Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

M.A. in Modern Languages

Department

Modern Languages

First Advisor

Allison Burkette

Second Advisor

Michael Raines

Third Advisor

Esim Erdim

Relational Format

dissertation/thesis

Abstract

Speakers of all languages align their talk to that of their peers in order to create identity in social discourse. While students' interactions in class reveal awareness of their personal educational achievements, they also exhibit a desire to inform others about their socio-cultural knowledge, their beliefs, and feelings. A number of studies have shown how participants create interactional environments where they can not only expand their knowledge in instructional styles but to a great extent construct and reconstruct their personas. Sociocultural knowledge and stancetaking has a great impact on classroom discourse and language learning. My study was conducted on an advanced business English class offered at a university in the southern region of the United States. In this study, I audio recorded a fifty minutes class session, then transcribed the data from the session and coded it into major themes to analyze. The session involved discussions centered around three commercials, about which the students were asked to post on a class blog explaining whether they thought the commercials were internationally marketable. Six students within the audio recording were investigated to show how they enacted their interpersonal and epistemic stance by aligning with their peers and professor to demonstrate sociocultural knowledge. This study seeks to explain how language teachers' awareness of their students' stance enactment strategies could inform their teaching. By analyzing the stances taken by students engaged in classroom discussion, we show how they construct their social identity. The professor and the students in the study are envisioned as co-participants in building a community of learners, a community in which intercultural negotiation of meaning is possible, and the importance of "self" and "others" is reinforced.

Concentration/Emphasis

Emphasis: Linguistics

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