PhD students at GaP

Here we are:

Diler Aba is working on academic mobility and foreign language learning from an intercultural perspective

  Email: diler.aba@student.uantwerpen.be

  Approaching Intercultural Communicative Competence in Academic Mobility Contexts

 

 Abstract:

This research investigates mobile students’ intercultural communicative competence by focusing on the students’ intercultural sensitivity and pragmatic competence. The goal of the investigation is to determine students’ needs from an intercultural communication perspective in order to increase their gain from academic mobility experiences.

Supervisor: Prof. dr. Kris Van De Poel

Lynn Anthonissen is working on the increasing productivity of special passives across the lifespan

 

      Email: lynn.anthonissen@uantwerpen.be

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Increasing productivity of special passives across the lifespan: cognitive and social mechanisms

Abstract:

Supervisor: Prof. dr. Peter Petré

Co-supervisor: Prof. dr. Tanja Mortelmans

Yinchun Bai is working on the grammatical constructionalization of discourse markers

             

              Email: yinchun.bai@mkw.uni-freiburg.de

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Towards discourse markers: A cross-linguistic study of grammatical constructionalization

Abstract:

Supervisor: Prof. Bernd Kortmann

Co-supervisor: Prof. dr. Johan van der Auwera

Joint PhD with Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg

Sara Budts is working on the consolidation of do-support across the lifespan

 

 

           Email: sara.budts@uantwerpen.be

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To do or not to do? A corpus-based study of cognitive economizing in grammatical change across the lifespan

Abstract:

The main goal of the proposed project is to determine the extent to which individual speakers economize their mental grammar by reinterpreting local patterns as belonging to more widely applicable grammatical rules, as manifested in the further generalization of these local patterns. Conversely, analysing this will also lead to insight into which patterns in individuals behave as niches resisting such a realignment to more regularity. These goals tie in with and test psychological assumptions that abstract rules and concrete exemplars (instances accessible in memory) are simultaneously at work in grammatical cognition. The case study that will be analysed to reach this goal is that of the introduction and diffusion of do as a grammatical word in Early Modern English (ca. 1550-1700). Before this period, do was largely limited to its lexical use, illustrated in (1). During this period, however, do was increasingly more often used in, among others, questions (2a) and negative statements (3a), as an alternative to the older structures (2b) and (3b). (1) I already did my homework. (2) a. Do you love me? b. I do not love you. (3) a. Love you me? b. I love you not. By the end of the 17th century do had become more or less obligatory in these uses. As such, it is one of the shibboleths of the English language, not only distinguishing it from other Germanic languages, but exploiting a grammatical option that is very rare across the worlds' languages. The project focuses on the stages of the diffusion of do, where do was already established as an option, but much variation was to be found in the speech community. This poses the fundamental research question of which factors guide this variation at the level of individual speakers. It is examined if, and to what extent, the choice for do is primed by frequent use of modal auxiliaries (will, shall, may, must, can), which typically appear in similar syntactic environments. Together, they could be seen as syntactic markers of all non-neutral statements, i.e. statements that are not (non-emphatic) declaratives. Additionally, it is examined in what contexts patterns like (2b) and (3b) resist the insertion of do the longest. Together, these analyses are expected to considerably advance our knowledge of how much change is possible in abstract cognitive schemas such as grammar across the adult lifespan, and by what kinds of existing regularities this change is guided.

Supervisor: Prof. dr. Peter Petré

Wim Caers is working on de-auxiliarization in the Dutch modals

 

 

              Email: wim.caers@uantwerpen.be

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De-auxiliarization in the Dutch and English modals: A comparative diachronic corpus investigation

Abstract:

In line with current assumptions about how the grammar of a language is 'created' through history, the modal auxiliaries in English and Dutch ('can'/'kunnen', 'may'/'mogen', etc.) are known to have emerged from full lexical verbs, many centuries ago, and to have gradually acquired auxiliary (i.e. grammatical) status through a process of 'grammaticalization'. According to current views, this process is normally unidirectional (i.e., linguistic forms develop from lexical to grammatical, and from less to more grammatical, but not vice versa). Yet, in the history of both Dutch and English, there is a phase in which the evolution of the modal auxiliaries is reversed (a return to a more autonomous, lexical status, at least partially). In English this phase is situated mainly in the Middle English period, ending around 1500 (after 1500 the modals – at least the central ones – grammaticalized again further). In Dutch, however, this phase only started after 1650, in the New Dutch period, and it seems to be continuing until today. This project involves a systematic diachronic corpus investigation of these phases of re-autonomization of the modals in the histories of Dutch and English. The aim is to achieve a better view of the factors and forces which have effected and affected these processes in both languages, and to compare them, and, thus, to contribute to a better understanding of the processes of and degrammaticalization in general.

Supervisor: prof. dr. Jan Nuyts

Carlos Cuello is working on vocative-based discourse markers in Spanish

From vocative to discourse marker: An interactional constructional approach to vocative-based discourse markers in Spanish

Abstract:

Supervisors: Prof. dr. María Estellés and Prof. dr. Pedro Gras

Joint PhD with University of València

Christine Fourie is working on metacognitive awareness to optimize blended learning

Email: christine.fourie@student.uantwerpen.be

Raising metacognitive awareness in a language for specific purposes contex to optimize blended learning

Abstract:

Supervisor: Prof. dr. Kris Van De Poel

Sune Gregersen Rygård is working on de-auxiliarization in the English modals

Email: S.H.G.Rygard@uva.nl

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De-auxiliarization in the Dutch and English modals: A comparative diachronic corpus investigation

Abstract:

In line with current assumptions about how the grammar of a language is 'created' through history, the modal auxiliaries in English and Dutch ('can'/'kunnen', 'may'/'mogen', etc.) are known to have emerged from full lexical verbs, many centuries ago, and to have gradually acquired auxiliary (i.e. grammatical) status through a process of 'grammaticalization'. According to current views, this process is normally unidirectional (i.e., linguistic forms develop from lexical to grammatical, and from less to more grammatical, but not vice versa). Yet, in the history of both Dutch and English, there is a phase in which the evolution of the modal auxiliaries is reversed (a return to a more autonomous, lexical status, at least partially). In English this phase is situated mainly in the Middle English period, ending around 1500 (after 1500 the modals – at least the central ones – grammaticalized again further). In Dutch, however, this phase only started after 1650, in the New Dutch period, and it seems to be continuing until today. This project involves a systematic diachronic corpus investigation of these phases of re-autonomization of the modals in the histories of Dutch and English. The aim is to achieve a better view of the factors and forces which have effected and affected these processes in both languages, and to compare them, and, thus, to contribute to a better understanding of the processes of and degrammaticalization in general.

Supervisor: Prof. dr. Olga Fischer

Co-supervisor: Prof. dr. Jan Nuyts

Joint PhD with University of Amsterdam

Ingeborg Harmes is working on modal auxiliaries constrastively

 

 

           Email: iharmes@uni-muenster.de

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Modale werkwoorden contrastief

(English title: Modal auxiliaries contrastively)

Abstract:

Co-supervisor: Prof. dr. Jan Nuyts

Joint PhD with University of Münster

John Linnegar is working on online mentoring of language practitioners

 

 

     Email: john.linnegar@student.uantwerpen.be

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Towards an effective model for mentoring language practitioners online

Abstract:

The mentoring of text editors, as a species of language practitioner, as provided by professional societies does not include a standard mechanism for raising the mentee’s awareness of the range of errors they are required to detect and correct in texts they are given to improve in a systematic way. Nor is there a mechanism in place to enable formal assessment of a mentee’s competence at the end of a mentorship. My research project entails investigating the use of the Correspondence, Consistency, Correctness [CCC] Model devised by Dutch linguist Jan Renkema as an awareness-raising, learning and assessment tool. Renkema developed the model as a means of evaluating the quality of texts using a set of 15 criteria. Ultimately, they should serve to ascertain whether a text would be likely to convey the author’s intended message while at the same time satisfying the needs and expectations of the targeted readers. The text editor’s remit is to intervene at various levels to ensure that an author’s text communicates effectively.

The CCC Model is more than an aid to writers and text editors who need help with perfecting writing: it is also a solid tool for teaching a systematic approach to (self-)editing texts, and therefore also helpful to students wanting to perfect their writing.

Since text editing essentially involves the analysis of text quality according to the number and nature of the errors found in texts, the model would appear to be a suitable tool with which to sensitise editors-in-training about the different types of error they should be detecting.

In this project, groups of postgraduate students enrolled on a writing course learn to apply (self-)editing skills through mastery of the model in a learning mode that entails online autonomous blended learning. Their competence at error detection is monitored throughout the course by means of this rubric with a view to demonstrating its efficacy as both an enabling and a monitoring tool and a means of assessing change in editing knowledge and skills.

Supervisor: Prof. dr. Kris Van De Poel

Ward Peeters is working on the networking power of Facebook in the development of English for academic purposes

Emailward.peeters@student.uantwerpen.be

Harnessing the networking power of Facebook: Peer interaction and the development of English for academic purposes

Abstract: In foreign language learning (FLL) classrooms, Web 2.0 platforms are increasingly integrated as support tools in the curriculum, aiming to facilitate learners’ engagement with the FL, increase motivation and enable them to socially and collaboratively interact with fellow learners online. While descriptive studies on the topic have long been at the forefront of research, they often lack quantitative measures on how peers interact with each other and what the effect is on learners’ perception of themselves as users of English for academic purposes. In my PhD, two case studies, as well as a corpus and network analysis have shown how both language and peer interaction evolve over time and how they influence students’ self-efficacy beliefs; resulting in a holistic perspective on Web 2.0 and FLL.

Supervisor: Prof. dr. Kris Van De Poel

Sofia Pérez Fernández is working on what language variation can tell us about insubordination

What can language variation tell us about insubordination? A comparative analysis of complement clauses in geographical varieties of Spanish

Abstract:

This project analyzes the dialectal variation of insubordination, the phenomenon whereby a formally subordinate or dependent clause is conventionally used as a main or independent clause (Evans 2007). The empirical focus is on the functional load of que-insubordinate clauses, which are the most frequent insubordinate constructions in Spanish. Que-initial sentences can display several functions in interaction: third-person imperatives, wishes, negative evaluation, echo, disagreement, topic change, etc. Considering their high polyfunctionality, this project addresses two interrelated questions. The first research question (RQ1) concerns the historical dimension of insubordination: how is the diachronic development of insubordinate constructions to be modelled precisely? To answer this question this project builds on the assumption that synchronic variation reflects diachronic evolution (Hopper & Traugott 2003: 1). The second research question (RQ2) deals with the functional load of insubordination: if insubordinate constructions express more than one meaning, on what basis then should it be decided whether we are dealing with one (polysemous) construction or with more than one construction, each expressing a different meaning (homonymy)? In order to properly respond to these questions, the project is based is based on a quantitative and qualitative corpus analysis adopting an interactional constructional approach to language. The analysis will be performed on different corpora that include spoken spontaneous conversations of the main dialectal areas of European and American Spanish. The objective of this project is twofold. From a descriptive point of view, the project attempts to map the situated meanings of independent complement constructions and describe their distribution across selected varieties of Spanish. At a theoretical level and along the lines of the overall Construction-Grammatical approach adopted here, the project aims to model the situated meanings extracted from the corpora in the form of constructional networks, which acknowledge both generalizations and low-level patterns, as well as potential dialectal specificities. This should allow us to extend the framework of Construction Grammar, so that it can accommodate variational data. Moreover, since the networks resulting from the analysis represent synchronic variation of complement insubordination in Spanish, they can shed light on the current debate regarding the diachronic evolution of insubordination. Finally, the project investigates what types of contextual information are required to fully explain the use of these constructions in interaction (conditions on precedent and subsequent discourse, discourse-structural information, information structure, amongst other) and how this information should be formally represented.

Supervisor: Prof. dr. Pedro Gras

Co-supervisor: Prof. dr. Frank Brisard

Marilize Pretorius is working on accommodative competence in nursing communication training

Email: marilize.pretorius@student.uantwerpen.be

Towards accommodative competence in nursing communication training: Communication Accomodation Theory as a fundamental research approach to communicative competence

Abstract: High mobility in the nursing profession, and the resulting language discordance, can cause problematic and potentially dangerous communicative interactions between nurses, patients and medical professionals. Existing language and communication training programs often fall short of providing nursing (pre-)professionals with the knowledge and skills required to deal with such interactions. To inform the design of training relevant to their actual needs, I use Communication Accommodation Theory to investigate the language and communication learning needs of nursing professionals. By firstly raising nursing (pre-)professionals’ awareness about their need to accommodate in language discordant interactions relevant to their profession, and secondly providing them with the knowledge and skills for doing so, we aim to empower them to become confident and competent professionals.

Supervisor: Prof. dr. Kris Van De Poel

Gosse Romkes is working on language use in teacher training

Email: g.romkes@hr.nl

Veranderingen in het taalgebruik van docenten in de klas, als indicator voor hun professionele groei gedurende de 2de graads lerarenopleiding

Abstract:

Supervisors: prof. dr. Jef Verschueren and prof. dr. Sigurd D'hondt (UGent)

Elke Ruelens is working on the development of academic literacy

Email: elke.ruelens@uantwerpen.be

Towards learner autonomy in academic writing development

Abstract: Students in tertiary education aspire to become members of the academic community, to which end they have to develop their academic literacy. Academic literacy primarily comes to the fore in academic writing products, the most important way of communicating in academia.
This research project defines the role of learner autonomy in developing academic writing and explores how training in the use of self-regulation strategies can support the development of learner autonomy in an academic writing course.

Supervisor: Prof. dr. Kris Van De Poel

Joana Portia Sakyi is working on modality and evidentiality in Akan

E-mail: joanaportia.sakyi@uantwerpen.be

Expression of modality and evidentiality in Akan

Abstract:

Supervisor: Prof. dr. Jan Nuyts

Will Standing is working on the diffusion of cleft constructions across the lifefspan

       

 

        Email: william.standing@uantwerpen.be

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Diffusion of cleft constructions across the lifespan: cognitive and social mechanisms compared

Abstract:

The PhD project is part of the larger ERC project Mind-Bending Grammars, but is also conceived as a personal and independent project. The main research questions are shared with the overall project: (i) do we find evidence for syntactic change (including grammaticalization) across the lifespan? (ii) In what way does syntactic change in adults differ from change between generations? (iii) Do closely related constructions systematically influence each other’s development within individual usage?

To answer these questions, the PhD project will analyse and compare two cases: (a) it-clefts and (b) pseudo-clefts.

  • -clefts (It was Bill I kissed) place their primary content in postcopular position for focus. They are also specificational, typically detailling on discourse-old information. Their frequency tripled from 1570-1640 to 1640-1710 (Patten 2012), and the construction also extended to new types, including discourse-new clefts (e.g. it was Bukowski who once said “Love is ... hell”), and a broader range of focal elements (It was with great Reluctancy that Michael Angelo yielded). The PhD will analyse how these developments proceeded, and to what extent they are evidence for structural change within adult grammars.
  • Pseudoclefts share their focus function with it-clefts but reverse the order of the elements (All that I said was this: “That ...”). Pseudoclefts first appeared after 1600 (Koops & Hilpert 2009), and gradually extended their use during the period examined. The PhD project will examine what these changes entail structurally in adult grammars, and how they interact with the changes in it-clefts.

The raw data set will be provided by the project and will consist of a sample of the collected works of 50 prolific 17th-18th  century authors. The theoretical framework will be that of construction grammar (e.g. Goldberg 2006, Traugott & Trousdale 2013) and cognitive science more generally.

Supervisor: Prof. dr. Peter Petré

Fergal Treanor is working on German higher education policy discourse


             

              Email: fergal_treanor@hotmail.com

 

 

Language, ideology and the university – higher education policy discourse in Germany, 1993-2013

Abstract:

The Bologna Process is the driving force of European Higher Education (HE) policy; its controversial implementation in Germany has brought to light conflicting interpretations of the goals of university education. This qualitative case study uses linguistic pragmatics and discourse analysis to examine the development and dissemination of HE policy in the German context. It addresses open questions in the theory of context, and contributes to a better understanding of the mutually constitutive relationship between language, ideology and policy. A theoretically founded chapter on salient contextual factors will lead in to detailed linguistic analysis of selected primary texts.

The specific research questions are:
How does language interact with extralinguistic contexts to generate ideological meaning?
What are the predominant ideologies informing HE policy in Germany?

Supervisor: prof. dr. Jef Verschueren

Sofie Van de Geuchte is working on interpreting in mental health care

Email: sofie.vandegeuchte@uantwerpen.be

Language mediation in mental health care. Interpreter or lingua franca?

Abstract:
A Chinese person suffers from depression and needs the help of a therapist. There is one problem: patient and therapist do not speak the same language. This project investigates how mental health organizations deal with language mediation. It explores three types of language mediation: (1) professional face-to-face interpreting, (2) professional Internet interpreting and (3) the use of a lingua franca, e.g. English. The purpose is (1) to describe what kind of language mediation is appropriate in different communicative situations and (2) to create a corpus of spoken language and extract terminology and frequently used sentences. To meet the purposes of this project, I will gather recordings of mental health sessions in Flanders, supplemented with interviews of therapists, interpreters and patients.

Supervisors: prof. dr. Jef Verschueren and prof. dr. Leona Van Vaerenbergh
 

Jessica Van de Weerd is working on the reportative "conditionnel" in French

 

 

     Email: jessica.vandeweerd@uantwerpen.be

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The reportative "conditionnel" in French, an evidential marker: a study into its origin, semantics and semantic development

Abstract:

Supervisor: Prof. dr. Patrick Dendale

Marina Vulovic is working on first-year students' academic literacy skills in an L2

Email: marina.vulovic@student.uantwerpen.be

Academic literary skills development in a foreign language: metacognitive awareness raising

Abstract: Despite the efforts ‘there is a persistent failure by universities to support students adequately in their development of academic literacy, particularly at the initial stages of their study’ (Wingate, 2015, p. 9). Consequently, support for academic literacy development has to be rethought (Van Dyk & Van de Poel, 2013; Weideman, 2013; Wingate, 2015). This project investigates first-year students’ academic literacy skills in English as a Foreign Language in order to identify their metacognitive awareness-raising needs and define adequate support.

Supervisor: Prof. dr. Kris Van De Poel