Self-repair Practices in a Chinese as a Second Language Classroom

Xiaofei Tang

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    The organization of repair plays the most significant role in language instruction. Insight into repair, informed by Conversation Analysis (CA), contributes to the development of second-language acquisition (SLA) and pedagogy. While a number of Chinese linguists have worked on the issue of repair with the Beijing and Taiwan Mandarin Chinese conversation data (e.g., Chui 1996; Tao 1995; Yang 2009), attention is rarely focused on Chinese as a second language (CSL) learners' self-repair and the repair devices applied in Chinese institutional talk. Also, the initiation and the outcome of each repair were not properly discussed, as these studies only analyzed the classifications of detailed repair methods. Therefore, this study aims to look into the details of L2 learners' self-repair devices in Mandarin Chinese classrooms, in order to inspire CSL teachers to reach out to L2 learners more effectively and successfully in an authentic teaching context. To do this, I investigated the two types of self-repair (i.e., self-initiated self-repair and other-initiated self-repair) and identified the appropriate repair practices in Chinese conversation. The analysis was based on 147-minutes of audio involving institutional conversation between four teachers and two CSL classes, drawn from a corpus recorded at Wuhan University, China. The results indicated two types of self-repair while the absence of other-initiation methods were noted in the data. Instead, the repetition of the original question was utilized by CSL teachers in order to emphasize and indirectly target the trouble source of the students' turns. Therefore, I concluded that although the CA-informed repair mechanism is highly applicable to Chinese conversations, some particular features of self-repair in the CSL classroom cannot be ignored.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)101-133
    JournalTaiwan Journal of Chinese as a Second Language
    Issue number2014.12
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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