Online Interactions of Japanese and Hungarian EFL Learners: A Critical Analysis


This presentation seeks to address how Japanese and Hungarian EFL learners co-constructed their social relations, identity and power through the use of English as a lingua franca (ELF) online. Following the principles of critical discourse analysis (Gee, 1999), I analyze ELF online interactions between six Hungarian teenagers with low socio-economic background and five Japanese university students. The five-week-long classroom research was launched in a disadvantaged school setting where Hungarian learners were given tablets. Data was collected in three steps: three audio questionnaires were answered by the Hungarian participants at three-week intervals: before the launch of the project, in the middle and at the end. Audio questionnaires consisted of 27 statements on a four-point Likert-scale and further explanations were elicited in the recordings. Second, during the project, five English classes were recorded and transcribed. Finally, learners’ posts and interactions on the website served as the third source of data set. The Discourse of ELF was co-constructed in participants’ interactions as they negotiated meaning and their identities. Situated meanings revealed a shift where ELF and the website acted as a liberating power, thus Hungarians could express themselves in L2 more freely. Japanese applied interactional strategies - estimating age appropriate language, negotiation of linguistic repertoire, paraphrasing, repetition - to achieve mutual understanding. Cooperative and territorial imperatives were balanced, thus learners accommodated to each other while their distinct identities surfaced. Findings suggest that ELF online should be encouraged in classroom practices as it extends geographical and socio-cultural boundaries and prepares students’ for global communication.

Author Information
Júlia Kovács, University of Pécs, Hungary

Paper Information
Conference: ACE2015
Stream: Digital technologies and communications

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon