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PhD supervision meetings in an English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) setting: linguistic competence and content knowledge as neutralizers of institutional and academic power
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2017 (English)In: Journal of English as a Lingua Franca, ISSN 2191-9216, E-ISSN 2191-933X, Vol. 6, no 1, 111-139 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The present paper investigates PhD supervision meetings, using material from naturally occurring speech of ten hours by PhD supervisors and students who all use English as a lingua franca (ELF) for research purposes. The recordings have been transcribed in their entirety, with conversation analytical procedures and additional ethnographic interviews with the PhD supervisors. The present paper is a follow-up to the two previous studies by the author (in European Journal for Applied Linguistics 3[2], 2015, and The Routledge Handbook of English for Academic Purposes, 2016) and focuses on linguistic competence and content knowledge as factors possibly mitigating the power asymmetry present in the interactions. The findings show no observable power asymmetries manifested in the interactions or in the interview responses by the supervisors. The analyses showed that the supervisors’ and the students’ level of linguistic competence seemed very similar, which was further supported by the supervisors’ self-reports of their own English and their informal evaluations of their students’ levels of proficiency. When it comes to content knowledge, the students overall showed very good command of their subjects, disciplinary conventions and their projects in general, further supported by their supervisors’ evaluations in the interview data. Based on these findings, it is suggested here that in ELF interactions of this particular type where the speakers have similar levels of linguistic competence and content knowledge, power asymmetries become less visible.

Abstract [sv]

Den här artikeln handlar om doktorandhandledningsmöten och är baserad på inspelningar av 10 timmars interaktion mellan handledare och doktorander som alla använder engelska som lingua franca (ELF). Alla inspelningar har transkriberats i sin helhet och analyserats genom att använda metodprocedurer tagna från samtalsanalys. Etnografiska intervjuer har genomförts med handledarna i anslutning till inspelningarna för att få ytterligare information om dessa samtals natur. Denna artikel är en uppföljare till författarens två tidigare studier (Björkman 2015. PhD supervisor–PhD student interactions in an English-medium Higher Education (HE) setting: Expressing disagreement. European Journal for Applied Linguistics (EUJAL) 3(2). 205–229; och 2016. PhD adviser and student interactions as a spoken academic genre. In Ken Hyland & Philip Shaw (eds), The Routledge Handbook of English for Academic Purposes, 348–361. Routledge.) och fokuserar specifikt på språkfärdighet och maktobalans i handledningsmöten. Studiens resultat visar att handledarnas och doktorandernas språkfärdigheter är lika. Detta resultat bekräftas av handledarnas bedömningar av sina egna och av doktorandernas språkfärdighetsnivåer. Av inspelningarna framgår även att doktoranderna i studien har mycket goda ämnes- och disciplinkunskaper, vilket bekräftas av handledarna i intervjuerna. Baserat på dessa resultat kan man konstatera att maktobalanser blir mindre synbara när talare har liknande språkfärdigheter och ämneskunskaper.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 6, no 1, 111-139 p.
Keyword [en]
English as a lingua franca, PhD supervision, power, linguistic competence, content knowledge
Keyword [sv]
Engelska som lingua franca, doktorandhandledning, makt, språkfärdigheter, ämneskunskaper
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-141356DOI: 10.1515/jelf-2017-0005ISI: 000405938700005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-141356DiVA: diva2:1086837
Available from: 2017-04-04 Created: 2017-04-04 Last updated: 2017-08-21Bibliographically approved

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