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American Association of University Supervisors, Coordinators, and Directors of Language Programs

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AAUSC SPOTLIGHT: Topics in Everyday Discourse: American Students with Their Chinese Peers

  • 22 Nov 2019
  • 3:30 PM - 3:45 PM (EST)
  • 204A

This study identifies what topics may emerge in authentic discourse between American college students and their Chinese peers, and how topics may change in such discourse over time. Nine American students from two programs in China and their nine Chinese roommates participated in this study. They submitted 1070 minutes of audio recorded conversations. Semi-structured interviews were also conducted with each participant.

Using a grounded theory approach (Creswell, 2013), this study identifies 17 recurring topic categories. There was a "here and now" tendency (Kinginger, 2008); for example, while "everyday life" occurred in every student's recording, "family" was not a frequent topic. Next, by focusing on two students, the findings show that the organization of the topics are jointly constructed between the interlocutors. This comparison highlights factors to consider when matching students with their Chinese hosts, such as their academic background and how they interpret gender.

Program Guide Description:

Based on audio-recorded conversational data (total=1,070 minutes) collected from 9 American students and their Chinese roommates over the course of one semester, this study identifies 17 frequently discussed topics in the peer conversations. It further focuses on two students to demonstrate two distinctive types of topic developmental trajectories.

Yi Wang, University of Arizona

Wenhao Diao, University of Arizona

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