Tuesday, March 14, 2017  |  10a – 12p  |  Moore Hall 155A

manoaseal‘That movie was so hilarious!’ – The role of instruction in L2 interactional competence: Japanese interactional particles ne, yo, and yone

Saori Hoshi, EALL

The present study is concerned with the development of interactional competence (Hall, 1999) by JFL learners in an explicitly instructed setting as evidenced by their metapragmatic development and use of Japanese interactional particles ne, yo, and yone in unscripted conversations with NSs and peer learners. More specifically, the study has aimed to investigate the role of pragmatics-focused instruction in the learners’ ability to participate in a range of assessment activities (Goodwin & Goodwin, 1992) using the particles ne, yo, and yone as resources to co-construct stance and achieve intersubjectivity (e.g., Du Bois & Kärkkäinen, 2012; Kärkkäinen, 2006) between participants in an ongoing interaction.

To bridge the gap between the paucity of instructional treatment and highly frequent use of the interactional particles in mundane Japanese conversation, an instructional approach that incorporated awareness-raising and conversational activities was proposed and implemented in the third semester JFL course for one semester. In order to examine the effects of instruction on the development of interactional competence as evidenced by the learners’ use of particles ne, yo, and yone in the conversation sessions, I focused on the following perspectives: 1) learners’ cultural and metapragmatic understanding of the variability in function and meaning that the particles can index; 2) learners’ use of the particles in ways that are consistent with what they were taught, and that potentially extend beyond their instructed learning in terms of form, function, and activity-relevant participation; and 3) the learners’ use of these particles as linguistic and interactional resources for stance taking as joint engagement with native speakers and peer learners in linguistically and culturally appropriate ways.

Findings from the experimental group learners’ performance from the pre- and post-tests provide evidence that they have demonstrated metalinguistic development of the discourse functions of the particles in the described discourse situations. The conversation data revealed that the learners’ development of interactional competence is evidenced by their increasing ability to attend to the ongoing talk and construct affective and epistemic stances through the use of the particles ne, yo, and yone for achieving intersubjective understandings as they engage in the interaction with their interlocutors. Moreover, the learners’ competent use of the particles for joint stance construction reflects the emergence of learners’ agency, which allows the learners to actively pick up linguistic affordances to employ the particles as their personal voice (Bakhtin, 1981) to interact more creatively and meaningfully with their conversational partners.