Building connected discourse in non-native speech: Re-specifying non-native proficiency

Yo-An Lee

Abstract

The demand for proficient non-native speakers (NNSs) of English has increased across professional fields in recent years. While speaking skills involve a complex array of factors and constraints, previous studies resorted to unexamined perceptions or intuitive impressions drawn from surface linguistic features. Particularly missing is close analytic descriptions of non-native discourse that is produced in spontaneous contexts. The present study investigates the process by which NNSs of English produce connected discourse as it unfolds in real-time. The ability to produce connected discourse is considered a hallmark of advanced speaking proficiency and this study therefore focuses on tracing the sequential organization of multiple utterances that NNSs produce in spontaneous speech. Following the principles of conversation analysis (CA), the present paper analyzes three sets of excerpts demonstrating the contingent choices that NNSs make in building connected discourse. The findings offer empirical resources for non-native professionals to identify the practicality and generality of connected discourse in real-time speech contexts.

Keywords:
Quick links
A browser-friendly version of this article is not yet available. View PDF
ACTFL
(1999) ACTFL proficiency guidelines for speaking. New York: ACTFL.Google Scholar
Atkinson, J., and J. Heritage
(1984) Transcript notation. In M. Atkinson, and J. Heritage (eds.), Structures of social action: Studies in conversation analysis. New York: Cambridge, pp. ix-xvi.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Bachman, L.
(1990) Fundamental considerations in language testing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Bowles, H.
(2006) Bridging the gap between conversation analysis and ESP: An applied study of the opening sequences of NS and NNS service telephone calls. English for Specific Purposes 25: 332–357. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Bowles, H., and P. Seedhouse
(2007) Interactional competence and the LSP classroom. In H. Bowles, and P. Seedhouse (eds.), Conversation analysis and language for specific purposes. New York: Peter Lang, pp. 305–329.Google Scholar
Burns, A.
(1998) Teaching speaking. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 18: 102–123. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Bygate, M.
(1998) Theoretical perspectives on speaking. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 18: 20–42. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
(2009) Teaching and testing speaking. In M. Long, and C. Doughty (eds.), The handbook of language teaching. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 412–440. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Byrnes, H.
(2002) Toward academic-level foreign language abilities: Reconsidering foundational assumptions, expanding pedagogical options. In B. Leaver, and B. Shekhtman (eds.), Developing professional-level language proficiency. New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 34–58. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Canale, M., and M. Swain
(1980) Theoretical bases of communicative approaches to second language teaching and testing. Applied Linguistics 1: 1–47. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Celce-Murcia, M., Z. Dornyei, and S. Thurrell
(1995) Communicative competence: A pedagogically motivated model with content specifications. Issues in Applied Linguistics 6: 5–35.Google Scholar
Celce-Murcia, M., and D. Larsen-Freeman
(1999) The grammar book: An ESL/EFL teacher’s course. Boston: Heinle & Heinle.Google Scholar
Chew, K.-S.
(2005) An investigation of the English language skills used by new entrants in banks in Hong Kong. English for Specific Purposes 24: 423–435. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Cook, V.
(1999) Going beyond the native speaker in language teaching. TESOL Quarterly 33: 185–209. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Council of Europe
(2001) Common European framework of reference for languages: Learning, teaching, assessment. Strasbourg: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Crookes, G.
(1990) The utterances and other basic units for second language discourse analysis. Applied Linguistics 11: 183–199. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Davies, A.
(2003) The native speaker: Myth and reality. Clevendon: Multilingual Matters Ltd.  BoP. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
de Bot, K.
(1992) A bilingual production model: Levelt’s “speaking” model adapted. Applied Linguistics 13: 1–24. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
Ellis, R.
(2008) The study of second language acquisition. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Foster, P., and P. Skehan
(1996) The influence of planning and task type on second language performance. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 18: 299–323. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Foster, P., A. Tonkyn, and G. Wiggleworth
(2000) Measuring spoken language: A unit for all reasons. Applied Linguistics 21: 354–375. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Glenda, C., and I. Ward
(2002) Oral communication: The workplace needs and uses of business graduate employees. English for Specific Purposes 21: 41–57. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
He, A., and R. Young
(1998) Language proficiency interviews: A discourse approach. In R. Young, and W. He (eds.), Talking and testing: Discourse approaches to the assessment of oral proficiency. Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company, pp. 1–24. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
Heritage, J.
(1984) Garfinkel and ethnomethodology. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
Hughes, R.
(2002) Teaching and researching speaking. New York: Pearson.Google Scholar
Hyland, K.
(2002) Specificity revisited: How far should we go now? English for Specific Purposes 21: 385–395. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Iwashita, N., A. Brown, T. Mcnamara, and S. O’Hagan
(2008) Assessing levels of second language speaking proficiency: How distinct? Applied Linguistics 29: 24–49. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Jacoby, S., and T. McNamara
(1999) Locating competence. English for Specific Purposes 18: 213–241. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Jefferson, G.
(1978) Sequential aspects of story telling in conversation. In J.N. Schenkein (ed.), Studies in the organization of conversational interaction. New York: Academic Press, pp. 213–248.Google Scholar
(1985) An exercise in the transcription and analysis of laughter. In T. van Dijk (ed.), Handbook of discourse analysis: Discourse and dialogue. London: Academic Press, pp. 25–34.Google Scholar
(1990) List-construction as a task and resource. In G. Psathas (ed.), Interaction competence. Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, pp. 63–92.Google Scholar
Kasper, G.
(2009) Locating cognition in second language interaction and learning: Inside the skull or in public view? International Review of Applied Linguistics 47: 11–36. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
Khanji, R.
(1996) Two perspectives in analyzing communication strategies. IRA 34: 144–154.Google Scholar
Kim, K.-J.
(2006) Writing apprehension and writing achievement of Korean EFL college students. English Teaching 61: 135–154.Google Scholar
Koike, D., and J. Liskin-Gasparro
(1999) What is a Near-Native speaker? Perspectives of job seekers and search committees in Spanish. ADFL Bulletin 30: 54–62. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Kormos, J.
(2006) Speech production and second language acquisition. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
Leaver, B., and B. Shekhtman
(2002) Principles and practices in teaching superior-level language skills: Not just more of the same. In B. Leaver, and B. Shekhtman (eds.), Developing professional-level language proficiency. New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 3–33. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
Lee, Y.
(2006a) Towards respecification of communicative competence: Condition of L2 instruction or its objective? Applied Linguistics 27: 349–376. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
(2006b) Speaking proficiency of non-native English teachers. English Teaching 61: 189–212.Google Scholar
(2010) Using cultural categories in language classroom discourse. Discourse & Cognition 17: 69–94. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Lerner, G.
(1992) Assisted storytelling: Deploying shared knowledge as a practical matter. Qualitative Sociology 15: 247–271. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
(1994) Responsive list construction: A conversational resource for accomplishing multifaceted social action. Journal of Language and Social Psychology 13: 20–33. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
Levelt, W.
(1989) Speaking: From intention to articulation. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
Liu, D., G. Ahn, K. Baek, and N. Han
(2004) South Korean high school English teachers’ code switching: Questions and challenges in the drive for maximal use of English in teaching. TESOL Quarterly 38: 605–638. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Lynch, M.
(2011) Commentary: On understanding understanding. Journal of Pragmatics 43: 553–555. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Makoni, S.B.
(1996) Variation in unplanned discourse. International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching 34: 167–181. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Markee, N., and J. Stansell
(2008) Using electronic publishing as a resource for increasing empirical and interpretive accountability in conversation analysis. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 27: 24–44.Google Scholar
McCarthy, M., and A. O’Keeffe
(2004) Research in the teaching of speaking. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 24: 26–43. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
McNamara, T., K. Hill, and M. Lynette
(2002) Discourse and assessment. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 22: 221–242. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
Moerman, M., and H. Sacks
(1971/1988) On understanding in the analysis of natural conversation. In M. Moerman (ed.), Talking culture: Ethnography and conversation analysis. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, pp. 180–186.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Morell, T.
(2004) Interactive lecture discourse for university EFL students. English for Specific Purposes 23: 325–338. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Nakatani, Y., and C. Goh
(2007) A review of oral communication strategies: Focus on interactionist and psycholinguistic perspectives. In A.. Cohen, and E. Macaro (eds.), Language learning strategies. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 207–227.Google Scholar
Nemtchinova, E.
(2005) Host teachers’ evaluation of non-native-English-speaking teacher trainees - A perspective from the classroom. TESOL Quarterly 39: 235–262. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Nickerson, C.
(2005) English as a lingua franca in international business contexts. English for Specific Purposes 24: 367–380. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Ochs, E.
(1979) Planned and unplanned discourse. In T. Givón (ed.), Discourse and syntax. New York: Academic Press, pp. 51–80. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Ortega, J.
(1999) Planning and focus on form in L2 oral performance. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 21: 109–148. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Planken, B.
(2005) Managing rapport in lingual franca sales negotiations: A comparison of professional and aspiring negotiators. English for Specific Purposes 24: 381–400. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Prodromou, L.
(2003) In search of the successful user of English. Modern English Teacher 12: 5–14.Google Scholar
Rendle-Short, J.
(2006) The academic presentation: Situated talk in action. New York: Ashgate.Google Scholar
Sacks, H.
(1972) On the analyzability of stories by children. In J. Gumperz, and D. Hymes (eds.), Directions in sociolinguistics: The ethnography of communication. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc, pp. 325–345.  BoPGoogle Scholar
(1974) An analysis of the course of a joke’s telling in conversation. In R. Bauman, and J. Sherzer (eds.), Explorations in the ethnography of speaking. New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 337–353.  BoPGoogle Scholar
(1978) Some technical considerations of a dirty joke. In J. Schenkein (ed.), Studies in the organization of conversational interaction. New York: Academic Press, pp. 249–269. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
(1984) Notes on methodology. In M. Atkinson, and J. Heritage (eds.), Structures of social action: Studies in Conversation Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 21–27.  BoPGoogle Scholar
(1992) Lectures on conversation. Cambridge: Blackwell.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Sacks, H., E. Schegloff, and G. Jefferson
(1974) A simplest systematics for the organization of turn-taking for conversation. Language 50: 693–735. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
Schegloff, E.
(1979) The relevance of repair to syntax-for-conversation. In T. Givón (ed.), Syntax and semantics: Discourse and syntax (Vol. 12). New York: Academic Press, pp. 262–286.Google Scholar
(1982) Discourse as an interactional achievement: Some uses of ‘Uh huh’ and other things that come between sentences. In D. Tannen (ed.), Georgetown university roundtable on language linguistics: Analyzing discourse - Text and talk. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, pp. 71–93.Google Scholar
(1986) The routine as achievement. Human Studies 9: 110–151. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
(1995) Discourse as an interactional achievement III: The omnirelevance of action. Research on Language and Social Interaction 28: 185–211. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
(1996) Turn organization: One intersection of grammar and interaction. In E. Ochs, and S. Thompson (eds.), Interaction and grammar. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, pp.52-133. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
(1997) Practices and actions: Boundary cases of other-initiated repair. Discourse Processes 23: 499–545. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
(2007) Sequence organization in interaction: A primer in conversation analysis. New York: Cambridge. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
Schegloff, E., and H. Sacks
(1973) Opening up closings. Semiotica 7: 289–327. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
Schegloff, E., G. Jefferson, and H. Sacks
(1977) The preference for self-correction in the organization of repair in conversation. Language 53: 363–382. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
Schegloff, E., I. Koshik, S. Jacoby, and D. Olsher
(2002) Conversation analysis and applied linguistics. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 22: 3–31. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
Seedhouse, P.
(2004) The interactional architecture of the language classroom: A Conversation Analysis perspective. Malden, MA: Blackwell.Google Scholar
Seedhouse, P., and K. Richards
(2007) Describing and analysing institutional varieties of interaction. In H. Bowles, and P. Seedhouse (eds.), Conversation analysis and language for specific purposes. New York: Peter Lang, pp. 17–36.Google Scholar
Seidlhofer, B.
(2001) Closing a conceptual gap: The case for a description of English as a lingua franca. International Journal of Applied Linguistics 11: 133–158. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
Sharrock, W., and B. Anderson
(1982) Talking and teaching: Reflective comments on in-classroom activities. In G. Payne, and E.C. Cuff (eds.), Doing teaching: The practical management of classrooms. London: Batsford Academic and Educational, pp. 170–183.Google Scholar
Shimanoff, S., and J. Brunak
(1997) Repairs in planned and unplanned discourse. In E. Keenan, and T. Bennett (eds.), Discourse across time and space. Los Angeles: University of Southern California, pp. 123–167.Google Scholar
Skehan, P.
(1998) A cognitive approach to language learning. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
So-Mui, F., and K. Mead
(2000) An analysis of English in the workplace: The communication needs of textile and clothing merchandisers. English for Specific Purposes 19: 351–368. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Spencer-Oatey, H.
(2000) Rapport Management: A framework for analysis. In H. Spencer-Oatey (ed.), Culturally speaking: Managing rapport through talk across cultures. New York: Cassel Academic, pp. 11–46.  BoPGoogle Scholar
St. John, M.J.
(1996) Business is booming: Business English in the 1990s. English for Specific Purposes 15: 3–18. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Starks, D.
(1994) Planned vs. unplanned discourse: Oral narrative vs. conversation in Woods Cree. Canadian Journal of Linguistics 39: 297–320. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Tesser, C.
(1999) The non-native speaker and literary studies: Instruction, scholarship, and translation. ADFL Bulletin 31: 20–25. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Tyler, A.
(1992) Discourse structure and the perception of incoherence in international teaching assistants’ spoken discourse. TESOL Quarterly 26: 713–729. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Wagner, J., and R. Gardner
(eds.) (2004) Second language conversations. New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
Wong, J.
(2000a) Repetition in conversation: A look at “First and second sayings.” Research on Language and Social Interaction 33: 407–424. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
(2000b) The token “Yeah” in non-native speaker English conversation. Research on Language and Social Interaction 33: 39–67. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
(2000c) Delayed next turn repair initiation in native/non-native speaker English conversation. Applied Linguistics 21: 244–267. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
Wong, J., and H. Waring
(2010) Conversation analysis and second language pedagogy: A guide for ESL/EFL teachers. New York: Routledge. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Yuan, F., and R. Ellis
(2003) The effects of pre-task planning and on-line planning on fluency, complexity and accuracy in L2 monologic oral production. Applied Linguistics 24: 1–27. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar