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Involvement in University Classroom Discourse: Register Variation and Interactivity

Federica, Barbieri, Federica Barbieri Orcid Logo

Applied Linguistics, Volume: 36, Issue: 2, Pages: 151 - 173

Swansea University Author: Federica Barbieri Orcid Logo

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DOI (Published version): 10.1093/applin/amt030

Abstract

Research on the linguistic characteristics of university classroom discourse highlights the salience, in this register, of non-informational, personal, affective aspects of discourse. However, this dimension of classroom discourse has not been studied systematically. This study investigates the non-...

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Published in: Applied Linguistics
ISSN: 0142-6001
Published: 2015
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URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa16439
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Abstract: Research on the linguistic characteristics of university classroom discourse highlights the salience, in this register, of non-informational, personal, affective aspects of discourse. However, this dimension of classroom discourse has not been studied systematically. This study investigates the non-informational dimension of classroom discourse, focusing on the marking of emotions, affect, and the speaker’s ‘involvement’ (Chafe 1982) in the talk of university professors, in a large corpus of American university classroom discourse. The study tracks the use of involvement markers across class sessions representing three important situational factors that shape the university setting, namely academic discipline, level of instruction, and course size. Surprisingly, analyses reveal that these situational factors have little influence on variation in the marking of involvement in classroom discourse; in other words, involvement is everywhere. However, there are trends showing that involvement in classroom discourse tends to be more common in small courses in the Humanities and/or Social Sciences, and at the upper-division and/or graduate level – courses generally characterized by more student participation and interactivity. The relationship of involvement with interactivity is thus investigated. Analyses reveal that while interactivity tends to predict involvement, involvement is not limited to interactive discourse.
Keywords: classroom discourse, register variation, interactivity, situational variation, corpus linguistics, American English
College: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Issue: 2
Start Page: 151
End Page: 173