THE INFLUENCE OF COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES AND NEGOTIATION OF MEANING ON OVERCOMING COMMUNICATION PROBLEMS: THE ANALYSIS OF THE CASE STUDY CONDUCTED IN A GROUP OF POLISH ADVANCED USERS OF ENGLISH
Jan Długosz Univeristy (POLAND)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2012 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Conference name: 5th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 19-21 November, 2012
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:One of the most common features of the present-day communication in English is its international character, which frequently excludes the involvement of native speakers, as the numerical data show that non-native speakers of English seem to be its most frequent participants (Doughty & Long 2003). Communication acts taking place between native and non-native users of English have been one of the most favoured research areas (Long 1981, 1983; Pica 1994; Gass & Selinker 2001; Philp 2003), but there has been a noticeable tendency to concentrate on the cases when only non-native speakers of English are involved in communication (Varonis & Gass 1985; Park & Nakano 2001; Foster & Ohta 2005). Although such non-native interactions can be particularly demanding in terms of intelligibility and comprehensibility, since they frequently require from the speakers to struggle to overcome the problems connected with their diverse linguistic background, they are at the same time able to enhance the development of language skills (Varonis & Gass 1985). Another broad area of research covers the issues connected with the implementation of a vast range of communication strategies as one of the means to ensure successful communication and a fairly unrestricted flow of conversation (Tarone 1981; Poulisse et al. 1990; Lujan-Ortega & Clark 2000; Faucette 2001; Littlemore 2001). The practical application of communication strategies can lead to negotiation of meaning, which is another technique typically employed in native/non-native and non-native/non-native interactions. Negotiation of meaning is a particularly significant interactional tool because it allows the speakers to clarify all the problematic and incomprehensible aspects that arise during their conversations (Rulon & McCreary 1986; Doughty & Pica 1986), it also pushes the interlocutors towards expressing their ideas in a comprehensible way, which consequently can lead to the production of less erroneous speech units, thus supporting the overall development of their linguistic knowledge and facilitating acquisition (Ellis 1989; Long 1996; Long & Robinson 1998; Ishida 2004).
The paper presents the results of the case study that was conducted in a group of Polish advanced users of English. The aim of the study was to investigate the extent to which the use of communication strategies and negotiation of meaning can prove helpful in the situations of communication breakdown. In order to achieve this aim, two pairs of the interlocutors were asked to perform a communicative activity - a role play. It was decided to choose a role play so as to encourage the speakers to experiment with their linguistic skills and move beyond their everyday uses of the English language, hoping that the element of surprise and fun would stimulate the interlocutors’ creativity. The conversations were digitally recorded and then the recordings were transcribed and analyzed in order to determine which communication strategies were used by the speakers, in which situations they resorted to negotiation of meaning and how these aspects influenced their interaction and intelligibility. The results obtained from the case study indicate that various communicative strategies were used and that they significantly contributed to the efficiency of the speakers’ communication.
Keywords: Communication strategies, negotiation of meaning, case study, Polish users of English.