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Introduction to Discourse Analysis
Journal Review II
Developing Discourse Competence in TESOL Classroom through Conversation Analysis
This journal was written by Komilie Situmorang from Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.
This paper focuses on contrasting the speech act and conversation analysis. As authentic interaction is limited in countries where English is learnt as a Foreign Language (EFL), TESOL classroom plays the most important role in providing comparison between their L1 and L2. Thus, TESOL classroom is expected to make leaners not only fluent in grammar but also in discourse and pragmatic competence, so they will be well-developed in both pragmalinguistic and sociopragmatic. In relation to how students’ discourse and pragmatic competence could be developed in the TESOL classroom, this paper seeks to contrast two approaches to discourse analysis namely Speech Act (SA) and Conversation Analysis (CA) theory.
Now that both approach have been delineated through explanation on each key concept, let us draw further contrast between these two approaches. From SA’s perspective, we are led to infer the meaning through the context. It gives us a way of seeing different meaning through different context and interpreting action without having to say words, which is the strength of SA. However, as it imposes the listener to understand what is not said, it can result in misinterpretation and assumption. Besides, one’s culture may be different to others, which may lead to pragmalinguistic failure. SA is therefore criticised to be speaker centred view of meaning. It is subject to misinterpretation for the listener may lack of speaker’s intention, as they do not share schematic knowledge.
To sum up, CA opposes the idea of typical linguist model as sending messages but sees it as joint activity like dancing and musical performance. Rather than seeing a conversation as a product, it sees conversation as a process which every elements inside implies the negotiation of the speakers. CA draws its differences to Speech act in the focus of its analysis. While speech act infers meaning from the context, CA infers context from “examining the language” by the use of particular devices like code switching, backchannels, and intonation. Therefore, as both approaches have their strength and weakness, it can be concluded that no approach is better than another approach. There is a need to understand that both of them are the reminders of one or more dimensions in communication that lead into understanding. Therefore, both can be employed to complete the understanding from multiple perspectives.
After contrasting both approaches, it can be seen that both have strength and weakness in the way it analyses the talk. As Speech Act focuses on the forces which lie behind the literal meaning, Conversation Analysis in a different way sees it as a joint structure which accounts the turn taking, adjacency pairs, and the backchannels. As EFL classrooms have limit exposure to the natural situation, teaching both Speech Act and Conversational Analysis will help them develop their discourse competence. However, this paper particularly concludes that learners will need to learn the rules of conversing through Conversation Analysis at first place, so they will know how to use them perfectly while acquiring those forces behind the utterance.