ERIC Number: ED341286
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991
Reference Count: N/A
Seeking Clarification in Oral Tests.
This paper examines points in oral test interviews where an interviewee explicitly seeks clarification from the interviewer on the content of a question posed, prior to attempting to answer a question. Some of the interviews are drawn from the Finnish Foreign Language Diploma for Professional Purposes examination (Tyoelaman kielidiplomi); others are taken from foreign language test data collected at the Finnish Broadcasting Corporation (YLE). In each oral test interview, the interviewer was a native speaker of English (British or North American) and the interviewees, generally highly educated professionals, were native speakers of Finnish or Finland-Swedish. Four ways of seeking clarification were identified: (1) requests for partial clarification of the points raised in a question; (2) requests for full clarification of the points; (3) requests for clarification of terms; and (4) requests for clarification though nonverbal/paralinguistic signalling. The findings raised more questions than answers. It is suggested that the English native speaker interviewers in the sample attempted to place the test interview in an informal conversational mode, which was partially rejected by the Finnish interviewee. However, an intercultural difference in attitudes toward appropriate styles of discourse in the foreign language oral test interview may have been uncovered. (LB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: Communication and Discourse across Cultures and Languages. AFinLa Yearbook 1991; see FL 020 041.