5 Evaluation of Phrases 1: Role‐play
5.2.2 Visualisation of the three conversations
110 Replication of the GSLC interactions
These were the results of the 17 role-play sessions where the participants tried to replicate one of the conversations in GSLC, through following the instructions of the instruction cards:
In seven of the interactions a VOCA with Phrases 1 was used. Three of these interactions met the criteria for full replication (see 5.1.5), and the remaining four met the criteria for partial replication. The mean percentage of replicated communicative acts was 87.
Of four interactions where keyboard VOCAs were used, all four met the criteria for partial replication. The percentage of replicated communicative acts was 74.
Finally, in seven role-play conversations where other VOCAs with dynamic displays were used, one interaction met the criteria for full replication of the original conversation, the other six met the criteria for partial replication. The mean percentage of replicated communicative acts was 71. Thus, of 18 studied role-play interactions, all met the criteria for partial replication of the GSLC-conversations, and three met the criteria for full replication.
Figure 5.3. Conversations from GSLC and two role‐play shopping sessions. (Diagonal stripes = Speaking + Handling artefacts)
In all three conversations there seems to be a similar sequence of actions: greetings, requests by the customer, the sales assistant busy looking for information in the computer, while at the same time speaking to the customer, continued conversation without using the computer and then parting. A difference between the original conversation and the two role-play conversations is that in the latter the shop assistant had to wait for the customers to prepare their utterances. In the original conversation most waiting was done by the customer. In both VOCA conversations the person using the VOCA was also handling other artefacts. I the role-play with the Imagetalk it was the part where the customer hands over the written note. In the conversations with the SpeakOut the customer was adjusting the VOCA on his knee before he started writing.
In all three conversations the handling of artefacts by the shop assistant refers to his using the computer, since no purchase was made in these scenes. Something that is not obvious in the figure but is quite striking in the transcriptions, is that there were many overlaps in the conversation between the two speaking participants, but almost no overlaps in the conversations where the VOCAs were used.
Shop conversation using Phrases 1
The next example shows a role-play scene where there was a purchase and where a Dynamo with the shop vocabulary Phrases 1 was used:
C: TJENA HI
S: Hej hej
112 Hello hello
C: HAR NI MAGIC DO YOU HAVE MAGIC
S: Magic ja, det har vi här, The Gathering / Det finns (.) vi har två olika sorter(.) vi har både den här (.) och sen har ni har vi en eh (.) en lite mer enkel variant också ((handles the games while speaking))
Magic yes, we have it here, The Gathering / It is (.) we have two different kinds (.) we have this (.) and then you have we have a eh (.) a little more easy variety too ((handles the games while speaking)) C: S V Å R ((selects letters on the on-screen keyboard (H A R D))) S: Ursäkta
C: S V Å R ((selects letters on the on-screen keyboard (H A R D))) S: Du vill ha den svåra varianten ((looks at C))
You want the difficult version ((looks at C)) C: ((nods))
S: mm (.) det är den här då (.) den kostar
mm (.) it is this one then (.) it costs ((touches the box then checks the computer)) C: JA ((S continues to check the computer))
S: 89 det är eh ingen prisskillnad på den eh enkla och den dyra (.) dom kostar 89 båda två
89 there is no difference between the price for the easy and the expensive one (.) they cost 89 both of them
C: VAD BILLIGT THAT’S CHEAP
In the continued conversation (See Appendix F) the customer selects other pre-stored utterances from the VOCA: “Jag kan ju köpa den där (I can buy this one)”, “ Har du påse?
(Do you have a bag?)”, “Kostar påsen nånting eller? (Does the bag cost anything or)”, “Tack ska du ha (Thank you)” and “Jaha ja (.) Hej då (Well then (.) bye)”. There is a smooth flow in the conversation, as the customer manages to find most of the things she needs to say in the device.
Figure 5.4 shows a visualisation of the conversation that lasted 2.7 minutes. We can see that there was a lot of handling of artefacts. The shop assistant handled the games the customer asked about and checked the computer. He also used the cash register, put the purchased game in a bag and gave the bag to the customer, took money from the customer, put it in the till and gave her change back. The customer also did some handling of the money and the bag, but much less than the shop assistant. In the conversation the customer made 12 spoken contributions and two gestures that functioned as affirmations. The shop assistant made 15 spoken contributions. There
seems to be a certain flow in the conversation, and the use of the pre-stored expressions
“Vad billigt (That’s cheap)”, “Jag kan ju köpa den där ( I can buy this one)”, “Har du en påse (Do you have a bag?)”, “Kostar påsen nånting eller (Does the bag cost anything or)” and “Tack ska du ha (Thank you)” came naturally and appropriately, making the conversation resemble a conversation between two speaking participants. Due to the handling of artefacts by the shop assistant, the conversation looks like it has a more even distribution of waiting among the two participants – they both have to wait for each other now and again.
Figure 5.4. Role‐play conversation, the customer using a Dynamo
Role‐play conversation with issues
Another role-play conversation with the same participants highlights some issues regarding he use of VOCAs and of pre-stored phrases. In the conversation, which also took place in the games shop, the customer used a touch screen laptop with Clicker 4 that contained Phrases 1 and an on-screen keyboard. After greeting the shop assistant, the customer first asked for the game Scryon that was not in stock. She then asked for Magic, meaning the book. The shop did not have that either, so she decided to buy one of the books that she saw in the shop. The following transcription, which can be found in Appendix F, starts when the shop assistant has just told the customer the price of the game she wanted to buy but that they did not have in stock.
As can be seen in figure 5.5 and in the transcript, it took 2.12 minutes for the customer to tell the shop assistant that she wanted a book called (or about) magic. She started by asking “Do you have magic” and then continued to work with the device. It was not until she had repeated the request and looked up at the shop assistant that he took it as a finished contribution and started to answer it. This is an example of how important eye gaze is for regulating the turn taking, and also how easy it is to forget it, while trying to get to terms with a VOCA.
Figure 5.5. Role‐play shopping with shop vocabulary in Clicker 4.
The VOCA had a limited vocabulary, as well as being new to the person who used it. She had not gotten used to the on-screen keyboard and maybe she also wanted to see how she could manage without it, as many real users with limited literacy skills have to do.
This means that the person acting as a customer tried to find expressions to use in he vocabulary, even if she could not find exactly the ones she was after, When the shop assistant showed her a game and asked if that was the one she wanted, she first used a phrase that was meant to function as a discourse marker and used it to mean what the expression literally said: “Another thing”. The shop assistant took it as intended, as can be seen by his response: “Okay, not this”. The next creative move by the customer was at first not successful. She used the word “Heavy” to specify what she wanted, and that was not easy for the shop assistant to interpret, but in that specific situation and with a limited range of products to choose from, the shop assistant soon came up with the solution: “Not the game, one of the books maybe”. The customer agreed to that interpretation.
What this excerpt illustrates is also one of the disadvantages of the shop vocabulary: it has pre-stored phrases for a lot of communicative functions but not for most nouns and other content words and statements. (In other terms it has many core vocabulary items but few fringe words). The reason for this is that the content words were thought to be too personal and specific and also something that could be left to the users to put in the vocabulary: the things they would usually buy or be interested in talking about. The shopping list was seen as a place holder for this function and something that could suffice for the role-play sessions.