Graduation Year

2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

World Languages

Major Professor

Camilla Vásquez, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Amanda Huensch, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Amy Thompson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Wei Zhu, Ph.D.

Keywords

English as a foreign language, office hour interactions, pragmatic competence, relational work, suggestions

Abstract

Office hour interactions at universities are one type of communicative activity in which international instructors and their Turkish EFL students are involved as a form of academic or institutional discourse (Drew & Heritage, 1992). In such real world communication, both parties employ several linguistic strategies and attend to various interactional goals to address the academic concerns at hand (Chiang, 2011; Chiang & Mi, 2008; Limberg, 2007; 2010; Reindhart, 2010; Skyrme, 2010). Embracing a discourse analytic approach, this study investigated the primary functions and topics of office hour interactions; discourse organization of office hour interactions with regard to the features of participants’ contributions (e.g. turn-taking and turn length, verbosity or dominance, etc.); suggestion-response episodes; and successful and problematic aspects in office hour interactions. The study utilized the theoretical framework of relational work. Thirty-eight office hour interactions constituted the primary data source. The participants included 3 international instructors and their 34 Turkish EFL students. Post-interaction questionnaires and classroom observations served as secondary data sources in the study. The data analysis demonstrated that office hour interactions have various purposes and topics mostly related to the course content offered by the instructors, their expertise, and their experiences. Additionally, both parties co-constructed the discourse segments of equal and unequal contribution in which they achieved interactional and transactional goals using distinctive linguistic and discourse strategies. The co-constructed suggestion-response episodes included both instructor-initiated suggestions and students’ self-suggestory acts. The use of modals and semi-modals, imperatives, and interrogatives played a key role in instructor-initiated suggestions, whereas the students mostly relied on interrogatives. However, each party made their choices relying on the interactional goals they wished to accomplish through the use of suggestion forms. Finally, both the international instructors and their Turkish EFL students attended to different types of relational work that contributed to the successful and problematic aspects of office hour interactions, and that were mostly connected to suggestions.

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