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LINGUIST List 18.464

Mon Feb 12 2007

Diss: Applied Ling/Phonology/Socioling: Rajadurai: Speaking

Editor for this issue: Hunter Lockwood <hunterlinguistlist.org>


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        1.    Joanne Rajadurai, Speaking


Message 1: Speaking
Date: 09-Feb-2007
From: Joanne Rajadurai <raj_joanneyahoo.com>
Subject: Speaking


Institution: University of Nottingham
Program: School of English Studies
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2004

Author: Joanne V Rajadurai

Dissertation Title: Speaking

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics
                            Phonology
                            Sociolinguistics

Subject Language(s): English (eng)

Dissertation Director:
Professor Ronald Carter

Dissertation Abstract:

This thesis adopts a sociolinguistic perspective in seeking to identify the
phonological features deemed crucial to enhancing intelligibility in the
speech of Malaysians. To this end, it provides a broad phonological
description of the sub-varieties of spoken English generated in
naturalistic contexts in Malaysia, in the belief that such a description
would yield insights into the social significance of phonological choice,
as Malaysians respond to the tension between achieving intelligibility and
maintaining identity.

Contrasting sharply with past research, the thesis argues that
intelligibility has to be tied to the ways in which English is used within
the local speech community, rather than based purely on native norms,
theoretical constructs or externally derived 'phonological cores'.
Accordingly, it draws on case studies of three proficient speakers of
English in Malaysia, and the data collected include audio-taped recordings
of speech, as well as interviews and retrospective participant commentary
on selected recordings.

Set within the broad framework of interactional sociolinguistics, it
employs Communication Accommodation Theory and the Markedness Model,
hitherto unintegrated, as an explanatory apparatus for the phonological
variation encountered, thereby explicating their conceptual compatibility.
The analysis attends to the interpretive dimension of interaction alongside
the quantifying of data, and reveals systematicity and fluidity being at
the heart of variation. By countering prevailing deficit perspectives, and
reappraising key theoretical notions and conventional methodologies in SLA,
the thesis offers novel ways in which L2 research on intelligibility can
reconfigure itself both ideologically and methodologically. It, thus,
compensates for gaps in the research field, and is distinctive in its
portrayal of proficient bilinguals as rational, competent actors
manipulating their phonological and verbal repertoire through skilful and
strategic code-selection and code-switching.

On the basis of the research, suggestions are offered about the conceptual
and empirical treatment of intelligibility, and recommendations made with
respect to the learning and teaching of pronunciation skills in the
Malaysian context.



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