Advanced EFL university students’ academic oral presentations : a phonological perspective
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Delivering efficient oral presentations has become one of the musts within the repertoire of skills in several professional contexts and in diverse academic settings. In fact, according to Shalom, oral presentations contribute to further the knowledge on a certain subject and promote aims and interests for ongoing exploration of topics and inquiries in different disciplines (as cited in Ventola et al., 2002, p. 54). In university contexts, either at undergraduate or postgraduate levels, it is very frequent that while students are taking the necessary courses to become future professionals, they have to cope with the task of giving oral presentations with clarity and precision. For instance, they may have to develop topics during classes, to present findings of research, or to make an oral defense of an MA or a PhD dissertation. Furthermore, very often they may be required to make an oral presentation in a language other than their mother tongue, generally English, which means that speakers not only need to develop the necessary oral skills to speak in public, but they have to do so in a foreign language. This seemingly pressing need from academic contexts to give oral presentations effectively to facilitate message comprehension has led scholars within different fields to study this type of discourse. However, researchers such as Ventola et al. (2002) and Webber (2005), argue that even though a large volume of research about the differences between written and spoken language has been done, it appears that oral language in academic contexts (oral presentations, conferences, research/academic discussions, etc.) has not yet been fully explored.
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