Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2019

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors



First Advisor

Chase Raymond

Second Advisor

Barbara Fox

Third Advisor

Esther Brown


In this thesis, I systematically examine instructional practices of repair in a university program which pairs university students (referred to as instructors in this study) with immigrant employees (referred to as students in this study) for one-on-one English lessons. With a focus on less-educated individuals in non-academic (non-classroom) settings, this research is aimed at addressing a gap in the second language acquisition (SLA) literature. Specifically, I explore instances of breakdown in interaction wherein the learner makes an incorrect semantic association to a presented word based on its phonological similarities with a word they are more familiar with, which warrants resolution by the instructor. The thesis proceeds in three parts. First, I give an overview of different types of repair and the different work that achieving resolution requires from participants in the interaction. Second, using data that I collected from the university program, I use conversation analysis (CA) to compare two different repair strategies employed by the instructors. Third and finally, I present avenues for future research that may be taken to further explore these techniques, to help fill this gap in the literature, and more practically, to contribute to better practices of second language instruction. The ultimate goal of this research is to contribute to an improved set of protocols related to language acquisition among adult non-native speakers and those that would seek to teach them.