Editorial

Author


 

Welcome to the most recent issue of Applied
Research  on  English  Language  that
completes  two  years  of  publication.  Since
the  publication  of  the  first  issue,  Applied
Research  on  English  Language  has  been
receiving  submissions  from  around  the
globe. In this respect, I would like to put on
record,  one  more  time,  my  profound
gratitude  to  the  Editorial  Board  Members
and  also  to  the  referees  who  went  out  of
their  way  to  provide  us  with  constructive
feedback.  
In  this  issue,  the  first  article  by  Naoko
Taguchi  examines  the  effects  of  individual
difference  factors  on  changing  pragmatic
abilities  among  L2  learners  of  English.  Her
participants  were  48  Japanese  EFL  students
in  an  English-medium  university  in  Japan
who  completed  a  pragmatic  speaking  test
that  assessed  their  ability  to  produce  two
speech  acts:  requests  and  opinions,  in  high-
and  low-imposition  situations.  Speech  acts
were  evaluated  for  appropriateness  and
fluency.  The  results  of  the  study  reveals
significant  effects  of  individual  factors  on
pragmatic  change,  but  the  effects  appeared
differently  between  appropriateness  and
fluency.  
The  next  study  belongs  to  Thomas  Payne
and  is  a  qualitative  study.  The  author
investigates the uses of  be in Contemporary
English. Based on the study, one easy claim
and  one  more  difficult  claim  are  proposed.
The  easy  claim  is  that  the  traditional
distinction between be as a lexical verb  and
be as an auxiliary is faulty. The harder claim
is  that  there  is  a  syntactic  distinction
between lexical-be and auxiliary-be, but that
distinction  does  not  coincide  with  the
copular  vs.  non-copular  usages.  Rather,  the
syntactic  distinction  between  lexical  and
auxiliary  be  has  an  entirely  different,
semantic  motivation  based  on  stativity  vs.
activity.  In  this  connection,  the  author
challenges a major assumption of traditional
grammar  –  namely  that  every  English
sentence  requires  a  lexical  verb.  As  the
author  argues,  the  proposals  in  the  paper
bridge  the  gap  between  theoretical  and
applied  linguistics  and  have  the  potential  to
simplify  significantly  the  conceptualization,
teaching and learning of English grammar.
The  third  study  by  Marefat  and
Mohammadzadeh  is  a  genre  analysis  of
literature  research  article  abstracts.  The
authors  analyzed  90  English  and  Persian
abstracts  written  in  the  field  of  literature
based  on  the  IMRD  (Introduction,  Method,
Results, and Discussion) and CARS (Create
A  Research  Space)  models.  The  results
demonstrated  that  literature  RA  writers
generally focus on Introduction and Results,
neglect  Method  and  Discussion,  and  do  not
mention  the  niche  in  previous  related  work.
Further  to  this,  the  study  shows  that
literature abstracts generally matched CARS
more  than  IMRD.  Next,  the  authors  show
that  abstracts  written  by  Persian  native
speakers  have  minor  deviations  from  both
the Persian and the international norms.  
Roohani,  Rahimi  and  Alikhani’s  study
focuses  on  the  effects  of  captioning  on  L2
listening  comprehension  and  vocabulary
learning. To these ends, the authors designed
a computer software program and asked 200
EFL  learners  (100  high-intermediate  and
100  low-intermediate  level  students)  to
participate  in  their  experiment.  The
participants were randomly divided into four
groups:  captioned  (listening  to  texts  twice
with  captions),  non-captioned  (listening  to
texts twice without captions), first-captioned
(listening  to  texts  first  with  captions  and
then  without  captions),  and  second-captioned  (listening  to  texts  first  without
captions and then with captions) groups. The
authors argue that captioned stories are more
effective  than  the  non-captioned  ones.
Moreover,  as  the  authors  argue,  caption
ordering  have  no  significant  effect  on  L2
listening comprehension.
In  the  fifth  study,  Gooniband  Shooshtari,
Jalilifar  and  Khazaei  examine  the  impact  of
the  application  of  mobile  devices  for
teaching  English  vocabulary  items  to  123
Iranian  semi-illiterates  (70  female,  and  53
male learners; age range 35-55). The authors
intended  to  see  if  the  way  of  presenting
materials  and  guidelines  (formal  vs.
informal)  through  cell-phone  would  have
any  significant  effect(s).  The  results  show
that  the  succinct  nature  of  today's  short
message  service  (SMS)  texts  allows  for  a
more  successful  application  of  a  more
informal  style  of  language  in  the  realm  of
teaching  English  to  semi-illiterates.  The
study  also  shows  that  annotated  materials
can help semi-illiterates.
Taleb and Fotovatnia’s study sets out to test
a  basic  prediction  made  by  the  Revised
Hierarchical  Model  (RHM).  The  prediction
is  that  at  early  stages  of  language
acquisition,  strong  L2-L1  lexical  links  are
formed  and  these  links  weaken  with
increasing proficiency, although they do not
disappear  even  at  higher  levels  of  language
development.  Two  groups  of  highly
proficient  and  two  groups  of  elementary  L2
learners  were  tested  on  noncognate  stimuli
with  episodic  recognition  tasks  in  both
forward  (L1-L2)  and  backward  (L2-L1)
directions.  The  pattern  observed  for  the
elementary  L2  learners  in  both  directions
was  consistent  with  the  prediction  of  the
RHM.  The  results  showed  the existence  of
strong  lexical  links  in  the  backward
direction at the elementary level but no such
links  were  found  in  the  forward  direction.
Contrary  to  the  predictions  of  the  RHM,
however,  L2-L1  lexical  links  were  found  to
be lost at higher levels of proficiency.
Shahnazari-Dorcheh,  in  the  next  study,
develops  and  validates  an  L1  Persian
reading  span  test  for  measuring  working
memory  of  L1  Persian  EFL  learners.  The
test  is  used  in  a  study  with  140  participants
at  three  different  proficiency  levels.  The
results  of  an  item  analysis,  as  indicated  by
Cronbach’s  Alpha,  display  an  internal
reliability  of  .844  and  .790  for  the  RST
processing  and  recall  scores,  respectively.
Accordingly,  the  author  suggests  that  the
newly  developed  test  is  reliable  and  can  be
used  to  measure  working  memory  capacity
in future studies.
As the next study by Adams-Goertel shows,
the  usefulness  of  teaching  pronunciation  in
language  instruction  remains  controversial.
Though  past  research  suggests  that  teachers
can make little or no difference in improving
their  students’  pronunciation,  current
findings  suggest  that  second  language
pronunciation can improve to be near native-like  with  the  implementation  of  certain
criteria  such  as  the  utilization  of  prosodic
elements.  With  the  emphasis  on  meaningful
communication  and  the  understanding  that
speech  production  is  affected  by  speech
perception,  the  author  argues  that  there  is  a
need  to  integrate  prosodics  with
communicative activities.
Finally,  Nemati  and  Azizi  describe  how  a
new technique called Draft-Specific Scoring
(DSS) was devised in order to use grading as
a  motivating  rather  than  demotivating
device.  The  technique  works  in  this  way:
The score the learners receive improves as a
result  of  the  improvement  in  the  quality  of
the  revisions  they  make.  The  experimental
study  the  authors  discuss  was  an  attempt  to
check the effect of the use of this technique
on  three  measures  of  fluency,  grammatical
complexity  and  accuracy.  As  reported  by
Nemati  and  Azizi,  DSS  helped  learners
improve  in  all  these  measures  while  the

control  group  receiving  only  error  feedback
without DSS only improved in fluency.
We thank all the contributors who submitted
their articles to Applied Research on English
Language. Although we had to turn many of
these  insightful  articles  down  for  various
academic  reasons,  we  will  be  looking
forward  to  receiving  any  future  paper  they
may want to submit to the journal.  
Summer has come again and we wish you a
wonderful  season!  We  would  be  glad  to
receive  your  comments  and  suggestions!
Our email is: jare@res.ui.sc.ir.
 
Warmest regards,
Saeed Ketabi (PhD, Editor-in-Chief)