1. Find an ESL speaker (the participant) who is willing to allow you to audio-record and analyse their spoken English. It is useful to find someone who speaks a language other than English that you also know well.
2. Prepare an information sheet explaining the project and a consent form on Griffith letterhead for you and the participant to sign before you record the conversation. Make sure the participant gets a copy. Include a copy of the information sheet and consent form as an appendix in your final assignment.
3. Audio-record a short conversation with the participant. The conversation should be natural and should not be rehearsed (e.g., ask them to tell you about a time something funny or interesting happened, or a time they were very happy, or a place they have visited). Record no more than five minutes worth of the conversation.
4. Type ten lines of the participant’s recorded speech (written exactly as you heard it) in normal script in a word document. Leave two lines free underneath each line. The second line is for identifying the non-standard features of the learner’s speech and the third line is where you reconstruct the speech in formal, standard English.
5. In the first line, highlight the non-standard features of pronunciation in YELLOW. Highlight the non-standard grammatical and morphological features (e.g., incorrect pronoun use, inaccurate tense formation, inappropriate verb inflections, missing plural or 3rd person ‘s’) in LIGHT BLUE. Highlight the non-standard features of syntax (word order) in LIGHT PINK. Highlight the non-standard lexical features (word choice) in LIGHT GREEN.
6. In the second line, devise a code or shorthand for analysing these features.
7. In the third line, reconstruct the features in standard English as best you can without losing the participant’s original meaning.
Your analysis will look something like this:
? Line 1: Participant writes: Ze bigfirtie go.
? Line 2: Language analysis line: [Write an IPA transcription of phonological features as you heard them] -past part. had (which means: missing past participle ‘had’). Mismatched S + V (which means ‘no agreement of Subject and Verb’).
? Line 3: Your reconstruction: Breakfast time had gone.
Attach this analysis to your participant profile (see part 2).
Part 2: Participant profile (1,500 words)
1. Write a profile of your participant. Introduce your participant by describing his/her gender, age, approximate language proficiency level, language learning experiences, cultural background, learning purpose, motivation and any other important information. Present the phonological features from your language analysis (it is best to summarise them in a table format) and explain whether they are interlingual or intralingual or some other type (a helpful resource is Douglas Brown (2007) Principles of Language Learning and Teaching, pp. 257-281). In the same way, present and discuss the grammatical (morphological and syntax) features of your learner’s speech.
2. Based on your analysis, identify the most urgent language learning needs of your participant and discuss some ways that teachers could address these needs. Use references to support your profile, following APA 6th style.
Note: Try to avoid referring to the non-standard features of learners’ speech as ‘errors’. This is now considered rather outdated. It is now considered less pejorative to talk in terms of cross-linguistic transfer or non-standard features of language.