What do I say when I know that you know my language? Communication strategies Turkish EFL learners use when interacting with Turkish and native speakers of English
Different kinds of research have been conducted on various aspects of communication strategies (CSs) that non-native speakers use when they lack the required linguistic item(s) in order to be able to maintain communication. Some of these aspects of research include teachability of CSs (Dörnyei 1995, Maleki 2007), the effect of proficiency level (Aliakbari&Allwar 2009; Tajeddin&Alemi 2010), the effect of L1 background (Rababah&Bulut 2007), the use of specific CSs (Bada 2010), and classification of CSs (Tarone 1977, Faerch& Kasper 1983, Bialystok 1983, 1990, Paribakht 1985, Willems 1987, Poulisse 1993, as quoted in Dörnyei & Scott 1997, Rababah 2002, Nakatani 2006). This paper aims to present the results of a descriptive study which investigated the CSs that university level Turkish EFL learners resort to when interacting with their Turkish and native speaker teachers of English. To our knowledge no research has been reported on this aspect of CSs. The study was conducted in the English Preparatory Program of a Turkish university during 2011-2012 academic year. In the program, students study at different levels for 8 weeks and during this period they take 6 oral weekly quizzes. The class selected for this study included 20 B1 level students. Two instructors – one Turkish and one American native speaker of English- took turns to give the oral quizzes. Each student had a 3-5 minute interview with the instructor to talk about a topic which was covered in Speaking/Listening module that week. Interviews were video-recorded, transcribed and coded in order to identify the CSs that students used when interacting with the instructors. The paper ends with the discussion of the results and their implications for second language acquisition and language learning in EFL context. It is hoped that results of this study shed light on the issue of whether learners’ use of CSs is affected by the participants’ coming from the same L1 background or not.
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