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

  • Author / Creator
    Deng, Jun
  • 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.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2015-06
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3XP6VB83
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
    English
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
    Doctoral
  • Department
    • Department of Educational Psychology
  • Specialization
    • Studies in Teaching and Learning English as a Second Language
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Ranta, Leila (Educational Psychology)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Moussu, Lucie (English and Film Studies)
    • Kabata, Kaori (East Asian Studies)
    • Rossiter, Marian (Educational Psychology)
    • Noels, Kim (Psychology)
    • Alcón-Soler, Eva (English Studies, Universitat Jaume I)