The Use of Conjunctions by Turkish EFL Learners in Independent and Integrated Speaking Tasks of TOEFL-IBT

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, ID CLEaR2015-242;

Cohesive devices in spoken discourse refer to ways in which speakers create 
cohesion in their speech to convey meaning and to make it easier for listeners to follow the ideas expressed in spoken language. The use of cohesive devices is crucially important in developing communicative competence in a second or foreign language. This research investigated the use of conjunctions, as a major type of cohesive and transitional devices, in the spoken section of a TOEFL-IBT preparatory course by Turkish-speaking learners of English. It attempted to uncover lack of candidates’ awareness of the use of  cohesive devices for attaining optimal semantic relationship of ideas in spoken language. 47 Turkish-speaking learners of English participated in this study. Participants were asked to record their one-minute speaking tasks of both independent and integrated sections. The recordings were transcribed and analyzed based on the concurrance  of frequency of conjunctions. The frequency of different types of conjunctions was compared using T-test. The findings demonstrated that four types of conjunctions were found in the data collected. The most frequently used conjunctions in the speaking tasks of TOEFL are additive, causal, adversative, and sequential transitional devices in order of frequency. This research also shows that the type of speaking task affects the use of different cohesive devices. More specifically, the use of cohesive devices is denser and more frequent in the integrated task of reading, listening and speaking tasks than in the independent speaking task in isolation. The findings of this research has implications for teaching as well as testing cohesive devices.

Keywords: Cohesive devices, conjunctions, EFL students, oral performance, TOEFL-IBT