Investigating the role of connotation in communication and miscommunication within English as a lingua franca and consequent implications for teaching
The thesis explores the importance of connotation within English as a lingua franca (ELF) and the implications for teaching ELF. The importance of such research is that should connotative meaning be shown to be of crucial importance, this must be taken into account in the development of a methodology for ELF. This is particularly important as tìie understanding of ELF is only now emerging, together with a related pedagogy. As a starting point the thesis explores the views of high school teachers and university lecturers in Thailand aâ an example of a country where ELF is an important issue for pedagogy. The focus is on issues related to the teaching and use of ELF, including linguistic imperialism. The literature on intercultural communication is then discussed with particular reference to English as a lingua franca. From this discussion a hypothesis is developed for testing, that "successful intercultural communication using ELF cannot take place without a substantial similarity in connotative meaning between interlocutors in relation to key words and phrases used in discourse”. Given that there has been no previous attempt to explore connotative meaning within ELF, one of the contributions of this thesis is the development of the research instruments designed to test the hypothesis. Research instruments used were questionnaires; recorded interviews based on the responses to the questionnaires; video-recorded dialogues between informants; separate tape- recorded "stop-start" interviews of informants whilst viewing the video recordings of the dialogues; semantic differential testing of key words and phrases selected from the dialogues; and word association testing of such key words and phrases. The thesis explains the rationale behind such instruments and their application in a research pilot with subsequent refinements for the main study. The analysis showed that overall, 81% of the communication events that were able to be categorized provided some form of support for the hypothesis, compared to 19% of such events providing evidence tending to contradict the hypothesis. The conclusion reached was therefore that connotative meaning was indeed, extremely significant in successful communication in ELF and the implications of this finding for theory, research methodology and practice are considered.