Living with second language: What life narratives can reveal
Proceedings of the 1st Internatinal Conference on Urban Linguistics
2013–2014 was a stage of organizational transformation of the Russian postal system, which caused disruption of the organizational structure and doubling of its operational elements. This article begins by exploring the resulting situation of ambiguity and uncertainty caused by this disruption. Under these conditions, according to K. Weick, the sensemaking process should play an essential role in organizational performance. This research project aims to identify the structural features of the Russian postal system during the reorganization stage, as well as at defining the meanings which employees gave to ongoing changes. The data was collected through participant observation from the position of Moscow Central Office postal employee from June 2013 to September 2014; fourteen interviews of employees and document analysis were conducted as well. Information was recorded in field notes and diary and analyzed with open and axial coding according to the procedures of grounded theory. The main findings presented in this article are the disruption of structure and the following complexities in its functional performance and the coexistence of two organizational images between more experienced workers affected by organizational change and the newcomer employees with brand new ideas. Employees’ perception of the Russian postal system is presented as simultaneously government and commercial, profitable and detrimental, typical and specific organization. These dual images can cause difficulties both in employees’ communication and organizational performance.
In order to comprehend speech, listeners have to combine low-level phonetic information about the incoming auditory signal with higher-order contextual information to make a lexical selection. This requires stable phonological categories and unambiguous representations of words in the mental lexicon. Unlike native speakers, second language (L2) speakers, who perceive nonnative sounds through the prism of their first language (L1), operate with fuzzy phonological categories, which lead to phonologically ambiguous lexical representations (e.g., the wordsrock and lock can be confused if phonological representations for /r/ and /l/ are not sufficiently robust). The present study uses the AX discrimination task to establish the degree of sensitivity of L2 listeners to the Russian hard/soft phonological contrast. The same phonological contrasts are then used in the stimuli for the second task—listening comprehension task with word identification—to mark semantic, syntactic, and morphological distinctions in words. The goal of the study is to examine the contributions and relative efficiency of different contextual constraints (semantic, syntactic, and morphological) to the resolution of phonolexical ambiguity in L2 auditory sentence processing. The results suggest that when L2 phonological contrasts present a discriminability problem and create phonolexical ambiguity, L2 listeners rely on morphological constraints for disambiguation of word forms and syntactic constraints for disambiguation of words belonging to different parts of speech to a greater extent than on semantic constraints for disambiguation of nouns in the same form.
Apart from the public sphere and the norms set by society, the private sphere plays an important role in the lives of the disabled, including the personal experience of disability at a micro level: in their families, everyday routines and romantic relationships. In this chapter, issues of family structure are considered using a narrative analysis of interviews with women who use wheelchairs. Various cultural, social, economic and political determinants effect the formation of certain types of family structure and attitudes towards family life. At the same time, they interrelate with biographical factors that reinforce or weaken the limits of freedom and private life. Using narrative analysis, I demonstrate what role family plays in constructing the identity of a person with a disability, and how family members act as coauthors of individual biographies. This can be seen in those dilemmas of family life associated with the feelings, sexuality and emotional stability at the micro-level of the life experience and identification of women with disabilities.