Style and Lexical Choices in Teacher-Student Classroom Interaction

Chuka Fred Ononye


Effective linguistic choices and delivery methods are the basic ingredients to success in classroom teaching/learning, yet the language and style of classroom interaction have enjoyed little scholarly attention. The paper, therefore, investigated the styles and lexical choices in teacher-student classroom interactions to establish the role of language as a vehicle of the content and style in teaching/learning. The data consist of 10 teacher-student classroom interactions randomly recorded, transposed to writing, and subjected to stylistic and quantitative methods of analysis, with insights from relational semantics, text-linguistic and socio-linguistic stylistics. Two styles were observed in the discourse: evaluative style (used by the teachers) and informative style (used by both the students and teachers). Informative style is indexed by such lexical choices as register, synonymy, antonymy, hyponymy, and colloquialism that enter into paradigmatic relations. Evaluative style is characterized by collocation which keys into syntagmatic relation. While collocation (330: 32.1%) is the most prevalent lexical feature in the data, hyponymy (17: 1.7%) is the least. These stylistic features have proved to be the functional indices for underpinning the styles and lexical choices used in classroom interaction. Thus, they are important for the effective assessment of teachers’ competence, students’ learning progress, and the designing of school curricula.



Stylistics, Teacher-student interaction, Classroom discourse, Lexical choices

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