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Title:Third position responses in French native and non native-speaker interaction
Author(s):Foster, Michael
Director of Research:Golato, Andrea
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Golato, Peter
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Golato, Andrea; Markee, Numa P.; Fagyal, Zsuzsanna
Department / Program:French
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Conversation analysis
Materials Development
Third Position Responses
Language acquisition
Abstract:This project uses conversational analytic methodology to understand how French native speakers and non-native speakers produce third position responses (i.e., question-answer-follow up responses) in a sequence of talk. Specifically, the first part of the project focuses on how French native speakers produce third position responses. The findings for the French native speakers come from a nine hour corpus consisting of naturally occurring conversations, either in the form of audio recorded telephone calls or video recorded mealtime interactions. The second part of the project was a teaching unit in which the most frequently occurring French native speaker third position responses were taught to learners of French to see how effective the learners were at incorporating the third position responses in their conversationa repertoires. The first part of the study found a variety of categories for third position responses such as the change of state token (Heritage 1984) ahh / ‘oh,’ asssessments, acknowledging and confirming new information with oui / ‘yes’ and d’accord / ‘all right,’ understanding, and surprised responses such as ah bon / ‘oh really.’ These categories in French had similar roles to their equivalents in English and other languages. The majority of categories were sequenceclosing thirds, meaning that the topic was oriented to as complete by the person producing the third position response. The one exception was with surprised responses where the sequence was actually expanded. The second part of the study taught the most frequently occurring third positon responses (assessments, understanding, surprised responses, and acknowledging/accepting new information) to beginning learners of French to see how well learners could use the various third position responses in their talk. Specificially, this part consisted of three phases: a pre-task phase where pairs were video recorded asking and responding to questions in French before the iii teaching unit; a task phase where learners were taught how to use the French third position responses and practiced them in a speaking task; a post-task phase three days after task phase where pairs again asked and responded to questions. Each pair’s pre-task interaction was compared with its corresponding post-task interaction to see how each pair developed in the pragmatic appropriateness of their talk (i.e., their use of appropriate third position responses). Overall, it was found that the majority of subjects increased their percentage of production of third position responses in the post-task phase when compared with their production rates in the pre-task phase. Additionally, it was noted that most subjects used the third position responses appropriately when compared with how the French native speakers used them in native speakernative speaker interactions. This demonstrates that naturalistic pedagogical materials can be effectively incorporated into the language classroom curriculum.
Issue Date:2013-02-03
Rights Information:Copyright 2012 Michael Foster
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-02-03
Date Deposited:2012-12

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