Dr. R. Joseph Ponniah

 

Contact

Mobile:      +91 9487368155 

Phone:      0431 250-3691, 3695

Office:       #307, Lyceum Building.

Email:        joseph@nitt.edu / josephponniahr@gmail.com

Academia: https://nitt.academia.edu/ponniah


 

Dr. R. Joseph Ponniah is a Professor of English in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at the National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli. His current research and teaching interest include Biolinguistics, Reading, English Language Teaching and Second Language Acquisition. He is widely published in peer-reviewed international journals, such as The International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching, The Reading Matrix, Journal of Asia TEFL, Journal on Educational Psychology and Journal of Genetics. He has edited a book titled The Idea and Practice of Reading with Sathyaraj Venkatesan. He has delivered keynote addresses and invited talks in conferences and workshops. He has also mentored ESL Teachers in Orientation and Training Programmes.


 

Research Interests

English Language Teaching; Second Language Acquisition; Reading, Biolinguistics; Language and Gene


 

Research Overview

I began my career in literature and later moved to language/linguistics with an intention to help students acquire English as a second language. My experience in teaching ESL students in the input impoverished environment helped me realize the inefficacy of grammar instruction. My research investigations prove that language can be effortlessly acquired by receiving comprehensible input. To my credit, I have published more than thirty research articles demonstrating how receiving input in the language by reading and listening contributes to the development of all aspects of language including vocabulary, spelling, syntax, grammar. I have also critiqued, opposed and refuted conventional methods of teaching and learning of language in articles/lectures. For instance, my co-authored article with Dr. Stephen Krashen, Professor Emeritus, California University titled ‘The Expanded output hypothesis’ critiques The Output Hypothesis theory and argues that language is acquired by focusing on meaning.

My current research concentrates on the interface between language, cognition and gene in the context of reading and language acquisition.  Research so far has attributed learning difficulties to reading problems but little research has discussed the psychological and biological aspects of reading.  Specifically, my research examines the biological basis of L2 reading/learning, and learning capacity of individuals in addition to exploring language problems. I have also discussed in my articles the need for holistic teaching methods that address linguistic, genetic, cognitive, psychological and behavioral problems to promote learning.


 

Book/Book Chapters

  • R. Joseph Ponniah & Sathyaraj Venkatesan (2018). The idea and practice of reading. Singapore: Springer
  • R. Joseph Ponniah. (2018). First-Language reading promotes Second-Language reading and acquisition: Towards a biolinguistics approach. In Ponniah. R. J. & Venkatasan. S (Eds.), The idea and practice of reading. Singapore: Springer (pp. 113-124)
  • Sriganesh. R., Rahul. D. R & R. Joseph Ponniah. (2018). Genetics of reading ability and its role in solving reading difficulties. In Ponniah. R. J. & Venkatasan. S (Eds.), The idea and practice of reading. Singapore: Springer (pp. 125-140)
  • M. Jennifer & R. Joseph Ponniah. (2018). Acquisition of writing by reading and its impact on cognition. In Ponniah. R. J. & Venkatasan. S (Eds.), The idea and practice of reading. Singapore: Springer (pp. 41-56)

 

Best Paper Award

The Paper titled "The more we read the better is our language: A comparison between avid readers and moderate readers" won the best paper award in an IEEE  international conference on Trends and Innovation in Language Teaching organized by the Department of English, Sathyabama University, Chennai  on 14 – 15 November 2014.


 

Journal Editor and Reviewer

  • Editor and Review Editor of Journal on English Language Teaching (i-Manager) from 2011 to 2017
  • Editor of Journal of Language and Culture from 2012.
  • Editor of Modern Journal of Applied Linguistics from 2017.

 

Articles in Newspaper


 

Peer Reviewed Publications

  • Improving the Writing Abilities of First Year Undergraduates through Extensive Reading. Journal of Asia TEFL. 16:4 (2019) 1404-1412. http://dx.doi.org/10.18823/asiatefl.2019.16.4.24.1404 (With J. Mary Jennifer).
  • Language Impairment in Primary Progressive Aphasia and other Neurodegenerative Diseases. Journal of Genetics. 2019. Inidan Academy of Sciences with Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12041-019-1139-5  (with Rahul). 
  • Decoding the Biology of Language and its Implications in Lanauge Acquisition. Journal of Biosciences. 44:1 (2019)  https://rdcu.be/blOlQ  (with Rahul).
  • Genetics of Language and its Implications on Language interventions. Journal of Genetics. 97:5 (2018) 1485-1491   https://rdcu.be/9W0Y (with Sriganesh).
  • The Robustness of Incidental Grammar Acquisition through Reading. Journal of Asia TEFL. 15:3 (2018) 557-563. http://dx.doi.org/10.18823/asiatefl.2018.15.3.25.882
  • Investigating the Levels, Types and Causes of Second Language Writing Anxiety among Indian Freshmen. Journal of Asia TEFL. 14:3 (2017) 557-563. (With J. Mary Jennifer). http://dx.doi.org/10.18823/asiatefl.2017.14.3.13.557
  • We acquire language by reading: A comparison between avid readers and moderate readers. Language in India. 17:11 (2017) 174 -182. (With Paul Abraham). http://www.languageinindia.com/nov2017/josephavidmoderatereadingfinal.pdf
  • An Exploration into Walker Percy’s Statements on Language Phenomenon Adopting an Explicative Method. International Journal of English Language. 5:11 (2017) With Paul Abraham
  • Educating students through books. The Modern Journal of Applied Linguistics. 9:1 (2017) 44-51. (With J. Mary Jennifer)
  • Pleasure reading cures readicide and facilitates academic reading. Journal on English Language Teaching. 5:4 (2015) 1-5. (With J. Mary Jennifer)
  • Pleasure reading and the acquisition of second language by adult ESL learners. The International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching. 9:1 (2014), 16 - 22. (With J Priya). http://ijflt.com/images/ijflt/jan2014-articles/Ponniah-Priya-Pleasure-reading.pdf
  • Free reading: A powerful tool for acquiring a second language.Journal on English Language Teaching.3:1(2013) 10-14.
  • Incidental acquisition of vocabulary by reading. The Reading Matrix. 11:2 (2011), 135-139.   http://www.readingmatrix.com/articles/april_2011/ponniah.pdf
  • The effectiveness of comprehension hypothesis: A review on the current research on incidental vocabulary acquisition.Journal on English Language Teaching.1:2 (2011), 1 - 4.
  • Insights into second language acquisition theory and different approaches to language teaching. Educational Psychology. 3:4 (2010), 14-18.
  • What do we need to acquire a second language? Modern Journal of Applied Linguistics. 1:3 (2009), 112-121.
  • An experimental inquiry into the application of rules of grammar. Iranian Journal of Language studies. 3:3 (2009), 359-366.
  • The role of grammar: An insight into the skill-building and the output hypotheses. Modern Journal of Applied Linguistics. 1:5 (2009), 275-285.
  • Form-focused instruction and the learning experience of adult ESL students. Modern Journal of Applied Linguistics. 1:6 (2009), 382-391.
  • Getting exposure to input in multimedia language laboratory- A Pleasurable learning experience. Language in India, 9:3 (2009), 120-127.
  • The robustness of free reading in second and foreign language education. Language in India, 9:12 (2009) 21-29. http://www.languageinindia.com/dec2009/josephrobustreading.pdf
  • The expanded output hypothesis. The International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching. 4:2 (2008), 2-3. (with Dr. Stephen Krashen). http://ijflt.com/images/ijflt/IJFLTFall-08.pdf
  • Free voluntary reading and the acquisition of grammar by adult ESL students. The International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching. 4:1 (2008), 20-22. http://ijflt.com/images/ijflt/IJFLTSpring08.pdf
  • Acquisition of grammar through comprehensible input versus explicit instruction. Iranian Journal of Language studies. 2:2 (2008) 249-255.
  • A note on the application of rules of grammar. The International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching. 3:2 (2007) 36-37. http://ijflt.com/images/ijflt/IJFLTFall07.pdf
  • Memorization: A constraint for integrating critical thinking skills into Indian ESL classrooms. Language in India, 7:7 (2007).
  • Biblical myths and humanism in cat’s cradle and Slaughterhouse-five. The Anthropologist. 11:1 (2017) 21-24. https://doi.org/10.1080/09720073.2009.11891074
  • Machine-made loneliness and mechanization of human life in Player Piano. The Anthropologist. 10:3 (2017) 229-231. https://doi.org/10.1080/09720073.2008.11891053
  • Philosophy of Bokononism and the American-Success: Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle. The Atlantic Literary Review. 8:4 (2007) 54-65. 

 

Select Invited Talk/Lecture

 

  • Lecture on Incidental Acquisition of language by Reading: Towards a Biolinguistic Approach in a "Five-day faculty development programme" on 5th July 2018 at Vellore Institute of Technologhy (VIT), Vellore
  • Panelist in an International Conference on Evolving Strategies to Overcome Continuing Challenges in Second Language Education at the Tertiary Level at Anna University, Chennai on 1-3 March 2018.
  • An expert panel member in an international conference on Empowering the English Language Learners- Material, Methods, and Testing at Anna University, Chennai on 23-25 April 2017.
  • Lecture on Reading- A Tool for the Development of Writing Competency and Fluency in a TEQIP sponsored Faculty Development Programme on “Enhancing Classroom Communication” organized by the Department of English, Bharathidasan Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli on 26 July 2016.
  • Delivered on Theories on Reading and Language Acquisition to the teachers of English in the UGC Refresher course in English at the UGC-Human Resource Development Centre, Bharathidasan University on 16 November 2015.
  • Guest of honour for English Literary Association of Erode Sengunthar Engineering College, Erode and delivered a lecture on Cognition and Academic Reading on 23rd July 2015.
  • Plenary talk on Reading literature and language acquisition in a seminar on “English Language and Literature: Changing Trends” organized by the Department of English, St. Jerome’s College on 13th March 2015.
  • Delivered a Keynote address on The Power of Reading and chaired sessions in the conference on ‘Reading Skills and Strategies’ organized by the Seshasayee Institute of Technology, Trichirappalli for the teachers of English on 5th October 2013.

 

Select Conferences/Seminars/Workshops

  • "Acquisition of Vocabulary by Reading".  International Conference on Education and Learning (ICEL 2017) in Tokyo, Japan on 16-18 August 2017.
  • "Pleasure Reading Habit in L1 Promotes L2 Reading Habit: A Case Study". The 6th International Conference on Social Science and Humanities (ICSSH) in Hong Kong on 17-18 October 2016.
  • "Transfer of Pleasure Reading Habit from L1 to L2". International conference on Trends and Innovations in Language Teaching (TILT 2014) organized by the Department of English, Sathyabama University, Chennai in association with IEEE on 14 – 15 November 2014. (Invited Paper)
  • "Pleasure Reading: A Cure for Readicide". International conference on Trends and Innovations in Language Teaching (TILT 2014) organized by the Department of English, Sathyabama University, Chennai in association with IEEE on 14 – 15 November 2014.
  • "Acquired Knowledge of Grammar and its Role in Output Production: An Investigation with Adult ESL Students". International conference on Trends and Innovations in Language Teaching (TILT 2014) organized by the Department of English, Sathyabama University, Chennai in association with IEEE on 14 – 15 November 2014.
  • "First language (L1) pleasure reading habit promotes second language (L2) reading".  International conference on Trends and Innovations in Language Teaching (TILT 2014) organized by the Department of English, Sathyabama University, Chennai in association with IEEE on 14 – 15 November 2014.
  • "Acquisition of Academic Language by Reading" .  The 8th International conference organized by the Department of English and Foreign Languages, SRM University, with ELTAI from 18 – 20 July 2013. (with J. Priya).
  • "The Easiest way of acquiring English as a Second Language: No Grammar and no Drills".  International seminar on Humanistic Language and Literature Teaching organized by the Department of English, Anna University, Chennai on 18-19 February 2013.
  • Presented "The Role of Grammar in English as a Second Language" and chaired a session in the 5th International conference by the Department of English, Anna Adarsh College for Women in association with ELTAI, British Council and RELOAC, New Delhi.
  • "Comprehensible Input as a Crucial Determining Factor for Language Acquisition". Two-day seminar on Teaching of general and Technical English organized by the Department of English, Anna University, Chennai on 5-6 February 2010.
  • "Acquisition of Vocabulary by Reading and Listening".  The 5th National Conference on Enhancement and Excellence in English for Employability and Empowerment organized by Department of English and Foreign Languages, SRM University, Chennai on 24 and 25th March 2010.
  • "Why do We Learn and Teach Conscious Rules of Grammar?". International and 39th Annual ELTAI Conference on Learning to Teach: A Life-long Journey on 8th and 9th February 2008.
  • "Retrieving Resources from the Internet for ELT Classes". Second International and 38th ELTAI annual conference on Learning to Teach: A Life-long Journey on 9th and 10th February 2007.

 

Ph.D Guidance

  • Priya - Academic Reading: A Key Ingredient for the Development of Academic Writing (2016), National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli.
  • J Mary Jennifer - Scaffolding Adult ESL Students' Reading and Writing Abilities Through Extensive Reading (2018), National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli.
  • M. K. Senthil Babu - Academic Reading: An Influential Factor in Acquiring Academic Language Proficiency, (2018) National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli.
  • G. Paul Abraham - A contribution to linguistics: An analysis of Walker Percy’s theory of language, (2018) National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli.

 

Workshops Organized

  • Organized One-day workshop on Writing Research Paper: Theory and Praxis. Department of Humanities, NIT Trichy. 10 May 2014.
  • Organized three-day workshop on Glocal Trends and Issues in English language Teaching: Challenges and Opportunities. Department of Humanities, NIT Trichy. 24 - 26 January 2014.