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Intonation and Metadiscourse Marking as Structuring Devices in the Academic Monologues of Non-native Speakers of English as an International Language. Michael Cribb Coventry University &lt;[email protected]&gt;. Abstract.

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michael cribb coventry university aa6177@coventry ac uk

Intonation and Metadiscourse Marking as Structuring Devices in the Academic Monologues of Non-native Speakers of English as an International Language

Michael Cribb

Coventry University <[email protected]>

abstract
Abstract
  • Non-native speakers of English in tertiary education are often required to deliver academic monologues in the form of presentations and speeches as part of their learning and assessment. Such monologues require the effective use of intonation and metadiscourse markers to structure and segment the talk into manageable units that the audience can meaningfully process and interpret. One such unit is the paratone (Thompson, 2003) which is a group of tone-units dealing with a single body of information. Superordinate to this, a sequence chain (Barr, 1990) is a series of paratones in which the first paratone begins in high key or lecturing frame; this unit closely parallels topic development. For non-native speakers, the management of these two organisational units through intonation and metadiscourse markers is problematic. The present study looks at a corpus of non-native monologic discourse to see how speakers use (or misuse) these units in their attempts to structure and segment their talk. The study will consider two learner varieties, Chinese and French EILs, although other European languages will be mentioned. Chinese is a tonal language and brings with it particular problems for students trying to use English intonational patterns. French students often exhibit idiosyncratic styles, for example the use of ‘upspeak’.
contents
Contents
  • 1. Background
  • 2. Research Questions
  • 3. Consistency and Contrast
  • 4. Pedagogical Implications
oral presentations
Oral presentations
  • Value & significance for students
  • Less support from interlocutor
  • Elicits monologic discourse
  • NNSs often stigmatized
text structuring metadiscourse devices and intonation cues
Text-structuring Metadiscourse Devices and Intonation Cues
  • Thompson (2003) has suggested that lengthy monologues require control over the use of text-structuring metadiscourse devices and intonation cues in order for the listener to understand the larger-scale ‘hierarchical organisation’ of the discourse. … For international students who are not native speakers of English, the lack of control over the use of these organisational devices means that their monologues are often perceived as flat and undifferentiated (Tyler & Bro, 1992) by the audience.
research questions
Research Questions
  • 1. Do students of English exhibit a narrower pitch range when making oral presentations compared to ‘experienced’ presenters (i.e. native lecturers)?
  • 2. Do Chinese students exhibit a narrower pitch range compared to European students?
    • H1: Chinese students will exhibit a narrow pitch range compared to European students
participants task
Participants & task
  • 22 students of English.
  • 20 Chinese; 22 European
  • Module: Advanced English for Business and management. UG 3rd year.
  • 15-20 min. oral presentation in group
  • Target students recorded with clip-on microphone & voice recorder
  • Discourse transcribed; analysed using SIL Speech Analyser software
slide10

1. Do students of English exhibit a narrower pitch range when making oral presentations compared to ‘expert’ presenters (i.e. native lecturers)?

  • Reduced pitch range for signaling the organization of their discourse

*P<0.001

1: standard deviation

2:pitch dynamism quotient (Hincks 2004)

3. Engineering Lecture Corpus (Nesi)

2 do chinese students exhibit a narrower pitch range compared to european students
2. Do Chinese students exhibit a narrower pitch range compared to European students?
  • H1: Chinese students will exhibit a narrow pitch range compared to European students
long term distributional ltd measures see mennen et al 2012
Long-term Distributional (LTD) measures (see Mennen et al, 2012)

Mennen, I., Schaeffler, F. & Docherty, G. (2012). Cross-language difference in f0 range: a comparative study of English and German. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 131 (3), 2249-2260.

mann whitney u tests for ltd measures
Mann-Whitney U-tests for LTD measures

Pitch dynamism quotient (Hincks)

2 do chinese students exhibit a narrower pitch range compared to european students1
2. Do Chinese students exhibit a narrower pitch range compared to European students?
  • H1: Chinese students will exhibit a narrow pitch range compared to European students
    • No, there are no observed differences between Chinese and European students (except for Kurtosis)
consistency contrast
Consistency & Contrast
  • Can a student use a reduced pitch range but still be an effective communicator?
    • 7.SIM: Lowest PDQ (0.73) but idiosyncratic style may help
use of upspeak 7 sim
Use of upspeak (7.SIM)
  • | in ↗CONtrary |
  • | (0.4 er) →addiDAS |
  • | addidas is a GERman ↗COMPany |
  • | (0.5) FOUnded in NINEteen forty ↗EIGHT|
  • | (0.6) and er NAME come from the NAME of the↘↗ FOUnder of this company |
  • | (0.6) and er the NAME is CREATE from (.) ↗ADI |
  • | and LAST three letters from his ↘SURname create all the name |
paratones spoken paragraph
Paratones – ‘spoken paragraph’
  • At end of paratone:
    • fall in pitch
    • lengthening of speech and insertion of pauses
    • laryngealisation (creaky voice) and /or loss of amplitude
  • At start of new paratone
    • marked pause
    • first tone unit raised in key
    • high key evident in subsequent tone units creating declination

Thompson (2003); (McAlear, 2008)

slide21

I’m going to talk about the the different er effect of the globalisations

  • the first is er cultural
  • the most famous example is Americanisations
  • we can xx for example
  • like music
  • the American music er dominate the world market
  • the movies of which fifty percent of the of all movies now showing in Europe er are American
slide22

and the (proportions) rise to er eighty percent in Germany or England

  • and finally the export of major global brands
  • for example in clothes industry like er Nike or xx
  • and in food industry like McDonalds or Coca Cola
  • er technology
  • the global telecommunication infrastructure which permits greater xx xx exchange
actual structure is
Actual structure is…
  • Globalisation
    • Cultural
      • Example: Americanisation
        • Music
        • Movies
        • Export of brands
    • Technology
  • (but the prosody does not signal this well >> ‘flat, undifferentiated discourse’)
slide25

so first of all I gonnaspeak about the place of birth the ethnicity and the religion

  • so you have to know that the interviewer can ask you if you have a correct work place to legally work in u-k
  • but interviewer are not entitled to to ask you about your place of birth your ethnicity your religion about your personal history
  • they can\'t do that
  • (5.5) erm okay so now I\'m gonnaspeak about about marital status the children and the sexual preference
  • so about the marital status
  • the interviewer are a bit er not not really fair because they shouldn\'t take any preference but they often do
16 chen a
16.CHEN_A
  • | and the third point is the (pro- provide) the battery rail CAR |
  • | in the tourist er PLACE |
  • | ↗because er it can (protect) animal |
consistency contrast1
Consistency & Contrast
  • Consistency
    • Use of pitch, pausing and discourse marking needs to be consistently applied over the whole of the presentation
  • Contrast
    • Use of pitch, pausing and discourse marking needs to be contrastive to segment the talk into hierarchical units
slide30

A narrow pitch range may not necessarily be a burden on the audience if the student can deploy consistent and contrastive intonation patterns that are explicitly marked

suggestions for teachers
Suggestions for teachers
  • Pro-active intervention strategies
  • Students need ‘targeted’ assistance with presentations
  • Particularly Chinese students are going through university ‘under the radar’
  • Remedial classes
informational units
Informational Units
  • SU (Slide Unit): a section of talk that is demarcated from the previous unit by the introduction of a new slide or visual aid
  • ASU: (Analysis of Speech Unit) ‘a single speaker’s utterance consisting of an independent clause or sub-clausal unit, together with any subordinate clause(s) associated with either’ (Foster, Tonkyn and Wigglesworth, 2000, p.365 Italics in original).
references
References
  • Barr, P. (1990). The role of discourse intonation in lecture comprehension. In M. Hewings (Ed.), Papers in Discourse Intonation (pp. 5–21). Birmingham, UK: University of Birmingham, English Language Research.
  • Foster, P., Tonkyn, A. & Wigglesworth, G. (2000) Measuring Spoken Language: A unit for all reasons. Applied Linguistics, 21(3), 354-375.
  • Hincks, R (2004) Processing the prosody of oral presentations. Proceedings of InSTIL/ICALL2004 – NLP and Speech Technologies in Advanced Language Learning Systems – Venice 17-19 June, 2004
  • Nesi, H. The recordings and transcriptions used in this study come from the Engineering Lecture Corpus (ELC), which was developed at Coventry University under the directorship of Hilary Nesi with contributions from ELC partner institutions. Corpus development was assisted by funding from the British Council (RC 90) April 2008- August 2010.
  • McAlear, S (2008) Unpublished MA Dissertation. Univ of Nottingham
  • Mennen, I., Schaeffler, F. & Docherty, G. (2012). Cross-language difference in f0 range: a comparative study of English and German. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 131 (3), 2249-2260.
  • Pickering, L. (2004) The structure and function of intonational paragraphs in native and nonnative speaker instructional discourse. English for Specific Purposes; Jan2004, Vol. 23 Issue 1, p19, 25p
  • Thompson, S.E. (2003) Text-structuring metadiscourse, intonation and the signalling of organisation in academic lectures. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 2, pp. 5-20. 
  • Tyler, A. & Bro, J. (1992) Discourse Structure in Nonnative English Discourse: The effect of ordering and interpretive cues on perceptions of comprehensibility. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 14(1), 71-86.
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