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Learner (and Teacher) Talk in EAP Classroom Discourse

  • Eric Friginal
  • Joseph J. Lee
  • Brittany Polat
  • Audrey Roberson
Chapter

Abstract

Research on spoken classroom discourse has a comparatively long tradition in linguistics, applied linguistics, and education in general. This, of course, is due to the fact that communication is central to educational contexts. It is through language that teachers conduct their work and students display what they have acquired. Language use in L2/foreign language classrooms, however, serves a distinct purpose, one that is quite unique from that of other classrooms. In most L2 classrooms, language is not only the medium of instruction but also the objective of learning (Lee 2010; Long 1983). In other words, “the medium is the message” in language teaching (Hammadou and Bernhardt 1987, p. 302). While teachers who teach in students’ L1 (e.g., teachers who teach Korean to L1 Korean speakers) also use the language as medium and object of instruction, one difference between L1 and L2 classrooms is the fact that, unlike L1 students, L2 learners in many cases have yet to develop high levels of proficiency in the target language. In order to gain a deeper appreciation of the complexity of L2 classroom discourse, researchers have used different analytical frameworks, including interaction analysis (e.g., Allen et al. 1984), discourse analysis (e.g., Cullen 2002), and conversation analysis (e.g., Lee 2007). The vast majority of research in these traditions, however, has mostly limited the analysis to the micro-levels of teacher-student interaction, focusing on the distribution and functions of teacher and student contributions to the three-part exchange structure: teacher initiation, student response, and teacher feedback (or IRF) (Sinclair and Coulthard 1975). Little research has examined L2 classroom discourse, particularly that of EAP classrooms, from a corpus linguistic perspective.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric Friginal
    • 1
  • Joseph J. Lee
    • 2
  • Brittany Polat
    • 3
  • Audrey Roberson
    • 4
  1. 1.Applied Linguistics and ESLGeorgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Ohio UniversityAthensUSA
  3. 3.Georgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA
  4. 4.Hobart and William Smith CollegesGenevaUSA

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