A micro-study of English as an international lingua franca in a Korean context

| October 10, 2007
A micro-study of English as an international lingua franca in a Korean context

Keywords: English as a lingua franca; communication strategies

Matthew Watterson
BA (Hons), Dip Ed., Grad. Dip. TEFL
Macquarie University

A dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of
Master of Applied Linguistics in the Division of Linguistics and Psychology,
Macquarie University

This study is aimed at describing and interpreting the communication strategies (CS) used b y speakers of English as an international lingua franca (EILF). The participants in the reseal ch were members of an EILF focus group that met once a week during the northern sum me r of 2006, near a university in Seoul, South Korea. The group included one Mongolian and five Korean university students.

The focus group s meetings were videotaped and transcriptions from three recorde d encounters, totaling about two-and-a-half hours of data, were scanned for the presence of CS. These CS were then described and interpreted using the methods of conversation analy sis (CA). Participants were replayed parts of the data and interviewed about their motivate ns in using different CS at particular moments in the talk. The analyzed data is discussed un der five rubrics based on interrelated aspects of CS use: locating, avoiding, replacing, fixing and ignoring troubles.

The findings indicate that the participants motivations in using different CS largely centre on striking a balance between the competing demands of linguistic clarity and pragm attic concerns about face . Other possible factors influencing CS selection that were identify ed include: interpersonal factors such as group size; the level of discourse at which a trouble e occurs; the location of a trouble in the development of a topic; and the perception of the cu rrent interaction as small talk or otherwise.

Recommendations are made for future, more focused research that could further ex plore the tentative findings of the current study.

Category: Thesis