An analysis of student persuasive impromptu speeches: A systemic functional linguistic approach

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2016-01-01
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Lockwood, Jeremy
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Tammy Slater
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English

The Department of English seeks to provide all university students with the skills of effective communication and critical thinking, as well as imparting knowledge of literature, creative writing, linguistics, speech and technical communication to students within and outside of the department.

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The Department of English and Speech was formed in 1939 from the merger of the Department of English and the Department of Public Speaking. In 1971 its name changed to the Department of English.

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1939-present

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  • Department of English and Speech (1939-1971)

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Abstract

Utilizing a textual analysis from a systemic functional linguistic perspective, this exploratory discourse analysis investigates the cohesive resources and thematic development involved in three effective and three ineffective persuasive impromptu speeches. The organizational and structural aspects of the assessment rubric used in evaluating these speeches are analyzed as well in an effort to connect examples in the language of the speeches to the more vague and abstract descriptors of the rubric. Key findings show that the effective persuasive impromptu speeches better involve cohesive resources than the ineffective ones particularly with reference, lexical cohesion, and conjunction. The ineffective persuasive impromptu speeches used more resources of certain types of cohesive devices; however, some of these resources were not used appropriately or as successfully as in the sample of effective speeches. Implications for teachers and rubric designers include (1) the importance of deliberate choices of cohesive language to appropriately signal the relationships between ideas, which can be brought into the classroom to promote successful thematic development and organization; (2) the potential value in using examples in rater training to illustrate differences in levels of achievement; and (3) the potential need to reconsider subjective assessment rubric descriptors to allow students and instructors to maximize their potential in performing and in providing feedback.

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Fri Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2016