A linguistic analysis: Second language learners' classroom language

Maria del Carmen Cataneo, Fordham University

Abstract

This research investigated the language produced by a small group of elementary grade, second language learners' oral English discourse. Employing an ethnographic design, the students' teacher-researcher in grades 2 and 3 collected and analyzed their speech protocols. The study's findings generated hypotheses interrelating the students' use of English in a variety of activities, contexts, and discourse intentions.^ The second language learners' oral discourse met a variety of social and academic communicative purposes in both student-directed and teacher-directed contexts. The second-grade, student-directed contexts included Snack Time activities in which students generated dialogues that reflected a variety of social and personal interests. The third-grade, teacher-directed contexts included content area activities in which teacher-student and small-group collaborative interactions focused on academic learning.^ Analyses of the students' total discourse in student-directed and teacher-directed contexts revealed that two oral discourse intentions, To Share Experiences and To Plan for Action, were utilized. In student-directed contexts, the students' dialogues comparably employed the intentions, To Share Experiences and To Plan for Action. In teacher-directed contexts, the students' dialogues indicated a difference of significance in the employment of the intention, To Share Experiences as compared with the intention, To Plan for Action. In addition, an analysis of individual dialogues revealed that the students' utilization of one intention was predominant in each interaction. The phenomenon documented the students' authentic response to meeting contextual demands in naturally occurring settings.^ Based on the findings, the researcher hypothesized that the second language learners' total oral discourse may be characterized by two oral discourse intentions: To Share Experiences and To Plan for Action. She hypothesized that the students' individual dialogues may indicate intentionality in the employment of either oral discourse intention. In addition, she hypothesized that students' dialogues in student-directed contexts may likely employ the intention, To Share Experiences as the intention, To Plan for Action. On the other hand, in teacher-directed contexts, students' dialogues may employ the intention, To Share Experiences more than the intention, To Plan for Action.^ The hypotheses suggest that second language learners may employ the two oral discourse intentions in response to social and academic contextual demands which support and facilitate meaning making. ^

Subject Area

Bilingual education|Communication|Elementary education

Recommended Citation

Cataneo, Maria del Carmen, "A linguistic analysis: Second language learners' classroom language" (1995). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9543451.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9543451

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