The aim of the current study is to investigate how participants manage topics in online one-to-one English conversation instruction conducted through synchronous voice-based computer-mediated communication. To date, much work has been done on text-based media in the field of CMC. Recently, researchers have started becoming interested in examining spoken interaction. However, no research has yet been done on topic management in online one-to-one English conversation classes conducted through synchronous voice-based CMC. This study is the first to conduct a micro-analysis of non-verbal elements, such as pitch, volume, intonation, laughter, pauses, inhalations and exhalations, as well as verbal elements, to investigate what sort of interactions participants in online one-to-one conversation classes develop to manage topics during their classes. Thus, this study is expected to play a pioneering role in promoting further research into such classes. In order to illuminate how the participants in the online English classes managed topics during their conversations, four research questions were developed: first, how are topics initiated? second, how are topics maintained? third, how are topics terminated and changed? and fourth, how does trouble and repair in topic management occur? The research findings were obtained through the analysis of the spoken data from the perspective of Conversation Analysis (CA) so that paralinguistic forms as well as the interactional and sequential organisation of talk the participants produce could be analysed in order to answer the research questions. The findings obtained from the analysis revealed various actions associated with topic management that were performed during the online conversation classes. It was found that the participants initiate or proffer topics using questions and statements including topical items, that they maintain topics by employing two fundamental strategies: giving a preferred response or giving a response showing interest, and that they change topics mainly by engaging in collaborative topic transitions forming a topic boundary. It was also found that trouble and repair in topic management occurs: that is, inadequate lexical knowledge, rejection of a proffered topic, and technical problems and other interference affect the sequence of topic management. The findings of the current study will therefore contribute to current research into social interactions that occur during the management of topics in online English one-to-one conversation classes, since this is a subject that has not previously been studied in the fields of either CMC or CA. Accordingly, this study is also expected to fill a gap in these areas of research.
|Publisher||University of Newcastle Upon Tyne|
|Source Sets||Ethos UK|
|Type||Electronic Thesis or Dissertation|
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