Anja Schüppert (Groningen): Lecturing in L1 Dutch and in L2 English: A pairwise comparison of speech samples from two HE lecturers.

Abstract

Many higher education (HE) programmes in the Netherlands are currently taught entirely using English-medium instruction (EMI). In those programmes, the predominantly nonnative English-speaking students are very often confronted with nonnative English-speaking teachers. Previous research suggests that EMI speech is slower (Hincks 2010, Vinke 1995; Vinke, Snippe & Jochems 1998; Thøgersen & Airey 2011) and uses more formal rhetorical styles (Thøgersen & Airey 2011) than lecturers' native-language speech. Some investigations report more redundancy in EMI speech (Thøgersen & Airey 2011), others less (Vinke, Snippe & Jochems 1998).

This project replicates and extends parts of the previous studies by analysing audio recordings of teachers’ EMI and Dutch-medium instruction (DMI) speech samples. Speakers are two native speakers of Dutch each giving the same lectures twice to two comparable audiences: both lecturers give one lecture in L1 Dutch to native Dutch-speaking first-year students, and one lecture in L2 English to (mostly) nonnative English-speaking first-year students, all enrolled in the same Bachelor programme. This design enabled us to conduct a direct pairwise comparison of two lecturers in highly comparable settings.

Preliminary results confirmed previous findings that the number of repetitions, re-starts, and repairs does not seem to be directly linked to the language of instruction. Our data also confirmed previous studies reporting that lecturers had the tendency to transfer a specific message in a somewhat shorter amount of time in DMI than in EMI. In addition to this, our data revealed that lecturers used a more diverse vocabulary, and that they employed a wider pitch range in DMI lectures than in EMI lectures. Conclusions of these differences in lecturing tempo and style have to be drawn with caution, however, and potential implications for students' academic achievements and their development of language proficiency in Dutch as well as in English need to be investigated in a separate study.