Testing as Problem Solving

Posting by Ade Tuty Anggriany | 3:05 PM

Language testers are sometimes asked to say what ‘the best test’ or ‘the best testing technique’ is. In fact, there is no best test or best technique. A test which proves ideal for one purpose may be quite useless for another; a technique which may work very well in one situation can be entirely inappropriate in another. It depends on the objectives of the courses, the purpose and importance of the tests, and the resources that are available. The assumption that has to be made therefore is that each testing situation is unique and so sets a particular testing problem. In every situation the testers have to be clear about the purpose of the testing and state the testing problem as clearly as possible. Every testing problem can be expressed in the same general terms: we want to create a test or testing system which will: consistently provide accurate measures of precisely the abilities in which we are interested; have a beneficial effect on teaching; be economical in terms of time and money.

In stating the testing problem in general terms, we spoke of providing consistent measures of precisely the abilities we are interested in. A test which does this is said to be ‘valid’. The word ‘consistently’ was used in the statement of the testing problem. The consistency with which accurate measurements are made is in fact an essential ingredient of validity. If a test measures consistently, it is said to be reliable. Reliability is an absolutely essential quality of tests. All tests cost time and money – to prepare, administer, score and interpret. Time and money are in limited supply, and so there is often likely to be a conflict between what appears to be a perfect testing solution in a particular situation and considerations of practicality. To rephrase the general testing problem identified above: the basic problem is to develop tests which are valid and reliable, which have a beneficial backwash effect on teaching, and which are practical.

We have to say something about statistics. Some understanding of statistics is useful, indeed necessary, for a proper appreciation of testing matters and for successful problem solving. At the same time, we have to recognize that there is a limit to what many readers will be prepared to do, especially if they are at all afraid of mathematics. For this reason, statistical matters are kept to a minimum and are presented in terms that everyone should be able to grasp. The emphasis will be on interpretation rather than on calculation.


Teaching and Testing

Posting by Ade Tuty Anggriany | 3:03 PM

1. Backwash
The effect of testing on teaching and learning is known as backwash. Backwash can be harmful or beneficial. If a test is regarded as important, then preparation for it can come to dominate all teaching and learning activities, and if the test content and testing techniques are at variance with the objectives of the course, then there is likely to be harmful backwash. However, backwash can be positively beneficial. For example, if the test is to be administered at the end of an intensive year of English study and will be used to determine which students will be allowed to go on to their undergraduate courses and which will have to leave the university.
Davies (1968:5) has said that ‘the good test is an obedient servant since it follows and apes the teaching’. The proper relationship between teaching and testing is surely that of partnership. It is true that there may be occasions when the teaching is good and appropriate and the testing is not; we are then likely to suffer from harmful backwash. But equally there may be occasions when teaching is poor or inappropriate and when testing is able to exert a beneficial influence. We cannot expect testing only to follow teaching. What we should demand of it, however, is that is should be supportive of good teaching and, where necessary, exerts a corrective influence on bad teaching. If testing always had a beneficial backwash on teaching, it would have a much better reputation amongst teachers.

2. Inaccurate Tests
There are two main sources of inaccuracy. The first of these concerns test content and techniques. If we want to know how well someone can write, there is absolutely no way we can get a really accurate measure of their ability by means of a multiple choice test. Professional testers have expended great effort, and not a little money, in attempts to do it; but they have always failed. The result is a set of poor items that cannot possibly provide accurate measurements. The second source of inaccuracy is lack of reliability. A test is reliable if it measures consistently. On a reliable test you can be confident that someone will get more or less the same score, whether they happen to take it on one particular day or on the next; whereas on an unreliable test the score is quite likely to be considerably different, depending on the day on which it is taken.
Unreliability has two origins: features of the test itself, and the way it is scored. In the first case, something about the test creates a tendency for individuals to perform significantly differently on different occasions when they might take the test. There are some possible features of a test which might make it unreliable, such as, unclear instructions, ambiguous questions, items that result in guessing on the part of the test takers, etc. in the second case, equivalent test performances are accorded significantly different scores. For example, the same composition may be given very different scores by different markers. Fortunately, there are well-understood ways of minimizing such differences in scoring. Most large testing organizations, to their credit, take every precaution to make their tests, and the scoring of them, as reliable as possible, and are generally highly successful in this respect. Small-scale testing, on the other hand, tends to be less reliable than it should be.

3. The Need for Tests
Teaching is, after all, the primary activity; if testing comes in conflict with it, then it is testing which should go, especially when it has been admitted that so much testing provides inaccurate information. Information about people’s language ability is often very useful and sometimes necessary. Within teaching systems, too, as long as it is thought appropriate for individuals to be given a statement of what they have achieved in a second or foreign language, then tests of some kind or other will be needed. They will also be needed in order to provide information about the achievement of groups of learners, without which it is difficult to see how rational educational decisions can be made. Moreover, we have to recognize the need for a common yardstick, which tests provide, in order to make meaningful comparisons. If it is accepted that tests are necessary, and if we care about testing and its effect on teaching and learning, we should do everything that we can to improve the practice of testing.

4. What is to be done?
The teaching profession can make two contributions to the improvement of testing: they can write better tests themselves, and they can put pressure on others, including professional testers and examining boards, to improve their tests.

RELIABILITY

Posting by Ade Tuty Anggriany | 2:58 PM

The Reliability Coefficient
It is possible to quantify the reliability of a test in the form of a reliability coefficient. Reliability coefficients are like validity coefficients. They allow us to compare the reliability of different tests. The ideal reliability coefficient is one which would give precisely the same results for a particular set of candidates regardless of when it happened to be administered. In fact the reliability coefficient that is to be sought will depend also on other considerations, most particularly the importance of the decisions that are to be taken on the basis of the test. The more important the decisions, the greater reliability we must demand: if we are to refuse someone the opportunity to study overseas because of their score on a language test, then we have to be pretty sure that their score would not have been much different if they had taken the test a day or two earlier or later.

The Standard Error of Measurement and the True Score
With a little further calculation, however, it is possible to estimate how close a person’s actual score is to what is called their true score. We are able to make statements about the probability that a candidate’s true score (the one which best represents their ability on the test) is within a certain number of points of the score they actually obtained on the test. In order to do this, we first have to calculate the standard error of measurement of the particular test. It is important to recognize how we can use the standard error of measurement to inform decisions that we take on the basis of test scores. Therefore all published tests should provide users with not only the reliability coefficient but also the standard error of measurement.

How to Make Tests More Reliable
There are two components of test reliability: the performance of candidates from occasion to occasion, and the reliability of the scoring. We will begin by suggesting ways of achieving consistent performances from candidates and then turn our attention to scorer reliability. And now, what should we do to make tests more reliable? There are some ways that we should do: (1) take enough samples of behavior, (2) do not allow candidates too much freedom, (3) write unambiguous items, (4) provide clear and explicit instructions, (5) ensure that tests are well laid out and perfectly legible, (6) candidates should be familiar with format and testing techniques, (7) provide uniform and non-distracting conditions of administration, (8) use items that permit scoring which is as objective as possible, (9) make comparisons between candidates as direct as possible, (10) provide a detailed scoring key, (11) train scorers, (12) agree acceptable responses and appropriate scores at outset of scoring, (13) identify candidates by number, not name, (14) employ multiple, independent scoring.

Reliability and Validity
To be valid a test must provide consistently accurate measurements. It must therefore be reliable. A reliable test, however, may not be valid at all. In our efforts to make tests reliable, we must be wary of reducing their validity.

ACTING AND CONVERSING

Posting by Ade Tuty Anggriany | 2:45 PM

1. SPEECH ACTS : AUSTIN AND SEARLE
One thing that many utterances do is make propositions: they do this mainly in the form of either statements or questions, but other grammatical forms are also possible. Then, the utterances that are connected in some ways with events or happenings in a possible world are called as constantive utterances.

A different kind of proposition is the ethical proposition. This proposition may be true or false, but the purpose of the proposition is not the truth or falsity; their real purpose is to serve as guides to behavior in some world other.

Another kind of utterances is the phatic type or phatic communion that the purpose is to assert the affective value as indicators that one person is willing to talk to another and that a channel of communication is either being opened or being kept open. According to Malinowsky (1923), phatic communion is a type of speech in which ties of union are created by a mere exchange of words. In such communion, words do not convey meanings. Instead, they fulfill a social function and that is their principal aim.

The philosopher, J. L, Austin (1962), distinguished still another kind of utterances: performative utterances. In using performative utterances, a person is not just saying something, but is actually doing something if certain real world conditions are met. Here, Austin also mention felicity condition that performative must meet to be successful. First, a conventional procedure must exist for doing whatever is to be done, and that procedure must specify who must say and do what and in what circumstances. Second, all participants must properly execute this procedure and carry it through to completion. Finally, the necessary thoughts, feelings, and intentions must be present in all parties. In general, the spoken part of the total act, the actual speech act, will take the grammatical form of having a first person subject and a verb in the present tense, or maybe include the word “hereby”.

Austin also acknowledges that there are less explicit performatives, that are lack of any associated conventional procedure and there is no way of specifying the circumstances quite so narrowly.

Again, Austin divides performatives into five categories:

  • Verdictives, typified by the giving of a verdict, estimate, grade, or appraisal.
  • Excercitives, the exercising of powers, rights, or influences in an appointing, ordering, warning, or advising.
  • Commissives, typified by promising or undertaking, and committing one to do something by, for example, announcing an intention or espousing a cause.
  • Behabitives, having to do with such matters as apologizing, congratulating, blessing, cursing, or challenging.
  • Expositives, a term used to refer to how one makes utterances fit into an argument or exposition.

According to Searle (1969), we perform different kinds of acts when we speak. The utterances we use are locutions. Most locutions express some intent that speakers have. They therefore have an illocutionary force. A speaker also can use different locutions to achieve the same illocutionary force or use one locution for many different purposes.

If we look at how we perform certain kinds of acts rather than at how particular types of utterances perform acts, Searle has indicated, categorize at least six ways in which we can make request or give orders even directly.
  • There are utterance types that focus on the hearer’s ability to do something.
  • Those that focus on the speaker’s wish or desire that the hearer will do something
  • Those that focus on the hearer’s actually doing something
  • Those that focus on the hearer’s willingness or desire to do something.
  • Those that focus on the reasons for doing something
  • Those that embed one of the above types inside another.

Searle has concentrated his work on speech acts on how a hearer perceives a particular utterance to have the force it has, what he calls the ‘uptake’ of an utterance. For Searle, there are 5 rules that govern promise-making.
  • The propositional content rules, is that the words must predicate a future action of the speaker.
  • The preparatory rules, which require that both the person promising and person to whom the promise is made must want the act done, and that would not otherwise be done. Moreover, the person promising believes he or she can do what is promised.
  • The sincerity rules, that require the promiser to intend to perform the act, that is to be placed under some kind of obligation.
  • The essential rules, that said the uttering of the words counts as undertaking an obligation to perform the action.

In contrast to Austin, who focused his attention on how speakers realize their intention in speaking, Searle focuses on how listeners respond to utterances, that is, how one person tries to figure our how another is using a particular utterances.

2. COOPERATION AND FACE: GRICE AND GOFFMAN
We can view utterances as acts of various kinds and the exchanges of utterances that we call conversations as exchanges of acts, not just exchanges of words, although they are this too. According to philosophers such as Grice, we are able to converse with one another because we recognize common goals in conversation and specific ways of achieving these goals. Grice (1975, p. 45) maintains that the overriding principle in conversation is one he calls the cooperative principle. Grice lists four maxims that follow from the cooperative principle: quantity, quality, relation, and manner. The maxim of quantity requires you to make your contribution as informative as is required. The maxim of quality requires you not to say what you believe to be false or that for which you lack adequate evidence. Relation is the simple injunction: be relevant. Manner requires you to avoid obscurity of expression and ambiguity, and to be brief and orderly. Maxims are involved in all kinds of rational cooperative behavior. Everyday speech often occurs in less than ideal circumstances. Grice points out those speakers do not always follow the maxims he has described, they may implicate something rather different from what they actually say. They may violate, exploit, or opt out of one of the maxims, or two of the maxims may clash in a particular instance.
When we try to apply any set of principles, no matter what kind they are, to show how utterances work when sequenced into what we call conversations, we run into a variety of difficulties. Ordinary casual conversation is possibly the most common of all language activities. Conversation is a cooperative activity in the Gricean sense, one that depends on speakers and listeners sharing a set of assumptions about what is happening. If anything went in conversation, nothing would happen. Conversation makes use of the cooperative principle; speakers and listeners are guided by considerations of quantity, quality, relation, manner, and the process of implicature which allows them to figure out relationships between the said and the unsaid. Conversation is cooperative also in the sense that speakers and listeners tend to accept each other for what they claim to be: that is, they accept the face that the other offers. That face may vary according to circumstances, for at one time the face you offer me may be that of a ‘close friend’, on another occasion a ‘teacher’, and on a third occasion a ‘young woman’ but it is a face which I will generally accept.

Goffman (1955), has called ace-work, the work of presenting faces to each other, protecting our own face, and protecting the other’s face. Conversation therefore involves a considerable amount of role-playing: we choose a role for ourselves in each conversation discover the role or roles the other or the others are playing, and then proceed to construct a little dramatic encounter, much of which involves respecting other’s faces. All the world is a stage, and we are players. The listener not only has to establish what it was that was said, but also has to construct, from an assortment of clues, the affective state of the speaker and a profile of his identity.’ The affective state of the speaker’ and ‘a profile of his identity’ are much the same as what I have called ‘face’, for they are concerned with what the speaker is trying to communicate about himself or herself on a particular occasion.

Cooperative Learning and Task-Based Learning

Posting by Ade Tuty Anggriany | 6:34 AM

A. Cooperative Learning
Cooperative learning is a successful teaching strategy in which small teams, each with students of different levels of ability, use a variety of learning activities to improve their understanding of a subject. Each member of a team is responsible not only for learning what is taught but also for helping teammates learn, thus creating an atmosphere of achievement. Students work through the assignment until all group members successfully understand and complete it. Cooperative efforts result in participants striving for mutual benefit so that all group members: gain from each other's efforts (your success benefits me and my success benefits you); recognize that all group members share a common fate (we all sink or swim together here); know that one's performance is mutually caused by oneself and one's team members (we can not do it without you); and feel proud and jointly celebrate when a group member is recognized for achievement (we all congratulate you on your accomplishment).

Elements of cooperative learning
It is only under certain conditions that cooperative efforts may be expected to be more productive than competitive and individualistic efforts. Those conditions are:

1. Positive Interdependence
In this condition, each group member's efforts are required and indispensable for group success, and it has a unique contribution to make to the joint effort because of his or her resources and/or role and task responsibilities.

2. Face-to-Face Interaction
In this condition, each group should be: orally explaining how to solve problems; teaching one's knowledge to other; checking for understanding; discussing concepts being learned; and connecting present with past learning.

3. Individual & Group Accountability
In this condition, each group should be:
  • Keeping the size of the group small. The smaller the size of the group, the greater the individual accountability may be.
  • Giving an individual test to each student.
  • Randomly examining students orally by calling on one student to present his or her group's work to the teacher (in the presence of the group) or to the entire class.
  • Observing each group and recording the frequency with which each member-contributes to the group's work.
  • Assigning one student in each group the role of checker. The checker asks other group members to explain the reasoning and rationale underlying group answers.
  • Having students teach what they learned to someone else.
4. Interpersonal & Small-Group Skills
In this condition, social skill must be taught including leadership, decision-making, trust-building, communication, and conflict-management skill.

5. Group Processing
In this condition group members should discuss how well they are achieving their goals and maintaining effective working relationships, describe what member actions are helpful and not helpful, and make decisions about what behaviors to continue or change.

Class activities that use Cooperative Learning
1. Jigsaw
Groups with five students are set up. Each group member is assigned some unique material to learn and then to teach to his group members. To help in the learning, students across the class working on the same sub-section get together to decide what is important and how to teach it. After practice in these "expert" groups the original groups reform and students teach each other. (Wood, p. 17) Tests or assessment follows.

2. Think-Pair-Share
It involves a three step cooperative structure. During the first step individuals think silently about a question posed by the instructor. Individuals pair up during the second step and exchange thoughts. In the third step, the pairs share their responses with other pairs, other teams, or the entire group.

3. Three-Step Interview (Kagan)
Each member of a team chooses another member to be a partner. During the first step individuals interview their partners by asking clarifying questions. During the second step partners reverse the roles. For the final step, members share their partner's response with the team.

4. RoundRobin Brainstorming (Kagan)
Class is divided into small groups (4 to 6) with one person appointed as the recorder. A question is posed with many answers and students are given time to think about answers. After the "think time," members of the team share responses with one another round robin style. The recorder writes down the answers of the group members. The person next to the recorder starts and each person in the group in order gives an answer until time is called.

5. Three-minute review
Teachers stop any time during a lecture or discussion and give teams three minutes to review what has been said, ask clarifying questions or answer questions.

6. Numbered Heads Together (Kagan)
A team of four is established. Each member is given numbers of 1, 2, 3, 4. Questions are asked of the group. Groups work together to answer the question so that all can verbally answer the question. Teacher calls out a number (two) and each two is asked to give the answer.

7. Team Pair Solo (Kagan)
Students do problems first as a team, then with a partner, and finally on their own. It is designed to motivate students to tackle and succeed at problems which initially are beyond their ability. It is based on a simple notion of mediated learning. Students can do more things with help (mediation) than they can do alone. By allowing them to work on problems they could not do alone, first as a team and then with a partner, they progress to a point they can do alone that which at first they could do only with help.

8. Circle the Sage (Kagan)
First the teacher polls the class to see which students have a special knowledge to share. For example the teacher may ask who in the class was able to solve a difficult math homework question, who had visited Mexico, who knows the chemical reactions involved in how salting the streets help dissipate snow. Those students (the sages) stand and spread out in the room. The teacher then has the rest of the classmates each surround a sage, with no two members of the same team going to the same sage. The sage explains what they know while the classmates listen, ask questions, and take notes. All students then return to their teams. Each in turn, explains what they learned. Because each one has gone to a different sage, they compare notes. If there is disagreement, they stand up as a team. Finally, the disagreements are aired and resolved.

9. Partners (Kagan)
The class is divided into teams of four. Partners move to one side of the room. Half of each team is given an assignment to master to be able to teach the other half. Partners work to learn and can consult with other partners working on the same material. Teams go back together with each set of partners teaching the other set. Partners quiz and tutor teammates. Team reviews how well they learned and taught and how they might improve the process.

The advantages of cooperative learning for elementary school students
According to Glasser (1986), children's motivation to work in elementary school is dependent on the extent to which their basic psychological needs are met. Cooperative learning increases student motivation by providing peer support. As part of a learning team, students can achieve success by working well with others. Students are also encouraged to learn material in greater depth than they might otherwise have done, and to think of creative ways to convince the teacher that they have mastered the required material.
Cooperative learning helps students feel successful at every academic level. In cooperative learning teams, low-achieving students can make contributions to a group and experience success, and all students can increase their understanding of ideas by explaining them to others (Featherstone, 1986). Components of the cooperative learning process as described by Johnson and Johnson (1984) are complimentary to the goals of early childhood education. For example, well-constructed cooperative learning tasks involve positive interdependence on others and individual accountability. To work successfully in a cooperative learning team, however, students must also master interpersonal skills needed for the group to accomplish its tasks.
Cooperative learning has also been shown to improve relationships among students from different ethnic backgrounds. Slavin (1980) notes: "Cooperative learning methods [sanctioned by the school] embody the requirements of cooperative, equal status interaction between students of different ethnic backgrounds..." For older students, teaching has traditionally stressed competition and individual learning. When students are given cooperative tasks, however, learning is assessed individually, and rewards are given on the basis of the group's performance (Featherstone, 1986). When children are taught the skills needed for group participation when they first enter a structured setting, the foundation is laid for later school success.

B. Task Based Learning
Task-based learning (TBL) is an approach which concentrates more on carrying out tasks (solving puzzles, writing projects, investigating topics and so on) than on graded structures and vocabulary. Task -based learning offers an alternative for language teachers. In a task-based lesson the teacher doesn't pre-determine what language will be studied, the lesson is based around the completion of a central task and the language studied is determined by what happens as the students complete it. The lesson follows certain stages:
1. Pre-task
The teacher introduces the topic and gives the students clear instructions on what they will have to do at the task stage and might help the students to recall some language that may be useful for the task. The pre-task stage can also often include playing a recording of people doing the task. This gives the students a clear model of what will be expected of them. The students can take notes and spend time preparing for the task.
2. Task
The students complete a task in pairs or groups using the language resources that they have as the teacher monitors and offers encouragement.
3. Planning
Students prepare a short oral or written report to tell the class what happened during their task. They then practice what they are going to say in their groups. Meanwhile the teacher is available for the students to ask for advice to clear up any language questions they may have.
4. Report
Students then report back to the class orally or read the written report. The teacher chooses the order of when students will present their reports and may give the students some quick feedback on the content. At this stage the teacher may also play a recording of others doing the same task for the students to compare.
5. Analysis
The teacher then highlights relevant parts from the text of the recording for the students to analyze. They may ask students to notice interesting features within this text. The teacher can also highlight the language that the students used during the report phase for analysis.
6. Practice
The teacher selects language areas to practice based upon the needs of the students and what emerged from the task and report phases. The students then do practice activities to increase their confidence and make a note of useful language.

The Advantages of Task-Based Learning
Task-based learning has some clear advantages:
  • The students are free of language control. In all three stages they must use all their language resources rather than just practicing one pre-selected item.
  • A natural context is developed from the students' experiences with the language that is personalized and relevant to them.
  • The students will have a much more varied exposure to language with TBL. They will be exposed to a whole range of lexical phrases, collocations and patterns as well as language forms.
  • The language explored arises from the students' needs. This need dictates what will be covered in the lesson rather than a decision made by the teacher or the course book.
  • It is a strong communicative approach where students spend a lot of time communicating.
  • It is enjoyable and motivating.

Ethnography and Ethnomethodology

Posting by Ade Tuty Anggriany | 6:27 AM

Speech is used in different ways among different groups of people. Each group has its own norms of linguistic behavior. We must try to understand how different groups of people use their language (or languages) if we are to achieve a comprehensive understanding of how that language (or those languages) is related to the society that uses it. An important function of communication is social maintenance.
1. Varieties of Talk

It is instructive to look at some of the ways in which various people in the world use talk, or sometimes the absence of talk, i.e., silence, to communicate. Marshall (1961) has indicated how the !Kung, a bush-dwelling people of South West Africa, have certain customs which help them either to avoid or reduce friction and hostility within bands and between bands. The !Kung lead a very harsh life as hunters and gatherers, a life which requires a considerable amount of cooperation and the companionship of a larger group if survival is to be guaranteed. The !Kung are talkative people.
The !Kung talk about all kinds of things, but principally about food and gift giving. They avoid mentioning the names of their God aloud, and men and women do not openly discuss sexual matters together. Such subjects are taboo. They have their own style of joking, story-telling, but in the latter case, they do not ‘make up’ stories, finding no interest at all in that activity. According to Marshall, speech among the !Kung helps to maintain peaceful social relationships by allowing people to keep in touch with one another about how they are thinking and feeling.
The Western Apache of East-Central Arizon
In contrast, the Western Apache of East-Central Arizon choose to be silent when there is a strong possibility that such uncertainty exists. They are silent on ‘meeting strangers’ whether these are fellow Western Apache or complete outsiders; and strangers, too, are expected to be silent. The Western Apache do not easily enter into new social relationship, and silence is deemed appropriate to a new relationship, because such a relationship is felt to be inherently uncertain. The initial stages of courting behavior also require silence; in this case, in this case, silence is taken to be a proper indication of the shyness that is expected between two people attempting to enter into a close relationship. They regard talkativeness in such a situation, especially in the female of the pair, as immodest.
Antiguan
The social situation in Antigua in the West Indies requires another kind of indulgence in talk. Talk is expected of people. In Antigua a conversation is multi-faceted in that it freely mixes a variety of activities that in certain other groups would be kept quite apart. In Antigua, people speak because they must assert themselves through language. They do not consider as interruptions behavior that we would consider being either interruptive or even disruptive. Reisman says (p. 115) that in Antigua ‘ to enter a conversation one must assert one’s presence rather than participate in something formalized as an exchange.
Subanun
Subanun of the Philiphines, who employ certain kinds of speech in drinking encounters. Such encounters are very inportant for gaining prestige for resolving disputes. Frake (1964) has decribed how to talk, what he calls ‘drinking talk’, proceeds in such encounters, from the initial invitation to partake of drink, to the selection of proper topics for discussion as drinking proceeds competitively, and finally to displays of verbal art that accompany heavy, ‘successful’ drinking. Successful talk drinking among the Subanun may be used to claim or assert social leadership. Drinking talk among the Subanun therefore seems to be far removed from ‘cocktail party chatter’ as many Westerners know latter.
2. The Ethnography of Communication
Hymes (1974) has proposed an ethnography framework which takes into account the various factors that are involved in speaking. An ethnography of communicative event is a description of all the factors that are relevant in understanding how that particular communicative event achieves its objective. For convenience, Hymnes uses the word SPEAKING as an acronym for the various he deems to be relevant.
S (Setting and Scene)
Setting refers to the time and place. Scene refers to the abstract psychological setting, or the cultural definition of the occasion.
P (Participants)
Participants include various combinations of speaker-listener, addressor-addressee, or sender-receiver.
E (Ends)
Ends refer to the conventionally recognized and expected outcomes of an exchange as well as to the personal goals that participants seek to accomplish on particular occasions.
A (Act sequence)
Act sequence refers to the actual form and content of what is said : the precise words used, how they are used, and the relationship of what is said to the actual topic at hand.
K (Key)
Key refers to the tone, manner, or spirit in which a particular message is conveyed: light-hearted, serious, precise, pedantic, mocking, sarcastic, pompous, and so on.
I (Instrumentalities)
Instrumentalities refers to the choice of channel, e.g., oral, written, or telegraphic, and to the actual forms of speech employed, such as the language, dialect, code, or register that is chosen.


N (Norms of Interaction and Interpretation)
Norms of Interaction and Interpretation refers to the specific behaviors and properties that attach to speaking and also how these may be viewed by someone who does not share them, e.g., loudness, silence, gaze return, and so on.
G (Genre)
Genre refers to clearly demarcated type of utterance; such things as poems, proverbs, riddles, sermons, prayers, lectures, and editorials.
What Hymnes offers us in his SPEAKING Formula is a very necessary reminder that talk is a complex activity, and that any particular bit of talk is actually a piece of ‘skilled work’. It is skilled in the sense that, if it is to be successful, the speaker must reveal a sensitivity to and awareness of each of the eight factors outlined above. Speakers and listeners must also work to see that nothing goes wrong. Sherzer describe how the Kuna of Panama use language: Kuna wait very patiently to take their turns in speaking so that interruptions and overlaps in conversation are rare events. Hill and Hill describe how the Malinche of Central Mexico use language in their daily lives, and Lindenfelt offers and account of the language of a dozen long-standing urban marketplaces in Paris, Rouen, and Grenoble : the talk of vendors, vendor-customer talk, politeness routines, small talk, jokes, insults, etc.
Language is used than describing the syntactic composition of sentences or specifying their propositional content. In learning to speak we are also learning to “talk”, in the sense of communicating in those ways deemed appropriate by the group in which we are doing that learning.
3. Ethnomethodology
Ethnomethodology is that branch of sociology which is concerned, among other things, with talk viewed in this way. Leither (1980, p. 5) states, ’the aim of ethnomethodology is to study the processes of sense making (idealizing and formulazing) that membes of society use to construct the social world and its factual properties (its sense of being ready made and independent of perception). Another view is that of Fairclough (1989, p.9): Ethnomethodologists investigate the prodicyion and interpretation of everyday action as skilled accomplishments of social factors, and they are interested in conversation as one particularly pervasive instance of skilled social action.
We cannot hope understand others if we do not share certain background assumptions with those others. To interpret particular sentences or sets of sentences, we must have some knowledge of the categories that speakers find relevant (Sack, 1972a, 1972b). This knowledge is socially acquired. It is also the kind of knowledge in which ethnomethodologists are interested. Ethnomethodologists adopt what is called a phenomethodological view of the world; that is, the world is something that people must constantly keep creating and sustaining for themselves.
Commonsense and Practical Reasoning
Commonsense
Commonsense knowledge refers to a variety of things. It is the understandings, receips, maxims, and definitions that we employ in daily living as we go about doing things, e.g., knowing that thunder usually accompanies lightening; knowing how houses are usually laid out and lived in; knowing how to make a telephone call; knowing that bus drivers do not take cheques; knowing that there are ‘types’ of people, objects, and events, e.g., students and professors, classrooms and libraries, and lecturers and laboratory sessions. Commonsense knowledge also tells us that the world exists as a factual object. There is a world ‘out there’ independent of our particular existence; moreover, it is a world which others as well as ourselves experience, and we all experience it in much the same way. That world is also a consistent world.
Practical Reasoning
Practical reasoning refers to the way in which people make use of their commonsense knowledge and to how they employ that knowledge in their conduct of everyday life; what they assume; what they never question; how they select matters to deal with; and how they make the various bits and pieces of commonsense knowledge fit together in social encounters so as to maintain ‘normal’ appearances.


LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

Posting by Ade Tuty Anggriany | 2:44 PM

Language and culture can be related in various ways. Goodenough (1957) defines that a society’s culture consist of whatever it is one has to know or believe in order to operate in a manner acceptable to its members, and to do so in any role that they accept for any one of themselves. Culture therefore is the ‘knowhow’ that a person must possess to get through the task of daily living; only for a few does it require a knowledge for some, or much, music, literature and the arts.

A. THE WHORFIAN HYPOTHESIS

There are three claims related to the relationship between the language and culture. The claim that is supporting the relationship between these two things, which states the structure of a language determines the way in which speakers of that language view the world. The structure does not determine the world-view but is still extremely influential in predisposing speakers of a language toward adopting a particular world view.
The opposite claim would be that the culture of a people finds reflection in the language they employ: because they value certain things and do them in a certain way, they come to use their language in ways that reflect what they value and what they do. Cultural requirements do not determine the structure of a language, but they certainly influence how a language is used and perhaps determine why specific bits and pieces are the way they are.
Then, the neutral claim would be that there is little or no relationship between language and culture.
The claim that the structure of a language influences how its speakers view is associated by Edward Sapir and Benjamin Lee Whorf. Sapir acknowledge the close relationship between language and culture, maintaining that they were inextricably related so that you could not understand or appreciate the one without a knowledge of the other.
Fishman (1960) claims that if speakers of one language have certain words to describe things and speakers of another language lack similar words, then speakers of the first language will find it easier to talk about those things.
A stronger claim is that if one language makes distinctions that another does not make, then those who use the first language will more readily perceive the differences in their environment which such linguistic distinctions draw attention to.
The strongest claim of all is that the grammatical categories available in a particular language not only help the users of that language to perceive the world in a certain way but also at the same time limit such perception. Your language controls your ‘world-view’.
Language then provides a screen or a filter to reality; it determines how speakers perceive and organize the world around them, both the natural world and the social world. Consequently, the language you speak helps to form yor world-view. Then, the language a person speaks affects that person’s relationship to the external world in one or more ways.
One language then refers to certain characteristics of the real world in terms of one possible sub-set of characteristics’ another favors a different sub-set. However, speakers may still be aware of all the characteristics. They are not required to refer to all of them.
Finally, the most valid conclusion concerning the Whorfian hypothesis is that it is still unproved. A speaker, of course, will not be aware of such circumlocution in the absence of familiarity with another language that uses a more succinct means of expression.

B. KINSHIP SYSTEMS
Kinship systems are a universal feature of languages, because kinship is so important in social organization. The social organization has some factors, like sex, age, generation, blood, and marriage.
Sometimes different relationships are described in the same terms, and sometimes similar relationships are described by the different terms. This fact and the need also to indicate the generation, and sometime sex, of the reference or ego, and occasionally the other’s age relative to the ego. As Hudson said, in various societies, a single term may refer to a very different type of relationship. The key to understanding such a system is to assume that there is some typical concept and that there equivalent rules.
It is important to remember that when a term like father, mother, sister, and brother is used in a kinship system that it carries with it ideas about how such people ought to behave toward others in the society that uses that system. It is kinship system which determines who is called what; it is not the behavior of individual which leads them to be called this or that.
Taxonomies
People also used language to classify and categorize various aspects of the world in which they live, but they do not always classify things the way scientist do; they often develop system which call folk taxonomies rather than scientific classification. A folk taxonomy is a way to classifying a certain part of reality so that it makes some kind of sense to those who have deal with it. Typically, such common taxonomies involve matters like naturally occurring flora and fauna in the environment, but they may also involve others matters too (Berlin, 1992).
One of the best known studies of a folk taxonomy is Frake's account (1961) of the terms that the Subanun of Mindanao in the southern Philippines uses to describe disease. Frake says (pp.130-31):
The 'real' world of desires presents a continuum of symptomatic variation which does not always fit neatly into conceptual pigeonholes. Consequently the diagnoses of a particular condition may evoke considerable debate: one reason a patient normally solicits diagnostic advice forma variety of people. But the debate does not concern the definition of diagnostic category, for that is clear and well-known; it concerns the exemplariness of a particular set of symptoms to the definition.
Diagnosis is the process of finding the appropriate name for a set of symptoms. Once the name is found, treatment can follow.
Color Terminology
Color terminology has also been used to explore the relationship between different language and culture. The color spectrum is a physical continuum showing no breaks at all. All languages make use of basic color terms. A basic color terms must be in a single word, e.g. blue, yellow, not some combination of words, e.g. light blue or pale yellow.
According to Berlin and Kay, an analysis of the basic color terms found in a wide variety of languages reveals certain very interesting patterns. If a language has only two terms, they are for equivalents to black and white (or dark and light). If the third is added, it is red. The fourth and fifth terms will be yellow and green, but the order may be reversed. The sixth and seventh terms are blue and brown. Finally, as in English, come terms like grey, pink, orange, and purple, but not only in particular order.
Two points about color terminology seem particularly interesting. One is the existence of such an order in the development of terms as that indicated above. The color spectrum is an objective fact: it is "out there", waiting to be dealt with cognitively. The second point is that, if speakers of any language are asked to identify the parts of the spectrum, the find one system of sick identification much easier to manipulate than another.
Prototype Theory
Rosch (1976) has proposed an alternative to the view that concept are composed from sets of features which necessarily and sufficiently define instances of a concept. Rosch proposed that concepts are best viewed as prototype: a 'bird' is not best defined by reference to a set of features that refer to such matters. Hudson (1996, pp. 75-8) believes that prototype theory has much to offer sociolinguists. He believes it leads to an easier account of how people learn to use language, particularly linguistic concept, from the kinds of instances they some across. According to Hudson, prototype theory may even be applied to the social situations in which speech occurs. He suggests that, when we hear a new linguistic item, we associate with it who typically seems to use it and what apparently, is the typical occasion of its use.
Taboo and Euphemism
Taboo is the prohibition or avoidance in any society of behavior believed to be harmful to its members in that it would cause them anxiety, embarrassment, or shame. Consequently, so far as language is concerned, certain things are not to be said or certain objects can be referred to only in certain circumstances, for example only by a certain people, or through deliberate circumstances. Tabooed subjects can vary widely: sex, death, excretion, bodily functions, religion matters, and politics. Tabooed objects that must be avoided or used carefully can include your mother in law, certain game animals, and use of your left hand (the origin of spuster). Taboo and euphemism affect us all. We may have some we know but never or hardly ever use because they are to emotional for either us or others.


Bilingualism and Cognition

Posting by Ade Tuty Anggriany | 2:40 PM

1. Varieties of Bilinguals
Language in all its complexity can be acquired through a-variety of modalities-sound (speech), vision (writing) and visual motion (signs) –an adequate concept of a bilingual should allow for any of these realizations. A person is bilingual if he or she knows (1) more than one realization of language in the same modality such as two sound based languages or two sign based languages, (2) Two languages based

on different modalities such as German and American Sign Language.
There is no good reason to exclude any of these combinations from the label of bilingualism because the languages that are mostly involved in research on bilingualism are speech based the discussion in this chapter focus on the speech modality. Proficiency in all language may be evaluated with respect to a variety of variables, including knowledge of syntax, vocabulary and pronunciation (signing or writing for non-speech).
2. Is bilingualism beneficial or detrimental?
At a personal level, the pleasure and cultural benefits of bilingualism are obvious. This being the case, where then is the controversy? How can one reasonably be against bilingualism? There are some reasons for this term. First, some of the arguments are not against bilingualism itself but the early acquisition of the second language. Acquiring a second language can be harmful in two main respects: linguistically (retarding the acquisition of the first or the second language) and intellectually (retarding the development of thinking and cognitive abilities). Secondly, the critism that has been leveled against early bilingualism is primarily of another era, the early half of the twentieth century.




a. Effects on the development of language
There is a concern (not all illogical) that bilingualism might somehow retard first-or second-language development so that a child raised with two languages might never really learn either languages as well as would monolingual speakers of those languages.
Negative reports
The most well known and influential piece of research for its time was Madorah Smith back in the 1930s. The principal finding was that the bilingual children from Hawaii had many more errors in their English speech than did their Iowa counterparts, which led Smith to conclude that bilingualism caused retardation in language development.
Positive reports
More sophisticated investigations in comparing the linguistic skills of monolinguistic and bilinguals have been done by Lambert and his associated in Canada, where English and French are the official languages. Many of the research studies have involved children in so called ‘language immersion’. It is being exposed to a substantial amount of academic instruction and social interaction in that second language. The immersion group did better than the English monolingual control group on creativity tests. There is no way it can be resolved unless researchers are allowed to randomly assign children to monolingual or bilingual programmers regardless of the wishes of their parents.
Conclusion regarding effect on language
There is no evidence that early bilingualism has an adverse effect on language acquisition. It would be difficult today to find any reputable theorist who would conclude that early bilingualism itself causes negative linguistic effects.



b. Effect on the development of intelligence
The burden of learning an additional language considered to have an adverse effect on the child’ abilities. The possibility that learning a second language could in some way have a positive effect on intelligence was not something that was considered viable until relatively recently.
Negative reports
Goddard (1917) gave the English language version of the Binet intelligence test to 30 recently arrived Lewis adult immigrants at Ellis Island. Goddard classified 25 of the 30 lews as ‘feeble-minded’. Psycholinguist seriously began to consider that knowledge of language was not a fair measure of intelligence and that the language content or many widely used intelligence tests was culturally based.