Exploring the Use of Oral Communication Strategies by Speakers of French as a Foreign Language

Conference: The European Conference on Language Learning (ECLL2022)
Title: Exploring the Use of Oral Communication Strategies by Speakers of French as a Foreign Language
Stream: Psychology of the learner
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
Nataliia Vesnina, Aarhus University, Denmark


The study investigates the use of oral communication strategies (OCSs) as a factor mediating foreign language speaking proficiency.
Eleven learners of French at a Pre-Intermediate or Intermediate level) speaking Swedish as L1 were asked to watch six short cartoons and present their contents. All participants have also completed a Placement test prior to performing the task. The resulting set of narratives has been analyzed with a specific aim of identifying the word searching situations and the strategies used which were annotated based on the taxonomy from Nakatani (2006) with some changes that needed to be introduced to achieve a better fit for the data. Additionally, each set of narratives has been evaluated in terms of its informational density. The analyses performed (both quantitative and qualitative) aimed at establishing which strategies contribute to communicative success.
In line with some previous studies (Dobao, 2001; Jord√°, 2001) it seems to be the case that more proficient learners are also using OCSs more frequently and at a higher level of efficiency. Furthermore, taken on a case by case basis, the data shows a variety of individual styles adopted by learners to tackle lexical problems. In fact, the use of OCSs that are especially instrumental seems to be a far better predictor of communicative efficiency than vocabulary tests scores. It follows that acquiring a foreign language entails becoming a proficient user of OCSs and an important pedagogical implication is that explicit training in using such strategies can be highly beneficial, especially at Intermediate levels.

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