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Language Assessments as Shibboleths, A Poststructuralist Perspective.pdf

Language Assessments as Shibbol…

上传者: hwenjie7 2013-03-13 评分 5 0 151 21 688 暂无简介 简介 举报

简介:本文档为《Language Assessments as Shibboleths, A Poststructuralist Perspectivepdf》,可适用于高等教育领域,主题内容包含AppliedLinguistics::–OxfordUniversityPressdoi:applinamsAdvanceAccesspublis符等。

AppliedLinguistics::–OxfordUniversityPressdoi:applinamsAdvanceAccesspublishedonNovemberLanguageAssessmentsasShibboleths:APoststructuralistPerspectiveTIMMcNAMARASchoolofLanguagesandLinguistics,TheUniversityofMelbourne,Victoria,AustraliaEmail:tfmcnaunimelbeduauThebiblicalstoryoftheshibbolethiswidelycitedinlanguagetestingasemblematicofthesocialandpoliticalfunctionoflanguagetestsButthemeaningoftheshibbolethhasalsobeenexploredwithinpoststructuralism,specificallywithinDerrida’sdiscussionofthedilemmasofidentityintheworkoftheGermanJewishpoetPaulCelanDerridadiscusseslanguageitselfasshibboleth,andemphasizestheambiguityandindeterminacyofthelinguisticsign,its‘undecidability’ThisarticleconsiderstheimplicationsofDerrida’sargumentfortheareaoflanguagetestinginordertoseewhathisinterpretationoftheshibbolethmightmeanforunderstandingitspractices,typicallyframedastheyarewithinamodernistparadigmExamplesaredrawnfromvariousareasoflanguageassessment,includingtheuseoflanguageanalysisinthedeterminationoftheclaimsofasylumseekersWhatimplicationsforunderstandingsuchassessmentpracticesdoesapoststructuralistperspectiveofferINTRODUCTIONInthisarticle,IwishtopresentapoststructuralistperspectiveonthepracticeoflanguagetestingLanguagetestingforalongtimesawitselfashavingapurelypracticalfocus,theconstructionandvalidationofuseablelanguagetestsLikeengineering,ityieldedproductswhichdeservedtobejudgedintermsoftheirpracticality,usefulness,androbustnessThisenabledlanguagetestingtoavoidconsiderationofitselfasasocialpracticeButthesocialfunctionandmeaningoftestshasmovedmoreandmoreintofocus,bothinsideandoutsidelanguagetestingForexample,inafamouspassagefromDisciplineandPunish(Foucault),MichelFoucaultidentifiedtestsasplayingadefiningroleinmodernsocialorganizationTestsandexaminationsareaprincipalmodeofsurveillanceinmodernsocieties:TheexaminationcombinesthetechniquesofanobservinghierarchyandthoseofanormalizingjudgementItisanormalizinggaze,asurveillancethatmakesitpossibletoqualify,toclassifyandtopunishItestablishesoverindividualsavisibilitythroughwhichonedifferentiatesandjudgesthemThatiswhy,inallthemechanismsofdiscipline,theexaminationishighlyritualizedInitarecombinedtheceremonyofpowerandtheformoftheatCSUFullertononDecember,http:applijoxfordjournalsorgDownloadedfromexperiment,thedeploymentofforceandtheestablishmentoftruthAttheheartoftheproceduresofdiscipline,itmanifeststhesubjectionofthosewhoareperceivedasobjectsandtheobjectificationofthosewhoaresubjected(Foucault:–)Withinlanguagetestingitself,therehasbeenanincreasingrealizationofitscharacterasasocialpractice,partlyprovokedbytheargumentwithinMessick’stheoryofvalidity(Messick)thatalltestconstructsembodysocialvalues,andtestvalidationincludestheneedtorendertheseexplicitanddefensibleTheexplorationofvaluesinlanguagetests,ledbythemovementknownasCriticalLanguageTesting(Shohamy,),iscontinuingtodevelop(ChapelleMcNamara)Poststructuralistthought,asthequotefromFoucaultsuggests,ispotentiallyacurrentandrelevantsourcetodrawoninconceptualizingwhatisatissueAsitewherelanguagetestingandpoststructuralismcomestogetherexplicitly,ifmetaphorically,isinthenotionoftheshibboleth,atopicaddressedinbothfieldsTheuseofthewayapersonspeaksasanindicationoftheiridentityasfriendorfoeisthesubjectofafamouspassageintheBibleAccordingtotheBiblicalstory(Judges:–),thewordshibbolethaHebrewwordmeaning‘anearofwheat’,orperhaps‘astream’functioned,asarecognizabledialectfeature,asawayofdistinguishingfriendfromfoeinamilitaryconflictbetweenspeakersoftworelateddialectsBeingidentifiedasafriendthroughthepronunciationofthiswordgaveprotectionidentificationasfoespelleddeathAlthoughtheinterpretationofthesignificanceoftheshibbolethinthetwofieldshasbeendifferentinfocus,thisarticleexplorestherelevanceforlanguagetestingofthediscussionoflanguageasshibbolethinpoststructuralismInwhatfollowsIconsiderfirstthediscussionoftheshibbolethwithinlanguagetesting,andthenintroducethediscussionoflanguage,andlanguageasshibboleth,intheworkofthephilosopherJacquesDerridaDerrida’sunderstandingofthesocialcharacteroflanguageandthevulnerabilityoftheindividualinthefaceoflanguageisbasedon,butnotrestrictedtohisownexperienceofsocialandpoliticalviolence,themeshepursuesinanessayonthethcenturyGermanJewishpoetPaulCelan,anargumentIpresentinthefirstpartofthearticleIgoontoaskwhatimplicationsDerrida’sdiscussionoftheshibbolethmighthaveforlanguagetestingIarguethattestscorescanbethoughtofastextsorsigns,subjecttomultipleinterpretations,andthatvalidationinlanguagetestinginvolvesengagingwiththisindeterminacyIconsidertheresponsibilitiesoflanguagetestersinthelightofthisTHESHIBBOLETHANDLANGUAGETESTINGThenotionoftheshibbolethhasfrequentlybeencitedbywritersonlanguagetesting(LadoSpolskyDaviesaMcNamara)asametaphorforthesocialandpoliticalfunctionsoftestsMostearlierresearchonTMCNAMARAatCSUFullertononDecember,http:applijoxfordjournalsorgDownloadedfromlanguagetesting,rootedincognitiveandpsychometricframeworks,treatedtestsasocially,failingtoacknowledgethesocialrolelanguagetestsplay,andavoidingissuestodowiththequestionofvaluesinlanguagetestingDiscussionsoftheshibbolethwithinlanguagetestingdrawattentiontothepotentialoflanguageteststobeusedunjustly,forexamplewithincontextsofimmigrationandcitizenship(ExtraetalHoganBrunetalShohamyandMcNamara)Asaresultofthisrealization,therehasbeendebateontheethicsoflanguagetestingandtheresponsibilityoflanguagetesters(Daviesb,Kunnan,Xi)MuchofthisdiscussionisdesignedtomakethequestionoftheethicsoftestuseamanageableissuefortestdevelopersIthasfocusedonproceduralfairness,andonhowtestvalidationcanguaranteethemeaningfulnessoftestscoresintermsofagivenconstructWherethebroaderquestionofwhatsocialvaluesunderpintestconstructshasbeenaddressed,totheextentthatithasatall,writershaveoftensimplybeggedthequestion,evidentinsimpleexhortationssuchasthefollowing:‘Atestoughttobringaboutgoodinsocietythatisitshouldnotbeharmfulordetrimentaltosociety’(Kunnan:)Similarly,BachmanandPalmer()haveproposedthatamongtheclaimswithinanassessmentuseargument(anargumentjustifyingtheuseofalanguagetest)therewillbethefollowing:‘Theconsequencesofusinganassessmentandofthedecisionsthataremadearebeneficialtoallstakeholders’(p)and‘Thedecisionsthataremadeonthebasisofassessmentbasedinterpretationstakeintoconsiderationexistingeducationalandsocietalvaluesandrelevantlegalrequirements’(p)seealsotherelatedtreatmentinXi()TheseapproachessimplifytheissueofthehighlycontestedvaluesdimensionsoftestsEvenwhereaphilosophicalbasisforconsideringthevaluessupportingethicallanguagetestingpracticehasbeenexplored,thephilosophicalreflectionisopentocriticism,forexampleonthegroundsthatitsrelianceontheearlymoralphilosophyofRawls()hasnotacknowledgedrecentcritiquessuchasthoseofSen()orSandel(),andthatitremainsrelativelynarrowinitsfocus(DaviesMcNamaraandRyan)Ingeneral,thefieldhasfounditeasiertoconsidertheconsequencesofteststhan,withthenotableexceptionofShohamy(,),toengagewiththequestionofvaluesintestsLANGUAGEASSHIBBOLETHINPOSTSTRUCTURALISMWhatdoespoststructuralismsayabouttheshibbolethItisthebasisforadiscussionofjusticeandinjusticeinlanguage,allthemorepotentaslanguageistheverygroundofpersonalandsocialexistenceShibbolethisthetitleofapoembyPaulCelan,andisthetitleofanessay(Derridaa)inwhichDerridausesadiscussionofCelan’spoetrytoexploreanumberofcomplexthemes,includingthenatureofpoeticexpression,timeasasocialconstruction,memoryandtheHolocaust,thepossibilityoftranslation,andthequestionofidentity,includingJewishidentity,amongothersOfparticularLANGUAGEASSESSMENTSASSHIBBOLETHSatCSUFullertononDecember,http:applijoxfordjournalsorgDownloadedfromrelevancehereishisdiscussionofthenatureoflanguageasasharedmediumandasasiteofpowerThefactthatthemeansthroughwhichindividualexperienceisarticulatedpreexiststhespeaker,isshared,ispublic,cannotbeowned,andisnotinthecontrolofthespeakermeansthattheindividualfacesthetaskofmakinguniqueexperiencesintelligibleinthewordsofothersthehearersimilarlywrestleswiththeimpersonal,sharedmediumtodevelopaninterpretationofwhathasbeensoencodedInDerrida’swords,languageisalwaysin‘theearoftheother’(Derrida)LanguagethussimultaneouslypermitsandfrustratestheexpressionofindividualthoughtandexperienceTheindividual’svulnerabilityinthefaceoflanguagemoreoverdoesnotlieinthepurelypersonalrealmThemediumitselfissaturatedwithculturalandsocialdiscourses,whichmayworkagainstunderstandingWhenwhatisbeingcommunicatedisanexperienceofsufferingasaresultofsocialorpoliticalvaluesembeddedwithinacultureanditslanguage,thenthosesamesocialandpoliticalvaluesmaymakeitharderforthehearertoheartheexperiencethatisbeingcommunicatedTheverymeansbywhichtheindividualexistsasasocialbeing,language,isalsopotentiallythemeansbywhichindividualexistenceispotentiallydenied,eitherfiguratively,orliterallyThisisparticularly,andpainfully,trueofcommunicationinthemothertongueDerrida’sawarenessofthepotentialoflanguagetodenyvoicetoitssubjectsisrootedin,butnotlimitedto,hisownbiography(McNamara)HegrewupincolonialAlgiersinthesas(inhisownwords)‘alittleblackandveryArabJew’(BenningtonandDerrida:)butspeakingonlyFrench,andneitherArabicnorthetraditionalJewishfamilylanguage,Ladino,aresultoflinguisticassimilationundercolonialismTheancientindigenousJewishcommunitiesofAlgeriaweregivenlegalrecognitionasFrenchcitizensin,leadingtorapidlinguisticandculturalassimilationIn,however,duringtheperiodofVichyrule,thislegalrecognitionwaswithdrawnandJewswerenow‘recognized’inverydifferentterms,asaraceenemyDerridalikeotherJewishstudentsandteacherswasrefusedaccesstoeducationinthestateschoolsystem(DerridaandRoudinesco)hisfamily’slivelihood,security,andultimatesurvivalwerethreatenedTheresultingparadoxicalrelationtoFrench,thelanguageinwhichthisviolencewasperpetratedandexperienced,isexpressedinthefollowingterms:‘Ionlyhaveonelanguageitisnotmine’IammonolingualMymonolingualismfeelslikeonetome,andIremaininitandinhabititItinhabitsmeThismonolingualismismeIwouldnotbemyselfoutsideitItconstitutesmeYetitwillneverbemine,thislanguage(Derrida:–)Yetthereisnoquestionofsimplyrejectingone’smothertongue,thelanguageoftheOther:itremainsthemediuminwhichonelives,towhichoneispassionatelyattached,notonlysymbolicallybutalsopracticallyTherelationshipoftheindividualtolanguageforDerridaisoneofdesireHethusscandalouslyclaimsthatTMCNAMARAatCSUFullertononDecember,http:applijoxfordjournalsorgDownloadedfromheboth‘suffersandtakespleasurein’hisparadoxicalrelationshiptoFrench(Derrida:)LanguageissimultaneouslythebearerofasetofpotentiallyinimicaldiscoursesandthemediumwithinwhichourownmeaningmustbeinscribedFrenchforhimis‘aforbiddingaswellasaforbiddenspeech’(Derrida:)HowcansuchalanguagebeamediumofcommunicationforitssubjectswithoutitbeinganexperienceofakindofviolationItisonlyby‘deforming,reforming,andtransformingit’(Derrida:)thatitspotentialforexclusioncanberesistedDerrida’sdiscussionofPaulCelanidentifiessimilarthemesAlthoughheexplicitlydisclaimsanydirectparallelbetweenhisownbiographyandthesituationofCelan(‘Onecannot,forathousandalltooobviousreasons,comparemyexperience,myhistory,ormyrelationshipwiththeFrenchlanguagetoCelan’sexperienceandhistoryandtohisexperienceoftheGermanlanguage’(Derridab:)),thereareneverthelessclearlysignificantparallelsPaulCelanwasborninwithintheGermanspeakingJewishminorityinCzernovitz,RomaniaIn,hisparentsweredeportedtolabourcampsintheUkraine,wherehisfatherdiedoftyphushismotherwasshotinthewinterofthatyearasunfitforworkCelanworkedinlabourcampsinRomaniauntilliberationinHelivedmostoftherestofhislifeinParisuntilhissuicideinHebecamethebestknownGermanpoetofhisgenerationHispoemsarenotablefortheirstruggletoexpressinthelanguageoftheperpetratorsoftheviolence,hisownlanguage,theviolencehehadwitnessedandbeensubjecttoHisbestknownpoem,DeathFugue(Todesfuge)dealswiththethemeoftheHolocaustdirectly,andisfamousforitsrefrain:‘DerTodisteinMeisterausDeutschland’‘DeathisamasterfromGermany’MoretypicalofCelan’spoetryisanextremelyindirect,evencryptic,style,asifthevoicethatwouldwitnesshasitselfbeensilenced,andcanonlyexpressitselfwithextremedifficultyinthelanguageinwhichtheviolencehasbeencarriedoutHereisabriefexample,theopeningofashortpoem:CHYMISCHSchweigen,wieGoldgekocht,inverkohltenHandenGroße,graue,wieallesVerlorenenaheSchwestergestalt:AlledieNamen,allediemitverbranntenNamenSovielzusegnendeAscheSovielgewonnenesLanduberdenleichten,soleichtenSeelenringenCHYMICALSilence,likegold,cooked,incoaledhandsGreat,grey,sisterlyshapenearlikeallthatislost:Allthenames,allthosenamesburntwiththerestSomuchashtobeblessedSomuchlandwonabovethelight,solightringsofsoulsLANGUAGEASSESSMENTSASSHIBBOLETHSatCSUFullertononDecember,http:applijoxfordjournalsorgDownloadedfromDerridaspeaksofCelan’srelationshipwithGermanandcomparesitwithhisownrelationshiptoFrench:Celan’slanguageisitselfabodilystrugglewiththeGermanlanguage,whichhedeforms,transforms,whichheassaults,andwhichheincisesHewrestleswiththebodyoftheGermanlanguageInmyownmodestway,IdolikewiseinFrench(Derridab:–)However,bycontextualizingDerrida’sstrugglewithFrench(andCelan’swithGerman)withinthebiographyofeachwriter,thereisariskofsuggestingthatDerrida’sargumentisprimarilyofbiographicalorhistoricalinterestButDerridaarguesforitsgeneralapplicability:IknewthatwhatIwassayinginTheMonolingualismoftheOtherwasvalidtoacertainextentformyindividualcase,towit,agenerationofAlgerianJewsbeforetheIndependenceButitalsohadthevalueofauniversalexemplarity,evenforthosewhoarenotinsuchhistoricallystrangeanddramaticsituationsasmineIwouldventuretoclaimthattheanalysisisvalidevenforsomeonewhoseexperienceofhisownmothertongueissedentary,peaceful,andwithoutanyhistoricaldrama(Derridab:)ForDerrida,themeaningsthatlanguagecarriesaresubjecttodispute:EachlanguageiscaughtupinitsowncivilwarThereisahandtohand,bodilystruggle‘within’everynationallanguage(Derridab:)Amongspeakersofalanguage,therewillbeastruggleformeaning,conductednotasitwerefromoutsideanyparticularlanguage,butwithinlanguageitself,forallspeakersofalllanguagesTheindividual’srelationshiptolanguageingeneralisthereforeparadoxicalandcontradictory,andinescapableThisdilemmaoftheprotectionlanguagesimultaneouslyaffordsanddeniesisexpressedbyDerridainthemetaphoroftheshibbolethTheword‘shibboleth’,withinthiscontexttheextendedmeaningofapoliticalorideologicalslogan,featuresinCelan’spoemofthatname:SCHIBBOLETHSHIBBOLETHHerz:gibdichauchhierzuerkennen,hier,inderMittedesMarktesRuf’s,dasSchibboleth,hinausindieFremdederHeimat:FebruarNopasaranHeart:makeyourselfknownevenhere,here,inthemidstofthemarketCallitout,theshibboleth,intotheforeignlandofthehomeland:FebruaryNopasaranThereferencesherearetoarallyingcryoftheantiFascistsintheSiegeofMadridinduringtheSpanishCivilWar(Nopasaran),andtothebriefTMCNAMARAatCSUFullertononDecember,http:applijoxfordjournalsorgDownloadedfromcivilwarattheendoftheperiodofsocialistgovernmentknownas‘RedVienna’inFebruary(Februar),prefiguringastheydidthestruggleagainsttheviolenceofNazismThe(possiblyapocryphal)useofShibbolethexpressionsinvariouscontextsofselfdefenceagainstNaziinfiltratorsduringtheSecondWorldWar(McNamaraandRoever)manywouldseeasalegitimateuseofthisboundarymarkingfunctionoflanguageThus,ontheonehand,shibbolethsmaybeameansofinclusionandprotection:‘Apassword,awordtransmittedlikeahandclasp,arallyingcipher,asignofmembershipandapoliticalwatchword’(Derridaa:)Butthisprotectivefunctioncanalsobeitsopposite:Thevalueoftheshibbolethmayalways,andtragically,beinvertedTragicallybecausetheinversionsometimesovertakestheinitiativeofsubjects,thegoodwillofmen,theirmasteryoflanguageandpoliticsWatchwordorpasswordinastruggleagainstoppression,exclusion,fascismandracism,itmayalsocorruptitsdifferentialvalue,makingofitadiscriminatorylimit,thegrillworkofpolicing,ofnormalization,andofmethodicalsubjugation(Derridaa:)(NotethatthefinalsentenceofthisquotationisanexplicitreferencetothefunctionoftestsinthetextofFoucaultcitedatthebeginningofthisarticle)Derridaelaboratesontheparadoxoftheshibboleth,its‘doubleedge’,usingasanexamplenotalinguisticsignofbelonging,butaphysicalsignifier,themarkofcircumcisionassignifyingJewishidentity:Themark

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