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Journal of English as a Lingua Franca

Ed. by Seidlhofer, Barbara

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Lexical and organizational features in novice and experienced ELF presentations

Shin-Mei Kao / Wen-Chun Wang
Published Online: 2014-03-25 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jelf-2014-0003


Today's higher educational contexts challenge teachers, students, and researchers in making effective oral presentations for international audience in academic contexts. This study examines the lexical richness and organizational cohesion in the oral presentations made by three groups of presenters: 44 college-level ELF learners representing novice ELF speakers, 30 conference presentations in economy, social sciences, humanities, and technology from the ELFA project, and 23 conference presentations in applied linguistics from the JSCC corpus. Salient differences were found in the proportion and levels of lexical items, and the quantity and variability of organizational devices between the three groups. The two expert groups demonstrated that ELF academic presentations do not require massive uses of difficult words or complex sentence structures; rather, experienced ELF speakers built up their presentations with 85% of basic and 15% of academic and professional level words. Unlike the novices who relied on grammatical cohesion heavily, the two expert groups show a balanced use of lexical and grammatical cohesive devices in structuring clauses and information. The procedures for quantifying lexical richness and organizational cohesion may be developed into assessment rubrics for ELF presentations. Future studies should take the presentation content, usage accuracy, and the audience evaluation into account.

Keywords: ELF oral presentation; lexical variation; lexical density; lexical sophistication; lexical cohesion; grammatical cohesion

About the article

Shin-Mei Kao

Shin-Mei Kao has been teaching graduate and undergraduate students at Foreign Languages & Literature Department, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan since 1996. Currently she is also coordinating the English programs for non-majors at the university. Her research interests include multilingualism, English for specific purposes, discourse analysis, and language assessment.

Wen-Chun Wang

Wen-Chun Wang graduated from the linguistics section of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan with a Master's degree in 2013. Her research interests are discourse analysis and language teaching. She is currently an English trainee teacher at National Gang-Shan Senior High School.

Published Online: 2014-03-25

Published in Print: 2014-03-01

Citation Information: Journal of English as a Lingua Franca, ISSN (Online) 2191-933X, ISSN (Print) 2191-9216, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jelf-2014-0003.

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©2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston. Copyright Clearance Center

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