To Copy Verbatim, Paraphrase or Summarize: Listeners’ Methods of Discourse Representation While Recalling Academic Lectures

Haiping Wang*, Guoxing Yu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Abstract

It is unanimously agreed that comprehension of academic lectures is cognitively demanding; however, few studies have focused on a listener’s real-time discourse representation of a lecture. Based on the qualitative analysis of the verbal protocols, the present study investigated sixteen Chinese university students’ verbal recall of an academic mini-lecture to explore how they made sense of the lecture and represented its discourse when they recalled it episode by episode, and to what extent they differed in discourse representation. The results show that listeners’ discourse representation involved a range of cognitive processes such as paraphrasing, summarizing, and verbatim copying. Paraphrasing and summarizing were the main methods of discourse representation used by the participants when they verbally recalled the lecture. Those who correctly paraphrased more idea units recalled more content of the lecture. They were able to select and retain more idea units in their short-term memory, build more associations between the selected idea units, integrate them with the existing discourse structures and ensure contextual coherence in the construction of the local discourse structures. The findings of the study contribute to a better understanding of how listeners comprehend academic lectures and confirm that improving students’ paraphrasing skills and hierarchical discourse construction in recall are conducive to better comprehension of academic lectures.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages27
JournalApplied Linguistics Review
Early online date8 May 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 May 2024

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© 2024 De Gruyter Mouton. All rights reserved.

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