Anaphors in Casual and Controlled Talk groups of Iranian EFL Learners


1 Associate Professor of (Applied) Linguistics

2 M.A. in TEFL


By relying mainly on the accessibility approach to anaphora, this article intends to analyze the types, distributions and retrieval of anaphors in two forms of spoken discourse: casual and controlled talk. For the specific purposes of the study, twenty sophomore Iranian students were randomly selected to conduct the talks. The subjects were divided into two groups of casual and controlled talk. According to the settings and adopted topics, the overall casual talk group was further divided into two groups of dorm and academic talk. In the end, it was observed that as the talk situations vary, types, frequencies, distances, retrieval qualities and thematic structure (patterning) of anaphors undergo dramatic changes too. Further analyses of the obtained data show that the number of pronominal anaphors is by far more than NP anaphors in dorm casual talk whereas in academic casual talk the number of NP anaphors exceeds that of the former talk groups. However, the distribution of anaphors in the performance of controlled talk groups has shown to be more moderate with regard to the types of anaphors used in it. Overall, the distributional patterns of various anaphoric devices in different talk situations are considered to be a function of the speakers’ evaluation of the cognitive states of the listeners/addressees. Average distances and frequencies of the different types of zero, pronominal, and NP anaphors have also been shown to undergo dramatic changes as talk situations vary.    


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