Interactional modifications in text-based online chat and EFL question development

Document Type : Original Article


University of Guilan



The limited language exposure available to the learners of English as a foreign language (EFL) decreases their chance of utilizing two important practices- questions and interactional modifications- in their classrooms, which according to interaction hypothesis are influential in language development. This study thus explores the possibilities of Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL), and in particular, text-based online chat in increasing these opportunities. To do so, a total of eighteen paired intermediate EFL students were assigned to use a synchronous chat program to complete a set of seven communicative tasks outside their classroom over a period of seven weeks’ time. Their performance was later compared with that of the control group members who completed the same tasks but through in-class written interaction. The results show that participants in the former environment not only outperformed those in the latter in terms of both type and frequency of the interactional modifications, but also manifested higher level questioning abilities. However, since this study focused on the forms of questions rather than their cognitive value, further research is required to seek ways in which questions which call for speculative, inferential and evaluative thinking can develop.