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Negotiation of meaning in synchronous computer-mediated communication in relation to task types

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2011
Dissertation
Author: Hye-jin Cho
Abstract:
The present study explored how negotiation of meaning occurred in task-based synchronous computer-mediated communication (SCMC) environment among college English learners. Based on the theoretical framework of the interaction hypothesis and negotiation of meaning, four research questions arose: (1) how negotiation of meaning occur in non-native to non-native interactions in CMC, (2) whether learners' proficiency levels have an effect on non-native to non-native interactional modifications during the completion of the tasks, (3) how task types affect the negotiation of meaning in terms of quantity and quality, (4) what learner perceptions of tasks and CMC are displayed. Thirty two ESL students (14 beginning and 18 advanced-level students) at the University of Texas at Austin participated in this study. Paired with one another, they were asked to engage 50 to 60 minute-long online conversations once a week for three weeks via MSN Messenger in order to complete three types of language task: (1) jigsaw, (2) information-gap, (3) decision-making tasks. In order to answer each research question, data analysis was based on the following theoretical, statistical and qualitative methodology: (1) Long's classification and Varonis & Gass' (1985) model, (2) multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA), (3) t-test and paired sample test, (4) interviews. In assessing the number of negotiation of meaning, the data revealed that only a few examples (11%, 534/4970 c-units) contributed to negotiation routines. Twenty-two % of the negotiation routines were identified as modified interactions. Proficiency levels did not have a significant effect on the production of the negotiation routines (10% for the beginners vs. 11% for the advanced level students). However, task types were an influential factor in generating negotiation routines. Jigsaw-type task elicited the most negotiation routines for the beginning-level students whereas information-gap did for the advanced. Although the quantitative data revealed that the jigsaw was the most negotiation-eliciting task for the beginning-level students and the information-gap the most for the advanced, the students perceived the task types differently. Although the beginning-level students showing consistency in their quantitative results and their perception of the tasks, the advanced students displayed a disparity between the numerical results and their perceived understanding of task types. The advanced students perceived the jigsaw as the most useful task in improving their proficiency. This can be attributed to a personality trait of not asking questions or their eagerness to proceed with the task. In addition, culturally-appropriate efforts aimed at maintaining social relationships among these advanced students were uncovered. Relying on guessing or imagination instead of asking for clarification and feigning a faulty sign of understanding were observed as efforts to maintain social communication through a pretending to comprehend. This study to investigate NNS/NNS interactions in task-based SCMC gave researchers and teachers a window to better understand the reality of online discussion where students produced negotiation of meaning as incomplete understanding occurred.

Table of Contents List of Tables ………………………………………………………………………… xii List of Illustrations …………………………………………………………………... xiii List of Examples …………………………………………………………………….. xiv Chapter 1: Introduction ………………………………………………………………. 1 Organization of this study ……………………………………………………. 6 Chapter 2: Review of the Literature ………………………………………………...... 8 Interaction Hypothesis …………………………………………………….….. 8 Negotiation of Meaning in Face to Face Discussion ……………………....... 11 Task Types in Second Language Learning and Instruction ………………..… 16 Definitions of tasks ……………………………………………………16 Classification of tasks …………………………………………………17 Task-based research in relation to interaction ………………………...19 CMC and its Interactional Feature …………………………………………... 21 Negotiation of Meaning in CMC ……………………………………………. 23 Conclusions ………………………………………………………………….. 30 Chapter 3: Methodology …………………………………………………………….. 33 Introduction ………………………………………………………………….. 33 Research questions ………………………………………………………....... 34 Participants ………………………………………………………………....... 37 Task design ……………………………………………………………….….. 38 MSN Messenger ……………………………………………………………... 41 Procedure …………………………………………………………………….. 45 Data analysis …………………………………………………………………. 46 Negotiation routines ………………………………………………. … 46 Modified interactions ………………………………………………… 48 Coding for the data analysis ………………………………………..… 49 Interviews …………………………………………………………….. 52 Chapter 4: Results and discussion ……………………………………………………. 54 Quantitative analysis …………………………………………………….…… 54 Research Question 1: How does negotiation of meaning occur in non-

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native to non-native interactions in CMC? …… 54 Trigger types ……………………………………………..…… 56 Modified interactions ……………………………….……….... 59 Modified interaction by task types …………………………..... 61 Magnified negotiation routines in CMC ……………………… 66 Disrupted Turn Adjacency …………………………………..... 71 Research Question 2: What effects do learners’ proficiency levels have on non-native to non-native interactional modification during the completion of three types of task? ...................................................... 74 Research Question 3: How do task types affect the negotiation of meaning in terms of quantity of negotiation routines? …………………………………….…. 75 Research Question 4: What are learner perceptions of SCMC with respect to use of CMC technology and tasks?...……....... 80 Learner perception of SCMC …………………………….…...... 81 Learner perception of using technology ………………..…..….. 83 Learner perception of tasks ……………………………….…..... 85 Learner perception of prioritizing face saving …………………. 92 Chapter 5: Conclusions ………………………………………………………….......... 103 Research Question 1: How does negotiation of meaning occur? ………….…. 103 Summary of Findings …..……………………………………………... 103 Research Question 2: What effects do learners’ proficiency levels have on non-native to non-native interactional modification during the completion of three types of task? ………... 106 Summary of Findings …..…………………………………………….. 106 Research Question 3: How do three task types affect the negotiation of meaning in terms of quantity of negotiation routines?... 106 Summary of Findings …..………………………………………..…… 106 Research Question 4: What are learner perceptions of the task-based discussion in SCMC with respect to use of CMC technology

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and tasks?........................................................................ 107 Limitations of the study ………………………………………………………. 110 Pedagogical implications ……………………………………………………... 111 Appendix 1: Background Questionnaire ………………………….………………... 113 Appendix 2: Jigsaw type task (advanced-level) – Student A ………………………. 114 Jigsaw type task (advanced-level) – Student B ………………………. 115 Appendix 3: Information-gap task (advanced-level) – Student A ………………….. 116 Information-gap task (advanced-level) – Student B ………………….. 117 Appendix 4: Decision-making task (advanced-level) – Student A …………………. 118 Decision-making task (advanced-level) – Student B ……………....…. 119 Appendix 5: Jigsaw type task (beginning-level) – Student A ………………………. 120 Jigsaw type task (beginning-level) – Student B …………………….… 121 Appendix 6: Information-gap task (beginning-level) – Student A …………...….…. 122 Information-gap task (beginning-level) – Student B ………….…...…. 124 Appendix 7: Decision-making task (beginning-level) – Student A ……….……..…. 126 Decision-making task (beginning-level) – Student B ………….…..…. 128 Appendix 8: Questions for the post task interviews …..…………………..…...……... 130 References …………………………………………………………………………...... 131

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List of Tables Table 1: Types of interactional modifications in foreigner talk ………………………... 12 Table 2: Examples of four components of indicator in non-understanding routines …... 13 Table 3: Language task types and relationships between participants (or students, A/B) and relevant information (Info.) to complete a task ……..……………..……... 18 Table 4: The description of each task topic according to levels …………………….. 39 Table 5: The 7 features of MSN Messenger and its description …………………….... 44 Table 6: The classification of modified interactions and their examples …………....... 49 Table 7: Information of the total number of c-units and negotiation routines on each dyad …………………………………………………………………….. 55 Table 8: The total number of negotiation routines with percentages by proficiency levels ………………………………………………………………………….. 56 Table 9: The total number of negotiation routines with percentages by task types ….. 56 Table 10: Types of trigger that provoked negotiation routines ………………………… 57 Table 11: The strategies of modified interactions that the students employed ………. 60 Table 12: The strategies of modified interactions that the beginning students employed by task types …………………………………..…………………………….. 61 Table 13: The strategies of modified interactions that the advanced learners employed by task types ….……………….…………………….……………………….. 64 Table 14: Total mean scores and standard deviation between 2 levels per task type ….. 74 Table 15: MANOVA test for the total N. of negotiation routines between two levels…. 75 Table 16: Mean differences of each task from paired samples t-test for the beginners .. 76 Table 17: Paired samples test for the beginners ………………………………………. 77 Table 18: Mean differences of each task from paired samples t-test for the advanced… 78 Table 19: Paired samples test for the advanced students in pairs……………………. 79 Table 20: Examples of pictorial and textual expressions of emoticons by ADK …….… 99

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List of Illustrations Ill. 1: The appearance of the interface of MSN Messenger ……………………………. 42 Ill. 2: Model for negotiation routines ……………………………………………….. 46 Ill. 3: Mean percentage of negotiation routines that each task produced; beginners … 77 Ill. 4: Mean percentage of negotiation routines that each task produced; advanced…… 80

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List of Examples Example 1. Example of trigger ……………………………………………………. 46 Example 2. Examples of indicator …………………………………………………. 47 Example 3. Examples of response …………………………………………………. 48 Example 4. Example of reaction to response ………………………………………. 48 Example 5. Example of coding for c-unit …………………………………………. 51 Example 6. Another example of coding for c-unit …………………………………. 52 Example 7. Content trigger shown in the data …………………………………….. 58 Example 8. Lexical trigger shown in the data …………………………………….. 58 Example 9. Morphosyntactic trigger shown in the data ………………………….…. 59 Example 10. Example of using clarification request by repetition ………………..…. 60 Example 11. Example of using clarification request by explicit expression ………… 60 Example 12. Clarification check by the beginners during the jigsaw task ……………61 Example 13. Confirmation check by the beginners during the jigsaw task ………….. 62 Example 14. Clarification check; advanced learners; information-gap task………….. 64 Example 15. Confirmation check by the advanced students during the information-gap task ……………………………………………………………………... 65 Example 16. Example of a magnified negotiation routine ………………………….. 67 Example 17. Example of negotiated interaction in which communication breakdown was unresolved …………………………………………………………. 69 Example 18. Unresolved negotiation routine; advanced students; information-gap task. ……………………………………………………………………………70 Example 19. Unresolved negotiation routine; beginning-level students; information-gap ……………………………………………………………………………71 Example 20. Example of overlapping interactions with interrupted message received ……………………………………………………………………….…...73 Example 21. Ann’s (advanced student) perception of SCMC…………………….….. 81 Example 22. IS’s (advanced student) perception of SCMC.……………………...….. 82 Example 23. YB’s (advanced student) perception of SCMC.…………………….….. 82 Example 24. ADK’s (advanced student) perception of SCMC.………………..…….. 83 Example 25. AMN’s (advanced student) perception of using technology….………... 84

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Example 26. JY’s (beginning-level student) perception of using technology………... 84 Example 27. JSK’s (beginning-level student) perception of using technology…….... 85 Example 28. Yoranda’s (beginning-level student) perception of task.………………..86 Example 29. JSK’s (beginning-level student) perception of task..…………….…….. 86 Example 30. JY’s (beginning-level student) perception of task.…………………….. 87 Example 31. SH’s (advanced student) perception of task..……………………………88 Example 32. ARM’s (advanced student) perception of task.………………….………88 Example 33. NR’s (advanced student) perception of task..………………………….. 89 Example 34. Learner’s (NR; advanced) personality trait as an attribute for less negotiation in the jigsaw……………………………………………….. 90 Example 35. Learner’s (JW; advanced) enthusiasm to proceed with the activity rather than halting it as an attribute for less negotiation………………. 90 Example 36. Learner’s (ADK; advanced) preference for continuing the conversation rather than halting it as another attribute for less negotiation………….. 91 Example 37. Learner’s (James; beginning-level student) action of making a pretense of understanding.………………… ……………………………………. 94 Example 38. Learner’s (SH; advanced) perception of sending segmented messages as a face-saving action …………………………………………………. 95 Example 39. Learner’s (ARD; advanced) perception of sending segmented messages as a face-saving action….………………………………………………. 96 Example 40. Learner’s (SVS; beginning-level) perception of sending segmented messages as a face-saving action .……………………………………… 96 Example 41. Reason of using emoticons by ADK (advanced)….……………………. 98 Example 42. Example of using emoticons (ADK and YB; advanced; information-gap) ……………………………………………………………..……….…. 100 Example 43. Different way of symbolizing emoticons across cultures (JSK and JY; Koreans; beginning-level; jigsaw)……………………….101 Example 44. Reason of Reason of learner’s (JY; beginning-level) frequent use of the Korean style emoticons .………………………………………..…. 102

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Chapter 1: Introduction Computer-mediated communication (CMC) is becoming one of the most prominent fields in computer assisted language learning. According to Crystal (2001), who refers CMC as “netspeak,” it encompasses not only writing but also speaking in that emails empower speakers to communicate with others by transmitting typed messages. Apart from this unique characteristic of amalgamating both spoken and written form of conversation in email discussions, speakers may be conscious of counterparts’ reactions during conversations via the internet, as well. CMC includes a variety of forms of communication in addition to emails, such as discussions in electronic bulletin boards, and real-time conversations through LANs (Local Area networks), MOOs (Multiple-user- domain-Object-Oriented) or MSN messenger. Depending on the time frame and medium (text, voice, or both), CMC can be synchronous or asynchronous (Fotos & Browne, 2004, p. 5). During the decades since the early 1990’s, most studies related to CMC have focused on advantages of using technology such as e-mails, the internet and real time chatting in second language learning. They have also compared the differences between face-to-face discussion and CMC, and also how text-based discussion had an effect on oral proficiency. I am interested in CMC for two reasons. First, compared to past reliance on paper and pencil or type-written text, the learning environment all over the world has changed completely. Information technology such as e-mail, the internet and CD-ROM databases has become a central part of students’ daily lives (Crystal, 2001; Warschauer, 1999). This new mode of accessing information has affected the nature of social interaction. Learning by using a variety of technologies such as e-mail, word processing and WWW resources has become increasingly prevalent in ESL (English as a Second

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Language) / EFL (English as a Foreign Language) environment. Indeed, using e-mail and looking for information via the internet has become a major resource for foreign language learners. In case of the Korean EFL context, for instance, the Korean government strongly emphasizes communication for students using high-speed electronic networks (Suh, 2002). Second, as I mentioned earlier, previous research findings support that CMC has positive effects on language learning such as increased participation in communication, strengthened collaborative learning, and heightened motivation. For example, Sullivan and Pratt (1996) explored how a teacher communicated differently with students in a face-to-face classroom and a network-based computer classroom. Thirty-eight intermediate-level-ESL students from two college classes, the face-to-face and the network-based classrooms, participated in the study running fifteen weeks. Both classes were taught by the same teacher in order to avoid interference by any effect such as teaching style. Data included four compositions, learning logs, drafts, and teacher and peer reviews of drafts. It was found that students dominated most of the conversation in network-based classrooms (85%), whereas the teacher dominated in face- to-face classrooms (65%). Sullivan (1998) investigated how collaborative network-based language learning promotes minority students’ writing development and encourages their self-esteem in multicultural classrooms with 19 participants (seven African-Americans, six Hispanics and six Anglo-Americans at the University of Texas). She found that the minority students showed great willingness to encourage other classmates’ engagement in exchanges such as asking questions, joking with each other, hoping to get others’

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feedback and calling on some classmates who were not participating in discussion. In particular, in their small group electronic conferencing for writing homework, they shared each other’s topics, some writing strategies, and ideas about potential problems in their compositions. This collaboration among students facilitated the elicitation of their own thoughts, insights and special knowledge about the topic of the assignment according to their different ethnic, cultural backgrounds. In addition, Burston (2001) reported that students’ grammatical accuracy during the second year had improved over the first year. Abrams’ (2003) study pointed out that the synchronous computer-mediated communication (SCMC) group showed better performance than the asynchronous computer-mediated communication (ACMC) group in terms of the amount of interaction. Along the same lines, studies have investigated the relation between CMC and affective factors such as anxiety and motivation. In her investigation of how e-mail discussions with native speakers of English affected Japanese college students’ motivation in EFL classes, Fotos (2004) found that students had higher motivation in the e-mail exchanges because they had more time for writing. Even passive students could participate more actively in e-mail discussions than in face-to-face discussions. Furthermore, many students described e-mail discussion as “enjoyable” or “pleasant” (75%) and perceived it as an activity promoting their English proficiency (65%). They also reported they experienced more confidence in the e-mail discussion than in face-to- face classroom (85%). She confirmed prior research findings (Beauvois, 1995) that conversation through LAN enhanced students’ willingness to talk by raising their motivations and enjoyment for learning.

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Based on changes in the second/foreign language environment and the research evidence for the advantages of CMC, it is meaningful for me to study how second/foreign language learning can be promoted in CMC context. My focus is not on the technology itself, but on whether adding CMC to face-to-face ESL classrooms is more beneficial than maintaining face-to-face classrooms only. Focusing on CMC necessarily emphasizes non-native speaker and non-native speaker (NNS/NNS) interactions, an interest that warrants further discussion. It does not simply result from the claim, now nearly a cliché, that for the past several decades the English language has been a major communicative medium in socio-political, socio- economic and cross-cultural aspects all over the world. The origin of English language expansion goes back to the late 19 th century’s western imperialism with the British precedent, followed by the exclusive and influential status of the U.S. in economics after World War II, which has brought the proliferation of the English language and culture into the mundane realities of the lives of ordinary people whose native language is not English. Apart from such common-sense reasons for learning English as the need for immigrants living in English-speaking countries to be able to communicate with others and accomplish daily transactions, the use of English as a lingua franca for travelers to get around in the world, or the requirement of a high English test score for those who seek promotion in their careers, a great deal of information nowadays is not easily accessible to one who does not know English because of the overwhelming extent to which English dominates publication in most fields. For example, as Crystal (1997) indicated, a large majority of printed academic articles (90%) are written in English,

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approximately 85% of international organizations adopt English as an official language, and movies made in English take up to 85% of the entire film market of the world. In particular, publishing journal articles in English (85%) is widespread in the fields of science and technology. As what Crystal (1997) referred to as a global language, English cannot be replaced by any other language in its current status as the language of interaction among those who speak different languages from one another. Moreover, under the circumstances where the world is getting smaller due to the development of computer and rapid dissemination of the internet, English is no longer only the possession of the native speakers of English. In other words, the rapid increase of using English gives rise to the relocation of native and non-native speakers’ stances (Crystal, 1997; Warschauer, 2000). It is through English that people in the world can share ideas, opinions and relevant information, ideas and interpretations. Even though people stay in their own countries, it is very likely for them to be involved in communicating with others who speak other first languages. Thus, given that the use of English has been expanding from native speakers to non-native speakers, research focusing on interactions among non-native speakers is necessary. The theoretical framework of my study is based on the interaction hypothesis and negotiation of meaning. According to the interaction hypothesis, L2 acquisition occurs through complex interactions among learners where meaningful input has a major function. Specifically, when a problem arises in communication, it is important that learners participate in interactions through negotiation of meaning. To date, there has been much research support for negotiation of meaning as a crucial aspect in face-to-face

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interaction in second language acquisition. Long (1996) defines “negotiation for meaning” as “the process in which, in an effort to communicate, learners and competent speakers provide and interpret signals of their own and their interlocutor’s perceived comprehension, thus provoking adjustments to linguistic form, conversational structure, message content, or all three, until an acceptable level of understanding is achieved” (p. 418). Other studies have corroborated that learners can develop their language competence through negotiation of meaning, which promotes eliciting modified input and output, enhances learners’ comprehension and draws their attention to L2 form as well as meaning (Gass & Varonis, 1985; Long, 1996; Pica, 1994; Pica, T., Young, R., & Doughty, C., 1987). Therefore, I pose the question of whether negotiation of meaning occurs in CMC environments, and, if so, how different CMC-negotiated interactions are from face-to- face interactions. Organization of this study This dissertation is an investigation of how language learners involve meaning negotiations in order to resolve communication break-downs when they are tasked with different types of particular language activities in CMC environment. The following section will be devoted to provide a brief summary of the theoretical frameworks for this study along with a review of previous research that is relevant to the present study. Because interaction should be presupposed for negotiation of meaning, in particular, Chapter 2 will start with providing general understandings and prior research findings of the interaction hypothesis, followed by negotiation of meaning in face to face discussion. Continuously, a discussion of the interactional features and negotiation of

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meaning that occur in CMC environment will be exhibited. Chapter 3 will include a description of the methodology which comprises how the data was collected, coded and analyzed according to established research questions. Mixed methods were employed for this study: (1) MANOVA and paired samples t-test for the quantitative, (2) the interview for the qualitative methodologies. In addition, a detailed explanation of participants, procedure, MSN Messenger as CMC tool, and task design will be provided. Chapter 4 will present the results by each research question along with relevant examples that led the findings and further discussions in relation to previous research. In-depth considerations regarding the reason of fewer negotiations will be discussed in light of learner perceptions on the basis of interview. Finally, Chapter 5 will show brief summaries of the findings according to each research question, the limitations of the study which future research refrain from or overcome, and pedagogical implications that teachers should consider when implementing CMC to ESL classrooms.

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Chapter 2: Review of the Literature Interaction Hypothesis L2 learners can develop their language competence in the context of interactions with either native speakers (NSs) or non-native speakers (NNSs). Most studies focus on NS/NNS interactions. In these cases, NSs’ speech plays an important role as target language input. In the following section, therefore, I will explore the interaction hypothesis, focusing on Long’s discussions of NS/NNS conversations. In his early work, Long (1981) introduced ‘foreigner talk’ in order to discuss the importance of input and interaction between native speakers (NS) and non-native speakers (NNS) for second language development. Foreigner talk can be defined as modified or adjusted speech by NSs when they engage in conversation with NNSs who have limited language competence. These modifications include lexical, syntactic and phonological changes (Ferguson, 1975). For example, NSs of English might add no to the negated component (no like) as a syntactic modification. In terms of phonological changes, NSs can not only slow down the speed of their speech, but also sustain clear articulation of a particular sound or word including overstated pronunciation. NSs can make lexical changes by using synonyms or paraphrasing. Foreigner talk, however, can generate ungrammaticality, as in the example above, “no like”. According to Long (1981), this ungrammaticality of foreigner talk is more likely to occur when one or more of the following four conditions are involved: 1. The NNS has very limited command of the language of communication. 2. The NS is, or thinks he or she is, of higher social status than the UUS. 3. The NS has considerable FT experience. 4. The conversation occurs spontaneously. (Long, 1981, p. 264)

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Long (1982) also discussed ways other than direct modification of input for making NS speech more comprehensible to NNS, one of which he claims is modification of “the interactional structure of conversation” (emphasis his). Long compared NS-NS (“two-way communications) with NS-NNS (“one-way communications”) interactions in six tasks, three of which needed information interchange and three of which did not. The result showed that there was a significant difference between NS-NS and NS-NNS interactions on information interchange tasks. He concluded that NNSs can negotiate in communication only if they provide feedback to NSs, who then may give some adjustments for better understanding. In this regard, Long argues, “The option to provide feedback allows the less competent speaker to negotiate the conversation, to force the competent speaker to adjust his or her performance, via modifications of the kinds discussed earlier, until what he or she is saying is comprehensible” (1982, p. 214). Long (1985) investigated the effect of NSs’ modified speech on NNSs’ comprehension with 34-intermediate-level participants whose native language backgrounds were diverse. They were given one of two versions of a lecturette for listening comprehension, one for NSs and the other for NNSs (foreigner talk version) and asked to answer 20 multiple choice comprehension questions. The result revealed that the participants hearing the foreigner talk version performed better than the ones with the NSs’ version. The finding supported that NNSs’ understanding is significantly higher when they have modified or adjusted speech than when they have unmodified speech. He replicated these findings later with a larger number of participants (106). In addition, there is research examining the significance of social relationship when the interactants engaged in discussions in classroom setting. Pica (1987) studied

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how adult ESL learners interacted with each other both when teachers (native speaker of English) joined in discussions and when they did not. During two types of group work, decision-making and information-exchange activities, learners of the group in which teachers participated showed little amount of interaction in both activities (11% for decision-making, 15% for information-exchange). However, learners of the group without teachers’ participation displayed a relatively higher amount of interaction in information-exchange (24%) than in the decision-making activity (6%). It appeared that whether or not teachers directed discussions had an effect on the quantity of learners’ interaction, independent of the activity types. In other words, it can be interpreted that unequal status negatively influences social interaction. This finding reflected the previous study of Wells and Montgomery (1981) regarding caretaker interaction. When a mother, as a supporter, encouraged her child to start talking, then, a great deal of interaction was engendered in that the child engaged in a conversation more completely and linguistically in response to the mother’s “Continuing moves” (p. 230) and request for further information. On the contrary, a mother who took a dominant role as a teacher, could not elicit more interaction from her child, whose interaction was not considered equal to the mother’s.

Full document contains 156 pages
Abstract: The present study explored how negotiation of meaning occurred in task-based synchronous computer-mediated communication (SCMC) environment among college English learners. Based on the theoretical framework of the interaction hypothesis and negotiation of meaning, four research questions arose: (1) how negotiation of meaning occur in non-native to non-native interactions in CMC, (2) whether learners' proficiency levels have an effect on non-native to non-native interactional modifications during the completion of the tasks, (3) how task types affect the negotiation of meaning in terms of quantity and quality, (4) what learner perceptions of tasks and CMC are displayed. Thirty two ESL students (14 beginning and 18 advanced-level students) at the University of Texas at Austin participated in this study. Paired with one another, they were asked to engage 50 to 60 minute-long online conversations once a week for three weeks via MSN Messenger in order to complete three types of language task: (1) jigsaw, (2) information-gap, (3) decision-making tasks. In order to answer each research question, data analysis was based on the following theoretical, statistical and qualitative methodology: (1) Long's classification and Varonis & Gass' (1985) model, (2) multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA), (3) t-test and paired sample test, (4) interviews. In assessing the number of negotiation of meaning, the data revealed that only a few examples (11%, 534/4970 c-units) contributed to negotiation routines. Twenty-two % of the negotiation routines were identified as modified interactions. Proficiency levels did not have a significant effect on the production of the negotiation routines (10% for the beginners vs. 11% for the advanced level students). However, task types were an influential factor in generating negotiation routines. Jigsaw-type task elicited the most negotiation routines for the beginning-level students whereas information-gap did for the advanced. Although the quantitative data revealed that the jigsaw was the most negotiation-eliciting task for the beginning-level students and the information-gap the most for the advanced, the students perceived the task types differently. Although the beginning-level students showing consistency in their quantitative results and their perception of the tasks, the advanced students displayed a disparity between the numerical results and their perceived understanding of task types. The advanced students perceived the jigsaw as the most useful task in improving their proficiency. This can be attributed to a personality trait of not asking questions or their eagerness to proceed with the task. In addition, culturally-appropriate efforts aimed at maintaining social relationships among these advanced students were uncovered. Relying on guessing or imagination instead of asking for clarification and feigning a faulty sign of understanding were observed as efforts to maintain social communication through a pretending to comprehend. This study to investigate NNS/NNS interactions in task-based SCMC gave researchers and teachers a window to better understand the reality of online discussion where students produced negotiation of meaning as incomplete understanding occurred.