- Kontaktlinguistik-contact linguistics-linguistique de contact: Ein internationales Handbuch der zeitgenössichen Forschung Ed. by Hans Goebl, Peter H. Nelde, Zdenëk Stary, and Wolfgang Wölck (review)
- Linguistic Society of America
- Volume 75, Number 1, March 1999
- pp. 210-211
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- Additional Information
210 LANGUAGE, VOLUME 75, NUMBER 1 (1999) (342-65) treats discursive and other 'beyond the sentence ' considerations of the language in use; a bibliography and index follow. In all the chapters important typological and other questions about the language which investigators need to examine are boxed in and prefaced by large question marks. The presentation ofthe facts and ideas is excellent, and it is easy to find information on a particular topic. If I have one complaint about this book, it is that the question-marked points scattered throughout the chapters have not been reprised in a useful appendix later in the book. Such a checklist would be of great value in sensitizing students to the importance of typological and similar matters. Though not a textbook sensu stricto, this valuable book should be made available to anyone doing a syntax, semantics, or discourse/pragmatics course, and one therefore hopes that it will find a paperback publisher soon. [Anthony P. Grant, University of St Andrews.] Effective language learning. By Suzanne Graham. (Modern languages in practice, 6.) Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters, 1997. Pp. x, 235. Graham's attractive, well-researched, and timely book draws upon her doctoral work at the University of Bath and her experience in teaching French and German in British secondary schools. It addresses the question of profitable instruction in modern languages for students who have already achieved some competence in the language and who are aiming at passing advanced level examinations (for instance the Higher Level exams in Scotland, taken at age 17, or the Advanced Level exams in England and Wales, usually sat by 18-year olds). Changes in British educational policy relating to modern language teaching over the past twenty years have meant that greater emphasis is now placed in the early years of modern language classes on oral work rather than on written instruction and formal grammar/translation work. The consequence of this short-sighted policy is that students are more fluent speakers of their chosen language than they might previously have been but are far less competent in structural matters and in written aspects of language —and yet the wider arrays of tasks to which they are newly exposed at advanced levels are largely those which require just such competence. This leads to problems and frustration for many hitherto successful students approaching advanced language study (as a nightmarish snippet ofadvanced learner's German on p. 67, provided with a transcribed analysis of the linguistic decisions by the student, boldly indicates). Using a mixture of quantitative and quantitative techniques and employing a generous sampling both of the students' oral and written output and their reasons for same, G's approach to the problem was to examine the learning strategies which worked for students , and those which didn't work. Successful learning strategies, which reinforced material known to the students and which did not overburden them with information or worry, could then be isolated and integrated into patterns of more effective teaching. G discusses her research and its findings in six chapters, a set of conclusions, and several appendices , the last including several histograms and tables deriving from data provided by self-reporting questionnaires administered to students (205-15). According to these, the most daunting task for students in either French or German apparently is reading a text without a dictionary: 69% ofthe former and 72% of the latter students stated this as problematic. Conversely , working on one's own initiative apparently presents problems for only about 10% of students. Broken down by gender, the statistics show that among the 29 tasks surveyed, females consistently perceive a greater number of difficulties than males do. Most notably, worry about workloads affects female students two and a half times as much as male students, although females worry slightly less about the organization of their work. Clearly and accessibly written, this book belongs on the shelf of every modern languages teacher. [Anthony P. Grant, University of St Andrews.] Kontaktlinguistik—contact linguistics —linguistique de contact: Ein internationales Handbuch der zeitgenössichen Forschung. Ed. by Hans Goebl, Peter H. Nelde, Zdenëk Stary, and Wolfgang Wölck. (Handbücher zur Sprach- und Kommunikationswissenschaft , 12.) Berlin & New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1997. Vol...