Task-based interactional sequences in different modalities
A comparison between computer-mediated written chat and face-to-face oral chat
Recent research on Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT) showed the efficacy of using computer-mediated communication (CMC) to promote second language (L2) learning (Ziegler, 2016). However, few studies compared the interactional sequences during task-based interaction across different modalities (e.g., oral and written chat). It is thus not clear how different task modalities mediate task-based interaction and L2 learning opportunities. To fill this gap, this study compared CMC written chat and face-to-face (FTF) oral chat for interactional sequences during decision-making tasks. Participants were 20 learners of Chinese (high-elementary to intermediate level) in a U.S. university. Ten participants completed the tasks in CMC, while the other 10 completed the same tasks in FTF. The interaction data were analyzed for frequency and patterns of interactional strategies. Three types of interactional sequences emerged in both groups: orientating to tasks, suggesting actions and evaluating suggestions. CMC participants suggested actions more frequently than FTF participants. While both groups predominantly agreed with proposed suggestions, CMC dyads expressed disagreement three times more than FTF dyads. CMC dyads also used more utterances to manage task progress. Findings are discussed in terms of the interactional organizations and their potential influence on task-based language use in different modalities.
Keywords: computer-mediated communication (CMC), face-to-face interaction (FTF), TBLT, Chinese, decision-making tasks
Published online: 17 August 2020
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