Chapter 4. Disagreement and sociolinguistic variables

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This study analyzes Mandarin speakers’ disagreement behavior in English as a Lingua Franca of Practice (ELFP) at “English Corners” in a Mainland China city. It focuses on the extent of participants’ disagreement behavior covariation with seven sociolinguistic variables. Qualitative and quantitative measures are used: interactional sociolinguistics to examine the verbal/nonverbal features of the disagreement behavior of ELFP speakers; and Chi-square tests to examine the correlation between disagreement behavior and the variables. Results show that strong disagreement dominated weak disagreement. The frequency of strong/weak disagreement appeared to have a marginally significant correlation with age. However, ELFP speakers’ priorities of improving communication in English may function to level out other variable differences.


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