Lingua Franca Conversation as Learner Language Interaction

Kotthoff (1991) examines learner-language and inter-cultural reasons for communicative problems in native-/non-native interactions. She states that these conversations display structures which are not reflections of either culture, but which are determined by pragmatic deficits of the learners and compensatory accomodation by the native speakers. Thus, communicative problems that can Lingua Franca Conversation as Learner Language Interaction be observed in native-/non-native interactions cannot be interpreted as solely being grounded in inappropriate transfer of mother tongue norms. Rather, communicative strategies typical of learner language must also be taken into consideration.

Learners produce an interlanguage pragmatics, which differs from both L1 and L Lingua Franca Conversation as Learner Language Interaction2, and which in addition to intercultural inferences is characterized by learner language communication strategies, employed to compensate for deficits in English (cf. Ellis, 1986 and Larsen-Freeman and Long, 1991), i.e. reduction and compensation. Research into pragmatic aspects of learner language, especially on the organization of discourse, is still very scarce Lingua Franca Conversation as Learner Language Interaction, so that there is up to now no clear account of what is characteristic of learner language discourse. Based on the results single studies have yielded, the characteristics pointed out above may be commented on as follows.

The fact that pauses occur frequently between and also within turns may indicate Lingua Franca Conversation as Learner Language Interaction that learners face production problems and pause to solve these. The long pauses between turns can be understood as resulting from their reliance on pauses as turn-taking signals, thus implying that they fail to sufficiently recognize and produce other turn-taking signals.

The small amount of simultaneous speech within Lingua Franca Conversation as Learner Language Interaction this interpretative framework needs to be interpreted as being induced by classroom discourse which – being teacher-centered – discourages overlapping speech (cf. McCarthy, 1991). Pupils usually do not have much opportunity of taking a turn without having previously been selected to do so. On the other хэнд, as stated above, some speakers display a rather Lingua Franca Conversation as Learner Language Interaction high amount of simultaneous speech. Within the 'learner language interpretation', these participants may be said to inappropriately interpret what they conceive as turn-yielding signals (cf. Götz 1977). However, if this were the case, simultaneous speech should be cut off, which in most instances it is not.

When participants Lingua Franca Conversation as Learner Language Interaction choose 'safe' topics, they will – as learners – probably do so as a result of a reduction strategy, i.e. as due to vocabulary deficits they feel incapable of dealing with more complex, philosophical or political themes and therefore avoid these. This incapability furthermore explains the short length of the Lingua Franca Conversation as Learner Language Interaction individual topics, as participants may only be able to discuss the individual topics superficially, again due to a lack of the necessary vocabulary items.

The low variation in ritual speech acts is a further classroom- or textbook-induced characteristic. At the same time, it reflects an economic language learning Lingua Franca Conversation as Learner Language Interaction behaviour, i.e. only so many expressions are learned as are necessary to succeed in conversation. More competent speakers may still prefer to use 'standard' or 'stereotype' expressions as they want to make sure that they will be understood by their interlocutors and may even wish to avoid embarrassing them by Lingua Franca Conversation as Learner Language Interaction using expressions these may not understand.

Altogether, the results reveal that participants attempt to create a variety which assures a maximum of intelligibility. This had previously been observed by Blum-Kulka (1982) and Koike (1989). At the same time they seem to be concerned not to intimidate their interlocutors by putting them Lingua Franca Conversation as Learner Language Interaction in a situation they cannot cope with due to deficits in their knowledge of English. "As Varonis and Gass (1985) remark, in such interaction, the parties are likely to 'recognize their shared incompetence' or to 'admit a language deficit'. The risk of losing face is considerably lower, and meaning can thus Lingua Franca Conversation as Learner Language Interaction be negotiated without too much embarrassment" (Meeuwis 1994). These remarks refer to informal conversation among peers. Data from more formal conversations which are characterized by a less close relation between the participants or by asymmetric power relations (cf. Bremer et al. (1996)) may reveal a different picture.

Lingua Franca Lingua Franca Conversation as Learner Language Interaction Conversation as Reflection of an "Inter"-culture

If we regard the features mentioned above as being reflections of an established inter-culture, we may interpret them as resulting from the participants' appreciation of the intercultural situation and the insecurity all of them have to cope with. The norms operating on both opening Lingua Franca Conversation as Learner Language Interaction and closing phases are much different across cultures. In some cultures, these phases are highly conventional and ritualized. There are also differences regarding the constraints on the choice of phrases that may be used during conversational openings and closings. As most participants in lingua franca conversations will be Lingua Franca Conversation as Learner Language Interaction uncertain about the greeting and leaving behaviour acceptable in their interlocutors' mother tongues, they will prefer not to experiment during these phases. Using only those routine formulas they know to be acceptable in either BrE or AmE gives them certainty about not violating any rules (cf. Tannen and Öztek Lingua Franca Conversation as Learner Language Interaction 1981).

Within the inter-culture interpretation the preference of 'safe topics' can easily be explained as being due to the participants' insecurity as to the acceptability of the topics they introduce. Even though they are aware that cultural differences regarding delicate topics may exist, they will hardly be Lingua Franca Conversation as Learner Language Interaction able to exactly identify taboo subjects. Participants will therefore avoid any topics that may be taboo and select topics which are known or at least expected to be 'safe' in BrE and AmE. Topics about which this certainty does not exist are avoided. In case a topic is introduced Lingua Franca Conversation as Learner Language Interaction which is not known to be safe, its acceptability needs to be negotiated with the interlocutors. If it turns out to be unacceptable, it is prone to be cut off after relatively few turns (cf. Larsen-Freeman and Long, 1991). These cut offs occur frequently throughout the corpus and account for Lingua Franca Conversation as Learner Language Interaction the average short length of the individual topics.

Apparent differences in the non-native speakers' pausing behaviour and simultaneous talking may provide further evidence of the existence of a linguistic inter-culture created by the interlocutors. Being aware of possibly existing cultural differences, speakers appreciate these and thus Lingua Franca Conversation as Learner Language Interaction tolerate longer in-turn and in-between-turn pauses and avoid overlapping speech.

As a general rule, the linguistic behaviour of participants in lingua franca face-to-face conversations seems to be governed by the following two principles:

· Participants wish to save face. They avoid insulting behaviour and putting Lingua Franca Conversation as Learner Language Interaction their partners into embarrassing situations by e.g. using expressions their interlocutors may not understand.

· As a result of the uncertainty regarding the cultural norms and standards that apply to lingua franca conversations, participants wish to assure each other of a benevolent attitude. The high amount of supportive back-channels – both verbal Lingua Franca Conversation as Learner Language Interaction or in the form of laughter – as well as the excessive use of cajolers found in the corpus are discoursive manifestations of this intention.

Both interpretations rest on the assumption that participants are aware of both their status as learners of English as well as of their different Lingua Franca Conversation as Learner Language Interaction cultural backgrounds, especially of differences in communicative norms and behaviour. Though it has been claimed that participants in intercultural communication situations are to a large extent not aware of these facts (Knapp, 1995), recent reseach (Meierkord and Sugita, in preparation) reveals that Japanese are to a certain extent aware of linguistic Lingua Franca Conversation as Learner Language Interaction reasons for their communicative problems in intercultural situations.

Conclusion

This paper has approached lingua franca communication in English as a form of intercultural communication characterised by cooperation rather than misunderstanding, and the most salient features of lingua franca English were summed up. The statements мейд in this article are Lingua Franca Conversation as Learner Language Interaction valid for small-talk conversations. Further data are needed from other non-small-talk types of lingua franca interaction, e.g. negotiations, discussions etc. to corroborate the findings on a more general level. The examples presented and discussed revealed that lingua franca English is highly heterogeneous. The heterogeneity of data Lingua Franca Conversation as Learner Language Interaction was shown to cause problems for the application of traditional approaches to conversation, which were created for the analysis of Anglo-American native speaker discourse. In conclusion, suggestions were мейд for a multi-method analysis of data, which includes models designed for non-Anglo-American discourse.

Furthermore, a Lingua Franca Conversation as Learner Language Interaction differentiated interpretation of data was proposed, which takes into account both the intercultural situation as well as the fact that speakers need to be regarded as learners of the language they use.

Instruction:Christiane Meierkord’s analysis of non-native/non-native interaction in English reveals individual pragmatic characteristics Lingua Franca Conversation as Learner Language Interaction of successful English lingua franca conversation among which: the non-native speakers’ frequent and long pauses, the back-channeling behaviour similar to what has been observed with British English native speakers. Learners demonstrate an interlanguage pragmatics, which differs from both L1 and L2; reduction and compensation of utterances Lingua Franca Conversation as Learner Language Interaction; small amount of simultaneous speech; reduced opportunity of taking turns. Non-native speakers prefer 'safe' topics and a short length of individual topics; a low variation in ritual speech acts and an economic language learning behaviour.

While preparing a summary ofChristiane Meierkord’s study you will elaborate on these Lingua Franca Conversation as Learner Language Interaction points highlighting her key observations.

And, you have had a good chance to learn that Christiane Meierkord is a brilliant science writer. It would be good if you borrow her expertise for your own graduation paper.


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