Written conversation: Investigating communicative foreign language use in written form in computer conference writing and group journals
AuthorIttzes, Zsuzsanna, 1968-
AdvisorWildner-Bassett, Mary E.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe purpose of this dissertation was to investigate the use of German as a foreign language during written conversation in an intermediate German course. Specifically, the study compared the language output of intermediate students of German in the context of the innovative computer conferencing and the more traditional group journals. The dissertation aimed to serve two purposes: (1) to provide further insights into the role of computer-mediated interaction for promoting the successful development of communicative competence in foreign language pedagogy (both in theory and practice); (2) to shed light on the quality of language that learners produce in the two writing contexts, in terms of grammatical and lexical accuracy, sociolinguistic appropriateness and communicative success. For these purposes, the researcher analyzed the language output of 46 subjects at the University of Arizona during the Fall semester of 1996. Learners' language output was examined using statistical analyses (matched t-tests and multiple regression analyses), discourse analysis and the ethnography of writing. The results indicated many differences of the language produced in the two writing contexts. Although there was no difference between them in terms of lexical diversity, learners' language in computer conferencing reflects a higher level of grammatical accuracy, richer lexicon and improved comprehensibility (as rated by native speaker judges). Furthermore, learners had a more positive attitude towards the computer conferencing than towards the group journals. Learners were also found to use the two writing contexts for different communicative purposes (computer conferencing reflected interaction among participants, while group journals were monologues). Finally, learners managed conversations, and prevented or resolved instances of miscommunication, differently in the two conversational contexts. In conclusion, it can be said that the results of this study concur with previous research that supports the beneficial implementation of computer-mediated interaction in foreign language pedagogical contexts (Healy Beauvois, 1995; Kern, 1995; Leppainen and Kalaja, 1995). This dissertation was also able to contribute to our understanding of the level and quality of interlanguage of intermediate German learners, to our knowledge of how writing context and purpose interact, and to our understanding of the process of pidginization in foreign language learning contexts.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Second Language Acquisition and Teaching