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Impact of English Interaction upon Chinese EFL Teachers' Pragmatic Competence in a Study-Abroad Context Open Access


Other title
study-abroad context
Chinese EFL teachers
English interaction
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Deng, Jun
Supervisor and department
Ranta, Leila (Educational Psychology)
Examining committee member and department
Kabata, Kaori (East Asian Studies)
Moussu, Lucie (English and Film Studies)
Alcón-Soler, Eva (English Studies, Universitat Jaume I)
Noels, Kim (Psychology)
Rossiter, Marian (Educational Psychology)
Department of Educational Psychology
Studies in Teaching and Learning English as a Second Language
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
This study is a longitudinal investigation in the effectiveness of interactive exposure on the acquisition of English requests in a study-abroad setting. Nineteen Chinese teachers, who taught English as a foreign language in China, attended a short-term teacher-training program in Canada and had access to opportunities for authentic interaction with native English speakers. Another 19 Chinese EFL teachers who had never been to an English speaking country served as the comparison group. Twenty English native speakers were also recruited to provide native norms for the pragmatics assessment measures. Three research questions were addressed in this study. First, I examined what kind of interactive exposure was accessible to the study abroad teachers, and investigated what types of interactive activities might contribute to pragmatics learning. Second, I examined whether study-abroad teachers demonstrated approximation to native speaker norms with regard to requesting through two tests: a written discourse completion task (WDCT) and an appropriateness judgment task (AJT). Finally, I explored whether the study-abroad experience had increased teachers’ confidence in teaching English pragmatics. The data analysis of the study-abroad teachers' logs showed that they were engaged in a much wider variety of English interactive activities than the at-home teachers. They also demonstrated a more significant growth in pragmalinguistic and sociopragmatic awareness in certain situations, but failed to acquire a full range of the native-like forms. Compared with native English speakers, the Chinese teachers used similar external modifiers, but less variety in request formulae and internal modification. They did not appear to realize that some strategies and formulae are context-based and scenario-specific. However, their confidence in teaching pragmatics was enhanced. The findings show that social interaction, cultural values, pragmatic transfer, social role, and living arrangement are factors affecting L2 pragmatic acquisition in a study-abroad context. The results also reveal that it is difficult for adult L2 learners to develop native-like pragmatic competence in a naturalistic setting, due to a lack of sufficient target language exposure, corrective feedback, and explicit pragmatic instruction.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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