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Title: A multimodal conversation analytic study of word-searches in L2 interaction
Authors: Binti Abdullah, Nur Nabilah
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Studies on face-to-face interactions have demonstrated how spoken language involves not only verbal but also a mutual collaboration with embodied actions. Embodied actions, such as gaze, gestures, body posture and physical movement are part and parcel of the details of ordered social interaction, and they can be significant resources in interaction (Hazel et al., 2014). This study has investigated the embodied actions displayed in word search phenomenon in L2 interaction. Word search is regarded as a type of self-initiation repair in which the progressivity of the speaker’s turn is momentarily ceased due to an item (i.e. word) is not available to the speaker when due (Schegloff et al., 1977). The context of the study is a non-educational context (Firth and Wagner, 1997; Firth and Wagner, 2007; Gardner and Wagner, 2004) where casual conversation among international university students having dinner at a cafe is recorded. Furthermore, the study is a multiactivity setting in which multiparty participants are engaged in talking, eating and drinking. The L2 speakers are from different countries, and most of them have a different first language background. This study examines conversations between L2-L2 speakers communicating in English as it is the most common language that international students resort to when speaking with someone who has a different language background. Using multimodal Conversation Analysis (CA), this study aims to explore how participants with different language proficiency exploit embodied actions as resources in word search sequences. The analyses start with investigating how participants get into a word search and then moves to enquiring how participants use embodied actions for constructing a joint solution. The final analysis focuses on how embodied actions are used as a resource to resolve a word search when the targeted word is not attained. The findings from the investigation suggest that there is a relationship between talk and embodied actions in word search sequences among L2-L2 speakers. Based on the findings, six salient themes will be discussed; (1) the interactional phenomenon of a ‘word search’, (2) resources that are recognised as opportunities for co-participation, (3) joint solutions by non-speaking participants, (4) meaning-making through embodied interaction, (5) achieving mutual understanding through embodied negotiation, and ii (6) language use or learning in the wild. Overall, this study advocates the need for an in-depth exploration of multimodal resources in word search sequences, which can have significant implications to understand that language use is fundamentally multimodal (Seyfeddinipur and Gullberg, 2014).
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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