news discourse on the elderly using van Leeuwen’s (1996; 2008) role allocation and Chen’s (2015) referential strategies. The study is anchored on the assumption that the media could be an effective tool for perpetuating ideologies. Specifically, analyzing the language used in Philippine news discourse involving the elderly can become a starting point to increase awareness on ageism.
The sixth paper by Ryan Glenn C. Conda followed Aull and Lancaster’s (2014) framework to examine the stance-taking linguistic markers in literary-analysis papers used by undergraduate students from one Philippine state university. Nine recorded interviews and 58 literary-analysis papers written by these students served as research data. It was found that the students frequently utilized boosters to show commitment to their claims, which thus establish their authorial presence in the essays. Further, the students employed code glosses, boosters, and adversative connectors to evidentialize their claims and make reference to authors, so they can reveal their position on the topic(s) they explain. Although the students admitted that they have limited understanding of the functions of stance-taking, they were inclined to believe that the use of stance-taking linguistic markers would denote if an academic writer is well-read, decisive, firm, and well-informed.
Another paper on stylistics published in this volume was written by Juland Dayo Salayo and April Lontoc-Macam who claim that using the transitivity system as a framework can guide readers to further understand the action and relation of characters to one another and to the society they live in. The study particularly explores the linguistic choices in O. Henry’s “A Retrieved Reformation,” a story which features the protagonist’s life reformation brought by love, family, and social acceptance. It is also an attempt to prove that using the transitivity system can reveal a writer’s perspective in manipulating story elements, especially character, by identifying the types of process, based on the transitivity system, used in the story; and by describing participant roles and circumstances in shaping the idea of life reformation in the story under study.
The eighth article written by Natalie Soong Shuyi and Willy A. Renandya identified and analyzed the cognitive levels of questions employed in Secondary Three All About English textbooks, which have been used in Singaporean schools since 2013. Findings revealed that the textbooks incorporated reading-comprehension questions which required both the lower-level and the higher-level cognitive demands, and that such rigor of questions align with the curriculum’s goals as regards the importance of training Secondary Three students, regardless of academic ability, to be engaged in questions that necessitate higher cognitive demands. It was found, however, that among the cognitive levels, there was an overemphasis on Understand and Evaluate, neglecting Remember and Apply questions. Given these results, the study recommends that coursebook writers should incorporate questions of diverse cognitive levels, so students can accomplish tasks at various cognitive demands at the school currently, and the workplace in the future.
The last paper “‘Eh?,’ ‘Huh?,’ ‘Hmm’: Pronunciation intelligibility of Vietnamese-accented English to Taiwanese EFL learners” by Tran Thi Mai Thi and Aiden C. Yeh aimed to investigate and compare the intelligibility of Vietnamese-accented English to Taiwanese EFL learners and to the speech-to-text recognition (STR) application; examine any difference in the pronunciation intelligibility scores between speakers with extensive amount of English use and exposure to English-speaking environment; and explore the factors that influence the intelligibility of the Vietnamese-accented English from the perspective of Taiwanese EFL learners. Specific pedagogical implications arise from the study: (1) EFL education in Vietnam still needs to improve the quality of English-pronunciation teaching and encourage more English-based communicative practice in order to overcome typical pronunciation difficulties; (2) the correlation between frequency of English use and exposure to a native English-speaking environment, and the intelligibility of a particular variety of English should be carefully examined; and (3) because linguistic context and familiarity with conversation topics strongly affect the intelligibility and comprehensibility of an interlocutor’s speech, teaching a wide variety of cultures and topics should be emphasized in EFL education.
I am immensely grateful to the following scholars who served as peer reviewers for this volume: Dr. Lee Kooi Cheng of National University of Singapore, Singapore; Dr. Paolo Niño M. Valdez and Dr. Shirley N. Dita of De La Salle University, Manila, the Philippines; Dr. Catherine M.B. Young of Summer Institute of Linguistics-International; Dr. Roger Barnard of University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand; Dr. Ariane Macalinga Borlongan of Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Tokyo, Japan; Dr. Carolyn D. Castro of Montgomery College, Maryland, USA; Dr. Christopher Conlan (formerly) of Curtin University, Perth, Australia; Dr. Richard Powell of Nihon University, Tokyo, Japan; Dr. Aiden C. Yeh of Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages, Kaohsiung, Taiwan; Dr. Francisco Perlas Dumanig of University of Hawaii at Hilo, Hawaii, USA; Dr. Xinghua Liu of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China; Dr. Michael Tanangkingsing of National Taipei University of Technology, Taipei, Taiwan; Dr. Supong Tangkiengsirisin of Thammasat University, Bangkok, Thailand; Dr. R. Dian Dia-an Muniroh of Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia, Bandung, Indonesia; Dr. Shaomin Zhang of Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, Guangzhou, China; Dr. Remedios Z. Miciano (formerly) of De La Salle University, Manila, the Philippines; and Dr. Paul Kei Matsuda of Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA.
VERONICO N. TARRAYO, Ph.D.
Editor-in-Chief, Asian Journal of English Language Studies
Linguistic mitigation employed by language supervisors in post-lesson discourse (pp. 1-23)
This investigation explores the linguistic mitigation strategies employed by language supervisors in giving critical feedback to language teachers. The provision of feedback is personal and may be intense as a supervisor needs to meet two goals: clarity in feedback-giving and maintenance of relationships. One way to achieve these goals is through the use of linguistic mitigation, which blunts the harshness of a message. To study language mitigation, post-lesson conferences between four in-service teachers and two supervisors, and between four preservice teachers and two university supervisors were recorded and transcribed. A discourse analysis was then conducted to identify specific linguistic mitigation…
“Keep the petulant testosterone off the court!”: A critical discourse study on the (re)production of sports machismo in social media (pp. 25-42)
This paper examines how machismo is negotiated and enacted between and among men in competitive sports (i.e., basketball), and how it is (re)produced in social-media discourse. By employing van Dijk’s (2016) sociocognitive approach to critical discourse study, the polarization strategies and the ideologies built in the norms and values in discourse were subjected to micro- and macro-analysis. This paper addresses the gap in research as most critical studies in gendered language in sports are centered on male domination over females, and less academic attention is given to the materializations of machismo between and among men. This paper reveals significant and…
Transitivity analysis of selected privilege speeches of Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago (pp. 43-65)
Politicians use language to express ideologies, manifest power, and persuade people. In this regard, linguists have been interested in studying how language, power, and ideology interplay in political discourse. Several researchers have examined the political rhetoric of some world leaders and politicians. However, results of these studies indicate that there is a dearth of research examining women’s political discourse in the Philippines. The presence of female politicians in leadership positions is limited, which may explain why women’s political discourse is not given much attention. Using Halliday’s (1994) transitivity model, this study seeks to analyze how Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago used transitivity…
Semantic deviations in Jose Garcia Villa’s “Poem 130”: A stylistic analysis (pp. 67-82)
This study stylistically analyzes the semantic deviations in “Poem 130” by Jose Garcia Villa, a Philippine national artist for literature. Aside from the eccentric commas, his comma poem contains semantic deviations. Qualitative data were gathered to determine the functions of the semantic deviations found in the said poem. Findings revealed that the poem’s semantic deviations focus on images which, at the outset, seem nonsense or absurd, but would lead to the realization of the aptness of these semantic deviations for finding meanings in the poem. Using Leech’s (2008) stylistic analysis of semantic deviations, it was found that these deviations manifest…
Against the old?: A critical discourse analysis of Philippine online news articles’ ageist ideologies (pp. 83-108)
Aging is a natural phenomenon that every living being experiences; however, stereotypes against the process of aging and the elderly have been present in the media. These stereotypes may lead to ageist assumptions that marginalize the seniority. As such, as a starting point to examine ageism in the Philippine context, an in-depth textual analysis was done to examine 30 online news articles using Fairclough’s (1995a) Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) framework. In describing the language used in Philippine news discourse on elderly people, van Leeuwen’s (1996; 2008) role allocation and C.H. Chen’s (2015) referential strategies were employed. Results revealed that the…
Stance-taking linguistic markers in literary-analysis papers used by undergraduate students of a Philippine state university (pp. 109-149)
Stance-taking is one aspect of academic-writing conventions that college students need to attend to in order to improve their scholarly writing. Stance includes the ways writers express their value judgments and attitudes to forward a proposition and be aligned with other authors in the field (Biber, Johansson, Leech, Conrad, & Finegan, 1999; Du Bois, 2007). This study aims to describe the ways students establish their stance in their literary-analysis papers. While most researchers on stance-taking followed Hyland’s (2005, 2010) framework, it cannot be denied that nuances appear in the ever-evolving dynamics of writing as a social act from authors. While…
Exploring character delineation: A transitivity analysis of O. Henry’s “A Retrieved Reformation” (pp. 151-168)
This paper attempts to show how language works in literature in order to explore character delineation by using the transitivity system, which was initially proposed by Halliday (1985) and Halliday and Matthiessen (2004, 2014). Specifically, it aims to construe the linguistic choices in O. Henry’s “A Retrieved Reformation,” which highlights the protagonist’s life reformation brought by love, family, and social acceptance. Results show that the text has 309 transitivity processes, with material as the dominant process type which emphasizes much of the character’s actions and events. Among the participant roles, the actor role is the most dominant, which means that…
An analysis of the cognitive rigour of questions used in secondary school English language textbooks in Singapore (pp. 169-188)
Textbooks are an essential component in the classroom, making it extremely crucial to regularly evaluate textbooks used in schools so that their pedagogical contributions towards the teaching and learning processes can be guaranteed. The study aimed to identify and analyse the cognitive levels of questions available in Secondary Three All About English textbooks, which have been used in Singapore since 2013. The objective of carrying out the analysis was to determine the overall cognitive rigour of questions, using a matrix superimposing two taxonomies: Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy and Webb’s Domain-of-Knowledge (DOK) model. The sample of this study consisted of questions from…
‘Eh?,’ ‘Huh?,’ ‘Hmm’: Pronunciation intelligibility of Vietnamese-accented English to Taiwanese EFL learners (pp. 189-213)
While the frequent use of English and extensive exposure to native environment of the target language have become significant motivations for Vietnamese students to study in various native English-speaking countries, little empirical research has been done to evaluate their impact on the Vietnamese-accented English (VAE) intelligibility, especially from the nonnative English speakers’ perspective. To fill the gap, this study aimed to investigate the connection between the amount of English use and the intelligibility of VAE. It compared the intelligibility scores of a scripted speech by a Vietnamese staying in the US with that of another who had always lived in…