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Title: Investigating L1 Arabic EFL learners' interactional and attentional processes in text and voice task-based synchronous computer-mediated communication
Author: Alzahrani, Waad
ISNI:       0000 0004 7964 6225
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2018
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While there is a growing body of research considering second and foreign language (L2) learners' interaction and cognitive engagement in synchronous computer-mediated communication (SCMC), much of the speculation is based on the potential of text chat, with a great deal of uncertainty of how L2 learning opportunities can occur in voice chat. However, voice chat has now become more feasible for this specific purpose, due to the widespread availability of the relevant hardware. In addition, relative to text chat, voice chat has higher social presence and increased social and prosodic cues (e.g. voice tone, stress, intonation), which could promote better understanding and smoother flow of communication. There is, however, a dearth of research on its impact on language learning in comparison to the research on text chat. In a study involving 40 (20 dyads) intermediate-level Arabic learners of English, this thesis attempts to fill this gap by investigating the impact of text chat and voice chat on negotiations and noticing during task-based interactions. The study had a one-shot, repeated-measures design. Stimulated recall interviews were carried out after the completion of the task-based interactions in the two modalities, in order to elicit data on the participants' noticing of interactional feedback. Follow up questionnaires and interviews were also administered to elicit participants' perceptions of their learning experience in the two modalities. The findings revealed that voice chat generated more negotiation episodes and incidents of noticing of feedback than text chat. These differences were, however, not statistically significant. Conversely, text chat generated significantly more instances of self-initiated noticing (i.e. self-repairs) than voice chat. Self-repair during text chat, however, tended to focus on spelling. These quantitative findings suggested that, regardless of the SCMC modality, both contexts are equally facilitative for promoting negotiated interaction and noticing of feedback. Moreover, qualitative analysis of the learners' responses in the debriefing interviews revealed their appreciation for both modalities, implying that both contexts could be incorporated in L2 teaching and learning. In addition, as learners reported that text chat was time-consuming and resulted in incoherent and shallow discourse, pedagogical implications stress that learners need to be prepared for this type of communication, so as to ease the level of completing tasks in text chat, increase their productions and support a more rewarding L2 chatting experience. Additionally, the stimulated recall data offered some methodological implications pertaining to the study of the cognitive process of noticing.
Supervisor: Handley, Zoe Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available