Telephone conversations in Chinese and English: A comparative study across languages and functions
KeywordsEducation, Bilingual and Multicultural.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe purpose of this study was multifold: it aimed to investigate similarities and differences between Chinese and English telephone conversations, to test the validity of the theoretical distinction between transactional talk and interactional talk, and to examine L2 learners' use of the target language. Comparisons along four dimensions were conducted: (1) across languages--Chinese and English, (2) across functions--transactional and interactional talk, (3) across settings--China and the U.S., (4) L1 vs. L2--English as native language and English as a second language. The data consist of natural telephone conversations in Chinese and in English recorded by eighteen female participants (native speakers of Chinese and native speakers of American English) and interviews with the participants. Four sets of data were analyzed: Chinese telephone conversations recorded in China, Chinese telephone conversations recorded in the U.S., English telephone conversations recorded in the U.S., and English telephone conversations recorded in the U.S. by native speakers of Chinese. The findings suggest that primary differences between Chinese and English telephone conversations occur in identification, phatic talk, and leave-taking. Transactional calls and interactional calls display variation in greeting, phatic talk, initiation of closing, and register. The comparison of the use of language between the two settings reveals differences predominantly in transactional calls. The examination of L2 discourse suggests that learners' communicative competence will be further enhanced with the promotion of sociolinguistic knowledge and pragmatic awareness of the communicative event.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Second Language Acquisition and Teaching