Negotiation For Meaning In Audio And Video Synchronous Computer-mediated Communication

Li, Chenxi (Cecilia) (2021). Negotiation For Meaning In Audio And Video Synchronous Computer-mediated Communication. PhD thesis The Open University.



After the outbreak of Covid-19 across the world, video conferencing tools have been widely used for online teaching all over the world. In synchronous computer-mediated communication (SCMC), where text, audio, video, and many other semiotic resources are simultaneously available, a huge challenge for interlocutors is how they can make good use of modes for their communication. Different modes of communication afforded by different types of technology can affect the way people communicate, and thus affecting the process of second language acquisition. Therefore, this study focuses on meaning negotiation episodes and aims to explore the following two research questions: (1) How do students negotiate meaning in audio SCMC and in video SCMC? (2) What roles do multiple modes and semiotic resources play in meaning negotiation episodes in video SCMC?

Four dyads of Chinese postgraduate English language learners performed two types of lexically seeded information gap tasks in audio and video SCMC environments respectively. Meaning negotiation episodes were identified for data analysis. Video stimulated recall interviews were conducted to obtain participants' thoughts during meaning negotiation episodes. Three types of data analysis were carried out, including: (1) an interaction analysis of all audio SCMC negotiated interactions; (2) a statistical analysis of students’ gaze directions during meaning negotiation episodes in video SCMC; and (3) a multimodal analysis of students' verbal interactions, gaze directions, facial expressions, and gestures.

The three types of in-depth analyses have led to the important findings. The study has proposed expanded meaning negotiation routines specifically for audio and video SCMC. The gaze analysis discovers a statistically significant positive relationship between the amount of time interlocutors spend looking at each other’s video images and the success of meaning negotiation. The multimodal analysis has revealed different levels of multimodal communicative competence and identified a range of relationships between different mode(s) in video SCMC.

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