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Speakers, titles, and abstracts

Keynote speakers

Ahmar Mahboob
University of Sydney

Users and Uses of World Englishes: Exploring Pathways to a Pedagogy of Empowerment

This presentation will first explore the complex relationship and politics of “user”-oriented research in World Englishes and the “uses” of language in academic settings, which serve as a gateway to discourses of power. Drawing on a systemic-functional understanding of language, the presentation will then examine texts written by users of World Englishes and demonstrate how texts valued in academic disciplines make use of comparable linguistic resources regardless of the national/linguistic origin of the authors. Equipped with this linguistic analysis of texts written by students from Outer circle countries, the paper will critically examine some pedagogical practices (and educational material) adopted in teaching English as a second/foreign language and investigate hidden agendas that arguably limit the potential social and economical mobility of many of the learners (rather than enhancing it). Finally, we will consider ways of using our research in linguistics and education to explore pathways to a pedagogy of empowerment.

Brian Morgan
Glendon College / York University

Fostering Conceptual Roles for Change: Identity and Agency in ESEA Teacher Preparation

The implications of English Changing, the theme of our conference, are reflected in current efforts to re-conceptualize the knowledge base of English Language Teaching (ELT) in ways that enhance the status of practitioners in areas such as curricular decision-making and language policy implementation (Ramanathan & Morgan, 2007). Along with new opportunities, such conceptual changes also intensify the demands placed on ESEA teachers in the performance of their professional duties. New roles and responsibilities now extend beyond the knowledge of language and pedagogy to include a critical awareness of the geopolitics of English and ELT ideologies that potentially undermine local values and vernaculars. Towards this end, language teachers are encouraged to reflect upon their own identities in the processes of language learning, and to employ their agency on behalf of their students. In my presentation, I am particularly interested in what it might mean for an ESEA teacher to become a transformative practitioner—an "agent of change." I will explore the possibilities and challenges that arise for such a conceptual role in ESEA settings, and how it might be introduced and fostered through syllabus design in the preparation of new English language teachers.

Country speakers

Toni Dobinson
Curtin University of Technology (Australia)

In search of Miss Wong: Conceptualisation of the Asian learner and consideration of the influences at work

Asian learners have been the subject of much research both in EFL/ESL scenarios and mainstream university contexts. Questions have been raised about Asian learners’ approaches to learning and preferred learning styles. Research findings initially ascribed a range of learning styles to Asian learners with an implicit assumption of deficit in many cases. More recent research has focused on challenging these findings and assumptions. As main players in the region, with increasing involvement in offshore delivery of programs in Asia, Australian universities need to be aware of staff and students’ constructions of Asian learners.

This conference paper aims to promote further discussion about the way in which Asian learners are viewed and propose fresh perspectives for consideration. This will be achieved in a number of ways. Firstly, social and theoretical discourses on the Asian and othering will be unpacked including Orientalist images such as Tretchikoff’s Miss Wong. Secondly, literature and research in education and pertinent fields will be critiqued. Thirdly, a voice will be given to lecturers involved in post graduate programmes at Curtin University of Technology, Western Australia and Asian post graduate students who are currently in the unusual situation of being both students and teachers.

Toni Dobinson is a lecturer on the MA (Applied Linguistics) programme at Curtin University of Technology, coordinator of the Curtin University Test of English and coordinator of the MA offshore programme in Vietnam.

James McLellan
The University of Waikato (New Zealand)

Batting on a sticky wicket: Idiomatic competence, unilateral idiomaticity and Asian lingua franca English (ALFE)

In the heat generated by recent burning controversies over ‘English as a Lingua Franca’ (ELF) and its junior sibling ‘Asian lingua franca English’ (ALFE), one issue has repeatedly raised its head: that of access by second-language users of English to the idiomatic expressions which are thought to be the exclusive property of first-language or ‘inner-circle’ users.

This paper draws on three textual corpora to address issues of idiomatic competence and unilateral idiomaticity. The first corpus is the output of Southeast Asians who meet at regional gatherings such as those convened by ASEAN or SEAMEO, where English is the de facto language choice for formal speeches. The second is of New Zealand English, a supposedly ‘inner-circle’ variety, collected from speakers speaking intranationally at New Zealand business and political meetings. The third corpus consists of speeches by New Zealanders at international gatherings. This reveals the extent to which they modify their use of ‘local’ idioms to ensure international intelligibility.

The discussion and conclusions consider the pedagogical implications of research into idiom use and idiomaticity, along with the broader question of ELF as a possible target model for language teaching.

James McLellan is a lecturer in Sociolinguistics and Applied Linguistics at the University of Waikato. He previously taught at secondary and tertiary levels in Malaysia and in Brunei Darussalam. Research interests include Malay-English codeswitching, Language maintenance and shift in Borneo, and South-East Asian varieties of English.

David Deterding
Universiti Brunei Darussalam

Brunei English or English in Brunei?

In the evolution of a new variety of English, there comes a point when the variety gets referred to with the territory as a premodifer. Thus we now talk about ‘Singapore English’, as it has established many features of its own identity. In contrast, many people prefer to talk about ‘English in Hong Kong’ rather than ‘Hong Kong English’, as the identity of the language in Hong Kong is less certain. One reason for this is that English is used as the inter-ethnic lingua franca in Singapore, but the lingua franca of Hong Kong is Cantonese.

What about Brunei? Should we refer to its English as ‘Brunei English’ or as ‘English in Brunei’? The lingua franca in Brunei is Brunei Malay, and English is only used in formal contexts, so in this respect the existence of an emergent variety with its own identity is less clear-cut than in Singapore.

In this paper, the recordings of 20 undergraduates at the Universiti of Brunei Darussalam are compared with similar recordings of students in Singapore, to determine the extent to which the Brunei data show signs of establishing their own identity. The pronunciation of vowels will be considered, to see if there are idiosyncratic patterns, and also the pronunciation of word-final /r/, to see whether Brunei English aligns itself more with British or American English. Finally, the pronunciation of /θ/ is investigated, to determine the extent to which alternative sounds such as [t] or [f] are used.

David Deterding is an Associate Professor at Universiti Brunei Darussalam, where he teaches phonetics, grammar, and introductory linguistics. He has published widely on Singapore English, including a 2007 book published by Edinburgh University Press, and also on the pronunciation of English in China, Hong Kong, and English as a Lingua Franca in ASEAN.

Kitcha Thepsira
Punjaporn Pojanapunya (co-presenter)

King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi (Thailand)

Thai University Students’ Attributional Beliefs of Success and Failure in the EFL Classroom

The perceptions of success or failure from previous learning experience can motivate or demotivate students in performing the future task. These beliefs play a major role on academic motivation as they determine the amount of effort students will expend on the learning activity. This study aims to investigate students’€ attributional beliefs and causal reasons of success and failure in learning English as a foreign language. The subjects of the study were 863 undergraduate students from 8 Thai universities, 2 universities in each region. Two versions of the questionnaires focusing on successful and unsuccessful learning experiences, including reasons for their successes and failures, were used in data gathering. The data is analyzed in terms of language skills the students perceived as the most successful or unsuccessful as well as the causal reasons for their success and failure. The findings can be applicable for teachers and the other parties in ELT to deal effectively with the students’ attributions to facilitate learning motivation and expectations for future success.

Kitcha Thepsira is a lecturer at the Department of Language Studies, School of Liberal Arts, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT). He got his MEd in TESOL and a PhD in Educational and Applied Linguistics from Newcastle University, England. His interests include socio-cultural perspectives, task-based and project-based learning.

David CS Li
Hong Kong Institute of Education

EMI-induced code-switching: Cognitive dependence on English terminologies as a result of learning through the medium of English

This paper presents empirical evidence why CS is so difficult to avoid. Empirical data were obtained from an experimental study involving 108 educated Chinese-English bilinguals in Hong Kong and Taiwan. The study, entitled ‘One day with only Cantonese/Mandarin’, required student participants to use only their dominant community language for one day, and to avoid using any other language(s) (cf. ‘breaching experiments’ / ‘revelation through disruption’, Harold Garfinkel 1967). The primary objective was to find out under what circumstances Chinese-English bilingual students would feel the need to code-switch. Data arising from their rich and highly contextualized experiences were collected using two methods: reflective diary and focus group. The primary objective of the project was to find out under what circumstances bilingual students would perceive a need to code-switch.

The analysis of 108 reflective diaries and 13 two-hour focus-group interviews suggests that learning through the medium of English makes English-L2 students cognitively dependent on specialized terminologies in English. This paper focuses on EMI-induced code-switching from Chinese to English by examining the code-switchers’ own accounts of the reasons why they found it so difficult to avoid instantiating field-specific terminologies when the conversation touched upon concepts that were learned and taught through English. Similarly difficult to avoid were expressions belonging to what may be termed ‘institutional discourse’, such as course and programme titles, administrative practices, academic departments and support services, etc. The tendency of cognitive dependence on English was clearly much stronger among participants in Hong Kong than in Taiwan. The findings point toward a psycholinguistic ‘medium-of-learning effect’ on the development of bilinguality among foreign-language learners. Implications for classroom code-switching will be briefly discussed.

David C.S. Li obtained his BA in Hong Kong, MA in France, and PhD in Germany. His research interests are mainly related to social aspects of language use in multilingual settings. He has published in World Englishes and ‘Hongkong English’, code-switching in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and EFL learners’ learning difficulties and error-correction strategies.

Mary Delfin Pereira
National Institute of Education (Singapore)

The impact of the inclusion of diverse materials, activities and teaching methodologies in the LDEC on the motivation and achievement of lower secondary students in Singapore

This paper examines the effectiveness of the Literature-Driven English Curriculum (LDEC) in improving the language skills of secondary school students of varying language abilities in six diverse schools in Singapore. In the LDEC, oral and literature texts as well as different forms of media are used as tools to teach language skills. Just as the input is diverse so are the forms of output that the students produce. In 2004, research on the LDEC was conducted on high and average achieving students in four schools (Pereira, 2006). In a current ongoing research, the effect of the LDEC on low achieving students in two schools will be examined. This paper will present the final and preliminary findings of the respective researches in relation to the impact that the use of diverse materials, the inclusion of a variety of activities, and the use of differing teaching methodologies have on motivation and achievement.

Dr Mary Delfin Pereira is an Assistant Professor at the National Institute of Education, Singapore. She has taught curriculum and materials design, language testing and research methodology. Her research interests are in curriculum development, teacher education, ELT and gender-related differences in language learning. Currently, she is conducting research on a curriculum she had designed for her doctoral research, the Literature-Driven English Curriculum, to evaluate its effectiveness in improving the language abilities of low achieving students. Email: <>.

Faridah Noor Mohd Noor
University of Malaya (Malaysia)

Situating English in the Malaysian Education System

With the recent developments in the teaching of two content school subjects, mathematics and science, English is back on the drawing board. The issue of English as a medium has surfaced yet again. Situating English in the Malaysian education scenario would also need to include a response to the diverse purposes it serves in Malaysia. With changing language patterns of users in the urban areas in particular, English has become a first language for some. These situations call for a re-look at the position of English in the Malaysian education system. In what ways can the teaching and learning of English serve the diverse needs of the younger generation? What is in place in the education system to equip local graduates with English to face these new realities? What role can public opinions have in the role of education planning? This presentation hopes to discuss these issues in situating English in the Malaysian context.

Dr Faridah Noor Mohd Noor is associate professor at the Faculty of Languages and Linguistics, University of Malaya. Email: <> / <>.

B.B. Dwijatmoko
Sanata Dharma University (Indonesia)

Indonesian Learners' Mastery of the Verb 'Have'

The verb have functions both as a full and an auxiliary verb. As a full verb, the verb occurs with an object to show possession and with an object and predicator to show a causative meaning. As an auxiliary verb, it occurs with a to infinitive to show an obligation and with a past participle to show a perfect aspect.

The complex forms pose problems to Indonesian learners to acquire the verb. The problems complicate as Indonesian does not have aspects and possession is not always indicated with a verb.

This paper presents the research result on the use of the English verb have by the first year students of the English Letters of Sanata Dharma University. It discusses the use of the verb and its absence in a context which requires it and closes with the implications for language teaching.

Benedictus Bherman Dwijatmoko earned his B.A. degree in English Language Teaching from Sanata Dharma University, his M.A degree in applied linguistics from the American Universityof Washington D.C., and his Ph.D in linguistics from Gadjah Mada University. He is currently teaching in the Graduate Program in English Language Studies Sanata Dharma University. His interest is in linguistics, syntax, corpus linguistics, and Computer Assisted Language Learning. Email: <>.

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