THE INFLUENCE OF THE LEVELS OF PROFICIENCY, COMMUNICATION TASK TYPES AND GROUP ARRANGEMENT ON THE USE OF COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES BY POLISH SPEAKERS OF ENGLISH – THE REVIEW OF THE RESEARCH PROJECT
Jan Dlugosz University in Częstochowa (POLAND)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN14 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Conference name: 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 7-9 July, 2014
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:Due to the shockingly rapid development of modern technologies and the opportunities to travel that have never been experienced before, the world has become a global village which inhabitants seek to find an effective tool for successful international and intercultural communication. Looking back at history, it can be observed that various languages were employed as a lingua franca in order to satisfy the need for communication among diverse nations. Nowadays, it is believed that the role of a lingua franca has been assumed by the English language, which has become an internationally recognized means of communication and thought exchange in various personal and professional areas. However, it must be stated that the contemporary use of English has undergone a dramatic change of focus from the unquestioned application of native speakers' norms towards the international and intercultural character of language contacts. Such contacts naturally involve the exposure to speakers' diversified mother tongues, which consequently leads to the unavoidable modifications in the lexical, grammar and phonology of the target language, in this case – English.
This situation stems from the fact that speakers of diverse cultural and ethnic origins are involved in the international character of communication, and thus they struggle to overcome linguistic obstacles so as to make their message comprehensible to their interlocutor. In order to achieve that goal, speakers are observed to apply an extensive range of communication strategies and they do not refrain from modifying their initially-planned utterances so as to remain communicatively efficient. Not surprisingly, due to the widespread occurrence of that phenomenon, the application of communication strategies constitutes one of the most frequently-researched areas (Tarone 1981; Poulisse et al. 1990; Lujan-Ortega & Clark 2000; Faucette 2001; Littlemore 2001) and despite the fact that the notion of communication strategies abounds in a multitude of taxonomies (Tarone 1983; Faerch and Kasper 1983; Bialystok 1990; Dornyei and Scott 1997), it can be assumed that all the researchers believe that the shared effort to overcome or prevent possible communication breakdowns is one of the most apparent features of such instances of interaction.
Basing on the international research concerning the above-mentioned issue of communication, the author was interested in the extent to which Polish users of English resorted to the use of communication strategies. The paper aims at presenting the results of a longitudinal research project that encompassed different research groups performing diverse communication activities. Firstly, the paper identifies the main strategies employed by the speakers and attempts to explain the reasons for the frequent occurrence of particular strategies. Then, the author analyses all the individual group results with a view to finding how significantly proficiency levels, communication task types and group arrangement influence the occurrence of communication strategies. Finally, taking into consideration all the research results, the article draws some conclusions concerning the general use of communication strategies and the key factors affecting their presence in research participants’ utterances.
Keywords: Communication strategies, Polish users of English, research.