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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Issues in Applied Linguistics

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ial is a refereed journal managed by scholars in the field of applied linguistics. Our aim is to publish outstanding research from faculty, independent researchers, and graduate students in the broad areas of second language acquisition, language socialization, language processing, language assessment, language pedagogy, language policy, making use of the following research methodologies (but not limited to): discourse analysis, conversation analysis, critical discourse analysis, critical race theory, and psychophysiology. ial publishes articles, book reviews, and interviews with notable scholars.


Common Ground in Cross-Cultural Communication: Sequential and Institutional Contexts in Front Desk Service Encounters

How do native and nonnative English-speaking participants understand one another in front desk service encounters? Specifically, what are the resources that enable them to transact their business at the desk? In this paper, I use the notion of "shared background" to show how participants at the front desk of a university-sponsored English language program rely on the sequential and institutional contexts in which their talk is produced to accomplish their service activities. In particular, I show how receptionists' orientations to the institutional requirements of students' actions in the "request slot" are evident in the design of their responses to students, especially in how they manage both the discourse and institutional relevancies that students' actions pose. Then, I show how participants' opening moves prepare the way for, and render accountable, students' service-seeking activities by constraining the kinds of actions that students can relevantly produce next. I propose that such constraints provide an important resource for participants to understand and respond to one another in institutionally relevant ways, in spite of their (at times) limited shared linguistic resources.

Other-Repair in Japanese Conversations Between Nonnative and Native Speakers

Although a preference for self-repair over other-repair has been observed in both native speaker (NS) discourse (e.g., Schegloff, Jefferson, & Sacks, 1977) and nonnative speaker (NNS) discourse (e.g., Firth, 1996), researchers note that other-repair still often occurs, especially in interactions with NNSs (e.g., Varonis & Gass, 1983). The present study examines conditions under which other-repair occurs and the response to other-repair in natural NS/NNS conversations in Japanese. Analysis of the data reveals the importance of interlocutors' mutual orientation to each other's verbal and non-verbal behavior in the shaping of other-repair and responses to the repair, particularly in NS/NNS conversation.

Precision Timing in Novice-to-Novice L2 Conversations

That next speakers in talk-in-interaction are capable of precisely timing their entry into the conversational flow is now taken as a given in conversation analytic research. However, the classic studies establishing this fact were based on the analysis of talk between proficient language users, that is, individuals traditionally referred to as "native" speakers. The question then arises as to whether novice-level second language (L2) speakers are similarly capable of precision timing. This paper examines instances of "no-gap" speaker transition, so-called "normal overlap" at transition relevant places, and cases of "turn recycles" in non-pedagogic, casual talk between novice-level Japanese speakers of English (NNS-NNS talk). The primary finding is that novice L2 users can and regularly do start "on time." The paper also explores the possibility that certain inter-turn gaps in the novice L2 data studied here are interactionally occasioned by disfluencies or insufficiencies in prior speaker's turn.