News

Filled pauses in Japanese, Chinese, and English @ Academia Sinica

[Note: This post was published in August 2015 but has been dated in order to reflect the actual timing of the events described here.]

I went to Taiwan in December 2014 where I had the opportunity to join in a workshop on the cross-linguistic study of filled pauses. This was actually connected to a research project I'm engaged in that's being led by Kikuo Maekawa at the National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics (NINJAL) in Tokyo. The project is aiming to formalize a typology of filled pauses in Japanese and I'm part of the project to bring in a comparison to English filled pauses. We met in Taiwan with a collaborator there (who brings in a comparison to Chinese filled pauses) to further the research plan and also gave a workshop at the Academia Sinica in Taipei.

AILA in Brisbane - Introducing the Hesitation Index

[Note: This post was published in August 2015 but has been dated in order to reflect the actual timing of the events described here.]

Brisbane - koalaI really like visiting Australia. I went to Brisbane in August 2014 for the annual conference of the International Association for Applied Linguistics (AILA). Australia itself is always lovely, and I was impressed with Brisbane. The conference was right on the riverfront and the whole city center is easily walkable from there. Besides that, the whole flora and fauna are so different from what I usually see in the northern hemisphere that it really feels like being on an alien planet at times -- but at least everyone speaks the same language as me!

CELESE faculty development teaching and research symposium

[Note: This post was published in August 2015 but has been dated in order to reflect the actual timing of the events described here.]

In January 2014, my department, the Center for English Language Education (CELESE) at Waseda University Faculty of Science and Engineering held our own internal faculty development symposium to share our own teaching, learning, and research projects. We have about 70 full and part-time faculty and about 15 of us gave presentations that day. It was a great event with lots of interesting talks ranging from the completely practical (e.g., classroom management) to the mostly theoretical (e.g., Actor-network theory: ANT). For my part, I talked about the CCHP and some of the findings that have come out from out. One comment I got from a colleague is, I think, worthy of some comment here.

Linguistic Analyses and Foreign Language Learning @ Waseda U

[Note: This post was published in August 2015 but has been dated in order to reflect the actual timing of the events described here.]

In December, 2013, I participated in a one-day workshop organized by Yasunari Harada at Waseda University here in Tokyo. It was an interesting, if short, event with several area speakers.

Interspeech in Lyon

[Note: This post was published in August 2015 but has been dated in order to reflect the actual timing of the events described here.]

I spent several days at Interspeech -- the annual conference of the International Speech Association (ISCA) during August. I presented a poster in which I explained the purpose, design, and current status of the Crosslinguistic Corpus of Hesitation Phenomena (CCHP). This presentation was intended to be the formal introduction of the corpus project to the academic community. I emphasized the following points.

Second language speech fluency at Utrecht University

[Note: This post was published in August 2015 but has been dated in order to reflect the actual timing of the events described here.]

After attending the Copenhagen Speech Event, I travelled down to the Netherlands to visit the University of Utrecht.  There I met with Nivja de Jong to talk about hesitation phenomena research. I'be been really impressed with her work on hesitation phenomena as it pertains to the evaluation of fluency in second language speech proficiency development. Unfortunately, I was unable to join a workshop she had organized a few months earlier at Utrecht.  So, it was a great chance to hear more about the corpus she has been using in her research.

Copenhagen Speech Event in Denmark

[Note: This post was published in August 2015 but has been dated in order to reflect the actual timing of the events described here.]

In March, 2013, I had the chance to join the Copenhagen Speech Event in Denmark. This was actually a pair of conferences, SJUSK 2013 and ExAPP 2013 in succession. I was a great trip, though extremely cold: When visiting the little mermaid statue, I took off my gloves for one minute to take a photo, but couldn't feel them again for nearly half an hour.

Windows to the Mind Research Symposium

My department, the Center for English Language Education (CELESE) at Waseda University Faculty of Science and Engineering recently organized our own research symposium with the theme, "Windows to the Mind". The main event was an open lecture by Dr. Margaret Thomas of Boston College. She talked about her research on kuusho (空書), or the habit most Japanese speakers have of writing kanji characters in the air or on one's palm (also observed in Chinese speakers and others). She talked about several experiments she has done to explore the practice and what implications they have for larger issues of language and cognition. It was a fascinating lecture and I would definitely recommend interested people to follow her work on this. It's a topic that is incredibly prevalent in Japan, yet largely ignored (perhaps because it is so prevalent).

Presentation at Japan Association of Educational Psychology

Presentation at Japan Association of Education Psychology 2012 in OkinawaLike my previous post, this one is also a little late in getting on-line, but for the record, here it is. In November, I traveled to Okinawa, Japan together with some of my colleagues from the Center for English Language Education (CELESE) in Waseda University Faculty of Science and Engineering in order to conduct and present in a symposium at the Japan Association for Educational Psychology (JAEP). The title of our symposium was "Important issues concerning the communication skills development of students in higher education".  We focused on four somewhat disparate, but not unrelated topics.  Emmanuel Manalo, the symposium leader, talked about students' use of diagrams during note-taking in order to comprehend the subject matter better; Chris Sheppard looked at factors influencing the failure rate in university level English courses; Fusa Katada considered how universities in Japan are prepared to deal with students with learning disabilities; and I talked about fluency development based on results from the Corpus of Hesitation Phenomena (pilot). Although the content of my talk was similar to that I presented a few weeks earlier at SLRF in Pittsburgh, I emphasized some results from the corpus which suggests that certain aspects of a learner's first language speech characteristics (especially speech rate), can be used to estimate their second language aptitude.

Presentation at Second Language Research Forum (SLRF)

Ralph Rose at Second Language Research Forum 2012 (Pittsburgh)This message is a little late in getting on-line, but for the record, at least, I'll still upload it. In October I was very busy as I made two conference trips in succession. First, I traveled to Hamamatsu here in Japan where I presented at the Japan Association for Language Teaching (JALT) International Conference. After returning back home to Tokyo for one day, I then traveled to Pittsburgh to Carnegie-Mellon University where I participated in the Second Language Research Forum (SLRF).

I made a similar presentation at both conferences, though I emphasized the pedagocial implications at the JALT conference. In particular, I noted how results based on the Corpus of Hesitation Phenomena (pilot version) show that Nation's (1989) 4/3/2 fluency exercise technique can be connected to an increase in perceived fluency.