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PROBLEM-SOLVING MECHANISMS IN L2 COMMUNICATION: A Psycholinguistic Perspective

  • Zoltán Dörnyei (a1) and Judit Kormos (a1)

Abstract

This paper investigates the various ways speakers manage problems and overcome difficulties in L2 communication. Following Dörnyei and Scott (1997), we distinguish four main sources of L2 communication problems: (a) resource deficits, (b) processing time pressure, (c) perceived deficiencies in one's own language output, and (d) perceived deficiencies in the interlocutor's performance. In order to provide a systematic description of the wide range of coping mechanisms associated with these problem areas (e.g., communication strategies, meaning negotiation mechanisms, hesitation devices, repair mechanisms), we adopt a psycholinguistic approach based on Levelt's (1989, 1993, 1995) model of speech production. Problem-solving devices, then, are analyzed and classified according to how they are related to the different pre- and post-articulatory phases of speech processing, and we illustrate the various mechanisms by examples and retrospective comments taken from L2 learners' data.

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Corresponding author

Address correspondence to Zoltán Dörnyei, School of English Language Education, Thames Valley University, Walpole House, 18-22 Bond Street, London W5 5AA, UK; e-mail: zoltandornyei@tvu.ac.uk.

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