Use of film dialogues as a model of natural conversation for developing conversational proficiency
This study is informed by the theories of spoken discourse analysis, and aims to locate authentic materials that will facilitate the development of conversational proficiency and are easily available in EFL contexts. The study first reviews the nature of conversation and describes several dimensions of natural conversation, which are concerned with purposes of conversation, norms of conversation, conversational rules and structures (i.e., openings and closings, topic management, turn-taking mechanisms), repairs, and formal features of conversation as spoken language. In order to see if textbook materials for teaching conversation play the basic role of providing authentic samples of conversation, the study critically evaluates two conversation textbooks that are currently published in Korea. The analysis of the textbook dialogues shows that they fail to present learners with the way people actually speak. Four possible reasons are discussed, then the study suggests the use of feature films as instructional materials and investigate film dialogues. In order to see whether they are authentic enough to substitute genuine conversation, eleven samples from two currently released feature films (Notting Hill and Bridget Jones’s Diary) are analysed. The results show that even though there are some difficulties and limitations, film dialogues more closely approximate natural conversation than the textbook dialogues and thus they can be presented as a model of natural conversation. To illustrate how they can be exploited in a classroom, the study first looks at two major approaches to the teaching of conversation and argues that the direct approach is more appropriate than the indirect approach in Korea. It then suggests ways of making the most of the features identified through the analysis and offers a sample lesson with a rationale for the plan including a commentary on the activities and tasks. The process of analysing samples highlights the importance of teachers’ having a good understanding of the theories of spoken discourse and skill of implementing the analysis, so the study suggests that study of discourse analysis be one of the main components of teacher training and in-service education programmes.