For the 2009 paper "Structural Variation and Social Meaning in Elementary School Teachers' Linguistic Acts of
Control" I collected a random sample of natural language in a public setting (public elementary schools) over a
period of two months. From the sample I culled 51 utterances categorized as "acts of control" following principles of
Speech Act Theory. I then categorized these according to their grammatical structure and analyzed the relationship
between structure and social meaning by way of Politeness Theory. I posit that the linguistic phenomenon in this
case (teachers commanding students) is inadequately described as "politeness", and I suggest that the motivation
for the structural variation is the speakers' concern with presenting themselves as good and competent; the
speakers are mostly concerned with presenting a good and competent face and less concerned with protecting or
avoiding threats to the hearer's face.
Research: Evidence for Scholarly Research Ability
On this page I present samples of my work as a researcher. On the next page, I will present evidence of my
endeavors in scholarly collaboration.
Apart from my coursework in statistics and qualitative research methods, I have become most familiar with the
research process by way of voluminous reading of journal papers. In my capacity as assistant editor of the journal
Chinese as a Second Language Research, I have become attuned to the quality of reviews of literature, data
collection, and analysis that constitute a report of research. Moreover, I have been given the opportunity to serve
as a peer reviewer of articles submitted for publication in other journals under the auspices of Professor Kecskes.
As a doctoral student, I have had the opportunity to conduct three research projects in the field, putting into
practice quantitative and qualitative methodologies. I present two papers here. The first quantifies and categorizes
phenomena in the form of collected linguistic samples, and the second attempts a rich, qualitative description of
phenomena by way of interviews with a teacher and her students, as well as observations of the classroom setting.
In 2010, I collected data for what was to be a pilot study. "Integrating Culture and Language in the CFL Classroom:
A View From the Bottom Up" is my most in-depth research effort to date. I spent nearly a year observing a Chinese
as a Foreign Language (CFL) classroom, conducting formal interviews with the teacher and students and informal
interviews with faculty of the Chinese language department, in addition to various other kinds of fact-finding that go
into research but are usually left unmentioned in the report. The goal of the paper is to take stock of the culture
component in a CFL classroom and to compare extant writing on the subject to an unvarnished, real world picture
of the situation. Conclusions reached suggest that the specific content of culture should emerge from the setting in
which the language is taught; the dynamic between the cultural backgrounds of the teacher and students present a
starting place for discussions of culture. Moreover, the language itself is taken by the learners as a guide to the
culture, and therefore should be exploited by teachers as such. I presented this paper at the 2010 CASLAR
conference in Hangzhou, China. It is due to be published in De Gruyter's Trends in Applied Linguistics Series in
On the next page I present evidence of my collaboration experiences.