Unformatted text preview: Intelligibility and Miscommunication II 5/21/14 2 Misunderstandings in Aviation English Turkish Airlines – landing in France, 1972 caution sign on cargo door written only in English Garuda Indonesian Airlines – landing in Japan, 1996 problems communicating evacuation plans American Airlines – landing in Colombia, 1995 miscommunication between English-‐speaking pilot and Spanish-‐speaking controller KLM & Pan American Airlines – taking oﬀ in Canary Islands, 1977 miscommunication between Dutch-‐speaking pilot and Spanish-‐speaking controller 3 Misunderstandings in Aviation English Should there be one standard variety of aviation language? Is it fair to require proﬁciency in English as entry into the ﬁeld of aviation (regardless of locale)? 4 International teaching assistants (ITAs) Novice teachers (both native and non-‐native speakers) deal with negotiating their position and managing many tasks These tasks require very diﬀerent kinds of ﬂuencies: linguistic, discourse, interactional ITAs deal with these issues, as well as the need to adapt to a new culture and diﬀerent educational system “Although the communication problems of ITAs are often perceived as a problem of English oral proﬁciency eﬀectiveness… for ITAs the aim is eﬀective language usage while performing the role of TA.” (Hoekje & Williams, 1992) (Plakans, 1997) Signiﬁcant ﬁndings from ITA research Many more students believe having an ITA hurts (rather than helps) course quality positive U negative Students are more critical of ITAs who do not share their major Students rank pronunciation and the ability to relate to students as the top criticisms of ITAs Students were unaware of the testing and training that exists for ITAs There’s a U-‐shaped attitude curve towards ITAs (for year of enrollment) 5 6 Assessing language proﬁciency TOEFL test (Test Of English as a Foreign Language) Taken by over 27 million people Scores accepted by more than 9,000 universities and institutions in 130+ countries 120 total points; individual schools set their passing score requirements 7 Assessing language proﬁciency http://
content/ Beginning in March 2013, the listening and speaking sections began including native-‐English accents from the UK, New Zealand, and Australia. “ETS is adding these accents to better reﬂect the variety of native English accents you may encounter while studying abroad” 8 Assessing language proﬁciency SPEAK test (Speaking Proﬁciency English Assessment Kit) Produced and distributed by TOEFL program Designed to measure non-‐native English speakers’:
comprehensibility ﬂuency grammar pronunciation -‐tests 9 Types of competence Whether (and to what degree) something is: possible feasible Dell Hymes’ theory of appropriate competence performed ITAs must have: linguistic competence (what’s grammatical, possible to say) sociolinguistic competence (what’s culturally appropriate in the classroom discourse competence (what’s easy to understand in [oral] form) strategic competence (what’s strategically eﬀective) (Hoekje & Williams, 1992) 10 Signiﬁcant ﬁndings from ITA research “It’s incomprehensible” non-‐native-‐like pronunciations and grammar initial obstacle, but become accustomed to it less elaboration on key points (Rounds, 1987) less use or misuse of discourse-‐structuring cues/markers (Williams, 1992) 11 Discourse markers (I mean, you know, like, yeah…) Macro-‐markers: lexical items that work like sign posts in a text Openings: “Today I want to spend a few minutes to explain what trigonometric function are.” Supporting examples: “The second element of physiology is study about transport system. For example, our heart will transport blood to all the part of our body.” Contextualizing in the present: “Now I’d like to give you the deﬁnition of the molecule.” (Williams, 1992) 12 Discourse markers Macro-‐markers: lexical items that work like sign posts in a text Introducing new topics: “I want to speak something about temperature.” Restatement: “That means between these times the car we think it’s the same acceleration” Summary: “That’s what it mean a binary operation.” Such discourse markers greatly aided comprehensibility (Williams, 1992) 13 Study of attitudes Interviewed and observed math professors and Chinese ITAs at a Midwestern university All interviewed ITAs passed the TOEFL test requirement, but did not meet the minimum requirement for the SPEAK test Miscommunication/misattribution over the use of silence (Jenkins, 1997) 14 Cultural communication patterns Politeness strategy: use of silence, avoiding formal contact with faculty sincerity and seriousness ignoring instructions, lack of cooperation 15 Strategy for intercultural competence D-‐I-‐E Description Interpretation Evaluation without judgment explanation of behavior personal reaction ITAs live and interact just with each other; don’t take English classes ITAs are not motivated to learn English; are uncooperative Dissatisﬁed with the ITAs’ role 16 Where to go from here Understand that issues related to ITA proﬁciency are complex: ITAs themselves are very aware of language barriers and struggle with native English accents themselves ITAs may not be fully aware of many U.S. social/pragmatic norms, and this takes time Comprehensibility has to do with discourse/
interactional styles as well as pronunciation 17 Where to go from here Recommendations from campus centers like the CETL: Remember that you have an accent too Speak more slowly and clearly, though still
naturally Emphasize the most important words in your questions/comments Use non-‐verbal cues (gestures, facial expressions) Avoid slang and unfamiliar idioms Send email -‐tas/ 18 Where to go from here When listening to your TA: Expect an accent, but be conﬁdent that you can get used to it Don’t automatically assume that you won’t succeed in a class because your TA speaks English diﬀerently than you Becoming familiar with new concepts and vocabulary ahead of time will help you understand a lecture delivered with an unfamiliar accent Focus on the content of the lecture; ignore the grammar mistakes or pronunciation diﬀerences that are noticeable but are not seriously confusing ...
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- Fall '09
- Students, ITAs, English Garuda, Chinese ITAs