The Use of Semi-automatic Annotation in Speech Acts Performed by Learners of English

Zhaoyi Pan


Since rare research studied speech acts (SAs) from a macro perspective, this study used a semi-automatic annotation tool named Dialogue Annotation and Research Tool (DART) to examine the most frequently performed SAs by Chinese and Thai learners of English as a foreign language (EFL). It also attempted to reveal the reasons for the similarities and differences in the SA performances of EFL learners from discrete linguacultural backgrounds. This study involved 30 Chinese and 30 Thai EFL learners, totaling 60 participants. A total of 30 dyadic English interlanguage conversations were collected for this study. The learner corpus research with the contrastive interlanguage analysis was adopted for the analysis. The DART annotation revealed that both Chinese and Thai EFL learners most frequently performed the same six SAs. These SAs were labeled by DART as state, hesitate, reqInfo, answer, expressOpinion, and stateReason. Of the six listed SAs, both Chinese and Thai EFL learners most frequently performed the SA labeled state; both cohorts also presented the SA stateReason least often. Task requirements, the frequent use of certain types of formulaic language, and English proficiency levels were ascertained as factors causing the identical presentation of the six identified SAs. The English proficiency levels of Chinese EFL learners were determined as the principal reason for their discrete performance of SAs. Conversely, the influence of the Thai linguacultural background denoted the primary factor for discrepancies in the SA performance of Thai EFL learners.

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World Journal of English Language
ISSN 1925-0703(Print)  ISSN 1925-0711(Online)

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