Recognizing digressions in academic lectures: What do second language learners need to know?

Ryan, Jonathon and Kemsley, Karen (2012) Recognizing digressions in academic lectures: What do second language learners need to know? In: CLESOL 2012: 13th National Conference for Community Languages and ESOL: Emerging opportunities in new learning spaces, 4-7 October, 2012, Palmerston North, New Zealand.

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Official URL: http://www.clesol.org.nz/2012/CLESOLAbstracts.pdf

Abstract or Summary

In academic lectures, digressions from the main topic are likely to trigger confusion unless hearers immediately recognize that a topic shift has occurred. For this reason, the skills involved in identifying digressions are important for second language learners in tertiary study. Current teaching materials largely focus on discourse markers (e.g. incidentally), yet our analysis suggest that these mark fewer than half the digressions in academic lectures. We suggest that speakers signal the onset/closure of digressions through a change in footing, in which the most pervasive and important markers are phonological cues. Furthermore, we argue that speakers direct audience attention towards and away from topics through the use of deixis, gaze, and gesture. Despite the subtlety and complexity of these factors, we propose that such findings may usefully inform second language pedagogy. We conclude by demonstrating some instructional practices. This session is research-based, with some pedagogical implications and applications.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Keywords that describe the item:digressions, language teaching, esol
Subjects:P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions:Schools > School of English Language
ID Code:2141
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Deposited On:15 Nov 2012 00:22
Last Modified:04 Dec 2012 00:18

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