1887
TTW: De nieuwe generatie
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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Abstract

In communication between native (NS) and non-native (NNS) speakers problems of understanding may easily arise because the NNS do not have a complete knowledge of the rules and means of communication of the particular target language community. When a NNS indicates non-understanding the NS usually will adjust his or her language, and the interaction will be modified. Hatch (1978) and Long (1983) hypothesized that these adjustments will lead to an increase of comprehensible input for the NNS and thus to language acquisition.The case study discussed in this article investigates how input is made comprehensible through negotiation of meaning in so-called clarification sequences. Two 'housing office' conversations that were videotaped and transcribed for the data collection of the European Science Foundation Project "Second Language Acquisition by Adult Immigrants in Europe" (Perdue, 1984) were analyzed. The study is a follow-up on the 'Ways of Achieving Understanding' study (Bremer et al, 1988) executed as part of the ESF project.Questions that were investigated were how Mohamed, a Moroccan speaker of Dutch, indicates understanding problems, how the native speaker tries to solve these problems and what the structure is of the clarification sequences. Furthermore, some attempt was made to analyze the kind of understanding problems Mohamed indicates and the degree of success the speakers have in negotiating understanding.The results showed a basic structure for clarification sequences, starting with a trouble source, followed by a trouble indicator, trouble clarification, and ending with a main-line response connected to the trouble source. The trouble sources Mohamed indicated were mostly lexical problems. The way he indicated understanding problems was quite implicit. He either did not verbally react to a move of the NS or reacted with minimal unspecified requests, such as "hm?" or "what?". Therefore, the NSs did not receive specific feedback as to what the problem was. In spite of this, they used several strategies to clarify problems, such as reformulations, expansions and hypothesis forming. In addition, it was found that the negotiation of meaning process was quite successful: most understanding problems seemed to be solved that way. ReferencesBremer K., Broeder P., Roberts C, Simonot M., Vasseur M.-T. (1988). Ways of Achieving Understanding: Communicating to Learn in a Second Language. Final Report Vol. I, ESF project, Strassbourg. Perdue, C. (Ed.) (1984). Second Language Acquisition by Adult Immigrants. Newbury House, Rowley, Mass.

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/content/journals/10.1075/ttwia.39.05dee
1991-01-01
2018-09-23
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References

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