Exploring Online Misconceptions in EFL Learners' Productive Intelligibility Strategies


1 , Department of English Language and Literature, Razi University, Kermanshah, Iran

2 Department of English Language and Literature, Razi University, Kermanshah, Iran


Productive intelligibility strategies used by EFL learners to make themselves understood in reciprocal interactions with their teacher and peers are essential for success in online English learning courses. This qualitative study aimed to identify Iranian basic-level EFL learners' reactions to online misconceptions by identifying their productive intelligibility strategies, which involve manipulating their linguistic productions and taking social and cultural norms into account. Content analysis and critical discourse analysis were applied to the interactional discourse of 50 learners with their instructor and classmates during a three-month online English course. The students used phonological, lexical, and grammatical efficient intelligibility techniques to target online misconceptions of their teacher and classmates. Nonetheless, due to the specific affordances   of the online learning context, learners' self-confidence, and the gravity of the misunderstood linguistic elements, discrepancies emerge in the subcategories of efficient intelligibility strategies. Furthermore, Iranian basic level EFL learners’ low level of language proficiency did not lead to their avoidance of reacting to misconceptions. They strategically reproduced power relations and recontextualized Islamic culture in targeting their teachers’ misconceptions in online context through a flow of dynamic interactions. The findings uncovered the potentials of online learning in shaping the linguistic and discursive aspects of learners' strategic productions.