Online communication between native and non-native speakers of English

A critical discourse analysis study

Ahmed Kadhum Fahad, University of Cincinnati

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This study will investigate Facebook communication between native and non-native speakers of English. This communication is interesting and it is important to be studied for several reasons. First, the popularity of social networking websites especially Facebook and their use by ESL learners among themselves and with native speakers of English makes it important to investigate potential pedagogical implications of such kinds of interaction. Second, the analysis of this type of conversation mediated by technology in this context is essential to understand the power relations and the nature of the discursive practices used by ESL (English as a Second Language) learners when they interact with native speakers. The study will address the following questions: (1) what is the type of discourse involved between specialist native speakers of English (NS) and non-native speakers (NNS) in an online environment? (2) How does the online environment of this discourse affect the interaction of NNS and how do power relations play a part in mediating this discourse and negotiating meaning? (3) What, if any, pedagogical implications does this kind of discourse have for ESL classrooms? The analysis will follow Fairclough’s Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), specifically Fairclough’s approach of description, interpretation and explanation. A qualitative research methodology will be followed in analyzing the data for this study. The data set are transcripts of an online communication on Facebook between potential Iraqi graduate students and American educational specialists. The data is available on the Facebook page called StudyUSAIraq found at The transcripts are taken from one of the StudyUSAIraq Facebook posts on a subject related to MOOCS. The language used in this transcript is considered hybrid because it includes native and non native speakers of English. According to Kettle (2005), this text is called hybrid because it comprises a blending of both standard and non standard forms of English.

Ahmed Kadhum Fahad

MA., Doctoral Student, School of Education, Department of Literacy and Second Language Studies
University of Cincinnati