What Lies Beneath?: Verbal Report in Interlanguage Requests in English

H.P Woodfield

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

29 Citations (Scopus)


The present study investigates the role of concurrent and retrospective verbal report in exploring the cognitive processes of six pairs of advanced ESL learners engaged on a written discourse completion task eliciting status-unequal requests in English. Qualitative analysis of the concurrent data indicate that (i) social contextual aspects of the discourse situation influenced pragmalinguistic and sociolinguistic choices in the planning phase and (ii) language-related episodes (Swain, Merrill & Lapkin, Applied Linguistics 16: 371–391, 1995, Swain, Merrill & Lapkin, Focus on form through collaborative dialogue: Exploring task effects, Longman, 2001, Storch & Neomy, Language Awareness 17: 95–114, 2008) evidenced participants' negotiation of lexical and grammatical choices in planning the requests. Metalinguistic data from the retrospective interviews indicate that (i) participants thought in both L1 & L2: there was evidence that L1 was employed in planning the organisation of discourse and in lexical search strategies, and (ii) participants experienced difficulty with the methodological requirement of a one-turn response in the written task and in recalling their linguistic hypotheses in the concurrent phase. The paper suggests that combining a form of paired verbal report with a written elicitation instrument in interlanguage pragmatics research may provide insights into the cognitive processes underlying the sociocultural and sociolinguistic choices in advanced L2 learners' written speech act production and could be used more extensively in such research.
Translated title of the contributionWhat Lies Beneath?: Verbal Report in Interlanguage Requests in English
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
JournalMultilingua: Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010

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