- Nonoccurrence of Negotiation of Meaning in Task‐Based Synchronous Computer‐Mediated Communication
- The Modern Language Journal
- Volume | Issue number
- 100 | 3
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication (ACLC)
This empirical study investigated the occurrence of meaning negotiation in an interactive synchronous computer-mediated second language (L2) environment. Sixteen dyads (N = 32) consisting of nonnative speakers (NNSs) and native speakers (NSs) of English performed 2 different tasks using videoconferencing and written chat. The data were coded and analyzed both for instances of negotiation of meaning and for instances where the NNSs did not initiate repair despite nonunderstanding. Absences of negotiation of meaning are generally excluded from detailed analysis primarily because it is difficult to establish nonunderstanding unless the participant overtly indicates it. In order to assess the effect of the nonoccurrence of negotiation of meaning on task performance and task completion, this study used 2 tasks: a culturally specific task that almost certainly would result in NNS nonunderstanding and a collaborative decision-making task that should trigger instances of negotiation of meaning. It was found that, in both tasks, instead of initiating repair sequences, NNS participants frequently did not engage in negotiation of meaning despite nonunderstanding. We conclude that disregarding nonoccurrence of negotiation of meaning in (digital) task-based language teaching may lead to misrepresenting task performance, task outcome, and task evaluation, and, beyond that, to disregarding evidence that has both empirical and theoretical consequences for the Interaction Hypothesis and, by implication, for second language acquisition.
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