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Negative Feedback in Child NS-NNS Conversation

  • Rhonda Oliver (a1)

Abstract

This paper reports on a study that examines the pattern of interaction in child native speaker (NS)–nonnative speaker (NNS) conversation to determine if the NSs provide negative feedback to their NNS conversational partners. It appears that just as children are able to modify their input for their less linguistically proficient conversational partners in first language acquisition (Snow, 1977), so too are children able to modify their interactions for NNS peers in the second language acquisition process and, in doing so, provide negative feedback. Two forms of NS modification were identified in this study as providing reactive and implicit negative feedback to the NNS. These were (a) negotiation strategies, including repetition, clarification requests, and comprehension checks, and (b) recasts. The results indicated that NSs respond differentially to the grammaticality and ambiguity of their NNS peers' conversational contributions. Furthermore, NS responses (negotiate, recast, or ignore) appeared to be triggered by the type and complexity of NNS errors, although it was more likely overall that negative feedback would be used rather than the error ignored. Additionally, evidence suggested that negative feedback was incorporated by the NNSs into their interlanguage systems. This indicates that not only does negative evidence exist for child second language learners in these types of conversations, but that it is also usable and used by them in the language acquisition process.

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Studies in Second Language Acquisition
  • ISSN: 0272-2631
  • EISSN: 1470-1545
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