Doing Repair in Native - Non - Native Talk: A Conversation Analytic Study of Thai - English Interaction

  • Luqman Mayi Princess of Naradhiwas University
Keywords: repair activity, NS/NNS interactions, comprehension, misunderstanding


Using conversation analysis (CA), the study examines the occurrences of conversational repair activity on grammatical trouble-sources and comprehension checks in interactions between three native speakers of English (NS) and three Thai non-native speakers (NNS) of English in a casual language setting outside the language classroom they were attending at York St John University. The Thai non-native speakers of English were selected among the beginning English learners at the university level and the three native speakers are also chosen based on their non-linguistic teaching background. The three pairs of NS/NNS interactions were audio-taped to explore 1) the main types of ungrammatical utterances produced by each Thai non-native speaker, 2) the dealing procedures of each native speaker with ungrammatical trouble-sources, and 3) the occurrence of repair patterns used by the native speakers for comprehension checks in NS/NSS interactions. The analysis disclosed that the repair activity was only initiated in the case of grammatical errors that did not affect comprehension in native – non-native talk. The finding indicates that the English native users generally accept the grammatical mistakes made by the English learners only if the meaning appeared understandable in natural talk. This study raises the language awareness of how natural conversation in English-speaking society is practically used to assist non-native English teachers in focusing on how communicative language approach should be used in the language classroom.