July 27th, 2016
On July 24, 2015 Adrienne OUAFO successfully defended his thesis at the University of Luxembourg on
“Interacting in Luxembourgish as an additional Language: An analysis of language learning as related to language affordances among multilingual adult learners”
Research on language learning has increasingly recognised that social interaction plays an important role as the semiotic mediator of language learning and development with respect to affordances for the target language (TL). Perceived as relationships between the learner and his/her environment, affordances are the ‘use-able’ and ‘speak-able’ of the TL in the learning environment. The assumption is that active verbal engagement in naturally occurring everyday interaction enable learners to develop knowledge of TL use associated with longer and more complex utterances in the TL. In her PhD research, Adrienne Ouafo investigates how appropriate these assumptions are in the case of multilingual learners of Luxembourgish who have to face challenges related to the specific multilingual context in which their learning occurs. Luxembourg is an officially trilingual country (French, German and Luxembourgish) where other languages, like English, play important roles in daily social life. Focus is laid on adult learners of Luxembourgish who are multilingual speakers of at least two of those three languages. Drawing from four corpuses (questionnaire, interviews, audio–recordings and focus group discussions), her research discusses the zone of proximal development of an additional language in a multilingual context as related to language affordance. Under which conditions might affordances be enacted in multilingual contexts and what forms might it take when learners are multilingual speakers and the target language is an additional language? Results show that in a context where the target language’s functions are limited to “juste les petites conversations wie geet et?” [only mini-dialogues how are you?], metalinguistic awareness is crucial for the occurrence of executive affordance that allows for language learning and development to take place. An awareness of the context on the one side and of the status of the target language on the other side is crucial for the learning and development of Luxembourgish.
The members of the PhD jury were:
Prof. Dr. Peter GILLES – UL FLSHASE (president)
Prof. Dr. Steve WALSH – Newcastle University (UK) (vice-chairman)
Prof. Dr. Charles MAX – UL FLSHASE (main supervisor)
PD Dr. Jacqueline BREUGNOT – Universität Koblenz-Landau (Ger) (member)
Dr. Line PERRIN – Universität des Saarlandes (Ger) (member)
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July 27th, 2016
On February 17, 2015 Claudia Albanese successfully defended his thesis at the University of Luxembourg on
“The composite semiotics of interactional repair in french and italian tv debates”
In her PhD work, Claudia Albanese analyses the composite semiotics of interactional repair across n=409 tokens of different repair types in French and Italian TV debates. Three methodologies are merged to understand if variables correlate on the contextualisation of repair and how. Talk in interaction is transcribed and analysed following conversation analytic methods (Sacks et al., 1974). Acoustic analysis is run to detect average means, minimum and maximum pitches movements (Boersma and Weenink, 2014). Facial action units of the upper face are transcribed following the FACS methodology (Ekman and Friesen, 1983 and Ekman et al., 2002). In the datasets sampled, both French and Italian speakers produce AU 1+2 more often than other movements. The duration of facial action units is also considered. Action units (AU) below 500 ms and above 500 ms are distinguished. According to previous literature (Ekman, 1969), movements below 500 ms are involuntary. Data show that both in French and Italian, AUs are more frequently shorter than 500 ms on speech errors, cut offs, and edits and more frequently longer than 500 ms on recyclings and replacements. The movements preceding and following the AU in analysis are also analysed. When AUs at AU-1 and AU+1 differ in configuration or drastically in intensity with respect to the AU in analysis, the AU is said to be in prosodic break with respect to its surroundings thus a cue to the contextualisation of the action it accompanies usually a repair (or an increment repair). In n=409 instances of repair analysed, n=174 AUs in analysis are in prosodic break with both AU-1 and AU+1, and in half of this instances a maximal pitch accent correlates too.
The members of the PhD jury were:
• Prof. Dr. Peter GILLES – UL FLSHASE (president)
• Prof. Dr. Steve WALSH – Newcastle University (UK) (vice-chairman)
• Prof. Dr. Charles MAX – UL FLSHASE (main supervisor)
• Prof Dr. Viviana GABALLO – University of Macerata (I) (member)
– Prof.Dr. Shanley ALLEN – University of Kaiserslautern (Ger) (member)
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November 8th, 2014
On October 17, Philippe Blanca successfully defended his thesis at the University of Luxembourg on
“The scientific journal in the age of digital multimodality”
The undertaken research is dedicated to multimodal scientific publishing. It analyses and discusses in particular how current communication technologies invite researchers to take into consideration less conventional semiotic resources, such as video, sound, animations, 3D objects… and how these resources are effectively used and valued in actual digital journals. In other words, this exploratory study of a small number of scientific journals shows how multimodal approaches to scientific publishing are more than multimedia integration and that they tend to change practices of online publishing still linked to print technologies. They redefined at a digital level the links between mode of production, of evaluation, of dissemination and of consumption. The research concludes that the formal dissemination of scientific findings is still largely dominated by the written mode and that use of multimodality in scientific journals remains underdeveloped despite its analytical potential.
The members of the defense committee were:
A.-Prof. Dr. Christoph Schommer, Université du Luxembourg, Chairman
Prof. Dr. Pascal Hitzler, Wright State University,Vice-Chairman
Prof. Dr. Charles Max, University Luxembourg, Supervisor
Prof. Dr. Gunther Kress, University of London, member
Dr. Patrice Caire, SnT, member
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