A Microanalysis of Text's Interactional Functions in Text-and-Voice SCMC Chat for Language Learning

A Microanalysis of Text's Interactional Functions in Text-and-Voice SCMC Chat for Language Learning

Hanh thi Nguyen (Hawaii Pacific University, USA), Cristiane Vicentini (University of Miami, USA) and André Langevin (Abu Dhabi Vocational Education Training Institute, UAE)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5140-9.ch003


This chapter analyzes the functions of the text mode in an SCMC English tutoring session. Conversation analysis of the sequential and holistic unfolding of both text and voice turns reveals that the bimodal text-and-voice mode was employed in repair, Initiation-Response-Feedback, assessment, and topical talk sequences. Within these sequences, text turns often reinforced voice turns to focus on language forms but also sometimes contributed to rapport-building. In addition to supporting voice turns, text turns also performed distinct actions in conjunction with the actions in the voice turns such as initiating repair, presenting language examples as objects for consideration, achieving humor, and signaling discourse structure. The findings shed light on the interactional processes in bimodal SCMC for second language teaching and learning.
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Social Interaction In Bimodal Scmc

Even though SCMC can emulate face-to-face communication, the two are not the same. The text mode contains elements of oral communication, but lacks the embodied actions typically associated with face-to-face conversations. In order to signal non-verbal cues, participants utilize emoticons, acronyms, and even orthographic symbols (González-Lloret, 2015). Importantly, in bimodal SCMC involving both voice and text modes, the ongoing process of oral turn construction is available to the recipient whereas the real-time composing process of text is not. Although many chat technologies alert the recipient as soon as text is being typed and these alerts have a foreshadow effect on the upcoming text (Gibson, 2014), only the final textual package is seen by the recipient when it is posted. Further, the oral mode has linear sequentiality, that is, “each utterance can be placed immediately after its intended referent” (Garcia & Jacob, 1999, p. 361). In contrast, text-based communication can have multidimensional sequentiality, which includes overlapping and numerous simultaneous threads (Tsai & Kinginger, 2015) since there are “multiple, concurrent ‘speaker’ selection options” at a time, and participants can not control where their message is placed relative to its intended referent (Garcia & Jacob, 1999, p. 361). These features become different affordances for participants in bimodal SCMC.

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