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Disagreement practices in ELF academic group discussion: verbal, nonverbal and interactional strategies

Anuchit Toomaneejinda

Anuchit Toomaneejinda lives and works in Bangkok, Thailand, but is currently based at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom. Anuchit is now completing his PhD project, which explores disagreement in English as a Lingua Franca group discussion. His research interests are disagreement, English as a Lingua Franca, intercultural communication and pragmatics.

and Luke Harding

Luke Harding is a senior lecturer in the Department of Linguistics and English Language at Lancaster University (UK). His research interests are in language assessment and Applied Linguistics more broadly, particularly listening assessment, pronunciation and intelligibility, language assessment literacy and the challenge of English as a Lingua Franca for language testing and teaching.

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Abstract

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.

บทคัดย่อ

การทำงานกลุ่มของนักศึกษานั้นต้องอาศัยการแสดงเจตนาต่างๆ โดยเฉพาะอย่างยิ่งการแสดงการไม่เห็นด้วย อย่างไรก็ตามที่ผ่านมามีงานวิจัยไม่มากนักที่ศึกษาวิธีการแสดงการไม่เห็นด้วยในการอภิปรายกลุ่มของนักศึกษาที่ใช้ภาษาอังกฤษในฐานะภาษากลาง ซึ่งการแสดงการไม่เห็นด้วยนี้อาจจะมีความไม่สอดคล้องกันกับงานวิจัยก่อนหน้านี้ที่อ้างว่า การสื่อสารโดยการใช้ภาษาอังกฤษในฐานะภาษากลางมักจะเน้นที่การให้ความร่วมมือและสนับสนุนซึ่งกันและกันของผู้ใช้ภาษา (Seidlhofer 2001) ในขณะที่การแสดงการไม่เห็นด้วยกลับเป็นปัจจัยสำคัญที่ทำให้การอภิปรายกลุ่มสำเร็จลุล่วงไป คำถามวิจัยหลักของบทความวิจัยนี้คือ นักศึกษาต่างชาติระดับปริญญาโทที่ศึกษาในประเทศสหราชอาณาจักรแสดงการไม่เห็นด้วยในการอภิปรายกลุ่มอย่างไร เพื่อตอบคำถามวิจัยดังกล่าวนักศึกษาระดับปริญญาโทจำนวน 12 คนจาก 10 ประเทศได้เข้าร่วมการอภิปรายกลุ่ม 2 ครั้ง ครั้งแรกเพื่อแลกเปลี่ยนความคิดเห็นทั่วไป ส่วนครั้งที่สองนั้นเพื่อร่วมหาข้อยุติในประเด็นที่กำหนดให้ โดยการเข้าร่วมการอภิปรายกลุ่มดังกล่าวได้มีการบันทึกวิดีทัศน์ไว้ทั้งหมด จากนั้นนักศึกษาจำนวน 12 คนดังกล่าวได้รับเชิญให้เข้ามารับการสัมภาษณ์ โดยนักศึกษาได้ดูและอธิบายการมีปฏิสัมพันธ์ที่มีการบันทึกวิดีทัศน์ไว้ของตนเอง ซึ่งผลการวิเคราะห์ถ้อยความเผยให้เห็นว่า ในการแสดงการไม่เห็นด้วยนั้น นักศึกษามีวิธีการที่หลากหลายทั้งวัจนภาษา และอวัจนภาษา รวมไปถึงการใช้กลวิธีในการมีปฎิสัมพันธ์ต่างๆ โดยในบทความวิจัยนี้ได้นำเสนอกลวิธีที่โดดเด่น 3 กลวิธีได้แก่ การเบี่ยงหรือการเปลี่ยนประเด็น การผลัดการสนทนาที่มีความซับซ้อน (การอาศัยการไม่เห็นด้วยของคู่สนทนา และการโยน/การส่งผ่านผลัดการสนทนา) และการใช้การเพ่งมอง จากตัวอย่างต่างๆ ในบทความวิจัยนี้แสดงให้เห็นว่า ในการแสดงการไม่เห็นด้วยในกลุ่มอภิปรายของนักศึกษานั้น นักศึกษาได้เลือกใช้กลยุทธ์ต่างๆ ที่มีความซับซ้อน ทั้งตัวภาษาและวิธีการมีปฎิสัมพันธ์ ทั้งนี้เพื่อหลีกเลี่ยงการแสดงจุดยืนที่แตกต่างของตนเองอย่างชัดเจน อนึ่ง ผลวิจัยทีรายงานนี้เป็นข้อมูลเพื่อการต่อยอดเชิงทฤษฎีในการอธิบายการแสดงการไม่เห็นด้วยในบริบทที่มีลักษณะเฉพาะอย่างในบริบทมหาวิทยาลัยที่ใช้ภาษาอังกฤษในฐานะภาษากลาง

About the authors

Anuchit Toomaneejinda

Anuchit Toomaneejinda lives and works in Bangkok, Thailand, but is currently based at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom. Anuchit is now completing his PhD project, which explores disagreement in English as a Lingua Franca group discussion. His research interests are disagreement, English as a Lingua Franca, intercultural communication and pragmatics.

Luke Harding

Luke Harding is a senior lecturer in the Department of Linguistics and English Language at Lancaster University (UK). His research interests are in language assessment and Applied Linguistics more broadly, particularly listening assessment, pronunciation and intelligibility, language assessment literacy and the challenge of English as a Lingua Franca for language testing and teaching.

Appendix: transcription conventions (adapted from Du Bois et al. 1993)

[

Overlap

=

Latching

word’

Cut-off of word or sound

@@@

Laughter

wo:::

Lengthening sound

h

Audible exhalation

CAP

Emphatic or increased stress

(0.6)

Lapsed time/pause in seconds

Rising intonation

word.

An end of an utterance

{words}

Other non-linguistic features (e.g. gestures, facial expressions)

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Published Online: 2018-08-29
Published in Print: 2018-08-28

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