Understanding ‘stuckness’ : Descriptions and interpretations of how EFL speakers and a native speaker co-manage talk-in-interaction

Nakamura, Ian and Myers, Greg (2006) Understanding ‘stuckness’ : Descriptions and interpretations of how EFL speakers and a native speaker co-manage talk-in-interaction. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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Taking turns in keeping the talk going is a co-managed accomplishment. When the talk does not flow, the moment is noticeable and accountable. I am proposing the use of a new term, ‘stuckness’, as an organizational concept which describes certain moments in NSNNS talk when participants temporarily lose a shared orientation as to who will take the next turn and what to say. Two related concepts are also introduced: Flow is the sequential moment where the talk proceeds smoothly to the next turn. Getting unstuck demonstrates the interactional work done by participants to address any uncertainties. The talk examined belongs to a hybrid genre which has elements of both ordinary conversation and institutional talk. The data come from a series of talks between three Japanese EFL students and me over a span of ten years. The collection of recorded talks includes over 30 sessions of dyadic talk ranging in length from 20 to 60 minutes per session. Three rules were followed: (1) English is the language of use. (2) Each session would last for a certain length of time. (3) The NNS would tell the NS about daily activities and special events. By tracing how one turn leads into another, three basic questions emerged: (1) When does talk flow in dyadic talk? (2) When do participants get stuck? (3) How do participants get unstuck? The findings highlight participants’ resourcefulness in using topic shift, storytelling, repair, and formulation to maintain the flow of talk. The contribution of this thesis may ultimately rest in encouraging people (e.g., researchers, teachers, students, and in fact anyone who is engaged in extended talk in any situation) to take a closer look at what participants are able to do (regardless of being a NS or a NNS) to keep the conversation going despite occasional mistiming.

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08 Jan 2013 16:09
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17 Jul 2024 00:37