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Title: A conversation-analytic study of word searches in EFL classrooms
Author: Lin, FenLan
ISNI:       0000 0004 5352 9469
Awarding Body: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2014
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Using a conversation analytic methodology, this PhD thesis describes and analyses an interactional practice called “word search” in adult Taiwanese EFL classrooms. Word searches are launched when speakers have problems in producing a linguistic item to continue their talk, which may be completed by speakers themselves or another participant. This study focuses on the instances where a word search is interactionally resolved by the participants. More specifically, it examines how EFL learners resolve their word finding troubles with the assistance of other participants (their teacher or fellow learners) in the classroom. The research draws upon transcriptions of 15 hours of video and/or audio recordings of teacher-fronted EFL classrooms in Taiwan. The corpus yielded 62 word search instances where a learner’s word search is interactionally resolved. The findings show that the accomplishment of a word search is through the participants’ coordination with each other’s action, demonstrating that a word search is a social activity and is collaborative in nature. The findings also suggest that despite their possible limited linguistic competence, the EFL learners are social and interactional competent individuals who are able to make use of various interactional strategies and resources to co-resolve the communication breakdown with their teacher or fellow learners. The findings also reveal that participants in the EFL classrooms use word search mainly as an interactional resource to facilitate talk. But at times, it is observed that word searches develop into explicit pedagogical discourse where the teachers and learners are engaged in teaching and learning the searched-for-word. The explicit orientation to learning is also observed when the learners continue eliciting teachers’ confirmation on the correctness of their own candidate items to the search. Finally, the data show that the teacher can play a key role in assisting the learner’s word search by closely monitoring its progress and actively eliciting more clues about the target lexical item.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available