The Korean Association for the Study of English Language and Linguistics

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Korean Journal of English Language and Linguistics - Vol. 21

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Korea Journal of English Language and Linguistics - Vol. 21, No. 0, pp.392-413
Abbreviation: KASELL
ISSN: 1598-1398 (Print) 2586-7474 (Online)
Received 06 Apr 2021 Revised 26 Apr 2021 Accepted 28 Apr 2021

The Role of Other-repair in English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) Communications
Kanghee Lee
Visiting Professor, University of Seoul, Tel: 82-2-6490-5224 (

© 2021 KASELL All rights reserved
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The present paper aims to explore other-repair strategies in ELF communication and to identify sequential features and patterns of other-repair practices used to initiate the negotiation of meaning. The data are based on naturally occurring ELF conversations among the international students at a university in the U.K., and Conversation Analysis (CA) approach was adopted to identify and analyse mechanisms of other-repair strategies in the data. The findings suggest that ELF speakers engage in diverse clarification and repair strategies to clarify unclear messages of the others’ talk and to offer elaboration and support in co-construction of meanings. The participants are found to employ other-repair strategies of lexical replacement, interpretive summarising, and lexical supporting. The ELF speakers in the data display and confirm their own understanding to the others by replacing and modifying troublesome items for explicitness and attempt to resolve ambiguity and uncertainty to achieve mutual understanding. Repair is not limited to rectify linguistic perturbation, but it is extended to comprehensible clarity and explicitness in a broader sense. The result of the study supports that ELF speakers do not take understanding for granted, but they work hard to achieve it by pre-empting understanding troubles before the occurrence and promoting explicitness.

Keywords: other-repair, English as a lingua franca (ELF), candidate understanding, clarification, support, let-it-pass, pre-empting strategy

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