CALICO Journal, Vol 21, No 2 (2004)

Computer-mediated Communication: Texts and Strategies

Sandra J. Sovignon, Waltraud Roithmeier
Issued Date: 7 Aug 2014


This paper considers evidence of the collaborative construction of texts and the use of communication strategies in asynchronous computer-mediated exchanges. A classroom model of communicative competence (Savignon, 1983, 1997) provides the theoretical framework for discussion. The data consist of two bulletin board discussions between a class of German students of English in a Gymnasium and a class of US students of German in a Midwestern high school. The discussions were analyzed for evidence of the collaborative construction of text and context (Goodwin & Goodwin, 1992) and strategies used to sustain the collaboration. The analysis illustrates the cohesion of the postings on both a micro- and a macrolevel. The texts also offer evidence of participant use of strategies to mitigate potential conflict. As an opportunity for the interactive construction of both text and context, computer-mediated communication (CMC) of the kind documented in this pilot study would appear to have potential for promoting intercultural exchange and participation in the interpretation, expression, and negotiation of meaning essential to the development of communicative competence. Analysis of such intercultural exchanges may also shed light on the process of communicative norm negotiation and stabilization.

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DOI: 10.1558/cj.v21i2.265-290


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