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Review of Related Literature and Studies

This chapter contains the literature and studies, both local and foreign, reviewed by the

researcher which are related to this research.

Related foreign literatures

On Speaking Skills or Oral Communication

Theorists and practitioners bring their own experiences and perspectives to the situation thus,

the definition of speaking skills have many versions. Rivers (1972) states that speaking means

expression of metaphor, which illumines many aspects of our foreign language situation. Speaking

is vehicle of delivering meaning which people do not realize they are using it. Language is also a

tool to deliver thinking, emotion and feeling and need in order to communicate with each other.

To speak fluently and confidently in a variety of situations is a central human need and an

important goal of education.

Effective speakers of English have communicative oral competence. This particular type of

competence, according to Scarcella and Oxford (1992), consists of linguistic/grammatical

competence in grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation; pragmatic/sociolinguistic competence in

appropriate use of language for the context; discourse competence in coherence and cohesion; and

strategic competence in using communication strategies. Hedge (2000) adds fluency to the list,

which is most relevant to speech production.

Fluency is defined by Ellis and Sinclair (1989) as speaking spontaneously and meaningfully

with no extensive pauses or excessive repetition. Hedge (2000: 261) is more specific in her

definition: "Fluency means responding coherently within the turns of the conversation.- linking

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words and phrases, using intelligible pronunciation and appropriate intonation, and doing all of

this without undue hesitation." Faerch, Haastrup and Phillipson (1984 in Hedge 1993: 275) define

fluency in terms of competence as, "The speaker's ability to make use of whatever linguistic and

pragmatic competence they have." They include three types of competence: semantic which links

propositions and speech acts to give coherence; lexical-syntactic which links syntactical

components and words and, thirdly, articulatory fluency which links speech segments.

As Brown (1994) and Richards (1990) viewing, they divide oral communication into

monologues (planned and unplanned) and dialogues (interpersonal and transactional).

Interpersonal conversation "lubricates the social wheels," (McCarthy 1991: 136) develops social

roles and relationships and is relatively unpredictable. It ranges from an informal chat to a more

formal and predictable meeting or interview. Transactional conversations, on the other hand, tend

to be much more predictable as information is exchanged in order to fulfil a need such as at a

doctor's appointment or buying oranges at a greengrocers' or a market stall. Other types of genre,

such as story narratives, have a predictable pattern and an example can be found in Hedge (2000

265).

According to Nunan (1989) successful oral communication involves a number of important

features. These include the development of fluency and the ability to manage both transactional

and interactional dialogues, using both fillers as well as long and short turns. This negotiation of

meaning requires effective listening skills and speaking skills. Furthermore, it includes successful

articulation of sounds, as well as "mastery of stress, rhythm, intonation patterns." (Hedge

2000:296).

Brown (1994) identified certain typical speaking difficulties characteristics of spoken

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language that most learners find difficult. The following features as typical problem items:

clustering of words into chunks, breath groups or phrases; redundancy of language; reduced forms

such as contractions, elisions, reduced vowels; performance variables such as hesitations, pauses,

fillers, backtracking, and corrections; colloquialisms, idioms, slang and colloquial phrases;

delivery speed; stress, rhythm, and intonation (as English is stress-timed intonation patterns

convey important messages) and interaction with conversational negotiation.

In teaching oral communication, teachers should not limit students’ attention to the whole

picture but also the small parts, seeing the pieces to construct the whole. Teachers should consider

the micro skills and macro skills of speaking. The micro skills refer to producing the smaller

chunks of the language such as phonemes, morphemes, words, collocations and phrasal units. The

macro skills imply the speakers focus on the larger elements: fluency, discourse, function, style,

cohesion, nonverbal communication and strategic options. (Brown, 2001) Brown lists 16 items for

micro and macro skills of speaking, among them are:

1. Produce chunks of language of different lengths.

2. Orally produce differences among the English phonemes and allophonic variants.

3. Produce English stress patterns, words in stressed and unstressed positions, rhythmic

structure, and intonational contours.

4. Produce reduced forms of words and phrases.

5. Use an adequate number of lexical units (words) in order to accomplish pragmatic purposes.

6. Produce fluent speech at different rates of delivery.

7. Monitor their own oral production and use various strategic devices pauses, fillers, self-

corrections, backtracking-to enhance the clarity of the message.

8. Use grammatical word classes (nouns, verbs, etc.), systems (e.g., tense, agreement,

pluralization), word order, patterns, rules, and elliptical forms.

9. Produce speech in natural constituents: in appropriate phrases, pause groups, breath groups,

and sentence constituents.

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10. Express a particular meaning in different grammatical forms.

11. Use cohesive devices in spoken discourse.

12. Appropriately accomplish communicative functions according to situations, participants, and

goals.

13. Use appropriate registers, implicature, pragmatic conventions, and other sociolinguistic

features in face-to-face conversations.

14. Convey links and connections between events and communicate such relations as main idea,

supporting idea, new information, given information, generalization, and exemplification.

15. Use facial features, kinesics, "body language," and other nonverbal cues along with verbal

language in order to convey meaning.

16. Develop and use a battery of speaking strategies, such as emphasizing

key words, rephrasing, providing a context for interpreting the meaning

of words, appealing for help, and accurately assessing how well your

interlocutor is understanding you.

Martin Bygate, Speaking (1987), whose theoretical inputs concerning the elements of

speaking will be analyzed and their views compared. There are two basic aspects that Bygate

distinguishes when considering the skill of speaking. These includethe knowledge of the language

and the skill in using this knowledge. The knowledge of producing the language has to be used in

different circumstances as they appear during a conversation by means of the skill. The ability to

use the knowledge requires two kinds of skills, according to Bygate - production skills, and

interaction skills.

Production skills involve two aspects - facilitation and compensation, brought about by

processing conditions. Both devices help students, besides making the oral production easier or

possible, sound more naturally. Interaction skills, on the other hand, involve routines and

negotiation skills.Routines present the typical patterns of conversation including interaction and

information routines. Negotiation skills serve as a means for enabling the speaker and listener to

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make themselves clearly understood. This is achieved by two aspects: management of interaction

and turn-taking.

Jeremy Harmer, The Practice of English Teaching (2001), discussing the elements of

speaking that are necessary for fluent oral production, distinguishes between two aspects -

knowledge of "language features", and the ability to process information on the spot, it means

"mental/social processing".

The first aspect, language features, necessary for spoken production involves, according to

Harmer, the following features: connected speech, expressive devices, lexis and grammar, and

negotiation language. For a clearer view of what the individual features include, here is a brief

overview:

 connected speech–conveying fluent connected speech including assimilation, elision,


 linking ‘r’, contractions and stress patterning–weakened sounds);
 expressive devices–pitch, stress, speed, volume, physical- non-verbal means for conveying

meanings (supersegmental features);


 lexis and grammar–supplying common lexical phrases for different functions (agreeing,

disagreeing, expressing shock, surprise, approval, etc.);


 negotiation language–in order to seek clarification and to show the structure of what we are

saying. (Harmer 2001, 269-270)

In order to wage a successful language interaction, it is necessary to realize the use of the

language features through mental/social processing-with the help of‘the rapid processing skills’,

as Harmer calls them (p.271).‘Mental/social processing’includes three features language

processing, interacting with others, and on-the-spot information processing.

In order to speak, according to Swain's Comprehensible Output

Hypothesis, referred to Task-based learning, learners must practise speaking.

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On the basis of this hypothesis, Skehan (1996) identifies six purposes for

output. These include to negotiate meaning and thus improve input, to attend

to syntactic accuracy; to check predictions and hypothises; to promote

automaticity; to understand and manage discourse, and, lastly, to express

personal opinions in a personal voice.

Task-based language teaching has eight purposes.


1. to give learners confidence in trying out whatever language they know;
2. to give learners experience of spontaneous interaction;
3. to give learners the chance to benefit from noticing how others express
similar meaning;
4. to give learners chances for negotiating turns to speak;
5. to engage learners in using language purposefully and cooperatively;
6. to make learners participate in a complete interaction, not just one-off
sentences;
7. to give learners chances to try out communication strategies; and
8. to develop learners' confidence that they can achieve communicative goals.

C. David Mortensen, Communication: The Study of Human Communication (New York:

McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1972), Chapter 2, “Communication Models.”

1 . Th e Tr a ns m is si o n Mo d e l

The transmission model (Shannon & Weaver (1949) cited in Dwyer 2005, p.7) is concerned with

the transfer of meaning from the sender to the receiver . Communication is a one way process, as

indicated graphically in Figure 1.1:

Figure 1 The
transmission model of
one way communication

2 T he P ro c e s s

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Mo de ls

The transmission model was subsequently adapted to form the process models in which people

transmit, receive, interpret and respond to messages with feedback(Dwyer 2005).

The process models have seven main elements:

1 Sender

2 Message

3 Receiver

4 Feedback

5 Channel

6 Context or setting (environment)

7 Noise or interference

In the process models, a message is encoded by the sender through a communication channel,

such as voice or body language, and then decoded by the receiver. The receiver then provides

feedback. The process is influenced by the context of the situation and any noise or interference.

Figure 2 A process
model of
communication,
involving the
message, feedback
and interference of
some sort that
possibly inhibits
understanding of the message

3 More Re c e n t Mo de ls An d Th e o r i e s

Dwyer (2005) provides some of the more recent interpretations of the communication process.

These are summarised here.

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Ber lo 's Mo de l O f Th e Co mm u n ic a t io n Pro c e ss

Berlo's focus remained on the transmission model of communication. However, he introduced

more of the human elements, such as the relationship between the message channel and the five

senses (see Figure 1.2 in Dwyer 2005, p.11).

S ch ram m 's Mo de l Of Th e Co m m u n ic a tio n Pro c e s s

Where Berlo did not integrate feedback into his model, Schramm proposed that each person is

both an encoder and decoder as each one provides feedback to the other (Figure 1.3 in Dwyer

2005, p.12).

Bar nl u n d 's Tr a ns a c t io n a l Mo d e l Of Co mm u n ic a ti o n

Barnlund proposed six assumptions in the transactional model of communication (Dwyer 2005,

p.12). Communication process that is:

• continuous (it is no t a stat i c activity)

• dynamic (it is ever changing)

• circular (encoder to decoder to encoder to decoder etc)

• unrepeatable (every communication is unique)

• irreversible (once a message is received by the receiver then the message cannot be erased

[consider the implications of this when a judge asks a jury to disregard evidence in court])

• complex (involves language, power, relationship factors etc.)

Related local literatures

On Speaking Skills or Oral Communication

The definition of oral communicating ability “Exactly speaking, one’s ability of oral

communicating includes linguistic competence, communicative competence and tactical

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competence.” (文秋芳,1999)

Linguistic competence, which is the base of oral communication. We get this ability from

concrete teaching activities. That is to say we get correct information from teachers and books.

These things including pronunciation, intonation, grammar, vocabulary (Never just memorize

single English words. Learn the whole sentences and the phrases that contain the new words so we

may know how to use the words), etc. In this step, teachers from English native spoken country

are very important and advanced teaching materials are essential.

Communicative competence, which is distillation of those information we have got. We study

spoken English so as to make oral communications, so the importance of oral English study

should be: Fluency, Accuracy, and Appropriateness. That is to say, we have to pay more attention

to practical communicating ability instead of only laying emphasis on the grammatical

correctness. So, it needs us to master the rules of speaking, to know the cultural characteristics

well, to express properly and to use suitable styles under different situations or in special social

occasions.

Tactical competence means to use communication skills and to over- come troubles caused

by language shortcoming by using some other methods. Excellent personality is one of the

decisive factors in this step of oral English, staid persistence, patience; self-confidence and

determination are badly needed. And what’s the most important is one can act according the

circumstances.

Cai, Ji Gang(蔡基刚, 2002) found the problem existing of China students major in English

have studied English for years. Some of them had even passed TEM-4 and TEM-8, but due to

different features, their oral English are still poor. Students of the old teaching-system could no

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longer meet the need of the development home and abroad today. “The oral English tests of

universities have held for six times in all from January, 1999 to May, 2001. The number of

students who took these tests is accumulated to 32,107. But only 7.1% of them got A, who can

communicate on familiar topics in English; 50.7% of them were of ordinary level”. ( 蔡 基 刚 ,

2002)

“‘Context of situation’ has great influence in improving oral English deficiency. In China we

seldom have environment for English speaking. This situation is a disadvantage of oral English

study at present in our country”. (康志峰,1998)

There are many researches that aware of these problems and do

researches on them. For example, it is a research study about

exploring foreign students’ lack of speaking and writing skills in

English. The research which is titled “Dimensions of Difficulties

Mainland Chinese Students Encounter in the United States”

examined the difficulties Mainland Chinese students encountered in

the process of adjusting to American culture (Sun & Chen, 1997). In

this qualitative research a questionnaire containing 13 open-ended

questions was used to collect information about 10 Mainland

Chinese students who enrolled in a mid-size public university and

their adjustment process for three months. End of the research,

there were three dimensions of difficulties subjects: (1) lack of

language proficiency, (2) a deficiency in cultural awareness and (3)

academic achievements. So, the relevant conclusions from this

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study demonstrate that international students have problems

related to culture shock and to language in spite of high TOEFL &

GRE scores. And further studies, Sun and Chen would like to

research on these three dimensions more deeply and try to find

some solutions for them (1997). Another researcher, who studies on

Chinese EFL students language problems, points out in his research

about Chinese students language problems, especially in listening

part. According to his findings, these students` listening problem

occurs with the possible difference in discourse patterns between

English and Chinese (Yang, 2007). Besides difficulty in listening

skill, as Alderson points out L2 (second or foreign language)

students have more problems in reading skill than L1 students. L2

reading could be somewhat slower and less successful than L1

reading, because of the levels of readers’ proficiency, types of text,

text difficulty and task demands (2000). Moreover, Chikamatsu in

his study point outs that some students might not have been skillful

typists especially who use logo graphic languages such as Japanese

and Chinese, which have input processes different from those of

English and other Indo-European languages, computer use by

second language learners is relatively uncommon and its impact on

writing is uncertain (2003).

Yun Chen, (Oral English, culture, and strategies: Propellers and

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road-blockers in learning for Chinese international students) this

research seeks to highlight the communicative problems Chinese

international students. Many Chinese people believe that sufficient

English skills can lead to better careers with higher salaries in the

future. In order to obtain such skills many people in China decide to

study overseas. She cited Ballard and Clanchy (1997), international

students' insufficient communicative accountability in English also

contributes to negative teacher-student relationships.

Communication is the ultimate goal of learning a second language,

as it is "…at the heart of modern English language teaching"

(Luoma, 2004, p. ix). However, English learning classes in China

tend to focus predominantly on one or two of the four identified

language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing),

sometimes to the exclusion of the others (Gass & Selinker, 2008).

Research also indicates that speaking is usually the least developed

skill in language classes in China (Burnaby & Sun, 1989; O’Neill &

Gish, 2008).

Chen suggested that cultural and educational backgrounds play

an important role in students’adjustment. Accordingly, there is a

need for Chinese international students to be equipped with skills

and strategies to improve oral English in a naturalistic linguistic

environment. There are numerous approaches which may result in

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oral English proficiency, such as attending intensive English classes,

talking to native speakers, and self practising. All these approaches

reflect what is called “learning strategies”.

Furneaux et al (1991) pointed out that many non-native

speakers put too much emphasis on listening to lecturers and note

taking. They should be prepared to ask questions, pay attention to

their peers’ presentations, as well as improve their listening skills

and be more selective in note taking. In relation to oral

presentations, Chirnside (1986) suggests that the ability to select,

synthesize and formulate information from a written text or a tape

should also be improved.

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