Intonation and Discourse Marking in Oral Presentations Delivered
Intonation and Discourse Marking in Oral Presentations Delivered by International Students Mike Cribb Contents
1. Overview 2. Examples 3. Interviews 4. Internationalisation Abstract: Oral presentations are a common form of assessment at tertiary level and include a
performance aspect where students are under pressure to deliver academic monologues to audiences in real-time; unlike an essay, say, which is mostly concerned with content. For international students, the burden of performing under such conditions means that their English language is tested to the extremes. In particular, East Asian students have problems in delivering natural-sounding monologues and often rely on scripted deliveries. This means that intonation and discourse marking, which are important features for segmenting monologues into manageable chunks and establishing hierarchical relationships between parts, are often under-specified, leading to the talk being perceived as flat, undifferentiated and even monotonous. In addition, students might only receive minimal feedback on their
performance in the form of a mark and a few notes from the tutor which limits their capacity to learn and improve on a skill that is difficult to acquire naturally without intervention. Participants in the proposed presentation will be able to listen to samples of discourse from international students delivering oral monologues and will be introduced to some basic aspects of intonation analysis. The presentation will also provide space to analyse students reactions to delivering oral monologues through the analysis of a series of pre- and post-task interviews. This will highlight some of the intervention strategies tutors can enact to aid feedback to students and develop remedial work. UK higher educational establishments are diverse multicultural environments and this
proposal addresses the needs of a significant proportion of the population who require proactive intervention strategies in order to improve. Internationalisation is not just a process where native English speakers look out and non-native speakers look in, but one where we align our views. 1. OVERVIEW Oral presentations Value & significance for students
Less support from interlocutor Elicits monologic discourse NNSs often stigmatized Text-structuring Metadiscourse Devices and Intonation Cues
Thompson (2003) has suggested that lengthy monologues require control over the use of textstructuring metadiscourse devices and intonation cues in order for the listener to understand the larger-scale hierarchical organisation of the discourse. For international students who are not native speakers of English, the lack of control over the use of these organisational devices means that their monologues are often perceived as flat and undifferentiated (Tyler & Bro, 1992) by the audience.
Flat, undifferentiated speech 2. EXAMPLES Student vs Lecturer (10.WU vs ELC1) 10.WU ELC1
Pitch Range Pitch range1 Students 33.7 Lecturers 47.1 PDQ2
0.146* 0.230* *P<0.001 Reduced pitch range for signaling the organization of their discourse
1: standard deviation 2:pitch dynamism quotient (Hincks 2004) Use of upspeak (7.SIM)
| in CONtrary | | (0.4 er) addiDAS | | addidas is a GERman COMPany | | (0.5) FOUnded in NINEteen forty EIGHT| | (0.6) and er NAME come from the NAME of the FOUnder of this company | | (0.6) and er the NAME is CREATE from (.) ADI |
| and LAST three letters from his SURname create all the name | Paratones spoken paragraph At end of paratone: fall in pitch lengthening of speech and insertion of pauses laryngealisation (creaky voice) and /or loss of amplitude At start of new paratone
marked pause first tone unit raised in key high key evident in subsequent tone units creating declination Thompson (2003); (McAlear, 2008) ROM1 Globalization nowadays: Cultural: Americanization
Technology: global telecommunication infrastructure Information Wars: UNO, NATO, Terrorism. Language: English, in the future Chinese? Economic Im going to talk about the the different er effect of the globalisations the first is er cultural
the most famous example is Americanisations we can xx for example like music the American music er dominate the world market the movies of which fifty percent of the of all movies now showing in Europe er are American and the (proportions) rise to er eighty percent
in Germany or England and finally the export of major global brands for example in clothes industry like er Nike or xx and in food industry like McDonalds or Coca Cola er technology the global telecommunication infrastructure which permits greater xx xx exchange
Actual structure is Globalisation Cultural Example: Americanisation Music Movies Export of brands
Technology (but the prosody does not signal this well >> flat, undifferentiated discourse) PIE1 so first of all I gonna speak about the place of birth the ethnicity and the religion
so you have to know that the interviewer can ask you if you have a correct work place to legally work in u-k but interviewer are not entitled to to ask you about your place of birth your ethnicity your religion about your personal history they can't do that (5.5) erm okay so now I'm gonna speak about about marital status the children and the sexual preference so about the marital status
the interviewer are a bit er not not really fair because they shouldn't take any preference but they often do ALE vs LEO Good contrast here between hesitant, weak prosodic delivery (ALE) and fluent delivery (LEO) ALE vs LEO
Consistency & Contrast Consistency Use of pitch, pausing and discourse marking needs to be consistently applied over the whole of the presentation Contrast Use of pitch, pausing and discourse marking needs
to be contrastive to segment the talk into hierarchical units A narrow pitch range may not necessarily be a burden on the audience if the student can deploy consistent and contrastive intonation patterns that are explicitly marked 3. INTERVIEWS
The Task 1. Pre-task Interview (one-week before) 2. Task oral presentation in-class. 3. Post-task Retrospective Interview (one or two weeks after) Outcomes - knowledge In general, European students knew what
intonation was but Chinese students did not. However, all failed to mention the discourse structuring aspect of intonation Discourse markers students were more familiar with term linking words Most students did not voluntarily identify intonation or discourse marking as important but did so when pushed.
Outcomes preparation & practice Most students do a limited amount of some sort of stand-up-and-practice Practice methods tend to be haphazard and eclectic Carried out in last few days before presentation Intonation practice and discourse marking do not figure significantly in this
Outcomes after reviewing Many surprised after listening to recording felt it was worse than originally thought Many commented on pauses, hesitation, repetitions Intonation many felt it was weak aspect a few commented that it is advanced feature
beyond them Discourse marking felt that this was okay 4. INTERNATIONALISATION Not just a process of us looking out and them looking in!
Suggestions for teachers Pro-active intervention strategies Students need targeted assistance with presentations Particularly Chinese students are going through university under the radar Remedial classes References
Hincks, R (2004) Processing the prosody of oral presentations. Proceedings of InSTIL/ICALL2004 NLP and Speech Technologies in Advanced Language Learning Systems Venice 17-19 June, 2004 McAlear, S (2008) Unpublished MA Dissertation. Univ of Nottingham Pickering, L. (2004) The structure and function of intonational paragraphs in native and nonnative speaker instructional discourse. English for Specific Purposes; Jan2004, Vol. 23 Issue 1, p19, 25p Thompson, S.E. (2003) Text-structuring metadiscourse, intonation and the signalling of organisation in academic lectures. Journal of English for
Academic Purposes, 2, pp. 5-20. Tyler, A. & Bro, J. (1992) Discourse Structure in Nonnative English Discourse: The effect of ordering and interpretive cues on perceptions of comprehensibility. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 14(1), 71-86.
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