Numerous teachers all over the globe are conversant with the familiarity of presenting student with dialogues that hold an artificiality quality about them.Artificiality is not bad since the whole point of linguistics learning tasks is to contrive learning…
Authentic texts are defined as a text made to realize a social function within the language community. Pedagogic texts such as text dialogues like those found in English as a Foreign Language teaching materials differ largely from authentic texts across a variety of discourse features (Stubbs 2009) and (Widdowson 2008). These features include turn-taking and length patterns, the number of repetitions and false starts, lexical density, pausing, terminal latching or overlap frequency as well as usage of back-channelling and hesitation devices. This paper will compare and contrast an actual dialogue with a text book dialogue using a hotel booking telephone dialogue as an illustration. Conversations’ length Generally, an authentic telephone conversation on hotel booking would be longer than a telephone dialogue in a textbook (See Appedix 1 and 2). This can be explained by the fact that the turns taken by the information givers are virtually twice lengthy as those undertaken by the information receivers (Carter 2008) and (Sacks, Schegloff & Jefferson 2010). Authentic telephone dialogues would have a more intricate arrangement, with the straightforward question-answer pattern interrupted by several factors (McCarthy & Carter 2004). For example, problems arise in ‘Booking a hotel by phone’, there are unavailable rooms on ground floor, plus on top of that a discussion concerning elevators as well as standard rooms versus executive rooms may arise (Cunningham & Moore 2005). Further information is regularly entreated by the giver of information. For instance, in a conversation ‘concerning hotel booking’, the assistant may enquire whether the client would prefer a room with twin beds or single beds. Answers to queries are longer within authentic texts, where the information giver offers more than one option (Stubbs 2009) (Widdowson 2008). For instance, in ‘hotel booking’ the receptionist may suggest a room with an ocean view. Clearly, real-life is not as straightforward and simple as compared to dialogues found in text books. Text book dialogues are precise since they cannot capture a real-life scenario and perhaps because the text books writers’ tend to present them that way (Carter & McCarthy 2007) and (Myers-Scotton & Bernstein 2008). Unlike in real dialogues, the language of text book dialogues represents a ‘can do’ community where interaction is generally problem-free and smooth (See appendix 2). The speakers collaborate with one another courteously; the dialogue is neat, predictable and tidy. The queries and responses sequenced somewhat in the style of a court-room interrogation or quiz show (Cunningham & Moore 2005). This is, certainly, intentional and is executed for several reasons. Principally, if the core objective of text book dialogue is to exhibit novel functional and structural language through text simplification, this enables learners to focus upon target language exhibited, to spot it, as well as hopefully obtain the structures rapidly accordingly (Carter 2008). Another reason for text simplification is to render comprehension tasks simpler. If a dialogue runs along expected lines, in which the author expect the learner to be aware of what may be uttered next as well as utilize top-down procedure to decrypt the message (Carter & McCarthy 2007), (Stubbs 2009) and (Widdowson 2008). The more random a dialogue is, the more acquirers have to depend upon ‘bottom up’ processing, for instance, taking note of individual words as well as developing them up to reach at the implication (Sacks, Schegloff & Jefferson 2010). Nevertheless, if the dialogues are only made predictable, learners may be denied the chance to build up their ‘ ...
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