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Linguacultures in interaction and small culture formation in the English-French online intercultural exchange: A lingua franca perspective

Linguacultures in interaction and small culture formation in the English-French online intercultural exchange: A lingua franca perspective
Linguacultures in interaction and small culture formation in the English-French online intercultural exchange: A lingua franca perspective
Technology has offered, and to a certain extent, altered the modes and channels of communication. Synchronous communication is no more restricted to the physical presence of interlocutors nor to the face-to-face communication dynamics. That is, a new culture of communication has been introduced through computer-mediated communication (CMC). The field of language teaching and learning has taken advantage of the affordances of the online communicative tools. Nowadays, CMC facilitates collaboration between individuals and partnerships between educational institutions through projects of online intercultural exchanges in order to improve the quality of teaching and learning and ensure the openness to different cultures and languages. Given that online communication has raised researchers’ concerns (see Cogo & Dewey, 2012; Seidlhofer, 2011) in terms of how these technologies have altered language use and communication, this research looks at how language(s) learners/users navigate with their linguacultures in the online environment. It also looks at the affordances and the different channels of communication deployed in maintaining communication, (co-) constructing and negotiating meaning, and most importantly reaching the intercultural.It aims at unfolding the different strategies the speakers employ in order to accommodate their communicative purposes with their peers and achieve understanding. It also explores the different machineries, verbal and nonverbal, that govern the turns organisation and interactions. It is hoped that this study contributes to the body of literature dealing with intercultural communication, lingua franca (English as a lingua franca, and French as a lingua franca) and nonverbal language. The contribution of this research project lies in providing an in-depth understanding and thick descriptions of lingua franca communication within online synchronous video-mediated communication and of how language(s) learners/users engage in processes of linguacultures’ negotiations and small culture formation. By incorporating a language other than English (French in this case), lingua franca researchers and e-researchers might shift their scope from ‘over-focusing’ on English as a contact language to considering and appreciating other languages, and hence enriching the literature with the emergent characteristics of such encounters.Overall, this study’s design conforms to the online intercultural exchange (OIE) design incorporating two languages: English and French. It is an exploratory longitudinal study of four months online synchronous communication between speakers from different linguacultural backgrounds. It involves language(s) learners/users who are paired as follows: a L1S of French with a L1S of English, and a L1S of English with an Algerian (L2/LF of French and English). In order to facilitate online video-conversation, the platform in which this study took place is Skype. To note, this design is inspired by the task-design approach but does not totally conform to. In other words, communicators and prior to their conversations were given culture-related topics along with some guidelines in order to mitigate and encourage one-hour long conversations for each language. The ‘your culture’ phrase had been utilised in those guidelines in order to encourage both speakers and listeners who are involved in the interactions to describe, compare and negotiate each other’s linguacultures. Besides the one-hour-long video-recorded conversations that represent the main data set, questionnaires and retrospective reports provide respectively the participants’ linguacultural backgrounds and their perceptions and evaluation of the OIE. These data sets are triangulated in order to provide thick-descriptions and ensure emic and etic perspectives in interpreting the findings.Using thematic analysis, some principles of conversation analysis and the notion of Small Culture Formation of the Go, the findings reveal that, on the one hand, these language(s) learners exploit the online space through using not only the audio-visual modes, i.e. speaking and listening channels and producing nonverbal cues. Texting and sending multimodal content like pictures and links have been incorporated. Overall, the speakers show different tendencies that modulate the conversations’ organisation and patterns and adopt different strategies and processes to attain the intercultural and engage in an on-going small culture formation. Simply put, the conversations were sites of navigations of each other’s linguacultures, interests and hobbies. Thus, this OIE a site for socialisation, discovery of shared spaces and co-construction of meaning as well as a platform to share and negotiate their linguacultural knowledge and practices through involving their own and hearsay narratives.
University of Southampton
Benabdelkader, Amira
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Benabdelkader, Amira
ad51fa6f-1ee5-41e1-a01d-21bb0a8239ee
Beswick, Jaine
502ef67c-c84e-4037-ba69-45bc65dbf594
Archibald, Alasdair
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Benabdelkader, Amira (2020) Linguacultures in interaction and small culture formation in the English-French online intercultural exchange: A lingua franca perspective. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 292pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Technology has offered, and to a certain extent, altered the modes and channels of communication. Synchronous communication is no more restricted to the physical presence of interlocutors nor to the face-to-face communication dynamics. That is, a new culture of communication has been introduced through computer-mediated communication (CMC). The field of language teaching and learning has taken advantage of the affordances of the online communicative tools. Nowadays, CMC facilitates collaboration between individuals and partnerships between educational institutions through projects of online intercultural exchanges in order to improve the quality of teaching and learning and ensure the openness to different cultures and languages. Given that online communication has raised researchers’ concerns (see Cogo & Dewey, 2012; Seidlhofer, 2011) in terms of how these technologies have altered language use and communication, this research looks at how language(s) learners/users navigate with their linguacultures in the online environment. It also looks at the affordances and the different channels of communication deployed in maintaining communication, (co-) constructing and negotiating meaning, and most importantly reaching the intercultural.It aims at unfolding the different strategies the speakers employ in order to accommodate their communicative purposes with their peers and achieve understanding. It also explores the different machineries, verbal and nonverbal, that govern the turns organisation and interactions. It is hoped that this study contributes to the body of literature dealing with intercultural communication, lingua franca (English as a lingua franca, and French as a lingua franca) and nonverbal language. The contribution of this research project lies in providing an in-depth understanding and thick descriptions of lingua franca communication within online synchronous video-mediated communication and of how language(s) learners/users engage in processes of linguacultures’ negotiations and small culture formation. By incorporating a language other than English (French in this case), lingua franca researchers and e-researchers might shift their scope from ‘over-focusing’ on English as a contact language to considering and appreciating other languages, and hence enriching the literature with the emergent characteristics of such encounters.Overall, this study’s design conforms to the online intercultural exchange (OIE) design incorporating two languages: English and French. It is an exploratory longitudinal study of four months online synchronous communication between speakers from different linguacultural backgrounds. It involves language(s) learners/users who are paired as follows: a L1S of French with a L1S of English, and a L1S of English with an Algerian (L2/LF of French and English). In order to facilitate online video-conversation, the platform in which this study took place is Skype. To note, this design is inspired by the task-design approach but does not totally conform to. In other words, communicators and prior to their conversations were given culture-related topics along with some guidelines in order to mitigate and encourage one-hour long conversations for each language. The ‘your culture’ phrase had been utilised in those guidelines in order to encourage both speakers and listeners who are involved in the interactions to describe, compare and negotiate each other’s linguacultures. Besides the one-hour-long video-recorded conversations that represent the main data set, questionnaires and retrospective reports provide respectively the participants’ linguacultural backgrounds and their perceptions and evaluation of the OIE. These data sets are triangulated in order to provide thick-descriptions and ensure emic and etic perspectives in interpreting the findings.Using thematic analysis, some principles of conversation analysis and the notion of Small Culture Formation of the Go, the findings reveal that, on the one hand, these language(s) learners exploit the online space through using not only the audio-visual modes, i.e. speaking and listening channels and producing nonverbal cues. Texting and sending multimodal content like pictures and links have been incorporated. Overall, the speakers show different tendencies that modulate the conversations’ organisation and patterns and adopt different strategies and processes to attain the intercultural and engage in an on-going small culture formation. Simply put, the conversations were sites of navigations of each other’s linguacultures, interests and hobbies. Thus, this OIE a site for socialisation, discovery of shared spaces and co-construction of meaning as well as a platform to share and negotiate their linguacultural knowledge and practices through involving their own and hearsay narratives.

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More information

Published date: July 2020

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 446905
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/446905
PURE UUID: 51be12e4-cfc9-4b67-8cb3-b621c9194cec
ORCID for Jaine Beswick: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1866-939X

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 26 Feb 2021 17:30
Last modified: 13 Dec 2021 02:49

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Contributors

Author: Amira Benabdelkader
Thesis advisor: Jaine Beswick ORCID iD
Thesis advisor: Alasdair Archibald

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