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Teaching Response Tokens Through Story Telling Tasks

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1 Teaching Response Tokens Through Story Telling Tasks
Silvana Dushku University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

2 Definition & Classification
Response tokens (RT) are high-frequency turn-initial lexical items which occur in responses in everyday spoken genres, and which reveal various levels of the listener’s interactional engagement (McCarthy, 2003, p. 4) Minimal RT Non-Minimal RT: Non-minimal RT without expanded content (NM-EC) Non-minimal RT plus expanded responses (NM+ER) RT with pre-modification Negated RT Clusters (Ibid. pp )

3 Overview Goals Data Collection and Methodology Findings
Pedagogical Implications

4 Goals Develop a better understanding of students’ current level of interactional competence and their needs through the investigation of their use of engagement tokens (assessment and surprise tokens) (Schegloff, 1982) On the basis of needs analysis, develop task-based materials that can lead to awareness raising and gradual appropriate production of these engagement tokens in conversation

5 Data Collection and Methodology
Video and digital recordings of free 25-minute conversations over the Thanksgiving Break: Four triads of 2 NNSs and their NS Conversation Partner Four triads of 3 NS graduate students and new graduates Written survey of both groups’ participants: responding to 8 Thanksgiving Break-related situations designed to elicit surprise (4) and evaluation (4) NNS students’ survey results rated on appropriateness/inappropriateness by 4 NS ESL teachers.

6 Data Collection and Methodology
Data transcription (first 10 minutes) and analysis (transcription coding key, O’Keeffe, McCarthy, Carter, 2007) Identification and classification of surprise and assessment tokens used by both NNSs and NSs according to FORM (McCarthy 2003 classification) and descriptive statistical analysis NNSs’ use of surprise and assessment tokens (6 video excerpts) rated on appropriateness/inappropriateness by 18 trained NS university students Inter-rater reliability measured for both groups of raters: 4 NS raters : Cronbach’s Alpha = 0.913 18 NS raters: Cronbach’s Alpha = 0.870 Analysis of CONTEXTS and FUNCTIONS: kinds of inappropriateness in the use of surprise and assessment tokens by NNSs

7 Findings Analysis of assessment tokens in 10-minute conversations:
Significant differences (p value < 0.05) found in the use of: All assessment tokens Non-minimal assessment tokens without expanded content Non- minimal assessment tokens with expanded response Less complex assessment tokens used by NNSs.

8 Mean Number of Assessment Tokens in Ten-Minute Conversation

9 Findings Analysis of surprise tokens in 10-minute conversations:
Significant difference (p value < 0.05) found in the use of: Minimal surprise tokens (extended foreign vocalizations)

10 Mean Number of Surprise Tokens in Ten-Minute Conversation

11 Findings Analysis of assessment and response tokens in surveys:
Significant difference (p value < 0.05) found in the use of: Pre-modified assessment tokens: Too + adjective So + adjective No significant difference found in the use of surprise tokens

12 Mean Number of Assessment Tokens in Survey Component

13 Mean Number of Surprise Tokens in Survey Component

14 Findings – Inappropriate Uses
Prosodic: Extended foreign vocalizations (E.g.: Ahh!) Non-native fall-rise (instead of the typical exclamatory fall in English – Wells, 2006) in vocalized exclamations of surprise

15 Findings – Inappropriate Uses
Pragmatic: Factual recount of events with little or no engagement from the listener: Dry, depersonalized responses Use of extended foreign vocalizations to express convergence, acknowledgement, or information receipt Pragmatic competence deficiency to demonstrate surprise, sympathy/ empathy, and interest/excitement ‘Cultural’ verbal and gestural responses Inappropriate question responses

16 Findings – Inappropriate Uses
When listening, students often failed to anticipate clues – Listening-response relevance moments (LRRM) (Erickson & Schultz, 1982; McCarthy, 2003) - in the native speakers’ conversation While-listening strategy deficiency – how to ‘tune in’ to the clues Insufficient ability to make a pragmatic inference and plan the response

17 Findings – Inappropriate Uses
Lexico-Grammatical: Use of “it” instead of “that” referring to past events in assessment tokens by the listener E.g.: It’ s terrible! Use of present tense instead of the past in assessment tokens E.g.: It’ s nice! Failure to give a yes/no response to a speaker’s question before using a response token or a statement E.g.: A: Did you have a good time? B: I have enjoyed skiing. Ungrammatical questions attempted to show engagement E.g.: A: I lost my passport at the airport! B: How did you do?

18 Pedagogical Implications
Teaching approach: The three ‘Is’ (Illustration-Interaction-Induction) approach (McCarthy and Carter, 1995 (also 2005, 2007): Illustration – through authentic data samples Interaction – discussion of language features observed in the samples Induction – discovering rules through observation and analysis the ‘explicit’ approach (Huth and Taleghani-Nikazm, 2006) ‘Language awareness-based’ approach (Fung and Carter, 2007)

19 Pedagogical Implications
Suggested teaching goals (intermediate level): Identify and practice the tenses of narration (past/past progressive in statements and questions) Identify and practice high-frequency (minimal and non-minimal) response tokens to show surprise and assessment Recognize the exclamatory fall in exclamations Practice ‘It”- and “That”- initiated responses showing assessment or surprise Analyze conversation clues that trigger possible listener responses/reactions: Identify facts in a news story - the 5 Wh-s Identify opinion discourse markers Review how to maintain conversation in narrative discourse: Explain how to formulate appropriate Wh- questions Explain how to use continuers Analyze cultural differences in expressing assessment and surprise in conversation narratives

20 Pedagogical Implications
Needs Analysis Teacher recounts her holiday/Break travel experience, students digitally record their reactions to the story Students tell holiday/Break stories to one another, record them and their reactions Students complete a questionnaire with holiday/Break situations requiring them to continue the conversation by verbally reacting to the situation

21 Pedagogical Implications
Textbook-Supplementary Task Examples: Task I – Observation Students tell their holiday stories (that would elicit expressions of affect) to NSs, record the NSs’ responses, and discuss them in class Task II – Noticing Lack of RTs in Responses Students look at a bookish and dry conversation, discuss what is missing, suggest other ways to respond (use the language they noticed in NSs’ conversation?) Task III – Noticing Appropriate Responses Students analyze teacher-selected clips from video/MP3 recording and authentic transcripts of NS’s use of engagement tokens and other engagement strategies in conversation (according to teaching goals selected)

22 Pedagogical Implications
Task IV - Noticing Inappropriate Responses & Controlled Practice of Appropriate Responses Students analyze excessive vocalizations in a funny movie clip, Replace them with response tokens from a given list, explain their choice, role-play the situation Task V – Analysis and Discussion of Students’ Own Responses Students in pairs analyze their own, previously recorded narratives using an evaluation rubric

23 Pedagogical Implications
Task VI – Analysis and Controlled Practice Students in pairs watch a movie clip of an unusual event, record the story elements according to a 5-Wh- questions’ list, identify conversation clues that trigger possible listener responses/reactions, plan appropriate responses/reactions to them, tell and react to the movie story following a role play scenario

24 Acknowledgements Many thanks to
The UIUC IEI administration, students, teachers, and Conversation Partners – for making this research possible Dr. Irene Koshik, Dr. Numa Markee, Dr. Andrea Golato, Dr. Fred Davidson– for their invaluable guidance and input Professor Michael McCarthy and Professor Ronald Carter – for the tremendous inspiration in this undertaking

25 References Adolphs, S. and R. Carter ‘Beyond the word: New challenges in analyzing corpora of spoken English,’ European Journal of English Studies, 2: Adolphs, S Corpus and Context: Investigating Pragmatic Functions in Spoken Discourse.Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. Antaki, Ch., H. Houtkoop-Steenstra, M. Rapley ‘”Brilliant. Next question…”: High-grade assessment sequences in the completion of interactional units,’Research on Language and Social Interaction, 33/3: Barraja-Rohan, A. and C. R. Pritchard Beyond Talk, Melbourne: Western Melbourne Institute of TAFE Publishing Service. Bolden, G ‘Little words that matter: Discourse markers "so" and "oh" and the doing of other-attentiveness in social interaction,’ Journal of Communication, 56(4): Carter, R. and M. J. McCarthy Cambridge Grammar of English. A Comprehensive Guide. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. Celce-Murcia, M. and E. Olshtain ‘Discourse-based approaches: a new framework for second language teaching and learning,’ in E. Hinkel (ed.): Handbook of Research in Second Language Teaching and Learning, London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Daikuhara, M ‘A study of compliments from a cross-cultural perspective: Japanese vs. American English,’ Working Papers in Educational Linguistics, 2/2: Drummond, K. and R. Hopper ‘Back channels revisited: acknowledgement tokens and speakership incipiency,’ Research on Language and Social Interaction, 26/2: Erickson, F and J. Shultz The Counselor as Gatekeeper: Social Interaction inInterviews, New York: Academic Press. Fung, L. and R. Carter ‘Discourse markers and spoken English: native and learner use in pedagogic settings,’ Applied Linguistics, 28/3: Gardner, R Between speaking and listening: the vocalization of understandings,’Applied Linguistics,19/2: Gardner, R When Listeners Talk: Response Tokens and Listener Stance. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. Golato, A. and Z. Fagyal ‘Comparing single and double sayings of the German response token ja and the role of prosody: a conversation analytic perspective,’ Research on Language and Social Interaction, 41/3: Han, Chung-Hye ‘A comparative study of compliment responses: Korean females in Korean interactions and in English Interactions,’ Working Papers in EducationalLinguistics, 8/2:17-32. Herbert, R. K ‘Say ‘thank you’- or something,’ American Speech, 61/1:76-88

26 References (Cont.) Heritage, J ‘A change-of-state token and aspects of its sequential placement,’ in J. M. Atkinson & J. Heritage (eds.), Structures of Social Action: Studies in Conversation Analysis, New York: Cambridge University Press, Heritage, J ‘Oh-prefaced responses to inquiry,’ Language in Society, 27, Huth, Th ‘Negotiating structure and culture: L2 learners’ realization of L2 compliment-response sequences in talk-in-interaction,’ Journal of Pragmatics, 38: Huth, Th. and C. Taleghani-Nikazm ‘How can insights from conversation analysis be directly applied to teaching L2 pragmatics?’ Language Teaching Research, 10/1:53-79. Knight, D. and S. Adolphs ‘Multi-modal corpus pragmatics: The case of active listenership,’ in J. Romero-Trillo (ed.): Pragmatics and Corpus Linguistics – A Mutualistic Entente, Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gryter, Maynard, D. W ‘The news delivery sequence: bad news and good news in conversational interaction,’ Research on Language and Social Interaction, 30/2: McCarthy, M. J Discourse Analysis for Language Teachers. Cambridge, U.K; New York: Cambridge University Press. McCarthy, M. J Spoken Language and Applied Linguistics. Cambridge, U.K; New York: Cambridge University Press. McCarthy, M. J. and R. Carter ‘Feeding back: Non-minimal response tokens in everyday English conversation,’ in C. Heffer and H. Saundson (eds.): Words in Context: A Tribute to John Sinclair on His Retirement,Birmingham, University of Birmingham, McCarthy, M. J ‘Good listenership made plain: British and American non-minimal response tokens in everyday conversation,’ in R. Reppen, S. M. Fitzmaurice, and D. Biber (eds.):Using Corpora to Explore Linguistic Variation, Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Co, McCarthy, M. J ‘Talking back: small interactional response tokens in everyday conversation,’ Research on Language and Social Interaction, 36/1:33-63. McCarthy, M. J ‘Fluency and confluence: what fluent speakers do,’ The Language Teacher, 29.06: 26-28. McCarthy, M. J., J. McCarten, and H. Sandiford. 2006a. Touchstone. Student book 1. Cambridge; Cambridge University Press. McCarthy, M. J., J. McCarten, and H. Sandiford. 2006b. Touchstone. Student book 2. Cambridge; Cambridge University Press. McCarthy, M. J., J. McCarten, and H. Sandiford. 2006c. Touchstone. Student book 3. Cambridge; Cambridge University Press. McCarthy, M. J., J. McCarten, and H. Sandiford. 2006d. Touchstone. Student book 4. Cambridge; Cambridge University Press. McCarthy, M. J., A. O’Keeffe “Research in the teaching of speaking,’ Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 24:26-43. Myers-Scotton, C. and J. Bernsten ‘Natural conversations as a model for textbook dialogue,’ Applied Linguistics, 9/4: Norton, S ‘Discourse analysis as an approach to intercultural competence in the advanced EFL classroom,’ retrieved at November 25, 2008.

27 References (Cont.) O’Keeffe, A., M. J. McCarthy, and R. Carter From Corpus to Classroom: Language Use and Language Teaching. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. O’Keeffe, A., and S. Adolphs ‘Response tokens in British and Irish discourse: Corpus, context, and variational pragmatics,’ in K. P. Schneider and A. Barron (eds.): Variational Pragmatics, Amsterdam, Netherlands, John Benjamin: Raymond, G The structure of responding: Type-conforming and nonconforming responses to yes/no type interrogatives. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles. Ruehlemann, C Conversation in Context: A Corpus-Driven Approach. Continuum. Pomerantz, A ‘Compliment responses: Notes on the co-operation of multiple constraints,’ in J. Schenkein (ed.), Studies in the Organization of Conversational Interaction, New York: Academic Press. Sayer, P ‘An intensive approach to building conversation skills,’ ELT Journal, 59/1:14-22. Schegloff, E. A ‘Discourse as an interactional achievement: some uses of ‘uh huh’ and other things that come between sentences,’ in D. Tannen (ed.): Analyzing Discourse: Text and Talk. Washington DC: Georgetown University Press, Schegloff, E. A Sequence Organization in Interaction: A Primer in Conversation Analysis Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Schegloff, E. A., & Lerner, G. H ‘Beginning to respond: Well-prefaced responses to Wh-questions,’ Research on Language and Social Interaction, 42/2: Takafumi, U. and Y. Masayoshi The Instructional Effect of Teaching Reactive Tokens:Is It Related to L2 Anxiety and Pragmatic Awareness? AAAL Conference presentation. Denver, Colorado. Wells, J English Intonation: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Willis, J and D. Willis ‘Consciousness-raising activities in the language classroom’ in J. Willis and D. Willis (eds.): Challenge and Change in Language Teaching. Oxford: Heinemann. Wilkinson, S. and C. Kitzinger ‘Surprise as an interactional achievement: reaction tokens in conversation,’ Social Psychology Quarterly, 69/2: Wong, J ‘The token “yeah” in nonnative speaker English conversation,’ Research on Language and Social Interaction, 33/1:39-67. Wong, J ‘”Applying” conversation analysis in applied linguistics: evaluating dialogue in English as a second language textbooks,’ IRAL, 40:37-60. Yngve, V On Getting a Word in Edgewise, Papers from the 6th Regional Meeting, Chicago Linguistic Society. Chicago: Chicago Linguistic Society.

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