This study aimed at investigating differential item functioning (DIF) on the Special English Test of the Iranian National University Entrance Exam (INUEE). The effect of gender and subject area was taken into account. The study utilized one-parameter IRT model with a sample of 36000 students who sat for the INUEE Special English Test in 2004 and/or 2005. The findings confirmed the presence of DIF on this test. The cloze test indicated the lowest DIF whereas language function indicated the highest DIF. The results also revealed some general gender DIF patterns across the subject area. Females were favored on the three sections of grammar, language function, and the cloze test, whereas males were favored on the vocabulary and word order sections. The reading comprehension section favored males and females equally. It was also concluded that the item format alone could not explain DIF. In other words, it is the subject area or the interaction of the subject area and item format that determines the degree and direction of DIF.
This study was conducted to compare the impact of two vocabulary learning techniques, namely context learning and translation learning, on vocabulary recall of sixty pre-university Iranian learners of English as a foreign language. They were divided into two groups of high and low proficient. In regard to two vocabulary learning conditions, each group was divided into two subgroups of fifteen. The data were collected using two types of tests, translation and fill-in-the-blank. The result revealed that the students' proficiency affects their recall. It also revealed that low proficient learners did well when translation learning was followed by translation recall test. However, they could not transfer their vocabulary knowledge to a new context. In other words, they did not perform well enough when translation learning was followed by context recall test. The high proficient group, on the other hand, had a better performance on the context recall test.
Richard Wright’s introductory essay to his collection of short stories Uncle Tom's Children describes hidden forms of resistance against Jim Crowism and Uncle Tomism. The essay entitled The Ethics of Living Jim Crow: An Autobiographical Sketch relates Wright’s daily confrontations with Jim Crowism with a particular emphasis on his evasive actions, and his covert activities, such as silence, playing the role of the Monkey trickster in the library, lying consistently to whites if this act did not question his life and “sly civility,” to fight the humiliation imposed by Jim Crow laws and customs back. In the short stories, however, he focuses on more open forms of defying Jim Crowism, especially the resort to physical violence. In all the stories of the collection of Uncle Tom’s Children and in its introductory essay, whites are the originators of the violence; however, blacks are not always portrayed as entirely innocent. The essay is divided into nine “lessons”. For the purpose of this paper, I limit my study of the introductory essay to four of Wright’s so called Jim Crow “lessons,” selecting two examples from the beginning of the essay and two examples from the end to show what Wright meant by “covert tactics” and how he used them in his day-to-day life. Towards the end of the essay, I conclude, Wright increases his attacks on Uncle Tomism either by criticizing the submissive reactions of his family and black folks or by refusing to be meek and loyal to whites. When he was seriously threatened, though, he had no choice but to play the role of an Uncle Tom.
The present essay is an attempt to scrutinize Macbeth's letter to Lady Macbeth formalistically with much care and seek hints which may lead us back and forth to understand what befell before and after the composition and emission of the letter. The letter seems to help us plunge into Macbeth's consciousness, and of course later to that of Lady Macbeth; it is a transparent aid to perceive the hidden purpose and ambition of Macbeth, about which so much ink has been spilled to clarify it. The diction, the tone of the writer of the letter, and the later response of the addressee to the letter all are issues which this short letter contains and makes it a device in the hands of this great master of speech and drama to dramatize human nature. Thus, the letter transcends its simple function as a written message and turns it into an influential dramatic device which unfolds much about the two central characters: one who knows bounds towards crime with open eyes mesmerized by the glitter of crown; the other, on the other hand, also mystified by the temptation of the ""golden round,"" is blind to the consequences of her menacing instinctive impulses.
An Analysis of English and Persian Academic Written Discourses in Human Sciences: An Evolutionary Account
The present paper focused on the sociocultural explanations of rhetorical differences between English and Persian and was based on the contrastive genre analysis of Applied Linguistics research article abstracts in these two languages. The evolutionary nature of research article abstracts was also investigated from 1985 to 2005, in three stages, with a time interval of 10 years. Seventy eight research article abstracts were analyzed, forty two of which were taken from two English journals and the rest from two Persian journals. The levels of generic structure contrasted included rhetorical moves, linguistic structure, and formal and textual layout. The rhetorical moves were investigated using move analysis with reference to Swales CARS (Create A Research Space) model and/ or IMRC (Introduction, Method, Results, Conclusion) Model. For investigating the linguistic features, the aspects of Tense and the use of I/We pronoun were taken into consideration and finally, with regard to the textual and formal layout, the relative length of the steps was probed. The results indicated differences between English and Persian research article abstracts, especially with regard to their evolution.
Reading development and instruction is a pedagogical priority at all academic levels. Historically, in the educational field, numerous efforts have been made to facilitate the complex process of foreign language reading comprehension. More recently, increasing attention has been paid to the use of computers for developing reading comprehension skills and various efforts have been made in this regard. The present study investigates the connection between computer technology and reading comprehension. It relies on the current models of reading which emphasize the interactive nature of reading and constructive nature of comprehension. The study sample consisted of 30 freshman students studying English Language and Literature at Semnan University. Of this total, 15 students were subjected to a computer-assisted instructional program. They filled out a background questionnaire and during ten sessions they read computerized texts provided with comprehension aids (texts, pictures, and sounds). The other 15 students, randomly selected from the group, received no computer training and served as a control group. Both groups took a reading comprehension pre-test and post-test. After the treatment, the experimental group filled out an attitude questionnaire. Both quantitative and qualitative findings of the study are clear indications that the computerized reading contributes to the development of EFL reading skills more significantly than the conventional academic reading method.
The Role of Conceptualizable Agent in Overpassivization of English Unaccusatives in Iranian English Majors
The present study is an attempt to explore the effect of one of the pragmatic elements of discourse (namely the conceptualizable agent) on overpassivization of English unaccusative verbs. Through employing the questionnaire originally used by Ju, (2000), 206 Iranian intermediate and advanced English majors were asked to choose the more grammatical form (active or passive) in target sentences with unaccusative verbs. Each target sentence was embedded in two different contexts expressing external and internal causation. The participants' performance supported the hypothesis that unaccusatives were overpassivized more when the discourse context offered a conceptualizable agent, and that monadic unaccusative verbs were passivized more than dyadic ones. The learners recognized conceptualizable agents offered by the discourse context and their judgments on sentence acceptance were influenced by these agents. Since, in the literature, other researchers like Ju (2000); Oshita (1997); Yip (1995); and Zobl (1989) reported that many non-native English learners cross- linguistically over-passivize unaccusative verbs, it provided additional support for the claim that these errors are language universal rather than language specific. Thus, this paper argues against a purely syntactic analysis of interlanguage errors such as overpassivization and talks in favor of an approach that takes pragmatic factors into account as well.
One of the narrative strategies employed in different ways by men and women writers is the presentation of narrator. The significance of narrator is so much that it differentiates between the realistic and non-realistic fiction and specifically men's and women's writings in realistic fiction. Robyn R Warhol's theory based on Genette's is applied to Adam Bede by George Eliot to focus on woman as writer. Warhol specifies five touchstones for distinguishing engaging and distancing narrators which consist of 1) The degree of irony present in references to the narratee; 2)The frequency of direct address to the narratee; 3)The names by which the narratee is addressed; 4)The narrator's stance toward the characters; 5)The narrator's implicit or explicit attitude towards the act of narration. These five touchstones are examined in Adam Bede to come to the conclusion about the nature of the narrator, whether engaging or distancing.