Negotiation of meaning in oral discussion tasks among L2 learners in a Hong Kong secondary school

by Choi, Siu-ping

Abstract (Summary)
(Uncorrected OCR) Abstract of thesis entitled

Negotiation of Meaning in Oral Discussion Tasks among L2 Learners in a Hong Kong Secondary School

submitted by

Almas Choi Siu Ping

For the degree of Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics At the University of Hong Kong

August, 2003

Second language (L2) learners face real life communication breakdown. With a view to coping with performance problems, the teacher-researcher considered focused instruction aiming at equipping learners with communication strategies to negotiate meaning might benefit L2 learners. Although there are substantial theoretical grounds for believing that opportunities to negotiate meaning contribute conditions to second language acquisition (SLA), limited research studies offer empirical findings to support the claim in Hong Kong secondary classrooms where the L2 learners share the same first language.

The purpose of this action research study is twofold. First, it evaluates the effectiveness of the communication strategy (CS) training. Second, it investigates the effects of negotiation of meaning on learners' output and reveals conditions it contributes to SLA.

Methodological triangulation using both qualitative and quantitative data and analysis was adopted in this study. 36 SA secondary students worked in groups of 4. Their pre-training and post-training task discussions were audio-taped and transcribed and the subjects were invited to participate in retrospective stimulated recall interviews.

Student logs and reflections and pre-training and post-training questionnaires were collected.

Results indicate that in general the subjects held a positive attitude towards the CSs learnt and some CSs were used significantly more because they were perceived as an effective means to get each others' messages across and move the conversation on. Regarding the CS training on the whole, the results show that the subjects' ability to sustain a conversation improved as there was a significant increase in the average utterance per turn made by the subjects in the post-training task. In general, the subjects found CS training useful and the CS training has raised the subjects' awareness of the appropriate choice of CSs used in communication.

As far as the relationship between negotiation of meaning and SLA is concerned, the results show that the subjects' output was highly determined by the types of triggers and feedback generated within the negotiated interactions and tied closely to the interlocutor's roles and the task type. The qualitative analysis of the negotiated interactions provides empirical evidence to substantiate the theoretical claim that negotiation of meaning contributes to conditions facilitating SLA. These findings have useful implications for pedagogical practice. This study gives insights to L2 teachers to reformulate their beliefs about the types of classroom interaction, the design of classroom tasks, the teachers' and the learners' roles and most important of all, their attitudes towards negotiation of meaning.

Bibliographical Information:


School:The University of Hong Kong

School Location:China - Hong Kong SAR

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:english language spoken study and teaching secondary china hong kong foreign speakers second acquisition communicative competence


Date of Publication:01/01/2003

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