First Advisor

Marjorie Terdal

Term of Graduation

Fall 1998

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages




English language -- Study and teaching -- Foreign speakers, Interaction analysis in education, Second language acquisition



Physical Description

1 online resource (iv, 95 pages)


The precise role of interaction in the process of second language acquisition and its place in the second language classroom are questions that continue to be important in research for both theoretical and applied linguists. The framework for this study is based on Long's (1983b) Interaction Hypothesis which proposes that input is made comprehensible by the modification of interactional structures. Many studies have looked at the differences between teacher-fronted classroom interaction and small group or dyad interaction without a teacher. The use of tutors and teaching assistants is common but not many studies have looked at how variation among instructor type affects classroom interaction modifications.

The purpose of this study was to determine how a class of university English as a Second Language students and their instructors differ in their use of interaction modifications in three different academic settings: a professor-led class, a teaching assistant-led class, and a conversation lab with a tutor. One hour of conversation was recorded for each student in each of the three settings and the transcriptions were categorized according to Long's (1983b) taxonomy of Interaction Modifications. Dialogue journals were also exchanged between the researcher and the students to gather some qualitative data about the students' feelings and opinions about general interaction and speaking in class.

The results of this study found that there was a) a significant difference in interaction modification patterns between the instructors and the students, b) there was also a significant difference in IM patterns among the three teacher types, and c) the students showed a significant difference in IM production by teaching situation.


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