2022 Student Research

2022 Linguistics Student Conference

Matt Ford

Applied Linguistics (MA)

Teacher emotions in the ESL classroom: a research plan design

This presentation will provide a comprehensive overview of an M.A. thesis proposal to be conducted in the fall of 2022 centered around teacher emotions in the ESL classroom. Prior work has demonstrated a shift in SLA research from a cognitive-centered approach towards one in which emotions are valued as a critical tool in the language classroom. I will begin by using previous studies found in my literature review to define emotions, their relevance to English language learning, and their role in the trajectory of SLA research. I will then apply the emotion labor and broaden and build theories to my own research design plan to explain how I will observe the emotional work I use in my own ESL classroom during critical incidents with my students. This will be followed by a brief overview of how I intend to collect and analyze data in my own classroom through autoethnographic research methods, with the aim being to inform participants of the methodology surrounding a forthcoming qualitative study in the emerging subfield of teacher/student emotions in the classroom.

Kaylee Jordan

Linguistics (BA)

Siblings as literacy-based play partners

This study is concerned with play-based literacy acquisition in sibling discourse. According to the ecobehavioral theoretical model, siblings have a strong influence on young children's language development, including as literacy role models. Children use and develop their current language skills with discourse during playtime, gaining confidence and adopting teaching styles observed from their learning environment. I used Neuman and Roskos (1991) three discourse styles to analyze literacy-based playtime discourse between siblings. An elementary-age older sister and her preschool age younger sister were video recorded during the construction of a storybook. This study confirms that the older sibling takes on a leadership role, providing literacy feedback to the younger sibling. Literacy talk focused on various areas, such as: punctuation, book organization, and illustrations. This study adds to the research about siblings as literacy-based partners.

Sooyoung Kang

Applied Linguistics (MA)

Locating the roles of an ESL teacher: Implementation of Discussion Leader

It goes without saying that teachers are vital to students’ language development. However, it is not always easy to identity how and when they make vital impacts on students, especially in a learner centered instruction. My thesis project aims to locate the roles of an ESL teacher during task based instruction, out of which I will reconceptualize L2 language teacher’s roles in learner’s development from the frame of sociocultural theory.  For this presentation, I would like to share with what I found in ESL reading class while conducting rounds of Discussion leader activities. During the interviews, students chose the activity as the best of their language learning experiences because leading a discussion gave them much freedom to engage with the assigned reading materials. I will identify three different roles of the teacher(myself) and how it would impact on the students’ transformative process as more independent learners.

Jesse Lentz

Linguistics (BA)

Adapting to ESL learners needs in non-routine situations

This study reports on the design and implementation of an English for Specific Purposes (ESP) activity. The study first defines the concept of needs analysis in ESP, then reports on four studies that explored which language skills are most critical within their business context, as to optimize relations with outside parties (e.g. customers). From the four needs analyses, all shared the needs of ‘context specific vocabulary’ and ‘listening comprehension’ as crucial within their contexts. Using these two specific language skills as a foundation, I designed and implemented an activity that may be adapted to fit the needs of English learners in various work environments. It is a fast paced card game that allows the learners to practice non-routine situations by taking turns acting and responding to new and/or stressful situations. The activity was piloted with undergraduate exchange students in an upper-intermediate ESL class; results from the pilot focus on lessons learned from the implementation and suggested areas of improvement.

Alan Ochoa

Linguistics (BA)

Anti-mask discourse analysis

In recent years, research on persuasive speech utilized by politicians has risen tremendously. Despite this, not many have looked into the usage of persuasive speech by untrained common folk. Utilizing a discourse analysis approach, this presentation seeks to further understand discourse strategies for persuasion employed at school board meetings. More specifically, my data consists of ten different speakers participating in a Fairbanks school board meeting at which subjects advocate for anti-mask policies, with all data transcribed personally. Although masks are not necessarily a politically-charged topic at the global scale, they certainly have been in the United States during the midst of the COVID pandemic. Speakers presented in the data all share a common goal and ideology, but execute their approach in varying ways with an appeal to populism existent all throughout. Such strategies include calculated pronoun usage that not only marks subjects, but subtly shifts address to create in-groups and out-groups amongst attendees and members of the community.

John Ayodeji Odudele

Applicant (MA)

Effects of gesture and shadowing to aid language fluency

This research will explore the effects of encouraging gestures and shadowing on Turdkish English learner’s speaking fluency. However, no study has considered experimenting or testing both fluency techniques together; approximately, all available papers either research gesture or shadowing as a way to help students better speak English fluently. With this unique research, 30 English learners will participate in this quasi-experimental research with a pre-test and post-test administration. It will be grouped into the Gesture and shadowing Congrolled Group (GSCG) and the non-gesture and shadowing Experimental Group (NGSEG). All the participants in the study group will be randomly selected, including the controlled group. Using obtrusive and controlled methods allows for some intervention for the research subjects. To analyze and compare the final findings of both experimental and control groups, statistical tools are SPSS and paired T-test, resulting in whether the participant gains from the specific group method of instruction.

Gina Schlobohm

Applied Linguistics (MA)

Language Ideologies and Sugt’stun Orthography

An orthography is a writing system for a language, this includes how sounds are represented such as alphabets, spelling norms, word boundaries, and punctuation. However, orthographies often represent more than just the functional or communicative parts of language and often represent sites of struggle over power, politics and identity. To better understand these sites of struggle this research situates them within a linguistic ideology framework. Linguistic ideologies are sets of beliefs about language by communities that explain or justify language structure and use, often in the interest of a social or cultural group. With this in mind, this research attempts to address two questions: What language ideologies (if any) are present in the Sugt'stun orthography? And, how do community members feel about the representation of Sugt'stun/Alutiit'stun? Linguistic ideologies will be identified through qualitative analysis of texts and open-ended interviews to discover impacts of language ideologies in the Sugt’stun orthography and on the Sugpiaq community.  By using a linguistic ideology framework, this case study of the Sugt’stun orthography hopes to link linguistic documentation and description to a larger Alaskan/Sugpiaq sociohistorical context.