Discourse Functions And Vocabulary Use In English Language Learners' Synchronous Computer-Mediated Communication


This study explores the discourse generated by English as a foreign language (EFL) learners using synchronous computer-mediated communication (CMC) as an approach to help English language learners to create social interaction in the classroom. It investigates the impact of synchronous CMC mode on the quantity of total words, lexical range and discourse functions of EFL learners’ writing from different genders (males vs. females). Thirty-two intermediate EFL students discussed four topics in four CMC sessions. The findings reveal that gender plays a major role in shaping the quantity of discourse (total words), lexical range (variety), and linguistic output (i.e., the quantity and type of discourse functions) the participants’ generated using synchronous CMC mode. Generally, the female participants produced more words, complex lexical range and output discourse functions than males in CMC setting. In addition, the study showed that the participants produced discourse functions shaped by the particularities of local social arrangements. Users found opportunities in the virtual world of CMC which enable them to blind their identities, so people in subordinate conditions such as females in certain conservative societies, EFL learners, and shy students may find CMC useful for fostering their communicative competence.

KEYWORDS: Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC), Discourse Functions, Lexical Range, Synchronous CMC, Gender.