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Task dependent interlinguistic mediation performance as translanguaging practice: The use of KPG data for an empirically based study

Maria Stathopoulou 
PhD Thesis
Faculty of English Language and Literature
School of Philosophy
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens


This research is concerned with interlingual mediation, which involves relaying in one language information purposefully extracted from a source text in another language so as to restore communication gaps between interlocutors. Strategies for effective interlingual performance are essential in today's multilingual contexts, and the ability to mediate across languages is considered important by the influential Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). However, due to the monolingual paradigm still prevalent in mainstream foreign language teaching and testing, mediation has not received the attention it deserves.

Retrieving data from the KPG Task Repository and the KPG English Corpus, both of which have been compiled with information (tasks and scripts) from the Greek foreign language national exams known as the KPG exams –the only proficiency testing system which tests mediation performance, this project aims at exploring the complex nature of interlinguistic mediation in a testing context. The focus is on written mediation in English, produced by test takers on the basis of messages in Greek texts. By viewing mediation as inextricably linked to the tasks which instigate and thus affect performance, this work attempts a systematic linguistic description of KPG mediation test tasks by level, which leads to the construction of a task taxonomy, organised in terms of task characteristics. Task- dependent performance exploration follows. It is empirically investigated through the textual analysis of scripts, with a view to finding task dependent mediation strategies used for successful communication at different levels of proficiency. The KPG task and learner data are analysed using both top-down and bottom-up methodologies. Task analysis involving the systematic description of tasks on the basis of specified categories determined by the theory of language and the theory of writing which informs KPG task design, is a top-down method. Textual analysis of mediation scripts, which leads to an understanding of how task parameters affect written mediation strategies, is a bottom up method used to empirically develop a framework for the mediation strategy descriptors.

The methodology and results of this study may both be useful in that task and mediation strategy descriptors may facilitate the development of mediation levelled tasks for teaching and testing purposes, while they may also contribute to the creation of standardised measures and clear benchmarks for a more reliable assessment of mediation competence, thus providing a critical supplement to the CEFR and to the curricula of language courses interested in developing learners' interlinguistic competence.


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