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Exploring Thai EFL Undergrads’ Challenges in Constructing and Sequencing Turns to Make Friends

Kornsak Tantiwich, Kemtong Sinwongsuwat

Prince of Songkla University, Thailand

To identify challenging areas to be addressed in English conversation lessons, this study examines how Thai EFL learners construct and sequence their turns in making conversation to fulfill the social goal of making friends. Twelve non-English major undergraduates enrolled in a selective English conversation course were engaged in unscripted role-play conversations where they had to introduce their friends and made small talk before parting. Their conversations were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed via the lens of Conversation Analysis (CA). Close analyses of the turn and sequence organization of these conversations revealed the students’ challenges in four areas: including (1) completing an opening sequence, (2) introducing others (3) offering relevant information to establish a social relationship, and (4) ending the conversation. An abrupt, unsignalled initiation of a new topic was found in the opening part of the conversation which could disrupt its flow. In the centering part, student mediators failed not only to offer the name of the person introduced to recipients but also to expand their turns to build a rapport and show interest in the conversation partner. Lastly, in the closing part, they ended the conversation swiftly without any pre-closing sequences. These findings shed light on interactional skills these EFL learners need to master in addition to skills in manipulating linguistic resources to improve their conversation abilities and to make the interaction flow more smoothly and effectively.



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