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LINGUIST List 18.1979

Mon Jul 02 2007

Diss: Applied Ling/Disc Analysis/Text&Corpus Ling: Reinhardt: 'Dire...'

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        1.    Jonathon Reinhardt, Directives Usage by ITAs: An applied learner corpus analysis

Message 1: Directives Usage by ITAs: An applied learner corpus analysis
Date: 30-Jun-2007
From: Jonathon Reinhardt <jsr199psu.edu>
Subject: Directives Usage by ITAs: An applied learner corpus analysis

Institution: Pennsylvania State University
Program: Linguistics and Applied Language Studies
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2007

Author: Jonathon Reinhardt

Dissertation Title: Directives Usage by ITAs: An applied learner corpus analysis

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics
                            Discourse Analysis
                            Text/Corpus Linguistics

Dissertation Director:
Paula Golombek
Karen Johnson
Celeste Kinginger
Michael McCarthy
Steve Thorne

Dissertation Abstract:

Many large American universities have developed courses for the preparation
of international teaching assistants (ITAs) to teach undergraduates, which
combine attention to the development of teaching skills such as lecturing
and conducting office hours with the language features particular to those
genres. For example, directive language is frequently found in the spoken
academic genre of office hours consultations, but proves challenging for
ITAs, even as its appropriate use is crucial to their success as future
academic professionals.

This dissertation explores the nature of directive usage by learner and
expert speakers in office hours contexts for the purpose of informing
pedagogy. Within a social-functional framework, a series of analyses are
conducted on learner data from a corpus of directive language produced by
ITAs in preparation courses participating in office hour role plays and
expert data from a genre-comparable subcorpus of office hours in MICASE,
the Michigan Corpus of Academic Spoken English (Simpson et al., 2002). The
five interrelated studies are comprised of 1) a grounded analysis to
identify directive constructions, 2) a corpus-based register analysis to
compare learner and expert use, 3) a genre analysis of the contextual
features and text-based moves of office hours, 4) an analysis of individual
usage focusing on three learners, and 5) an experimental study of the
efficacy of a directives instructional unit. Findings show that compared to
expert speakers, learners use fewer inclusion and independence appeals
towards students, and use preferred constructions more frequently and from
a smaller repertoire, often relying on multi-functional constructions like
'you can.' Findings from the analysis of individual usage show a disconnect
among how ITAs have been socialized by their schooling, what they are
taught in ITA preparation courses, what they do and experience in their
departments, classrooms, and offices, and the kinds of academic teaching
professionals they say they want to become. Results from the experimental
intervention show that instruction using a corpus-informed language
awareness approach has a positive impact on use. Overall, the project has
implications for ITA preparation, usage-based materials design,
corpus-based pragmatics and politeness research, and the nascent field of
applied learner corpus analysis.

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