Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 14. Number 4 December 2023                    Pp.384-394

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Language Functions in Undergraduate Classroom Discourse

 Cedra Baguilat Binalet
De La Salle University, Manila, Philippines
Ifugao State University, Ifugao, Philippines

 Jeffrey Dawala Wilang
Suranaree University of Technology
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand
Corresponding Author:


Received:08/05/2023         Accepted: 12/06/2023                Published:12/15/2023


This study investigates the multifaceted functions of language in undergraduate classroom discourse, focusing on how students utilize various language functions to enhance learning and communication in diverse educational settings. Through a descriptive qualitative analysis of classroom interactions, it reveals that students actively engage with both formal and informal teaching methods, fostering social interaction and critical thinking. Judgmental functions dominate the discourse, indicating a prevalent use of evaluation and critical analysis in student talk. However, the study also uncovers that responses to questions are multifaceted, often involving argumentative and informative discourse for deeper engagement with content. The research highlights the integral role of instructors in facilitating a classroom environment that promotes robust student discourse and equitable participation. The findings emphasize the need for educators to be aware of and integrate both recognized and uncategorized language functions into instructional strategies to support student communication and learning. Conclusively, this study provides insights into the dynamic application of language functions within classroom discourse and the crucial role of educators in guiding and enhancing this discourse. It suggests the necessity of further research into oral discourse in educational contexts, particularly the types of student explanations and clarifications, to refine teaching and learning practices.
Keywords:  Classroom discourse, classroom interaction, discourse analysis, language functions, undergraduate
students, students’ talk

Cite as: Binalet, C. B., &  Wilang, J. D. (2023). Language Functions in Undergraduate Classroom Discourse.  Arab World English Journal, 14 (4): 384-394.


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Received: 08/05/2023
Accepted: 12/06/2023 
Published: 12/15/2023 

Cedra Baguilat Binalet is an Assistant Professor III at the Ifugao State University, Philippines. She is currently taking Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Linguistics at the De La Salle University- Manila, Philippines. Her research interests include Semantics and Pragmatics, Discourse Analysis, Media Studies, World Englishes, and Language Teaching. She could be reached through her e-mail address at

Jeffrey Dawala Wilang is an Assistant Professor at the Graduate School of Foreign Languages, Institute of Social Technology, Suranaree University of Technology, Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand. He holds a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from the King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, an MA in Teaching English as an International Language from Prince of Songkla University (Hat Yai Campus), and a BA in Political Science from the University of Cordilleras (formerly Baguio Colleges Foundation). Jeffrey’s research interests are applied linguistics, psycholinguistics, English as a lingua franca (ELF), and English Medium Instruction (EMI).