Disagreement practices in ELF academic group discussion : Verbal, non-verbal and interactional strategies

Toomaneejinda, Anuchit and Harding, Luke William (2018) Disagreement practices in ELF academic group discussion : Verbal, non-verbal and interactional strategies. Journal of English as a Lingua Franca, 7 (2). 307–332. ISSN 2191-933X

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Academic group work can involve challenging pragmatic acts, and chief among these is, arguably, disagreement. There is little known, however, about how disagreement is realised in ELF academic group discussion tasks, where the tendency towards greater cooperation and mutual support in ELF communication may be at odds with the need to achieve task goals through the expression of an oppositional stance. In addressing this issue, the current study sought to answer the research question: how do postgraduate students in a UK university setting express their disagreement in ELF academic group discussion? Twelve participants from ten different linguacultural backgrounds completed two different simulated discussion tasks: one targeting opinions, and the other consensus decision-making. The same participants also took part in retrospective stimulated-recall interviews using the video-recording of their discussions as a stimulus. Discourse analysis of the transcribed interactions revealed that the ELF participants used a wide range of verbal, nonverbal and interactional strategies in their disagreeing practices. Three salient strategies are presented in detail: focus shifts, complex turn-management (other-initiated disagreement turn dependence and turn-throwing/passing), and the use of gaze. Through these examples, we show that while the discourse produced in group discussion tasks was rich in disagreement, ELF participants used complex linguistic and interactional strategies to avoid explicit displays of their oppositional stance. Results are discussed with a view to developing theory around disagreement in ELF academic contexts.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of English as a Lingua Franca
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Copyright © 2018 by Walter de Gruyter GmbH
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Deposited On:
26 Jul 2018 13:04
Last Modified:
06 Feb 2024 00:50