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Frontiers of Language and Teaching Volume 2 2011 Proceedings of the 2011 International Online Language
Frontiers of Language
and Teaching
Volume 2
Proceedings of the 2011
International Online Language Conference
(IOLC 2011)
ISBN-10: 1612335594
ISBN-13: 9781612335599
Boca Raton, Florida, USA

Table of Contents

Training EFL Students in Cultural Event Planning and Implementation


Comparison of Time Adverbials in English and Macedonian in a Corpus of Written Works Translated from Macedonian into English by English Native Speakers


Exploring the Use of Audio Files in Foreign Language Mobile Learning: Tips for Educational Practitioners


Experimentation of English Language by Some Women Writers: Shashi Deshpande, Bapsi Sidhwa, Uzma ASlam Khan and Tony Morrison


Teaching Academic Genres in Digital Contexts


Analysis of the Function of Picture Books and Decoding Images in Children Literature


Postcolonialism, Children, and their Literature


Text-oriented Competence and the Ways for its Achievement


Contrastive Linguistics: Rhetorical Study of Social Deixis of English and Persian Novels as Non-Academic Texts


Language and Gender: Do Women Speak a Better Language?


Overt Pronoun Constraint (OPC) in Persian: Counter Evidence for its Universality


Tasks in Language Teaching: A New Orientation


Scaffolding: A Factor of Second Language Development


Pedagogical Application of Weblogging in EFL Education: Practices and Challenges English Vocabulary Learning Strategies of Islamic Azad University Students of Sirjan and


Its Relation to Major


Organizing Vygotskian-based Mediating Classrooms to Enhance EFL Learners Communication Abilities


Demotivating Factors in the EFL Environment


Teaching EFL Writing in Russia: Traditional and Current Approaches in Teaching Writing



ESP Education in Tunisia: the Way for a Reform


Polysemy in Adults’ Second Language Acquisition and Learning: The Cases of ‘apo’- phrase and Morphology –me in Modern Greek


Devoicing of Voiced English Stops and Affricates [ b, d, g, dz ] in Word-final Position: An

Articulation Problem for Turkish EFL Learners


Computer Assisted Pronunciation Teaching: From the Past to the Present with its Limitations and Pedagogical Implications



Secondary School Students Used to Traditional Lessons Face Cooperative Learning:

Perceptions over Time and Differences due to Gender


Enhancing English Vocabulary Learning Using SMS in Rural Areas


Teaching Potential

of Mass-Media Concepts


Blended Learning in a Traditional Classroom


Student Perceptions of Language Learning with Facebook: An Exploratory Study of Writing-Based Activities


Comparative Analysis of Pragmatic Formulas with Opaque Inner Form in English and Turkish Languages


Enhancing Texts’ Written Language Characteristics through Grammatical Metaphor in Research Articles


The Importance of Teaching Writing in a Communicative way in EFL Classes in Albania 274 An Exploratory Study of Hedges Used in the EFL Yemeni Undergraduates’ Job

Application Letter


The Effect of Model Essays on Developing Accuracy and Complexity of EFL Learners’ Writing in the Iranian Context


Autonomous Learning: Is it one size fits all?


English to Ameliorate the Productivity of the Organizations: The Effect of Knowing English on the Attitudes of the Students of Management


The Effect of Cooperative Teaching Techniques on the Comprehension and Production of L2 Idioms


Language Instruction and Acquisition (Case study: West Africa)


Reading Story Books and Its Impact upon Language Development in Persian Child Discourse


Language Teacher Education in Brazil: Discourses of pre and in-service teachers


The Interface between Morphology and Pragmatics in Persian Affixes and Clitics




and Learning English



Opportunities and Challenges in ELT: A Teacher’s Pride vs. Plight



Scheme for the Study of Arabization Planning



The Use of CALL in Improving Speaking Competency for Information and Technology

Department Students


MTBMLE in the Philippines: Perceptions, Attitudes, and Outlook


Monolinguals, Multilinguals and Size of Receptive Vocabulary


Gender of teacher and learning of EFL students in Iran



The Need for Self-Directed Training to Improve ESP Learners’ Self-Directed Language Learning at Distance Education of Iran


Teaching Adults: Some Techniques and Strategies for Developing Adult’s Language Proficiency


The Impact of Teacher Feedback and Peer Feedback on the Writing Performance of EFL Students with Different Learning Styles


The Business of Business English: An Overview


Similarities and differences of wrong English Pronunciation among the Chinese, Indian and Malaysian Speakers


Incorporating Peer Feedback in ESL Classroom: Learning through Reflection Transgressing the Written Literary Norm and Redefining Textness in Contemporary





Secondary School EFL Teachers’ beliefs about English Language Assessment in Iran


Analyzing Vantage Point in Local and Global TV News: A case of Free Direct and Free Indirect Quotations


An Investigation of Iranian EFL Learners’ Formality of Writing Regarding Their Emotional Intelligence


English Language Teaching in India and Body Language


Motivation to Complete Homework: Insights from ESL/EFL Learners in Malaysia


Specific Aspects of Teaching Foreign Languages to Seniors, “students” of Universities of the Third Age


EFL Learners Sensitivity to Linguistic and Discourse Factors in the Process of Anaphoric Resolution


Education Must Change: Time for PBL?



Training EFL Students in Cultural Event Planning and Implementation

Dr. Liliana Landolfi Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale”, Italy

Abstract The academic year 2009/2010 has seen the birth of a new post-bachelor degree in “Languages and Intercultural Communication in the Euro-Mediterranean Area” at the University of Naples “L’Orientale”, Italy. The nature of this degree is unusual since it represents a joint venture between the Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures and the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy. Graduates are meant to leave the program with a keen awareness of the importance of the multilingual and intercultural approach required to mediate, re-mediate and inter-mediate the ties that keep members of the multi-faceted Mediterranean reality connected. In order to satisfy some of the degree goals and cultivate “mediation skills” via verbal, non-verbal, and persuasive communication, first-year students attended a Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) course on communication, with a special focus on Peace Education. Theory and practice combined and culminated in the implementation of the first academic convention entirely organized and run by EFL students. Peace Open Day 1 (POD 1) was held on May 26, 2010. Organizers, participants, academicians, and radio interviewees attested its full success and hoped for a POD 2 to see the light in a near future. Recent developments demonstrate that the obtained success was not ephemeral. This paper supports CLIL methodology; traces the main steps in the implementation of a cultural event as the outcome of a laboratory for foreign language learning, presents original data taken from the convention, and advocates the inclusion of peace education in foreign language curricula.

Keywords: CLIL-based Methodology, Mediation skills, Peace Education

Opening Scenario Recent developments of the Barcelona Process (1995) are oriented toward the creation of a “Mediterranean Union” (MU) that may represent and characterize, within the larger European (EU) frame, the specific peculiarities, diversities, and congruities of the Mediterranean coastal countries. These developments pushed the language committee members of the faculties of Foreign Languages and Literatures and Arts and Philosophy at the University of Naples “L’Orientale” Italy, to create a new co-directed post-bachelor degree, entitled “Languages and Intercultural Communication in the Euro-Mediterranean Area” (LM), that could offer interested students a learning environment where they could investigate and face the MU multifaceted reality, as well as be trained for the new mediating professions that the interwoven contemporary realities of the Mediterranean area would need. Enrolling students could choose between two parallel curricula, LM-38 or LM-92, both made up of 120 credits and to be completed over a two-year path (for details see http://www.unior.it).

The degree started in the academic year 2009/2010 and has just successfully concluded its first complete cycle. It promotes understanding and respect of world languages and cultures but gives particular attention to the ones that are in use within the Mediterranean area. To be more precise, students are offered the possibility of studying, understanding,


and experimenting with these languages: Albanese, Arabic, Bulgarian, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Russian, Slavic languages, and Spanish. Yet the general focus of the degree is not confined to the study of languages—it goes beyond. It touches upon other aspects of the above-mentioned languages and cultures, such as their philological roots and relevant literatures. It also analyzes their cultural, political, religious, and socio-economic transformations, and focuses on their historical, geographical, and artistic specificities. Further, in consideration of the fact that in our fast-changing world and international socio- cultural and politic interconnections, knowing how to communicate in English is of help for world-wide contacts, mediations, and interactions, the degree is also designed so as to allow students to develop and potentiate their knowledge of English as a lingua franca (Mauranen and Rant, 2009; Ostler, 2010) and as an international vehicle of communication.

During the degree, students become more and more aware of how much today’s world needs a multilingual and intercultural attitude to mediate, re-mediate, and inter-mediate among state members of the Mediterranean reality. This attitude is the most powerful ingredient for peaceful relationships creating and maintaining a sound and long-lasting net of harmonic relations, effective connections, and healthy social rapport.

In general, students have less innate understanding of multicultural issues than lay adults. But that situation can be changed if students become open to a multilingual and intercultural way of thinking, are offered the possibility of stepping above the barriers and limitations of a single language and culture, and stay tuned in to others’ languages, cultures, and needs. The LM degree is organized so that this type of awareness is gradually built through the various teaching/learning settings that students are offered, in the diverse subject matter, and via the different teaching styles professors adopt. Frontal teaching, interactive seminars, self-access paths (guided, semi-guided, and autonomous), practical laboratories, external/internal stages, and independent self-directed research projects on topics specific to the degree are just some of the most frequently adopted learning environments in use. They weave a harmonic, multifaceted, and strategic pedagogical network that favors and supports the various kinds of intelligence (Gardner, 2006) and learning styles (Reid, 2005).

Methodological Framework Multilingual and intercultural issues (Neuliep, 2009), with their multifaceted and ever- changing aspects, are better touched upon and understood if interactants work within practical boundaries and self-experience some of the overt issues and/or covert implications connected with multiculturalism and plurilingual education (Council of Europe, 2007; Commission of the European Communities, 2008). Thus, the two-year course of English (16 credits for a total of 100 frontal teaching hours) of the LM degree was designed so as to develop/potentiate communication skills (first year) and instill/encourage leadership and guidance skills (second year) within a peace-oriented framework common to both years.

The Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) methodological framework (Eurydice, 2006; Socrates-Comenius, 2006) was chosen for both years so as to allow for traditional language-related aspects (e.g., grammar, linguistics, textuality, pragmatics) to be taken care of, and diverse content focuses to be developed across years. The Eurydice study (2006) suggests that CLIL is a generic term to describe a variety of classroom environments where a second language (L2), a minority language, or any equally


official/national language is used to teach other than the L2 language itself. This definition expands the one proposed by Marsh (2002) but still leaves out teaching/learning situations where the content to be learned is taught via the language to be acquired. Landolfi (2009) has further expanded the definition and proposed to consider CLIL environments all those language settings where contents other than the L2 (e.g., communication skills, mediation techniques, public speech delivery, peace education, leadership, and so on), are taught via the target language (English in the present case).

Though the most appropriate definition of CLIL is still being debated, the validity of a CLIL approach for second-language learning (SLL) has been accepted all over the world. Initially, CLIL settings have found significant applications in elementary and secondary schools in Europe (Dillon, 2008; Mehisto, Marsh & Frigols, 2008). To date, however, CLIL instruction has been fully accepted and welcomed also at university level, and its advantages are visible in a number of studies (Coyle, Hood & Marsh, 2010; Sisti, 2009). Indeed, the latest university-level reforms in Italy (http://www.istruzione.it/) encourage that a number of subjects in different disciplines be taught in a foreign language

Pedagogical Structure of the Course Within this post-bachelor degree, I conducted the two courses of English Language and Linguistics (first and second year). The first-year course, which is the only one the present paper reports about, took place in the first semester of the academic year 2009-2010 and was organized so that the majority of the above mentioned pedagogical settings could be experimented with.

The course (8 credits) lasted fifty class hours and was totally conducted in English. Besides the support of the traditional book-based tools, the syllabus was enriched with the facilities offered by a variety of more contemporary media, including educational videos, YouTube™ videos, movies, short TV segments, TV ads, Internet-available interviews, and audio-files on communication modes and peace matters. Students, however, were also required to attend a fifty-hour grammar-based course of English run by a native speaker, and to work autonomously, outside the classroom context, for a minimum of one-hundred extra hours. Further, the students who contributed to the convention, that followed and derived from the course (soon to be described), also attended a 20-hour laboratory (2 credits) on Cultural event planning and implementation (see Tab. 1). As Tab.1 shows, within a CLIL frame, the first year of the course dealt with verbal (Knapp & Hall, 2009; Perkins, 2007), non-verbal (Warthon, 2009), and persuasive (Brock & Green 2005; Hogan, 2007) communication investigating peace education and peace maintenance (Bajaj, 2008) as content areas. The second year, instead, focussed on leadership and guidance. (Once again, the results of the second-year, though highly positive, are not reported in this paper.) These choices derived from and responded to a number of decisions. Major among them was the consideration that, in a degree oriented toward language mediation and intermediation, the acquisition of communication skills becomes fundamental as well as the instillation and the development of peacemaking and peace- nurturing skills.


Table 1: Pedagogical structure of the course of English Language and Linguistics I and II




Language course


Hours for independent study and team-work





hours (native



CLIL focus








Verbal, non-verbal and persuasive communication



peace education and peace maintenance


LABORATORY on Cultural event planning and implementation


Lab. Hours




Planning and implementing POD 1:




integrated strategies: brainstorming sessions, decision- making meetings, task assignments and task accomplishments



contacts inside/outside university



management of time, money, formalities, tasks, responsibilities, etc.




Language course


Hours for independent study and teamwork





hours (native



CLIL focus






Leadership and guidance for peace education and peace maintenance

During the first year, a variety of techniques and daily praxes were used to train students in communication skills. These included brain-storming, problem solving, creating and compiling questionnaires, analyzing texts, interviews, debates, class speeches, presentations, demonstrations, argumentations, mind maps, sequential thinking, lecturettes, and role-playing. Students were involved in the integration and factual use of all the skills linked to SLL, ranging from oral/written comprehension and production to guided, semi- guided, and autonomous activities. An array of learning settings and formats (e.g., self- study, pair work, group work, teamwork, e-learning, and chats) was adopted to make students capable of dealing with their personal/interpersonal conflicts (Weeks, 1994) in their private and social lives, as well as becoming peace promoters via focusing on topics connected, but not limited to, non-violent communication (Marshall, 2003). Students were also trained in cross-cultural understanding (Samovar, Porter & McDaniel, 2011) and conflict resolution (Ramsbotham, Woodhouse & Miall, 2011) via practical role-playing and cross-class encounters.

Roots of POD 1 The innovative content areas selected for the LM first course of English, the integrated framework offered by CLIL methodology, the freedom students experienced throughout the course, together with the possibility they were granted of speaking out about (Landolfi 2011) aspects related to their learning path in the process of developing their performance, the attention paid to the different learning styles, as well as the variety of daily praxes and


learning strategies adopted in class, galvanized the students and made the class a real success in a number of ways, to the point of triggering, in the students, the desire to go beyond the class requirements and experiment with the creation of a public event (see next section). For example, just to mention some of the positive results, it is worth considering that a huge majority of the students (90%):

attended more than 85% of the course lessons, though there was no attendance

requirement, as for other university courses enjoyed and happily co-constructed an active, re-active, and pro-active classroom

atmosphere appreciated the full-immersion setting that was created during class hours, group

work, pair work, teamwork, and role-playing during class hours and beyond, as expressed in the anonymous final class comments and reactions maintained constantly active an e-mail channel among class members and professors worked on creative and independent peace-connected research projects

developed a new sense of awareness toward language learning, language matters,

and learning responsibilities got excellent grades applied for and got Erasmus scholarships (80% of the students) completed all the courses that were required during the first year, in spite of the fact that in other degree, the percentage of “fuoricorso” (students who do not complete all the yearly academic requirements in time) is high

Indeed, the list could be longer, as the dots suggest and the students’ anonymous comments at the end of the course indicate. However, and most of all, remarkable resulted the students’ enthusiasm and full cooperation in the successful accomplishment of the course requirements, as well as the friendly sense of cooperation among class members, which was gradually built during language-oriented activities on peace matters inside and outside the classroom. These factors worked as a propellant trigger toward activating other learning settings (e.g.: the peace cafe, the rainbow circle) where the students integrated peace-matters and language learning. Thus, given the quality of the students’ research projects, in a full democratic modality, it was decided that the students who wanted to transform their research projects into formal presentations for a public event on peace matters, could take part in a language laboratory on Cultural event planning and implementation (2 credits), thus be trained and become active organizers of such an event. To my surprise, the consensus was almost total: 85% of the students agreed on experimenting practically what they had learned during course hours and share their project findings with fellow students and academicians. This idea—which initially seemed to all the students and to me -, quite shocking for the embedding tradition-geared academic context and almost impossible to be reached by fourth-year students of English (as students who attend the first year of a post-bachelor degree are called)—turned out to be an interesting challenge. It was a perfect way to transform CLIL methodology into CLIL practice. Further, given that LM graduates are expected, among other things, to become event planners, the organization of a convention (as students decided to call the event) resulted in perfect alignment with the degree requirements. For the university, it was going to be the first time to host a convention totally organized and run by fourth-year students. For the students themselves, the event was going to be the first time to experiment with what they just learned in class, practice communication modes, and use English for a public speech.


Indeed, the planning and the implementation of the event turned out to be a great social and linguistic growth experience for the students (as their anonymous comments attest) who volunteered to play an active role. In spite of all the possible difficulties (students’ innate shyness for public performances, technical support, time boundaries, etc.) and constraints (university permission, location, sponsoring support, etc.), the conjoined efforts of students, language instructors, students’ families, and university exponents concretized and gave birth to the cultural event Peace Open Day 1 (POD 1).

Planning and Implementing POD 1 POD 1 took place on May 26, 2010, at the University of Naples “L’Orientale” under the auspices of both faculties’ chairs and language exponents, in the presence of students, professors, family members, friends, and media technicians. It turned out to be a felicitous experience for all the participants, regardless of their roles, as well as for people in the audience (check a radio interview on the event http://www.radiorientale.unior.it/index.php?start=30 ). However, as all the academicians who have organized conventions or other socio-cultural public events would agree, a lot of work was necessary for the convention to become a reality. Indeed, any convention, even if only one day long, requires many days of advance planning and a significant amount of patience among the organizers. POD 1 was not an exception, and students had to work really hard to organize and run the entire event in English. My role, as supervisor and coordinator, was intentionally indirect and unobtrusive, though present and constant. I was supported by Robin Lindsay, the active native-tutor who had worked with the students during course hours. Robin took care of polishing up the students’ public performance, monitoring the linguistic, phonological, and syntactic aspects of their presentations. The students who enrolled in the laboratory met two hours, twice a week, for ten weeks in a row. All the planning aspects were taken care of during the laboratory hours. The laboratory was in English (with some Italian interference), structured informally, articulated in brainstorming sessions, decision-making meetings, task assignments and task accomplishments (Vella 2000), oral and written reports, minute taking, training on PowerPoint™ and video-making, try-outs, and more. These activities were fundamental to touch upon, put into practice, and solve the various aspects necessary for the implementation of POD 1. In turn, all the students worked as in-progress reporters, taking formal minutes on what was achieved in the laboratory hours and touching upon the weekly task assignments, the contacts to develop, the remaining steps to be accomplished, etc. Students self-decided to be speakers (see Appendix A for the program) or helpers both behind the scenes and during the event (hostess, moderator, videographer, reporter, video- DJ, interviewer, food and beverage provider, and so on). Regardless of this division, but respectful of their personal attitudes and wishes, the students self-selected to work within

one of five teams: CONTACT KEEPERS,



Though, all of the

students were responsible for making decisions and managing the entire process, each

team had its own specific tasks to accomplish and to report about during the weekly meetings. In particular:





CONTACT KEEPERS had to create and maintain contacts within and beyond the academic environment, write e-mails, create an invitation and a welcoming refrain, work on the brochure and the event program, contact and get a consensus from


moderators, keep team members informed on who was doing what, what and how something had to be done, and in what time. FUND RAISERS AND MONEY HOLDERS had tasks related to finding sponsors, writing letters to promote the event, and virtually administering the little monetary fund that was granted by both faculties. They had to check about the cost of all refreshments and beverages, be responsible for buying what was agreed upon, and delivering everything to the refreshments supplier-team. SETTING ORGANIZERS had to identify the location (see photo 11), ask for permission, organize diverse settings for the presentations and the breaks (coffee and lunch). They were responsible for providing electronic support, video-taping the event, creating (see Appendix B) a photo-album (before, during, and after the social event), as well as for embellishing the convention area (flowers, speaker names, trays with water, etc.) and cleaning it after the event. REFRESHMENT SUPPLIERS were to search on the Internet and identify recipes for typical dishes of the various Mediterranean coastal countries and prepare some of them (see photos 13 and 14) for the Lunch (Arab hummus, French rolls, Greek salad and eggplant salad, Italian fluid chocolate for fruit skewers, Lebanese couscous, Spanish gazpacho, Turkish sesame crackers, etc.). They also had to draw a food map (see photo 13), prepare a list of the ingredients, and copies of the recipes, gather utensils to serve during the event, and arrange taste samplings during laboratory hours for team members. GADGET PROPONENTS had to take care of all the aspects linked to what speakers would wear during the convention (badge, names, lucky clover, etc.) and the convention visitors would take with them after the convention (e.g.: “A peace thought for the day”, a little sticker to wear, etc.) and contribute to during the event (e.g.: “Give-us-a-comment card”, “Give-us-a-hand card”, etc.). They had to search for peace definitions, aphorisms on peace, acronyms for “PEACE” (see photo 4), take care of the actualization of the POD Tapestry (see photos 5, 7, and 8), and prepare the opening video “Welcome to POD 1” (http://www.sendspace.com/file/6n8860) and closing video “Backstage alive”

Students were constantly involved with taking decisions and solving problems in relation to all of the facets that the realization of POD 1 was bringing to light. Though on the surface they were organizing a public convention, at a deeper level they were learning how to activate a variety of personal skills, working together and helping each other toward the achievement of a common goal. They were living through the concepts about effective communication skills they had been learning. Dynamics of mediation and inter-personal mediation, as well as social re-mediation were constantly active during the academic meetings as well as in the students’ social lives. Positive and negative emotions (Landolfi, 2009), stress reactions, fears and conflicts did occur but they were all faced and dealt with in an action mode (“I face a problem and I act on it searching for a solution.)” rather than in a re-action mode (“I encounter the problem but I run away or dismiss/minimize it.”). Operational and functional seeds were implanted for the peace holders of tomorrow. Indeed, the sound and long-lasting net of harmonic relations, effective connections, and healthy rapport that the students were capable of creating during the laboratory hours were a significant added value to the entire implementation. The acquired communication skills practiced within a CLIL-based peace education framework contributed positively to the human growth of the students.


Conclusive Remarks When learning a foreign language, students are generally asked to perform in class in guided or semi-guided contexts of communication which are meant to simulate real situations and are subject to the teacher’s control and, most unfortunate, evaluation. The possibility for them to perform in the target language and for real purposes are very limited indeed. This situation, which is particularly true in academic settings with overcrowded classes and time limits for program accomplishment, does not favor linguistic independence, expressive spontaneity, and personal creativity. As a result, students’ linguistic performance generally suffers, and they remain at scholastic level that is not acceptable in the international world we all live in. On the contrary, letting the students organize and put on a cultural event gave them the opportunity of acting on their proficiency level and foreign language awareness. Students gained a flavor of what they could reach becoming communicatively skilled and fluent in English. That represents a significant accomplishment for citizens of the Mediterranean area, where dozens of languages coexist and intermingle and where an appropriate and functional knowledge of English, as a lingua franca, is a valid tool for activating contacts and maintaining them. Indeed, as it appeared clear from the students’ final comments and the personal communications during office hours throughout the school year, a number of co-occurring factors made the difference between a traditional Language and Linguistics course of English and a CLIL version of the same. Students mentioned zoomed out valuable considerations (see listed below) which, far from being exhaustive, support the qualities that CLIL methodology offers. For these students, among the things so far mentioned, both pedagogically relevant and socially valid factors made the difference. For example, they all stated appreciation and enjoyment for the

- pleasant and relaxed classroom atmosphere;

- class-members’ support;

- possibility of openly manifesting difficulties and learning blocks so to be helped

- immersion in a language learning environment where the L2 was spoken all the time;

- building of social and collaborative relationships across class participants

- multimedia support and the use of electronic and visual devices;

- acquisition of presentation and video-making skills

- various forms of interaction: in class, outside the class, during the collaborative study groups and/or the teamwork;

- practical and concrete implementation of a cultural event;

- public recognition of the implemented efforts, besides

- professor’s availability and unobtrusiveness.

All of these favorable aspects became manifest particularly thanks to the CLIL environment and the selected content areas. Indeed, the findings of this study seem to highlight that the more the students become co-actors in the learning experience, the better their results. In the context so far described, the organization and implementation of a social event turned out to be a highly productive environment for a CLIL approach. Self- consciousness about their role as language learners and self-awareness about the required proficiency level, as well as their learning modalities and their novel capacity as self- evaluators of contents and personal achievements, nurtured via a number of tools offered


at different stages of the course, made students more and more aware of their overt/covert intended goals as well as about the ways to achieve them. All of these considerations support the design of the recent academic reform in Italy. They suggest that university students are ready for CLIL experiences, and call for a new generation of language professors, open to the methodological changes CLIL requires. In the contemporary globalized world where everything is fast, the possibility of achieving two goals at once (content and foreign language learning) seems very appealing, and CLIL settings are an efficient and functional answer to modern demands of expertise in foreign languages and in a variety of contents. I would like to conclude this paper thanking all the members of the Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures and the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy who contributed with their warm support to the positive accomplishment of POD 1. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the group of students I had the opportunity to lead. It was definitely one of the most enriching group with whom I have had the joy and the privilege of working.

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Comparison of Time Adverbials in English and Macedonian in a Corpus of Written Works Translated from Macedonian into English by English Native Speakers

Jovanka Jovanchevska-Milenkoska University American College Skopje, Macedonia jovankaj@uacs.edu.mk

Abstract This paper deals with time adverbials as lexical temporal sentence elements, and presents the results of a time adverbials research in English and Macedonian. The research treats differences and similarities of time adverbials from morphological, syntactical, and positional point of view. Corpus in this research is mainly literary and fewer academic works translated (fully or partly) from Macedonian into English by English native speakers. Main accent was put on the positional features of time adverbials in both languages. The problems encountered in the course of the research are discussed in this paper as well, such as: the translator, the type of chosen corpus, the theoretical grammatical background present in both languages, the existence of national corpora, etc. The paper emphasizes the importance of time adverbials in a linguistic system and aims to help: language teachers and learners to use time adverbials correctly without the influence of the mother tongue; Macedonian translators to be able to formally identify and place semantically different English time adverbials in their most preferred positions; and linguists to deepen the knowledge of Macedonian as well as English time adverbials, and further develop the field of lexical temporal markers in the study of linguistics.

Keywords: Time Adverbial, Linguistics, Position

Introduction This research aims at elaborate and concise presentation of Macedonian time adverbials in comparison to English time adverbials. Having the background theory of English linguistics in perspective (as well as the research methodology) (Quirk, Greenbaum, Leech, & Svartvik, 1985; Huddleston & Pullum, 2002; Biber, Johansson, Leech, Conrad & Finega, 1999) and using it as a comparison milestone, this research attempts to offer a detailed and versatile description of Macedonian time adverbials from morphosyntactic and positional point of view. The semantics of Macedonian time adverbials is a rather complex field of study and it will be substantially analyzed in a further research. The research objectives are to provide the gap in Macedonian linguistics of clear identification and description of Macedonian time adverbials and supply broader and more comprehensive comparative view of English and Macedonian time adverbials. These research objectives should help build Macedonian theoretical linguistics, improve the translation process from Macedonian into English and vice versa regarding time adverbials, their form and position, as well as aid the learning process of Macedonian ESL/EFL learners through identification of the usage of English time adverbials, as well as their interaction with other temporal markers in the sentence (structural, lexical and prosodic).

Literature Review


phenomena, though not as much in the area of lexical temporal markers. Some linguists

have contributed sufficiently in the field of temporal language



(Klein, 2008; Jaszczolt, 2009) maintain that this field is generally neglected by the majority of the linguists, especially in comparison with the structural temporal markers (grammatical tense and aspect). However, time adverbials have been closely examined by major linguists (Quirk et al.,1985; Huddleston & Pullum, 2002; Biber et. al, 1999) and others (Hasselgard, 2010; Ernst, 2004; Cinque, 2004). Macedonian linguistics currently lacks any theoretical foundations concerning adverbials in general (including time adverbials), their morphological forms, sentence position, semantic descriptions, rate of occurrence, etc., i.e. there is a shortcoming of adverbial research beyond the general and most basic definition (Минова-Ѓуркова, 1994; Саздов, 2008; Школарова-Љоровска, 1990). Most of Macedonian linguistics/grammar research deals with the rather intricate tense system and verbal-lexical categories (verboids), almost completely disregarding the “taxonomical” linguistic area of time adverbials. Theoretical findings of the three most influential English comprehensive and extensive grammars of the last three decades were used (Quirk et al.,1985; Huddleston & Pullum, 2002; Biber et. al, 1999), while in Macedonian the comprehensive grammar of Blazhe Koneski (Блаже Конески, 1996; first published in 1952/1954) and several other contemporary Macedonian grammar books (Саздов, 2008; Минова-Ѓуркова, 1994; Панзова, 1996; Школарова-Љоровска, 1990; Корубин, 1990; Круме Конески, 2003).

Methodology In the first two parts of the research the existent theoretical grounds in English and Macedonian are thoroughly presented. The third part is the comparative study. Considering the fact that currently no national Macedonian corpus is available (only portioned small-scale corpora devised for special purposes), this research was based on a specially compiled corpus 1 comprised of translations from Macedonian into English done by native English speakers. Time adverbials were extracted together with their host sentence-like constructions (single predicate sentences or clauses), and were systematically and statistically analyzed in both translational equivalents. 3160 temporal adverbials were analyzed out of which 2649 were extracted from the literary part and 527 of the academic part of the corpus. 2 Regarding the fact that most of the implications (if not all) are in Macedonian linguistics (the Macedonian existent theoretical foundations for time adverbials are practically negligent), both parts of the corpus (i.e. English translational equivalents and Macedonian translational equivalents) were compared and conclusions were made solely on the basis of the corpus findings. 3 English theoretical already existent findings were used as a milestone for establishing relevance.

Findings and Discussion The findings can be grouped in three categories: morphological, semantic and syntactic/positional (sentence position).

1 Of about 700 pages

2 The ratio of 3:1 of literary corpus vs. academic corpus is due to reasons stated in the Problems section of this paper. (Because of the non-overlapping (and statistically non-influential) nature of the typical time adverbial phrasal forms for both the corpora (literary and academic), the rest of the paper statistically deals with the corpus as a whole.)

3 It was illogical to compare English theoretical findings with findings of a Macedonian portioned corpus.


1. Morphological findings English temporal adverbials are mostly phrases; adverb phrases (sometimes, soon, tonight) and prepositional phrases (at the beginning of this century, on Monday, for three days) are the most often used phrases. There also are the noun phrases which are not as common comparing to the others (three years, Mondays, this week), and temporal clauses 4 (Quirk et al., 1985). The Macedonian forms of temporal adverbials include the same phrasal types as English, but with different qualitative and quantitative distribution. Following the Macedonian tradition (Саздов, 2008, p. 22), the form recognized as a basic sentence element is the noun phrase. Prepositional phrases are simply noun phrases preceded by a preposition, which actually functions as a syntactic means for connecting the sentence elements. The statistical participation of the three phrasal categories in the overall corpus is presented in table 1. It can be concluded that the adverb phrases form the majority of the corpus, and that it is the influence (and characteristics) of the literary corpus (table 2). In the literary corpus the temporal adverbs and adverb phrases in Macedonian are greater in number and more common than in English (table 1), and the situation is reverse with prepositional phrases in English. The academic corpus is mostly comprised of prepositional phrases, and the situation is rather static there – the style seeks prepositional phrases as the most convenient means for expressing calendrical information, as well as descriptive temporal information (table 3). 5

Table 1

Corpus (overall)


Phrasal forms of time adverbials





Adverb phrases



Prepositional phrases



Noun phrases



Table 2

Literary corpus


Phrasal forms of time adverbials





Adverb phrases



Prepositional phrases



Noun phrases



Table 3

Academic corpus


Phrasal forms of time adverbials





Adverb phrases



4 Finite, non-finite and verbless clauses

5 The subtle statistical incongruity of the numbers is caused by a small percentage of time adverbials which have other translational equivalents (clauses, conjunctions, adjectives, etc.)


Prepositional phrases



Noun phrases



More than 82% of Macedonian time adverbials are translated with the same type of phrasal form (2595 of a total of 3160, table 2); 13% are translated with a different phrasal form, (table 5), and the remaining 5% are translated either with a non-phrasal time adverbial form (or other sentence functions) or are lacking the translational equivalent of the Macedonian (or English) time

Table 4

AdvP mac = AdvP eng 6


PP mac = PP eng


NP mac = NP eng




Adverb phrases

Table 5

AdvP mac = PP eng


AdvP mac = NP eng


PP eng = AdvP mac


PP eng = NP mac


NP eng = PP mac




The predominance of the adverb phrases in the overall corpus (table 1), with more than 67% (2122 out of 3160) in the Macedonian corpus, is generally attributed to the nature of the corpus. Table 2 shows us that the majority of the adverb phrases are extracted from the literary part of the corpus, which is abundant with time-setting initial temporal adverbials which serve as story-line connectives. These connectives are mostly anaphoric or deictic, and can many times have different translational equivalents, depending on their meaning. 7 The deictic temporal adverbial тогаш in (1) assumes the position after the subject, unlike in English. It is also the case that such Macedonian deictic temporal adverbials can be interpreted differently and translated with different English equivalents, so тогаш can be translated as: at that instant, back then, in those days, etc., and thus obtain different sentential positions, mostly on the length basis, example (1) 8 . Other such deictic expressions designating literary time act in the same way: now, later, afterwards, etc. (1) Татко тогаш ги удри воловите со прачка, (Андреевски, p. 24) Then father goaded the bullocks with a stick… (Andreevski, p. 19)

The bigger percentage of Macedonian adverb phrases (67% in the Macedonian corpus vs. 58% in the English corpus, table 1) is a direct consequence of the process of adverbialization of word groups of prepositions and nouns in the course of the past in Macedonian (Блаже Конески, 1996; Корубин, 1990). The degree of adverbialization can be different, and many of those word groups have even come to be written and considered as оne single word. For example, навреме (on time), навечер (in the evening), допладне (till noon), напладне (at noon), одвреме-навреме (from time to time), наутро (in the

6 Abbreviations explained in the annex section.

7 Some Macedonian adverbs have a complex semantic structure, as well as multi-class membership (e.g. тогаш, веќе, уште, etc.).

8 The different sentential position can be caused by other reasons as well, discussed in the Sentence position findings in this paper.


morning), прекуноќ (during the night), завчера (the day before yesterday), задутре (the

day after tomorrow), etc. The common prepositions in this kind of adverbs are на (on), од (from), до (till), преку (through), etc. Their translations are PPs most often. We can evidence this in the following corpus examples:

(2) Утредента немаше толку многу војска колку што им се пристори вчераноќта. (Jовановски, р. 259) The next morning, the cousins realized there weren’t as many soldiers as they

had believed the night before.

(Jovanovski, р. 19)

The influence of the process of adverbialization on the number of adverb phrases in Macedopnian and prepositional phrases in English can be seen from the fact that the biggest number of Macedonian adverb phrases which are translated with prepositional phrases in English, table 5. Macedonian and English are similar in the production of adverbs from adjectives by using productive derivational suffixes, such as –ly in English, and о in Macedonian. The difference is that Macedonian temporal adverbs which end in –o have the same form with the corresponding adjectives for neutrum gender, and sometimes the morphological status can be determined only by the sentence function. For example, in (3) долго is an adverb and in (4) it is an adjective. 9 (3) Братучедите се погледнаа и долго се гледаа. (Јовановски, p. 269) The cousins exchanged glances and stood looking at one another for a long time. (Jovanovski, p. 29) (4) Долго време помина така. (Јовановски, p. 286) A long time passed. (Jovanovski, p. 48)

Prepositional phrases and noun phrases

The situation with the prepositional phrases is rather fixed (especially in the academic

corpus, table 3). The prepositional phrases in the Macedonian corpus examples mainly remain prepositional phrases in the English corpus examples. The difference can be noted in the translation of Macedonian noun phrases with

English prepositional phrases for durative time adverbials, which are basically translated with the preposition for in English. (5) …а синот еве четири години служеше нечија војска. (Јовановски, p. 243)


her son had been serving in somebody’s army for the past four years.

(Jovanovski, p. 1) Other typical adverbial temporal forms in Macedonian are the verboids (Школарова- Љоровска, 1990, p. 67), which are actually lexical forms (nouns, adjectives and adverbs) stemming from verbs, thus carrying out a verbal function. These forms are usually translated with temporal clauses in English. (6) Едно излегување, и ќе го почудат. (Андреевски, p. 52) As soon as we he went out of the house he’d catch a spell from an unclean woman and… (Andreevski, p. 41) (7) Ами, знаеш дека прво намачкување и се крена тоа пострупеното од главчето на Здравко. (Андреевски, p. 52) No sooner had I rubbed it onto his head than the crust vanished. (Andreevski, p. 40)

9 These are also mostly expressed by prepositional phrases or long- or time-phrases.



Semantic findings

English temporal adverbials have been thoroughly semantically analyzed by more English major linguists (Quirk et al., Biber et al., Huddleston & Pullum). Yet it is a field which is still being worked in, especially by linguists intrigued by the interaction of time adverbials and other lexical temporal markers (Klein, Jaszczolt). Generally three basic semantic types are recognized: time position, time duration and frequency. Some of these, such as frequency, do not refer solely to time (Huddleston & Pullum, 2002). Other subtypes are mentioned as well, such as time relationship (Quirk et al., 1985) or serial order (Huddleston & Pullum, 2002), which quite often overlap in their definitions. Blazhe Koneski in his extensive grammar of the Macedonian language (Блаже Конески, 1996) tried to incorporate semantic meaning of certain forms which belong to the field of temporal adverbials, but by no means can this be considered to be an elaborate structural analysis of the semantics of temporal adverbials. Blazhe Koneski basically tried to address certain word groups and the difference of form which causes the semantic distinction (such as the difference of во средата and во среда) 10 and prepositions with secondary temporal meanings (no Macedonian prepositions are purely temporal, like the English since). However, their semantic presentations depict individual patterns and show no systematicity. The temporal adverbs in either language can sometimes encode meanings which are not present in the other language. For example, the Macedonian adverbs прекутре and преквчера encode the meanings the day after the day after tomorrow and the day before the day before yesterday respectively. The finite temporal clauses in Macedonian and English employ temporal conjunctions which basically convey similar meanings. The temporal clauses are the only grammatical feature linguistically and systematically explained in semantic terms in Macedonian (Школарова-Љоровска, 1990). The basic distinction is made on the two states:

simultaneity and non-simultaneity (anteriority/posteriority) (Школарова-Љоровска, 1990, p. 12). In this research there were not enough theoretical foundations in Macedonian to base the semantics comparison of time adverbials. 11

3. Sentence position findings

As it is already well known from the research of English linguists (Quirk et al., Biber et al., Huddleston & Pullum), temporal adverbials are the most mobile semantic type of adverbials, they can virtually appear in every single sentence position available for adverbials (Quirk et al., 1985, p. 490). The position of temporal adverbials in sentence or sentence-like formations (clauses) can vary according to their meaning. They can be found in the following positions: initial, medial and final (end). Quirk et al. (1985) offer several varieties of the three basic positions: initial-medial, medial-medial, end-medial, initial-end, medial-end, end-end, etc. Biber et al. (1999) offer a simpler positional view, which excludes the many confusing subtypes and only keeps the general types of initial, medial

and final position. We have decided to use Biber’s positional classification as a starting point and have devised the following positional comparative criteria:

10 Во средата refers to the last Wednesday, while во среда refers to the next Wednesday (Блаже Конески,


11 We are hoping to proceed researching in that area in the future.


Table 6

Specifications of the possible positions of time adverbials in the English and Macedonian corpus translational equivalents





















Between the






beginning of

VP, but after another obligatory sentence element










sentence, after all the remaining sentence elements


























beginning of










и главниот



sentence, after all the remaining sentence elements









The distribution of time adverbials in the three basic positions is given in table 7. Table 7










initial position




final position




medial position








It is evident from table 7 that the initial position is typical for Macedonian time adverbials, and this is the case especially for adverb phrases (process of adverbialization), and in the literary part of the corpus (initial time-setting adverbials and story-line connectives), as shown in table 8. Expressed in percentages, more than 57% of Macedonian time adverbials of the corpus are located in initial position, while this is the case with about 38% of English time adverbials. Biber et al. (1999) claim that although the final position is most typical of all adverbials (50%), the initial position is typical mostly for time adverbials (almost 25%). Still, from table 7 we can conclude that Macedonian has greater tendency to put time adverbials in initial position.

12 The number of relevant corpus examples is 2960 out of 3160. The remaining 200 examples lack a translational equivalent and thus cannot be analyzed.


The total distribution of phrasal forms of temporal adverbials in initial position is shown in the following table 8:

Table 8

Initial position





Adverb phrases



Prepositional phrases



Noun phrases



The sentential positional location of the English translational phrasal time adverbial equivalents of Macedonian time adverbials in initial position is as follows:

Table 9

Position of the English phrasal translational equivalents of Macedonian temporal adverbials in initial position:









This table is evidence of the property of the English language to be ‘end-weight’, ‘topic- final’ language and its tendency to place time adverbials in final position (50% of all adverbials are in final position according to Biber et al. (1999)). As an evidence of this, the distributions of the positions of Macedonian time adverbials which are relocated to final position in English in this research are as following (table 10):

Table 10

Positions of the Macedonian temporal adverbials and their shift to final position in the translation process into English:

initial into final


medial-initial into final


medial-final into final


final into final


It can be inferred from the table that most of the Macedonian time adverbials in initial

position are relocated to final position; the ones which were found originally to be in final position in Macedonian kept their sentence position. Relocations also happened to Macedonian time adverbials before the VP, because Macedonian does not illustrate problems of having a longer PP or even a clause in the medial-initial position, example (8). (In English this is possible only for emphasis.)

платформи од овој вид на крајот на XX век не можат веќе да се

повторат, (Обраќање, p. 9) …platforms of such a sort would not be repeated at the close of the 20 th century. (Address, p. 23)


The distribution of time adverbials in the three medial positions is shown in the following table 11.


Table 11

Corpus Position

















The relocation from non-final position of time adverbials in Macedonian to medial position in English happened mostly to short time adverbs. The most notable relocation is to medial-medial position in the English corpus. This is the position between the operator and the main verb 13 and is typical for all English progressive and perfect tenses, together with the passive aspect. The Macedonian translational equivalents of these tenses are present tense, definite and indefinite past tense 14 , all composed of one word. Even the complex verb phrases, composed of more than one verbal element do not place time adverbials between the VP elements. The passive aspect is more typical for English than for Macedonian and often the English translational equivalents of active Macedonian sentences are actually passive ones. All the given positions of temporal adverbials in English often have to do with their temporal semantics, but mostly with their syntactic structure and length 15 , as well as the level of the subordinate relationship to certain parts of the clause. 16 The looser Macedonian word order, allowing the sentence elements to shift their places quite often, is mostly due to the inflections of the verb showing number, person and gender at the same time, as well as the short clitic forms of the objects. Objects can easily come before the verb, and subjects are often implied by the verb form (the verb form can show person and number, and even gender in some cases). Without any positional prototypes of temporal adverbials in Macedonian, from this research we came to a conclusion that Macedonian temporal adverbials can show vague positional preference only in some cases. Time-relationship simple adverbs are the ones which have shown the greatest differences in the comparison process. Examples such as again, still and yet almost always assume different position in English in comparison to Macedonian. In Macedonian, again’s full form is повторно, but its short form пак is mostly used. Regardless of the form being used, its position in Macedonian is mostly preverbal (initial or medial-initial), while in English it is postverbal (medial-final or final). In example (9) a complete explanation of a Macedonian sentence is depicted, with its English equivalent for comparison.

13 This position (in this research) employs all the positions between the operator and the main verb exemplified by Quirk et al. (1985): after the operator and after any other auxiliary in the multi-auxiliary VP.

14 There are differences of the use of perfective and imperfective verbs (characteristics of all Slav languages).

15 Longer English time adverbials (PPs, NPs, temporal clauses) tend to move to the extreme points of the sentence (left or right) and they rarely occupy the medial positions.

16 Temporal adverbials show less mobility if they demonstrate subordinate relationship to certain parts of the clause (e.g. just) (Quirk et al., 1985, p. 490).







фати. (Андреевски, р. 7)





take root-IT.




again (Andreevski, p. 4)

II Problems The English findings (for example, positional characteristics) were extracted from the English speaking countries’ national corpora (British National Corpus, London-Lund corpus, LWSGE corpus, etc.). Biber et. al (1999) have especially successfully endeavored in supplying substantial statistical corpus research findings (writing, conversation, news, academic writing). The basic problem of this research of time adverbials in Macedonian (and in Macedonian linguistics as well) is the absence of national corpus, together with theoretical findings and conclusions. Secondly, the corpus chosen for this research, as we have previously mentioned, consists of translations done by native English speakers. The reason for this is that the inexistence of national Macedonian corpus prevented us from comparing theoretical findings in English and Macedonian. That is why we used the theoretical findings in English as a milestone for relevance, but still drew all the conclusions from the research corpus. Another corpus-related problem was that works translated by English native speakers were difficult to find. 17 The ones that were found were mostly only partly translated by native speakers; Macedonian translators were also involved in the work. This may have clouded the objective natural sentential place of English temporal adverbials, but the consoling circumstance is that usually the work of Macedonian translators is heavily edited and revised by the native English speakers, so the influence of the place of Macedonian temporal adverbials is not as great. 18 Other circumstances may have also influenced the accurateness of the findings, but many of them were impossible to leave out because of operational short-comings (for example, there were not enough works translated) or simply to isolate (for example, the translator’s momentary state of mind) to obtain objectivity. These are discussed in the further text of this paper.

a) The translator 1. The choice of forms to be used in the translation is sometimes dependent on the translators and their judgment. Very often different temporal forms are used to convey the meaning intended by the author more clearly. The knowledge that, for example, there is the same phrasal form available in the target language (English) made us wonder why another one was used. Part of this can be assigned to the process of transliteration, which is also an available technique in translation, but an obstacle in research like this one.

17 Hence the difference in ratio of literary and academic time adverbials in this research.

18 Some of the native English translators were even consulted concerning the degree of their involvement in the translation process. However, the translators admit that during the translation process, time adverbials have not received special attention by the translators. This leads us to the conclusion that, on one hand, if their work was only editorial, they might have not had any influence in the position of time adverbials, and on the other hand, that if they did the translations themselves, the place of time adverbials is the genuine one. That is why we tried to use translations only by English native speakers as much as possible.


*Sometimes, though, the semantically more complex Macedonian verb has to be analytically translated with an additional time adverbial, example (10). (10) Орачите коишто се враќаа од полето, подзапираа, … (Андреевски, р. 10) The ploughmen returning from the fields stopped for a moment, … (Andreevski, p. 10)

2. The origin of the translator is also important. Different English language varieties can

sometimes show different positional preferences of time adverbials.

3. The level of interference of the knowledge of Macedonian of the translator, who on the

other hand needs to have a good command of Macedonian to be able to interpret the

meaning. However, if the translator uses advanced Macedonian, some positions of

temporal adverbials in Macedonian can seem natural to them Englishwise, though they are not. 19

4. The choice of positions of temporal adverbials can make a difference in the conveying

of the main idea intended by the author. Sometimes they are missed. example (11).

(11) Прво го сместија Србина. (Јовановски, р. 263) The soldiers positioned Srbin first. (Jovanovski, p. 23) 20

b) The author

The style and the dialect used by the Macedonian author play a great role in the placement of Macedonian temporal adverbials. Having in mind that the standard Macedonian is not used by native Macedonians in its purest form – quite frequently their positions are not the most preferred ones in the Macedonian standard language, so the interference of those cases seems not eligible for the overall research findings.

c) The type of translated work

The type of translated work (e.g. literary, academic, etc.) as well as spoken language (newspaper, conversation style, etc.) has the capacity to influence the form and position of time adverbials in both, the source and the target language. That is why a full comprehensive corpus compiled of all the necessary parts in an equal ratio is expected to be effective in dealing with this kind of problems

Conclusion Lexical temporal elements have been usually underestimated in the linguistic research in English and especially in Macedonian. The absence of Macedonian national corpus is a serious obstacle for research like this one. However, with this research we have tried to build up on some missing parts of theoretical linguistics in Macedonian in the area of time adverbials. We also aim at helping: language teachers and learners to use time adverbials correctly without the influence of the mother tongue; Macedonian translators to be able to formally identify and place semantically

19 The translation of one academic article exemplifies several time adverbials as prepositional phrases placed in medial positions, which is not typical for English, but typical for Macedonian. The translators Margaret and Graham Reid have lived in Macedonia for more than twenty years and have a fairly good command of Macedonian.

20 The possible positions of the time adverbial is given in parentheses: “(First) the soldiers (first) positioned Srbin.” Otherwise, the Macedonian translation of the English sentence in (11) is: „Прв го сместија Србин“, meaning that Srbin was the first to be seen (up-front) in the new position.


different English time adverbials in their most preferred positions. We are hoping for more work to be done in the future.

References Units in Macedonian:

Конески, Блаже. (1996). Граматика на македонскиот јазик [Grammar of the Macedonian language]. Скопје: Просветно Дело. Конески, Кирил. (2003). Зборообразувањето во современиот македонски јазиk (второ поправено издание) [Word formation in the contemporary Macedonian language (2nd Ed.)]. Скопје: Филолошки факултет Блаже Конески”. Корубин, Благоја. (1990). На македонско граматички теми [On grammatical topics in Macedonian]. Скопје: Институт за македонски јазик Крсте Мисирков”. Минова-Ѓркова, Лилјана. (1994). Синтакса на македонскиот стандарден јазик [Syntax of the Macedonian standard language]. Скопје: Радинг. Панзова, Виолета. (1996). Универзалната граматика и македонскиот јазик [The universal grammar and the Macedonian language]. Скопје: Епоха. Саздов, Симон. (2008). Современ македонски јазик 3 [Contemporary Macedonian language 3]. Скопје: Табернакул. Шокларова-Љоровска, Германија. (1990). Семантика и синтакса на временските односи во македонскиот јазик во споредба со полскиот јазик [Semantics and syntax of temporal relations in Macedonian in comparison with Polish]. Скопје:

Инстит ут за македонски јазик Крсте Мисир ков”.

Units in English:

Biber, Douglas, Stig Johansson, Geoffrey Leech, Susan Conrad and Edward Finegan. (1999). Grammar of Spoken and Written English. Harlow: Longman. Burton-Roberts, Noel. (1997). Analysing Sentences: An Introduction to English Syntax. London and New York: Addison Wesley Longman Limited. Ernst, Thomas. (2004). The Syntax of Adjuncts. New York: Cambridge University Press. Greenbaum, Sidney. (1969). Studies in English Adverbial Usage. London and Harlow:

Longmans. Hasselgard, Hilde. (2010). Adjunct Adverbials in English. New York: Cambridge University Press. Huddleston, Rodney, and Geoffrey K. Pullum. (2002). The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Jaszczolt, K.M. (2009). Representing Time, An Essay on Temporality. New York: Oxford University Press. Jovanchevska-Milenkoska, Jovanka. (2010). “Time adverbials and their interaction with other temporal markers in the sentence”, Proceedings of the 6 th ELTAM-IATEFL- TESOL International Conference, Skopje. Klein, Wolfgang. (1994). Time in Language. London: Routledge. Klein, Wolfgang. (2008). “Time in Language, Language in time”. Language Learning 58:Suppl. 1, 1–12. Quirk, Randolph, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech, and Jan Svartvik. (1985). A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language. London: Longman.

Corpus units examples:

Андреевски, Петре, М. (2007). Пиреј. Скопје: Дневник и Табернакул. Andreevski, Petre, M. (2008). Pirey. Trans. Will Firth. Wareemba: Pollitecon Publications.


Јовановски, Мето. (1985). „Будалетинки”, Избор. Скопје: Македонска книга, р. 241-


Jovanovski, Meto. (1987). Cousins. Trans. Sylvia Wallace Holton & Meto Jovanovski, San

Francisco: Mercury House. Македонска aкадемија на науките и уметностите. (1999). Обраќање по повод Платформата за решавање на албанското национално прашањена Академијата на науките на Албанија Апел за мир. Скопје: автор. Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts. (1999). Address on the occasion of the publication of the “Platform on the Resolution of the Albanian National Question” by the Albanian Academy of Sciences – Appeal for Peace. Trans. Graham Reid and Margaret Reid. Skopje: author.


Exploring the Use of Audio Files in Foreign Language Mobile Learning: Tips for Educational Practitioners

Florence Lojacono Department of Modern Languages, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain flojacono@dfm.ulpgc.es

Carmen Luján-García Department of Modern Languages, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain clujan@dfm.ulpgc.es

Abstract This paper intends to provide a recent account of the first results found in the research carried out under the project Web@idiomas. This project, sponsored by University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain) and the Spanish telephone company «Telefónica», has two objectives. First, it aims at analyzing the potential capacity of portable devices as useful tools in the teaching / learning process of foreign languages (m-learning). Second, it intends to create and extend teaching materials addressed to foreign language teachers, especially at University level. These materials may be used in different portable devices (mobile phones, laptops, tablets, and so on). The languages involved in the project are Arabic, English and French. In summary, this project seeks to offer users an alternative way to learn foreign languages by means of portable devices.

Keywords: Mobile Technology, Foreign Languages, Ubiquitous, EHEA, CEFR

Introduction In the last decades, there has been an increasing prominence in the use of media technologies in people’s daily life. Most people are familiar with some kind of ICT (Information and Communication Technology), as they may use these devices in their jobs and at their homes. This paper was born from a competitive research project carried out by a team work of language teachers, with little or none ICT literacy. This is probably the most important aspect to highlight, as one of the objectives of this project is to encourage practitioners with little or no ICT literacy to create, record and to broadcast short audio files for language teaching/learning. The research project, running from July 2010 to July 2011, is co-financed by the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain) and the Spanish telephone company Telefónica. The name of the project is Web@Idiomas, and its main goal is the development of an audio data bank that enables users to download onto their portable devices specific educational audio files in three different foreign languages:

Arabic, English and French. The reasons for having chosen these languages are the following: first, English because is the most international foreign language, and the lingua franca used among speakers whose native languages are not English; second, French and Arabic, because those languages are largely spoken in North and West Africa and because of the growing relationships and closeness between Spain and a number of countries in North Africa. The big picture of this project consists of bringing the use of new technologies and the process of learning foreign languages together, so that people may take advantage of the applications offered by their portable devices in order to teach and or to learn foreign languages. Some more specific objectives have also been drawn:

To create downloadable, reusable and copyright free audio files addressed to learners and teachers in foreign language learning.


To promote self, mobile and lifelong learning

To enhance foreign language competencies

To research on the foreign language teaching/learning process supported by mobile devices

In this paper we will provide some useful tips, as a result of our experience that may help

other language practitioners to create their own tailored audio data bank.

Previous Research

A vast volume of literature has been devoted to deal with the influence of the use of ICT in

the teaching / learning process from many different perspectives. Young (2000) has studied whether there are gender differences in terms of use of computers, and this author states that male users tend to feel more self-confident when using this device. Yuen and

Ma (2002) have focused their research in gender differences when it comes to the use of computers in the educational setting, and they conclude that men have a more positive attitude towards this device. Schumacher and Morahan-Martin (2001), in a study focused on the use of the Internet and computers, they found that men showed more experience and

abilities than women when using the Internet, except when it comes to the use of the e- mail, where both, males and females, show a great mastery of this resource. Luján-García (2009a; 2010) has shown the impact of gender in terms of Internet and ICT mastery. Male users seem to be fonder and more efficient users of technologies.

In Education, the use of media technologies is not new at all. The absolute novelty comes

from the gradual increase of portable devices which open the way for ubiquitous learning (uLearning) called also mobile learning (mLearning). Thus, teaching and learning in the 21 st century has experienced a radical change, see for example the The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (http://www.p21.org). LangMedia (http://langmedia.fivecolleges.edu) brings authentic material for digital authentic material for less-commonly taught languages. A few years ago, pre-load iPods started being used as educational language tools (see the work of Alex Chapin at Middlebury College, VT

Conceptual Positioning There is a strong connection between students’ expectations, any language course objectives and new portable technologies: the oral skills. Portable devices can be geared to teach and learn without those inherent difficulties and limitations of the traditional academic approaches. Today many learners, especially in online education, do not have much time to study. They need effective learning tools to take advantage of their short time. Digital files may be a useful, effective, and attractive learning format, as this kind of tool encourages a flexible teaching/learning process. These files can be gathered and organised into online repositories for independent and self paced access. Introducing organised, tailored and adequately tagged digital audio files helps teachers to meet higher education requirements regarding lifelong learning, mobility, distant education activities and technology literacy. In addition, self-recorded ad hoc audio files foster exchanges of learning resources within the educational community and help address different learning rhythms within the classroom. Beyond the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment (http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/cadre_en.asp) used mostly to access level proficiency in foreign languages instruction and certification (CEFR), the construction of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA http://www.ehea.info/) started in 1999, relies on a basic set of competences. These competences are aimed to


improve employability as well as social understanding and to promote European research across the globe. Therefore, the European Union pointed out eight key competences in a document published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 30 December 2006 (http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/education_culture/publ/pdf/ll-learning/keycomp_en.pdf) 1) Communication in the mother tongue. 2) Communication in foreign languages. 3) Mathematical competence and basic competences in science and technology. 4) Digital competence. 5) Learning to learn. 6) Social and civic competences. 7) Sense of initiative and entrepreneurship. 8) Cultural awareness and expression.

Following these recommendations, the Web@Idiomas project meets three of these key competences: to be more specific, competencies 2, 4 and 5 are dealt with in this project. As we are working with educational resources aimed to teach or to support the process of teaching/learning 3 languages, competency nº2 is quite obvious. But we were also willing to go beyond the obvious foreign language skills. ICT literacy is currently neither an option in day-to-day life, nor a mere fancy skill in a CV. ICT literacy is now as necessary as driving a car or use a cell phone. This project dwells on 21 st century new competencies in education and fosters the use of mobile learning in order to meet the needs of working learners, traditional students and even users. The third key competency we reach with the Web@Idiomas project is the learning to learn capability. Stand alone audio files that can be associated with a wide array of learners needs or courseworks guide the learner on his/her learning path. This will also promote lifelong learning.

Method The main objective that involved the members of the project was the creation of an audio data bank. Nonetheless, we understood in a short time that this would be a long term objective and that we would need several short term objectives in order to build this audio data bank. As we broke the main objective into the necessary steps, fundamental questions came up. Surprisingly enough, those technical questions about software and hardware turned out to be pedagogical ones and helped us to deeply review the way we were teaching so far. We considered that our main objective was the creation of an audio data bank. Therefore, we needed to follow two main steps: First, to create the audio files; and second, to broadcast them. Each step opened in front of us a mist of technical problems and important decisions.


Figure 1: General plan of the project This figure presents the steps followed. They are

Figure 1: General plan of the project

This figure presents the steps followed. They are explained in more detail in figure 2. In this paper we will only discuss the first short term objective: To create. The creation of the audio data bank, which includes three processes: first, designing; second, recording; and third, tagging the audio files. The section on broadcasting is beyond the scope of this paper, and it will be explained in a future work.

of this paper, and it will be explained in a future work. Figure 2: The creation

Figure 2: The creation section of the project

In order to create the audio files, the team had to get familiar with different computer programmes specialised in audio files recording (Lojacono, 2010b). The programmes most frequently used to record audio files are:

Windows Sound Recorder for PC

GarageBand for Mac













Findings Our findings are above all practical. The Web@Idiomas project is all about the educational use of software and hardware. Here we have the protocol we followed for the creation of audio resources:

1º- What to design? This step involves several pedagogical decisions.

- Decision about the learning contents: grammar points, vocabulary lists, riddles, texts, dialogues and so on.

- Decision about the learning objectives: pronunciation, listening and comprehension skills, peer-assessment, and peer-training.

- Decision about the learning environment: self-paced and individual learning, audio file to be used in a blended course.

- Decision about the learning delivery: stand alone audio files, audio files with transcripts, audio files with pictures and/or transcripts.

In the case of our project, the decisions that we made were:

- Learning contents: we chose to begin with riddles as they are like a game and make the process of learning attractive. We invented and recorded 100 riddles in each language.

- Learning objectives: the riddles were aimed to enhance listening and comprehension skills.

- Learning environment: these audio files were designed for self-paced individual learning as well as to accompany a blended course.

- Learning delivery: first we recorded stand alone audio files, then we added transcripts and, for some of them, illustrations.

2º- How to record? This step involves several technical decisions.

- Decision about the length of the audio files

- Decision about the audio format

- Decision about the software to record the audio files

- Decisions about the minimum acceptable quality sound level

In the case of our project, what we decided was:

- Length of the audio files: stand alone audio files are short and are not “heavy”. A 30 second record is more or less 500 KB. This is the core concept of the audio data bank project. Small audio files are easily downloadable, are reusable and can be combined together in a wide array of learning paths.

- Format of the audio files: we chose the MP3 format as it is the most widely used. The compression ratio is very good. To export MP3 files from Audacity, an MP3 encoder is needed: the open source software LAME (http://lame.sourceforge.net). Once installed in your computer, you will not need to think about it anymore. Just export your record in MP3 format when you are done in Audacity. Tip: It is advisable to save also your records in the Audacity format (.aup) if you want to be able to edit them in the future.

- Software to record the audio files: we chose Audacity. The team decided to use Audacity to record the audio files. This programme is free and easily accessible. It may be downloaded from the internet. Even though, this programme seemed to be


the easiest one to use, it has some sophisticated applications that proved to be very useful for the researchers. For example, the possibility to choose part of the recording and maximize or minimize its intensity; erase extra-recording sounds;

and so on.


Minimum acceptable quality sound level: we recorded the first audio files with

first-price microphones and a PC. This produces an acceptable quality. Nevertheless, we realised that it would be necessary to upgrade the quality of our recordings if we want to broadcast our work via Podcast, that is to say, to give more visibility to the project. Therefore we bought a good microphone and a little


table (2 bands).


3º- Why to tag? This step involves several conceptual decisions.

- In which language should the audio files be tagged?

- Which software should be used?

Labelling properly each audio file is necessary to easily identify and search them in your computer or mobile device. This process of identification needs to be done in a way that it contains key words in specific standardised boxes called fields. This description of digital data is called metadata.

In the case of our project, what we decided was:

- Language: this is an open-discussion. So far, we have decided to tag the files in English as accent marks used in French and Spanish as well as written Arabic are not well supported by most common portable devices.

- Software: we chose a free software, MP3Tag editor, downloadable from this website: (http://www.mp3tag.de/en/). MP3Tag editor enables the user to edit 10 metadata fields. In this stage of our project, 10 fields are more than we need. Editing metadata is a long run work but you will be able to change your metadata at anytime. TIP: when exporting your work as an MP3 file using Audacity seven fields of ID3 tags are available, included a comment box where to put the transcript of the audio for example.


Figure 3: How to tag audio files with MP3Tag Figure 4: How to tag audio

Figure 3: How to tag audio files with MP3Tag

Figure 3: How to tag audio files with MP3Tag Figure 4: How to tag audio files

Figure 4: How to tag audio files directly in Audacity


Conclusions After having developed this project on the teaching/learning of foreign languages by using mobile and portable devices so far, we can state the following conclusions. First, the use of audio and audiovisual aids is very motivating for teachers and for students of any age, but mostly for the youngest ones, no matter the subject we refer to. Audio resources can be integrated into any level of a coursework. They can be delivered via email, uploaded in a LMS or personal website or blog, or broadcast via iTunes. Second, the creation and use of purpose-made resources does not require an excellent knowledge of new technologies from teachers, language practitioners and people involved in the area of teaching. Third, we want to highlight the increasing importance of creating materials adapted to our real students, to their interests and motivations, materials which meet their needs and reality. Furthermore, students may feel more empowered as they can navigate through the material at their own pace. For example, in the case of foreign language learning, language textbooks have traditionally been written in England or the USA, and sent to the rest of the world to be used. No distinction has been made by publishing houses between students who live in Spain and students who live in Mongolia, whose realities, and needs are totally different. Therefore, the creation of local materials adapted to the needs and interests of our students is also considered by this project. Last, but not least, is the consideration of this project as something which is continually being revised, since tecnology is evolving all the time, so this project is.











Assessment: http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/cadre_en.asp. Last accessed July 5 th


Lojacono, F. (2010a). Wiki universitaires:10 aspects pratiques in II International Congress

about Didactics, Gerona University, Spain. Lojacono, F. (2010b). Créer des ressources audio pour le cours de FLE in Cédille, revista de Estudios franceses. Asociación de Profesores de Francés de la Universidad Española, La Laguna, Spain. 276-288. Luján-García, C. & Lojacono, F. (2011). An Alternative Approach to Foreign Language Learning through: the Web@Idiomas project in Global Time: Association for the Advancement on Computing in Education (AACE). 266-271. Luján-García, C. (2008). The use of New Technologies in the English Language Classroom: Which ones are preferred by students? in I Congreso Internacional de la enseñanza y aprendizaje de lenguas extranjeras. Valencia, Spain. Luján-García, C. (2009a). New Technologies and Gender: Different Approaches of Teachers to the Use of ICT in the classroom in International Multidisciplinary Women’s Congress (IMWC), Izmir, Turkey. Luján-García, C. (2009b). The New technology in the ESL Classroom: Some evidence from Spain in 2 nd International On-line Conference (IOLC). Luján-García, C. (2010). Women vs. Men: The Use of New Technologies in the EFL classroom in Spain. International Conference From Teaching to Learning: Current Trends in ELT, Tetovo, Republic of Macedonia. Schumacher, P. & Morahan-Martin, J. Gender. 2001. Internet and computer attitudes and experiences in Computers in Human Behavior, 17 (1). 95-110. Young, Betty J. (2000). Gender Differences in Student Attitudes toward Computers in Journal of Research on Computing in Education, 33 (2). 204-216.



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Experimentation of English Language by Some Women Writers: Shashi Deshpande, Bapsi Sidhwa, Uzma ASlam Khan and Tony Morrison

Dr. Shamenaz Bano Dept. of Professional Communication, AIET, Allahabad, India shamenaz@gmail.com

Dr. Shaista Maseeh Dept. of English, Universiy of Allahabad, India gemshaista@gmail.com

Abstract Language is the most remarkable tool that man has ever invented so far. Language is the most effective means of communication that enables us to express our ideas, views and emotions empathetically. Although one can communicate without using a language through the process of kinesics to some extent, but the use of language becomes imperative for the expression of fine ideas. It is the language that distinguishes man from the other species of nature and makes him the best creation of God. Thus, man has a genuine need of linguistic communication. It is an important aid for the socialization for it fosters enmity and brotherhood round the globe. The current paper examines English language by some women writers.

Keywords: Third World Women, Experimental Language, Feminine Writing

The English Language is considered to be a global language. It is spoken in every country, be it first world, second world or third world. Shashi Deshpande, the Indian fiction writer, has the opinion:

Whatever the problems; it is by now clear that just as language has found its

space and its own constituency, English writing too is as much a part of the literatures of our country as the other language literatures are. And just as the importance of the language in the world and the fact that it has now undoubtedly become global has made a language spoken by so few so important in our country, the literature too seems to be getting a greater significance than its merits. English is today no longer a colonial but a global language whose only rival today is Spanish. There is an increasing demand for learning the language which cannot be argued with. And globalization, as also the increasing Americanization, has brought the language into the daily lives of the Indians much more than before. Which is why and how urban lives in our country are being increasingly lived in

a queer case of life imitating arts, it seems! This may make a

novel written in English much more plausible than before. (78)


Due to the popularity of English language, English novel has become the most favorite form of literature. With the increase in the number of people gaining expertise in the language, novel writing too has attained a remarkable growth. There is a surge of English authors, both men and women, involved in writing novels on multiple themes. Post modernism had gifted authors with a variety of themes to deal upon. With the evaporation of boundary between different genres of art, there is an intermingling of disciplines and themes.


Postmodernism had also brought a drastic change in the style of writing. The post modern novel is often found to be de-structured to de-centralize the “master narrative,” or a final point of view. It is quite interesting to note that both men and women writers have equally accepted post modern techniques in the writing of fiction. But it is also one truth that there has always been and will always be a noteworthy difference between the writings of men and women. Even if the themes are same, the manner of presentation and the style differs in a great deal. This difference in style of writing between men and women writers comes from a difference in their perceptions of this world. There was also a time when it was a sin to hold a pen for women. Writing was thought to be a male bastion only. Woman was the queen of her four walls and a roof under which she could do anything feminine but not writing that was only a masculine task. Mary Shelley’s most popular science fiction, Frankenstein was first published anonymously. Mary Ann Evans used the pseudonym George Eliot to write her novels. Robert Southy had told Charlotte Bronte that “literature cannot be the business of women’s life and it ought not to be” (108) Thanks to the Feminist Movement of the twentieth century that metamorphosed the attitude and perception of the world. It provided a better understanding of women’s issues and rights and endeavored to bring them forward because they had been marginalized for so long. But there was one more question in feminism that was still unquestioned. Were all the women, irrespective of class, race, religion and color received equal opportunity to voice their problems? The answer was ‘no,’ at least to some extent. Feminism proved a white middle class and educated movement providing profiting only white women of America. The fact that religion, class, race and color do make a vital difference in the condition of women was proved soon. While the white and privileged women of the continent got into limelight by means of their writings, women belonging to third world still had their voice unheard. Ergo, the second half of twentieth century witnessed a whole galaxy of writers from third world who were ready to speak about their country and culture. Writing is relieving to the mind of the writer, and when it is written from heart in an uninhibited manner it becomes therapeutic. This applies to the works of four women writers who write from their heart and while writing there seems to be an urgency to tell all. Bapsi Sidhwa, Shashi Deshpande, Uzma Aslam Khan and Toni Morrison belong to the category of writers who despite of belonging to an unprivileged and non white class are able to create a lasting impression in the field of writing. The innovation of language in their works, and the experimentation with words and vocabulary along with syntax that is found in them make them stand in the line of the innovators in novel in the English language. This paper will study the technical novelty and experiments that these four writers have brought about in the process of novel writing. Shashi Deshpande is an award winning Indian fiction writer. Writers of ten novels as The Dark Holds no Terror (1980), Roots and Shadows (1983), That long Silence (1988) and A Matter of Time (1999), to name few. The Indian writing scenario before Shashi Deshpande was quiet plain and the writers focused on storytelling without bringing any innovation in the style of writing. She readily believes that men and women do have a distinct mode of expressing their thought in novel that provides difference in style of their writing. She says:

I think it is very clear that my own writing is very much a woman’s writing. I think just one little example, the beginning of That Long Silence for example: it’s a very stark beginning- at the same time it uses the metaphor of childbirth for the act of writing. It uses the idea of looking into mirrors to


speak of different images. I somehow feel that anybody who read this would know this is a woman’s writing.

Although Shashi Deshpande believes in a natural use of English language she employs it in a way to avoid monotony in narration. She writes about Indian society and culture with an interesting creativity:

Deshpande eschews linguistic pyrotechnics and formal experimentation, but has sufficient command of her tradition to give the lie to the belief that the English language is incapable of expressing any Indian world other than a cosmopolitan one.

Seemed to be inspired from the master of narration, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Deshpande changed the usual first person narrative of Indian fiction into an amalgamation of first and third person narrative. That was a daring experiment in narration of novel for an Indian woman fiction writer because writing scenario was still fresh in late 1920’s and even prominent male writers did not attempt this experiment in language. The significance of such narration was that it could depict the minds of a multiple characters at a time rather than one. Like the working of a woman’s mind, and flow of her thoughts Shashi Deshpande also employed the tool of flashback. The language in the pen of Deshpande becomes feminine. It shows that it comes direct from the emotional thoughts of a woman belonging to a developing country. Roots and Shadows contains more themes besides the main one of Indu and Naren. Despande is able to tie them all into a neat narration without any thread of theme going lose. This she is able to achieve by means of her deftness in language. Language provides strength to the storyline and it becomes a closely packed novel. That Long Silence tells the story of Jaya, a literarily sensitive woman. A same story with straightforward narration could turn it into an insipid one. Shashi Deshpande brings realism in it by writing it in a style and language

that is more like life of a woman in Indian society. It is given in the novel itself: “All this I have written- it’s like one of those multicolored patchwork quilts the kakis made for a new baby in the family. So many bits and pieces- a crazy conglomeration of sizes, shapes and colors put together.” Deshpande adorns her writing like a new born baby, with language of multiple shapes sizes and colors but it does not look weird in any way. Her writing is by an Indian woman and about Indian women, and it could be well understood by all. Her play with language enhances the effects of her writing in readers and they, especially Indian women, can identify themselves well with the novel. The use of language in Shashi Deshpande’s work could be studied in her biographical context. Being daughter of a Sanskrit scholar, and born in Karnataka; she has also lived for some years in Maharashtra. So, she is a person who is well- versed in five languages- Kannada, Marathi, Hindi and Sanskrit. This linguistic quality can be seen in her writings. She has used many Kannada, Marathi, Hindi and Sanskrit words and phrases in her writings. The use of hindi words while referring to relatives, for instance, ‘baba’, ‘kaka’, ‘kaki’, ‘mama’, ‘mavshi,’ gives a genuine quality to her writing. This is experimentation makes reading of her novel a real experience. The sentences like, “Why do I need kaajal when I have Ghanshayam in my eyes,”? (103) “Yes I am missing chum chum of your bells” (28) mingle hindi words perfectly with English. She also makes allusions to religious epics like Mahabharata, Ramayana, Upanishada and Puranas. For example, “…

Sokamayati bahushyam prajayeya iti

These allusions ground her language more to the Indian roots and also posing a comparison with western texts with Biblical allusions. Moreover they color the text with a spiritual quality that is often found in the writers as Paulo Coelho.

.” meaning every living cell desires to multiply.


The noticeable thing about the experimentative quality of Shashi Deshpande’s writing is that it never hinders the lucidity of language. It also adds significance to the meaning as it gains proximity with the readers. She becomes a precursor of the writers like Arundhati Roy, winner of Booker Prize for her The God of Small Things in her very Indianization, poetic bent, lucidity and simplicity of the new language. Pakistan born Bapsi Sidhwa, who later moved to US, is considered as pioneer of Pakistani writing in English. Writer of many acclaimed novels including The Pakistani Bride and The American Brat, and Cracking India has the power of assimilating poetry into prose. Many south Asian writers are bilingual but none use the non English words with as ease as Sidhwa uses it in her novels. Besides, she is greatly inspired by Urdu and Punjabi language and her art reveals it. Being a feminist writer she creates her language into a feminine space where her novels flourish Bapsi Sidhwa quotations in her novels from great Urdu poets as Allama Iqbal and Faiz Ahmad Faiz not only give a specific charm to her novels but also accentuate its content. The basic nature of woman is more emotive than men, and emotions cannot be better expressed than in poetry. In this respect Bapsi Sidhwa becomes a woman’s novelist. It is rather an audacious attempt in literature to incorporate urdu poetry in English novel in the Roman English script. But Sidhwa does it so beautifully that both the languages become one. Few instances goes as:

Mere bachpan ke sathi mujhe bhool na jana Dekho dekho hanse na zamana, hanse na zamana. Friends from our childhood don’t forget us. see that a changed world does not mock us. (159) Tum aye ho na shab-e-intezar guzri hai- Talaash main hai seher baar baar guzri hai! You never came … the waitful night never passed though many dawns have passed in the waiting. (245) Kiya mujhe ishq ne zalim ko aab ahista ahista, Ke aatish gul ko karti hai gulab ahista ahista. (248)

Bapsi Sidhwa’s writing is what is known as gynocritique in the terms of Elaine Shoewalter. Gynociticism is concerned with woman as writer- “with woman as producer of textual meaning, with the history, themes, genres and structures of literatures of literature by women. Its subjects include psychodynamics of female creativity, linguistics and problem of a female language; the trajectory of the individual or collective female literary career; literary history; and of course, studies of particular writers and work.”(147) Being a diasporic writer, she has the themes of expatriate feelings in her works. In addition to this she addresses the issues related to women in minority community. It is whether Zaitoon of The Pakistani Bride or Freddy of The Crow Eaters, the language is refined but experimental enough to depict the psyche of women. In Ice Candy Man she experiments with narrative strategies thereby giving a twist to the language while delineating the detesting communal violence. Like a true gynocritic Bapsi Sidhwa gracefully employs her imagination and then evolves a language of narration to paint her novels. Uzam Aslam Khan is a writer who cannot be ignored in the discussion of women writers who are venturing in new English. A Pakistani diasporic writer Uzma is known for her novels like The Story of Nobel Rot, Trespassing and The Geometry of God. Her art is witty and her language is rich in metaphor and images.


The noteworthy thing about the writing of Uzam Aslam Khan is her expertise in wordplay. Her wordplay disrupts the set stereotype of writing by women.

Inside me, a devil is unleashed. Like Al Khwarizmi, God needs empty space to create. Without it, He faces an impasse. His intersections get crammed, like the roads in Lahore. He leaves. (16)

Uzma Aslam Khan has implemented a new technique in her novel, The Geometry of God, which is the spelling of words according to the sound as it is written in Hindi script. In a way she has used her own spellings for many words. For example, ‘cheep’ for cheap, ‘qu’ for queue, ‘windo’ for window, ‘sat lite’ for satellite, ‘pawridge’ for porridge, ‘dizz aster’ for diasater and numerous other words. Such innovations brought revolution in writing by women belonging to South Asia. The experimentation with language in English novel is not new but it belonged only to western writers. Queen’s English got a challenge in the works of Uzma Aslam Khan. Uzma has used the spelling of because as big cause. She writes:

Then the man said the making of the road reminded him that a bird does not sing big cause it has an answer it sings big cause it has a song and Nana started to cry. (49) Nana digs for wail in a few weeks. It is another thing he can do big cause he is sacked. (49)

In a way she has given a new meaning to her sentences. There no lack of form but the diction and vocabulary makes her distinct in novel writing. She was criticicized but very few could read between the lines: arrival of writing with language familiar to one and all. For instance:

She does not stop.’… It is you taught me there are two ways of noing intelligence and taste. Khayal and Zauq. In the first, what is nown is seprit from what nose. In the second, it is the same. Without Aunty messy, no taste. (51)

There are many other examples also in the novel:

There is a connection between how we relate to wild animals and to God. When we see the lion, what is ex perienced is not only a fear or aww. It is a desire to konk er… To know Him, person ali. It is a sir ender but also a konk west. (52-53)

Not the way the glamaris woman in the front seat keeps agling. (55) How do I no he is cute? I want Nana to speak Amal puts her arm around me, this is called desprit (57).

In this way, it is a technique which is innovative and not employed by anybody before in the Literay world. Toni Morrison, the winner of the Nobel Prize for literature in 1993, may well be regarded as the most accomplished, innovative and important living novelist of African American Literature. As a subtle technician of words she most adeptly combines lyrical modernism with magic realism and naturalism. The results of such craftsmanship are intricate but fascinating tales of love, relationships, death and betrayal. In literature Post-Modernism is


not the end of modernism but rather its extension. Modernism was characterized by a breaking away from established norms, traditions and conventions. There was also a great deal of experiment in forms and styles and techniques. Other features were an eclectic approach and the use of magic realism. Morrison’s writing is characterized by several of these so called post- modernist features and she has the methods of deconstruction. To do

justice to her role as a black woman writer of the twentieth and twenty first century, and referring to some of her narrative techniques she says:

Neither blackness nor “people of color” stimulates in me notions of excessive, limitless love, anarchy, or routine dread. I cannot rely on these metaphorical shortcuts because I am a black writer struggling with and through a language that can powerfully evoke and enforce hidden signs of racial superiority, cultural hegemony, and dismissive “othering” of people and language which are by no means marginal or already and completely known and knowable in

The kind of work I have always wanted to do requires

my work

me to learn how to maneuver ways to free up the language from its sometimes sinister, frequently lazy, almost always predictable employment of racially informed and determined chains.(x- xi)

Morrison wants to write her own version of “blackness” and “people of color” and while doing this her language becomes her deconstructive tool. In writing her stories she herself becomes an ancestor figure, an important part of the black community, and guides her readers to understanding a culture/heritage and a past. For this purpose her language is powerful, poetic and political. Barbara Hill Rigney says:

like the Sibyl of mythology, Morrison scatters her signs, her political signs, and it is only through an analysis of her language that we can reconstruct an idea of the political and artistic revolution constituted in her art work. “Confrontational,” “unpoliced,” hers is the language of black and feminine discourse- semiotic, maternal, informed as much by silence as by dialogue, as much by absence as by presence. (7)

Frantz Fanon argued that, “[m]astery of language affords remarkable power.”(xi)Toni Morrison’s language has got the extraordinary mastery that infuses her writing with ‘remarkable power.’ For her, language is an agency by which she can voice the powerful stories she imagines of her community and especially of its women. In The Bluest Eye (1970), she introduces the novel with lines from the Dick and Jane

nursery reader: “Here is the house. It is green and white. It has a red door

family. Mother, father, Dick and Jane live in this green- and- white house. They are very happy.”(1) What follows in the rest of the chapter is in stark contrast to the ideal world portrayed in the primer. In fact Morrison adopts this technique in the entire novel, comparing and contrasting not only the emotional elements but also the material world that is inhabited by the two races. Thus the houses belonging to the whites are shown as well- kept, beautiful and imply the presence of money. The artifacts, the cutlery, the food, the children and even the neighbourhoods are well appointed. The houses of the blacks on the other hand are sparse, in many cases shabby and dirty, and have the air of deprivation. As the novels progresses the words of the primer become progressively smaller and start to run into each other. This condensed form of the primer represents the chaos in black lives in harsh opposition to the ideal version of a white American family. The story of the young, unloved black girl Pecola Breedlove is as much an indictment of the black

Here is the


community as it is the portrayal of the cruel world that black girls and women live in. As a feminist Morrison’s believes that the responsibility of the black community lies in nurturing its own people, more so because the world outside the community is so harsh. She shows how Pecola’s conclusion that the world would love her if only she had a pair of blue eyes is the result of the failure of not only her own family but the failure of the community as well to sustain her and counter the ravages of the racist world. Morrison has experimented in the same way in Beloved (1987) also. Throughout the section where Beloved narrates the story of her return from death to her mother Sethe, there are no punctuation marks save the very first line. The narrative goes as: “I am

Beloved and she is mine. I see her take flowers away from leaves she puts them in a round basket the leaves are not for her she fills the basket she opens the grass I would help her but the clouds are in the way how can I say things that are pictures” (248) Morrison has invented this form to depict the after death experience of Beloved. But it could also be read as the symbolic representation of slavery that was no different from death for the slaves. Gurleen Grewal aptly states: “Morrison certainly deterritorializes the English language. Entering the bourgeois aesthetic field of the Anglo American novel, Morrison appropriates classical and biblical myths and the canonical writings of high modernism and places them in the matrix of black culture.”(10) The use of magic realism in her writings puts Morrison in the same category as novelists Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Gunter Grass, Angela Carter and Salman Rushdie. A Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory describes the characteristic features of Magic Realism as, “mingling and juxtaposition of the realistic and the fantastic and the bizarre, skilful time shifts,” “miscellaneous use of dreams, myths and fairy stories,” “the element of surprise or abrupt shock, the horrific and the inexplicable.”(488) Morrison has made use of these elements in her novels to drive home the points she wants to make. In Song of Solomon, Milkman meets an old woman Circe in his quest of gold. It is said that she died a

long time back. He thinks: “Perhaps this woman is Circe. But Circe is dead

be dead. Not because of the wrinkles, and the face so old it could not be alive, but because out of the toothless mouth came the strong, mellifluent voice of a twenty year old girl.”(240) Similarly the reference to the blind horsemen of Isle des Chevaliers that Son sees is also a part of magic realism. In Tar Baby, there are two instances of the supernatural. The first is the women in the swamp Jadine encounters and second the women in Rosa’s room where she spends a night. In Beloved, Beloved is a ghost that returns to its mother to quench her ‘mother hunger’. It is important to note here that Morrison’s blending of the realistic and fantastic and her use of magic realism is not without a purpose. In Song of Solomon and Tar Baby, Circe and the swamp women, signify the past and ancient knowledge that they wish to share with other women. Circe provides Milkman with the information about his grandmother and her marriage with his grandfather. The swamp women and the women in Rosa’s room try to draw Jadine’s attention towards a culture she is oblivious of. They are symbols of the celebration of feminine rootedness. The blind horsemen represent the legendary history of the survival of the African American people while Beloved’s return from death “verbalizes the struggle to avoid black erasure in white society by stating her need for recognition as accepted subject rather than as a marginalized “other.” (1) Beloved might also be understood as an effort to establish a black feminist identity by a woman who has been destroyed by slavery. So we find that magic realism for Morrison is not merely a means to add to the effects of the background and setting of her novels, but it becomes in her hand a tool to present her views more metaphorically and symbolically.

she had to


Toni Morrison is contemporary, literary and experimental in her style with a reputation of a masterful stylist storyteller who creates magic through her writing. But she is also firmly grounded in the culture of her community especially, the community of women. There seems to be multiple reasons due to which these experimentations come in writing. Sometimes they seem to be a spontaneous outcome from the pen of the writer. They emerge from a mind that wants to discharge what it has experienced in a particular cultural surrounding. Sometimes ‘manner’ of speaking becomes petty in front of ‘matter’. Due to the factors related to their history, society, and personal life, the content of novel downsizes the importance of form of writing. The emotional outflow is virile enough to ignore the matter. Then the result is a novel that tends to break free of all the traditions in language. If viewed from a post colonial perspective sometimes such form of experimentation in writing might also be a deliberate attempt to carve out a style of writing non-conforming to the standards of writings as set by colonizers. Since writing similar to the previous masters in content and style show a feeling of reverence to them, the writers opted a way other than them. Writing exists beyond that set norms of language. These four writers, by writing different and carving their own niche uphold the names of their countries and give a voice to their history that was often ignored in the works of the big players in novel in English. Writing in the hands of these women becomes a tool to retaliate, reply and reveal their past as well as present. Writing in a manner that is often plain and simple might not produce the effects on readers that it should. That could seem similar to the works as written by women from decades. Moreover it could also show a monotony and readers might not feel the significance of what is written. Difference in style evokes an interest in reading. Often a new manner of depicting and developing the story symbolically aims towards a meaning deeper than the intended one, as in case of Morrison. Similarly the usage of non English and dialectic words produce a genuine effect in the story. It doesn’t seem to be told from a third person point of view. The play with language that these four writers employ in their works show their daring attitude in writing that could hardly be seen in any man or women writer of third world. Postmodernism has definitely provided them with the opportunity to deconstruct the structures of language but they have performed it beautifully in their novels without spoiling the narrative pattern or the storyline. The exposure of binary opposite, where one was privileged and the other suppressed, is hardly possible without employing language in an innovative and experimental way, and Shashi Deshpande, Uzma Aslam Khan, Bapsi Sidhwa and Toni Morrison have won the battle in novel with their own new and original weapon of language.

References Deshpande, Shashi, Writing from the Margins & Other Essays. New Delhi. Penguin Books. 2003. Southy quoted in Francoise Basch, Relative Creatures: Victorian Women in Society and Novel (New York: Schoken Books, 1974) http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/arts/features/womenwriters/deshpande_style.html Mario Cuoto, “In Divided Times,” review of That Long Silence, Times Literary Supplement, 1 April 1983. Deshpande, Shashi. The Dark Holds No Terror. New Delhi Penguin Books. 1990. That Long Silence. New Delhi Penguin Books. 1993. A Matter of Time. New Delhi. Penguin Books. 1996. Small Remedies. New Delhi. Penguin Books. 2000.


Sidhwa, Bapsi. The Pakistani Bride. New Delhi Penguin Books. 1987. Ice-Candy Man. New Delhi. Penguin Books. 1989. Philip Rics and Patricia Waugh. (eds), Modern Literary Theory. 4 th edition (London:

Arnold) Khan, Uzma Aslam, The Geometry of God. New Delhi. Rupa Books. 2008. Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination (Cambridge:

Harvard University Press, 1992) Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination (Cambridge:

Harvard University Press, 1992) Barbara Hill Rigney, The Voices of Toni Morrison (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1991). Qtd. by Shelley Eversley in The Real Negro: The Question of Authenticity in Twentieth Century African American Literature, Ed. William E. Cain Ed. (New York:

Routledge, 2004) xi. Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye (London: Vintage, 1970). Toni Morrison, Beloved (New York: Vintage Books, 1987). Gurleen Grewal, Circles of Sorrow, Lines of Struggle: The Novels of Toni Morrison (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1998). “Magic Realism.” A Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory. Ed. J A Cuddon (Delhi: Maya Blackwell, Doaba House, 1976). Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon (London: Vintage, 1977). Evelyn Jaffe Schreiber, Subversive Voices: Eroticizing the Other in William Faulkner and Toni Morrison (Knoxville: The University of Tennessee press, 2001).


Teaching Academic Genres in Digital Contexts

Samuel de Carvalho Lima Instituto Federal de Educação, Ciência e Tecnologia do Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil CNPq-Brazil samclima@gmail.com

Júlio César Araújo Universidade Federal do Ceará, Brazil araujo.ufc@gmail.com

Messias Dieb Universidade Federal do Ceará, Brazil mhdieb@gmail.com

Abstract As it is known, the academic community has its own means to have its members communicate among themselves: researchers make use of appropriate genres to share their findings, according to their needs (Swales, 1990). Besides that, we believe that print literacy is essential, but not enough to support people’s successful lives in our society in digital times (Snyder, 2008; 2009). Due to this, teaching academic genres at university becomes mandatory, as well as trying to make students digitally literate (Araújo and Dieb, 2009; Araújo et al. 2010). Thus, the objective of this paper is to analyze the online activities of the semi-presence undergraduate course Reading and Writing Academic Texts, at Federal University of Ceará, Brazil. The results of our analysis allowed the description of the online activities that are currently being suggested in teaching academic genres in digital contexts, and the skills that are potentially developed when accomplishing their proposals. It follows that there is a need for technological training for the language professional, because this way there can be the teaching and learning academic genres through the web by making students expand their reading and writing academic practices.

Keywords: Teaching, Genres, Web

Introduction As it is known, the academic community has its own means to have its members communicate among themselves: researchers make use of appropriate genres to share their findings, according to their needs (Swales, 1990). Besides that, we believe that print literacy is essential, but not enough to support people’s successful lives in our society in digital times (Snyder, 2008; 2009). Due to this, teaching academic genres at university becomes mandatory, as well as trying to make students digitally literate (Araújo and Dieb, 2009; Araújo et al., 2010). Lankshear et al. (2000) highlight the fact that many educators need to find a way to meet the demands of a world mediated by information technology (IT). Teachers and professors, then, have to find a way to integrate IT into their pedagogical practices and make them relevant to the commitment to forming students into active citizens. The interface between IT and education, thus, enables us to notice the emergence of new practices of reading, writing, teaching and learning. These practices are related to what we understand as digital literacy, namely, the way we successfully communicate through virtual web pages (Shetzer and Warschauer, 2000).


Taking all this into consideration, the guiding question we propose for this paper is the following: how can teaching academic genres in digital contexts promote digital literacy? Our hypothesis is that if teaching academic genres in digital contexts foresees web interactivity, it is possible that online activities take into account digital literacy skills, which may promote multiple reading and writing practices in virtual environments. As Franco et al. (2003) point out the advantages of integrating web interactivity into university pedagogical practices, we aimed to analyze the teaching of the semi-presence undergraduate course Reading and Writing Academic Texts, at Federal University of Ceará, Brazil, taking into account the online activities proposed in the course and the literacy practice students have to perform. Doing this, we believe that we affirm our commitment to the Applied Linguistics, a field that helps us understand human social practices and interactions (Moita Lopes, 2006).

Literature Review Regarding teaching academic genres in digital times, we believe that teachers who are aware of web interactivity may be more likely to develop pedagogical practices which include digital literacy. These teachers, more digitally literate, can create more opportunities for students expand their social practices of reading and writing in virtual environments, taking into account the different uses students already update in front of a web-connected computer. To Cristea (2004), web interactivity and teaching-learning process can benefit from each other, and this confluence can bring a synergistic effect, resulting in meaningful experiences to the participants involved. When considering the web as a phenomenon that prioritizes the authorship and information construction online, as well as its purpose of promoting its output pondering cultural, language and education diversity worldwide, we can say that teachers should be encouraged to make use of web interactivity in language teaching-learning contexts. So, the result of all this can promote participants’ communication and social interaction in authentic language use, which emerges from social practices of reading and writing in virtual environments, for instance, during the course Reading and Writing Academic Genres. We highlight that the actions that update web interactivity in order to mediate teaching- learning processes at undergraduate level in Brazil are very new. A prominent initiative in this context is the Open University of Brazil, which in partnership with other several Brazilian universities, including the Federal University of Ceará, promotes access to university education using Distance Education methodology. It is within this context that we seek to carry out a preliminary descriptive study, trying to elucidate some of the practices that are being held in the context of teaching academic genres in digital times, adjusting our investigation to digital literacy and online activities present in this context. Concerning digital literacy, Shetzer and Warschauer (2000) state that it is composed of communication, construction and research. Regarding communication, it means particularly computer-mediated communication (CMC), which deals with contacting individuals or groups to ask questions, giving opinions, sharing advice and knowledge, responding to other people’s contact, participating in collaborative projects, selecting the most appropriate tool and genres to mediate interaction, etc. Regarding construction, it means the practice of creating and managing web pages and hypertexts, individually or collaboratively, which involves multimedia and co-construction. Regarding research, it means finding, organizing and making use of information available on the web. In relation to online activities, we believe that they can be used as potential collaborators to digital literacy development, especially in distance learning courses, as they can provide students with familiarity with web interactivity, namely: global interactive communication;


multimediatic hypertext creation; audio, music, video, photo and animation production and editing; easy network-connected publication (Warschauer and Ware, 2008). Salmon (2002) coined the expression e-tivities to refer to online activities that enhance active and participatory learning. To the author, these activities can be responsible for organizing principles and pedagogies focused on implementing web technologies. They should be also easily accessible with their guidelines exposed in a simple message called invitation. Lima (2010a; 2010b; 2010c) and Lima and Araújo (2010; 2011) show how online activities proposed in Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) can be responsible to the expansion of reading and writing practices and promote digital literacy. The focus on online activities are justified by the fact that students, participants in teaching-learning processes in VLE, should perform an active and autonomous attitude in relation to their needs, taking into account speed and flexibility when interacting with the contents available online. Therefore, we believe that, when teaching academic genres in digital times, online activities tend to be digital literacy potential collaborators, since they can take hold of the wide range of web interactivity.

Methodology The Federal University of Ceará and its Virtual Institute in partnership with the Open University of Brazil provide courses with distance education resources, such as VLE and other web technologies. The undergraduate courses are offered in a semipresential way, aimed at expanding university education to regions where this opportunity is considered difficult. Students, then, have 20% of the workload in presential meetings and 80% of the workload through distance activities held in the VLE developed by the university itself. This way, students need to get online by internet access, so they can carry out the online activities available at Federal University of Ceará VLE. The online activities present in the course Reading and Writing Academic Texts constituted the corpus of this research. They also represented the way teaching academic genres in digital times may happen. For the purpose of our analysis, then, we used 10 online activities found in the course Reading and Writing Academic Texts, comprising all online activities that are offered by the teachers/professors and should be performed by students in this course. Thus, we intended to establish a relationship between digital literacy skills and online activities by conducting the description of the online activities guidelines and the skill they potentially promote. We highlight that, for this, we focused on the most prominent feature present in each online activity, considering layout, orientation, etc. It is worth mentioning that the results of description, categorization and analysis are based on the information raised by the data itself and its interpretation. Thereby, the procedures performed to elucidate the description of teaching academic genres in digital times were: accessing to Federal University of Ceará VLE; exploring the contents of the course Reading and Writing Academic Texts; finding the online activities; relating online activities and potential promoted skills.

Findings and Discussion In this section, we present the online activity types found in teaching academic genres in digital times. Accordingly, the course Reading and Writing Academic Texts has 2 types of online activities. The first type deals with digital literacy and web interactivity and the second type deals with digital literacy, web interactivity and communication. This kind of description is relevant to our study, because it takes into account the information that emerged from the data found in the research and our interpretation based on digital literacy


theory (Shetzer and Warschauer, 2000). The course Reading and Writing Academic Text presented a total of 10 online activities, which are clearly related to 2 different practices students have to update in Federal University of Ceará VLE: 6 online activities related to the portfolio and 4 online activities related to the virtual forum, both available in the VLE. In relation to the 6 portfolio online activities available in the course Reading and Writing Academic Texts, we realize that they are online activities that deal with digital literacy and web interactivity in a way that they make students feel more comfortable with web and VLE resources. This kind of activity guides students to, first, read papers and articles, then, reflect on what they have read and, after that, write some other texts, which may result in various academic genres, such as abstracts, reviews, papers, etc. Then, students have to post their compositions in a virtual portfolio available in the VLE. Based on data observation, we noticed that, at first, regarding interactivity, this kind of activity lacks communication, because it does not promote interaction between students or between students and teachers, necessarily. The only interaction clearly noticed and necessary in this case is the one between student, online activity itself, and class content. It is worth noting that the reading and writing practices promoted by this kind of online activity do not seem very different from the ones carried out in presential contexts, although they can happen in VLE: reading print material, reflecting on contents and writing compositions based on readings and reflections are practices that can be performed without any digital technology or web interactivity. We also understand that the literacy practices promoted by this kind of activity refer typically to the academic area, and that the practice of reading articles and writing comments, summaries, reviews, and other texts, have always been related to teaching academic genres regardless internet use, web interactivity or digital times. Moreover, although this kind of online activity asks students to a construction movement, it has always to do with the production of a verbal text, without updating the construction described by Shetzer and Warschauer (2000):

integrating different modalities, such as audio, video, etc. However, it is important to notice that, as the course is a semipresential one, students need to submit their compositions by using web interactivity updated in the Federal University of Ceará VLE, as they must post their compositions in a virtual portfolio to be evaluated and graded. We believe it is pertinent to highlight the fact that this kind of online activity fosters a familiarity with web and VLE resources, as it customizes web interactivity by offering a virtual place for students to keep their compositions, so that they can be available to teachers as they need to evaluate and grade students outputs, fulfilling a well defined pedagogical purpose. We, then, present an example of the guidelines of a portfolio online activity: “read the article… and select the definitions of genres and text sequences that you find more interesting. Based on the concepts chosen, write a short essay commenting on text genres and liking them with text sequences… Do not forget to provide the references at the end of your text… Post it in your portfolio”. As we can see, this kind of online activity used in the course Reading and Writing Academic Texts does not meet the skills of communication, construction and research, presented by Shetzer and Warschauer (2000). However, it is worth noting that it deals with other skills: it provides students with the opportunity of being online in web pages; it provides some interactions between student and web content; it provides students with contact and familiarity with web interactivity. Concerning the 4 forum online activities, available in the course Reading and Writing Academic Texts, we realize that they are online activities that deal with digital literacy, web interactivity and communication in a way that they make students interact between them and the teacher through web and VLE resources. This kind of activity guides students


to, first, read a text available in the VLE, and, then, discuss the reading with other students and the teacher in the virtual forum, also available in the VLE. Regarding web interactivity, it is important to highlight the virtual forum genre, interpreted as a reissue of the text genre used to discuss specific problematic situations in a given community, in order to, collaboratively, find a solution to problems, through the exposure of ideas and diverse opinions listed in a broad debate. As the former, in digital times, this issue continues to preserve the initial function of playing with and refining arguments to develop new ideas and reaffirm or change positions by deepening knowledge (Xavier and Santos, 2005). This online activity also promotes interaction and communication that may result in the formation of a group discussion on relevant issues concerning the topics studied, enhance message exchange that encourages frequent communication in VLE, promote frequent reading and writing practices in the VLE, rise reflections and allow collaborative knowledge construction (Freire et al., 2007). Thus, when teaching academic genres in digital times, we may find practices that deal mainly with communication, by mediating the interaction between participants in the VLE, through virtual forum online activities. Taking all this into consideration, we can say that this kind of online activity promotes digital literacy and communication, as it demands to contact individuals, when interacting with classmates, and to select the appropriate web technology for the purpose of forming a group discussion on relevant topics, when using the virtual forum. We, then, present an example of the guidelines of a forum online activity: “After reading the article… try to list the stylistic and rhetorical differences between a scientific article and a disclosure paper. Discuss with your classmates the implications and the changes that may occur in the process of adapting a scientific genre to another”. Taking into account the demands of this type of online activity, we highlight that it may enhance active and participatory learning, as it provides students with the opportunity for discussion and knowledge construction. It is clear that it also makes use of web interactivity for the realization of principles and pedagogies organized and aimed at optimizing teaching in digital times, as it is suggested by Salmon (2002).

Conclusion This paper presented, in an exploratory way, the description of teaching academic genres in digital times, updated by Federal University of Ceará and its undergraduate course Reading and Writing Academic Texts, taking into account the online activities and the potential development of digital literacy in the course. After understanding that web interactivity may enhance teaching-learning processes and be successfully used in distance education, we realize the importance of online activities, as they may be important resources to promote autonomous and knowledge construction by interaction, when they consider web interactivity, digital literacy and communication. Regarding the pedagogical implications that emerged from our results and discussion, we noticed that both the flexibility of web interaction and teachers’ creativity may be responsible for developing and offering dynamic online activities that bring together learning contents and developing digital literacy. Therefore, careful planning and commitment to training students for successful practices in society need to be taken into account when teaching academic genres in digital times.

References Araújo, J. C. et al. (Ed.) (2010), Línguas na web: links entre ensino e aprendizagem, Editora Unijuí, Ijuí. Araújo, J. C.; Dieb, M. (Ed.) (2009), Letramentos na web: gêneros, interação e ensino, Edições UFC, Fortaleza.


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Analysis of the Function of Picture Books and Decoding Images in Children Literature

Eisa Amiri Department of Education, Islamic Azad University, Lamerd Branch, Lamerd, Iran

Daryoosh Hayati Department of English, Islamic Azad University, Lamerd Branch, Lamerd, Iran daryooshhayati@gmail.com

Sayed Ahmad Hashemy Department of Education, Islamic Azad University, Lamerd Branch, Lamerd, Iran hashemy.ahmad@yahoo.com

Abstract Picture books are commonly assumed to be related to and about very young or pre-literate children, a simple form that is beneath serious critical notice. However, some consider them as chil¬dren’s literature’s genuinely original contribution to literature in general; they are a polyphonic form that embodies many codes, styles, textual devices and intertextual references, and which frequently pushes at the boundaries of convention. This essay, based on the second view considering children literature as a serious contribution to literature, demonstrates not only how much there is to say about a picture, but also how much there is to learn about the process of decoding pictures in children literature in John Burningham’s Mr Gumpy’s Outing. Moreover, it is further discussed how Picture books in general, and all their various components, are what semiotic experts call ‘signs’.

Keywords: Inter-texuality, Polyphonic, Textual Devices, Decoding, John Burningham

Introduction The book, John Burningham’s Mr Gumpy’s Outing (1970), is intended for the least experienced of audiences – young children; and therefore it is a ‘Picture book’, a combination of verbal texts and visual images. He provided children with books like this on the assumption that pictures communicate more naturally and more directly than words, and thus help young readers make sense of the texts that accompany. But are pictures so readily understood? And are picture books really so straightforward? If one tries for a moment to look at the picture of Mr Gumpy Without engaging one’s usual assumptions, one realizes that they are taking much about it for granted. Burningham’s image does in sonic way actually resemble a mail, as the words ‘man’ or `Mr Gumpy’ do not; it is what linguists identify as an ‘iconic’ representation, whereas the words are ‘symbolic, arbitrary sounds or marks which stand for something they do not resemble. Nevertheless, if one doesn’t know that what they are actually looking at – marks on a page – represented something else, they would see nothing in the picture but meaningless patches of color. sonic general understanding of what pictures are is required before one can read these patches as a person, apparently named Mr Gumpy, living in a real or fictional world which exists somewhere else, outside the picture. Even so, previous knowledge of pictures leads to assure that this man is different from his image. He is not four inches tall. He is not flat and two-dimensional. His eyes are not small black dots, his mouth not a thin black crescent. His skin is not paper-Whitt, nor scored with thin orange lines. these qualities of the image are translated into John Burningham’s work.


The objects they represent, and assume that the four-inch figure ‘is’ a man of normal height, the orange lines oil white merely normal skin. But before translating the lines into skin, one must know what skin is, and what it looks like. A pre-existing knowledge of actual objects is needed to understand which qualities of representations, like the orange color here, do resemble those of the represented objects, and which, like the lines here, are merely features of the medium or style of representation, and therefore to be ignored. For the same reason, it must be assumed that the sky seen above the man does not end a few inches above his head – which this is a border, an edge to the depiction, but not a representation of an edge in the world depicted. And it must be realized that the house is not smaller than the man and attached to his arm, but merely at sonic distance behind him in the imaginary space the picture implies. But now, perhaps the degree to which the picture requires is exaggerated. After all, more distant real objects do appear to us to be smaller than closer ones. But while that’s true, it’s also true that artists have been interested in trying to record that fact – what we call perspective – only since the Renaissance, and then mostly in Europe and European- influenced cultures. Not all pictures try to represent perspective, and it takes a culture- bound prejudice to look at visual images expecting to find perspective and, therefore, knowing how to interpret it. Children must learn these prejudices before they can make sense of this picture. ‘Those who can accurately interpret the relative size of Mr Gumpy and the house do spoil the expectation that the picture represents the things as they do actually appear to a viewer. Applying that expectation might lead a viewer to’ be confused. Burningham’s depiction of Mr Gumpy’s eyes. These small black dots evoke a different style of representation, by means of simplified exaggeration rather than resemblance. In order to make sense of this apparently straightforward picture, then, one must have knowledge of differing styles and their differing purposes, and perform the complex operation of interpreting different parts of the pictures in different ways. So far understanding of this image is dealt with, and the fact is ignored that pleasure is evoked by looking at it. Shapes and textures leads one to agree with Brian Alderson (1990:

114), when he names Mr Gumpy’s Outing as one of `those picture books which have no ambitions beyond conveying simple delight’. But Alderson forgets the extent to which experiencing that simple delight depends on still further complex and highly sophisticated assumptions about what pictures do and how viewers should respond to them. These particular assumptions are especially relevant in considering art intended for chil- dren. Ruskin famously suggested in 1857 that taking sensuous pleasure in pictures requires adults to regain all `innocence of the eye’ he described as `childish’ (Herbert, p.2). The implication is that children themselves, not having yet learned the supposedly counterproductive sophistication that leads adults to view pictures only in terms of their potential to convey information, are automatically in possession of innocent eyes, automatically capable of taking spontaneous delight in the colors and textures of pictures. According to Herbert:

This sort of ‘PLOT’ visual perception, freed from concerns with function, use, and labels, is perhaps the most highly sophisticated sort of seeing that we do; it is not the `natural’ thing that the eye does (whatever that would be). The `innocent eve’ is a metaphor for a highly experienced and cultivated sort of vision. (p. 118) Indeed Burningham captures effects of light falling on grass and bricks relates strongly to the impressionist tradition the Picture evokes for one – a tradition that build a whole morality upon the pleasure viewers could and should take in just such effects.


Could pleasure be gained innocently, without the knowledge of impressionism? As Arthur Danto asserts, ‘to see something as art requires something the eve cannot descry – an atmosphere of artistic theory, knowledge of the history of-art: an artworld.’(p. 431) The `simple delight’ sophisticated adults like Brian Alderson take in this picture is not likely to be shared by children unaware of the ethical Value of all `innocent eye’, untutored in the ‘artworld’. Nor is the picture the only thing read in the context of previous assumptions. There arc also the words. ‘This is Mr Gumpy,’ they say. But what is it exactly? The paper page in view? The entire image visible on it? Of course not – but it is essential to know conventions of picture captioning to realize that these words are pointing towards a perusal of the contents of the image, in order to find somewhere within it a depiction of the specific object named. And besides, just who is telling us that this is Mr Gumpy? It is possible, even logical, that the speaker is the person in the picture – as it is, for instance, when we watch TV news broadcasts; and then perhaps he is telling us that Mr Gumpy is the name of the watering can he is holding? It is our prior knowledge of the narrative conventions of picture books that leads us to assume that the speaker is not the figure depicted but someone else, a narrator rather than a character in the story, and that the human being depicted is the important object in the picture, and therefore the most likely candidate to be `Mr GUITIPY’.

Methodology In this essay a descriptive and analytical approach is applied in an intertextual study of children literature, especially in decoding picture books so as to prove not only there is much to say about a picture, but also how much there is to learn about the process of decoding pictures in children literature according to the views of experts in children literature like Hunt and Alderson, Moreover this study is based on the theoretical views of psychologists as Arnbeim as well as communication experts in the field like Schwarcz and the Philosophers of the Visual Arts like Danto in practice.

Findings and Discussion As does in fact turn out to be the case – but only for those who know the most elementary conventions of reading books: that the front of the book is the cover with the bound edge on the left, and that the pages must be looked at in a certain order, across each double-page spread from left to right and then a turn to the page on the other side of the right-hand sheet. And, of course, these conventions do not operate for books printed in Japan for example, even if those books contain only pictures, and no Japanese words. In other words: picture books like Mr Gumpy’s Outing convey `simple delight’ by surprisingly complex means, and communicate only within a network of conventions and assumptions, about visual and verbal representations and about the real objects they repre- sent. Picture books in general, and all their various components, are what semiotic experts call `signs’ – in Umberto Eco’s words (1985: 176), `something [which] stands to somebody for something else in some respect or capacity’. The most significant fact about such representations is the degree to which we take them for granted. Both adults and children do see books like Mr, Gumpy as simple, even obvious, and, as discovered in the exercise report above, it takes effort to become aware of the arbitrary conventions and distinctions we unconsciously take for granted, to see the degree to which that which seems simply natural is complex and artificial. It is for that reason that such exercises are so important, and that thinking of picture books in semiotic terms is our most valuable tool in coming to understand them. According to


Marshall Blonsky, `The semiotic “head”, or eye, sees the world as an immense message, replete with signs that can and do deceive us and lie about the world’s condition’ (p.67). Because we assume that pictures, as iconic signs, do in some significant wav actually resemble what they depict, they invite us to see objects as the pictures depict them – to see the actual in terms of the fictional visualization of it. Indeed, this dynamic is the essence of picture books. The pictures `illustrate’ the texts – that is, they purport to show us what is meant by the words, so that we come to understand the objects and actions the words refer to in terms of the qualities of the images that accompany them – the world outside the book in terms of the images within it. And the world as they show it is not necessarily the world all viewers would agree to see. Speaking of what he identifies as `visual culture’, Nicholas XIirzocff sets all visual information firmly in the context of the specific culture that produces and receives it, and describes it as `a constantly challenging place of social interaction and definition in terms of class, - ender, sexual and racial identities’ (p.4). Picture books, with their intended purpose of showing what the world implied by the words looks like, and thus means, are particularly powerful milieus for these sorts of interactions. Furthermore, the intended audience of picture books is by definition inexperienced – in need of learning how to think about their world, how to see and understand themselves and others. Consequently, picture books are a significant means by which we integrate voting children into the ideology of our culture. As John Stephens suggests:


are not necessarily undesirable, and in the sense of a system of beliefs by

which we make sense of the world, social life would be impossible without them (p. 8).

But that does not mean that all aspects of social life arc equally desirable, nor that all the ideology conveyed by picture books is equally acceptable. Picture books can and do often encourage children to take for granted views of reality that many adults find objectionable. It is for this reason above all that we need to make ourselves aware of the complex signification of the apparently simple and obvious words and pictures of a book like Mr Gumpys Outing. As Gillian Rose says:

entails, among other things, thinking about how they offer

very particular visions of social categories such as class, gender, race, sexuality and soon’


‘Looking carefully at images

What, then, does John Burningham’s picture and text mean-’ What have we been led to assume is ‘natural’ in agreeing that this is, in fact, Mr Gumpy? Most obviously, it is accepted that what matters most about the picture is the human being in it: it encourages a not particularly surprising species - centricity. But it does so by establishing a hierarchic relationship among the objects depicted: only one of them is important enough to be named by the text, and so require more attention from the viewer. Intriguingly, young children tend to scan a picture with equal attention to all parts; the ability to pick out and focus on the human at the centre is therefore a learned activity, and one that reinforces important cultural assumptions, not just about the relative value of particular objects but also about the general assumption that objects do indeed have different values and do therefore require different degrees of attention. Not surprisingly, both the text and the picture place the human depicted within a social context. He is Mr Gumpy, male and adult, his authority signaled by the fact that he is known only by his title and last name and that he wears the sort of jacket which represents business-like adult behavior. The jacket disappears in the central portions of the book, as


visual evidence that Mr Gumpy’s boat trip is a vacation from business as usual, during which the normal conventions arc relaxed. Then, at the end, Mr Gumpy wears an even fancier jacket as host at a tea party which, like the meals provided to children by adults at the end of children’s stories from ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ through Potter’s Peter Rabbit (1902) and Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are (1963), confirms the benefits for children of an adult’s authority. But despite the absence of this visual sign of his authority in many of the pictures, Mr Gumpy always remains Mr Gumpy in the text – and lie is always undeniably in charge of the children and animals who ask to accompany him on his ride, always entitled to make the rules for them. Apparently, then, his authority transcends the symbolism of the jacket, which might be donned by anybody and therefore represents the status resident in a posi- tion rather than the power attached to all individual person. Mr Gumpy’s authority must then emerge from the only other things we know about him: that tic is male and adult, and that, as the text makes a point of telling us, lie ‘owned’ the boat. Apparently it is more important to know this than anything about Mr Cumpy’s marital status or past history or occupation – about all of which the text is silent. Both by making ownership significant and by taking it for granted that adult male owners have the right to make rules for children and animals, that do not and presumably cannot own boats, the book clearly implies a social hierarchy. Nor is this the only way in which it supports conventional values. A later picture shows us that one of the children, the one with long hair, wears a pink dress, while the other has short hair and wears shorts and a top. In terms of the behavior of actual children, both might be girls; but a repertoire of conventional visual codes would lead most viewers to assume that the child in shorts is male – just as we assume that trouser-wearing figures on signs signal men’s washrooms, skirt-wearing figures women’s washrooms. But whether male or not, the wearer of shorts behaves differently from the wearer of the dress. A later Picture of the aftermath of a boating accident shows the one wet child in shorts sensibly topless, the other equally wet child still modestly sodden in her dress. This picture takes for granted and so confirms that traditionally female attire requires traditionally constraining feminine behavior. As suggested earlier the text is silent about Mr Gumpy’s marital status. That silence might itself speak loudly, for it mirrors and might be seen to represent the silences created by the closeting of homosexuality in the world outside the book – the need of many people not to speak about it. I might then follow Melynda Husker’s advice, view the book as might queer theorists (those interested in becoming aware of the attitudes to homosexuality lurking in literary texts), and try to ‘make visible the ways in which queerness inheres in a variety of picture books’ (P. 69). Mr Gumpy’s outing might reveal the degree to which picture books, indeed children’s books generally, replicate counter-productive cultural prejudices about sexual diversity by their forms of silence about it. More obviously, the story of Mr Gumpy’s Outing revolves around promises that the children should not squabble, the cat should not chase the rabbit, and so on, before he allows them oil to his boat; the creatures break their promises, and the boat tips. My knowledge of the didactic impulse behind most picture-book stories leads me to expect that an ethical judgment is about to be made: either Mr Gumpy was wrong to demand these promises, or the children and animals were wrong to make them. Curiously, however, the book implies no such judgment. The pictures, which show Mr Gumpy as a soft, round mail with a pleasant, bland face, suggest that he is anything but the sort of unreasonable disciplinarian we ought to despise; and even though the breaking of promises leads to a spill, nothing is said or shown to insist that we should make a negative judgment of the children and animals. After all, exactly such outbreaks of anarchy are the


main source of pleasure in most stories for young children, and therefore to be enjoyed at least as much as condemned. Mr Gumpy himself is so little bothered that he rewards the miscreants with a meal, and even all invitation to come for another ride. Not accidentally, furthermore, the promises all relate to behavior so stereotypical as to seem inevitable: in the world as we most often represent it to children in books, on TV and elsewhere, cats always chase rabbits – and children always squabble. In centering on their inability to act differently, and the fun of tile confusion that ensues when the story reinforces both the validity of the stereotypes and the more general (and again, conservative) conviction that variation from type is unlikely. But why, then, would Mr Gumpy elicit promises which, it seems, could not be kept? This too the text is silence allows us to become aware that his asking the children and animals to do what they are not sensible enough to do reinforces the story’s unspoken but firm insistence on his right to have authority over them. If they ever did mature enough to keep their word, then we couldn’t so blindly assume they were unwise enough to need his leadership. Someone else might be wearing that jacket at the final tea Party. Mr Gumpy’s Outing thus reinforces for its implied young readers as not uncommon set of ideas about the similarity of children to animals, the inevitability of child-like irresponsi- bility in both, and the resultant need for adult authority. In accepting all this as natural, readers of Mr Gumpy’s Outing and many other apparently ‘simple’ picture books gain complex knowledge, not just of the world they live in but also of the place they occupy as individual beings within it – their sense of who they are. This latter is important enough to deserve further exploration. Like most narrative, picture- book stories most forcefully guide readers into culturally acceptable ideas about who they arc through the privileging of the point of view from which they report oil the events they describe. Knowing only what call be known from that perspective, we readers tend to assume it ourselves – to see and understand events and people as the narrative invites us to see them. Ideological theorists call such narrative perspectives ‘Subject positions’: in occupying them, readers are provided with ways of understanding their own subjectivity – their selfhood or individuality. But, as John Stephens suggests, ‘in taking up a position from which the text is most readily intelligible, [readers] are apt to be situated within the frame of the text’s ideology; that is, they are subjected to and by that ideology’ (p. 67). All stories imply subject positions for readers to occupy. Because picture books do so with pictures as well as words, their subject positions have much in common with what Christian Metz (1982) outlines as the one films offer their viewers. The pictures in both offer viewers a position of power. They exist only so that we call look at them: they invite us to observe –and to observe what, in its very nature as a representation, cannot observe us back. In Mr Gumpy’s Outing, Burningham makes the authority of our viewing position clear in the same way most picture-book artists do: by almost always depicting all the characters with their faces turned towards us, even when that makes little sense in terms of the activi- ties depicted. Indeed, the picture in which Mr Gumpy stands with his back to his house while smiling out at us makes sense only in terms of the conventions of photography or portrait painting; as in family snapshots, he is arranged so as to be most meaningfully observable by a (to him) unseen viewer who will be looking at the picture Sonic time after it was made. In confirmation of the relationship between this image and such snapshots, the caption tells us, ‘This is Mr Gumpy’, in the same present tense we use to describe photographic images of events past. In making their faces available to all unseen observer, the characters in Mr Gumpy’s Outing imply not just the observer’s right to gaze, but also their somewhat veiled consciousness of all observer – and therefore their own passive willingness, even desire, to


be gazed at. Like the actors in a play or movie, and like characters in most picture books, they share in a somewhat less aggressive form the invitation to voyeurism that John Berger (1972) discovers in both pin-up photographs and traditional European paintings of nudes. Their implied viewer is a Peeping Toni with the right to peep, to linger over details, to enjoy and interpret and make judgments. But meanwhile, of course, the power suite pictures offer is illusory. In allowing us to observe and to interpret, they encourage us to absorb all the codes and conventions, the signs that make them meaningful; they give us the freedom of uninvolved, egocentric observation only in order to enmesh us in a net Of cultural constraints that work to control egocentricity. For that reason, they encourage a form of subjectivity that is inherently paradoxical. They demand that their implied viewers see themselves as both free and with their freedom constrained, and both enjoy their illusory egocentric separation from others and yet, in the process, learn to feel guilty about it. Interestingly, Mr Gumpy confirms the central importance of such paradoxes by expressing them, not just in the position of its implied viewer, but also in the ambivalence of its story’s resolution. Are we asked to admire or to condemn the children and animals for being triumphantly themselves and not giving in to Mr Gumpy’s attempts to constrain them? In either case, does their triumphantly being themselves represent a celebration of individuality, or an anti-individualist conviction that all cats always act alike’ And if all cats must always act in a cat-like way, what are we to make of the final scene, in which the animals all sit oil chairs like humans and eat and drink out of the kinds of containers humans eat and drink from? Does this last image of animals and children successfully behaving according to adult human standards contradict the apparent message about their inability to do so earlier or merely reinforce the unquestionable authority of tile adult society Mr Gumpy represents throughout? These unanswerable questions arise from the fact that the story deals with animals which both talk like humans and yet cannot resist bleating like sheep – who act sometimes like humans, sometimes like animals. While such creatures do not exist in reality, they appear frequently in picture books, and the stories about them almost always raise questions like the ones Mr Gumpy does. In the conventional world of children’s picture books, the state of animals who talk like humans is a metaphor for the state of human childhood, in which children must learn to negotiate between the animal-like urges of their bodily desires and the demands of adults that they repress desire and behave in socially acceptable ways – that is, as adult humans do. The strange world in which those who bleat as sheep naturally do, or squabble as children naturally do, must also sit oil chairs and drink from teacups, is merely a version of the confusing world children actually live in. Mr Gumpy makes that obvious by treating the children as exactly equivalent to the other animals who go oil the outing. The attitude a picture book implies about whether children should act like the animals they naturally are or the civilized social beings adults want them to be is a key marker in identifying it either as a didactic book intended to teach children or as a pleasurable one intended to please them. Stories we identify as didactic encourage children towards acceptable adult behavior, whereas pleasurable ones encourage their indulgence in what we see as natural behavior. But, of course, both types are didactic. The first is more obviously so because it invites children to stop being `child-like’. In the same way as much traditional adult literature assumes that normal behavior is that typical of white middle-class males like those who authored it, this sort of children’s story defines essentially human values and acceptably human behavior as that of adults like those who produce it.


But books in the second category teach children how to be child-like, through what commentators like Jacqueline Rose (1984) and Myself (1992) have identified as a process of colonization: adults write books for children to persuade them of conceptions of them- selves as children that suit adult needs and purposes. One such image is the intractable, anti-social self-indulgence that Mr Gumpy so assertively forbids and so passively accepts from his passengers. It affirms the inevitability and desirability of a sort of animal-likeness – and child-likeness – that both allows adults to indulge in nostalgia for the not-yet- civilized and keeps children other than, less sensible than, and therefore deserving of less power than, adults. That picture books like Mr Gumpy play a part in the educative processes I’ve outlined here is merely inevitable. Like all human productions, they are enmeshed in the ideology Of the culture that produced them, and the childlikeness they teach is merely what our Culture views as natural in children. But as a form of representation which conveys information by means of both words and pictures, picture books evoke (and teach) a complex set of intersecting sign systems. For that reason, understanding of them can be enriched by knowledge from a variety of intellectual disciplines. Psychological research into picture perception call help us understand the ways in which human beings – and particularly children – see and make sense of pictures; Evelyn Goldsmith (1984) provides a fine similarity, of much of the relevant research in this area. The, Gestalt psychologist Rudolph Arnheim (1974:11) provides a particularly useful outline of ways in which the composition of pictures influences our understanding of what they depict, especially in terms of what lie calls ‘the interplay of directed tensions’ among the objects depicted. Arnheim argues (11) that ‘these tensions are as inherent in any precept as size, shape, location, or colour’, but it can be argued that they might just as logically be viewed as signs – culturally engendered codes rather than forces inherent in nature. In either case, the relationships among the objects in a picture create variations in `visual weight’: weightier objects attract our attention more than others. In the picture of, ‘ Mr Gumpy in front of his house, for instance, the figure of Mr Gun-ipy has great weight because of its position in the middle of the picture, its relatively large size, and its mostly white color, which makes it stand out from the darker surfaces surrounding it. If we think of the picture in terms of the three-dimensional space it implies, the figure of Mr Gumpy gains more weight through its frontal position, which causes it to overlap less important objects like the house, and because it stands over the focal point of the perspective. Meanwhile, however, the bright red color of the house, and the arrow shape created by the path leading towards it, focus some attention on the house; and there is an interplay of tensions among the similarly blue sky, blue flowers and blue trousers, the similarly arched doorway and round-shouldered Mr Gumpy. Analysis of such compositional features can reveal much about how Pictures lead us to interpret the relationships among the objects they represent. Visual objects can have other kinds of meanings also: for a knowledgeable viewer, for instance, an object shaped like a cross can evoke Christian sentiments. Because picture books have the purpose of conveying complex information by visual means, they tend to refer to a wide range of visual symbolisms, and can sometimes be illuminated by knowl- edge of everything from the iconography of classical art to the semiotics of contemporary advertising. Consider, for instance, how the specific house Burningham provides Mr Gumpy conyers, to those familiar with the implications of architectural style, both an atmosphere of rural peacefulness and a sense of middle-class respectability. Furthermore, anyone familiar with Freudian or Jungian psychoanalytical theory and their focus on the unconscious meanings of visual images will find ample material for analysis


in picture books. There may be Freudian implications of phallic power in Mr Gumpy’s punt pole, carefully placed in the first picture of hint on his boat so that it almost appears to emerge from his crotch; in the later picture of the aftermath of the disastrous accident, there is nothing in front of Mr Gumpy’s crotch but a length of limp rope. Meanwhile, Jungians might focus on the archetypal resonances of the watering can Mr Gumpy holds in the first few pictures, its spout positioned at the same angle as the punt pole in the picture that follows, and the teapot lie holds in the last picture, its spout also at the same angle. The, fact that this story of a voyage over and into water begins and ends with Mr Gumpy holding objects that carry liquid, and thus takes him from providing, sustenance for plants to providing sustenance for other humans and animals, might well suggest a complex talc of psychic and/or social integration. Nor is it only the individual objects in pictures that have meaning: pictures as a whole can also express moods and meanings, through their use of already existing visual styles which convey information to viewers who know art history. Styles identified with specific individuals, or with whole periods or cultures, can evoke not just what they might have meant for their original viewers, but also what those individuals or periods or cultures have come to mean to us. Thus, Burningham’s pictures of Mr Gumpy suggest both the style of impressionism and the bucolic peacefulness that it now tends to signify. In addition to disciplines which focus on pictures, there has been an extensive theoretical discussion of the relationships between pictures and words which is especially important in the study of picture books. Most studies in this area still focus on the differences Lensing (1766/1969) pointed out centuries ago in Laocodn: visual representations are better suited to depicting the appearance of objects in spaces, words to depicting the action of objects in time. In a picture book like Mr Gumpy, therefore, the text sensibly says nothing about the appearance of Mr Gumpy or his boat, and the pictures are incapable of actually moving as a boat or an animal does. But pictures can and do provide information about sequential activity. In carefully choosing the best moment of stopped time to depict, and the most communicative compositional tensions among the objects depicted, Burningham can clearly convey the action of a boat tipping, what actions led the characters to take the fixed positions they are shown to occupy, and what further actions will result. Furthermore, the sequential pictures of a picture book imply all the actions that would take the character from the fixed position depicted in one picture to the fixed position in the next – from not quite having fallen into the water in one picture to already drying on the bank in the next. Indeed, it is this ability to imply unseen actions and the passage of time that allows the Pictures in picture books to play the important part they do in the telling of stories.

Conclusion Nevertheless, the actions implied by pictures are never the same as those named in words. The bland statement of Burningham’s text, ‘and into the water they fell’, hardly begins to cover the rich array of actions and responses the picture of the boat tipping lays Out for us. W. J. T. Mitchell (p. 44) concludes that the relationship between pictures and accompanying texts is ‘a complex one of mutual translation, interpretation, illustration, and enlightenment’. Once more, Mr Gumpy’s Outing reveals just how complex. Burningham’s text on its own without these pictures would describe actions by characters with no character: it takes the pictures and knowledge of visual codes to read meaning into these simple actions. Without a text, meanwhile, the pictures of animals that make up most of the book would seem only a set of portraits, perhaps illustrations for an informational guide to animals. Only the text reveals that the animals can talk, and that it is their desire to get on the boat. Indeed, the exact same pictures could easily support a different text, one


about Mr Gumpy choosing to bring speechless animals on board until the boat sinks from their weight and he learns a lesson about greed. So the pictures provide information about the actions described in the words; and at the same time, the words provide information about the appearances shown in the pictures. If we look carefully, in fact, the words in picture books always tell us that things are not merely as they appear in the pictures, and the pictures always show us that events are not exactly as the words describe then. Picture books arc inherently ironic, therefore: a key pleasure they offer is a perception of the differences in the information offered by pictures and texts. Such differences both make the information richer and cast doubt on the truthfulness of each of the means which convey it. The latter is particularly significant: in their very nature, picture books work to make their audiences aware of the limitations and distortions in their representations of the world. Close attention to picture books automatically turns readers into semiotic experts. For young children as well as for adult theorists, realizing that, and learning to become more aware of the distortions in picture-book can have two important results. The first is that it encourages consciousness and appreciation of the cleverness and subtlety of both visual and verbal artists. The more readers and viewers of any age know about the’ codes of representation, the more they can enjoy the ways in which writers and illustrators use those codes in interesting and involving ways. They might, for instance, notice a variety of visual puns in Mr. Gumpy’s Outing: how the flowers in Birmingham’s picture of the rabbit are made up of repetitions of the sane shapes as the rabbit’s eyes, eyelashes and ears, or how his pig’s snout is echoed by the snout-shaped tree branch behind it. The second result of an awareness of signs is even more important: the more both adults and children realize the degree to which all representations misrepresent the world, the less likely they will be to confuse any particular representation with reality, or to be unconsciously influenced by ideologies they have not considered. Making ourselves and our children more conscious of the semiotics of the picture books through which we show them their world and themselves will allow us to give them the power to negotiate their own subjectivities - surely a more desirable goal than repressing them into conformity to our own views.

References Alderson, B. (1990) ‘Picture Book Anatomy’, The Lion and the Unicorn 14, 2: 108-14. Arnbeim, R. (1974) Art and Visual Perception: A Psychology of the Creative Eye, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Berger, J. (1972) Ways of Seeing, London: BBC and Penguin. Blonsky, M. (cd.) (1985) On Signs, Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. Birmingham, J. (1970) Mr Gumpy’s Outing, London: Cape. Danto, A. (1992) ‘The Art-world’, in Alderson, P. (ed.) The Philosophy of the Visual Arts, New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 426-33. Eco, U. (1985) ‘Producing Signs’, in Blonsky, M. (ed.) On Signs, Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. Goldsmith, E. (1984) Research into Illustration: An Approach and a Review, Cambridge:

Cambridge University Press. Herbert, R. L. (ed.) (1964) The Art Criticism of John Ruskin, Ruskin, Garden City, NY:

Doubleday Anchor. Lensing, G. E. (1766/1969) Laocobn: An Essay upon the Limits of Poetry and fainting, trans. Froth-inghain, E., New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.


Metz, C. (1982) The Imaginary Sign: Psychoanalysis and the Cinema, Bloomington, IN:

Indiana University Press. Mirzoeff, N. (1999) An Introduction to Visual Culture, London and New York:

Routledge. Mirzoeff, N. (ed.) (2002) The Visual Culture Reader, 2nd edn, London and New York:

Routledge. Mitchell, W. J. T. (1994) Picture Theory, Chicago, IL and London: University of Chicago Press. Moebius, W. (1986) `Introduction to Picture book Codes’, Word and huge 2, 2: 63-6. Mitchell, W. J. T. (1986) Iconology: Image, Text, Ideology, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Nikolajeva, M. and Scott, C. (2001) How Picture books Work, New York and London:

Garland. Nodelman, R (1988) Words about Pictures: The Narrative Art of Children’s Picture Books, Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press. Nikolajeva, M. and Scott, C. (1992) The Pleasures of Children’s Literature, White Plains, NY: Longman. Nodelman, P. (1992) ‘The Other: Orientalism, Colonialism, and Children’s Literature’. Children’, Literature Association Quarterly 17, I: 29-35. Potter, B. ( 1902) The Title of Peter Rabbit, London: Frederick Warne. Rose, G. (2001) Visual Methodologies, London: Sage. Rose, J. (1984) The Case of Peter Part The Impossibility of Children’s Fiction, London: Macmillan. Sendak, M. (1963) Where the Wild Things Are, New York: Harper and Row. Stephens, J. (1992) Language and Ideology in Children’s Fiction, London and New York:

Longman. Schwarcz, J. H. (1982) Ways of the Illustrator: Visual Communication in Children’s Literature, Chicago, IL: American Library Association. Schwarcz, J. H. and Schwarcz, C. (1991) The Picture Book Comes of Age, Chicago, IL and London: American Library Association.


Postcolonialism, Children, and their Literature

Sayed Ahmad Hashemy Department of Education, Islamic Azad University, Lamerd Branch, Lamerd, Iran Hashemy.ahmad@yahoo.com

Daryoosh Hayati Department of English, Islamic Azad University, Lamerd, Iran daryooshhayati@gmail.com

Eisa Amiri Department of Education, Islamic Azad University, Lamerd Branch, Lamerd, Iran

Abstract This essay discusses whether the term “Postcolonialism” is applicable to the study of children literature or not. As it is clear postcolonialism is regarded as the need, in nations or groups which have been victims of imperialism, to achieve an identity uncontaminated by universalist or Eurocentric concepts and images as a phenomenon of late twentieth- century political, economic, and cultural reality, such definition exempt children literature from being considered postcolonial, however this essay discusses that regardless of the commonly accepted idea of children being exempt from postcolonialism, how some postcolonial elements as being subaltern, victims, colonized and the other to name a few could be traced in books written for children. Yet the core question dealt with is: What do we mean by “postcolonialism” in relation to children’s literature? Moreover, through a historical survey of works of children literature as well as a look at cultural products aimed at creating a global brand, it is further discussed how culture bound children literature is and why its engagement with contemporary issues of each epoch approves postcolonialism as suitable rather than odd for the contemporary period due to its concentration on the most prevalent issues of the age as globalization, Eurocentrism and identity crisis.

Keywords: Postcolonialism, Subaltern, Peripheral and Eurocentrism

Introduction Children are the subaltern and simply to speak of them in the context of postcolonialism is to raise a contradiction: postcolonialism and children. If we think of postcolonialism as a phenomenon of late twentieth-century political, economic, and cultural reality, then children are to a great extent exempt. It is true that children’s rights interest us, and that, as Gareth Matthews points out, “our society is moving slowly in the direction of assigning rights at an earlier and earlier age” (80). Having remarked this, it must be added that children remain the most colonialized persons on the globe. This is apparent even in the literature labeled for them. As Jacqueline Rose pointed out in a comment on J. M. Barrie’s The Little White Bird, the literature published for children is “a way of colonizing (or wrecking) the child” (27). Perry Nodelman argues something similar when he applies Edward Said’s notions of “Orientalism” to the study of children and their literature, and it is this colonizing tendency of both the literature for children and the adult criticism of that literature that Peter Hunt opposes when he calls for a “childish” reading of children’s literature (Hunt, p.192-94). So the first thing to be clear on is just how deeply colonizing are the activities of writing for children and commenting on children’s books and to which extent can children literature be regarded as postcolonial.


These activities are so colonizing that one might say, as Nodelman does, that none can escape the role of colonizer. Speaking of their own “imperial tendencies,” Nodelman admits: “in order to combat colonialism, I am recommending a benevolently helpful colonizing attitude towards children” (Nodelman, p. 34). If we conclude with Nodelman and Rose that both the writing about children’s literature and the writing of it are colonialist, then it could be concluded that no such thing as a postcolonial children’s literature or a postcolonial criticism of it exists. While the above idea seems theoretically true, critics who study children’s literature have found that children literature and what has been written for them adheres closely to a culture’s notion of what a child is—a notion that may change considerably from epoch to epoch. To make the idea tangible many critics traced the history of children literature dealing with the most current issues of each epoch. As discussed below, as far as the issues of the age children literature has been concerned with in previous centuries indicates, it seems that the cultural issues as identity, hybridity, diaspora and generally postcolonialism as the most outstanding current issues of our time are not also relevant to literature for children, but also as it appeals to logic such issues are essential. As Anne Scott MacLeod has shown, the nineteenth century opened with a prevailing belief in a rational but imperfect child and moved to the Romantic idea of childish purity and innocence. When late eighteenth-century popular cultures were dominated by religion, either Catholic or Protestant, notions about the nature of children were grounded in the doctrine of Original Sin. As a result, literature written for children, which became considerable in the first half of the nineteenth century, consisted of “moral tales” designed to instruct children in proper behavior and codes of conduct, the most important of which was obedience to one’s parents and God. Consequently, most of the authors were devout Protestants—especially women concerned with the instruction of children, including most notably Anna Letitia Barbauld and Maria Edgeworth. The gradual blending of these various currents allowed for the prevalence of a hybrid creature in the 1860s, the beginning of the “golden age” in children’s literature, when it became common for children’s verse and novels to offer a “sugared pill”—a lesson imbibed through entertainment. Lewis Carroll marked the extreme in playful entertainment with the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in 1865. By the end of the century, fantasy and adventure novels dominated the market, defined by Carroll, Robert Louis Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling, and Louisa May Alcott, among others. Although inexpensive adventure novels known as “shilling shockers” or “penny dreadfuls” drew some fire for their sensationalism, they still served an instructional function, as contemporary critics have shown. Recently, several critics have examined in particular how this prolific genre taught children socially accepted gender roles and proper codes of conduct. The didactic contributions and innovations of the 19 th century continued into the 20 th century, achieving a distinct place in literature for children’s books, and spawning innumerable genres of children’s literature. Yet in the case of the social and cultural reflections in the 20 th century, it was not until the 1960s that “socially relevant” children’s books have appeared, treating subjects like death, drugs, urban crisis, identity crisis, discrimination, the environment, and women’s liberation to name some of the most frequently reflected themes. S. E. Hinton’s The Outsiders (1980) and Robert Cormier’s I Am the Cheese (1977) are two works that offer vivid portrayals of the sometimes unpleasant aspects of maturing. These books also reveal the trend toward a growing literature for teenagers. Other novelists that write convincingly of growing up in contemporary society include Ellen Raskin, Judy Blume, and Cynthia Voigt.


As the brief historical review of children literature in previous centuries indicated, children literature, as a result of being mostly written by adults, is culture and social bound and therefore applies the most prevalent ideas, attitudes and views of its time. As many works of children literature both written or translated to English, for example the Little Black Fish by Samad Behrangi, the 20 th century Iranian short story writer represents ideas as freedom, identity, existential dilemma, diaspora, nonconformity and cultural issues of the time, so it can be assumed that the term “postcolonial” designates a time after imperial powers have departed (in one way or another), and that the postcolonial voice is a voice speaking its own authority and identity in confidence of that authority and identity, then children only express a postcolonial voice after they have ceased to be children. Adults speak for and construct versions of children, so their identity and existence is shaped by them. On the whole, however, adults continue to “colonize” young readers. Children, then, may not be in the position of postcolonial subjects, speaking for themselves and taking responsibility for their own actions. The literature which they read may also participate in a colonizing” enterprise if it is assumed that it sets out to draw its readers into the world as adults see it and construct it. On the other hand, the postcolonial critics are not to set out to de-colonize children; rather they try to clarify how children’s literature and the criticism of that literature manifest the powerful force of Eurocentric biases and in doing so the critics try to dismantle that powerful force. And yet the earlier mentioned contradiction takes another twist: children and their literature are always postcolonial, if by postcolonial it is meant that which stands outside and in opposition to tradition and power.

Methodology This study is based on postcolonial critics like Said, Bhabha, Fanon and

Simon During

combined with the critics in children literature as Peter Hunt and Bannerji so as to show that children literature from a postcolonial prospect includes the same elements as hybrid

identity, Eurocentrism, subaltern, literature does.

Otherness to name a few just in the same way as adult

Findings and Discussion Not only in the case of literature but also in many other cases children are subjected to colonialism. The term” cultural policy” is one of the dubious ones. While such policy is called “cultural policy” by diplomats and those seeking to maintain good relations with culture workers (i.e. writers, theatre people, composers, artists), a less considerate or more cynical term used by marketers is “nation branding”. Branding is now a buzzword in marketing, in the era of cultural diplomacy, the use of the term has shifted from products such as Coca-Cola, or services such as those offered by McDonalds, to the cultural exports of individual countries, and their reputations, as animations produced mainly by companies as the Walt Disney. Taneja summarizes this approach as “giving products and services an emotional dimension with which people, especially children can identify” (Taneja, 2006, p. 2). While it may be difficult for those working in literary and cultural fields to imagine the emotional dimensions of Coca-Cola or of a McDonalds hamburger or of an animation, it is a fact that marketers try to achieve such an impact by telling stories, i.e. engaging their clients through narratives closely related to literature and culture. This is also where literature comes in while the bitter fact is that such products are mainly meant to address children as their global subject through making their products as global brands. From the mid-1990s on, new marketing strategies for products have moved away from disseminating the same standardized glossy images throughout the world. Instead of selling products in the same way to every culture, marketers have turned to narrative, to


finely-tuned story-telling, carefully adapted for individual cultures, for specific audiences, with specific cultural backgrounds and beliefs with stories that may only tangentially relate to the product especially for children who are ready to accept whatsoever they have been told in form of stories or narrative poetry. Moreover, much of the neocolonial trend is done through translations to the target market’s languages. The negative aspects may not seem so important at the first glance, but a close attention on the cultural, religious and such effects of translations that usually make a role model for children remains long, the effects of some of which are lifelong. Such a trend facilitates the idea of Eurocentrism, hegemony and neo-imperialism to name a few through shaping global images all of which serve the superiority of the West and self negation among children. In other words, the translating culture is as much, if not more, involved in the selection of the foreign materials it wishes to have circulated and read as any neo-colonialist force providing the funds to make this possible. The above trend can be of oppressive, repressive and in some cases even abusive contents imposed on helpless children readers, all aimed at superimposing the superiority of the West to pave way for the neocolonial tasks. As earlier discussed, cultural policy consists of at least two basic strands: the export of culture for ideological purposes, and the export of culture for trade initiatives through making images of role models. They are connected and overlapping – but while the first generally includes translated literature and sometimes addresses its importance, the second (the image making approach) avoids the topic of translation. Indeed, though nation branders know the value of story-telling, they try to tell their stories through picture books (for children as their target markets). They may have a point, as many post-colonial studies have revealed. In a recent book on post-colonialism, Changing the Terms. Translating in the Postcolonial Era (Simon and St-Pierre 2000), Sherry Simon begins her introduction with an anecdote about the literary texts available in the ancestral home of the Indian writer, Amitav Ghosh, when he was a child. These were works of European children literature, all translated into Bengali, a collection of books that could be found in much the same form in all corners of the (then) British Empire. They represented, on the one hand, the children’s access to the European world of letters, and, on the other, they were the physical representation of a certain canon of recognized works, “identifying imperial tastes in genteel settings” (p. 9). In Simon’s words, as texts that came from outside for example, Indian culture, they served “the imperialist, Orientalizing cause”:

“Much of what has been called post-colonial theory in recent years, and applied to the translation of literature, takes a dim view of translation. Translation has been accused of deliberate misrepresentation for the purposes of marketing, much of the translated stories for children has been seen as imposing colonial texts as the norm, to the exclusion, denigration and stereotypification or Orientalization of local culture”. (Simon, 2000 p.123) The American citizens who produced the document behind the very recent American Global Cultural Initiative certainly do not see the translation of literature as a nefarious form of neo-colonialism; they simply say that “culture matters” and that “cultural diplomacy reveals the soul of a nation”. For them, cultural diplomacy via the translation of literature is a strategy that can restore the view that America is a beacon of hope rather than a “dangerous force to be countered”, while at the same time serving to broaden the horizons of the reading public of the United States. Although children and their literature are not inevitably outside a Eurocentric vision of things, they do represent a challenge to the traditions of mainstream culture. Simply to acknowledge children and their literature in a journal such as ARIEL is a postcolonial act; it is a gesture toward re-conceiving the canon and toward redefining what academic and


professional criticism does and says. In this sense, children’s literature benefits from the expanded field of inquiry that is an aspect of cultural studies. If, as earlier discussed, certain genre films or certain forms of graphic art such as the comic books, translated books, picture books and cartoons are considered seriously, then we can rest fairly easy taking books for children seriously. However one cannot get away from contradiction:

when we take children’s books seriously as an object of study, we initiate the very colonizing of the field that that field had seemed to resist. In short, the notion of “postcolonialism” in relation to children’s books requires some organization. What do we mean by “postcolonialism” in relation to children’s literature? Here’s a controversial question. As others have noted, “postcolonial” now serves to mean many things to many people. Postcolonialism is a site of debate as much as it is anything else. Stephen Slemon, in an earlier number of ARIEL, notes that:

“the attributes of postcolonialism have become so widely contested in contemporary usage, its strategies and sites so structurally dispersed, as to render the term next to useless as a precise marker of intellectual content, social constituency, or political commitment” (Slemon,1995, p.8). More recently, Shaobo Xie argues that no such a thing as an “‘uncontaminated’ or ‘indigenous’ postcolonial theory” exists (Xie, 1997, p.7). What is of central importance Xie finds in Simon During, who writes:

post-colonialism is regarded as the need, in nations or groups which have been victims o f imperialism, to achieve an identity uncontaminated by universalist or Eurocentric concepts and images. (Xie, 1997, p.7 ) . Xie, speaking in a general sense, remarks that “postcolonialism represents an urgent need and determination to dismantle imperial structures in the realm of culture” (Xie, 1997, p.15). The tension here resides in the inability of these descriptions of postcolonialism to account for children who are a group well practiced in colonial attitudes, and who hope to grow out of their colonial positions through accommodation to their colonial “elders.” Children are always marked by (contaminated by) the attitudes of an older generation. This older generation might encourage children to speak, but it does so expecting them to speak its words, to pass on its wisdom, to perpetuate its vision of the world. The subject of children’s literature in the quotation from Xie is the notion of cultural multiplicity. Children may not speak their own literature, but we can assure that the literature they read comes to them in the fullness of the cultural situation of the late twentieth century. It can, for example, be acknowledged that a novel such as Shyam Selvadurai’s Funny Boy (1994), set in Sri Lanka, is a “welcome contribution to … literature” (the quotation derives from the Globe and Mail and appears on the back cover of Selvadurai’s novel). A similar example is Althea Trotman’s How the East Pond Got its Flowers ( îggi ) , a Canadian picture book for children, set in Antigua during the time of slavery. In other words, we can introduce our children to works of literature that represent the range of cultural experiences and histories that make up the national and international communities that touch all of us. This is one aspect of postcolonial studies: breaking the hold of the great traditions that have dominated the study of English literatures since the rise of English studies during the heyday of British imperialism. We have arrived at a consciousness that, as Charles Larson argues:

When we try to force the concept of universality on someone who is not Western are implying that our own culture should be the standard of measurement (Larson, 1999.



In fact as Leslie Kant notes on the importance of early reading on attitudes and behavior in her foreword for a Schools Council publication, not only is not it too soon to make children aware of what the existing circumstances are, but also the idea of making children


aware of their true identity and their cultural circumstances is of priority over mere entertainment:

It is never too soon to start thinking about the ways in which attitudes may be influenced by reading’. Most teachers would argue, it says, that apart from the acquisition of language, the major role of fiction is to encourage children to explore relationships and to develop sensitivity in their understanding of their own behavior and that of others, and the images that children encounter when reading are a powerful means of shaping such thinking and behavior. If, as the Bullock Committee states above, fiction has a major role in encouraging children to explore relationships and to develop sensitivity in their understanding of their own behavior and that of others, then children’s stories based on folktales do much more than ‘open vistas of beauty, adventure, and splendor in the bewildered minds of children with their mystic and dreamlike qualities. ( Bullock, 1975, p


In addition to Leslie Kant’s view, some other critics also agree that children must be exposed the facts, especially those historical ones that has shaped their ancestors’ identity, so as to help construct their identity. In such case texts giving them an awareness of their cultural diversity so as to help shed light on their future existence are of utmost importance. Conforming to this idea, Staples states:

Hunting for History: Children’s Literature Outside, Over There, and Down Under,” points out how persistent is the tendency to see even the literatures of such postcolonial countries as Canada and Australia in terms of Western European and American traditions. Indigenous voices and diasporic voices continue to speak from the periphery of what Zohar Shavit refers to as the “literary poly-system. (Staples, 1989 , p.12) If we locate the term “postcolonial” in the period of national independence movements arising with greater urgency after World War II and the Korean War than they did prior to these wars, then at least one of the texts featured in these pages will appear anomalous:

Burnett’s The Secret Garden, considered in Michael Cadden’s article. Here is a decidedly “colonial” book, but one we need to examine from a postcolonial perspective. Just as Said has taught us to read early texts by the likes of Jane Austen or Charles Dickens for their evocations of a colonial mind-set, so Cadden teaches us to look for a similar mind-set in Burnett. John Ball does the same for our understanding of Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, also noted as an “imperialist” text by Michael Joseph in his essay on Achebe, and June Cummins does something similar in her treatment of the Curious George books. Our current awareness of cultural diversity within political and economic borders goes some way to readjusting the manner in which we read such familiar texts as The Secret Garden or Where the Wild Things Are or the books about Curious George. E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web. Is discussed by Sidhwa quoting from a student who was given the task to read and discuss their idea this way:

In Charlotte’s Web, the reader meets many animal groups on the Zuckerman farm; the animals face other animals very different from themselves. Each animal comes to recognize and accept the other animals’ cultures. The animals accept one another because they acknowledge the others’ perspective, habits, and feelings. In short, they accept the “culture” of the other animals, and they attempt to understand creatures different from themselves. Because children identify with animals, this kind of literature (i.e., animal fantasy) can show that the different cultures in the animal’s world are similar to the different cultures in the humans’ world. In education today, children are faced with classrooms full of children from many different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Through literature, we can introduce the concept of cultural diversity, and facilitate an understanding and acceptance of this diversity. (Sidhwa, 1993, p.15)


They lengthy quotation above is to indicate how this student’s focus on Charlotte’s Web derives from the perspective of their cultural moment. She is, in effect, using a postcolonial perspective to read what it is a deeply colonialist book. It is argued that the farm with its various animals served as an allegoric reminder of America’s great melting pot. My argument would have attached this book to the traditions of American populism and agrarianism; it presents an idyllic vision of just how America brings a disparate group of people together and forges a homogeneous culture. Lynn, however, sees another model at work in Charlotte’s Web, the model of multiculturalism. If the book is multicultural, this does not necessarily mean it is postcolonial. But Lynn’s reading is itself a sign of a kind of reading which can be called postcolonial because it partakes of the ideological urge to read texts within our cultural moment and to argue for the rights of diversity and for what Charles Taylor calls “a regime of reciprocal recognition among equals” (p.50). One aspect of postcolonialism, then, identifies a revisionary reading of canonical texts that articulates how these texts construct worlds. Graeme Harper, Clare Bradford, and Robyn McCallum take up this subject in their essays in the pages that follow. The books we read inevitably construct versions of the world and its various peoples, and we need to understand just how these constructions influence our notions of what we have become accustomed to refer to as the “other.” Difference, diversity, otherness—these are watchwords when we come to examine any world construction. Canonical texts such as The Secret Garden or Where the Wild Things Are or Charlotte’s Web—tend not to foreground issues of difference; rather the notions of difference remain a backdrop hardly impinging on our consciousness. We tend to take difference and the privileging of one group over another as natural. Postcolonial reading uncovers the construction of cultural identity. More recent and directly postcolonial texts bring difference into the foreground and by doing so they remind us just how unnatural the division of human beings into hierarchical groups is. Works such as Selvadurai’s Funny Boy or Himani Bannerji’s Coloured Pictures confront us with racial diversity and the agony that can accompany decolonization. As Raj Rao’s article in this issue points out, Selvadurai illustrates just how the colonial mentality that often surfaces as racism works its way into gender relations, both heterosexual and homosexual. Part of the postcolonial enterprise is a liberation from the diminishing placement of people according to their racial origins, their religious beliefs, their gender, or their sexual preference. The relationship of an individual to a group marks the beginning of the colonial process, as the novels of Emecheta indicate. Rose Mezu’s schizoanalytic analysis of two of Emecheta’s novels points up this continuing tension between individual desire and group cohesion. My mention of fiction by Emecheta, Selvadurai, and Bannerjii raises another problem: the definition of children’s literature. Clearly, the publishing and marketing of the books by Emecheta and Selvadurai differ from the publishing and marketing of Bannerji’s Coloured Pictures. And a glance through the table of contents to this issue will indicate that the “children’s literature” examined in these various articles comprises books clearly targeted at a very young readership, at books for the “middle” years, and at books accessible to adolescents. The most difficult area is the last. Publishers now explicitly label certain books as “young adult,” and we have books placed in such sections in book stores. But books such as Funny Boy or The Bride Price are not marked off for such a specialized readership; some will argue that they are not what we mean when we refer to “children’s literature.”And yet they not only concern childhood and adolescence, they are also important for young readers. Their content offers important experience for young readers. They deal with difficult issues both relevant and accessible to young readers; such themes as social, national, and sexual identity are referred to as colonial. In short, a novel such as


Funny Boy deals with growing up, and the problems and anxieties attendant upon growing up that this book presents are not in any way inaccessible to an adolescent readership. The question as to what makes a work of literature suitable for children remains vexed. And authors continue the vexation in their choice of creative work for this issue. Clearly, a poem such as Shirley Geok-Lin Lim’s “Presumed Guilty,” participates in the textual web of folklore and fairytale, but it does so in the revisionar)’ and haunting manner of Sexton’s Transformations. And Lim’s “The Rebel” speaks from the point of view of an adolescent (like M . Nourbese Philip’s “The Bearded Queen,” an extract from her Young Adult novel- in-progress), but it seeks an audience that crosses generations. Poems such as Rienzi Crusz’s “Distant Rain,” Lynne Fairbridge’s “I Do Not See Them Here,” Claire Harris’s “Tower Power,” Richard Harrison’s “speaking of voice (identity[politics]),” and Richard Stevenson’s “Homo Sapiens Strut” speak across age lines, but are clearly not inaccessible to young readers. Some of these poems have strong political voices; we might argue that political work offers young readers an important perspective from which to view the world into which they are growing. In other pieces, we move into experiences that depend upon age and maturity; but who is to say young readers ought not read of an older person’s coming into realization. The experience of understanding knows no age limit. What many of the speakers of these poems confront is identity. Identity is at the heart of the matter. Just what does this familiar and over-worked word mean? Is “identity” some Keatsian afflatus derived from an act of anti-self-consciousness? Do human beings have an “identity” in common? Does “identity” take shape from social, cultural, and political realities? Does “identity” derive from blood ties to specific groups? Can any “identity” follow from an act of liberation untying the individual from ideological forces which seek to corner him or her at every turn? Can such a thing as a “postcolonial condition” exist? The essays in this issue of ARIEL seek to investigate such questions. They provide intriguing forays into relatively new territory, but of course they do not provide definitive answers. The best they can hope to do for us is unblind our ears to the global reality in which that which we have taken for granted for so long—the Eurocentric vision of things—can no longer smugly assume primacy of value in the human community. Postcolonialism is a manifestation of the desire for the acceptance and understanding of otherness, and as such it has a logical affinity with children who seem to strive for recognition. The contradiction lies in the desire of children to join the group that holds authority over them. The desire is always and ever to become the other. Many postcolonial critics disagree the use of the term “postcolonial” to discuss the reactions of people from former colonies to the imperial influences in their culture, As an example K. Singh proposes the term “post independence” K. Singh argues that the term postcolonial places emphasis on the political, economic, social, and cultural subjugation of a nation’s spirit of nationalism, freedom, and heroic struggle against foreign oppression. Rod McGillis in his editorial note looks at the relationship between postcolonialism and children’s literature and children’s literature in postcolonial societies. I want to address briefly some aspects of the “postcolonial,” this contentious term that Singh and many others in “postcolonial” societies find troubling. Singh’s comments makes me reflect on my recent editorial for the postcolonial issue of Bookbird, in which I trace my colonial heritage—my British-style schooling, the conflict between Western and Indian values, the clash between school and home. Had the term “postcolonial,” which leads to “colonial constructs” and “imperial nostalgia,” according to Singh, prompted me to focus on my experiences at Auckland House School, in Simla? Would the term “post independence” have made me stress my nationalistic side, my fierce pride in being the first member of my family to be born i n a free India—one of Rushdie’s “midnight’s children”? Would I then have focused on my enjoyment as a child in reading the biographies of freedom fighters


like the Rani of Jhansi, Bhagat Sing, Gandhiji, Subhash Chandra Bose, and Jawaharlal Nehru? This aspect of my upbringing infused in me no confusion of values, no contradiction of loyalties and motives; rather, it was an empowering moment to grow up in the “new” India. The message of our leaders was that the young (women in particular) needed to throw off the shackles of the past, to become educated and forward-looking, to seize the untold opportunities in this new reality. However, my ambivalence should not be mistaken for insecurity or disharmony. What I find lively about postcolonial discourse (whether of children’s or adult literature) is that it is no longer a confrontation between colonial versus nationalistic.” A blurring of boundaries is occurring as writers and scholars —both Western and non-Western—explore the contradictions and complexities of the postcolonial global situation. This has come about through changes in global politics, economy, trade, cultural exchange, and immigration policies. Postcolonial literature covers a vast canvas and is essentially idealistic in nature as it attempts to right the wrongs of the past. If colonial literature was characterized by imperial propagation of the ideology of supremacy over the colonized races, postcolonial literature re-evaluates colonialism for its hypocrisy and self-serving racist attitudes. If colonial literature perpetuated stereotypes of backwardness, of barbaric and uncivilized peoples through narrative, characterization, and themes, postcolonial discourse counters this by recognizing achievements in the arts and sciences and contributions to technology and culture. It is the story of the “other.” Postcolonial literature speaks in multiple voices; it gives agency to and embraces all hitherto marginalized segments of the population— children, women, untouchables, and ethnic and racial minorities. Decolonization has led also to forms of liberation of children, not least of whom are the children of colonial officials, missionaries, and traders who were colonized through their upbringing, education, and leisure reading. As Argentinean author Graciela Montes states, adults colonize children by “granting” the “gift” of language to them: “words name things and, when they name, they inevitably carry with them a huge cultural load, a way of looking at, of feeling, and of dealing with the world” ( p.22 ) . Whether Portuguese, British, French, or Spanish; colonial children were exploited as historical “objects” to perpetuate their “empires.” Colonial literature dictated how they should perceive the land of their birth and childhood. Yet the words, the characters, and situations in these stereotypical, derogatory books often contradicted the experiences that surrounded them. As adults, many of these colonial children have written about their lives in the colonies, rejecting the dissociation and rootlessness of their colonial life by linking their emotional and psychological well being with their rich experiences of indigenous cultures. Iris MacEarlane, Rumer Godden, Manuela Gerqueira, and Alberto Oliveira Pinto, to name a few, have tried to relive their isolation, redefine race relations, and integrate their dual identities. To Godden, who grew up in Bengal, the British viere a “society of exiles”; they were “rootless” as “cut flowers” (Macmillan, 1998). As Edward Said states in Culture and Imperialism, we are just becoming aware of:

How oddly hybrid historical and cultural experiences are, of how they partake of many often contradictory experiences and domains, cross national boundaries, defy the police action of simple dogma and loud patriotism (Said, 1970). Critics level charges of reverse elitism and exclusion against postcolonial discourse. Russell Jacoby, for instance, while applauding it for opening up new areas of study beyond traditional Western literature, censures postcolonial theorists for being contradictory, obscure, undefined, confused, and elitist. He raises the question of whether Western writing about postcolonial or post-independence societies should be construed as the


appropriation of the voice of the other and as a form of domination. This attitude has led to debates concerning such works as Susanne Fisher Staples’s Shabanu. Is Staples, an American, stereotyping Pakistani culture by focusing on one small group, the camel herders of the Cholistan desert? Can she write authentically of Pakistani culture? Is she not indulging in cultural appropriation. Yet other issues emerge in this debate: Who speaks for whom? Can Western writers/ theorists speak for non-Western subjects? Whose voice is legitimate? Are such questions valid? Many feel that postcolonial scholars have marginalized certain groups by not including them in the discourse. In 1995, at the Mid-Atlantic Writers Association Conference in Baltimore, one participant observed that postcolonial works routinely exclude diaspora Africans and the experience of slavery from their studies. Are postcolonial studies strictly a matter of history, or is it a modern all-embracing concept that brings all marginalized groups to the centre of the debate? The experiences of the enslaved and the distortions and omissions of their history have parallels in postcoloniality. For instance, James Berry’s Ajeemah and His Sort fictionalize the thoughts and feelings of two enslaved Africans uprooted from their home in Ghana. The postcolonial aspects of subalternity can be found in their stories: their internalized rebellion, their sense of outrage at being denied freedom, and their helplessness in the face of crushingly superior— often military—forces. Despite these dehumanizing conditions, they maintained their pride and dignity and safeguard themselves against the demoralizing impact of slavery by retaining something of their former lives. Widespread immigration from the former colonies to Western countries (to find better economic opportunities, to flee political oppression in some instances, and to seek freedom from the constraints of traditional cultures) has created what could be seen as another form of postcolonial literature, a literature of exile characterized by conflict between Western and traditional values, by cultural marginalization, by racial conflicts, by pressures to assimilate or integrate. Lesley Beake’s A Cageful of Butterflies (1989), Ramabai Espinet’s The Princess of Spadina; A Tale of Toronto (1992), Rosa Guy’s The Friends (1973), M. Nourbese Philip’s Harriet’s Daughter (1988), Indi Rana’s The Roller Bird of Rampur (1993), Nazneen Sadiq’s Camels Can Make You Homesick ( 1985), Bipsi Sidhwa’s An American Brat ( 1993), and Rukshana Smith’s Sumintra Story (1982)—works on which we would have liked to receive articles—are all powerful narratives of children and adolescents trying to negotiate between their former and adopted societies.

Conclusion According to what has been discussed earlier perhaps Prahbat K. Singh is right in stating that this preoccupation with a hybrid identity and the crisis of a split identity is relevant only to those living abroad in adopted Western homes and not to those in the newly independent nation, who are developing national identities’, free of the ambivalences of the colonial period. They can do this despite the inescapable Western impact on their lives for they have integrated the English language, Hollywood films, Western medicine and technology, clothing and music, in their overarching “post-independence” culture. Moreover the tension here resides in the inability of these descriptions of postcolonialism to account for children who are a group well practiced in colonial attitudes, and who hope to grow out of their colonial positions through accommodation to their colonial “elders.” Children are always marked by (contaminated by) the attitudes of an older generation. This older generation might encourage children to speak, but it does so expecting them to speak its words, to pass on its wisdom, to perpetuate its vision of the world. The subject of children’s literature according to Xie is the notion of cultural multiplicity. Children may


not speak their own literature, but we can assure that the literature they read comes to them in the fullness of the cultural situation of the late twentieth century. In other words, we can introduce our children to works of literature that represent the range of cultural experiences and histories that make up the national and international communities that touch all of us. This is one aspect of postcolonial studies: breaking the hold of the great traditions that have dominated the study of English literatures since the rise of English studies during the heyday of British imperialism. This essay is not a comprehensive representative of what is happening creatively, critically, and theoretically in postcolonial children’s and young adult literature as we would have liked it to be. But as Victor J. Ramraj, the editor of ARIEL (whose editorial contribution to this issue was indispensable and very much appreciated), assures us, it is difficult with an operating on deadlines to wait for all the promised submissions; a published book can. What we have included here, however, does provide an interim report on some current areas of and approaches to the field. Attention must be paid to the fact that Children’s literature must be a bridge between the colorful, blissfully ignorant and innocent world of children, their dreams and sweet imaginations, and the dark world of the adult whose consciousness is drowned in bitter and painful truth and in the hard social environment. The child must cross this bridge and venture into the dark world of adults with awareness and armed with light in hand. It is in this way that a child can be a help and a real friend to his father in life and a positive force for improvement in the sluggish and ever-sinking society. Moreover, accurate information about the current issues of the world as well as the necessary information regarding identity, threats to ones identity and such items must be reflected in children literature, because the children of today are much more culturally threatened by the new imperialism through mass media, games and similar items under the cover of globalisation. We should give them values which enable them to deal with and evaluate the various moral and social problems in the ever-changing conditions and circumstances of society so as to prepare them for their future life and avoid otherness and identity crisis. Thus it need not be mentioned that the term postcolonial is relevant and a must-be in children literature.

References Bannerji, Himani. Coloured Pictures. Toronto: Sister Vision, 1991. Beake, Lesley. A Cageful of Butterflies. Cape Town: Maskew Miller, Longman, 1989. Berry, James. Ajeemah and His Son. New York: Perlman, 1991. Braithwaite, Lynn. “Charlotte’s Web and Multiculturalism. “ Bookbird 34.4 (1996): 2-3. ----- Bullock Committee of Inquiry final report into Reading and the Use of English, ‘A Language for Life,’ London, 1975. During , Simon. “ Postmodernism or Postcolonialism Today. “ The Post-Colonial Studies Reader. Ed. Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, a n d Helen Tiffin. London : Routledge, 1995. 125-29. Espinet, Ramabai. The Princess of Spadino: A Tale of Toronto. Toronto: Sister Vision,


Goldthwaite, John. The Natural History of Make-Believe: A Guide to the Principal Works of Britain, Europe, and America. New York: Oxford UP, 1996. Guy, Rosa. The Friends. New York: Holt 1973. Hunt, Peter. Criticism, Theory, & Children’s Literature. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1991. Jacoby, Russell. “Marginal Returns: The Trouble with Postcolonial Theory . “ Lingua Franca Sept & Oct. 1995: 30-37. Khorana, Meena. G. “To the Reader.” Bookbird 34.4 (1996): 2-3.


Larson, Charles. “Heroic Ethnocentrism: The Idea of Universality in Literature .” Ashcroft, Griffiths, and Tiffin, 1999. Pp. 62-65. Macmillan, Margaret Olwen. Women of the Raj. London: Thames and Hudson , 1998. Matthews, Gareth. The Philosophy of Childhood. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1994. Montes, Gracida. “ Wild Language and Official Language.” El Corral de la Infacia [A Pen For Childhood ] . Trans. Susanna Gullco Groisman . Buenos Aires: Libros de lQ, 1990. 21-26. Nodelman, Perry. “The Other: Orientalism, Colonialism, and Children’s Literature.” CHLA Quarterly 17 ( igg2 ) : 29-35.

Philip, M. Nourbese. Harriet’s Daughter. Toronto: Women’s Press, 1988. Rana, Indi. « Roller Birds of Rampur. New York: Fawcett Juniper, 1993. Rose, Jacqueline. The Case of Peter Pan or the Impossibility of Children’s Fiction. London: Macmillan, 1984. Sadiq, Nazneen. Camels Can Make You Homesick. Mus. Mary Cserepy. Toronto: Lorimer , 1985. Said, Edward. Culture and Imperialism. New York: Pantheon, 1970. Shavit, Zohar. Poetics of Children’s Literature. Athens, GA: U of Georgia.1999, P, 86. Sidhwa, Bapsi. An American Brat. Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 1993. Simon and St. Pierre, Changing the Terms. Translating in the Postcolonial Era New York:

Coward Mc Cann, 2000. Slemon, Stephen. “Introductory Notes: Postcolonialism and its Discontents.” ARIEL 26-1 (1995): 7 Smith, Rukshana. Sumitra’s Story. New York: Coward Mc Cann , 1982. Staples, Suzanne Fisher. Shabanu. New York: Knopf, 1989. Taneja, Nalina. “US Cultural policy as Imperialist Foreign Policy” Retrieved from the








Taylor, Charles. Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition. Ed. Amy G. Princeton, N J: Princeton UP, 1994. Trotman, Althea. How the East Pond Got its Flowers. Illus. Sasso. Toronto: Sister Vision, 19 91. Xie, Shaobo. “Rethinking the Problem of Postcolonialism.” New Literary History 28 (1997): 7-19.


Text-oriented Competence and the Ways for its Achievement

Ekaterine Mzhavanadze Shota Rustaveli State University, Georgia

Abstract Text-oriented competence is the complex knowledge about the text as the means of communication, the textual activity of a person. It is an indicator of the readiness of a person for interaction with the text. Studying texts, issues of their structural characteristics, analyses, synthesis, comprehension are of big significance in today sciences. Researches of the problems connected to texts have been recently carried out in psycholinguistic, didactic, philological directions. Social, cultural and economic factors as well as existence of new kinds of artefacts conditioned new definitions of a text. Defining knowledge and skills that represent the common objective for teaching/learning have become a significant direction of today didactics. It is desirable to overcome subject specific limitations and carry out integral teaching/learning of languages. In the process of learning a native or a foreign language students face the same challenges. Moreover, the same linguo-communicative tasks are set in non-lingual subjects, such as history, mathematics, physics etc. when it is necessary to understand, compose texts and present them in front of audience. Activities that can be used for developing text-oriented competence are finding implied or hidden message in the section, guessing the word meanings from context, describing the contents of the text using connecting words, summarizing the text, finding the main idea of the paragraph. Thus, the above-mentioned activities assist learners to develop text-oriented competences and become critical thinkers, which is the goal of a student-centered education.

Keywords: Text-based, Competence, ESL

Introduction The parameters for attaining high standards of education are based on the shared experience of general and specific competences as defined by the European higher education area, that argues that attaining both general and specific competences will enhance students’ potential for successful outcomes, make the educational process more significant and more determined. In relation to this, it is important to mention the results of the Tuning Project - Educational Structures in Europe (2005); Qualifications Framework for Higher Education of Georgia (2008) based on Qualifications Framework for Higher Education – Dublin Descriptors (2005); The Dublin descriptors, while defining the logical links between the outcomes at different levels of education and levels of their qualifications, one of the seven components for competence developing - the communication competence includes: comprehension of lengthy texts and understanding the given information; the ability to read texts and understand included details regardless of their connection to one’s profession; composing structured texts of different forms; In the process of teaching foreign languages it must be taken into account that, these classes basically are text based. Texts represent basic teaching resources on which the central tasks involved in the teaching of native and foreign languages are carried out. Texts are connected to the cognition of various linguistic systems as well as to the norms and


rules of linguistic relations, and to the definition and assessment of various life- speech behaviours.

Text – Definitions Opinions about the nature of a text have been in constant flux. For example, today one can find new concepts of textuality, such as the hypertext or interactive texts, which would not have been considered texts in the past; Before 1973 a text could not have been a web-

page, a computer game, an interactive narration, or artefacts. However, according to postmodern theory– the world is, itself, a text and the whole of reality is can be referred to as a text, an ongoing discourse, and a place of constant interactivity. According to Kris Van Lewen (2001) a text is the result of a social act. The significant question here is whether or not a text is only a linguistic phenomenon or if a text can also include graphics? And, furthermore, if one were to conclude that a text is not merely a linguistic phenomenon but can also be comprised of visual images, then should the written part of a text be discussed differently than the directly visual aspects? The form and contents of a text have been always changing. Generally, the linear structured texts are mostly common, but alongside with this kind of texts we meet the texts created in the form of images. The vivid example of this is visual poetry in which the visual arrangement of text, images and symbols is important in conveying the intended effect of the work. It is sometimes referred to as concrete poetry, a term that predates visual poetry, and at one time was synonymous with it. Also, there are texts that unite verbal information, images and sound, so-called 3-D texts. Linguists have been arguing on the notion of the text –whether it implies only a message or it is a notion of higher dimension. Social, cultural and economic factors as well as the existence of new kinds of artefacts have conditioned the various definitions of the term ‘text’. In the given work we rely on the definition of a text by Avtandil Arabuli (2004) found in his work “Culture of Georgian Speech”, wherein he states that „A text is the specific result of the language activity, completed meaningfully and integral structurally” The essential structural signs of a text are as follows:

1. It has a beginning and an end.

2. It is characterized with meaningful unity and integrity between its separate parts.

3. A text has a common idea (it is possible to concentrate the whole idea in a single


4. A text has or may have a title.

5. A text has structural unity: words are united into sentences forming thoughtful

sections (indentions), indentions are united into textual blocks (paragraphs, chapters,


Philologists and linguists while researching the problems of working on texts draw significant attention to interpretation - the main aim of which is acknowledging a complex structural united system of a text as interrelated and inter-conditioned components. It means explaining literary work – cognizance of its meaning, idea, and concept. Obtaining maximum information from a text gives the possibility of not only understanding what the author wrote but also what he is implying by writing such a text.

Standards of Working on Texts Text-based competence or the unity of knowledge, skills and textual activities is considered to be a generic learning competence. It is worth mentioning that new educational plan of Georgian schools established standards for working on texts. For instance, the aim of teaching Georgian language and literature is to develop skills for


expressing ideas logically and creating written texts for various purposes. In the final stages of teaching a foreign language the main source for the development of oral or written speech is reading texts. Through this practice students enrich their vocabulary and become more autonomous learners. The higher the school grade is the more difficult the texts become. It is expected that school pupils be able to comprehend and analyse authentic literary or functional texts of various genres and types. The National Education Plan of Georgia establishes standards of working on texts according to different stages. While studying the text school pupils are first introduced with the text and asked to scan it and to: 1. Try to guess meaning of the unknown words based on familiar verbal (context, stem of words, affixes) and non-verbal (text composition, illustrations, different print, quotes) information. 2. Search for the meaning of words in the available resources (textbook, dictionary, competent person). 3. In case of necessity they should reread the text or a part of the text and in the process of this selective reading, or skimming of the text, they should be able extract the necessary information. The definition of a common objective for teaching/learning any language, be it Georgian as a native language or Georgian as a foreign language, German, French, Russian or English has become a significant direction of today didactics. It is desirable to overcome subject-specific limitations and carry out integral teaching/learning of languages. While learning any language (native or foreign students face the same challenges such as defining the structure of the text, its contents , language peculiarities, applying strategies for its comprehension etc.) Moreover, the same language-communicative tasks are set in non- language subjects such as history, mathematics, physics etc. when it is necessary to understand, compose texts and present them for the audience. Thus, the language- communicative skills are essential – a person needs to acquire them in the process of mastering any subject especially the subject of integral teaching Integral teaching entails the interrelation of experience gained by studying languages, supporting of transmission of obtained experience from one language to another. Such an approach reinforces skills, enriches experience and increases the efficiency of a students’ performance. In order to carry it out teachers must think of ways to construct bridges between already known and new languages. For example, the strategy– students read the whole of text, marks main and supporting issues, key words using various symbols – foreseen by the standard of a foreign language - belongs to those skills that can be efficiently used for text comprehension at any subject. Nowadays there is a contradiction between the requirements of standards and the actual knowledge of students. Development of speech is implemented by the assignments specific for the subject, which results in students’ failure to express their ideas in the form of a spontaneous text or to distinguish their attitude towards the read text. The above- mentioned is clearly revealed by the fact that senior school pupils need additional preparation for the Higher School National Examinations. The observation of the study process in the higher schools carried out from 2008 to 2010 shows that the teaching/learning of texts is oriented towards language analyses and oral learning. It is worth mentioning that though new methods have been implemented in teaching foreign languages and many teachers have greatly succeeded in this regard, students’ dismal ability to work on texts is still noticeable, namely that they have difficulty in delivering a 3-minute text retelling without prior preparations; they can neither compose written texts; scan the texts for specific issues and list them according to the categories; nor create different versions of the text and move from analyses to syntheses.


Text-Based Competences It is worth mentioning that the text-oriented competences are directly connected to problem-solving skills and other general competences - independent work, research, informational management skills, decision-making, analyses and syntheses, learning skills, oral and written communication skills, critical and self-critical abilities, appreciation of diversity and multiculturalism, understanding of cultures and customs of other countries. Higher school baccalaureate level text-oriented subject-specific competences include: 1. Text perception and understanding; 2. Text analyses and interpretation; 3. Text language and style comprehension; 4. Text research and assessment competences; 5. Text composition The characteristics of the attained results of text-oriented competences during teaching/learning sessions are given.

Activities for Attaining Text-Based Competences:

The biggest problem students have is understanding theme and conceptual contents of texts. Though they can easily find various imagery expressions, students have difficulty in understanding their aesthetic functions and connecting them with implied idea of the author. Reading activities should reflect needs and desires of students. According to Sandra Silberstein (1994) “If your medical students are preparing to study with English Language texts, activities can include the kinds of tasks found in a medical curriculum. For example, this may suggest integrating reading and writing activities in the form of lab reports.” Extensive reading is an approach to language teaching in which learners read lot of easy material in the new language. Different reading comprehensions skill developing activities can be used. For example, main idea, context clues, cause and effect, facts and opinions, sequencing, summarizing, idioms, inferences, multiple meaning words, literary element unit, drawing conclusion. (Day 2004:56) One of the activities for developing extensive reading skills is finding implied or hidden message in the section. For example:

The task “describing the contents of the text using connecting words” can be used working with non-literary texts. For example, the text is about Global Warming.

Global Warming is caused by many things. The causes are split up into two groups, man- made or anthropogenic causes, and natural causes. Natural causes are causes created by nature. One natural cause is a release of methane gas from arctic tundra and wetlands. Another natural cause is that the earth goes through a cycle of climate change. This climate change usually lasts about 40,000 years. Man-made causes probably do the most damage. Pollution is one of the biggest man-made problems. Pollution comes in many shapes and sizes. Another major man-made cause of Global Warming is population. More people means more food, and more methods of transportation

Students read the text and then paraphrase the text using the following connecting words:

furthermore, nevertheless, even so, however, meanwhile, on the other hand, to sum up, to make matters worse. The next activity that can be performed working on the above-mentioned text is summarizing. It is the method of finding the main idea of the paragraph. First, students write précis of the 106-word paragraph given above within the limit of seventy words. Then they reduce it up to thirty-five words. Activities “choosing the sentence” and “debates” are based on discussions and are especially productive while working on fiction.


Organizing this activity is quite simple. Students are given sentences expressing ideas about the characters and the events from which they choose one and justify their choice. The above-mentioned activities assist learners to develop textual competences and become critical thinkers, which is the goal of a student-centered education. Together with selecting the various activities for developing text-based competence it is necessary to set the criteria for their assessment. The assessment rubrics must be introduced to the students in advance, which let them observe their achievement and asses themselves independently. Assessment rubrics give the teacher the tool to enhance their evaluation techniques and to, accordingly, outline what is expected of their students to better allow their students to set goals for themselves and ultimately to better achieve these defined goals. In order to determine the validity and efficiency of the above-mentioned activities we found it appropriate to deliver the experiment. The aim of the experiment: To assess the attained outcome of text-oriented competences using the selected methods, forms, activities for teaching/learning and assessment. Tasks of the experiment: 1. Organization of the experiment process; 2. Composing examples, models, schemes for the experiment. 3. Delivering experiment and analysing the results. In order to carry out the first task of the experiment, the controlled groups were formed out of third and fourth-year students attending Shota Rustaveli State University. There is a total number of 60 students. The experiment was carried out within the course schedule designed by the Dean’s Office. Neither extra classes, additional expenditure nor workload was implied. The experiment was carried out in the lecture–hall and library due to the availability of internet access. In order to accomplish the second task - composing examples, models, schemes for the experiment the examples of lectures, independent work, schemes and models were carried out that consequently were used in the experiment. According to the third task - delivering experiment and analysing the results - the experiment was conducted . The result of the experiment is presented in the figures below. Analyses were made during three different stages: 1. At the initial stage; 2. After two months; 3. Final outcome.

Table 1: Degree of applying the achieved competence