Attitudes toward Non-Native English Teachers Talking Style

Research Paper (undergraduate), 2017
75 Pages, Grade: A


Table of contents





1.1. Background
1.2. Statement of the Problem
1.3. Significance of the Study
1.4. The Purpose of the Study
1.5. Research Questions
1.6. Research Hypotheses
1.7. Definition of Key Terms
1.8. Organization of the Study

2.1. Introduction
2.2. Theoretical Background
2.2.1. Insights from Foreigner Talk to Teacher Talk
2.2.2. Foreign Language Context
2.2.3. The Significance of Teacher Talk in Foreign Language Acquisition
2.2.4. Modified Input and Teacher Talk
2.2.5. The Characteristics of Teacher Talk
2.2.6. The Use of Mother Tongue in Teacher Talk
2.2.7. Related Theories
2.3. Empirical Background
2.3.1. Lexical and Syntactic Familiarity of Teacher Talk
2.3.2. Phonological Features of Teacher Talk (Speed of Speech)
2.3.3. The Use of Visual and Extralinguistic Information in Teacher Talk
2.4. Chapter Summary (Embedded Gap in the Literature)

3.1. Introduction
3.2. Design of the Study
3.3. Variables
3.4. Setting and Participants
3.5. Data Collection Instrument
3.6. Data Collection Procedure
3.6.1. Piloting the Questionnaire
3.6.2. Reliability and Validity
3.6.3. Administration of the Questionnaire
3.7. Data Analysis
3.8. Chapter Summary

4.1. Introduction
4.2. Results
4.2.1. Descriptive Statistics
4.2.2. Testing Research Questions
4.3. Discussion
4.3.1. Students Attitudes towards Some Features of Teacher Talk
4.3.2. Male vs. Female MA Students’ Attitudes toward Some Features of Teacher Talk
4.3.3. Experienced vs. Inexperienced MA Students’ Attitudes toward Some Features of Teacher Talk
4.4. Chapter summary

5.1. Introduction
5.2. Conclusion
5.3. Implications of the Study
5.4. Limitations of the Study
5.5. Suggestions for Further Research
5.6. Chapter Summary

















Table 4-1 Descriptive statistics of participants’ attitudes towards some features of teacher talk

Table 4-2: Factor Analysis of attitudes towards features of teacher talks (27-Items)

Table 4-3: Descriptive statistics and reliability coefficients for each factor

Table 4-4: Descriptive Statistics for the four attitude factors in two groups

Table 4-5: MANOVA results for comparing factors in male and female

Table 4-6: Independent t test for attitude factors in male and female groups

Table 4-7: Descriptive Statistics for the four attitude factors in two groups

Table4-8: MANOVA results for comparing factors in two groups

Table 4-9: Independent t test for attitude factors in experienced and non-experienced


Figure 4-1: Mean score of male and female students’ attitudes

Figure 4-2: Mean score of attitude of students with and without teaching experience


Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten


This study aimed at investigating the MA EFL learners‘attitudes toward some features of teacher talk regarding gender and experience of teaching in Iranian context. During the study, MA students of TEFL courses in Urmia University were selected as the population of the study. To begin with, 60 male and 60 female EFL MA students were selected as the participants. The instrument used in this study was a researcher made questionnaire which was initially piloted. The questionnaires were distributed among the subjects at the end of their class time with the cooperation of their English teachers in some classes. It took the participants roughly 20 minutes to fill out the questionnaire which included Likert-type questions. Based on the findings of the study it was revealed that the most and least important factor for the students regarding the teachers talk are visual and extra-linguistic information the use of Persian language respectively. Additionally, comparing the four different factors regarding the features of teacher talk, it was revealed that Visual and extra-linguistic information factor, Lexical and syntactic familiarity, Speed of speech and the use of Persian language had the highest to the lowest mean score respectively. It was also indicated that female students rather than male students were significantly more in favor of speed of speech and lexical and syntactic familiarity. Moreover, it was concluded that teaching experienced students rather than non-experienced students had higher mean scores in attitudes to Visual and extra-linguistic information.

Key words: Teacher Talk, Attitude, Gender, TEFL


1.1. Background

The first chapter of the current study presents the background, the statement of the problem, the significance of the study, the purpose of the study, followed by the research question, research hypotheses, definition of key terms, and organization of the study.

Situations in which students are studying the language of a foreign country are called foreign language learning. Foreign language learners customarily have little or no direct contact with the target language, the people or the culture (Osborne, 1999). Teacher talk is very important for foreign language learning, because it is a main source of language exposure in language learning classroom; hence, teachers should make their speech comprehensible (Viiri & Saari, 2006). As Nunan (1991) points out:

“Teacher talk is of crucial importance, not only for the organization of the classroom but also for the processes of acquisition. It is important for the organization and management of the classroom because it is through language that teachers either succeed or fail in implementing their teaching plans. In terms of acquisition, teacher talk is important because it is probably the major source of comprehensible target language input the learner is likely to receive”(p, 189).

Having concentrated on the SLA for a considerable length of time, Ellis (1985) has planned his own perspective around teacher talk;

“Teacher talk is the special language that teachers use when addressing L2 learners in the classroom. There is systematic simplification of the formal properties of the teacher’s language… studies of teacher talk can be divided into those that investigate the type of language that teachers use in language classrooms and those that investigate in the type of language they use in subject lessons.” He likewise remarked “the language that teachers address to L2 learner is treated as a register, with its own specific formal and linguistics properties” (p. 145).

The current research was an attempt to investigate the oral type of teacher talk as opposed to written type. Urmia University where TEFL courses are held was selected as the site for data collection. It was aimed to obtain accurate outcomes and sufficient information from the respondents who were MA male and female TEFL students studying in Urmia University. For the present study, quantitative research design was used in order to conduct the research questions of the study.

This study was fundamentally based on researcher made questionnaire that were handed out to students in order to explore their attitudes towards some features of teacher talk. The survey method directly investigates views about teacher talk from students‘perspectives. The students who completed this questionnaire, all were studying English as a foreign language. In this study, the results from the questionnaires that were handed out to male and female students were compared with the questionnaires that were handed out to male students. And the results of questionnaires that were filled by MA students who have the experience of teaching were compared with the questionnaires that were filled by those without this experience.

The focus of this study was on students‘attitudes towards teachers‘talk in EFL classrooms. The first objective of the study was to find out the main factors in MA male and female students‘attitudes towards some features of teacher talk. The second objective of this thesis was to investigate male and female students‘attitudes towards some features of teacher talk in order to see that whether there is difference between the attitudes of them or not. The third objective was to discover whether attitudes of MA students with and without the experience of teaching towards some features of teacher talk will differ or not in TEFL courses.

The study specifically investigated students‘attitudes towards some features of teacher talk. Then, the study explored the main factors in MA male and female students‘attitudes towards some features of teacher talk. Subsequently, the study examined whether and to what extent male and female students differed in their attitudes towards some features of teacher talk. Finally, the study discovered whether and to what extent MA students with and without experience of teaching differs in terms of their attitudes towards some features of teacher talk.

1.2. Statement of the Problem

Teacher talk which is a crucial part of language teaching in an EFL (English as a Foreign Language) context, is also considered by communicative approaches as an effective factor that can lead to the reduction of students’ active participation if not appropriately adjusted to the context of teaching (Walsh, 2002). Nizegorodcew (2007) also asserts that learning opportunities cannot be maximized if the teacher talk does not provide the learners in EFL or ESL context with ample and constructive input through interactional discourse modifications which can lead to negotiated meaning.

Successful teachers regularly make some changes in their rate of speech, lexicon, and syntax classroom speech and make some adjustments in order to augment and increase learners' comprehension. The comprehension will be hindered if teacher talk do not undergo these modifications and adjustments (Gaies, 1977; Chaudron, 1982).

In the past, most of the researches on teacher talk (Sinclair & Brazil, 1982; Viiri&Saari, 2006; Xiao-yan, 2006; Liu & Zhao, 2010) have merely worked on the analysis of various phenomena about teacher talk and its characters and structures. There is no research relating to the attitudes of students about teacher talk regarding gender and their experience of teaching in Iranian context; accordingly, due to the importance of teacher talk in language classes as was mentioned above and scarcity of research about the attitudes of learners on teacher talk, the present study aims to investigate MA students’ attitudes towards some features of teacher talk in TEFL courses, regarding students’ gender and experience of teaching.

1.3. Significance of the Study

Teacher Talk is the language regularly utilized by foreign language teachers during the time spent instructing. Allwright and Bailey (1991) claim that “talk is one of the major ways that teachers convey information to learners, and it is also one of the primary means of controlling learner behavior” (p. 139). “Teacher talk is especially important to language teaching” (Cook, 2000, p.144). Teachers can use their talk and make it useful through a controlled utilization of their talk (Walsh, 2002).

It is hoped that this study will assist language teachers to find out about students’ attitudes towards their speaking in the classroom so that they can adjust their talking in the way that is more comprehensible for learners. It is also hoped that this study will highlight some important aspects of teacher talk and explore male and female MA students’ attitudes towards some features of teacher talk and explore the attitudes of MA students who have the experience of teaching and those without this experience towards some features of teacher talk in TEFL courses.

The present study was conducted to investigate how TT (Teacher Talk) in foreign language classrooms in our country affects foreign language learning (the language is mainly English language) from a different perspective; that is, comparing male and female MA students‘attitudes towards some features of TT and comparing MA students with and without experience of teaching attitudes towards special features of TT. In this way, teachers can improve their language quality. This study intends to explore such helpful insights by examining four major features of English teacher talk from students' perspectives. MA Male and female TEFL students studying in Urmia University were asked to reflect about their teachers' classroom speech and reveal their ideas by focusing on four major features of English teacher talk including (a) rate of speech, (b) lexical and syntactic familiarity, (c) visual and extralinguistic information, and (d) the use of Persian language.

1.4. The Purpose of the Study

The main aim of this paper was to learn more about some male and female students’ attitudes towards special features of teacher talk. A subordinate aim was to investigate and discuss whether they think differently or not. Final aim was to investigate whether the attitudes of MA students with the experience of teaching and those without this experience differ towards some features of teacher talk differ or not.

The specific objectives of the current study are as follows:

1. To find out the main factors in MA male and female students’ attitudes towards some features of teacher talk in TEFL courses.

2. To find out whether attitudes of male and female MA students in TEFL courses towards some features of teacher talk differ or not.

3. To find out whether the attitudes of MA students with the experience of teaching and those without this experience differ towards some features of teacher talk in TEFL courses differ or not.

1.5. Research Questions

The present study focusing on the attitudes of students toward teachers’ talk tries to answer the following research questions:

RQ1. What are the main factors in MA students’ attitudes towards some features of teacher talk in TEFL courses?

RQ2. Are there any significant differences between male and female MA students’ attitudes towards some features of teacher talk in TEFL courses?

RQ3. Are there any significant differences between the attitudes of MA students who have the experience of teaching and those without this experience towards some features of teacher talk in TEFL courses?

1.6. Research Hypotheses

Based on the above mentioned research questions, the following null hypotheses were formulated:

H01: There is no significant difference between male and female MA students’ attitudes towards some features of teacher talk in TEFL courses.

H02: There is no significant difference between the attitudes of MA students who have the experience of teaching and those without this experience towards some features of teacher talk in TEFL courses.

1.7. Definition of Key Terms

Teacher talk:

Theoretical definition: Adults mostly use simplified speech to address children. Similarly, teacher talk is modified or simplified language that teachers or native speakers use to address second language learners so that they will be able to understand (Lightbown & Spada, 2013). Richards (1992, as cited in Yan, 2006, p.5) makes a point by stating that teacher talk is the “variety of language sometimes used by teachers when they are in the process of teaching. In trying to communicate with learners, teachers often simplify their speech, giving it many of the characteristics of foreigner talk and other simplified styles of speech addressed to language learners.”

Operational definition: in the current study, various features of teacher talk including (a) rate of speech, (b) lexical and syntactic familiarity, (c) visual and extra-linguistic information, and (d) the use of Persian language were investigated.


Theoretical definition: Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics defines it as “the attitudes which speakers of different languages or language varieties have towards each other’s languages or to their own language. Expressions of positive or negative feelings towards a language may reflect impressions of linguistic difficulty or simplicity, ease or difficulty of learning, degree of importance, elegance, social status, etc. attitudes may have an effect on second language or foreign language learning. The measurement of attitudes provides information which is useful in language teaching and language planning” (Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics, 2010, p. 240).

Operational definition : the current study intended to explore MA students’ attitudes towards some features of teacher talk.


Theoretical definition: gender refers to "sex as either a biological or socially constructed category" (Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics, 2010, p. 314).

Operational definition : in this study both male and female students’ attitudes towards some features of teacher talk were taken into account.


Theoretical definition: An acronym for Teaching English as a Foreign Language, used to describe the teaching of English in situations where it is a Foreign Language (Longman dictionary of language teaching and applied linguistics (4th ed.), 2010)

Operational definition : the present study, investigated the attitudes of students who were studying in TEFL courses.

1.8. Organization of the Study

The study consists of five chapters. The first chapter includes a background, statement of the problem, significance of the study, research objectives, research question and hypotheses, definitions of key words and organization of the study.

Chapter two includes an overview of related empirical and theoretical literature.

Chapter three is related to the design of the study, data collection instrument, data collection procedure, and data analysis. The results of the study are discussed in chapter four.

Finally, the findings and conclusion, implications of the study, limitations of the study, and suggestion for further studies are presented in chapter five.


2.1. Introduction

Chapter two of the current study tries to provide theoretical and empirical background about teacher talk. First of all, theoretical background including insights from foreigner talk to teacher talk, foreign language context, the significance of teacher talk in foreign language acquisition, the significance of teacher talk in foreign language acquisition, modified input and teacher talk, the characteristics of teacher talk, the use of mother tongue in teacher talk, and related theories (Krashen’s input theory, Long’s interaction theory, Swain’s output theory) is provided. Subsequently, empirical background including an overview of a number of studies carried out in relation to lexical and syntactic familiarity of teacher talk, phonological features of teacher talk (speed of speech), and the use of visual and extralinguistic information in teacher talk is provided. The chapter ends by presenting gap in the literature.

2.2. Theoretical Background

2.2.1. Insights from Foreigner Talk to Teacher Talk

Scholarly studies on Teacher Talk (TT) started roughly in the early to mid-1980s. These studies were inspired by different findings from “caretaker speech” studies in first language development (Snow, 1972, 1994) and “foreigner talk” research in natural second language acquisition (Ferguson, 1971, 1975). TT research evolved partly because of the theory of instructed second language acquisition proposed by Krashen and Terrell (1983). Krashen and Terrell (1983) argued that TT is an indispensable source of comprehensible input in the second language classroom. They emphasized the point that Teacher Talk may be considered, in a sense, as “caretaker speech” or “foreigner talk” in the second language classroom. These three speech phenomena all share similar characteristics: 1) they are motivated by the speaker's tendency to communicate to the listener; 2) similar linguistic adjustments/modifications (such as slower rate, repetitions, and restatements) exist; and 3) the level of complexity of speech is adapted to the level of the listener's language capability.

Teacher Talk is the language typically utilized by foreign language instructors during the time spent instructing. Deok-Jae Park (1999) illustrated that “foreigner talk is used as a general term for the modified language that native speakers use with non-native speakers” (p. 19) and characterized teacher talk as “the systematic simplification such as lexical, phonological, and grammatical modifications” (p. 21).

The language of the language learning classroom is particular since it is intended for language learning to take pace. All languages have particular registers for talking with speakers who are accepted not to talk exceptionally well, and these discourse registers have been seen to vary significantly from normal talk. For instance, “caretaker speech” register is a discourse utilized by adults when speaking with babies or young children who do not have full adult competence in the language (Ferguson, 1964, 1977). Ferguson (1971) identified the phenomenon, introducing a modified variety of language in a particular social setting with members who do not have equal facility of the language in use, as a “register” of the language and originally named it ‘foreigner talk’(FT). As indicated by Ferguson (1971), foreigner talk (FT) is one of the varieties of simplified form of discourse that is utilized by native speakers while talking to foreigners. Barbara Freed (1980) found that 'foreigner talk' addressed to non-native speakers likewise had incomplex language structure and a high extent of questions with “unmoved” question words, e.g. ‘you will return to your country when?’ instead of ‘when will you return to your country?’

Teacher Talk and foreigner talk are among discourse registers have been seen to vary significantly from normal talk. They have similar qualities in numerous languages. They are characterized by: exaggerated changes of pitch, louder volume, less complex syntactic structures, frequent utilization of concrete vocabulary. Chaudron (1988) states that

“Theoretically, there is the concern that L2 teacher speech in classrooms may represent a distinct sociolinguistic register, different from either that of L1 speech in classrooms or NS speech to NNSs in non-educational contexts (commonly referred to as “foreigner talk)” (p. 54-55).

In any case, Chaudron (1988) continues to state that

“On various comparisons, teacher talk in L2 classrooms differs from speech in other contexts, but the differences are not systematic, nor are they qualitatively distinct enough to constitute a special sociolinguistic domain, as has been argued for the case of foreigner talk” (p. 55).

2.2.2. Foreign Language Context

English is now taught to EFL learners in public schools around the world, and recently the trend has been to offer English to younger learners. For instance, in the past, English was presented to most Japanese learners at 13 years old, when they entered middle school. Other examples include Turkey that has recently brought down the start of English from grade six to the fourth; Italy's current school Reform Bill was to move the beginning of English to the basic levels, and Saudi Arabia's reform was the same.

The classroom is a place where most learning occurs for most students around the world. All students of English come to the classroom with at least one other language, their native language (often called their L1). The instructors of English might be local speakers of English or those for whom it is a second or foreign language.

English in various parts of the world where it is not a native language may have a status of either a “second” (ESL) or a “foreign” (EFL) language. The acronyms ESL and EFL are frequently confounded in light of the fact that they both recommend English learning; however, these learning conditions are totally distinct. EFL is an acronym for English as a Foreign Language, and is studied by individuals who live in a context where the target language (in this case English) is not the language of communication in the society, (e.g., learning English in India, Pakistan, Japan, Italy, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam). It is defined as “English for learners who come from a country where English is not spoken as a mother tongue” (Scrivener, 2005, p.426). ESL is an acronym for English as a Second Language, and is studied by individuals who live in a context where the target language is the language of communication in the society, (e.g., learning English in the Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States) (Gebhard, 2006; Nunan 2003).

All around the world, students of any age are learning to speak English but their reasons behind wanting to study English can vary. Some learners, just learn English since it is on the educational programs at primary or secondary level, but of course, studying a language reflects some kind of a choice. Moreover, there is a distinction between objectives of individuals who learn English as a foreign language (EFL) and the individuals who learn it as a second or other language (ESL).

The objectives of learners who are studying EFL is to learn English to pass selection tests, to utilize English when travelling, and to have the capacity to utilize English in order to speak with individuals from different parts of the world. On the other hand, learners who are studying ESL have a tendency to be learning English in order to pass TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) to gain admission into American College or for other specific purposes, for example, Business English learners will want to invest a great deal of time focusing on the language required for particular business exchanges and circumstances.

2.2.3. The Significance of Teacher Talk in Foreign Language Acquisition

The classroom is a place where most learning occurs for most students around the world. A significant measure of oral input in the classroom is presented to the learners so teachers talk is an important part of L2 instruction. Teachers undertake a vital part in shaping classroom talk and in expanding chances for learning (Nunan 2003; Lévesque 2013) As Nunan (1991) points out, “it can be argued that in many foreign language classrooms, teacher talk is important in providing learners with the only substantial live target language input they are likely to receive” (Gebhard, 2006, p. 81). The quantity and kind of teacher talk is even viewed as a decisive factor of achievement or failure in classroom teaching (Hakansson, 1998 as cited in Zhou Xing & Zhou Yun, 2002).

Hadley (1994, p.175) presents the following description of “teacher talk”:

“Teacher talk” or “caretaker speech” is another type of listening material that contributes to the acquisition of the language….it tends to consist of a simplified code, characterized by slower, more careful articulation, the more frequent use of known vocabulary items, and attempts to ensure comprehension via restatements, paraphrases, and nonverbal aids to understanding.

While “Caretaker speech” is characteristic for L1 speakers talking to NS children while “teacher talk” is attributed to teachers addressing NNSs (Ivanova, 2011).

Stern (1983) states that

“The teacher, like the learner, brings to language teaching certain characteristics which may have bearing on educational treatment: age, sex, previous education, and personal qualities. Above all, the language teacher brings to it a language background and experience, professional training as a linguist and teacher, previous language teaching experience, and more or less formulated theoretical presuppositions about language, language learning and teaching” (Stern, 1983, p. 500).

According to Stern (1983), these characteristics of the language teacher are reflected in the different forms of TT, which plays a very crucial role in the language teaching- learning process.

Long and Porter (1985) claim that teacher talk includes features such as reduced and simplified forms, shorter and less complex syntaxes, use of higher frequency vocabulary items, and avoidance of idiomatic expressions. Frey (1988) makes a point that “TT is anything the teacher says naturally, without a script, the actual linguistic content of which is made to suit a specific need. What a teacher says or how he/she says it can create a remarkable difference in how effectively or economically a language can be learned in classroom context” (p. 681). Allwright and Bailey (1991) claim that “talk is one of the major ways that teachers convey information to learners, and it is also one of the primary means of controlling learner behaviour” (p. 139). Nunan (1991: 198) states that “Research… demonstrates that teachers need to pay attention to the amount and kind of talking they do, and to assess its efficacy in the light of their pedagogical purposes” (1991, p. 198). Patil (1994) also proposed that a native speaker teacher changes his or her discourse to help non-native speakers of English learners understand the speech successfully. Hatch (1983, as cited in Lee, 1999), also mentioned that native speakers of English speak with more slower rate, utilize more concrete instances than conceptual references, utilize straightforward and shorter sentences, make more prominent utilization of repetition and rephrasing than regular, and utilize a greater variety of non-verbal signs to enable students to get it.

Lee and Van Patten (2003, p.33) describe “teacher talk” as “specialized input that instructors often use” to language learners. This view towards teacher talk can be clarified better by Nizegorodcew (2007) who argues that teacher talk gives the students second language input mainly by interactional discourse modifications leading to negotiated meaning. Hall (2011) holds the opinion that the measure of teacher talk ought to be examined in term of control and administration as well as, more essentially, for teaching method and nature of class communication.

2.2.4. Modified Input and Teacher Talk

The importance of input in SLA has been a theme of extraordinary research since the 1970s. Since the 1970's, various investigations have explained the attributes of input modification by contrasting NSs' speech with NNSs with their talk to different NSs or NNSs of higher proficiency. As indicated by SLA hypothesis, a lot of high-quality input is the essential component for effective language learning. There is no learning without input. The vast majority of research emphasizes the importance of the input that a student gets, and also the input and the way of its processing and acting upon has appeared as one of the most basic keys to learning at any age (Gor & Long, 2009). According to Lily Wong Fillmore (1976)

“The acquisition of language maybe more than some other sort of learning action requires the cooperation of no less than two parties— the students, and somebody who talks the language already Exposure to the language is insufficient; it must be coordinated at the learner and shaped with his needs and capacities. The speakers of the language must want to be useful, they should take the point of view of the student in choosing the amount to modify their discourse. The student likewise should participate by giving proof when he comprehends and when he doesn't (p. 119).

Gass (1997, p. 1) once outlined that that “the concept of input is perhaps the single most important concept of second language acquisition (SLA). It is trivial to point out that no individual can learn a second language (L2) without input of some sort”. In the case of L2 or FL learning, when interacting with a beginner English student, a native speaker’s using “slow rate of speaking, emphasis of key words, common vocabulary, and repetition all are modifications to aid comprehension” (Brewer, 2008, p. 9).

Input has become a “hot topic” in SLA and it is commonly provided by the instructor. L2 students determine their data about the L2 from the total of all their input, which contains (in the classroom) teacher talk, course books and materials, the speech of other learners, and audio, visual/ technological input. Teachers undertake a vital part in shaping classroom talk and in expanding chances for learning. Richards and Lockhart (1996) assert that different sorts of adjustment in instructor's discourse lead to a particular kind of talk which has been referred to as teacher talk. At the point when instructors utilize teacher talk, “they attempt to make their words as straightforward as could be, and successful teacher talk can accelerate both language perception and student output” (as cited in Nashra, 2013, p.3).

One way to enhance students’ understanding is through the speaker’s or writer’s modification of the input (e.g., lexis, morphology, syntax) which are directed at the listener/reader. Input modifications may be classified as either input simplifications or elaborations (parker & Chaudron, 1987; Ross, S., Long, M., & Yano, Y. 1991). Therefore, if an audience requests for elucidation of a past expression, the speaker will frequently respond by expounding on the utterance (e.g., by rehashing, rephrasing, or clarifying it), or by simplifying it (e.g., by utilizing simple grammatical structures or higher frequency lexical items). (Long, 1980, 1983; Parker & Chaudron, 1987; Ross et al., 1991)

Gaies (1979) recorded learner-instructor interaction in in the EFL teaching classroom. At each of four levels from beginners to advance, their discourse expanded in syntactic intricacy. Chaudron (1983) looked at an instructor lecturing on a similar theme to native and non-native speakers. He discovered significant simplification and rephrasing in vocabulary: ‗clinging became holding in tightly‘ and ‗ironic‘ became ‗funny‘. In the same vein, other works by various researchers (Chaudron, 1979; Chaudron, 1983; Freed, 1978; Gaies, 1977; Hatch, 1978; Meisel, 1977) exploring native speakers‘ simplifying their discourse for non-natives in different settings suggested that the simplified speeches to the student enhanced the students' chances to understand the meaning of the speech addressed to him/her.

Utilizing appropriate intelligible information can help L2 speakers comprehend and acquire the language. The effectiveness of input deliverance may famously demonstrate to be an eminent predictor of L2 acquisition in any classroom settings. As indicated by Cullen (1998), teacher talk is identified as a worthful source of comprehensible input for the student. The most common characteristics of teacher talk are outlined by Chaudron (1988). Chaudron (1988, as cited in Richards & Lockhart, 1996, p. 183-184) refers the following techniques that teachers use to make their words knowledgeable:

1) Repetition: teachers utilize this technique with a specific end goal to make their directions and instructions comprehensible to students.

2) Slower rate of speech: Rate of speech typically refers to the quantity of words every moment. Teachers tend to talk with slower rate with a specific end goal to help the learners comprehend better.

3) Using pauses: Teachers tend to utilize lengthy pauses while teaching. This helps students perceive more time in processing what the teacher has said.

4) Changing pronunciation: Teachers frequently utilize explicit pronunciation and standard style of speech.

5) Modifying vocabulary: Teachers frequently supplant a difficult word with what they believe is more normally utilized word.

6) Modifying grammar: Teachers frequently simplify the grammatical rules of sentences in classroom. For instance, teachers may avoid utilizing complex tenses.

7) Modifying discourse: Teachers may answer their particular inquiries or may repeat themselves with a specific end goal to make their input more understandable.

8) Paraphrase: paraphrase is another strategy of teacher talk because learners get the opportunity to hear a few adaptations of a similar thing, get to hear various types of the same thing; they learn multiple types of semantics and grammar of the same word and learn how to express a similar thought in various ways.

Ellis (1985, p. 143) points out that:

Regardless of whether it is a subject lesson or a language lesson, successful results may rely upon the sort of language utilized by the teacher and the kind of associations occurring in the classroom. It can be inferred that Teacher Talk in the EFL classroom has as at least two functions. Firstly, it serves as an important input of language exposure. Secondly, it is utilized in various ways to create the association, to make the input understandable and consequently make the learning occur.

Confirmation for the facilitation of understanding by input adjustment was verified by Parker and Chaudron (1987). The authors investigated L2 studies looking at NNS understanding (for both listening and reading) of unmodified and pre-modified input (scripted information adjusted by the analysts). Overall, pre-modified input expanded NNS comprehension. Furthermore, the authors inferred that input elaborations facilitate comprehension. Once more, Owen (1996) affirms that teachers will adapt both the scope of vocabulary and the length of words relying upon the language level of the group.

Lynch (2001) in his publication, Communication in the Language Classroom, suggests some most common input modifications of teacher talk which are appropriate particularly for elementary or pre-intermediate level:

- Vocabulary

- Use of more typical vocabulary
- Avoidance of idioms
- Use of nouns rather than pronouns

- Grammar

- Shorter and less complex utterances
- Increased utilization of present tense

- Pronunciation

- Slower speech and clearer articulation
- Less vowel-reduction
- Greater stress differentiation and wider pitch range
- Increased amount and length of pauses
- Non-verbal
- Increased use of gesture and facial expression (as cited in Smejkalová, 2014, p. 23)

Gebhard (2008) in his book, Teaching English as a Foreign or Second Language, stated that EFL instructors can make their language comprehensible by following three ways: a) Simplify speech; b) Add mediums; c) Negotiate meaning.

a) Simplify speech

First, teachers can try to make language comprehensible by simplifying their discourse. This includes utilizing a sort of "foreigner talk," a simplified register or style of speech. Foreigner talk includes exaggerated pronunciation and facial expressions; slower discourse rate; frequent uses of pauses; gestures; and sentence expansion, and completing learners’ sentences for them.

b) Add mediums

Second, teachers can include media, including those that are linguistic aural (discourse), linguistic visual (print), nonlinguistic visual (pictures, objects, realia), nonlinguistic aural (bird chirps, the sound of water flowing, the sound of the wind in the trees, etc.), and paralinguistic (gestures, eye contact, touch, distance/use of space, etc.).

c) Negotiate meaning

Third, teachers can work at making language comprehensible for learners by negotiating meaning. The teacher can open up communication by asking questions that aim at clarification and confirmation. When the students work at clarifying and confirming meaning, language can become more comprehensible to them.

2.2.5. The Characteristics of Teacher Talk

Four characteristics of teacher talk in the classroom according to Henzl (1979) are as follows:

1) Teachers select vocabulary that the students already know, they use simpler and basic words, and they use less compound words and idiomatic expressions.

2) With regard to grammar, they attempt to communicate with the students by using the structures that students know; use shorter, well-formed and less complex sentences; moreover, at the beginning, they prefer to use present indicative tense.

3) With regard to phonology, they pronounce the sounds more clearly, and with the rate of speech that is adaptable for linguistic ability of the students (as much as 170 words per minute).

4) With regard to speech features, they talk more slowly and more loudly with more frequent and longer pauses, and they use more gestures.

Chaudron (1988) also reviewed a large number of studies and summarized the linguistic features of teacher talk as follows:

1) Phonological features: longer pauses, slower rate of speech, extra volume of delivery, extra stress, simplified pronunciation.

2) Lexical elements: use of more basic vocabulary words, less slang and idioms.

3) Syntactic features: less use of subordinate clauses, shorter utterances, less words per clause, more use of the simple present tense.

4) Discourse features: more use of tag questions, more frequently self-repetition, and corrective feedback to students' errors.

In China, Hu Xuewen (2006) observed the behaviors of teachers in college English classrooms and achieved the conclusions about the features of teacher talk which are similar to Chaudron’s (1985). These features are as follow:

1) The speed of teacher talk is obviously slower than the speed of natural talk.

2) Frequent and lengthy pauses occur between utterances.

3) Pronunciation tends to be clear, exaggerated, and with a high and wide pitched range.

4) More stresses are used and rhythm of speech is obvious and clear. Contracted form of language is less used. For example, teachers use more ‘He will’ instead of ‘He’ll’ in pronunciation.

5) Basic and high frequency words are often utilized.

6) Unmarked words and structures are utilized; there is little subordination. Frequent statements and imperatives are used. The amount of subordination is lower.

7) More self-repetition.

Wesche and Ready (1985) considered talk of classroom lectures in a Canadian university. They compared lectures of psychology class which were presented (in English and French) to L1 speakers with those presented to L2 speakers. They discovered considerable differences in both English and French lecturing, between: (1) classes consisting of L1 speaker students and (2) those containing of L2 speaker students in the following five aspects of teacher talk: (a) speed of speech, (b) the number and length of pauses, (c) frequency of tensed verbs, (d) rate of imperative sentences and self-repetition, and (e) measure of nonverbal data utilize. Class lectures for L2 speakers tended to be slower with more pauses and with clear expression. They used significantly more tensed verbs than nonfinite ones. They significantly discovered fewer uses of the non-present tense of the verb be and an avoidance of conditionals when taking to the NNS students. They used plenty of imperatives (i.e., “Imagine that…” and “Suppose that…”) and self-repetition. They used nonverbal information more frequently in the second language presentations.

The linguistic adjustments of ‘Foreigner Talk’ were categorized by Henzl (1983) as lexicon, syntax, and phonology. In terms of vocabulary modifications, he discovered that when addressing NNSs, NSs have a tendency to adopt a slower speed of speech, clearer and more careful articulation. He also found that there are more stressed words, more pauses, repetitions, and hesitations between the utterances. In the case of grammar and vocabulary, Henzl (1983) noticed that the standard word order is generally preferred, syntactic connections are clearly marked, high frequency vocabularies are utilized, the number of idiomatic expressions are fewer, and a lower type-token ratio exists.

Freeman and Long (1991) claim that teacher talk can be categorized on the basis of syntactical, phonological and semantic aspects. In the syntactical classification, the length of utterances when addressed to children was observed to be shorter. In the phonology category, they claimed that when teachers are addressing utterances to children, they utilize a wider pitch range and has more exaggerated intonation. Furthermore, there are more pauses between utterances, the articulation is clear, and the rate of speech is slower. In the area of semantic, they assert that vocabulary is more restricted, teachers are very careful in selecting the words that are appropriate to the student’s language proficiency level. Moreover, new and difficult vocabularies are avoided.

2.2.6. The Use of Mother Tongue in Teacher Talk

The teacher is the best provider of comprehensible input that the learners can receive. Occasionally, the teacher’s use of the learners' mother tongue may help them comprehend things that they are finding hard to understand. Where instructor and learners share the same L1, it is silly to deny its existence and potential value. Instructors may translate specific words, when different methods for clarifying their meaning are insufficient. When teachers have complicated the guidelines to clarify, they might need to do this in the L1, and where learners require individual help or encouragement, the utilization of L1 may have very useful impacts (Harmer, 2004).

Auerbach (1993) recommends that the utilization of mother tongue gives a sense of security to the learners, enabling them to express themselves. The learner is then eager to experience and take risks with English. The result of a research carried out by Schweers (1999) in a Puerto Rican University shows that 86.2% learners prefer teachers to clarify difficult concepts in Spanish language while learning English. Additionally, a high rate of classroom population preferred utilization of L1 in class when teachers present new materials or new words, check for perception, joke around with learners or enable them feel more confident and comfortable in classroom (as cited in Nashra Hussein, 2013, p.13-14).

Atkinson (1987) conducted a study focusing on translation tasks in an EFL classroom. With regard to the results of his investigation he explains a variety of usage of first language utilization and states that there are various occasions when the utilization of the first language can be encouraged, however he alerts against its immoderate and injudicious abuse also. Making utilization of the learners' L1 does not mean we should relinquish the commitment regarding making an English situation. In spite of the fact that L1 can be utilized as an enabling instrument, English should prevail in an English lesson classroom. Nowadays “the general guidelines in many countries recommend that lessons be planned to be as monolingual as possible, drawing on the mother tongue only when difficulties arise” (Butzkamm, 2003, p. 28, 29-39).

Macaro (2001 as cited in Jingxia, 2008, p. 60) refers to five factors commonly prompting the utilization of mother tongue by new fashioned language teachers in England as following:

- Teachers turn to the mother tongue to give instructions, in the wake of attempting several times in getting exercises going in the second dialect. Accordingly, utilization of L1 proves to be useful as clarifying tasks become easier for instructors.
- Teachers utilize L1 so as to interpret and check understanding
- Teachers frequently utilize L1 while giving individual remarks to learners.
- Teachers utilize L1 during the time spent providing feedback to learners, as it seems to be more ‘real’.
- Teachers have a tendency for the use of L1 so as to maintain discipline. For instance, if a teacher just utilize his/her mother language as opposed to the target language, it shows that she/he is very serious

Ellis (1984, 1991) contends that instructors should use mother tongue as little as possible in order to present students with maximal input in second language. Similarly, Carless (2008) considers mother tongue as a risky method that may reduce the amount of the exposure of second language to students. Freeman and Long (1991) mentioned that the use of mother tongue can reduce the amount of time that teachers and learners are interacting in second language.

According to a few reports on teacher training and teacher development (Bowen, & Marks, 1994; Celce- Murcia, & McIntosh, 1979; Doff, 1988; Edge, 1993; Hubbard, Jones, Thornton, & Wheeler, 1983; Underwood, 1987) it was revealed that little consideration has been dedicated to the issue of utilizing the first language in English a Foreign Language or English as a Second Language contexts. Cook (2001) features advantages of L1 use in L2 educating. Cook (2001) expresses that the use of mother tongue helps teachers transfer meaning, clarify sentence structure and manage the class. She also highlights the advantages of mother tongue usage in second language learning. Ur (2005) contends that utilization of L1 in the classroom is favorable because “the aim is not to get the pupils to ‘think in English ’. We are no longer trying to get them to be ‘like native speakers’. Our aim is to get pupils to become English users, who function as effectively as possible both in their L1 and in English and are compound bilinguals” (4). Atkinson (1987) who supports L1 use in the classroom informs that extreme reliance on L1 utilizes may cause that:

the teacher and/or the students begin to feel that they have not “really” understood any item of language until it has been translated; students speak to the teacher in the mother tongue as a matter of course, even when they are quite capable of expressing what they mean; students fail to realize that during many activities in the classroom it is essential that they use only English (p. 426).

2.2.7. Related Theories Krashen’s Input Theory

The source of input for the language learners is the classroom. The classroom is a place where students can gain the comprehensible input, which is essential for language learning. The role of comprehension in second language acquisition (SLA) has been of prime importance in much SLA research. One of the SLA hypotheses concerned with this issue is the comprehensible input hypothesis proposed by Krashen (1985). The comprehension hypothesis is the centerpiece of language acquisition theory. The comprehension hypothesis attempts to answer this question: how do we acquire language? The answer is: We acquire language when we understand messages. The input hypothesis claims that humans acquire language in only one way – by understanding messages that include aspects of language (vocabulary, grammar) which we have not yet acquired but we are “ready” to acquire messages or by receiving “comprehensible input”. And there is no other way it can happen.

Comprehensible input is defined as L2 input just beyond the learner’s current L2 competence. If a learner’s current competence is 'i', then comprehensible input is i+1, that is, input is still understandable by the learner but contains linguistic evidence relevant for the next step in the developmental sequence. Input, which is too simple or too complex, will not be useful for acquisition. The key idea in Krashen’s theory was that “comprehensible input” is not necessary, but sufficient, for second language learning to take place.

We are able to understand language with the help of language we have already acquired, context, which includes extra-linguistic information, our knowledge of the world. The comprehension hypothesis has two “corollaries”:

Corollary 1: We learn language by input, not by output. Thus, an output such as speaking will not result in more language acquisition. Rather, the ability to speak is the consequence of language acquisition and not its cause. Speaking emerges because of building competence by means of comprehensible input.

Corollary 2: If enough comprehensible input is provided to students, the necessary grammar is naturally given to them. The language teacher do not have to make sure they are there, he/she requires no attempt purposely to teach the following structure along the natural order – it will be given in quite the correct amounts and automatically reviewed if the students receives an adequate measure of comprehensible input. Students will acquire the language in a natural order as a result of getting comprehensible input. Long’s Interaction Hypothesis

Krashen’s Input Theory and its key notion of ‘comprehensible input’ have been criticized by a number of 1980s researchers. One argument was proposed by Michael Long, with his proposal of the so-called Interaction Hypothesis (Long, 1981, 1983). In the interactional approach to L2 input proposed by Long (1983), input was defined as “the linguistic forms (morphemes, words, utterances)—the streams of speech in the air—directed at the non-native speaker” (p.127), whereas the analysis of interaction meant “describing the functions of those forms in (conversational) discourse” (Long, 1983, p.127). In the 1980s, Long shared the underlying assumption of Krashen regarding the existence of some form of language acquisition device, but shifted attention from comprehensible input, as a means of stimulating acquisition, towards more interactive aspect of second language discourse. Long’s early research (1980) showed that native, non-native speakers’ interactions when performing tasks such as informal conversations or game-playing was rich in meaning negotiations, including repetitions, confirmation checks or clarification requests. Long (1981) argued that these adjustments made L2 speech more comprehensible, and thus increased its influence for L2 acquisition.

His work (1981, 1983) showed that in native speakers' and non-native speakers' interactions, native speakers' changed their interactions more often than their input. The input and interaction hypothesis combines an argument regarding the importance of input comprehension to SLA (Krashen’s input hypothesis) and an argument for the value of modifications to discourse structure for learner comprehension (Long’ s interaction hypothesis). Long (1983) argues Interaction Hypothesis states that interaction facilitates SLA because conversational and linguistic modifications that occur in discourse provide learners with necessary comprehensible linguistic input. Swain’s Output Theory

Another argument is put forward by Canadian researcher Swain (1985). Her refusal of Krashen’s Input Theory dates back to the time when her research about immersion classes taught with content-based second language instruction showed that regardless of extended exposure to a target language input, the immersion students did not achieve a native like productive ability. This investigation led Swain to a formulation of her “Output Hypothesis” (1985) arguing that comprehensible input is not a sufficient condition for second language acquisition. She emphasized the role of output in second language acquisition. She particularly emphasized that second language acquisition takes place only when learners are pushed to use the target language, in other words, language output can contribute to language acquisition. Swain (1985) claimed that it is only during the production of the second language that the learners can understand they cannot say what they want to say in the target language. Comprehensible output assists second language learners' mental grammatical processing and leads to the development of their interlanguage. As Swain (1995) stated:

“Output may stimulate learners to move from the semantic, open-ended non-deterministic, strategic processing prevalent in comprehension to the complete grammatical processing needed for accurate production. Output, thus, would seem to have a potentially significant role in the development of syntax and morphology” (p. 128).

2.3. Empirical Background

2.3.1. Lexical and Syntactic Familiarity of Teacher Talk

A number of studies on linguistic features of teacher talk have attempted to investigate the sorts of modification in the vocabulary. Studies that have investigated the lexical features of teachers‘speech directed to nonnative speakers have discovered that teachers tend to utilize a high frequency or more basic lexical items in their talk (Chaudron, 1982; Henzl, 1979; Kliefgen, 1985; Mizon, 1981). For example, analyzing the lexical changes of instructor talk, Henzl (1979) considered that vocabularies used by teachers included fewer idioms, more proper and concrete nouns, and less indefinite pronoun. Moreover, teachers used more standard forms of lexical items than colloquial lexical items.

Mizon (1981) investigated the lexical differences between the speech of a NNS of English teacher of ESL in India and a British teacher in England, both teaching geography. She realized that the speech of the ESL teacher had a tendency to contain more proper nouns and less variety of content and function words when addressing non-native learners, and it is more than that in the speech of the British teacher teaching similar lessons to native speaking learners.

Chaudron (1982) observed one native speaking teacher talking on the same subject on the same day in both native speaking and non-native speaking classes. The discoveries demonstrated the instructor's utilization of a more common, high frequency vocabulary when talking to non-native speaking classes (e.g. "hold on very tightly" instead of "clinging").

Kliefgen (1985) observed differential choice of vocabulary items in the speech of a kindergarten teacher while talking to three NNS children and a NS child. Higher token-type ratio for two of the NNSs (3.0 and 2.46) showed that the teacher’s lexical items were less various while the token-type ratio for the NS child was 2.07 displaying greater variability of vocabulary items. Moreover, Kliefgen (1985) utilized MLU (Mean Length of Utterance) and noticed that the shortest MLUs (3.18 words) were directed to the NNS children at the lowest language proficiency level, while the longest MLUs (5.27) were addressed to the NSs children.

Various studies (Gaies, 1977; Horst, Collins, White, & Cardoso, 2010; Long, 1983) have analyzed the length of expression in instructor discourse.

Gaies (1977) examined the varieties in the syntactic complexity of the speech utilized by teachers when talking to their students compared with their speech when talking to their peers. He tape-recorded and transcribed the speech of a group of teachers-in-training when addressing their ESL students at various instructional pre-academic university levels (beginners, high beginners, intermediate, and advance), and when talking to their peers in training discussions. This group contained both native and nonnative speakers of English. Gaies discovered that the speech of these teachers when talking to their students varied in its syntactic complexity from their speech when talking to their peers. By whole of the measurements of his investigation, it was demonstrated that the syntactic complexity in the teachers’ talk with their students was lower than that with their peers. In addition, the speech of teachers talking to students at beginner level was appeared to be of less complexity than that utilized to talk with more advanced students. He additionally found a significantly general tendency for various sorts of subordinate clauses (adjective, adverb, and noun clauses) in teacher speech to increase as the level of students increased.

Long (1983), for instance, conducted his study on teacher talk while focusing on the interactional structure of native speaker (NS) speech addressed to non-natives (NNs) relative to NS speech to other NSs. It was found that the NSs generally used shorter utterances while addressing NNSs. It was also found that the speech of NNs when interacted with other NSs contained these features including: confirmation checks, comprehension checks, clarification requests, self-repetitions, other repetitions, and expansions.


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Attitudes toward Non-Native English Teachers Talking Style
Urmia University  (Urmia University of Medical Sciences)
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attitudes, non-native, english, teachers, talking, style
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Ismail Baniadam (Author)Malek Baniadam (Author)Ali Baniadam (Author), 2017, Attitudes toward Non-Native English Teachers Talking Style, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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