, Volume 41 Issue 5 Previous Issue   
Linguistic Studies
Usage-based Approaches to Research on VACs in English as an L2
Jinting Cai, Jiayi Chen
Journal of Beijing International Studies University, 2019, 41(5): 4-17.   https://doi.org/10.12002/j.bisu.242
Abstract( 13 )   HTML( 1 )     PDF(1496KB)( 20 )

Usage-based approaches to second language acquisition (SLA) have gained momentum in the past decade on the international stage. Among the constructions under investigation, English verb-argument constructions (VACs) figures prominently. Unfortunately, this trend has not yet attracted much attention at home. To fill in this gap, this paper first explains the theoretical points of usage-based approaches to SLA, then provides a review of the empirical studies in terms of topics and methods. The topics mainly concern learners’ construction knowledge and the influence of learners’ first language on their use of VACs. With regard to methods, researchers often adopt corpus and experiment in a separate or combined way, while employing computer simulation when necessary. Finally, the authors tentatively make five suggestions for future research: (1) The ways in which various input factors affect more types of VACs should be investigated. (2) More attention should be attached to the effect of first language on the use of second language VACs by learners with diverse first language backgrounds. (3) The interactive effects of input factors and language transfer should be considered. (4) Both production and processing in second language should be emphasized. (5) New methods and techniques should be applied in the research into VACs.

Structural Priming Studies in International Journals over the Past Three Decades(1986—2017):An Analysis Based on KMD
Min Wang, Qiao Gan
Journal of Beijing International Studies University, 2019, 41(5): 18-37.   https://doi.org/10.12002/j.bisu.240
Abstract( 6 )   HTML( 1 )     PDF(2876KB)( 9 )

Structural priming (also known as syntactic priming) refers to the ubiquitous phenomenon that when people talk or write, they tend to reuse previously used or contacted linguistic structures in their output. In the past thirty years, language sciences have been witnessing growing interest in structural priming. Evidence abounds that structural priming is a strong and versatile phenomenon which can reflect abstract representations and is an important tool for studying the mechanism of language processing. In addition, it has been found to have a potential role in facilitating language learning and successful communication. Thus, structural priming research has strong implications for various branches of language sciences like language acquisition, bilingualism and language communication. By using the bibliometric data of structural priming studies published in international journals from 1986 to 2017, this paper gives a comprehensive review of structural priming research based on the visualized knowledge map generated by CiteSpace. Specifically, it investigates chronical changes in the amount of publications, systematically examines the changes in the number of papers published, journals which are more ready to publish structural priming papers, core research institutions and prolific researchers in the field and combs the core issue discussed in the papers and their evolving patterns based on highly co-cited papers and key words. Directions for future research are also discussed.

A Comparison Study of Second Language Learners’ Peripheral Attention on Chunks and Single Words in Incidental Acquisition
Zhengzhong Zhou
Journal of Beijing International Studies University, 2019, 41(5): 38-52.   https://doi.org/10.12002/j.bisu.243
Abstract( 5 )   HTML( 1 )     PDF(1271KB)( 7 )

Attention is an essential prerequisite for second language acquisition and is required as the first step in the acquisition of target linguistic forms. Taking freshmen of non-English majors as subjects, this study explores the level of the peripheral attention given by L2 learners to the chunks and single words in the text while directing focal and major attention to the reading tasks and the difference between them. The findings show that (1) L2 learners’ peripheral attention on chunks and single words in reading is generally inefficient and there is significant difference between them; (2) L2 learners’ reading score has weak correlation with the level of the peripheral attention given to the chunks and single words; (3) there is a trend for the peripheral attention to vary according to different chunk frequencies — the level of the peripheral attention on low-frequency chunks is higher than that on mid-frequency chunks, and the level of the peripheral attention on the mid-frequency chunks is higher than that on high-frequency chunks; there is also a trend for the peripheral attention to vary according to different single word frequencies — the level of the peripheral attention on mid-frequency chunks is higher than that on low-frequency single words, and the level of the peripheral attention on low-frequency single words is higher than that on high-frequency single words; and the two trends are obviously different. This study not only enriches our understanding of “noticing” (an important psychological phenomenon) and the roles of focal and peripheral attention in second language input by clarifying the laws and complexity of noticing in reading, but also gives pedagogical suggestions for the learning of chunks and single words.

A Study on the Effects of Alignment of Continuation Tasks from the Perspective of Third Language Acquisition
Peng Liu
Journal of Beijing International Studies University, 2019, 41(5): 53-67.   https://doi.org/10.12002/j.bisu.258
Abstract( 8 )   HTML( 1 )     PDF(1530KB)( 6 )

Taking English and Spanish as input languages, this study analyses the similarities and differences of the effects of alignment of the continuation tasks of reading and writing from the perspectives of Third Language Acquisition and Second Language Acquisition. The study reveals: (1) the alignment effect exists in both continuation tasks of reading and writing; (2) statistically significant differences are evidenced in the frequency of both language form errors and semantic errors in the two continuation tasks of reading and writing. The study demonstrates that the use of continuation tasks from the perspective of Third Language Acquisition also helps to improve the language acquisition level of the students. It further reveals the particular mechanisms and factors that are relevant to the effect of alignment from the perspective of Third Language Acquisition. The important findings of this study are as follows: (1) self-alignment which is caused by interlingual migration also produces the effect of alignment at the linguistic representation level; (2) metalanguage awareness may be another new factor that affects the intensity of the effect of alignment; (3) the effect of alignment at the semantic level is also influenced by the “negative migration” factor that is unique to Third Language Acquisition.

Translation Studies
On the English Translation Strategies of Chinese Classics from the Perspective of Cultural Philosophy: A Case Study on Bizarre Happenings Eyewitnessed Over Two Decades by Shih Shun Liu
Bingyun Shi
Journal of Beijing International Studies University, 2019, 41(5): 68-80.   https://doi.org/10.12002/j.bisu.245
Abstract( 6 )   HTML( 2 )     PDF(1536KB)( 1 )

In Shih Shun Liu’s English translation of Erh-shih Nien Mu-tu Chih Kuai Hsien-chuangBizarre Happenings Eyewitnessed Over Two Decades), published in 1977, the translator has tactfully employed domestication and foreignization strategies while remaining faithful to the spirit of the original book. On the one hand, he has omitted unnecessary details, repetition and doggerel couplets that add nothing to the story but a great deal to the cost of publication, which helps to highlight the storyline and reinforce the theme. By reconstructing the plots and adapting the chapter titles, he has changed the typical narrative mode in Chinese writing to meet the intended readers’ expectation. He has also chosen to simplify some culturally-embedded expressions that contain dross of feudalism and may thus cause great difficulty for the intended readers. On the other hand, the translator has turned to transliteration with interpretation when encountering expressions that embody the essence of Chinese traditional culture to avoid cultural default for the intended readers. In addition, he has dug into the original work and managed to convey the implied meaning in the translation. Word-for-word translation has also been adopted when it is necessary to effectively introduce the Chinese culture into the English world. From the viewpoint of the paper, the combined application of domestication and foreignization strategies contributes to both a successful construction of China’s image with true characters and maximization of the efficiency and value of the translation. The domestication strategy reflects the translator’s cultural awareness whereas the foreignization strategy highlights his cultural confidence. Such cultural awareness and confidence result from the translator’s profound cultural self reflection.

Problems and Developments in Translation History Research — An Interview with Prof. Anthony Pym
Mi Zhang
Journal of Beijing International Studies University, 2019, 41(5): 81-90.   https://doi.org/10.12002/j.bisu.228
Abstract( 43 )   HTML( 4 )     PDF(1500KB)( 28 )

Research on translation history is an important branch of translation studies. However, there are still many problems and shortcomings in current translation history research, such as the unimformed nature of texts due to an emphasis on the ‘people’, some case studies’ tendency to merely pile up historical facts, and the neglect of the history of interpreting. In this interview, the interviewer discusses the issues listed above with Prof. Anthony Pym from the University of Melbourne, who is an internationally-renowned figure in translation history research with his monograph Method in Translation History recognized as a classical work. Prof. Pym responds to the above shortcomings in current translation history research from his own perspective. Based on the above discussions, the author provides some insights on future translation history research, including the implementation of interdisciplinary research between translation studies and history studies with the discovery of first-hand materials; the emphasis on non-literary translation history such as sci-technology translation and law translation, as well as the history of interpreting. It is hoped that this interview can help clarify some problems about current translation history research and promote translation history research in China, so that Chinese researchers of translation history can better carry out exchanges with international counterparts.

A Study on Chinese Retranslation and Relevant Strategies of Goethe’s West-östlicher Divan from the Perspective of Philosophical Hermeneutics
Jingwei He
Journal of Beijing International Studies University, 2019, 41(5): 91-101.   https://doi.org/10.12002/j.bisu.257
Abstract( 6 )   HTML( 1 )     PDF(1509KB)( 2 )

As Goethe’s last collection of poems, West-östlicher Divan is the crystallization of his mature poetic art in his later years. It integrates eastern and western cultures and is filled with the natural-divine nature of oriental spirit. In fact, it’s a prescription that Goethe gave to the war-torn, spiritual retrogression in 19th century Europe. However, this masterpiece has so far only a limited reception in China, with few Chinese translations. In one translation (Qian Chunqi), “formal equivalence” takes priority over “content equivalence”. Therefore the translation fails to grasp the original meaning and spirit of Goethe poetry. This article will explore this issue within the framework of philosophical hermeneutics, and, with the help of Gadamer’s dialogue theory, will explore the meaning of text in translation, in order to promote the translation and further research of this great work. The conclusion drawn from this article is that methodologies cannot be used to arbitrarily cut texts, let alone to generally prioritize “formal equivalence” and “content equivalence”. Translators should understand the text and its inner spirit by way of a dialogue with the text, and should try to let the spirit of the original text exist in new ways in the new language world.

Foreign Literature Studies
Correction, Dialogue and Inheritation: An Interpretation of Dialogues in Limbo by George Santayana
Hongying Niu
Journal of Beijing International Studies University, 2019, 41(5): 102-115.   https://doi.org/10.12002/j.bisu.252
Abstract( 7 )   HTML( 1 )     PDF(1545KB)( 1 )

Dialogues in Limbo by George Santayana is corrective, dialogical and inheriting as well. Though with rich and deep implications, this work has seldom been studied by researchers home and abroad. By associating it with The Life of Reason in five volumes, the best-known work of Santayana across the world written in his middle age, and the ancient Greek sources of thoughts that Santayana was indebted to, this paper points out that The Life of Reason, which eulogizes reason as the basis of anything good in life, could not best represent Santayana’s final idea of reason, because in Dialogues in Limbo the author questions and corrects his former understanding of reason. Dialogues in Limbo is in fact a criticism of absolute reason. Besides, transforming himself and those ancient Greek philosophers, especially Democritus, Socrates and Aristotle, into literary interlocutors, Santayana at the same time conducts a trans-temporal dialogue about reason in Dialogues in Limbo with these giants. What is more, judging by the choice of the setting, the atmosphere and the characterizations in this work, Santayana is a conscious imitator and inheritor of Lucian, the great Roman writer who, with his Dialogues of Dead, established a sub-tradition of the literary dialogues of the West. Though Santayana never mentions Lucian in this book or elsewhere, the latter’s influence upon the former could not be denied. This study not only examines the ignored academic value of Dialogues in Limbo, but to some extent enriches the existing scholarship about George Santayana and the tradition of literary dialogues of the West.

Universal Law and Individual Will —On Two Major Propositions in Tolstoy’s Works
Meiling Jin
Journal of Beijing International Studies University, 2019, 41(5): 116-125.   https://doi.org/10.12002/j.bisu.241
Abstract( 6 )   HTML( 2 )     PDF(1294KB)( 4 )

Leo Tolstoy spent his life reconciling the demands of life and the demands of art, the contradiction between theoretical belief and instinctive judgment. On one hand, Tolstoy was fascinated throughout his lifetime with the problem of searching for the ultimate truth of life and building a kingdom of God on earth; on the other hand, he also respected the will of the individual, the true life in harmony with human nature. On the basis of summing up the discussions of this problem by western scholars, this paper interprets Tolstoy’s understanding of universal law and individual will from the aspects of his life experience and literary creation. The conflict between these two opposing propositions was reflected in the works of Tolstoy, such as Lucerne, The Cossacks, War and Peace and Anna Karenina. Rather than making a final choice between the two contradictory propositions, Tolstoy perceived universal law and individual will as two equivalent values, and was determined that universal law is only justified if and when it makes sense to the individual. Even in the later period of preaching the ethical teachings of Jesus, the author, too, showed respect for the will of the individual in his works, such as Father Sergei and Hadji Murat.

Book Review
A Review on How to Do Linguistics with R: Data Exploration and Statistical Analysis
Qiaoyun Chen,Guiying Jiang
Journal of Beijing International Studies University, 2019, 41(5): 126-132.   https://doi.org/10.12002/j.bisu.248
Abstract( 14 )   HTML( 1 )     PDF(1266KB)( 18 )

Under the background of increasingly prominent quantitative turn in linguistic studies, the introduction of How to Do Linguistics with R: Data Exploration and Statistical Analysis has been widely concerned and praised. Taking R environment as the operation platform, this book presents through examples a series of methods of data exploration and statistical analysis for linguistic investigations, ranging from descriptive statistics through regression analysis to multidimensional scaling. Techniques of data visualization have been given much emphasis throughout the book and corresponding R scripts are provided. Another notable characteristic is that the introduction of the methods centers on solving intriguing linguistic problems. As a methodology reference book tailored for language researchers, it consists of four major parts that guide readers, in a step-by-step manner, through a variety of statistical methods and insightful analyses. Written in plain and friendly language, this book is particularly useful for linguists, whether they are experienced or inexperienced in statistical computing. It is also a valuable pedagogical resource for quantitative linguistics. This paper reviews the book by summarizing the contents of its four main parts, discussing its contributions and pointing out the limitations, with an aim to provide methodological support for domestic linguistic studies and promote the trend of quantitative turn.

10 articles