Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Linguistics (Interdepartmental Program)

Document Type



This study seeks to uncover the characteristics of foreign language instructors’ discourse styles implemented in the classroom when teaching students the target language. Foreign language classrooms are unique to academia because the teachers of the language, depending on whether they are native or non-native speakers of the target language, learned it in different environments and for distinct purposes. Many of the previous studies examining the effect a teacher’s ability in the target language will have on his/her instruction have focused on native and non-native speakers’ teaching styles and/or methodologies. Rather than the effect on the teacher’s style, the central question in this dissertation is how an instructor’s native or non-native ability will affect his/her pedagogical discourse when presenting the target language to students. Through the analysis of data collected from university classrooms with native and non-native instructors, three salient variances in the instructors’ teaching discourse are revealed: the effect the L1 of the students has in presenting the L2, the pronouns used to address students and refer to speakers of the target language and the students’ native language, and the positioning and quantity of code-switching implemented in the classes. Due to the non-native instructors sharing the same L1 as their students, they have an advantage of identifying the learning process of their students. Furthermore, non-native instructors build solidarity with their students by consistently using the first person plural pronoun when comparing the forms and cultures of their and the students’ L1 to the forms and cultures of the target language. Code-switching in the classroom room is unique and different from that which is heard in speech communities. Contributing to previous literature on classroom code-switching, the present study reveals two significant motivations behind the instructors’ code-switching: a pedagogical tool and topic expansion. From the results revealed in this study, the non-native speakers are more pedagogically prepared to recognize their students’ progress in the acquisition of the target language and to answer questions their students have about the target language. These results further aid in the preparation of language teachers in order to improve the overall outcome of future language students.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Jeremy W. King



Included in

Linguistics Commons