Savova Publishes Chapter on Evaluating Authenticity in ESL Conversations

Posted on 9/11/2018 4:51:57 PM

In a chapter included in The Praxis of English Language Teaching and Learning, published by Brill/Sense Publishers, Lilia Savova (English) analyzes sample textbook conversations in terms of what they actually do while claiming the development of conversation skills.

Savova demonstrates how, in addition to linguistic analyses, Conversation Analysis (CA) could provide conversation criteria to evaluate the authenticity of textbook conversations. She does so by introducing CA as a tool that helps illuminate the unique structural features of real-life conversations as well as apply CA in the analysis of a sample ESL textbook conversation. She concludes by offering CA criteria for evaluating the authenticity of textbook conversations. Based on these, she makes practical suggestions for curriculum and conversations design transformations that might reverse years of misguided conversation goals and practices.

From a Conversation Analysis perspective, Savova has supplemented linguistic criteria with pragmatic criteria for assessing the authenticity of textbook conversations and for designing authentic conversations that use varied and complex turn-taking, sequencing, and overall structural patterns that adequately contextualize the target lexico-grammatical structures in a linguistically but also socio-culturally acceptable manner. She has also briefly summarized some of the basic linguistic and Conversation Analysis criteria for evaluating the authenticity of textbook conversations. Using these evaluation criteria, she claims, textbook conversations should not bear comparison to the theatre of the absurd of Irishman S. Beckett and Romanian E. Ionesco, whose The Bald Soprano literally reflects the non-sequiturs from his English textbook conversations.

Department of English