ADAMA SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF HUMANITIES AND LAW, DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH INVESTIGATING THE CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR DEVELOPING PRAGMATICCOMPETENCE OF EFL STUDENTS: THE CASE OF ST. JOSEPH SCHOOL IN ADAMA By KORIE SHANKULIE Advisor: HAILELEUL ZELEKE (PHD) JUNE 2012
INVESTIGATING THE CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR DEVELOPING PRAGMATIC COMPETENCE OF EFL STUDENTS: THE CASE OF St. JOSEPH SCHOOL IN ADAMA By Korie ShankulieA Thesis Submitted to School of Humanities and Law, Department of English in partial fulfillment for the requirement of Master of Arts degree (MA) in English JUNE 2012 Adama
DeclarationI declare that the research paper hereby submitted to Adama scienceand Technology University for the degree, Masters of English hasnot previously been submitted by me or anyone else for a degree atthis university or any other university, but it is my own work in designand execution and that all materials contained therein HAVE beenfully acknowledged. ____________________________ ___________________________ Korie Shankulie Date
ADAMA SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF HUMANITIES AND LAW DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH (GRADUATE PROGRAM) Investigating the Challenges and Opportunities for Developing Pragmatic Competence of EFL Students: the Case of St. Joseph School in Adama By Korie Shankulie Approved by the Board of Examiners:Name SignatureAdvisor_________________________________________ ______________________External Examiner__________________________________________ _______________________Internal Examiner__________________________________________ _______________________
AcknowledgmentsI sincerely thank my advisor, Dr. Haileleul Zeleke, for his insightful comments, professionalguidance and detailed advice throughout the development of this thesis. I remain greatly indebted tohim again for his fruitful comments and suggestions at the very earliest stage of the thesis. I am verymuch indebted to the kindness, patience and warm-welcome he has shown me in the course of time.I owe my gratitude to Dr. Luc Journe, for his constructive comments reading the first three chaptersof this work.I am also grateful to my friends: Muktar Hussein, and Taddele Mognehode, for their enthusiasm andwarm-hearted encouragement.I would like to express my particular gratitude to my mother, Soreti Dewano, for her unfailingmoral support.Finally, I wish to acknowledge all the students and teachers who completed the questionnaires. Mythanks especially go to those teachers who allowed me to observe their classes. Korie Shankulie, -I-
List of Figures and TablesList of Figures PageFigure 1.Models of Communicative Competence……………………………………………………..…17 List of TablesTable 1. Checklists for Absence or Presence of the Pragmatic Features.................................................62Table2.Communicative Acts in the Textbooks...........................................................................................64Table 3.Frequency Communicative Acts in each textbooks…………………………………..………….69Table 4.Pragmatic Contents of Grade 10th English textbook………………………………………..…..70Table 5.Grade11Textbook Pragmatic contents………………………………………………………….74Table 6.Challenges related to Teachers’ Training Programs……………………………………...........74Table 7.Whether any lesson received helped the teachers or not………………………………..............72Table 8.Challenges related to Students Textbooks………………………………………………….…...76Table 9. Do the teachers include any lesson in their daily plan to teach pragmatics?.............................76Table 10.Why teachers do not teach pragmatic aspect of English language?..........................................77Table11.General Perception of Teachers about opportunities to learn pragmatics in EFL context……78Table12. Classroom Observation Results………………………………………………………………..80Table 13.Learners’ Language Skills Proficiency Background…………………………………………..83Table 14.Exposure to the English Language outside the Classroom……………………………………84Table 15. Learners’ Self-perceived Sociolinguistic Competence………………………………………..86Table 16. Learners’ Self-perceived Discourse Competence………………………………………..........88Table 17. Learners’ Self-perceived Pragmatic Competence…………………………………………….89Table 18.Scaling the difficulty Level of Communicative Acts…………………………………………....92 -II-
Table 19. Table 19. MDCT Score Description………………………………………………………..…99Table 20. The MDCT score of the students by group…………………………………………….........100Table 21. Summary of MDCT Situation and the Weight of Distance, Power, and Rank of Imposition………………………………………………………………………………..…..101Table 22.Sources of Students’ Pragmatic Knowledge………………………………………………….101 -III-
List of Acronyms UsedL1…………………………………..first languageL2…………………………………. second languageFL…………………………………… foreign languageEFL………………………………… English as a foreign languageILP…………………………………interlingual/language pragmaticsSLA………………………………..second language acquisitionSPCC………………………………self-perceived communicative competenceMDCT………………………………multiple choice discourse completion test -IV-
ABSTRACTThis paper investigates the challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in EFL context.Learners often find the area of language use difficult. Teachers are advised to explicitly teach pragmaticfeatures of language and make use of authentic models of language to help learners practice usingappropriate language in social contexts. In spite of this, information about pragmatic aspect of languageand pragmatic-focused instruction is lacking in an EFL Ethiopian context classroom. Textbooks andteachers are an integral part of language teaching in general in an EFL setting where there are noopportunities to learn the language informally outside the classroom. However, the textbooks almostnever provide adequate pragmatic information for students to develop successfully their pragmaticcompetence. The findings indicated that there is a scarcity of pragmatic information contained in theEnglish for Ethiopia, and the variety of pragmatic information is limited. Most of the metalanguageexplanations are simple; and there are no metapragmatic explanations at all.It is fairly possible to infer from the teachers’ response that well-designed teacher training and teachingmaterials should be in place for teachers to develop students’ pragmatic competence. Moreover, theteaching hours to cover the issue of pragmatics; thus, to properly manage each lesson may solve thecurrent problem of teaching pragmatics in the classroom. The results of this study also showed thatteachers seldom use pragmatic instruction in classrooms, and mostly students have to spend time bythemselves developing pragmatic competence without explicit instruction. Overall, the pragmaticsinstruction is immature and needs to be developed, and teachers need professional training to be awareof how to teach pragmatics effectively. Although the learners’ self-perceived competence mean scorewas high, their MDCT result was low; and this confirmed that self-perceived competence and the actualperformance never match. This is why according to Dewaele (2007) higher levels of self-perceivedcompetence are linked to lower levels of communication which in fact has to be further investigated inour own context.The research was entirely qualitative except that some simple statistical calculations were used tocompute the frequency, mean and percentage of the numerical data. The data were drawn from thecontent analysis of two student textbooks (grade 10 &11), responses of four teachers teaching grade 9-12 and self-perceived competence and pragmatic awareness test results of 183 students. The findings ofthis study have implications for teaching pragmatics to EFL learners, the development of pragmatic-focused materials, future research and well-designed teacher training. -V-
Table of contents PageAcknowledgements…………………………………………………………………………………….IList of Tables and Figures…………………………………………………………………………….IIAcronyms……………………………………………………………………………………………...IVAbstract………………………………………………………………………………………………..VCHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION…………………………………………………………………1 1.1.Background…………………………………………………………………………………….1 1.2. The Rationale for the Current Research………………………………………………………3 1.3.Statement of the Problem……………………………………………………………………...4 1.4.Objectives of the Study………………………………………………………………………..8 1.4.1.General objective…………………………………………………………………………..8 1.4.2.Specific objectives…………………………………………………………………………8 1.5.Research Questions……………………………………………………………………………9 1.6.Significance of the Study……………………………………………………………………...9 1.7.Delimitation of the Study……………………………………………………………………..10 1.8.Limitation of the Study……………………………………………………………………….10 1.9.Organization of the Study…………………………………………………………………….11 1.10. Definitions and Abbreviations……………………………………………………………...12CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE……………………………………….13 2.1.Communicative Competence……………………………………………………………….13 2.2. Communicative Performance………………………………………………………………15 2.3.Models of Communicative Competence……………………………………………………15
2.4. Pragmatics………………………………………………………………………………….17 2.4.1.Dimensions of Pragmatics………………………………………………………………18 2.4.2.Pragmatic Competence………………………………………………………………….19 2.4.3.The Importance of Teaching Pragmatics………………………………………………..19 2.4.4.Teachability of Pragmatics in EFL Setting…………………………………..................21 2.4.5.Pragmatic Instructions: Explicit vs. Implicit……………………………………………232.5.Communicative Function (Speech Acts)……………………………………………………24 2.5.1.Describing Speech Acts………………………………………………………………….25 126.96.36.199.Speech Acts of Apology……………………………………………………………..26 188.8.131.52.Speech Acts of Compliments………………………………………………………..28 184.108.40.206.Speech Acts of Complaints………………………………………………………….31 220.127.116.11.Speech Acts of Refusals……………………………………………………………..33 18.104.22.168.Speech Acts of Requests……………………………………………………………..34 22.214.171.124.Speech Acts of Gratitude…………………………………………………………….352.6.Challenges for Teaching Pragmatics………………………………………………………...38 2.6.1.Challenge Related to Course Books……………………………………………………39 2.6.2.Challenge Related to Courses in Teachers’ Training……………………………………39 2.6.3.Challenge Related to Language Class Size……………………………………………..41 2.6.4.Challenge Related to Teachers Sense of Self-Efficacy…………………………….…..41 2.6.5.Challenge Related to the Attitude toward English Language…………………………..41 2.6.6.Learners’ Level of Target Language Proficiency……………………………………….42 2.6.7.Challenge Related to Pragmatics Teaching Methods…………………………………...42 2.6.8.Challenge Related to the Availability of Authentic Inputs……………………………...43
2.7.Possibilities/Opportunities for Teaching Pragmatics in EFL Classroom…………………….44 2.7.1.The Role of Language Teacher’s Talk……………………………………………………45 2.7.2.The Role of Textbooks………………………………………………………………........46 2.7.3.The Role of Culture……………………………………………………………………….47CHAPTER THREE: METHODS AND PROCEDURES OF THE STUDY……………………….50 3.1. Methods of the Study………………………………………………………………………50 3.2. Research Design……………………………………………………………………………50 3.3. Procedures of the Study……………………………………………………………………50 3.4. The Data……………………………………………………………………………………51 3.4.1. Content Analysis Sampling Process…………………………………………………..52 126.96.36.199. Sampling Units for the Content Analysis……………………………………….....52 188.8.131.52. Data Coding Scheme for Content Analysis……………………………………….53 184.108.40.206. Procedure of Content Analysis…………………………………………………....53 3.5. Participants………………………………………………………………………………..54 3.6. Procedure for Collecting Data……………………………………………………………54 3.6.1. Data Sources……………………………………………………………………….54 3.6.2. Research Setting………………………………………………………..................54 3.6.3. Sampling………………………………………………………………..................55 3.7. Tools of Data Collection………………………………………………………………55 3.7.1. Questionnaire……………………………………………………………..............55 3.7.2. Classroom Observation………………………………………………………….56 3.7.3. Discourse Completion Test……………………………………………..............56 3.7.4. Content Analysis…………………………………………………………...........57
3.8. Procedure for Data Analysis………………………………………………………….59CHAPTER FOUR: DATA ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION…………………………..604.1. Pragmatic Content Analysis of the Textbooks......................................................................614.2. Pragmatic Features Contained in each Textbooks.................................................................69 4.3. Questionnaires for Teachers.......................................................................................73 4.4. Classroom Discourse Observation.............................................................................79 4.5. MDCT for Students…………....................................................................................82 4.6. Learners’ Self-perceived Communicative Competence............................................85 4.7. MDCT Scores and Descriptions…………………………………………………….97CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY OF RESEARCH RESULTS,CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS……………………………………………...103 5.1. Summary of Research Results....................................................................................103 5.2. Conclusions.................................................................................................................104 5.3. Recommendations.......................................................................................................106 5.4. Implications.................................................................................................................110Bibliography................................................................................................................................I-XXVAppendices……………………………………………………………………………………..I-XXIIAppendix 1: Textbooks’ Pragmatic Content Evaluation Checklist…………………………….IAppendix 2: Questionnaire for Teachers………………………………………….....................IIIAppendix:3 MDCT for Learners……………………………………………………………….VIIAppendix:4 Classroom Observation Checklist…………………………………………………XIIIAppendix:5 Communicative Acts in the Textbooks……………………………....…………….XVAppendix:6 Self-perceived Competence Questionnaire ……………………………..................XX
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION 1.1. BackgroundLearning a foreign language is regarded nowadays as an essential component in the curricula atdifferent educational levels. In particular, learning the English language has become necessarygiven its widespread use throughout the world according to House and Kasper (see, Martinez-Flor,2004). However, in order to make learners become communicatively competent in the Englishlanguage, there is a shift from previous theoretical frameworks, which considered language as aformal system based on grammatical rules, towards a more communicative perspective (ibid).Alcaraz (see, Martinez-Flor, 2004) points out that the shift from language usage rule to languageuse rule was possible due to the advent of pragmatics as a specific area of study within linguisticsthat favored a focus on interactional and contextual factors of the target language (TL).English is more of a foreign language than a second language in Ethiopia. This mainly is becauseEnglish is used so infrequently in daily life outside the classroom and students do not have theopportunity to learn the language informally. Thus, the main way students have been expected tolearn English has been by using it as a medium of instruction. As put forward by Heugh, K. (2006)role of English in Ethiopia, at least outside the educational system, resembles more closely that ofcountries where English is considered as a foreign language than that of countries where it isconsidered a second language used relatively widely as a lingua franca (e.g. In some urban settingsin Kenya). Contrary to this Amlaku (2011) argues that speaking English, or at least mixing Englishwhile using a local language, is perceived by the majority of the societies as a sign of beingeducated and modernized. Despite all weaknesses, English is increasingly getting acceptance andstamina in Ethiopia for purposes of both domestic and foreign interactions and transaction otherthan in the educational contexts as subject and medium of instruction.As international and cross-cultural communication has become part of everyday life in Ethiopia,pragmatic competence should be an important asset to a person and thus, rehearsing pragmatic skillsalongside other linguistic aspects should be one of the objectives of language teaching in formaleducation. In Ethiopia, formal instruction of English or the learning environment, most commonlycomprises of a non-native language teacher, a fairly large classroom full of learners with verydissimilar aptitudes, and the teaching materials, which refer to anything that can be used to facilitate
the learning of a language, such as textbooks, printouts, or grammar books. Teaching authenticlanguage use, which resembles the way the language is used in the “real world” outside theclassroom, in these circumstances is very challenging and the teaching materials should play anintegral role in offering the students a model of real-life language use.Although language teachers have the right to develop their own materials, the most commonly usedmaterials are only published textbooks. As Vellegna (2004) aptly points out, the textbook is oftenthe very center of the curriculum and syllabus. In such cases, textbooks used should be carefullydesigned, to make sure that they are perfectly in line with the learning objectives and learners’ need.Basically, the chosen textbook should provide all the important linguistic inputs outlined for eachstage of learning and life outside the school. However, studies have shown (for example Vellegna2004, Peiying, 2007; 2008) that textbooks rarely provide enough information for learners tosuccessfully acquire pragmatic competence.Similarly, knowledge about how conversations work and what the sociocultural norms and practicesare in each communication culture is often inadequately presented in the textbook contents(Bardovi-Harling 2001:25). In order for students to learn how language really works, they needauthentic materials of authentic communication situations. The demand for pragmatic input isparticularly relevant when upper secondary school teaching materials are concerned, because at thislevel, students are expected to be quite proficient language users. In other words, at upper secondaryschool stage, they are at an advanced level and competent to understand the subtleties of English.Most students in upper secondary school study English as their compulsory language, that is, thelanguage that has started in the lower stage of the comprehensive school and that is obligatory to allstudents.Practicing pragmatic abilities in a classroom requires student-centered interaction. The teachingmaterials should provide a relatively wide range of exercises designed to rehearse thesociopragmatic knowledge of students. In a similar vein, Kasper (1997) suggests the inclusion ofactivities such as role-play, simulation, and drama to engage students in different social roles andspeech events. The activities in the textbooks provide valuable opportunities to practice thepragmatic and sociolinguistic skills that students need in their everyday interactions outside theclassroom.
Pragmatic competence can also be acquired through raising awareness on the pragmatic aspects ofsecond/foreign language, and in this process, the metalanguage, that is, “a language which is used todescribe language” (Lyons 1995: 7), can assist significantly. In teaching and learning of anylanguage, metalanguage is essential, both in classroom interaction and within the teaching materials.In language instruction context, metalanguage helps the learners to understand the key elements ofthe target language and the major differences between the target language and the learner’s L1.Evidently, as the learner’s metalinguistic awareness increases, the level of language proficiencyincreases as well (Renou 2001: 261), and therefore the teaching materials should be rich inpragmatic metalanguage and teachers should also be aware of the significant role of learningpragmatics.In conclusion, this study entirely focused on challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmaticcompetence. Besides, it was the intent of this research to evaluate teachers’ perception of thetextbooks content in terms of their pragmatic content. Furthermore, it was the concern of this studyto look at what teachers think are impediments for them to deliver pragmatic instructions in the EFLsetting. 1.2. The Rationale for the Current ResearchIt is might be questioned that why some researches of this kind are conducted and what main causemotivated the researcher to study the problem in question. Hence, this research has its own groundsto be conducted for.1. The first motive of conducting this research largely grew from a belief that the teaching ofvocabulary and grammar is not enough to enable learners to become competent and naturalisticusers of English.2. The other rationale is to provide enough information or basic guidelines for teachers to starttackling the area of pragmatics in the classroom; at least in an informed, logical and confidentpedagogical manner.3. It is also necessary to provide some basic or essential information on pragmatics, and to be ofpractical use to teachers who are interested in, but have little knowledge of, pragmatics in a foreignlanguage context.Many literatures depict that people who are trained with pragmatics are finding more positionsrelated to teaching, research, editing, forensics, trade, negotiation, corpus analysis, computer
programming, among other things. Indeed it is related to any work with a touch of language. To thisend, the study aims at investigating the challenges side by side with the opportunities/possibilities ofdeveloping pragmatic competence of learners in an EFL context. 1.3. Statement of the ProblemLearning a language is more than just acquiring a simple understanding of the rules of grammar;learners must be able to use the language as well. This use is needed far beyond the classroom, in avariety of situations, where politeness and tact will help soothe tensions and open doors forcommunication. Each context has its unique traits that require unique forms of language. Pragmaticability is this context-dependent use of language (Christiansen, 2003:1). If language learners want tofunction smoothly in a society, their pragmatic ability is of utmost importance. Wolfson (see,Christiansen, 2003) points out: People do not normally take offense or make negative character judgments when a nonnative speaker mispronounces a word or when grammatical errors are made; indeed, such differences as those which result in a foreign accent are often found very charming. Errors in rules of speaking are a very different matter. An inappropriate question or the failure to utter the customary apology, compliment, or congratulations will not be judged as an error natural to the process of language learning or indeed, of intercultural differences, but as a personal affront. (p. 1).Pragmatic ability is not only fundamental to the smooth functioning of society; it is also a crucialskill for students who intend to study abroad in another language. According the body of literatures,although it is such an important aspect of language, pragmatics did not receive considerableattention in the English as foreign language contexts. For example, (Peiying, 2007 and 2008; andVellegna, 2004) evaluating the pragmatic content of the English language textbooks, foundrespectively: • neither English textbooks nor English classroom teaching provide adequate pragmatic input to learners with regards to quantity and quality of pragmatic input, • the extent of pragmatic knowledge in college English textbooks and classroom teaching is limited and predominantly concentrates on metapragmatic information, metalanguage, speech acts, cultural information, • pragmatic information in the textbooks and classroom teaching is randomly distributed,
• the pragmatic input is taught explicitly with limited tasks and task varieties, • the content(information-based) approach reflecting an information-transmission model neglects the appropriate use of the target language, essential for effective communication, and affords students with few opportunities for interactive learning and the use of English for real purpose. • textbooks include a paucity of explicit metapragmatic information, and teachers’ manuals rarely supplement adequately (Vellegna, 2004).The above mentioned research findings in other words could be challenges to teaching pragmaticsin an EFL context. Nevertheless, there is a scarcity of research on pragmatics in the setting of thecurrent research. Pragmatics plays a very important role in the process of language teaching andlearning because it draws the teacher’s attention to the development of the learner’s communicativecompetence, which is now considered the goal of the language teaching process (Celce-Murcia,et.al. 1995; Vellegna, 2004; Garcia, 2004 and Peiying, 2007).English language textbooks present the language to students in terms of written and spokenlanguage, but their presentation of the language may not be as comprehensive as the one studentsneed to succeed in communication. However, textbooks play vital role in English language teaching(ELT), especially in the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) classroom where they provide theprimary, perhaps the only, form of linguistic input (Kim and Hall, 2002 in both Vellegna, 2004 andPeiying, 2007). Textbooks are, hence, one of the challenges being faced by the teachers becausethey rarely provide adequate pragmatic information for students to successfully develop theirpragmatic competence.Further studies also suggest that teachers seldom bring in outside materials related to pragmatics, asa result of which heavily relying on the contents of the textbooks to teach pragmatic ability isunlikely (Vellegna, 2004). Vellegna again argues that textbook developers could include authenticexamples of speech acts and sufficient metaprgamatic explanations to facilitate acquisition ofpragmatic competence (2004:1). If both classroom teachers and textbook writers do not strive forthe inclusion of pragmatic materials to substantiate the textbooks, students will lose pragmaticability; the ability to use language appropriately according to the communication situation (Garcia,2004:1). Garcia further points out that if students do not have the pragmatic ability, they will lackthe ability to:
understand a speaker’s intentions; interpret a speaker’s feelings and attitude; differentiate speech act meaning, such as the difference between a direct and commissive; evaluate the intensity of a speaker’s meaning, such as the difference between a suggestion and a warning; recognize sarcasm, joking, and other facetious behavior; and be able to respond appropriately (p. 1-2).Vellegna (2004) opines that acquisition of pragmatic competence in English through textbooks ishighly unlikely, given that the amount and quality of pragmatic information provided in thetextbooks (p.1). Beside this Peiying (2007:1) asserts ‘there is a dearth of pragmatic informationcontained in …textbooks and the variety of pragmatic information is limited.’ Peiying furthercontends that most of the metapragmatic explanations are simple indicating the inadequacy ofpragmatic inputs in the textbooks.The current Ethiopian upper secondary school’s English textbooks are written by foreigners, yetmost materials have been written based on the intuition of the textbook writers (CARLA, 2011:2).There seems to exist a shared belief that native English speakers just know intuitively how tointeract in their language and should be able to explain the social use of the language to the learners.However, this commonly shared belief is not necessarily true; in fact, a native speakers intuition issometimes unreliable (ibid). By intuition they mean that textbook developers may not have realexperience of the textbook users to include good amount of pragmatic lesson in the textbook.Similarly, Rover (see El-okoda, 2010:191) points out that although pragmatic competence isconsidered to be a major component of communicative competence, little attention has been paid totesting it in the literature. Likewise, EFL student teachers’ curriculum and in-service professionaldevelopment program lack the inclusion of good amount of pragmatic aspect of language teaching(Cohen, 2008).In addition, pragmatic errors are more serious than grammatical ones and people who speak withpragmatic errors are often considered impolite; sometimes they could be interpreted as breach ofetiquette (Boxer and Pickering, 1995; Bardovi-Harlig and Mahan-Taylor, 2003). Hence, it isimperative for learners to acquire the ability to properly use language.
Equipping Ethiopian students with communicative competence in order to help them communicateeffectively in all walks of their lives and international communication is truly essential. English hasbeen used as a medium of instruction from grade 7 or 9 upwards since long time ago, but problemsin learning and teaching English have been observed ever since (Jarvis, as cited in Amlaku, 2010)had given his personal account of experiences and observations. Presently, says Amlaku for his part‘[teachers] at schools and employers in industries have been complaining about the low levelEnglish language competence of students and graduates, respectively’ (p.9). But what are thechallenges that pull back language learners not to competently communicate when there is a need todo so?Although there have been studies about communicative language teaching in Ethiopian schools, theinvestigation on pragmatic information in English textbooks used in Ethiopia has not yet beenconducted. Similarly, whether there exist any additional pragmatic features in teacher’s book as aresource for teachers has not been questioned. Likewise, whether English language teachers bring inoutside materials to help learners develop pragmatic competence has not yet been investigated inthe setting of the current research.There is paucity of pragmatic contents and their presentations are marginalized as compared toother language items. There are no courses offered to pre-service language teachers in the area ofpragmatics as a result of which teachers do not supplement textbook with inputs to help learnersacquire pragmatic competence. Although it is vitally important to acquire communicativecompetence, there are no research emphases in the area of pragmatics in the present research area.The current research, therefore, looks into the challenges and opportunities in teaching pragmaticsto language learners in the EFL context and the way forward to it. 1.4. Objectives of the Study 1.4.1. General Objectives of the StudyThe major objective of the present study was to investigate the challenges of teaching pragmatics inan EFL setting; by means of analyzing textbooks in terms of their pragmatic contents; exploringopportunities/possibilities of teaching pragmatics in an EFL setting; discovering whether studentscan choose appropriate language in a given situation; and forwarding possible recommendationsbased on the research results.
1.4.2. Specific Objectives of the StudyThis study was aimed to evaluate the communicative competence of Ethiopian EFL learners,specifically those in St. Joseph School, through the discourse completion test analysis. In thisregard, the present study had three specific objectives: Analyzing English textbooks on the basis of thanking strategies, apologizing strategies, complimenting strategies, complaining strategies, refusing strategies, and requesting strategies presented in Aijmer (1996); and Ishihara and Cohen, (2010). Analyzing the discourse completion data collected from St. Joseph 10th and 11th grade students, Investigating the challenges teachers in EFL setting, particularly those in St. Joseph School, were facing in teaching pragmatic aspects of the English language,Considering these concerns, the aim of this study was two-fold: to deal with those theoreticalapproaches that inform the process of learning speech acts in particular contextual and culturalsettings; and, secondly, to present a variety of methodological proposals, grounded on research-based ideas, for the teaching of the major pragmatic features in foreign language classrooms. 1.5. Research QuestionsOne of the main purposes of English language education in Ethiopia can be to cultivate thecommunicative competence of Ethiopian EFL learners. Many innovations have been made toimprove English education contexts and cultivate the communicative competence of Ethiopianstudents. The notion of communicative syllabus has been adopted from various theories of languageteaching and learning which in fact reflects this innovation atmosphere of English languageeducation policies in Ethiopia. The notion of communicative competence has had a very powerfulinfluence on every aspect of language teaching. English language textbooks have been published onthe basis of communicative syllabus since very recently. Whereas, ‘communicative competence isnot on the list of items learned, but a set of strategies for realizing the value of linguistic elements incontext of use is on the list’ Widdowson(see in Chang, 2004:1 ).In order to attain the above objectives, this study attempted to answer the following questions: 1. To what extent do the students’ textbooks provide pragmatic information for learners to acquire pragmatic competence?
2. What are the challenges perceived by high school teachers to develop students’ pragmatic competence? 3. How do the teachers perceive students’ textbooks pragmatic contents-are they challenges or opportunities for them? 4. Do students choose appropriate language based on a provided situation/context? 5. To what extent do teachers consider other possibilities than the textbook, for teaching pragmatics in an EFL setting? 1.6. Significance of the StudyThe need to teach pragmatics in a target language has been demonstrated in studies conducted in thefields of interlanguage and crosscultural pragmatics which indicate that the performance ofpragmatic features may differ considerably from culture to culture, thus creating communicationdifficulties in cross-cultural encounters.In this research an attempt was made to examine the socio-pragmatic aspect of the students’textbook, the challenges faced by teachers and the availability of opportunities to teachingpragmatic competence to EFL learners. Generally, this research is expected to have the followingsignificance: 1. It can help syllabus designers to revise English language syllabuses to include substantial quantity of pragmatic features and the quality of their presentations in the textbooks. 2. The research would also be worthwhile resource for teachers who are interested to develop their own teaching materials for teaching pragmatics/speech acts. 3. The research would be helpful for textbook writers to consider including the substantial amounts of the pragmatic aspect of the English language in the English language textbooks and wishing to have an informed opinion on the pedagogical implications derived from research on pragmatics/speech act performance. 4. It fills the research gap that exists in studying challenges and possibilities to teaching pragmatics in an EFL setting of Ethiopian context. 5. Above all, the research would be of importance for the other researchers to look into the field attentively.
1.7. Delimitation of the StudyIt is not an easy task to make an investigation of the challenges and opportunities of developing thepragmatic competence in an EFL context. It would have been a good idea if the research work ofthe present kind had addressed all micro level approaches to pragmatics: indexicals, presupposition,implicature and speech acts. The present research, however, confined itself to the study ofpragmatic competence with particular emphasis on some speech acts and challenges to teachingpragmatics along with the existing opportunities, if any, in the context of English as a ForeignLanguage. Another concern was that it needed sufficient time, human power and financial resourcesto incorporate all upper high schools in the Adama Town in the current research. 1.8. Limitation of the StudyThis study was believed to have certain constraints. Researches of the present kind require practicalor experimental examination of the respondents’ awareness of pragmatics aspects of language use.Many such experimental research works are available since the coming into attention of pragmaticsbeginning from 1970s. In spite of this fact, the search for local research works could not be able toavail any related works undergone at home. This in turn has hampered and limited the depth of thecurrent research.In addition to the above points, lack of both multimedia resources and laboratories for conductingexperimental research in the schools while the learners practice language use, was a hurdle for thecurrent research. Furthermore, the research was first designed to be conducted on homemadeEnglish language textbooks. Unfortunately, the new textbooks authored by foreign writers cameinto use in the middle of the research work and they are voluminous in size. This might also throwsome light on the result of the present research.Researches in the area of pragmatics (Ishihara, N. and Cohen, A. 2010) recommend that varioussources of data can be employed while undertaking a study: intuition and introspection, discoursecompletion tasks (DCTs), role-plays, recording of natural conversation; and field observation ofnatural conversation. However, due to the time, financial and material limitations the currentresearch employed only discourse completion tests, questionnaires, textbook content analysis andclass observation.
1.9. Organization of the studyThis study is divided into five chapters. Chapter One, presents an overview of the study in whichthe background to the research, rationale for the research, the objectives, the research questions, thescope of the study, the limitation of the study as well as the organization of the study were brieflypresented. Chapter Two, reviews the theoretical issues relevant to the study includingcommunicative competence, pragmatics and pragmatic competence, speech act of complaining,refusing, apologizing, requesting, complimenting etc. and the challenges and possibilities ofteaching pragmatic competence to the EFL learners. Chapter Three, discusses issues ofmethodology and outlines the study design, data collection instruments, reliability and validity testof the data collection instruments, procedure of data collection, selection of subjects and analyticalframework. Chapter Four, presents the data analysis and discusses the findings on the challengesand possibilities of teaching pragmatic competence in EFL setting. Chapter 5, provides an overviewof major findings and conclusions, implications, and suggestions for further research.1.10. Definitions of the Study terms/ Technical Terms(Online Language Dictionaries. http://www.wordreference.com/definition/sociolinguistic)Sociolinguistic/pragmatic transfer: refers to the learners’ strategy of incorporating nativelanguage based elements in target language production and behaviour.Pragmatic failure/deviance: it is a communicative failure that results from lack of compatibilitybetween speakers’ intent and hearers’ standards for acceptability.Sociocultural competence: refers to the speakers’/writers’ ability to determine the pragmaticappropriateness of a particular speech act in a given context.Speech act information: speech act information in this study consists of 3 categories-types ofspeech act, numbers of linguistic form provided for each speech act, and exercises or tasks using thespeech acts the students have just learned in each particular unit.Usage: refers to the explanations about the usage of any linguistic forms and of any grammaticalfeatures, expressions, phrases, or words which could enhance pragmatic knowledge of the students.Politeness: refers to the use of appropriate language considering different social factors, includingsocial distance, age, role relationships, and so forth, between the speaker and the interlocutor in thegiven contexts.
Register: refers to the sort of social genre of linguistic use. It comprises three dimensions-field,tenor, and mode. Field refers to the social setting and purpose of the communication. Tenor refers tothe relationship between interlocutors or participants in the event. Mode refers to the medium ofcommunication as in spoken or written.Style: refers to variations within registers representing choices along social dimensions. In thisstudy, it refers to the degrees along formality-casualness continuum.Cultural information: in the present study refers only to the information about culture that one hasto know and be aware of when communicating verbally in order to avoid pragmatic failure orbreakdown in communication. Therefore, other information about cultures, for example, music orfood was ignored in the present study.Quality: refers to the amount of details or explanation, the complexity or variety of examplesprovided in the context.MDCT refers loosely to a pragmatics instrument that requires students to read a written descriptionof a situation and select what would be best to say in that situation from a set of choices.
CHAPTER TWO REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE 2.1. Communicative CompetencePeople in virtually all locations of the globe are more mobile than ever, and more likely to traverseinto cultures different from their own. Literally and figuratively, the walls that separate us aretumbling down. Though we may not have fully become a "global village," there is no denying thatthe various cultures of the world are more accessible than ever before, and that the peoples of thesecultures are coming into contact at an ever increasing rate. These contacts ultimately compriseinterpersonal encounters. Whether it is the negotiation of an arms treaty, or the settlement of abusiness contract, or merely a sojourner getting directions from a native, cultures do not interact,people do. Communicative/interactional competence in such intercultural context is thereforemandatory.According to Bara (2010) the term competence refers to that abstract set of capacities which thesystem [communication system] possesses, independently of the actual use to which thosecapacities are put. Performance, instead, refers to the capacities actually exhibited by a system inaction (Bara, 2010:203).Therefore, the term “communicative competence” is comprised of twowords, the combination of which means competence to communicate. “Competence” is one of themost controversial terms in the field of general and applied linguistics according to various works inthe area.In some literature, it is also broadly called intercultural communication competence that it isconsidered very broadly as an impression that behavior is appropriate and effective in a givencontext. Normally, competence is considered as ability or a set of skilled behaviors. However, anygiven behavior or ability may be judged competent in one context, and incompetent in another.Consequently, competence cannot inhere in the behavior or ability itself. It must instead be viewedas a social evaluation of behavior. This social evaluation as pointed out by Spitzberg (2009:380) iscomposed of the two primary criteria -appropriateness and effectiveness.
As stated by Spitzberg (2009) Appropriateness means: …the valued rules, norms, and expectancies of the relationship are not violated significantly. Effectiveness is the accomplishment of valued goals or rewards relative to costs and alternatives. With these dual standards, therefore, communication will be competent in an intercultural context when it accomplishes the objectives of an actor in a manner that is appropriate to the context and relationship (p. 380).The phrase ‘Communicative Competence’ currently in use was primarily coined by the USanthropologist Dell Hymes according to Leung, C. (2005:2). The notion is intended to replaceNoam Chomskys dichotomy of competence and performance. Competence is the knowledge ofrules of grammar, performance, is how the rules are used. Speakers draw on their competence inputting together grammatical sentences, but not all such sentences can be used in the samecircumstances: Close the window and would you mind closing the window, please? are bothgrammatical, but they differ in their appropriateness for use in particular situations. Speakers usetheir communicative competence to choose what to say, as well as how and when to say it.In the words of Georgakopoulou, and Goutsos, (2001) communicative competence is a relative termin that, for example, a phrase like “I think I deserve a drink too” could be factually stating thespeaker’s wish to buy herself a drink; or it could be expressing a complaint to the person who hasnot bought the speaker a drink; or it could be indirectly soliciting the hearer’s offer (p. 3).Generally, this example may suggest that there is no hope for successful communication in oureveryday life, since we can utter so many speech acts in so many different ways. However,surprisingly we do establish the link between linguistic form and function in a specific environmentin which they occur and interpret speech acts accurately.Generally, communicative competence is not a matter of knowing rules for the composition ofsentences and being able to employ such rules to assemble expressions from scratch as and whenoccasion requires. ‘It is much more a matter of knowing a stock of partially pre-assembled patterns,formulaic frameworks, and a kit of rules, so to speak, and being able to apply the rules to makewhatever adjustments are necessary according to contextual standards’ Widdowson (1989:135).
2.2. Communicative PerformanceThe idea once competence is acquired, performance will take care of itself is false (see Widdowsonin Ohno, 2004). According to Widdowson, there are two distinguished aspects of performance: Useand Usage. ‘Usage’ makes evident the extent to which the language user demonstrates his/herknowledge of linguistic rules, whereas, ‘Use’ makes evident the extent to which the language userdemonstrates his ability to use the language rules for effective communication. This can besummarized as: Performance Use rules of socioculture social context Usage rules of grammar linguistic contextIn keeping with this Ohno (2011) opines that linguistic context focuses on usage to enable thestudents to select which form of sentence is contextually appropriate, while social context focuseson use to enable the students to recognize the type of communicative function their sentencesfulfill(p,28). 2.3. Models of Communicative CompetenceLife in this contemporary globalized world commands respective challenges in communication andbrings nearly everyone into contact with people of other languages and cultures. Through thiscontact cultures make people require exchanging cognitive notions, thoughts and precepts, and to doso a strong medium is required. Foreign and second language education has developed to unravelthe challenges the present and prospective interlocutors encounter, by emphasizing on learning howto communicate successfully with others speaking a different language and living a differentculture. On the basis of this reality various authors have developed different models ofcommunicative competence.The first comprehensive model of communicative competence, which was intended to serve bothinstructional and assessment purposes, is that of Canale & Swain (1980), further elaborated byCanale (1983) as shown in (Kasper and Kenneth 2006; Martinez-Flor & Uso-Juan, 2006 & 2008and Celce-Murcia, et.al 1995). This model posited four components of communicative competence:1. Grammatical competence - the knowledge of the language code (grammatical rules, vocabulary,pronunciation, spelling, etc.). Grammatical or formal competence, which refers to the Chomskyanconcept of linguistic competence(Alptekin, 2002:57); it is the native speaker’s knowledge of the
syntactic, lexical, morphological, and phonological features of the language, as well as the capacityto manipulate these features to produce well-formed words and sentences.2. Sociolinguistic competence - the mastery of the sociocultural code of language use appropriateapplication of vocabulary, register, politeness and style in a given situation). Sociolinguisticcompetence, as said by (Alptekin, 2002:58), deals with the social rules of language use, whichinvolve an understanding of the social context in which language is used. Such factors as the role ofthe participants in a given interaction, their social status, and the information they share, and thefunctions of the interaction are given importance. Social context here refers to the culture-specificcontext embedding the norms, values, beliefs, and behavior patterns of a culture. Appropriate useof the language requires attention to such constructs. Pragmatic knowledge is also subsumed underthis model according to Bachman and Palmer (see in Bagaric and Mihaljevic, 2007; Celce-Murcia,2007).3. Discourse competence - the ability to combine language structures into different types ofcohesive texts (e.g., political speech, poetry). Discourse competence, which is the ability to dealwith the extended use of language in context. This is ordinarily achieved through the connection ofa series of sentences or utterances to form a meaningful whole. These connections are often quiteimplicit: ideas are linked to each other based on general knowledge of the world as well asfamiliarity with a particular context. Where these conceptual and experiential bonds are weak orinadequate, the meanings inferred from them are likely to be erroneous.4. Strategic competence - the knowledge of verbal and non-verbal communication strategies whichenhance the efficiency of communication and, where necessary, enable the learner to overcomedifficulties when communication breakdowns occur. The summary of various models ofcommunicative competence are presented in the following diagram.
Canale and Swain (1980) Canale (1983) Bachman and Palmer (1996) Grammatical Grammatical Language Knowledge Competence Competence Strategic Organizational Knowledge Strategic Competence Competence Grammatical KnowledgeSociocultural SocioculturalCompetence Competence Textual Knowledge competence Discourse Competence Pragmatic KnowledgeFig 1. Models of Communicative Competence (in Bagaric and Mihaljevic, 2007:102) 2.4. PragmaticsPragma-is etymologically traced back to the Greek language and refers to activity, deed, affairs(Trosborg, 1994:5). However, linguistic pragmatics is to be distinguished from non-linguisticpragmatics, i.e. pragmatics in the domains of the sociologist, psychologist, the ethno methodologist,the literary scholar, and so on. There are numerous definitions of pragmatics, and one of interest insecond language pedagogy has been proposed by Crystal (in Kasper and Kenneth, 2001: 2) as “thestudy of language from the point of view of users, especially of the choices they make, theconstraints they encounter in using language in social interaction and the effects their use oflanguage has on other participants in the act of communication.”In other words, pragmatics is the study of communicative action in its sociocultural context. Thisseems to deal with what many teachers find a very challenging and complex area; how do we helpour students understand what the effects of inappropriate language use will be, how do we equip ourstudents to know when and how to be polite, to be casual, to be direct or authoritative etc.Unanimously (Kasper and Rose, 2001; Rose and Kasper, 2002) indicated that communicativeactions include not only using speech acts (such as apologizing, complaining, complimenting, andrequesting) but also engaging in different types of discourse and participating in speech events ofvarying length and complexity in various contexts.According to Andrian, et.al (2003), ‘pragmatics is fundamentally about how the context of usecontributes to meaning, both semantic meaning and speaker’s meaning. The core topics of
pragmatics are indexical, presupposition, implicature, and speech acts, but in reality there is no limitto the ways in which context can influence meaning’ (163). Fromkin and Others (2011) alsocontend that pragmatics is concerned with our understanding of language in context. According tothem, there are two kinds of contexts that are relevant to understand language. The first is linguisticcontext-the discourse that precedes the phrase or sentence to be interpreted; the second issituational context-virtually everything nonlinguistic in the environment of the speaker and hearer.Situational context includes the speaker, hearer, and any third parties present, along with theirbeliefs and their beliefs about what the others believe. It includes the physical environment, thesocial environment/milieu, the subject of conversation, the time of the day, and so on, and infinitum(p. 167). This implies almost any imaginable extra-linguistic factor may, under appropriatecircumstances, influence the way language is interpreted.Almost these all definitions of pragmatics have some features in common i.e. language meaningfrom the point of its users and various contexts (situations) of language use do exert some sort ofpressure on communication meanings. 2.4.1. Dimensions of PragmaticsBasically, the study of pragmatics deals with areas such as deixis, conversational implicature,presupposition, conversational structure/conversation analysis and speech acts. So far variousstudies have classified components of pragmatics into two based on Leech’s and Thomas’s finding(see in Eslami-Rasekh, 2005): sociopragmatics and pragmalinguistics.According to Alcon and Martinez-Flor, (2008:3) pragmalinguistics refers to the linguistic resourcesfor conveying communicative acts and interpersonal meanings, whereas sociopragmatics refers tothe social perceptions underlying participants’ interpretation and performance of communicativeacts. Hence, while dealing with pragmatics attention is paid to consider knowledge of the means toweaken or strengthen the force of an utterance (i.e. pragmalinguistic knowledge) and knowledge ofthe particular means that are likely to be most successful for a given situation (i.e. sociopragmaticknowledge). Generally, the ability to make appropriate choices from a large range of linguisticforms and pragmatic strategies such as directness/indirectness and routines in the realization ofcommunicative acts is referred to as pragmalinguistics. Sociopragmatics is social assumptions orprinciples underlying participants’ interpretation and performance of communicative acts. As such,
sociopragmatics is essentially about appropriate social behavior in a certain speech communitywhich has to do with context that is dealt separately in the forthcoming section. 2.4.2. Pragmatic CompetenceKasper says, ‘competence, whether linguistic or pragmatic, is not teachable. Competence is a typeof knowledge that learners possess, develop, acquire, use or lose’ (1997:1). But, why shouldpragmatic competence be developed? Some works in the area indicate that grammatically correctsentences would not mean appropriate utterances in different contexts because, language use choiceis determined or affected by various factors such as social norms, relationship between theinterlocutors, shared knowledge /background: ‘baby on sale’, social distance between theinteractants, age, gender, social power/rank/class, degree of imposition, etc. Similarly, grammaticalcompetence doesn’t guarantee pragmatic competence. Learning language involves many aspects:not merely its sounds, words, grammar, meanings, functions, but the social, cultural and discourseconventions.Grammatical development does not guarantee a corresponding level of pragmatic development(Bardovi-Harlig, 2001:14). Knowledge of language that is appropriate to the situations in which oneis functioning is a must, because failure to do so may cause users to miss key points that are beingcommunicated or to have their messages misunderstood (Eslami-Rasekh, 2005:199). EFL learnermay gain comfortable control of the vocabulary and grammar of the language without achieving acomparable control over the pragmatic functional uses of the language (speech acts) (Cohen,1996:253). 2.4.3. The Importance of Teaching PragmaticsDeveloping pragmatic competence cannot be achieved overnight unless learners are exposed to andpractice authentic language use. What are the goals of teaching pragmatics? What are the ultimatebenefits to the learners? “English has now acquired the title of the world’s leading “globallanguage” (Crystal 2003:1) because it is used for business, science, and politics” Sonia and Thomas(2009:2). Research into the pragmatic competence of adult foreign and second language learnershas demonstrated that grammatical development does not guarantee a corresponding level ofpragmatic development Bardovi-Harlig and Dornyei, (see in Eslami-Rasekh, 2005:199) and thateven advanced learners may fail to comprehend or to convey the intended intentions and politenessvalues. It is necessary to understand and create language that is appropriate to the situations in
which one is functioning, because failure to do so may cause users to miss key points that are beingcommunicated or to have their message misunderstood (Elslami-Rasekh, 2005:199).Hui (2007) further points out to the following reasons as to why to teach pragmatics in Englishlanguage classroom: ‘For avoiding miscommunication caused by cultural difference, being familiar with diverse cultures and pragmatics is essential…. In other words, the teaching and learning of pragmatics would release the difficulties of international communications for both native and non-native speakers’ (p. 1).Bardovi-Harlig and Mahan-Taylor (2003), state that the chief goal of instruction in pragmatics is toraise learners’ pragmatic awareness and give them choices about their interactions in the targetlanguage. They further indicate “the goal of instruction in pragmatics is not to insist on conformityto a particular target language norm, but rather to help learners become familiar with the range ofpragmatic devices and practices in the target language” (p. 3). Kondo (see in Bardovi-Harlig andMahan-Taylor, 2003) argues ‘with such instruction, learners can maintain their own culturalidentities and participate more fully in the target language communication, and gain control of theforce and outcome of their contributions’ (p.1).The main objective in teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) is to enable students tocommunicate effectively in many situations and contexts. According to Teresa (2009) this involvesbeing able to control a wide range of language functions, which are how speakers use language forrequesting, congratulating, apologizing, complaining, consoling, and promising, among many otherfunctions (p.1). Nowadays, the relationship between pragmatics and language learning and teachingis clear.As Bouton in Guerra (2003) states: Pragmatics and language learning are inherently bound together. Pragmatics provides language teachers and learners with a research based understanding of the language forms and functions that are appropriate to the many contexts in which a language is used-an understanding that is crucial to a proficient speaker’s communicative competence (p.10).
Generally, pragmatics is needed if we want a fuller, deeper and more reasonable account of humanlanguage behavior (Mey, 2001). Furthermore, outside of pragmatics, no understanding; sometimes,a pragmatic account is the only one that makes sense (p.4). Having pragmatic ability means beingable to go beyond the literal meaning of what is said or written, in order to interpret the intendedmeanings, assumptions, purposes or goals, and the kinds of actions that are being performed(Cohen, 2007). 2.4.4. Teachability of Pragmatics in EFL SettingKnowledge without justification is not real knowledge, and pragmatic knowledge is no exception.To act or behave appropriately in out of one’s own culture is a demanding task. However, pragmaticability is part of a learner’s communicative competence, and it has received attention in theproposed models of communicative competence (Celce-Murcia, Dörnyei and Thurrell, 1995 andCelce-Murcia, 2007; Kasper, 1997) questions whether teaching pragmatics is possible or not.However, Brock and Nagasaka (2005), answer the question saying ‘Teaching Pragmatics in the EFLClassroom? SURE You Can!’ In answering that question, they suggest that teachers should consideradopting the simple acronym S.U.R.E. to guide them as they help their students See, Use, Review,and Experience pragmatics in the EFL classroom (p. 20). See: Teachers can help their students see the language in context, raise consciousness of the role of pragmatics, and explain the function pragmatics plays in specific communicative events. Use: Teachers can develop activities through which students use English in contexts (simulated and real) where they choose how they interact based on their understanding of the situation suggested by the activity. Review: Teachers should review, reinforce, and recycle the areas of pragmatic competence previously taught. Experience: Teachers can arrange for their students to experience and observe the role of pragmatics in communication (p, 21-24).As suggested by Rose (2005: 386), there seem to be three central questions, i.e. ‘whetherpragmatics is teachable, whether instruction in pragmatics produces results that outpace exposurealone, and whether different instructional approaches yield different outcomes’. First, with regardto the teachability of pragmatics, there is evidence indicating that pragmatics is teachable and that
pedagogical intervention has a facilitative role in learning pragmatics in FL contexts (see Bardovi-Harlig, 2001; Rose and Kasper 2001).Pragmatics can easily be integrated into any classroom; whether traditional or communicativeBardovi-Harlig, et.al. (2003:1). However, Kasper (2000:1) has argued: In a foreign language situations…, students lack the need and opportunity of genuine communication in the target language; therefore, it is nearly impossible for students to develop pragmatic ability…the ability to interpret utterances in context, especially when what a speaker says is not the same as what the speaker means; to carry out communicative action effectively and interact successfully in different environments and with different participants.Kasper herself has admitted that as an increasing number of studies demonstrate, most of aspects ofpragmatics are quite amenable to teaching in foreign language classroom, but with reservation thatnot all approaches to teaching pragmatics are equally effective (2000:2). It can be argued hereagain that as it is the case for approaches of presenting pragmatics contents in an EFL classroom, itis also true for the language teaching approach in general that there is no single perfect approach ormethod or technique to teach language. In fact it is true that unless teachers also know aboutmethods of evaluating students’ progress in pragmatics, they may be reluctant to focus onpragmatics in their teaching even though a number of assessment instruments for pragmatics isavailable now (Kasper, 2001:2). In this case it is arguable that curriculum revision is not completewithout an integrated assessment component.The question of teachability of pragmatic competence has inspired a number of research projectsexploring the role of instruction in learners’ pragmatic development. Kasper (1997) for exampleargues that while competence cannot be taught, students should be provided with opportunities todevelop their pragmatic competence. Pragmatics in EFL setting is therefore teachable based on theavailability of the opportunities in the teaching environment. 2.4.5. Pragmatic Instructions: Explicit vs. Implicit Pragmatic InstructionStudies propose that learners benefit from attention-drawing activities with pragmatic instructionand appropriate feedback more than being exposed to new language items without any instruction.They show that the target pragmatic features are most effectively learned when they are taught
explicitly using input enhancement techniques. Explicit pedagogic intervention is viewed asnecessary in order to develop learners’ pragmatic ability.Takahashi (see Kasper & Rose, 2001:171-199) argues that “the target pragmatic features werefound to be most effectively learned when they were under the condition in which a relatively highdegree of input enhancement was realized with explicit metapragmatic information.” At the sametime, the degree of attainment of a second language pragmatic competence is to a certain extentlimited in the classroom environment. It is claimed that simple noticing and attention to targetpragmatic features in the input do not lead to learning.Tateyama, Kasper, and Thananart (see Kasper& Rose, 2001:200) studied the effects of explicit andimplicit instruction in pragmatics with beginning English language learners of Japanese. Their pilotstudy revealed that the explicit group outperformed the implicit group. The effects of pragmaticinstruction on learners were especially apparent in rather complicated situations where the learnersbenefited from the teacher’s instruction.Alternatively, Criado (2009:43) suggests that when approaching the learning of functions oflanguage two options are generally considered: explicit and incidental learning. Explicit learningadvocates for a conscious presentation of the information to be learned. It is assumed that beingconscious and aware of what we have to learn is more efficient for acquisition. On the other hand,explicit attention consumes a lot of time and this slows down the process. Incidental learningadvocates usage (meaningful usage, with no explicit information on the words).Various researchers have presented their studies which shed light on various aspects of pragmaticcompetence and the way to improve that competence through explicit/implicit instruction.Pragmatics should be explicitly taught, no matter how the learners are apt to use that knowledge intheir social interactions; because ‘the purpose of teaching pragmatics is to provide learners withexplicit knowledge of pragmatics, focusing on teaching sociocultural and pragmalinguistic routines’Kawate-Mierzejewska (see JALT, 2001:109).It is clear that the question what aspect of pragmatics should be taught is answered in the sense thatwhen designing tasks that are used to raise learners’ pragmatic conscious those aspects ofpragmatics: socioprgamatics and pragmalinguistics should receive attention. Therefore, consciousraising tasks are important because, “(a) it can raise learners’ awareness about specific socioculturaland pragmalinguistic routines that should be focused, and as a result, (b) it can provide the learners
with explicit sociocultural and pragmalinguistic knowledge about those routines focused on”(JALT, 2001:110).Tatsuki, Donna (see, JALT, 2001:912) also discusses three pedagogical foci that are relevant to theteaching of pragmatics. The first one is a focus on form in which metapragmatic explanations areimplemented based on the assumption that explicit knowledge can later become implicit. Thesecond is a focus on meaning in which scaffolding was implemented based on the assumption thatthrough social interaction a learner can enlarge his/her repertoire of formulaic expressions. The finalfocus is on awareness. The assumption is that pragmatic competence will improve if learnersbecome more aware of mismatches between their L1 pragmatic norms and those of the TL. 2.5. Communicative Functions (Speech Acts)An important figure in the development of pragmatics, John Austin (see in Fasold and Connor-Linton, 2006:162) has pointed out that when people use language they are performing a kind ofaction. The actions are called speech acts. Within the realm of pragmatic ability, the ways in whichpeople carry out specific social functions in speaking such as apologizing, complaining, makingrequests, refusing things/invitations, complimenting, or thanking have been referred to as speechacts (Cohen, 2007, 2010).When language is used by human beings in real-life situations, there are generally communicativegoals associated with every utterance. Speakers express their emotions, ask questions, makerequests, and commit themselves to actions - they do things with words. In linguistic pragmatics, weuse the term speech act to describe such language actions. A wide range of utterances can qualifyas speech acts.Speech-act theory/speech act deals primarily with meaning in communication (as opposed tomeaning in language) and thus is part of the pragmatic aspect of a languages meaning-that it relatesto the knowledge of the world shared by speakers and hearers, rather than relating to signs and theirdesignations or name (semantic aspect) or to formal relations among signs (syntactic aspect).Semantics should be restricted to assigning interpretations to signs alone-independent of a speakerand hearer.
2.5.1. Describing Speech ActsUnder this section we shall discuss descriptions of different situations, which may call for differentspeech acts. When performing or realizing speech acts, there are commonly identified factors thatcan either negatively or positively affect the meaning/sense of speech acts in communication. Theexamples of these factors may include (a) Social status: Relative social status of the speaker/writerand the listener/reader. (b) Distance: Level of social distance and psychological distance (howdistant or close the speaker/writer and listener/reader feel to each other). (c) Intensity (power):Intensity of the act (e.g., the magnitude of the imposition in a request or the severity of theinfraction in an apology).In the following sub-section we will look at selected speech acts to a certain extent. The CARLASpeech Acts website (http://www.carla.umn.edu/speechacts/descriptions.html/ accessed on 19/10/2011)has descriptions of six speech acts (apologies, complaints, compliments and responses tocompliments, requests, refusals, and thanks), with examples from various languages. The amount ofinformation on a given speech act varies greatly depending on the availability of research articlesthat investigate that speech act. 220.127.116.11. Speech Acts of ApologiesApology is a frequently used speech act which serves different purposes ranging from maintainingpolite rituals that could vary from one society to another (social etiquette), to the acknowledgmentof serious offences. In spoken and written interactions and in effect in intercultural interactions itbecomes relevant to ascertain what conditions must be present for the adequate performance of anapology. This speech act must have the following conditions: a) An act has occurred, b) A believes that the act has offended B, c) A takes responsibility for the act (Fahey, 2005:3).In apologizing, the speaker/writer recognizes the infraction or offense caused through his/her faultand attempts to repair the relationship with the listener/reader. The situation may be fairly tense ifthe infraction is large or if the listener is in a more powerful position on the social scale than thespeaker. What are some routinized patterns in apologies in English and what strategies work mosteffectively to repair and maintain a good relationship with the listener/reader? Speakers of Englishlanguage typically use apologies for a variety of reasons or functions. There are three reasons
people typically use apologies for (see http://www.carla.umn.edu/speechacts/descriptions.html) Theseare: to say that they are sorry, to explain why the offence happened, and to make a repair for theoffence and maintain a good relationship with the addressee (see also Cohen and Ishihara 2010:56).Apologies are usually perceived as negative politeness devices that express respect rather thanfriendliness and apology is considered to be a polite speech act used to restore social relationsfollowing an offence (Holmes 1995: 154). Next, Holmes lists three categories of apologies focusingon the relative status of the participants: upward apology is to a superior person of greater power,equal apology is to an equal, and downward apology is to a subordinate or person of lesser power.Complex speech acts like apologies actually consist of a set of strategies that are used by competentspeakers of the language with some regularity. There are five relatively typical strategies for makingan apology (see http://www.carla.umn.edu/speechacts/descriptions.html):1. An expression of an apology. The speaker/writer uses a word, expression, or sentencecontaining a verb such as ‘sorry’, ‘excuse’, ‘forgive’, or ‘apologize.’ Languages have certain wordsthat are used to express an oral apology more than others. For example, in American English, ‘Iapologize . . .’ is found more in writing than it is in oral language. An expression of an apology canbe intensified whenever the apologizer feels the need to do so. Such intensification is usuallyaccomplished by adding intensifiers such as ‘really’ or ‘very’ e.g., ‘I’m really sorry.’2. Acknowledgment of responsibility. The offender recognizes his/her fault in causing theinfraction. The degree of such recognition on the part of the apologizer can be placed on a scale.The highest level of intensity is full acceptance of the blame: ‘It’s totally my fault.’ At a somewhatlower level would be an expression of self-deficiency: ‘I was confused/I didn’t see/You are right.’At a still lower level would be the expression of lack of intent: ‘I didn’t mean to.’ Lower still wouldbe an implicit expression of responsibility: ‘I could be wrong, but I was sure I had given you theright directions.’ Finally, the apologizer may not accept the blame at all, in which case there may bea denial of responsibility: ‘It wasn’t my fault,’ or even blaming of the listener: ‘It’s your own fault.’3. An explanation or account. The speaker/writer describes the situation which caused him/her tocommit the offense and which is used by this speaker/writer as an indirect way of apologizing. Theexplanation is intended to set things right. For instance, in some cultures this may be a moreacceptable way of apologizing than in others (Cohen, 2008:123). Thus, in cultures where public
transportation is unreliable, coming late to a meeting and giving an explanation like, “The bus waslate,” might be perfectly acceptable.4. An offer of repair. The apologizer makes a bid to carry out an action or provide payment forsome kind of damage resulting from his/her infraction.If someone is late for an appointment with a friend s/he might say something like:How can I make it up to you? Can I buy you lunch on Friday? Or why don’t I buy you lunch onFriday?Or someone who fails to make it to an appointment might say:Would you be willing to reschedule the meeting?5. A promise of non-recurrence. The apologizer commits him/herself to not having the offensehappen again, which is situation-specific and less frequent than the other strategies. For example, ifyou bump into a stranger, you are not going to promise you will never do it again, but you might ifit is a co-worker who you don’t pick up on time.The five major patterns or strategies that make up the apology speech act are almost universallyavailable to speakers/writers, regardless of the language in which they are speaking or writing.Nonetheless, preference for any one of these strategies or for a combination of them will depend onthe specific situation a speaker/writer is in within the given language and culture group.(see, http://www.iles.umn.edu/Apolohies/Apologies.htm)In realizing apologies people may use interjections and/or intensifiers. Not only could an intensifierplay an important role, but even an interjection like ‘Oh!’ could have an important role. In fact,there could be times when a well-placed ‘Oh!’ and an offer of repair could take the place of anexpression of apology in English: e.g., ‘Oh! Here, let me help get something on that burn and cleanup the mess,’ as opposed to, ‘I’m very sorry that I bumped into you.’ Other ways of intensifyingapologies include expressing explicit concern for the listener and using multiple intensifyingstrategies. So apologies can be intensified in the following ways: 1. Intensifying the apology expression: (a) Use of adverbials, e.g., I’m really sorry. (b) Use of repetition or multiple intensifiers, e.g., I’m really very sorry.
In English, there is a difference between ‘very’ and ‘really,’ with ‘really’ implying more regret and ‘very’ more etiquette. 2. Expressing explicit concern for the listener, e.g., Have you been waiting long? 3. Using multiple intensifying strategies, e.g., I’m so sorry. Are you all right? I’m terribly sorry. (see, http://www.iles.umn.edu/Apolohies/Apologies.htm accessed 19/10/2011). 18.104.22.168. Speech Acts of ComplimentsCompliments in English often function as a social lubricant, helping the social relationships to gosmoothly. How compliments are used, for example, in English language? What strategies are usedto give and respond to compliments? Are there any taboos in giving or responding to compliments?How do these norms of behavior vary across languages and cultures? Compliments are expressionsof positive evaluation that commonly occur in everyday conversational encounters amonginterlocutors of equal or higher status. A compliment may be used to open a conversation or tosmooth conversational interaction by reinforcing the links of solidarity between the interlocutors.People often compliment qualities related to personal appearance (e.g., clothes, hair), possessions,skill, or accomplishments. (see, http://www.iles.umn.edu/Compliments/Compliments.html).Research has shown that compliments are formulaic in terms of both their meaning and forms usedto compliment other people. For example, with regard to their meaning, compliments are mainlyrealized by means of adjectives and verbs. In the majority cases compliments realized by means offive adjectives: nice, good, beautiful, pretty, and great. And the majorities are realized through thecombination of two verbs such as like and love (Cohen and Ishihara, 2010:57-60).Compliments are usually performed when the speaker wants to have a positive effect on theinterpersonal relationships with persons complimented. With respect to their form, almost all of thecompliments are realized in three patterns given and received by speakers as Manes and Wolfson(see in Cohen and Ishihara, 2010). They found that most of the compliments in English fall intothree patterns, which are: 1. Your hair looks nice --> Noun Phrase + is/looks/ (really) Adjective 2. I like your car --> I (really) like/love + Noun Phrase 3. Thats a nice tie --> (PRO (really) (a) Adjective + Noun Phrase (Note: NP=Noun Phrase, ADJ=Adjective, PRO=Pronoun, V=Verb).
Likewise other researchers have also identified topics of compliments. According to Cohen andIshihara (2010:58) the major referents of compliments include attributes of the conversationalpartner, such as: 1. appearance/possessions (e.g., You look absolutely beautiful!) 2. performance/skills/abilities (e.g., Your presentation was excellent.) 3. personality traits (e.g., You are so sweet.)With regard to gender differences, females tend to give and receive more compliments to and fromother females and males, while males tend to give more compliments to women (overallappearance) and, to a lesser degree, to other males (Cohen, 2008:124). Like other communicativeacts, compliment also has various distinctive functions and strategies.According to recent research, compliments in English are often used to: 1. express admiration or approval of someone’s work/appearance/taste; 2. establish/confirm/maintain solidarity; 3. serve as an alternative to greetings/gratitude/apologies/congratulations; 4. soften face-threatening acts such as apologies, requests and criticism; 5. open and sustain conversation (conversation strategy); and 6. reinforce desired behavior. (Cohen and Ishihara, 2010:57)The most commonly used adjectives in compliments were nice, good, pretty, great, and beautiful,although the list undoubtedly varies for other varieties of English. As there are strategies tocompliment a given character, there are also strategies to respond to the given compliment.Semantically, common responses to compliments can be categorized into acceptance, mitigation,and rejection. Each category has sub-categories: 1. Accept: a. Token of appreciation (Thanks/Thank you.) b. Acceptance by means of a comment (Yeah, it’s my favorite, too.) c. Upgrading the compliment by self-praise (Yeah, I can play other sports well too.) 2. Mitigate: a. Comment about history (I bought it for the trip to Arizona.) b. Shifting the credit (My brother gave it to me/It really knitted itself.)
c. Questioning or requesting reassurance or repetition (Do you really like them?) d. Reciprocating (So is yours.) e. Scaling down or downgrading (It’s really quite old.)Alternatively, at this stage, learners can be introduced to and practice a variety of strategies forresponding to compliments (see http://www.carla.umn.edu/speechacts/descriptions.html/ and Cohenand Ishihara, 2010:59), such as: 1. showing appreciation (Thank you); 2. agreeing (Yeah, it’s my favorite too); 3. downgrading (It’s really quite old); 4. questioning (Do you really think so?); 5. commenting on history (I bought it for the trip to Arizona); 6. shifting credit (My brother gave it to me); and 7. returning the compliment (So is yours). 22.214.171.124. Speech Acts of ComplaintsComplaints are used to express such instances as disapproval, annoyance, blame, threats, orreprimand as a reaction to a supposed offence, also to hold the hearer responsible for the offensiveaction and possibly request a repair, to share a specific negative evaluation, obtain agreement, orestablish a common link between the speaker and the addressee by ‘trouble sharing’; for example,“I cant believe I didnt get an A on that course. I worked so hard!” has the following reaction fromthe Hearer: “Same here. She doesnt give away As very easily, thats for sure.”(http://www.carla.umn.edu/speechacts/descriptions.html).Trosborg (1994:57) defined complaints as both ‘an abusive act and, like request, a face-threateningact’. The speech act of complaint may consist of a number of acts, such as threatening, cursing, andaccusation, and these acts are likely to cause certain damage to the social relation between thecomplainer and the complainee. In addition, a complaint is by definition non-polite because itsfunction is to show disapproval or cause offence to interlocutors. Like requests, if the complainerdoes not want to impose too much impact on the complainee, the mitigating devices are still neededwhen performing complaints. These mitigating devices may include the use of modifiers ordowngraders to lessen the degree of directness or to make a complaint sound more polite.Complaints can be done in an even indirect way by replacing the complaint with other acts, such asa request, or censuring in a way of hint. However, in some situations the complainer may want to
make the censure more justifiable by providing supportive statements, or by using upgraders toincrease the force of a complaint.A coding method or strategies of speech act of complaint realization provided by Olshtain andWeinbach (see in Cohen and Ishihara, 2010) is presented as follows: 1. Below the level of reproach-these are various realizations that enable the speaker to avoid explicit mention of the offensive event or direct focus on speakers (e.g. “Such things happen”, “Don’t worry about it, there is no real damage”). 2. Expression of annoyance or disapproval-encompasses various realizations that are vague and indirect and do not explicitly mention either the socially unacceptable act, but do express general annoyance at the violation (e.g. “Such lack of consideration!”, “This is really unacceptable behavior!”). 3. Explicit complaint-refers to realizations where the speaker has made the decision to use an open face-threatening act toward the hearer, but to instigate no sanctions (e.g. “You’re inconsiderate!”, “One should not postpone this type of operation”, “You should not have postponed such an operation”). 4. Accusation and warning-as a complaint when the speaker chooses to perform an open face-threatening act and further implies potential sanctions against the hearer (e.g. “Next time I’ll let you wait for hours!”). 5. Immediate threat-is expressed when the speaker chooses to openly attack the hearer (e.g. “You’d better pay the money right now”, “I’m not moving one inch before you change my appointment”), or as direct insults (e.g. “You’re an idiot!”).Complaints have the following strategies/speech act sets: first of all, there is an explanation ofpurpose, for example, ‘Look, I don’t want to be horrible about it’, then comes a complaint, forexample, ‘I think maybe the grade was a little too low’, then follows a request for solution, forexample, ‘I would appreciate it if you would reconsider my grade’, and finally a request for non-recurrence, for example, ‘Well, I’d really like to find out about this because I’m hoping it won’thappen again’. These are generally classified into two: direct and indirect strategies. Indirectcomplaints are given to addressees who are not responsible for the perceived offence, for example,‘She never cleans up after her. Isn’t that horrible’) and often open a conversation and createsolidarity between the speakers. Indirect complaints tend to center on three themes: Self (Oh, I’m sostupid), other (John is the worst manager.) and Situation (Why did they have to raise tuition?).
126.96.36.199. Speech Acts of RefusalsIn making a refusal, the speaker/writer is typically communicating a potentially undesirablemessage as far as the listener/reader is concerned. What strategies can be used to mitigate refusals inEnglish? What pragmatic norms prevail in making and interpreting refusals in English?There are distinctive functions and strategies for refusing. Refusals are often made in response torequests, invitations, offers, and suggestions (Cohen and Ishihara, 2010:60). The direct and indirectstrategies of refusals can be described as follows: I. Direct 1. Using performative verbs (I refuse.) 2. Non-performative statement: a).“No” b). Negative willingness/ability (I can’t.) II. Indirect 1. Statement of regret (I’m sorry.) 2. Wish (I wish I could help you.) 3. An excuse, a reason, an explanation (I have a headache.) 4. Statement of alternative: a). I can do X instead of Y (I’d rather . . .) b).Why don’t you do X instead of Y? (Why don’t you ask someone else?) 5. Set condition for future or past acceptance (If you had asked me earlier, I would have . . .) 6. Promise of future acceptance (I’ll do it next time.) 7. Statement of principle (I never do business with friends.)The following adjuncts to refusals can also be used to accompany the refusals described above: 1. statement of positive opinion/feeling or agreement (I’d love to come); 2. statement of empathy (I realize you are in a difficult situation); 3. pause fillers (um, well); and gratitude/appreciation (thanks so much for the invite). 4. gratitude/appreciation (Thanks so much for the invite). (see http://www.carla.umn.edu/speech acts/refusal/index.html accessed 19/10/2011)
188.8.131.52. Speech Acts of RequestsBy making a request, the speaker infringes on the recipient’s freedom from imposition(http://www.carla.umn.edu/speechacts/descriptions.html). The recipient may feel that the request isan intrusion on his/her freedom of action or even a power play. As for the requester, s/he mayhesitate to make requests for fear of exposing a need or out of fear of possibly making the recipientlose face. In this sense, requests are face threatening to both the Requester and the Recipient. Sincerequests have the potential to be intrusive and demanding, there is a need for the Requester tominimize the imposition involved in the request. One way for the Speaker to minimize theimposition is by employing indirect strategies rather than direct ones. People tend to use a greaterdegree of indirectness with people who have some power or authority over them than to those whodo not.By making a request, the speaker/writer infringes on the listener’s freedom from imposition. Therecipient may feel that the request is an intrusion on his/her freedom of action or even a power play.As for the requester, s/he may hesitate to make requests for fear of exposing a need or out of fear ofpossibly making the recipient lose face. In this sense, requests are face threatening to both therequester and the recipient.Researchers have identified functions for and strategies for making requests. Because requests havethe potential to be intrusive and demanding, there often is a need for the requester to minimize theimposition involved in the request. One way for the requester to minimize the imposition is byemploying indirect strategies rather than direct ones (Cohen and Ishihara 2010:66). The more directa request is, the more transparent it is and the less of a burden the recipient bears in interpreting therequest. The scale of directness can be characterized according to the following three strategies:1. Direct strategies (marked explicitly as requests, such as imperatives): a).Clean up the kitchen. b).I’m asking you to clean up the kitchen. c).I’d like to ask you to clean the kitchen. d).You’ll have to clean up the kitchen. e).I really wish you’d clean up the kitchen.2. Conventionally indirect strategies (referring to contextual preconditions necessary for itsperformance as conventionalized in the language):
a) How about cleaning up? b) Could you clean up the kitchen, please? c) You have left the kitchen in a total mess. d) I’m a nun. (a request to someone to stop trying to pick her up) (ibid).Both situational and cultural factors influence the selection of these request strategies. Still, theremay be consensus across a number of cultures with regard to requesting strategies. For example, abig favor usually comes with more indirect and/or polite strategies than a low-imposition request invarious cultures. Friends use more casual requests than acquaintances, provided that the content ofthe request is the same (Cohen and Ishihara 2010:67). However, the specific directness levelsappropriate for given situations might differ cross-culturally.Some examples of other softening downgraders are: a. Do you think I could borrow your lecture notes from yesterday? b. Could you tidy up a bit before I start? c. It would really help if you did something about the kitchen. d. Will you be able to perhaps drive me? e. Can I use your pen for a minute, please? 184.108.40.206. Speech Acts of Gratitude/ThanksThank you expressions are used to express appreciation of benefits and to enhance rapport betweeninterlocutors, and that this basic use is extended to the functions of conversational opening,changing, stopping, closing, leave taking, and offering positive reinforcement. A further use is toexpress dissatisfaction or discomfort indirectly often using sarcasm and often with differentialintonation (Jung, 1998: I). We thank/express gratitude in different ways for different reasons. Wemay say: "Thank you so much for the gift!" to show gratitude, "Thanks for the wonderful meal." to compliment someone, or "That’s all, thank you." to signal the conclusion of a conversation.Thanking has various important social functions. The person offering the gratitude has to have avalid reason for thanking. Thank you expressions may often be required by social convention. Theway gratitude is verbally expressed varies, ranging from simple, “thank you”, or “thanks”; to the
more extensive, “I appreciate x”, “I am thankful for x”, “ I am grateful for x”, “please accept mythanks for x”, etc. The choice of a gratitude expression is largely dependent on how the thankerevaluate what the benefactor did for him/her and how the expressions function. While the major andgeneral effect of thanking is, like the speech act of complimenting, to enhance rapport or solidaritybetween interlocutors by making the other party feel good, there are some more specific functionswhich thanking serves.According to (Jung, 1998 and de Pablos-Ortega, 2010) the following are functions of thanking: 1. Function of appreciating benefit: it is a basic function of thank you expression. The benefit could be either physical or mental. 2. Function of conversational opening, changing, stopping, or closing: in a conversational opening, there can be potentially high tension between the interlocutors. Thank you expressions used in this situation may reduce the tension somewhat. 3. Function of leave-taking and positive answer. Thank you expressions sometimes serve to substitute for leave taking expressions, although the two types often co-occur. 4. Functions of emotional distraction or discomfort. Thank you expressions may be used to indirectly express dissatisfaction with the interlocutor’s attitude.There are distinctive strategies that most of the time proficient language users apply incommunication. There are phrases that commonly precede or follow an expression of gratitude orthanks. These phrases perform another function for the speaker (see Jung, 1998 and de Pablos-Ortega, 2010): Complimenting (Thank you. You’re wonderful.) Expressing affection (I really appreciate this. You’re a sweetheart.) Reassuring the listener (I can’t thank you enough. This is just what I wanted. Blue is my favorite color.) Promising to repay (I don’t know how to thank you. I’ll pay you back as soon as I can.) Expressing surprise and delight (Oh, wow! Thank you!) Expressing a lack of necessity or obligation (I don’t know how to thank you. You didn’t have to do this for me.) Exaggerating to emphasize the depth of the gratitude (I really appreciate this. You’re a lifesaver.).
There are also various responses to thanking strategies. According to (Jung, 1998 and de Pablos-Ortega, 2010), six type of response to the use of “thank you” are identified: acceptance, denial,reciprocity, comment, nonverbal gesture, no response; the choice of which is determined by factorssuch as relationship of the interlocutors and communicative intent. In the speech act of thanking itwill be very effective if the benefactor accepts or acknowledges the gratitude. The thanker expectsthe benefactor to respond to his/her politeness. There can be various strategies of responding tothank you expressions. 1. Acceptance: you are (very) welcome, sure, ok, my pleasure, 2. Denial: No problem, Not at all, Don’t mention it. 3. Reciprocity: Thank you 4. Comments: detailed descriptions e.g. Thank you very much for the help. I really appreciate it. 5. Non-verbal gestures: a smile, a node, etc. 6. No response (ibid).How people respond to being thanked typically falls into these categories: 1. Recognizing the gratitude and relieving the speaker of its burden (You’re welcome.) 2. Indicating that it was gladly done (That’s quite all right.) 3. Denying the existence of the need to thank or playing it down (Not at all / Don’t mention it.)Thanks and apologies can be responded in similar terms (That’s all right / Not at all). What thanksand apologies have in common is the concept of indebtedness. A thanks implying the indebtednessof the speaker to the listener closely resembles, apologies where the speaker actually recognizes hisindebtedness to his listener. For example: A. Thank you for all your help. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. B. Don’t mention it/That’s all right. It’s really nothing. (See http//www.carla.umn.edu/speechacts/thanks/index.html) 2.6. Challenges of Teaching Pragmatic Competence in EFL SettingIn foreign language context teachers are non-native speakers of English language and they need tobe well-prepared for teaching the pragmatic aspect of knowledge of language. In addition to thisfact there are no sufficient, or no course, is offered to teachers either during pre-service or in-service
education programs in the area of pragmatics. This situation is what El-Okda (2010) calls as‘paucity of pragmatic courses in both pre-service teacher education programs and in-serviceprofessional development’ (169). If the student teachers or those teachers that are handling theteaching of English language are provided with the pragmatic courses, ‘[they] can help theirstudents see the language in context, raise consciousness of the role of pragmatics, and explain thefunction pragmatics plays in specific communicative event’ (Brock and Nagasaka, 2005:20).The second pillar in developing the pragmatic competence of learners is ELT material. The explicittreatment of pragmatic language features in prescribed textbooks and their accompanying teachers’guide is vitally important. Language teaching materials need to frequently include pragmaticmaterials so as to help learners develop pragmatic competence, because ‘teachers in EFL settings,where there are relatively few opportunities for students to use the language in communicativecontexts’ (Brock and Nagasaka, 2005), will make use of textbooks as the major source of pragmaticknowledge. However, the attempt of including very few mini-dialogues for certain speech acts andthat are contrived and de-contextualized does not help the learners develop their pragmaticcompetence or does not represent the reality outside the classroom (El-Okda, 2010:180). Let alonethe external environment, ‘many students do not know how to make polite requests in English in theclassroom’ (Brock and Nagasaka, 2005:21). We shall see this and other challenges in detail in thenext sub-sections. 2.6.1. Challenge Related To Course BooksThere are various challenges that negatively hamper the English language learning from theperspective of pragmatics. Learners’ pragmatic divergence can sometimes be attributed to the effectof the instruction or the instructional materials, rather than being a result of insufficient pragmaticawareness or incomplete pragmatic control on the learners’ part. One of the problems foreignlanguage teachers have with the textbooks is related to the dialogues in terms of their pragmaticvalue. Much research sheds light on the dissatisfaction with the content of the course books used atall levels, specifically in the field of English language teaching.Practitioners are substantially dissatisfied with how spoken texts are presented in course books asprint materials. As the review of relevant research shows, ELT textbooks rarely include adequate orcomprehensible explanations of how conversation works in English. For Vellegna (2004), speechacts (actions with functions) in the textbooks are, for the most part, pragmatically inadequate since
students are only occasionally given models of the speech acts with very little contextualinformation or explicit metapragmatic discussion. As this review of literature shows, the languageof English language textbooks must vigorously be studied to unearth the nature and quality oftextbooks in terms of their value from the perspectives of pragmatics, linguistics and pedagogy.It is also shown that pedagogical materials are inadequate to be reliable source of pragmatic inputfor classroom language learners (Alcon & Safont, 2001; Bardovi-Harlig, 1996; Vellegna, 2004) andunlikely to result in pragmatic development. Therefore, Eslami-Rasekh (2005) argues: The responsibility for teaching the pragmatic aspects of language use falls on teachers. However, as language teachers, we face certain challenges. These include lack of adequate materials and training, which are the result of a lack of emphasis on pragmatic issues in ESL teaching methodology courses (p.199). 2.6.2. Challenge Related to Courses in Teachers’ TrainingPragmatic competence is a key component of strategic competence, involving knowledge of whenand how to use particular language forms to perform desired language functions. Authenticlanguage input is not readily available in ESL/EFL textbooks, and teachers typically do not have theskills to create pragmatic learning exercises for their students (Vallegna, et.al, 2007:20). Particularlyfor teachers in peripheral social contexts, they may have had infrequent interaction with nativespeakers and be unfamiliar with the rules for contextualized language use. Explicit instruction inpragmatics has been suggested for learners and teachers in a similar way.According to Vallenga and his coauthors (2007) for ESL/EFL teachers, competence in pragmaticsmeans understanding these concepts: Language varies its structure systematically according to functions (e.g., starting or ending a conversation, expressing disagreement, apologizing, requesting, refusing, etc.). Politeness and appropriate language use varies according to contextual features. Contextual features have different levels of importance in different languages. Speakers make sociopragmatic and pragmalinguistic choices when expressing speech acts. (p.21).
Research shows that non-native English-speaking teacher candidates (NNESTCs) feel insecureabout their English language proficiency and their pragmatic competence may be weaker than theirorganizational competence (Eslami-Rasekh, Pasternak & Bailey, in Zohreh R. Eslami and Eslami-Rasekh, A., 2008). Biesenback-Lucas and Rose (see in Zohreh R. Eslami and Eslami-Rasekh,2008) also witnessed that teacher education programs do not seem to focus on pragmatic aspects oflanguage and to train the teacher candidates in teaching the pragmatic dimensions oflanguage(p.179).While some recent pioneering work (e.g., Eslami-Rasekh, 2005; Eslami & Eslami-Rasekh, 2008;Yates & Wiggglesworth, 2005) has begun to investigate the effects of instructional pragmatics inteacher education, (Ishihara, 2011: I). On the other hand, Ishihara argues that little has beenexplored in depth as to the way in which teacher cognition develops in the classroom discourse oflanguage teacher development. 2.6.3. Challenge Related to Language Class SizeTeachers in most cases complain for the unmanageable class size. Large classes, limited contacthours and little opportunity for intercultural communication are some of the features of the EFLcontext that hinder pragmatic learning (Eslami-Rasekh et al., 2004; Rose, 1999). 2.6.4. Challenge related to Teachers Sense of Self-EfficacyUnderstanding teachers perceptions and beliefs is important because teachers, heavily involved invarious teaching and learning processes, are practitioners of educational principles and theories (Jia,Eslami & Burlbaw, cited in Eslami and Fatahi, 2008). Teachers have a primary role in determiningwhat is needed or what would work best with their students. Findings from research on teachersperceptions and beliefs indicate that these perceptions and beliefs not only have considerableinfluence on their instructional practices and classroom behavior but also are related to theirstudents achievement. In most cases teachers do not give attention to pragmatic/communicativefunctions in the classroom. Omaggio (see in Uso-Juan, and Martinez-Flor, 2008) gives thefollowing three reasons for neglecting intercultural/pragmatic competence in the language class: 1. Teachers usually have an overcrowded curriculum to cover and lack the time to spend on teaching culture, which requires a lot of work;
2. Many teachers have a limited knowledge of the target culture and, therefore, afraid to teach it; 3. Teachers are often confused about what cultural aspects to cover (p.165). 2.6.5. Challenge Related to the Attitude toward English LanguageDo learners realize that learning and efficiently using English language is one of the keys tosuccess? How about the teachers? Learners’ attitude to use English language out of classroomsituation can also negatively affect the development of pragmatic competence. In this regard, Cohen(2008) has argued that the EFL learners of Japanese do consider speaking English with each otheras something ‘shameful’ (p. 25). This implies that the question of pragmatic competence can beaffected by the attitude language learners have toward the target language in addition to the subtletreatments of the target language culture. Our students probably do not use English outside theclassroom. At least, most of them do not use it actively. They can watch films and listen to musicbut they hardly ever talk for instance due to the competing negative attitude toward talking inEnglish out of class. 2.6.6. Challenge Related to Learners’ Level of Target Language ProficiencyIn developing pragmatic competence, the other factor that has also received attention ininterlanguage pragmatics (ILP) is the influence of learners’ level of target language proficiency. Apropos to this, some studies show that FL learners’ pragmatic ability progresses in line with theirlanguage proficiency (Rose, 2000, for supportive moves in requests; Takahashi & Beebe, 1987, forrefusal realization strategies), whereas in other studies it appears that, although proficiency has littleeffect on the range of realization strategies (Kasper & Schmidt, 1996), it does influence the orderand frequency of semantic formulae used by learners (Kasper & Rose, 2002). 2.6.7. Challenge Related to Pragmatics Teaching MethodsPragmatics should not be seen and treated as different language aspect that demands differentteaching method according to scholars. On top of this, pragmatics instruction should not be aimedsolely at serving advanced and proficient EFL students’ language learning nor should it be acomplementary pedagogical approach. As Childs (see Bouchard, 2011) argues,
Pragmatic is not an optional add-on. It is a necessary facet of language and of language learning. That is because the whole point is no longer grammatical form but communication of meaning, and that is based on situations. The emphasis is on appropriate patterns, whether they are grammatical or not (p.40).While this argument highlights the importance of teaching pragmatics in the language classroom, itdoes not denigrate the importance of grammar knowledge in communicative competence. Whendealing with potential pragmatic failures, a combination of grammar knowledge and pragmaticawareness creates the necessary conditions in which strategies for repair can be developed.Given that instructing pragmatics in all context, there is not likely to be one approach which is to bepreferred over all others in every context (Kasper and Rose, 2001:8). It has been identified that thecontent and forms of language teaching are significantly influenced by the content and forms oflanguage testing. According to (Kasper and Rose, 2001:9), especially in instructional contextswhere formal testing is regularly performed curricular innovations that comprise pragmatics aslearning objective will be ineffective as long as pragmatic ability is not included as a regular andimportant component of language tests.’ 2.6.8. Challenge Related to the Availability of InputsResearch results in FL settings report that in EFL context the range of communicativefunctions(speech acts) and realization strategies is quite narrow, and that the typical interactionpatterns restrict pragmatic input and opportunities for practicing discourse organization strategies.So as to improve the pragmatic competence of EFL learners, arguments have been put forward forthe necessity of instruction in pragmatics (Bardovi-Harlig, 2001). Kasper (1997) argues learnersmay not detect relevant input features, and that to achieve learners’ attention, input should be madesalient through ‘input enhancement’. It is believed that input enhancement will raise the learners’consciousness about the target feature. Input enhancement is defined by Fukuya and Clark (see inZohreh R. Eslami and Eslami-Rasekh, 2008:180) as an implicit instructional technique that providesno metapragmatic information.However, Eslami-Rasekh(2005) suggests providing awareness raising activities before jumping into the teaching of pragmatic aspect of the target language. Through awareness-raising activities,students acquire information about pragmatic aspects of language-for instance, what strategies areused for apologizing in their first language (L1) and second language (L2), what is considered an
offence in their culture compared to the target culture, what are different degrees of offence fordifferent situations in the two languages, and how the nature of the relationship between theparticipants affects the use of apologies. The aim is to expose learners to the pragmatic aspects oflanguage (L1 and L2) and provide them with the analytical tools they need to arrive at their owngeneralizations concerning contextually appropriate language use. These activities are designed tomake learners consciously aware of differences between the native and target language speech acts.The rationale for this approach is that such differences are often ignored by learners and gounnoticed unless they are directly addressed (Schmidt 1993, 2001).Takahashi (2001) proposes a much broader view of input enhancement. She distinguishes threedifferent degrees and types of input enhancement: explicit teaching, featuring metapragmaticexplanation about form-function relationships of the target structures; form-comparison, in whichstudents compare their own speech acts realizations with those of native speakers; and form-search,in which students identify the target strategies in provided scenarios.Similarly, Rose (2005: 388) states that while most studies have focused on the production of thetarget features or their use in interaction, instruction aimed at improving learners’ pragmaticcomprehension has received far less attention. The role of instruction has also received specialattention in ILP research, since, as mentioned above, FL contexts provide learners with little accessto appropriate pragmatic input (see the volumes by Alcon & Martinez-Flor, 2005; Martinez-Flor etal., 2003; Rose& Kasper, 2001; for reviews of research on pragmatic instruction). 2.7. Possibilities/Opportunities for Teaching Pragmatics in EFL ClassroomThe challenge for second or foreign language teaching is whether we can arrange learningopportunities in such a way that they benefit the development of pragmatic competence of learners.What opportunities are offered for pragmatic learning? The research works have made mention ofsuch opportunities as: opportunities for pragmatic input: teacher talk (Kasper, 1997; Bardovi-Harligand Hartford, 1996; Nikula, 2008), textbooks (Salazar, 2007; Uso-Juan, 2007) and audiovisualmaterial (Alcón, 2005; Fernández-Guerra, 2008; Martínez-Flor, 2008).Although typically an ESL environment is thought to be superior to an EFL environment forlearning language, especially the pragmatics of a language, some studies show that this is asweeping generalization and not necessarily true. According to Wallace (2011) ‘Pragmatics can be
successfully acquired in an EFL setting’ (p.274). Furthermore, some think that lack of exposure tothe target language in an EFL setting hinders students’ development of pragmatics. However, themajority of SLA studies agree that pragmatics can be acquired successfully in an EFL setting if theteacher teaches it explicitly. In fact, researches show that explicit pragmatics instruction can bemore effective than implicit pragmatics instruction.Taguchi (see Wallace, 2011:274) shows us that for acquiring pragmatics, an ESL setting is notnecessarily better than an EFL setting, but that each setting may contribute to different learneroutcomes. Wallace (ibid) argues whatever the setting might be that greater practice means greaterperformance speed. Studies of development of Foreign Language (FL) knowledge have tended tofocus more on the acquisition of syntactic, phonological, morphological and semantic forms than onthe development of pragmatic ability (Cohen, 2005). Evidence of this fact is that FL learners maymaster the vocabulary and grammar of the target language without gaining a comparable controlover the pragmatic uses of the language (Usó-Juan and Salazar (2002:103). This amounts to sayingthat FL learners may know several forms of thanking, complaining or apologizing without beingsure when it is appropriate to use one form or another as mentioned by both Uso-Juan and Salazar(2002). Therefore, it has been argued that the teaching of pragmatics is necessary to developlearners’ ability to communicate appropriately in the target language (TL), particularly in theforeign language (FL) context (Kasper, 1997; Bardovi-Harlig, 2001).Savignon (2006:10) discusses about shaping or designing language curriculum that entails fivecomponents out of which one is “language for a purpose, or language experience.” Language for apurpose or language experience is “the use of language for real and immediate communicativegoals”. She argues that for not all learners are taking a new language for the same reasons, teachersshould do the following in selecting language inputs: It is important for teachers to pay attention, when selecting and sequencing materials, to the specific communicative needs of the learners. Regardless of how distant or unspecific the communicative needs of the learners, every program with a goal of communicative competence should pay heed to opportunities for meaningful language use, opportunities to focus on meaning as well as form (pp. 11-12).
2.7.1. The Role of Language Teacher’s TalkTeachers vary in their attitudes to ´teacher talk´ according to findings. Some of them accept that it isuseful source of language input for all language levels, except from the more advanced ones. Othersregard it as an important part of the early stages of learning, but believe it should be abandoned assoon as possible” (Lynch as quoted in Adriana 2009:1). There are at least three main reasons thatmake teacher talk worth studying and improving. The reasons are as follows: a. People have recognized the vital link between comprehension and the progress made in the language classroom. b. Studies of classroom language have shown that certain aspects of teacher talk, such as the way we ask questions, influence the way learners use language. c. It is not easy for learners to understand what the teacher is currently trying to focus their attention on (ibid).Due to its importance, it is inevitable to make sure that the teacher talk fulfils certain criteria. Firstof all, it should be simplified, but not unnatural. It needs to exhibit a certain level of redundancy(words like let me see, in fact, well, etc.) and words, together with structures, should be repeated atregular intervals. Speaker is also required to break the text into ´short paragraphs´ that enablestudents to interrupt, comment on them or ask questions. All new items that are presented need to besupported by additional examples. Teachers are expected to ask for feedback, both verbally andnon-verbally while teaching pragmatic content of language. In connection with the body language,it is strongly recommended to maintain an eye-contact with as many members of the class as it ispossible. The reasons for eye-contact are numerous. For instance, to put an emphasis on somethingbeing explained, to stimulate interaction among students, to check understanding, etc.Halušková(see in Adriana 2009:2). 2.7.2. The Role of TextbooksTextbooks are key component in most language programs. In some situations they serve as the basisfor much of the language input learners receive and the language practice that occurs in theclassroom. They may provide the basis for the content of the lessons, the balance of skills taughtand the kinds of language practice the students take part in. In other situations, the textbook mayserve primarily to supplement the teachers’ instruction.
Bardovi-Harlig (2001) argues that since teachers’ talk cannot be considered as a pragmaticallyappropriate model for learners, “textbooks with conversations are designed to be models forstudents, and yet they generally fall short of providing realistic input to learners” (p. 25). Shesuggests that textbooks should be used cautiously: Any textbook should be used judiciously, since it cannot cater equally to the requirements of every classroom setting. In bilingual and multilingual situations, there are special limitations on the amount of English language teaching that can be done via the textbook. The textbook can present examples of common difficulties, but there are problems specific to different language groups which are left for the teacher to deal with. It is also likely that a textbook will outlast its relevance because of changes in the language policy of the community for which it was written (Bardovi-Harlig, 2001:24).Therefore, textbooks are always at the center of curriculum although there are some limitationsattributed to them with regards to their pragmatic contents. 2.7.3. The Role of Culture [Local and Target Culture]People may meet with various problems in intercultural communication. The knowledge of targetlanguage’s culture is as important as its grammar or vocabulary. Perhaps more to the point, a lack ofcross-cultural awareness can be a severe hindrance in the understanding of a message which islinguistically accurate or comprehensible. As a rule, people are much less tolerant of cultural bumpsand cultural shocks than they are of grammatical mistakes and lexical insufficiency.Language is inseparable from culture. Thus, when learners learn a language, they learn aboutculture; and as they learn to use a new language, they learn to communicate with other individualsfrom a different culture. Magnifying the significance of target language culture in learning a foreignlanguage, Jie (2010) opines: Through analyzing and comparing the anecdotes of pragmatic failure in cross- cultural communication from the aspects of lexicon, syntax and discourse, some pragmatic strategies are suggested in intercultural communication. To improve learners’ cultural awareness and communicative competence, a cultural-linguistic approach in foreign language teaching should be adopted (p.1).
A language cannot exist in vacuum. It has to express some objective function when utterances aremade or some text is written. Regmi (2011:2) points out “When we learn a new language, we needto adopt the culture of the target language to a certain extent because the cultural aspect comesamalgamated with the target language.” However, what about the learners and their own culture?Regmi again has the following to say with regards to this question: The learners have their own set of cultural experiences and objectives of using a language. They have their own cultural amalgamation which has to be addressed during target language learning process to make it meaningful and relevant to the learners. We can assume that integration of local culture and context is inevitable while learning a target language (ibid).Thus, local context becomes inseparable from the use of language. This is because, “… studentswant to see cultural elements from both target language culture and local culture in foreign languageclassrooms as well as in language learning materials” Devo and Yasemin (2010:4). Samovar,Porter, and Jain (see Purba, 2011) emphasize: Culture and communication are inseparable because culture not only dictates who talks to whom, about what, and how the communication proceeds, it also helps to determine how people encode messages, the meanings they have for messages, and the conditions and circumstances under which various messages may or may not be sent, noticed, or interpreted... Culture...is the foundation of communication (p. 45).Unlike structure teaching pragmatics calls for the inclusion of cultural aspects of language.Pedagogical decisions concerning what and how to teach pragmatics are quite different from suchdecisions concerning the teaching of linguistic structures. It is deducible from this that teachers candecide on the priorities in teaching selected aspect of pragmatics. It seems that the first step towardacquisition of sociocultural rules of language use is a program aimed at sensitizing learners tocultural differences in pragmatic behavior across culture. Therefore, making learners be aware ofoverall patterns of behavior in the target culture and of available choices for functional languagerealization may well help learners become better users of input in the target language.
In connection with this, researchers argue that once we have developed a tentative list of pragmaticsaspect of language relevant for particular group/learners, we need to decide which of these aresuitable for the early part of the language learning and which should be left for the later stage(Cohen, 1989, 2005 and 2009).As there are barrier to developing pragmatic competence in EFL setting there are also possibilitiesor opportunities to teaching pragmatic competence as clearly put forward by literature reviews madeso far. Henceforth, in order to undergo the research scheme the next chapter will tell how to goabout issues of methodology and outline of the study design, data collection instruments, reliabilityand validity test of the data collection instruments, procedure of data collection, selection ofsubjects and analytical frameworks.
CHAPTER THREE METHODS AND PROCEDURE OF THE STUDY 3.1. Method of the StudyThis chapter deals with the processes involved in selecting the research design, instruments, andsubjects of the study. Even though the investigation of the problem did not confine itself to aparticular method, qualitative method has been taken up to a large extent. The main thesis of thestudy was an attempt to explore the challenges being faced by English language teachers to teachpragmatics to their students, and investigate the manifestation of contents of pragmatics/sociallanguage in the current EFL textbooks. For this purpose, therefore, a descriptive research methodwas chosen as it is used to specify or describe a phenomenon without conducting an experiment. 3.2. Research DesignTo achieve the purpose mentioned under section 3.1, the study was principally designed to bequalitative. Questionnaires, observations, discourse completion tests and content analysis seemed tobe appropriate instruments to collect data for the study since objectively recorded teachers andstudents behaviors such as actions, utterances and verbal expression of their attitudes (opinions)towards the concept can be elements of descriptive studies (Mc Arthur 1983). A triangular approachwas used to collect data from all four (4) and 183 secondary school English language teachers andrespective students (details are given below). 3.3. Procedures of the StudyThis study consisted of the following methodological steps. First and foremost, the researcherconducted pretest- at this step the researcher has attempted to design some open ended discoursecompletion test questions in order to asses pragmatic awareness of the learners. Doing thegroundwork has helped the researcher identify as to whether the stated problem was researchable ornot with the selected school level learners. In fact it was very early to give the full account of thepreliminary investigation. Regardless of this, it was fairly possible to say that the students had somesort of pragmatic (pragmalinguistic) ‘awareness’. It was also not possible to tell how the studentshad acquired the pragmatic/pragmalinguistic ‘knowledge’; as the data could not inform why thelearners fail and/or able to use the proper social language. That is why Cohen, (1996: 253) indicatesthat the inability to use speech acts in their proper temporal/spatial context can be traced forth that
FL students may learn forms for offering their thanks or for apologizing but may not be sure when itis appropriate to use one form or another. After the current research’s groundwork was finished,formulating research questions, stating the motive behind the research, stating the limitation anddelimitation of the study, stating the significance of the study followed. Following the scheme of theresearch, related discourses were reviewed. Next to reviewing related sources, research tools thatwere proper to the study were chosen and designed. After instruments for data collection weredesigned, determining sample size in question, and selecting an appropriate sample from the data onhand took place.Subsequently, before administering the tools, as it was part of the subjects of the present study,textbooks were selected, and unit of analysis were defined, contents for analysis were constructedand categorized; the contents were coded according to the established definition. Afterwards, thequestionnaires were administered to the language teachers with the intension to elicit theirperception of the pragmatic contents of the textbooks, their own awareness and teaching of thepragmatic aspect of language and impediments they were facing in teaching pragmatic aspect of theEnglish language. Corresponding to this, questionnaires and discourse completion tests weredistributed to the participant students to assess their perception of their own language ability andperformance respectively. The questionnaires for the teachers were delivered on hand. Discoursecompletion tests were distributed to the sampled students in a classroom, in collaboration with theschool teachers. All the questionnaire and test papers were collected back. On the whole, thecollected data were descriptively analyzed, interpreted and conclusion were drawn. 3.4. The Data Rationales for textbooksThe study focused on textbook, because it is a critical part of the learning process, and in mostcases, reflects the teaching strategies adopted by the teachers. It has a significant impact on coursestructure, classroom activities, and homework assignments. It often provides the students firstexposure to the subject, and provides a frame or screen for the students’ understanding of thesubject (Brunner, as cited in Butt, 2010: 58). While textbook content does not necessarily reflect thematerial covered in a classroom, coverage of an issue in a textbook makes it more likely to becovered in class, even if teachers do not follow their text directly. Teachers are also unlikely tocover a concept that they have never heard about (Butt, 2010:59).
Although the cultural and pragmatic issues may be occasionally addressed in teaching English as aforeign language (EFL), previous studies (for example Vellegna 2004, Usó-Juan 2007) haveindicated that the teaching materials do not systematically deal with the ways in which the linguisticchoices are affected by setting, situation, status and purpose.The researcher strongly believed that if the communicative aspects of language and pragmaticcompetence were a central theme in EFL classes, it would significantly benefit students in theireveryday communication situations and in their future careers. Readings of some previous researchworks has shown that there is lack of pragmatic input in EFL materials, and this study will giveinsight into whether this holds true in the Ethiopia’s upper secondary school EFL materials as well.The study therefore drew upon various essential pragmatic elements that were evident or missing inthe data taken from content analysis of 10th and 11thgrade textbooks. The discussion of the data wascarried out with reference to research on ESL/EFL and Pragmatics. The findings from this studywere assumed to provide an empirical base upon which EFL textbooks, pragmatic materials andtasks can be developed in textbook writing. An important part of this study was simply to determinethe presence or absence of lessons about pragmatic awareness/competence of learners in the Englishlanguage textbooks. 3.4.1. Content Analysis Sampling Process 220.127.116.11. Sampling Units for Content AnalysisSince it was difficult to observe all contents, the researcher was forced to sample from availablecontent for coding pool. Units of analysis may differ from units of observation. Sample selectiondepends largely on unit of analysis. The researcher was well aware that he needed to be clear aboutunit of analysis before planning sampling strategy to avoid problems that may occur later. Thesampling could involve stratified, purposive, systematic or random technique of selecting therepresentative population of the study. In the present study the researcher planned to pursuepurposive sampling.Before sampling the representative data in relation to the central issues of the study, code sheetswere designed to identify the presence or absence of any elements relevant to the focus of the study.The coding instructions and element definitions were written to ensure that specific concepts werehighlighted and received a specific level of attention in the text before they would be coded aspresent. Code sheets included nine (9) categories(themes) [Pragmatic/ functional language:
definition, semantic formula-complimenting, thanking, refusing, complaining, apologizing,complaining, etc., Language use rules: turn taking, staying on topic, opening or closingconversation, Instruction: implicit vs. explicit or inductive vs. deductive-register, metapragmaticand metalanguage explanations, and speech acts sets/model (Olshtain & Cohen, 1991), Approachesto sociopragmatic competence: role plays, drama, DCT/DRT, observing naturally occurring data,dialogue, and their authenticity, Social context: age, gender, rank, power, friends, acquaintances,Physical context: office, hospital, school, library, restaurant, Pragmatic Learning strategies:suggestions made for the learners to further practice the language and Cultural context: norms,values, expectations, assumptions of culture at large] were looked only for presence (√) or absence(x) for each element. 18.104.22.168. Data Coding Scheme for Content AnalysisAfter the data collected for the study were categorized, the textbooks were coded for the aboveelements while entering the data into tables for analysis. Coding is the heart of content analysis.Coding is the process of converting raw data into a standardized form. Each additional entry ofdatum collected from the textbooks was registered under each code. Coding therefore is thetechnique to classify content in relation to a conceptual framework. Like in the current study,pragmatic elements can be categorized, general pragmatic information, language use rule, culturalcontext, physical context, approaches to sociopragmatics competence, social context, physicalcontext, mode of instruction, etc. 22.214.171.124. Procedure of Content Analysis of the TextbooksThe process of content analysis begins during or after the data processing/entering. Thus theprocedure consisted of formulating the research questions, collecting the data, categorizing the databased on the research questions, indentifying the connection between the data collected from thetextbooks and that of the respondents’ and finally interpreting or assigning meaning to the dataobtained. 3.5.ParticipantsThe research subjects were grade 10th and 11th students at St. Joseph School. The total population ofthe study comprised of 339 students and 4 teachers. Out of the total population of the students, theresearcher drew sound sample systematically based on the table of systematic random sampling;
and the representative sample was 183. After the sample population was decided, the totalpopulation was divided by the sample population that resulted in every 1.85 student to be part of thesample. By rounding off the fractions the students’ names were arranged alphabetically and every2nd student was included in the sample. Moreover, all (100%) teachers that were teaching Englishlanguage to grade 10th and 11th students were also part of the research subjects. Questionnaires weredistributed to all the participant teachers and students; and all of them had returned papers. Inaddition to this, all the students included in the sample were seated for the MDCT. Participants Students % Teachers % Males 102 55.73 3 75 Females 81 44.25 1 25 Total 183 99.98 4 100 3.6. Procedures for Collecting Data 3.6.1. Data SourcesTwo forms of data sources were used as input for the present study- primary and secondary sources.The primary sources were teachers and students in the selected school in addition to which theresearcher observed the classroom’s textbooks use. The secondary data were synthesized fromvarious related discourses through reading. 3.6.2. Research SettingThe research setting was one non-governmental school; St. Joseph School in Adama. It waspurposefully chosen and found to be relevant to the study based on the preliminary investigationsmade by the researcher. More to this point, as the textbook is the only classroom resourcenationwide; any setting that uses the material can suit the study to be carried out. 3.6.3. SamplingIn the present research the researcher employed two stage schemes of sampling: the first purposivesampling only focusing on high achiever students. This was to test the extent to which the learnerswere aware of pragmatic/functional aspect of the target language. Doing this in turn helped theresearcher to proceed with the research work as designed with some minor modification when needarisen. During the first stage sampling, only 15 students were selected and tested. The second and
final sampling was systematic random sampling so as to include all students: low, medium and highachievers as the aim was not to distinguish between these groups of students. 3.7. Tools of Data Collection 3.7.1 QuestionnairePrimarily, sample questionnaires were designed and administered to teachers who are teachingEnglish the same grade level at selected school. Feedbacks were obtained that there were nodifficulties to comprehend the message of the questionnaire. Similar questionnaires with minormodifications were administered to elicit teachers’ perception of the students’ textbooks withregards to pragmatic content and their own pragmatic background knowledge. Whereas,questionnaire for self-perceived competence were newly developed for the students in addition tothe discourse completions test that was completely changed from open ended format to multiplechoice. The change was made to alleviate the difficulty that might occur in analyzing the data andMDCT is gaining its prominence to test learners’ pragmatic proficiency in EFL (Setouguchi,2008:1) and to mitigate its effect on the result. More than 99% of the questionnaires were closeended. The respondents were asked to put only a tick mark (√) in the column of theirchoice or that represents their perceptions of the rating scales. The rating scales range from one upto five where 1=strongly disagree, 2=disagree, 3=undecided 4=agree 5= strongly agree. Inthe data analysis, the researcher has combined strongly disagree (1) and disagree (2), andstrongly agree (5) and agree (4) together. 3.7.2. Classroom ObservationClassroom observation has always been considered as one of the tools for data collection inlanguage acquisition researches, because it allows the study of a phenomenon or behavior at closerange with many of the contextual variables present (Waxman, 2011).Thus, the researcher observed classrooms to ascertain the prevalent challenges to teach pragmaticsin EFL classroom as indicated by the teachers. This is to say that the observation was mainly doneto cross-check whether the problems forwarded by teachers exist or not. The researcher wasphysically present in the classrooms to observe how the teachers use the textbooks to developpragmatic competence of learners through metapragmatic explanations of the language in point oruse materials prepared by themselves for the same purpose to supplement the text books.
Pertinent lessons were observed based on agreement with the teachers, especially, when there areoral presentations and speaking skills sessions. In each class teachers who took part in filing out thequestionnaire were observed. In all the observations conducted, the researcher took the positionwhere his presence did not disturb the class. In other words, the observation was made withoutintervention in any way. Teachers were requested to voluntarily cooperate with the researcher andthe sections were chosen on random basis. 3.7.3. Discourse Completion TestDiscourse completion tests are used to elicit the pragmatic awareness of learners. Hence, theresearcher employed DCT/MDCT to cross check what students replied in self-perceivedcompetence questionnaires with what language they chose in MDCT.Beside the DCT/MDCT, some questions were added at the end of the test paper so that students cangive what they believed as regards to the sources of their current knowledge of pragmatics.To test the difference in the learners’ awareness in the grammatical and pragmatic domains, theresearcher developed a contextualized pragmatic and grammatical judgment task presented in awritten format. The task was developed in five steps for pretest: (a) identifying and constructing thetest scenarios, (b) testing the scenarios through a production (written) task, (c) selecting the targetedresponses for the task, (d) piloting the judgment task in written format, and (e) retesting the revisedscenarios (MDCT). In the first step, 7 scenarios were constructed to elicit one of five speech acts:complaint, compliment, requests, apologies, and refusals. To ensure that learners interpreted thescenarios as requiring the targeted speech act, the researcher asked 15 (purposively selected)secondary School EFL students to carry out a standard discourse completion task (DCT). They weregiven a scenario and asked how they would react, as in Example 1.You are wearing a new shirt and a classmate looks at you and says: “This shirt looks great on you!Blue is a great color for you.”You answer: _____________________________________________________________The study was open ended and exploratory in nature. It asked learners to report whatever they werethinking and then examines those reports to gain insights into what they know about pragmatics andhow they acquire pragmatic knowledge and ability.
3.7.4. Content AnalysisThe purpose of this research is first to investigate the impediments faced by language teachers toteach pragmatics and second to analyze aspects of the content of pragmatics manifested in thestudents’ textbooks and their classes to determine if certain elements (e.g., apology, compliments,complain, request, thanks, etc) are present. While content analysis, if used properly, can indicate thepresence (or absence) and extent of elements that may be signs of quality or effectiveness, based onwhat previous studies or other literature have established about those elements.As Krippendorff (2004) indicates: Content analysis is potentially one of the most important research techniques in the social sciences. The content analyst views data as representations not of physical evidence but of texts, images, and expressions that are created to be seen, read, interpreted, and acted on for their meanings, and must therefore be analyzed with such uses in mind. Analyzing texts in the context of their uses distinguishes content analysis from other methods of inquiry. (p. xiii)Content analysis includes, for instance, comparing the frequency of single words, phrases, or thingsin a text, or the space dedicated to them in a piece of work. The purpose of the content analysis wasto get the research data to a form that is easier to perceive, and thus to help in drawing theconclusions. The conclusions do not, however, pop up straight from the analyzed data, becausecontent analysis can only give direction to theoretical discussion. According to writers, contentanalysis is a scientific way of making observations and collecting data from a document. Furtherprecise definition of content analysis is provided by Krippendorff, (2004): “Content analysis is aresearch technique for making replicable and valid inferences from texts (or other meaningfulmatter) to the context of their use (p.18).This definition of content analysis best suits the current study. In this definition it is deducible thatcontent analysis is a research technique; which implies that content analysis involves specializedprocedures. As a research technique, content analysis provides new insights by increasing theresearcher’s understandings regarding the phenomena under study. Krippendroff, further argues thatcontent analysis is a scientific tool (ibid); that is employed to collect and analyze data.
In the current study, a content analysis was conducted in order to discover the nature of pragmaticmaterials and tasks in the high school English language textbooks written by foreign writers. Thetextbooks were examined for pragmatic information quantitatively and qualitatively. Quantitativedata focused on percentage and amount of pragmatic information contained in the textbooks andamount of variety of pragmatic information. Qualitative data concentrated on the nature ofpragmatic information and the level of richness of pragmatic information. Pragmatic informationwas differentiated according to the categories on the basis of the frame works adapted from thework of Vallenga (2004) and Peiying (2007). They are general pragmatic information,metapragmatic information, metalanguage, speech acts, cultural information and pragmaticallyoriented tasks.Investigation of pragmatics content in each of the two textbooks focused on the explicit mention ofmetapragmatic description of speech acts such as requests, apologies, complaints, compliments, etc.page-by-page counts, coding, description and analysis of different pragmatic information in the twotextbooks was performed to obtain the intended data.For validity and reliability of the whole work, the researcher employed triangulation so as to notconcentrating on just one source of information. He approached the topic from different points ofview by combining qualitative data from discourse completion tests (DCTs), questionnaire forteachers and qualitative data from content analysis using checklists designed for the same purpose.He used theories and background knowledge from books and journals or articles that guide him toapproach the topic in the right way. 3.8. Procedures for Data AnalysisIn the process of data analysis the first step was organizing the data by research questions becauseorganizing by research questions draws together all the relevant data for the exact issue of concernto the researcher and it preserves the coherence of the research. With respect to the content of thetextbook, coding the content according to the established definitions, categorizing the data, countingthe frequency of each code in the textbooks and tabulating was done. After the data were gatheredfrom the textbooks, the students and the respective teachers, both qualitative and quantitativeanalyses were geared up. Content analysis and questionnaire were chief data gathering tools. Oncethe data obtained through textbook content analysis, questionnaires, discourse completion test andclassroom observations were organized, the next step was description of the data. Thence, the
meaning was given to the data. This stage involved explaining the findings and triangulation forveracity and validity (accuracy) of the data. The last stage of data analysis was reporting or drawingconclusion and looking for implications that were dealt with in the next chapter.
CHAPTER FOUR DATA ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATIONIn Ethiopia, English is taught as a foreign language. Equipping Ethiopian students withcommunicative competence in order to help them communicate effectively in internationalcommunication is truly essential. Although there have been studies about communicative languageteaching in Ethiopian schools, investigation on pragmatic information in English textbooks used inEthiopia has not yet been conducted. Similarly, whether there exist any additional pragmaticfeatures in teacher’s book as a resource for teachers has not been questioned. Likewise, whetherEnglish language teachers bring in outside materials to help learners develop pragmatic competencehas not been investigated. Furthermore, no study has been conducted pertaining to the challengesexisting to developing pragmatic competence of language learners.Developing learners’ communicative competence, i.e. the ability to communicate appropriately, iscommonly recognized as the ultimate goal of language teaching (Kasper 1997a; Usó-Juan andMartinez-Flor 2006). Therefore, teaching practices should focus not just on the features of the targetlanguage system but also on its sociolinguistic and pragmatic rules Judd (as qtd in Usó-Juan2007:224). In other words, learners should be given plenty of opportunities to practice use of thelanguage that is appropriate to a given situation. Being central to language use, and languagelearning, pragmatic issues must be addressed in language classroom (Rose, 1994:5). This is becausedifferences in linguistic and cultural background can produce important misunderstandings as theyimply different rules of interaction and the use of different linguistic terms to convey meaning(Cenoz, 2007:7).Hence, the inclusion of pragmatic elements in students’ books is mandatory in EFL context as thereare no other reliable opportunities for learners to take advantage of (Bardovi-Harlig, and Dorneyi,1998; Kasper 1997; Valllenga, 2004; Peiying, 2007).According to literatures, learners’ pragmatic knowledge and competence is framed mostly by theinformation presented in the textbooks. In addition to that in the English as a foreign languagesetting, teachers’ level of awareness about pragmatics is of paramount importance to help learnerswith pragmatic skills that are important in communication. In order to successfully acquirepragmatic competence/awareness, language learners need to be exposed to appropriate input in theclassroom, particularly in foreign language (FL) classroom settings, where learners’ opportunities to
be in contact with the target language are usually non-existent. In such a context, textbooks are thecore of the classroom syllabi and therefore constitute the primary source of input learners areexposed to (Vellenga 2004).The researcher has carried out analysis of the existing English language textbooks aimed at teachingEnglish language in both government and non-government upper high schools in Ethiopia. Inaddition to the analysis, a survey of contemporary literature on some of the principles and practicesof curriculum planning and course design, with special reference to English pragmatics has beentaken up in order to ascertain the conformity scale of the current English language textbooksdesigned by foreigners. The researcher specifically believed that the observations put forward byteachers using the textbooks have a lot of contribution to make, for the conceptual and concreteculmination of the research, which in fact is discussed in the forthcoming section. Checklists werealso used to measure the frequency and the extent to which the pragmatic features were treated inthe textbooks. 4.1. Pragmatic Content Analysis of the Textbooks Question#1 Do the students’ textbooks provide enough pragmatic information for learners?The pragmatic features investigated in this study were Speech act Information, Usage, Politeness,Register, Style, and Cultural information. The books were analyzed both quantitatively andqualitatively using tables as instruments for the data collection process. The investigation wasconducted on the basis of page-by-page inspection of the two selected books and any new point ofinformation related to Speech act information, Usage, Politeness, Register, Style, and Culturalinformation even if it appeared in only one phrase was counted as an aspect of information.It was found that every pragmatic feature focused in this study was not presented in each book. Theresults were shown in table below. Presence was represented by a tick mark (√) and absence wasrepresented by (x).The criteria for evaluation was adapted from Celce-Murcia (2007); and Peiying(2007).
Table 1. Checklists for Absence or Presence of the Pragmatic Features Pragmatic features Book Book 2 1 ML MP ML MP Interpersonal Exchanges 1. Greeting and leave taking x x x x 2. Making introductions and identifying oneself x x x x 3. Extending, accepting and declining invitations and offers x x x x 4. Making and breaking engagements x x x x 5. Expressing and acknowledging gratitude x x x x 6. Complimenting and congratulating x x x x 7. Showing interest, x x x x 8. Showing surprise, x x x x 9. Showing sympathy, x x x x 10. Showing disbelief, x x x x 11. Showing disappointment x x x x Information 1. asking for and giving information x x x x 2. reporting (describing, narrating) x x x x 3. explaining x x x x 4. remembering x x x x Opinions 1. expressing and finding out about attitudes and opinions x x x x 2. agreeing and disagreeing x x x x 3. approving and disapproving x x x x 4. showing satisfaction and dissatisfaction x x x x Feelings : expressing x x x x 1. love, 2. happiness, x x x x 3. sadness, x x x x 4. pleasure, x x x x 5. anger, x x x x 6. embarrassment, x x x x 7. pain, x x x x 8. relief, x x x x 9. fear, x x x x 10. annoyance, x x x x 11. surprise x x x x Suasion: 1. suggesting, x x x x
2. requesting, x x x x 3. Instructions x x x x 4. giving orders, x x x x 5. advising, and warning x x x x 6. asking for, granting and withholding permission x x x x Problems: 1. complaining and criticizing x x x x 2. blaming and accusing x x x x 3. admitting and denying x x x x 4. regretting x x x x 5. apologizing and forgiving x x x x Future scenarios: Expressing wishes, √ x x x hopes, and desires x x x x plans, goals, and intentions √ x x x promising √ x x x predicting and speculating √ x x x possibilities and capabilities of doing something x x √ x Following Rules of Conversation 1. taking turns in conversation √ x x x 2. introducing topics of conversation x x x x 3. staying on topic x x x x 4. rephrasing when misunderstood x x x x 5. how to use verbal and nonverbal signals x x x x 6. how close to stand to someone when speaking x x x x 7. how to use facial expressions and eye contact x x x x Changing language according to the needs of a listener or situation, such as 1.talking differently to a baby than to an adult x x x x 2.giving background information to unfamiliar listener x x x x 3.speaking differently in a classroom than on a playground x x x x Adapted from Peiying 2007, and Celce-Murcia, 2007.Pragmatics, or the ability to communicate using language, is increasingly recognized as essential tolanguage competence and production. Researchers currently advocate metapragmatic instructionwhich combines explicit instruction, awareness-raising activities, and guided practice (Eslami-Rasekh, 2005; Kasper, 1997). However, the pragmatic features in the current students’ textbookswere not explicitly laid down. The pragmatic information that was presented in the textbooks wasnot backed up by further explanation either metapragmatic or metalanguage as displayed in the
above table. Instead of merely relying on the checklists already prepared by the researcher, thedecision was made to check the pragmatic information or content in the books through page-by-page counting of each single case.The researcher selected expressions for various language strategies such as thanking, refusing,apologizing, complimenting, complaining and requesting, and classified them into categoriesaccording to Aijmer (1996) and Ishihara and Cohen (2007) in order to evaluate the pragmaticcontents of the selected textbooks. After determining the general amount of pragmatic contentsprovided in the textbooks, specific areas of interest were selected for analysis. The results wereshown in the table below. Table2.Communicative Acts in the Textbooks Communicative Acts realization of Examples or strategies or Topic /types strategies strategies Book 2 Book 1 appearance/possessions e.g., You look absolutely beautiful!) √ x Compliments performance/skills/abilities (e.g., Your presentation was excellent.) √ x personality traits (e.g., You are so sweet.) √ x Direct refusals (e.g. ‘No’, ‘I can’t’, ‘I don’t think I can’) x x Statement of regret (e.g. ‘I’m sorry’) x x Statement of positive opinion (e.g. ‘I’d love to’, ‘I wish I could’) x x (e.g. ‘I have to study for the test’) Refusal Excuse, reason, explanation x x Gratitude (e.g. ‘Thank you’) x x Statement of future acceptance (e.g. ‘Perhaps some other time’) x x Indefinite reply (e.g. ‘I’m not sure’, ‘I don’t know’) x x Statement of alternative (e.g., ‘How about the movies’) x x Statement of empathy (e.g. ‘No offence to you’) x x Good wish to hearer (e.g. ‘Have a nice trip’, ‘Hope you have x x fun’) Thanking Thanking someone explicitly (e.g. Thanks, thank you, thank you for, √ √ thank you very much, thanks a lot, fine thanks…) Expressing gratitude (e.g. I’m grateful…) x x
Expressing the appreciation of (e.g. That’s kind of you, that’s nice of x x the addressee you…) Expressing the appreciation of (e.g. That’s lovely, it’s appreciated…) x x the act Acknowledging a debt of (e.g. I owe a debt of gratitude to…) x x gratitude Stressing one’s gratitude (e.g. I must thank you…) x x Expressing emotion (e.g. Oh, thank you…) x x Suppressing one’s own (e.g. I’m an ingrate, I’m so careless) x x importance[self-denigration] Explicitly apologizing (e.g. I apologize) √ x Offering/presenting one’s (e.g. I present my apologies) x x apologies Acknowledging a debt of (e.g. I owe you an apology) x x apology Expressing regret (e.g. I’m sorry, I’m regretful …) √ x Demanding forgiveness (e.g. Pardon me, forgive me, excuse x x me…) Explicitly requesting the hearer’s (e.g. I beg your pardon, ) x xApologies forgiveness Giving an explanation or account (e.g. I’m sorry “The bus was late,” it’s so x x unusual…) Self-denigration or self reproach (e.g. How stupid of me, how awful, I x x ought to know this) Minimizing responsibility (e.g. I didn’t mean to…, I thought this √ x was…, ) Expressing emotion (e.g. Oh, I’m so sorry…,) x x Acknowledging responsibility for (e.g. It’s my fault…,) x x the offending act Promising forbearance from a (e.g. I promise you that will never happen x x similar offending act again) Offering redress (e.g. Please let me pay for the damage I x x have done) Asking about ability to do (e.g. Can you come to the party? √ x something[ability] Can you help me? Can I talk to Mr. president? ) Asking about the possibility of (e.g. Is it possible…, would you mind…,) x x the desired act happening [consultation]Requesting Asking whether the hearer is (e.g. Will you…, would you(like)…, ) √ x willing to do or has an objection to do something[willingness] Expressing a wish that the agent (e.g. I would like you to…,) x x should do something [want] Expressing a need or desire for (e.g. I want…, I need…,) x x goods [need] Stating that the hearer is under (e.g. You must…, you have to…,) x x
the obligation to do something [obligation] Stating that it is appropriate that (e.g. You should…, ) x x the hearer performs the desired action Asking an idiomatic WH (e.g. What about…, how about…, why √ questions don’t you…, why not…) Hypothesis (e.g. If you would…, perhaps you x x would….) Appreciation (e.g. I would be grateful if you would x x do…, I would be glad if …) Permission quest (e.g. May I …, let me…) x x Naming the object requested (e.g. The next slide please) x x Checking the (e.g. Is Mr…there…) x x availability[existence] Valuation-an utterance (e.g. e.g. Its really disgusting.) x x expressing the feelings of the Speaker about either the Addressee or the problem. Closing - An utterance made by (e.g. OK, thanks. ) x x the Speaker to conclude the complaint set. Threat- An utterance stating an (e.g. e.g. "I, er..could take it higher than x x action the Speaker might take, just talking to you." ) depending on the reaction of the Addressee. Remedy - An utterance calling (e.g. This is going to have to stop.) x x for some corrective action. Justification of The Addressee - ( e.g. Is this time particularly difficult for x xComplaining An utterance giving a reason or you?" ) excuse for the Addressees having committed the wrong or considering the effect on the Addressee. Justification of the speaker-An ( e.g. "... because I... youre making me x x utterance explaining why the miss lectures by turning up late." ) Speaker is making the complaint and the effects of the wrong on the Speaker. Act Statement- An utterance (e.g. "This is the fourth time this month x x which states the problem youve been really late!" ) directly. Orientation - An utterance giving (e.g. Ive been meaning to talk to you x x the Speakers intent in initiating about the rubbish youve been leaving the complaint, but with no detail. outside. ) Opener- An utterance initiating (e.g. "Listen, Jimmy." ) x x the speech act set but giving no information about the wrong.
Explicit complaint (e.g. You’re not fair. You’re x x inconsiderate. One should not postpone this type of operation. I’ve been waiting here for nearly an hour. You are always late. I expected different treatment from a physician like you.) Request for Explanation- (e.g. I mean, why do you do it?) x x An utterance calling for an explanation of the Addressees behavior, Blame -An utterance finding (e.g. You realize cause youre late x x fault with the Addressee or again...) holding him/her responsible for the wrong, Adapted from Aijmer 1996; Ishihara and Cohen, 2007Most lessons are insubstantial and that there are no matapragmatic explanations provided. Forexample, we can see the following lesson presented in grade 10 students’ book under the title‘apologizing’. “How would you say sorry to someone? Look at the expressions: Sorry, I didn’t mean to… I am sorry but… I apologize for… I hope you will forgive me but… I seem to have made a mistake. I’m really sorry… I am sorry for misunderstanding… I hope you will understand…” (p. 62).Another lesson that has to do with compliments as presented in 10th English textbook on pages 85and 91, has got similar problem. For example, ‘Mercy is a good person’ ‘You are good at Maths’ (p.85). Tesfaw is so good at speaking English. Tesfaw is such a good English speaker (p.91).
In the excerpt there is no clear instruction for the learners to further practice the language featureand there is no explicit metalanguage or metapragmatic explanation is given. Similarly, with theintention to say ‘no’ or refusal to requests for sex, the following expressions are presented merelyfor the sake of presenting in 11th grade English language textbook. No metapragmatic explanation isprovided. They are present only in name. ‘ I would really rather not… If you don’t mind, I’ll say ‘no’ to that. I don’t want…, if you don’t mind. I’m sorry, but I’ve said ‘no’ and I’m not going to change my mind. I’d prefer to…/I’d rather… Why don’t we… instead?’ (p.103).Likewise, a topic about ‘tourist complaint’ that is presented in grade 11th textbook page 128, musthave left learners with unsolved puzzle. That is to say complaining being important feature ofpragmatics, ample matapragmatic explanations and scenarios must have been provided. For theexcerpt presented above no metalanguage and metapragmatic explanation has been given. Noauthentic context for practice and use is provided. No scenarios or situations were presented so thatthe learners will learn how the expressions are used in a real life like simulations. The objectivestates ‘by the end of the lesson you will be able to learn to apologize to someone’ however there areno practice activities to assess learners’ behavior. Table 3.Frequency of Communicative Acts in Each Textbook Type of Communicative Grade 10 textbook Grade 11 textbook Acts # of pages # of pages pragmatic pragmatic Total # of Total # of pages pages pages pages % of % of f f Request 74 17 48 9 Apology 13 5 3 1 Compliments 10 3 11 2 Complaints - - 327 9.5 1 1 251 6.4 Refusing 4 3 7 1 Thanking 4 3 2 2 Total 105 31 72 16
The above table represents the quantity of pragmatic information contained in the student textbooks.In this case even phrase was counted so as to include the most possible data in the process ofenumeration. As one can see from the table above, only few pages have gone for scantly explainedand discussed pragmatic language features. Almost all pages or the lion’s share have gone forgrammar, vocabulary, passages, and other language skills. This is somewhat paradox in that wherethe most important source of pragmatic aspect of language is said to be textbook, particularly inEFL setting and where there is meager opportunities for learners to develop their pragmaticcompetence, scantiness of such pragmatic contents in the textbooks can highly debilitate learners’communicative competence. 4.2. Pragmatic Features Contained in Each TextbookContiguous with examining the types of pragmatic features included or excluded in each of thebooks under investigation, the present study looked into the number of each feature included. It wasfound that there were differences in number of pragmatic features between the books as shown inthe table below. (√) may stand for presence, both scant and sufficient, and explanations given abouta particular communicative act; while (x) stands for absence and lack of explanation about aparticular communicative act.Table 4.Pragmatic Contents of Grade 10th English textbook Page Pragmatic Features/Topics politeness No register usage Total style ML MP f 5 Relative clauses x x x x √ x 1 1 6 Making comparisons x x x x x x 1 1 6 Adverbs of time x x x x x x 1 1 7 Giving advice x x x x √ x 1 1 8 Making plans and suggestions x x x x √ x 1 1 20 Asking questions x x x x x x 1 1 21 Sequencing information x x x x x x 1 1 22 Giving advice x x x x x x 1 1 23 Remembering and x x x x x x 1 1 reminiscing 34 Conditional sentences x x x x √ x 1 1 59 Modal verbs x x x x √ x 2 2 62 Apologizing x x x x √ x 1 1 67 Adjectives of character x x x x x x 1 1
92 Illustrating a point x x x x x x 1 1 114 Language use x x x x x x 2 2 145 Making wishes x x x x √ x 1 1 147 Wishing x x x x √ x 1 1 128 Social expressions x x x x x x 1 1 156 Hedges x x x x x x 1 1 215 Congratulations, inviting,… x x x x x x 1 1 226-28 Language use x x x x x x 3 3It is observable from the table that most of the pragmatic elements that are rarely appearing in thestudents textbooks lack explicit explanation of forms, meaning, usage, purpose/use and context.Politeness, style, register and usage are absent altogether. Except very few metalinguisticexplanations there no metapragmatic explanations provided for those features of pragmatics. Table 5.Grade11Textbook Pragmatic contentsPage Pragmatic features/topics politenessNo. register Usage style total ML MP f14 Discussing advantages and x √ √ √ √ x 1 1 disadvantages[dialogue]23 Language of meeting √ √ √ √ x x 1 124 The language of discussion √ √ √ √ x x 1 135 How to write an informal letter x x x x √ x 1 140 Reported speech [dialogue] x x x x x x 1 198 Giving Advice x x x x √ x 1 199 Asking for Advice x x x x x x 1 1102 Saying No [refusal] x x x x x x 1 1108 Language of formal letter x x x x x x 1 1127 A formal letter x x x x x x 1 1128 Tourist Complaints x x x x x x 1 1129 Making suggestion x x x x √ x 1 1130 Turn taking √ √ √ x x x 1 1172 Discourse markers* x x x x √ x 1 1173 Discourse markers* x x x x √ x 1 1213 Language we use to express wish* x x x x √ x 1 1215 May I interrupt? x x x x x x 1 1294 Speculating about the future* x x x x x x 1 1 hedges?318 Dialogue x x x x x x 3 3
The above table shows the inclusion and absence of the pragmatic features in question. None of thebooks provided all the pragmatic features under investigation. Both of them, however, presented atleast a dearth of features. In both textbooks, pragmatic information accounts for merely a smallportion as indicated in the other section.Pragmatics deals with meaning in context that is the meaning conveyed often indirectly beyondwhat is literally communicated (Ishihara, 2010:1). Others like Yates (2004) also have describedpragmatics as the “secret rules of language”, the ‘rules’ that help us know how formal or informal tobe, how long to wait before we ask or answer a question, how to apologize to someone for bumpinginto them or how to give a compliment. All of them have highlighted the importance of sociallyappropriate language use; ability to use language in context has been identified as an essentialcomponent of communicative competence. It is very rare case that one can find such qualities asmentioned by scholars in the students’ books reviewed regarding social and authentic language usecontexts.In Ethiopian EFL context, English is used mainly in the classroom and EFL learners thus havesignificantly fewer opportunities to engage in English-based communication outside the classroom.The English classroom, therefore, becomes the central place for their development of pragmaticcompetence.Previous studies show that pragmatic competence can be taught (Eslami-Rasekh, 2005; Kasper,1997; Jianda, 2006). However, foreign language teachers, being foreign language learnersthemselves, hesitate to teach pragmatics in their classrooms. A large number of EFL teachers havelearned English as a foreign language. Many may neither have any contact with native speakers, norhave they had enough opportunities to fully develop their pragmatic knowledge and skills (Cohen,2004; Kim & Hall, 2002). For those non-native teachers, textbooks can be of particular use inequipping themselves with pragmatic competence. In other words, textbooks are the only tool non-native speaker teachers use to teach the four language skills and pragmatic knowledge (Kim & Hall,2002).However, textbooks rarely provide enough information for learners to successfully acquirepragmatic competence. In the worst case, they can be a source of pragmatic failure (Vasquez &Sharpless, 2009). Bardovi-Harlig (2001), for instance, reported that speech act realizationspresented in textbooks might not reflect the manner in which native speakers commonly realize in a
speech act. The target language culture may be misrepresented and the rules of speaking orpoliteness norms may be distorted. Moreover, textbooks have been criticized for decades for failingto provide EFL learners with adequate and appropriate pragmatic knowledge (Bardovi-Harlig,2001; Peiying, 2007; Takafumi, Fukusawa & Shinichi, 2007; Vellenga, 2004; Yang, 2007).Vallenga (2004), in particular, reported that metalinguistic and metapragmatic information relatedto ways of speaking were missing from ELT textbooks used in most university worldwide.The results from the books analysis indicated that the pragmatic features focused in the study wereincluded in the books used in teaching the English language as a foreign language in Ethiopianupper high schools. However, the features and the pragmatic information contained vary across thebooks.To conclude, from the data analysis, although the pragmatic features are included in those booksvariedly, the amount of pragmatic information in the books is far short of being an adequate sourcefor EFL students to attain pragmatic competence. Likewise, non-native EFL teachers may also findit insufficient to simply rely on students’ books to enhance their pragmatic knowledge. Thepragmatic features, only in title, are paid a lip service in the textbooks. Admittedly, in a plethora ofgrammar, the paucity of the pragmatic features is visible in addition to the absence of explicitexplanations given to even the meager presentation of the pragmatic aspect of the language. 4.3. Questionnaire for TeachersQuestion # 2.What are the Challenges Faced by High School Teachers in Teaching PragmaticCompetence?A questionnaire was designed for eliciting perceptions of teachers in relation to the challenges facedin teaching pragmatic competence by language teachers who are teaching English language at St.Joseph’s High School. In order to prepare questionnaires, first, the researcher reviewed relevantliterature as pointed out earlier. Second, questionnaires were designed and distributed to theteachers before the actual data collection in order to ensure whether the questionnaires wereapplicable as per what the researcher intended to collect pertaining to the apparent challenges. Foreach category of challenges, there was one major open-ended question, followed by clarificationchecks and attempts to elicit any further perceived challenges. The initial draft consisted of 12statements. It was then submitted to the advisor; colleagues and classmates who were interested inthis area for feedback about the relevance and clarity of each statement. Acting upon their feedback,
the number of statements was increased to 24 and very few modifications in wording were made.Four copies were distributed to English language teachers teaching grades 9-12, and all forms werereturned. Table 6.Challenges Related to Teachers’ Training Programs Whether they have learned a course on pragmatics Yes % No % (request, apology, complain, compliment, thanks… 4 100 - -All of the subjects stated that they had exposure to information about pragmatics. For instance, onesubject mentioned that “When I was a sophomore student in the university, I took the course ‘AnIntroduction to Linguistics.’ It’s the basic lesson to linguistics, and of course contains pragmatics.’After ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question, the second category of the questionnaire was about the extent to whichthose teachers were benefited out of the lesson/course received. Hence, the questionnaire has threepoint scales. The researcher decided to consider the mean values between 1 and 1.5 inadequate,between 1.6 and 2 fairly adequate, and finally between 2.6 and 3 adequate. Table 7.Whether any Lesson Received Helped the Teachers or not Inadequate Adequate adequate If in-service and/or pre-service training has helped them to: Fairly Be aware of pragmatics as a branch of linguistics N 12 - - % 100 - - Mean 3 - - Compare their L1 with that of English N - 8 - % - 100 - Mean - 2 - Learn norms of politeness in face to face interaction in N - 8 - English % - 100 - Mean - 2 - Teach pragmatic aspect of English language N - - 4 % - - 100 Mean - - 1 Select activities to teach language USE N - 4 2 % - 50 50 Mean - 1 .5 Construct tests to evaluate language USE N - 4 2 % - 50 50 Mean - 1 .5
It can be seen from the table above that all the respondents replied that the lesson or any trainingthey received has made them ‘be aware of pragmatics as a branch of linguistics’. The mean of theirresponse was 3 which indicated that the lesson they received was ‘adequate’ to help them be awareof pragmatics. They have again argued that the lesson they have received has fairly helped themcompare the pragmatic relationship between their mother tongue and that of English. The meanscore for the responses was 2 which mean that the lesson they received was ‘fairly adequate’ toassist them compare the pragmatic relationship that exists between their L1 and the Englishlanguage. As confirmed by the teachers the instructions they received helped all or 100% of them,‘learn norms of politeness in face to face interaction in English’. The mean of their responsesindicated that the lesson they have learned was ‘fairly adequate’ if not adequate.Referring to the last three statements the teachers have opposite reactions as compared to the firstcategories. The knowledge they had acquired about pragmatics was of no help to enable all or 100%of them to deliver lesson on pragmatic aspect of the English language; to put it precisely in theirown response ‘inadequate’. Likewise, the lesson they received did not guarantee them to selectand/or design activities to teach pragmatic features of English language in the classroom. Similarly,the lesson they received was ‘inadequate’ in that it was not of use by 50% of the teachers, toconstruct tests to evaluate language use in the EFL setting where English is ‘spoken’ only in theclassroom.In fact, 50% of the respondents have claimed that they selected activities to teach and constructedtests to assess pragmatic knowledge. However, the mean score of their responses was one (1.5)which means ‘inadequate’. Challenges related to students textbooksAccording to literatures textbooks can be either opportunity or challenge to teaching pragmatics inEFL context. What do St. Joseph school teachers think of textbooks’ pragmatic contents?Inadequate=1, fairly adequate=2 and adequate=3.
Challenges related to students textbooks Statements Teachers’ views about the pragmatic contents of their guide and Inadequate Adequate students’ textbooks: adequate Fairly a/explanation of pragmatic aspects of English N 4 - - Mean 1 - - % 100 - - b/activities that help learners learn to use language or N 2 4 - pragmatics Mean 1.5 1 - % 50 50 - c/how to teach pragmatic aspects of English language N 4 - - Mean 1 - - % 100 - - d/how to test pragmatic aspect of English language N 4 - - Mean 1 - - % 100 - -As shown in the table above, regarding the explanation of pragmatic aspects of English languagepresented in textbooks or their guide, the teachers responded unanimously (100% of them) that thecontents are inadequate. Pertaining to the activities presented in the students’ textbook to helplearners learn to use language, 50% of the teachers contended ‘fairly adequate’ and the quarter partof them argued ‘inadequate’. While with regards to the method of teaching and testing pragmaticaspect of language, all the respondents with one voice said that the textbooks are ‘inadequate’. Tables 9. Do the teachers include any lesson in their daily plan to teach pragmatics? Item Adequate Fairly adequate Inadequate Inclusion of lesson in lesson plan - 3=75% 1=25%Table 9 represents that 75% of the participants affirmed that pragmatic lessons that they include intheir lesson plan were ‘fairly adequate’ and 25% of them acknowledged that the lesson they includeto supplement textbook is ‘inadequate’. In line with this item, there was subsequent question thatwhy teachers were not able to include pragmatic aspects of the English language in their lessonplan. The responses are treated in the table below. The scales were assigned values as stronglyagree=5, agree=4, undecided=3, disagree=2, strongly disagree=1.
Table 10.Why teachers do not teach pragmatic aspect of English language? Ratings Strongly disagree Strongly agree Undecided Disagree Agree Statements Lack of extra time N - 3 - 1 - % - 75 - 25 - Limited knowledge of target culture and N 2 2 - - - language % 50 50 - - - Confusion with which aspect of pragmatics to N 1 2 1 - - cover % 25 50 25 - - Lack of training N 2 1 1 - - % 50 25 25 - - Insufficient materials N 1 3 - - - % 25 75 - - - Students’ language level N 2 2 - - - % 50 50 - - - Teachers’ language level N 4 - - - - % 100 - - - - Type of language assessment N 1 2 1 - - % 25 50 25 - -As shown in the table above, the three most common challenges the teachers reported that they areencountering in teaching pragmatics were lack of training as stipulated by Bardovi-Harlig andMahan-Taylor, (2003:1) ‘Pragmatics does not receive the attention in language teacher educationprograms that other area of language do’, large class sizes and time allotment. Students’ languagelevel and insufficient materials are the next most frequent difficulties for teachers to teachpragmatics. In a similar way, all subjects (100%) commented that teacher’s language level could bea factor that influenced pragmatic teaching. Finally, type of assessment, which in fact aimed atpassing exam, has significant impact up on the pragmatic lessons according to the teachers’response. This is as Kasper (2000), puts forward, ‘Unless teachers also know about methods toevaluate students progress in pragmatics, they may be reluctant to focus on pragmatics in theirteaching.’
Table11.General Perception of Teachers about Opportunities for Learning Pragmatics inEFL Context Agreement scales/raters Undecided Disagree Strongly Strongly disagree Agree agree Statements Teacher’s talk in the classroom is N - 3 - 1 - important…to help learners acquire pragmatic % 75 - 25 - knowledge The current English textbook discusses and N - - 1 3 1 identifies pragmatic areas of the students’ % - - 25 75 25 needs… Methods and techniques of teaching CL and N - - 1 2 1 pragmatics are supposed to be different % - - 25 50 25 Teaching pragmatic competence is not as N - - - 3 1 important as teaching communicative ability % - - - 75 25 Teachers rarely bring in outside materials N - 4 - - - related to pragmatics % - 100 - - - Learning and teaching pragmatics from N - 1 1 1 1 textbooks is impossible % - 25 25 25 25 Textbooks are inadequate in presenting N 1 3 - - - authentic pragmatic samples, but teachers can % 25 75 - - - overcome shortcomings of textbooks Textbooks cannot be counted as reliable N - 2 - 2 - resources of pragmatic input % 50 50It is shown in the table above that the idea of teacher’s talk in the classroom to help learners beaware of language pragmatics was accepted by 75% of the participant, while 25% rejected it.Pertaining to the statement, ‘Methods and techniques of teaching CL and pragmatics are supposedto be different’, 25% of the teachers are in dilemma, and 50% of them, however ‘disagree’ and theremaining 25% ‘strongly disagreed’ with the statement. In reference to the item stated ‘Teachingpragmatic competence is not as important as teaching communicative ability’, 75% of theparticipant teachers responded that they disagree with the statement and the remaining 25% of them‘strongly disagree’. With regards to the statement ‘Teachers rarely bring in outside materials relatedto pragmatics’, the respondents (100%) of them all together have witnessed they agree with the
statement. What was surprising to the researcher was that in table 7 the teachers responded that theyinclude pragmatic aspect of the English language in their daily lesson.The sixth item aimed at eliciting teachers’ perception about the possibility of learning and teachingpragmatics from the learners’ textbooks. 25% of them ‘strongly agreed, ‘agreed’, ‘undecided’,‘disagree’ and ‘strongly disagreed’ with the statement respectively. 4.4. Classroom Discourse ObservationAnalysis of classroom discourse was difficult because the manifestation of pragmatic features in theclassroom discourse was far short of existence as there was paucity of pragmatic elements in thestudents’ textbooks. The lesson consisted of mostly teacher fronted activities and individual work.This might be caused by the presence of the researcher that could be misunderstood by thoseteachers that were trying to show off their English standing in front of the classroom all the waythrough 45’ minutes. During the teacher-fronted activities, the teachers addressed the class as awhole almost exclusively. When they addressed individual students, they did so in brief, usingformulaic language relating to the contents of the lesson i.e. grammar and reading passages. Noneof the students asked a question during the presence of the researcher and they did not interact muchwith each other except for brief comments which were not audible. The paucity of interaction inEnglish during non-teacher-fronted activities was somewhat common in the classes observed by theresearcher it was impossible to determine whether the students used English with one another. Thiswas because the researcher overheard some students diverting to Amharic and talking some otherbusiness when he was sitting by some students during classroom discourse observation.These observation tools were constructed in such a way that the observer only had to tick or crossfrom a list when something happened in the class, e.g. “teacher uses board” (√), “students answerindividual questions” (x). The researcher had followed the following stages for doing observations.First, the researcher decided the particular types of activities or behavior he wanted to observe.Second, prepared a checklist or a record form to complete as he did his observation, or as soon aspossible afterwards. Thirdly, the researcher talked with the class teacher and got her/his permission;explained what he wanted to do and negotiated what the teacher would get in return, e.g. somefeedback on the lesson’s effectiveness. Fourthly, he completed his observation and marked up hischecklist, took some time to reflect on the observations and finally, analyzed the result and came upwith the following results.
Table12. Classroom Observation ResultsKey: DCT =discourse completion test, ODCT=oral discourse completion test, MDCT=multiplechoice discourse completion test or WDCT=written discourse completion test Items category Subcategories Spotted Unspotted 1. drills √ Classroom Activities 2. translation √ 3. discussion √ 4. presentations √ 5.conscious raising activities √ 6.explicit instruction of pragmatics √ 7.awareness-raising activities √ 8.guided practice √ 9. game √ 10. role plays √ 11.DCT, ODCT, MDCT or WDCT √ Participant 1. teacher to students √ organization 2. student to students or student to the √ classroom 3.group work √ 4. individual work √ Content or explicit 1. form/grammar √ focus on language 2. discourse √ 3. usage √ 4. use/function: complaining, √ complimenting, refusing Materials used 1. written √ 2. audio √ 3. visual √ 4. stories √ 5. dialogues √ 6. scenarios/situations/authentic √ language samples or models Communicative 1. use of target language √ features 2. information gap √ 3. sustained speech √ 4. reaction to code or message √ 5. incorporation of preceding utterances √ 6. discourse initiation √ 7. relative restriction of linguistic √ form/semantic formulaKey: DCT-discourse completion test, MDCT-multiple choice discourse completion test,WDCT-written discourse completion test.
Classroom discourse and textbook use were observed because the classroom is the ideal place forteachers to help learners interpret language use. A classroom discussion of pragmatics is also a goodplace to explore prior impressions of speakers (Bardovi-Harlig and Mahan-Taylor, 2003:38). Theaim of observing the classroom activities was to spotlight on turn-taking behavior of students andteachers, cross-cultural comparisons in the use of communicative acts, treatment of learners’pragmatic errors, the nature of linguistic input provided by the teachers, style shifting in theclassroom, direct or indirect influence of the teachers and techniques that are used to addresspragmatics in the classrooms.As to the organization of the participants, the aim was to see whether the teacher working with thewhole class and/or individual students, whether the students were divided into groups or wereengaged in individual seat work, or if they were engaged in group work, how was it organized etc.because as indicated in many literatures group work is considered to be an important factor in thedevelopment of fluency skills and communicative skills. Observation results revealed that studentswere typically involved in whole-class instruction with rare interaction with their teacher or otherstudents. Students were just watching or listening to the teachers. The teachers typically focused onthe content of the task or assignment, responded to students signals, communicated the tasksprocedures, and checked students work.As it can be seen from the table, all of the teachers never use any scenarios or situations to activatestudents’ pragmatic awareness by explaining the meaning of different language functions or uses.Beside this they never use any role-play activities to observe students’ pragmatic competence orfailure. This might be due to huge number of students that ranges from 62 to 65 in a classroom. Theresearcher never observed the teachers asking their students to collect pragmatics information fromoutside the classroom from TV, movies, magazines, novels, etc. that are either naturally occurringor closer to authentic language use. As far as the researcher’s classroom observation is concerned,no one of the teachers happened to include pragmatic topics such as refusing, thanking, apologizing,complaining, complimenting, in their lesson.With reference to materials used, the aim was to make a note of authentic/unauthentic materials thatstimulate real-life communicative situations. Many advocates of the communicative approach haveclaimed that authentic materials are essential in order to prepare students for the kinds of discoursethey will encounter outside the classroom. Nevertheless, no teacher was found to use any additionalmaterials to help learners with the theme of lessons delivered, except textbook contents.
Although some teachers claimed in the questionnaire that the pragmatic lesson they brought into theclassroom from outside world was ‘fairly adequate’, no one of them found to have includedpragmatics related issues; rather they were heavily depending on the contents of the textbooks allthe way through while the researcher was observing their behavior in the classroom. To further findout about the contradictions, the researcher talked to those teachers informally after the classroomsessions as to why they were not bringing in outside materials. They responded that there were nomaterials that they could make use of for the same purposes and on the other hand they werebringing materials related to grammar and vocabulary teaching. 4.5. MDCT for StudentsQuestion# 3. Do students choose appropriate language based on a provided situation/context?Research on the acquisition of communicative competence suggests that a complex interplay ofpsychological, affective and sociobiographical variables determine the levels of proficiency reachedby language learners and users (Dewaele, 2007:141).The focus in this section of the present studywas on self-perceived pragmatic proficiency in English. It is a judgment that we are all forced tomake at some point. Before distributing MDCT, rubrics were administered to the participantstudents in order to assess their self-perceived competence so as to check the result against that ofwhat they would score in MDCT. In order to elicit learners’ perceived language skills proficiency,the researcher had included an item so that learners act up on it in this regards. Hence, learners ratedtheir perceived proficiency using the rating scales: very good=(4), good=(3), fair=(2), and poor=(1). Table 13.Learners’ Language Skills Proficiency Background Skills Proficiency Very good Good Fair Poor Total Speaking N 29 90 56 8 100 % 16 50 30 4 100 Mean 0.158 0.491 0.30 0.04 0.98 Listening N 56 92 21 14 100 % 30 50 11 5 100 Mean 0.30 0.50 0.11 0.076 0.98 Reading N 87 74 22 - 100 % 48 40 12 - 100 Mean 0.48 0.40 0.12 - 1 Writing N 74 67 31 11 100 % 40 36 16 6 100 Mean 0.40 0.366 0.169 0.06 0.98
In view of the above table, almost a half (50%) of the respondents pointed out that their proficiencyin speaking skills is ‘good’; and 30% of them rated their speaking skills proficiency as ‘fair’. On theother hand, very few of them (4%) responded that their speaking skills proficiency is ‘poor’. Thosewho opted for the scale ‘very good’ accounted for about 16%. In relation to the listening skills 30%,50%, 11% and 5% of the participants indicated that their perceived proficiency is ‘very good’,‘good’, ‘fair’ and ‘poor’ correspondingly. With regards to the reading skills, 48% of the subjectsinclined to say that their perceived proficiency is ‘very good’ at reading and 40% of them on theother hand, maintained that their perceived proficiency is ‘good’. The rest 12% of them indicatedthat their reading proficiency is ‘fair’. No one of them rated their reading proficiency as ‘poor’.With respect to the writing skills, those who selected the scale ‘very good’ were about 40% of thesample; and 36% of them opted for the scale ‘good’ in that order. The rest 16% and 6% of theparticipants selected ‘fair’ and ‘poor’ respectively.Based on the data on hand, it is fairly possible to argue that students were ‘good’ at speaking andlistening; and ‘very good’ at reading and writing respectively. In order to elicit sorts ofopportunities learners had, the researcher devised and included one item in the questionnaireadministered to them. The respondents were asked to put their responses using the following scales:Frequently =4, sometimes =3, rarely =2, no chance =1. Table 14.Exposure to the English Language outside the Classroom Frequently Sometimes Rarely No Total chanceUse of English with English f 28 90 47 18 183speakers/natives % 15 49 25.6 9.8 100Watching films in English f 119 37 16 11 183without translation. % 65 20 8.7 6 100Reading in English: f 37 87 50 9 183magazines, literature, % 20 47 27 4.9 100academic booksAlthough it is difficult to attribute the when and how, based on the above data 49% of the subjectspointed out that they ‘sometimes’ used English language with the natives. Whereas, 15% of themclaimed that they frequently use English language with the English speakers; and 25 % of themhave rare contact with the English speakers. The remaining 9.8% of the respondents replied thatthey have no chance to use English language with the English speakers.
Researches reveal that people who take an active approach to learning and who seek out chances touse the language are much more likely to succeed than those who dont. The best kind of languagepractice involves one in expressing, interpreting and negotiating meaning with proficient languageusers. In meaningful interaction, whether it takes place in speech or in writing, one experiences theforms of the language in a context that helps her to understand how to use them appropriately.In line with the above question, the participants were also asked whether they watch films inEnglish that were not translated into local languages. Accordingly, 65% of them responded that theyfrequently watch films without translation; 20% of them replied they watch films withouttranslation ‘sometimes’; and 8% of them ‘rarely’ watch films without translation and 6% of themindicated that they have no chance to watch any films in English.The participants were also asked whether they read any literary or nonliterary works produced inEnglish. In their response to the question, it was observed that 20% of them ‘frequently’ readmagazines, books, etc. and 47% of them replied that they ‘sometimes’ read such materials inEnglish. The remaining 27% and 4% of them showed that they ‘rarely’ read and have ‘no chance’ toread such materials in English respectively.On the basis of the data presented above, it is safely deducible that most of the participant studentshave no frequent chance/exposure to the target language sources: human and material. This in turnmight hamper the development of learners’ pragmatic and linguistic competence. Thence, theburden is on the teachers shoulder to supply the students with materials that can compensatesituations outside classroom. 4.6. Learners’ Self-perceived Communication CompetenceThe self-perceived communicative competence (SPCC) rubrics was developed to find out aboutparticipants (students’) perception of their own competence in different communication contextsand given different types of receivers. The scale was intended to let the respondents define theirown communication competence. Since people make decisions with regard to communication (forexample, whether they will even engage in it), it is their own perception that is important, and notthat of an outside observer. It is important that readers of this measure recognize that this is not ameasure of actual communication competence; it is a measure of perceived competence. Knowledgeof communication strategies empowers individuals to communicate, express themselves, performmany different functions, and attain satisfactory outcome. It was just to test learners’ beliefs with
respect to practicing English anytime anywhere so as to be able to use the language effectively. It isbelieved that practice makes perfect in all aspects of language including nonlinguistic features.In order to solicit how learners perceive their communicative competence, the following rubrics wasdesigned and distributed to them before the discourse completion test was administered. Some itemswere taken from 11th grade English textbook (p. 42-43 and 88).The rubrics were made of fivemodels of communicative competence along with description: sociocultural competence, discoursecompetence, strategic competence, grammatical competence, and pragmatic competence. The lastone in fact took the lion’s share for the main reason that the research’s theme revolved around it.The likert scale was also part of the rubrics along with values attached to each description-stronglyagree=5, agree = 4 neither agree nor disagree=3, disagree=2, and strongly disagree=1. The meanscore were rounded to the nearest mathematical values.Table 15.Learners’ Self-perceived Sociolinguistic Competence Sociolinguistic Competence Total Mean Items Rating Values Score 5 4 3 2 11 Speaking English can help me interact with f 64 75 15 19 10 183 3.86 native speakers. % 34.9 40.9 8.2 10.4 5.5 1002 Studying English is important because it can f 55 48 44 20 16 183 3.51 help me make friends who speak English. % 30. 26.2 24. 10.9 8.7 1003 Learning English is important because it will f 89 60 25 8 1 183 4.23 broaden my world view. % 48.6 32.8 13.7 4.4 .5 1004 If I speak English well, I can travel around the f 31 54 60 30 7 183 3. world without language barriers. % 16.9 29.5 32.8 16.4 3.8 1005 I want to do well in English because I want to f 35 40 45 52 11 183 3.17 show my ability to my parents/ teachers/ friends. % 19.1 21.9 24.6 28.4 6 1006 I want to improve my English because most f 18 32 50 51 32 183 2.71 of my friends speak English very well. % 9.8 17.5 27.3 27.8 17.5 1007 I want to improve my English in order to f 43 72 40 16 12 183 3.62 understand foreign cultures. % 23.5 39.3 21.9 8.7 6.6 1008 It is important to speak appropriate English in f 34 70 55 16 8 183 3.56 different social contexts. % 18.6 38.2 30 8.7 4.4 1009 I think learning English will be more effective f 82 49 29 13 10 183 3.97
if we have group discussion with classmates % 44.8 26.8 15.8 7.1 5.5 100 during the class.10 Whenever I have communication breakdown f 14 69 68 24 8 183 3.28 in conversations with native speakers, I will try to use verbal or non-verbal messages to % 7.7 37.7 37.2 13 4.4 100 bridge the gap.In relation to the first item, under the first criteria (sociolinguistic competence), 35% of the subjectsreplied that they ‘strongly agree’, 41% of them claimed that they ‘agree’, 8.2% of them wereindifferent meaning they ‘neither agree nor disagree’, 10% of them responded that they ‘disagree’and the last 5.4% of them singled out the likert scale ‘ strongly disagree’. The mean score of theirresponse was 3.87=4 [agree].Regarding the second statement “studying English is important because it can help me make friendswho speak English”, 30% of the subjects ‘strongly agreed’ with the statement, 26.2% selected‘agree’, 24% of them ‘neither agreed nor disagreed’ with the statement, 10.92% ‘disagreed’, and theremaining 8.74% opted for ‘strongly disagree’. Nevertheless, the grand mean of their responses was3.55; and when rounded off to the nearest value it means ‘agree’. In other words most of therespondents agreed with the statement.Regarding the statement “If I speak English well, I can travel around the world without languagebarriers”, 16.9% have a strong belief, 29.5% replied they ‘agree’, 32’8% of them ‘neither agreednor disagreed’,16.4% of them opted for the scale ‘disagree’ and the remaining 3.8%, have weakbelief of the statement. The mean score for the responses was 3.37= (indifference).For the statement “I want to improve my English in order to understand English speakers’ cultures”23.5% of the participants replied they ‘strongly disagree”, 39.3% responded they ‘agree’, 21.9% ofthem claimed they ‘neither agree nor disagree’ and 6.6% of them pointed out they ‘stronglydisagree’ with the statement. In spite of this, the mean score of all likert scales resulted in 3.62=4,which implied that majority have agreed with the statement.The next statement was “I think different social contexts may require me using different butappropriate English”. As noted in the table above, 19% of the subjects ‘strongly agreed’, 38.3%‘agreed’, 30% reserved from having a say (meaning they neither agreed nor disagreed), 8.7%disagreed and 4.3% of them ‘strongly disagreed’ with the statement. However, the grand mean oftheir response was 3.56=4(agree).
The next category was discourse competence. This item in fact was designed to see how learnersrate their ability to produce coherent idea in written or spoken English or to see the extent to whichlearners perceived their discourse competence in using discourse markers to: o Initiate discourse, o Make a boundary in discourse (shift/partial shift in topic), o Preface a response or a reaction, o Fill a gap or dallying tactic, o Hold the floor, o Effect an interaction or sharing between the speaker and the hearer, o Bracket the discourse either cataphorically or anaphorically, o Make either foregrounded or backgrounded information. Table 16. Learners’ Self-perceived Discourse Competence Total Mean Discourse Competence Score 1 I usually practice many grammar drills in f 49 61 50 16 7 183 3.5 order to improve my English. % 26.8 33.3 27.3 8.7 3.8 100 2 I will ask myself to express my thoughts in a f 38 69 52 18 6 183 3.58 comprehensive and correct manner in % 20.7 37.7 28.4 9.8 3 100 English. 3 I perceive that I can express my ideas f 27 65 50 28 13 183 3.33 100 naturally in spoken English. % 14.8 35.5 27.3 15.3 7 4 I will try to talk to native speakers to f 47 64 36 25 11 183 3.59 strengthen my spoken English. % 25.6 34.9 19.7 13.7 6 100 5 I perceive that I feel more comfortable to f 45 58 38 29 13 183 3.48 express my ideas in written English. % 24.6 31.7 20.8 15.8 7 100 6 I will read different grammar books written f 37 57 39 28 22 183 3.29 by different authors to improve my grammatical competence. % 20.2 31.1 21.3 15.3 12 100 7 Students are expected to be able to use f 48 62 38 26 9 183 3.59 extended utterances where appropriate % 26.2 33.9 20.8 14.2 4.9 100 8 Students need to have the ability to maintain f 34 70 55 16 8 183 3.56 coherent flow of language over several % 18.6 38.2 30 8.7 4.4 100 utterancesUnder discourse competence, students reacted to statement, “I will ask myself to express mythoughts in a comprehensive and correct manner in English” in different ways. For instance, 20.7%
of the subjects claimed that they ‘strongly agree’, 37.7% showed that they ‘agree’, 28.4% of thempointed out they ‘neither agree nor disagree’ or they are in favor of no view, 9.8% o of thempreferred ‘disagree’ and the last 3% contended they ‘strongly disagree’ with the statement. The sumtotal of their mean 3.95=4(agree), that is the majority of the students ask themselves to express theirthoughts in a comprehensive and correct manner in English.Students were also asked, under discourse competence item 3 to rate their self-perceivedcompetence as in the following statement. “I perceive that I can express my ideas naturally inspoken English”. This was intended to solicit views of the subjects about their own flow of ideawhen they try to speak in English. Accordingly, 14.75%, 35.5%, 27.3%, 15.3% and 7% of thesubjects replied they ‘strongly agree’, ‘agree’, ‘neither agree nor disagree’, ‘disagree’ and ‘stronglydisagree’ respectively. The mean score showed that the majority of the respondents ‘neither agreenor disagree’ with the statement. They were not sure as to whether their language naturally flowswhen they write or speak or not.Subsequent to the discourse competence, learners rated their self-perceived pragmatic competence.Like in the other cases, students rated their self-perceived competence in relation to the pragmaticcompetence as well. Their responses frequency and percentile as well as the mean score werepresented in the separate table below. Table 17. Learners’ Self-perceived Pragmatic Competence Total Mean Pragmatic Competence Score 1 I know what to say, when to say and how to f 24 60 64 17 18 183 3.23 say and rule of talking when talking with % 13.1 32.7 34.9 9.2 9.8 100 other people in English 2 I pay special attention when I make requests f 47 69 38 21 8 183 3.66 % 25.6 37.7 20.7 11.4 4.3 100 3 I pay special attention to other people f 47 65 45 17 9 183 3.65 making requests % 25.6 35.5 24.5 9.2 4.9 100 4 I pay special attention to other people when I f 36 63 54 16 14 183 3.47 refuse % 19.6 34.4 29.5 8.7 7.6 100 5 I pay attention to other people’s feeling, f 52 67 44 14 6 183 3.78 status and age when I complain % 28.4 36.6 24 7.6 3.2 100 6 I know when I should use modal verbs such f 60 71 34 8 10 183 3.86 as can, could, would, or may when apologizing, requesting, refusing, thanking, % 32.8 38.7 18.5 4.3 5.4 100 inviting, suggesting ,etc.
7 I know taking turns in conversation f 44 77 44 11 7 183 3.75 % 24 42 24 6 3.8 100 8 I know how to do rephrasing when f 27 68 59 20 9 183 3.42 misunderstood % 14.8 37 32.2 10.9 4.9 100 9 I have the skill as to how to use verbal and f 15 60 71 24 13 183 3.19 nonverbal signals % 8 32.7 38.7 13.1 7 100 10 I know how close to stand to someone when f 39 65 49 18 12 183 3.53 speaking % 21.3 35.5 26.7 9.8 6.5 100 11 I have the skills as to how to use facial f 35 74 47 16 11 183 3.55 expressions and eye contact % 19 40.4 25.6 8.7 6 100 12 I know the giving background information to f 34 59 60 24 6 183 3.48 unfamiliar listener will help % 18.6 32.2 32.8 13.1 3.3 100 13 I know speaking in a classroom is different f 72 63 24 14 10 183 3.92 from speaking on a playground % 39.3 34.4 13.1 7.6 5.4 100 14 I know how to address and talk to people f 58 64 32 16 13 183 3.73 whose age and status are different from mine % 31.6 34.9 17.4 8.7 7 100Under the pragmatic competence, various items were posed to the subjects so as to grasp the generalpictures of their self-perceived competence. Language is not only a means of teaching but it is ameans of learning as well. Therefore, opportunities should be given to students, particularly at thesecondary schools levels, to relate school work to the skills required in employment and adult life.Concerning this, a statement that was posed to the subjects was ‘whether they are aware of what tosay when and how to say; and whether they think that they have sufficient knowledge about rules ofturn taking when talking to others in English.’ Then, 13.1% replied that they ‘strongly agree’,32.7% responded that they ‘ agree’ 34.9% of them contended they ‘neither agree nor disagree’,9.2% of them claimed that they ‘disagree’ and the rest 9.8% said that they ‘strongly disagree’ withthe statement. The mean score of their responses was 3.23, which means ‘the majority of therespondents ‘neither agree nor disagree’ with the statement. This implies that they neither knowwhat to say, when to say, how to say nor rules of talking to other people in English.In the second statement under pragmatic competence which goes “I pay special attention when Imake requests”, 25.6% of the subjects ‘strongly agreed’ that they pay special attention when theymake requests, while 37.7% preferred ‘agree’, 20.7% of them voted for ‘neither agree nor disagree’,11.4% of them indicated that they ‘disagree’, and 4.3% of them said that they ‘strongly disagree’
with the statement that was posed to see their awareness about people’s social status, relation theyhave with me, power, age, etc. when they make requests.With respect to the statement “I pay special attention to other people’s requests”, those participantswho replied ‘strongly agree’ were about 25.6%, those who said ‘agree’ were around 35.5%, thosewho replied ‘neither agree nor disagree’ accounted for 24.5%, while 9.2% of them selected‘disagree’ and the 4.9% responded they ‘strongly disagree’ with the statement. The mean score was3.65 closer to likert scale ‘agree’.“I pay special attention to other people’s status, age, sex, power, etc. when I refuse”, was the fourthstatement that was presented to the subjects. Consequently, 19.6% of them replied ‘strongly agree’34.4% of them ‘disagreed’ 29.5% of them said they ‘neither disagree nor disagree’ whereas, 8.7%‘disagreed’, and the remaining 7.6% of them selected ‘strongly disagree’. The mean score was 3.47which means ‘neither agree nor disagree’.Concerning, the statement “I pay attention to other people’s feeling, status and age when Icomplain”, 28.4 of the participants responded ‘strongly agree’ 36.6% of them ‘agreed’, while 24%of them said ‘neither agree nor disagree’, 7.6% of them replied ‘disagree’ and the rest 3.2% of them‘strongly disagreed’ with the statement. The mean score of their responses was 3.78 which implythat the majority ‘neither agree nor disagree’ with the statement.For some, milder example of impoliteness is that language speakers or EFL learners may notunderstand the differences of how and when to use such modals as ‘can’ and ‘could’ versus theconditional ‘would’; the latter of which carries a more imperative meaning than the two modals inrespect to making requests (Jung in Dash, 2004). In connection to this “I know when I should usemodal verbs such as can, could, would, or may when apologizing, requesting, refusing, inviting,suggesting, etc.” was one of the statements forwarded to the subjects. As a result, 32.78% of themsaid they ‘strongly agree’, 38.7% of them ‘agreed’, 18.5% of them ‘neither agreed nor disagreed’,4.3% of them ‘disagreed’, and 5.4% of them ‘strongly disagreed’ with the statement. The score oftheir mean was 3.86.The other item was “I know how to take turns in English conversations”. Related to this statement,24% of the of the respondents replied ‘strongly disagree’, 42% of them said they ‘agree’, 24% of
them indicated they ‘neither agree nor disagree’, 6% of them claimed they ‘disagree’, and 3.8% ofthem ‘strongly disagreed’. The mean score is 2.76 which implied disagreement.The other statement presented to the subjects was “I know how to do rephrasing whenmisunderstood in English”. Pertaining to this statement, 14.8% of them replied ‘strongly agree’,37% responded ‘agree’, 32.2% of them answered ‘neither agree nor disagree’, while the rest 10.9%and 7% responded ‘disagree’ and ‘strongly disagree’ respectively. The mean score was 3.42 whichimply the majority of the respondents ‘neither agree nor disagree’ with the statement.Speech acts or communicative acts (Celce- Murcia, 2007) are also called social acts which can bejudged as appropriate and/or inappropriate according to specific and secrete rules of communicationin a given context, culture, or norm. These feature of language have also linguistic formula thatinterlocutors are expected to use based on a particular norm, culture, or general social context.In this research, learners were also asked to rate the difficulty level of some communicative acts asgiven in the table below. At the end of the question of difficulty level, open ended questionfollowed with the secondary intention to be aware of the language used by the students in talkingabout the issue of difficulty. The communicative acts were randomly ordered and thesubjects/students were simply requested to scale their perceived difficulty level of individual acts.VD: very difficult D: difficult A: average E: easy VE: very easy. Table 18.Scaling the difficulty Level of Communicative Acts Rating scalesSpeech acts VD % D % A % E % VE %Invitations 34 18.5 47 25.6 42 22.9 34 18.5 26 14.2Refusals 62 33.8 37 20 33 18 32 17.4 19 10Apologies 29 15.8 33 18 29 15.8 47 25.6 45 24.5Requests 31 16.9 36 19.6 48 26.2 47 25.6 21 11.4Commands 33 18 46 25.1 49 26.7 36 19.6 19 10.3Compliments 46 25 58 31.6 38 20.7 28 15.3 13 7Suggestions 36 19.6 48 26.2 49 26.7 38 20.7 12 6.5Giving advice 42 22.9 29 15.8 48 26.2 28 15.3 36 19.6Thanking 15 8.1 20 10.9 21 11.4 23 12.5 104 56.8
Complaints 64 34.9 44 24 33 18 22 12 20 10.9As it can be seen from the above table, 18.5%, 26.6%, 22.9%, 18.5% and 14.5% of the participantsreplied that making invitation in English is very difficult, difficult, average, easy and very easy forthem respectively. To put this in a comparative way, the larger number, i.e. 26.6% took the lion’sshare implying that invitation in English is ‘difficult’ for the participants. In a similar pattern, as itcan be read from the data that giving refusals in English is ‘very difficult’ for 33.8%, difficult for20%, average for 18% easy for 17.4 and very easy for the 10% of the subjects correspondingly. It istherefore, vivid that giving refusals in English is ‘very easy’ for only few, i.e. 10% of theparticipants.In relation to the communicative act of apology, the presented data indicated that it is ‘verydifficult’ to apologize in English for 15.8%, ‘difficult’ for 18%, ‘average’ for 15.8%, ‘easy’ for26.6% and ‘very easy’ for 24.5% of the participants in that order. Although the data did not tell howapology is easy, the majority, i.e. 25.6% of the respondents witnessed that apologizing in English is‘easy’. The researcher has a reservation that the data needed further verifications as to whether theparticipants use appropriate semantic formula when/where they are supposed to apologize.Nevertheless, the majority of participants were not confident enough to boldly claim that givingapology in English is ‘very easy’.As to the communicative act of request, only 11.4% of the subjects claimed that it is ‘easy’ to makerequests in English. Whereas, 16.9% of them responded that making requests in English is ‘verydifficult’. The remaining 19.6%, 26.6% and 25.6% of them pointed out that making request inEnglish is ‘difficult’, ‘average’ and ‘easy’ correspondingly.It is evident from the table that about 90% of the sample participants rated ‘making commands inEnglish’ as ‘very difficult’, and 18% of them said ‘difficult’, 25% of them replied ‘average’ and(19%) of them responded ‘easy’. The remaining 10.3% of them chosen the likert scale ‘very easy’.Concerning compliments, 25% of the respondents pointed out giving compliments in English is‘very difficult’ and 31% of them acknowledged that giving compliments in English is ‘difficult’ forthem. The remaining 20.7%, 15.3% and 7% of them asserted that it is ‘average’, ‘easy’ and ‘veryeasy’ for them to give compliments in English in that order.
In expression of gratitude, the speaker thanks the hearer for something he or she is doing, or hasdone. By thanking the hearer, the speaker expresses his or her feelings of indebtedness as well asthat of appreciation. Learners of English as a foreign language need to have this skill as languageusers. It is apparent that this communicative act was rated as ‘very easy’ by almost more than halfof the respondents that accounted for 56.8% and 8.1% of them rated as ‘very difficult’ to expressgratitude in English.Overall it is perceptible from the data presented above here that the participants, if not all, almostthe majority of them affirmed that those communicative acts are moderately difficult for them.The majority of the participants (34.9%) rated that complaining in English is ‘very difficult’. Andyet 24% of them confirmed that complaining in English is ‘difficult’. The other 18%, 12% and10.9% of the respondents rated their complaining skill as ‘average’, ‘easy’ and ‘very easy’respectively.It is commonly believed that the goal of language learning is communication. The goal of languageteaching is therefore teaching students to communicate in the language they are learning so that theycan use it successfully to perform a variety of functions. Learning will take place consciously ifstudents perceive the need for it. That need or gap can be observed from these data in relation tovarious language functions. In the majority of the cases, participants rated those communicative acts(functions) such as invitations, refusal, requests, apologies, commands, compliments, complaints,and giving advices-as difficult. If students have only learned English to pass an examination, thenthe language they might have acquired is probably transitional and focused on that need for the test.As to why they have rated those communicative acts the way they have rated them, participantshave forwarded the following justifications. Note that the words of the participants were typedexactly the way they were written down. ‘because of the English language very hard language’ ‘Because some of them are not giving tention in our society so we don’t use them frequntly. That’s why!’ ‘b/c of my experience that when I mate foreign speakers those actions are very difficult to me’ ‘sometime those kinds of action is faced when I go one step further in my life and those makes me stressed to reply on English’
‘giving advice is more difficult to me b/c I don’t have much words to give advice or I’m notnaturally have more vocabulary’‘Thanking someone is easy to me b/c I learnt starting from Grade 0 OR that is the easiestword from all other things’‘Because I didn’t got most of the chance to try them or practice them in real’‘b/c it is so complicated’‘because I amn’t speaking always’‘because I don’t speak them frequntly’‘I may be run out of vocabulary for complaints.’‘b/c it need high skill in speaking’‘except refuzing most actions are not hard to do’‘actually, All of them are not much difficult for me’‘because English is not mother tang language of mine and I’m not native for English’‘because when I say Apologies I feel that I make my self Inferior but if I Invite some one Iam happy with that’‘I must be polite so it is difficult for me to talk using polite words’‘b/c I feel it is difficult’‘it is difficult b/c you don’t know which is difficult to people what it is easy for you to saythings by your own- you think that it may make them fell bad’‘for me giving advise is most difficult if it’s personal and thanking is not difficult for me’‘b/c the expression that I indicate as a least difficult are more familiar for me and I usedthem always the most difficult one are not familiar for me’Because sometimes I forget some words I don’t have enough vocabularies to express myfeelings’‘b/c those are the difficulties that I get when I speak English with others’‘because I use them rarely and some of them frequently’‘I just said that because those things are even hard in Amharic.’‘b/c of that I knew that from my life cycle for example I have difficult situation in complaints’‘b/c the words are not usually used in social or in other places that is why’ - thank you’‘b/c they need more explanation and experience on it’‘b/c things are difficult when we talk in English’‘b/c I have no enough vocabulary to express my feeling’
‘because I have less developed English speaking ability so I can’t talk to much English’ ‘thanking someone is the easiest thing b/c thanking people for their help is the right thing’ ‘b/c I didn’t practice such kind of things before and the light ones are the things I practice most times and see on films’In spite of the fact that these statements are ungrammatical, there are some facts as one reads all theway through the statements. In connection to this, Amlaku (2010) argues ‘English in Ethiopia is amedium of instruction from secondary school through higher education but the learners’ proficiencyremains always poor and the effectiveness of English language teaching remains alwaysquestionable, despite the efforts being undertaken by the Ethiopian government and concernedinstitutions’ (p.10).Students affirmed that the English language itself is difficult for them. There are no such languageaspects as requesting, complaining, compliment, apologizing, etc. in their day to day sociallanguage practices. Using these pragmatic aspects demanded them of some sort of efforts. Studentswere not familiar with those language aspects, and those aspects of language did not receive enoughattention in the learning and teaching process. However, Cenoz, (2007:7) in other section hasargued that being central to language use, and language learning, pragmatic issues must beaddressed in language classroom, because English is mainly used in the classroom and EFL learnersthus have significantly fewer opportunities to engage in English based communications outside theclassroom. Therefore, English classroom becomes the central site for their development ofpragmatic competence. 4.7. MDCT Scores and DescriptionsThere are six types of methods for pragmatic knowledge assessment that so far have been identifiedby researchers according to Jianda, (2006), i.e., the Written Discourse Completion Tasks (WDCT),Multiple-Choice Discourse Completion Tasks (MDCT), Oral Discourse Completion Tasks (ODCT),Discourse Role Play Talks (DRPT), Discourse Self- Assessment Talks (DSAT) and Role-Play self-assessments (RPSA).DCTs are used to elicit data by giving speakers scenarios that describe a situation and havingspeakers write down or role-play what they would say in that situation (Ishihara and Cohen, 2010).The MDCTs used for this study consisted of 20 situations with their respective choices in whichlearners have to choose socially acceptable language with an ideal interlocutor. The situations
varied based on the relative power of the two people, their social distance, and the degree ofimposition created by the intent (action). The DCT was chosen as the data elicitation tool because itwas the most expedient way to collect the relatively large amount of data. There were three to fourmonths between the pre- and posttest. The pretest format was WDCT.MDCT was chosen for many reasons. It is easy to administer because of using paper-and-pencilformat. MDCT allows the researcher to control features of the situation. MDCT can quickly gatherlarge amounts of data in a short time. MDCT can make it easy to statistically compare responsesfrom different groups without any need for transcription. However, written DCT has limitations.For example, written DCT data do not show the interactional facets of a speech event. Written DCTis only written receptive and productive language and it does not encourage oral production or self-reflection. Furthermore, written DCT is difficult to score because it requires recruiting, training,scheduling, and paying raters (Brown, 2001). This problem could be solved if the design wassystematic and rigorous.All the students who took part in the research were given a sociolinguistic test. This test wasdevised to measure degrees of politeness, formality, appropriateness, and register variation in thespoken mode. For each item, a sociocultural context was provided, and the participants needed tochoose from a list of four or five alternatives the most appropriate way to respond to that particularsituation representing the appropriate use of language based on the NS perspective and theremaining options were distracters. The scoring for this test was based on native-speaker responsesto the items. A sample question is as follows:You are having dinner with your friends family. The food that your friends mother has prepared isdelicious, and you want some more. Youve decided to say something in order to get some more.Which of the following, do you think, is the most appropriate? A."You are a great cook." B."Please give me more food." C."This food sure is delicious." D."Could I have some more?"Therefore, both quantitative and qualitative data were involved. The quantitative data werecollected through MDCT; while the qualitative data were obtained through the analysis of theresponses of MDCT.
In order to eliminate the pretest effect on the test results, the test format was changed from openended to multiple choice items and the tests were administered to all learners at the same time andcollected back in the same time. The time allotted for the test was 35 minutes. Respondents did itindependently without discussion with their classmates and they were encouraged to ask anyquestions if they were not clear with the vocabulary or expression. After the participants submittedthe questionnaire, the researcher checked the answers to avoid any unchecked or not unansweredresponses. If it did happen, the students would be required to complete them again.The scores were tabulated and tallied and finally calculated so as to interpret them. Mean andpercentile for the correct answer and other distracters were calculated in the following table.Immediately after the participants finished doing the test, there was a section of the question paperthat required them to indicate what was/were the sources of their current pragmatic knowledge.Personal relationships between the interlocutors, their level of imposing rank, their power,specifically their age, gender, and social distance between interlocutors were point of pragmaticparameters when designing the MDCT. Table 19. MDCT Score Description Options for MDCT Scenarios A B C D E F Total Situation 1 f 96 28 26 25 8 183 Mean .52 0.15 .14 .136 .04 .98 % 52 15 14 13.3 4 100 Situation 2 f 9 30 31 105 8 183 Mean .05 .163 .169 .57 .04 .99 % 5 16.3 16.9 57 4 100 Situation 3 f 85 14 61 13 10 183 Mean .46 .08 .33 .07 .05 .99 % 46 8 33 7 5 100 Situation 4 f 12 54 86 16 9 6 183 Mean .07 .29 .46 .08 .049 .03 .95 % 7 29 46 8 4.9 100 Situation 5 f 64 82 12 14 10 183 Mean .34 .44 .065 .076 .05 .97 % 34 44 6.5 7.6 5 100 Situation 6 f 90 53 15 13 12 183 Mean .49 .28 .08 .07 .065 .98 % 49 28 8 7 6.5 100 Situation 7 f 138 13 12 8 11 183
Mean .75 .07 .065 .043 .06 .98 % 75 7 6.5 4.3 6 100 Situation 8 f 13 21 130 19 - - 183 Mean .07 0.114 .71 .103 - - .99 % 7 11.4 71 10.3 - - 100 Situation 9 f 9 116 18 27 11 - 183 Mean .049 .633 .098 .147 .06 - .97 % 4.9 63.3 9.8 14.7 6 - 100 Situation 10 f 30 40 27 73 13 - 183 Mean .163 .218 .147 .398 .07 - .99 % 16.3 21.8 14.7 39.8 7 - 100 Situation 11 f 32 31 26 86 8 - 183 Mean .174 .169 .142 .469 .043 - .99 % 17.4 16.9 14.2 46.9 4.3 - 100 Situation 12 f 12 32 68 40 27 4 183 Mean .065 .174 .371 .218 .147 .021 .99 % 6.5 17.4 37.2 21.8 14.7 2.1 100 Situation 13 f 24 30 65 43 21 - 183 Mean .131 .163 .355 .234 .114 - .99 % 13.1 16.3 35.5 23.4 11.4 - 100 Situation 14 f 7 15 123 22 16 - 183 Mean .038 .08 .672 .12 .087 - .98 % 3.8 8 67.2 12 8.7 - 100 Situation 15 f 25 98 21 26 13 - 183 Mean .136 .535 .114 .142 .07 - .98 % 13.6 53.5 11.4 14.2 7 - 100 Situation 16 f 24 41 33 66 19 - 183 Mean .13 .224 .18 .36 .103 - .99 % 13 22.4 18 36 10.3 - 100 Situation 17 f 9 21 132 21 - - 183 Mean .049 .114 .72 .114 - - .98 % 49 11.4 72 11.4 - - 100 Situation 18 f 25 29 41 88 - - 183 Mean .136 .158 .224 .48 - - .98 % 13.6 15.8 22.4 4.8 - - 100 Situation 19 f 29 20 34 100 - - 183 Mean .158 .109 .185 .546 - - .97 % 15.8 10.9 18.5 54.6 - - 100 Situation 20 f 118 14 20 31 - - 183 Mean .644 .076 .109 .169 - - .97 % 64.4 7.6 10.9 16.9 - - 100With reference to the first situation, 52% of the examinees selected the correct answer (A). Theremaining sum total of them i.e. 48% were distracted. The implication is that their pragmaticawareness is questionable. The deviation from the mean score is 0.042. Relating to the second
question, 43% of the examinees were distracted from the right or correct answer while theremaining 57% of them have chosen the correct answer (D). The deviation from the mean score is0.045. With regards to the third scenario, the subjects accounting for about 33% selected the rightanswer (C), and the rest 67% were misled by other distracters. The deviation from the mean score is0.042. Pertaining to the fourth situation, 46% of the participants have chosen the correct option. Theremaining sum total of them i.e. 54% were distracted by the other options. Table 20. The MDCT score of the students by group Scores Frequency % Mean 1-5 48 26.2 .26 6-10 69 37.8 .37 11-15 53 28.9 .27 16-20 13 7.1 .071 Total 183 100 .99As it can be seen from the data presented above, the majority of the participants scored between 6and 10 (37.8%). The average scorers were still not negligible that constitute for 28.9% scoringpoints between 11-15 out of 20 points. The top scorers were between16-20 accounting for 7.1% ascompared to the other ones. This indicated that the majority of the participants did not have sort ofawareness about pragmatics and pragmatic test. This might be the case that their grammarknowledge must have helped them than their pragmatic knowledge.Table 21. Summary of MDCT Situation and the Weight of Distance, Power, and Rank of Imposition Situation Context D P R Situation 1 speaker compliments the hearer School Low Equal - Situation 2 speaker advices the hearer School Low Equal Low Situation 3 hearer apologizes for talking aloud Library High High High Situation 4 speaker requests a help Exam Room High Low Low Situation 5 speaker refuses a request Shopping High - High Situation 6 speaker gives compliment to… School Low High - Situation 7 teacher versus student Classroom High High High Situation 8 the speaker requests money Home Low Low Low Situation 9 speaker apologizes Neighborhood High Low Low Situation 10 response to a compliment School Low Low Low Situation 11 speaker apologizes Appointment Low Low Low
Situation 12 speaker complains School Low Low Low Situation 13 speakers orders meal Restaurant High High High Situation 14 speaker suggests Restaurant High Low Low Situation 15 speaker thanks a host Restaurant High - - Situation 16 speaker apologizes Classroom High Low Low Table 22.Sources of students’ pragmatic knowledgeImmediately after the last question of MDCT students were given alternative to choose pertainingthe source of their knowledge that aided them do the test.The following table represents the students answer to the above question. Items Frequency % Mean I remembered what I heard in class 70 19.4 .19 I heard it once somewhere 42 11.6 .11 I remembered what I wrote in my notebook 31 8.6 .08 I remembered the teacher had explained it 67 18.6 .18 I knew the answer from reading 51 14.2 .14 I translated it from my mother tongue 29 8 .08 It sounded right 32 8.9 .08 Others 37 10.3 .10Table 20 represents opportunities that learners have to acquire pragmatic competence. Respondentsclaimed that knowledge of pragmatics that they obtained from the interactions in the classroomsaccounted for 19.4%. The second major source of pragmatic knowledge of students is theexplanations made by the language teachers standing for 18.6%.From the above discussions the following points were the major themes in digging out thechallenges in EFL context: the teaching of pragmatics is ineffective, the existing materials aredeficient, social or contexts of language use are restraints, and teachers are unqualified in the area oflanguage pragmatics. In more detailed way the next chapter has to do with conclusion andrecommendation for the discussions.
CHAPTER FIVE SUMMARY OF RESEARCH RESULTS, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 5.1. Summary of Research ResultsBased on the inventory made pertaining to the presence and absence of the pragmatic features in thestudents’ textbooks, the research findings showed that there is a dearth of language use contents inthe plethora of other linguistic features that almost constituted above 90% of the textbooks contents(see, table 3). It was also evident from the data analysis that the pragmatic elements that were onlygiven a lip service were given insufficient metapragmatic and metalanguage explanations. Hence, itis one of the challenges to teaching pragmatics in Ethiopian EFL context.The other research result was that teachers did not bring in outside materials to complement thepaucity of pragmatic contents of the English language textbooks so as to facilitate the opportunitiesfor teaching and learning pragmatics in the classroom. Evidence for this can be seen from table 11where 100% of the teachers responded unanimously that no teacher could be singled out forbringing in outside materials to instruct pragmatics in EFL setting where there are rare opportunitiesto learning pragmatics.Further research result was that the majority of the participant students scaled that most of thecommunicative acts or social functions that they were tested for are difficult. As a result of whichmost of them scored below average in MDCT (see, table 18). The students further explained thatthose pragmatic features were difficult for them because have very negligible access to use thecommunicative acts in the classroom.The classroom observation results were also consistent with what was detected from the textbooksinventory, teachers’ responses and that of students’ responses that there were no lessons orinteractions directed to the development of pragmatic competence in the classrooms. 5.2. ConclusionsIn the modern communication and communication oriented terminology we are interested in theprocess of providing language and its procedures, not just in the end-product, rather language use.‘Pragmatics is needed if we want fuller, deeper and generally more reasonable account of human
language behavior’ (Mey, 2001). Furthermore, outside of pragmatics, no understanding; sometimes,a pragmatic account is the only language use that makes sense. Further magnifying the essentialityof pragmatics and pragmatic competence lesson some pronounce ‘Pragmatic competence is not apiece of knowledge additional to the learners’ existing grammatical knowledge, but is an organicpart of the learners’ communicative competence’ (Kasper as qtd in Edwards and Csizer, 2004).With the growing demand to communicate in a foreign language, both the teacher education andlanguage teaching process require specific attention not only to form and meaning but also to thepragmatic features of a language as pragmatic competence is one of the most important componentof communicative competence.It is believed that in EFL contexts teachers and textbooks play central roles as resources of thetarget language and culture. A textbook is a framework which regulates the programs without whichclassrooms have no face validity to students and learners don’t take their learning serious. Insituations when shortage of experts in teaching a foreign language is felt, the role of textbooksbecome pivotal according to literatures. Textbooks portray the role of various people in the targetsociety, the way different people at different levels of society express their intentions throughutterances (Sahragard, et al., 2009).In an EFL context such pragmatic awareness and knowledge could be developed by the help of theteacher and the textbook. However, it is argued by Vellenga (2004) that the presentation of speechacts or pragmatic features in textbooks are pragmatically unsatisfactory, they are not supported wellwith contextual information, nor they are given explicit metapragmatic discussion. Similarly,Kasper (see in Vallegna 2004) blames textbooks as one of the factors for learners’ ineffectivepragmatic strategy use.Hence, based on the findings of this research the following conclusions were drawn. The currentEnglish textbooks for Ethiopian upper high schools, i.e. grade 10 and 11 are containing only meagerfeatures of pragmatics. By implication they are challenges to teaching socially acceptable languageor pragmatics to students. Being the most important source of developing communicativecompetence, they do not cooperate with learners to help them develop pragmatics.Textbooks are primary or central part of teaching and learning in the Ethiopian upper high schools.However, they almost never provide adequate pragmatic information for students to successfullydevelop their pragmatic competence. The findings indicated that there is a scarcity of pragmatic
information contained in the English for Ethiopia, and the variety of pragmatic information islimited. Most of the metalanguage explanations are very shallow and there are no metapragmaticexplanations at all. The textbook writers haven’t given enough attention to the application ofpragmatic theory in their textbooks as pragmatic information contained in the two languagetextbooks is not distributed evenly like it is the case for other language skills. Dimension ofpragmatic competence are still confined to the explicit instruction of lexical, syntactical, andgrammatical structures.The results of the study emphasized the need for explicit teaching of pragmatic features. Languagelearners should be given opportunities to be exposed to native-like conventions through the use ofauthentic materials, audio-visual aids, teacher talk and the textbook. To increase such exposure,teacher training needs to involve explicit teaching of pragmatic features to increase awareness.Above all, textbooks need to carry out pragmatic features and classroom methodologies to providerealistic, purposeful, and meaningful language practices. The pragmatic awareness, or lack of it, isvery much affected by the textbooks used and by the classroom practices. As the need forcommunication increases with the mobility of people, effective language teaching and appropriateuse of the foreign language gains importance to develop linguistic competence. Rose (2005) arguesthat “explicit instruction” is necessary for EFL learners to develop pragmatic competence. Bylooking at the results it can be said that it is necessary to help language learners in general, andlanguage teachers, in particular, develop pragmatic awareness with the explicit but contextual andmeaningful teaching of daily speech conventions.During the teacher training process, trainees should be provided with extensive pragmaticknowledge and be guided to develop theirs. It is fairly possible to infer from the teachers’ responsethat well-designed teacher training and teaching materials should be in place for teachers to developstudents’ pragmatic competence. Moreover, the teaching hours to cover the issue of pragmatics;thus, to properly manage each lesson may solve the current problem of teaching pragmatics in theclassroom.The findings of this study also showed that teachers seldom use pragmatic instruction inclassrooms, and mostly students have to spend time by themselves developing pragmaticcompetence without explicit instruction. Overall, the pragmatics instruction is immature and needsto be developed, and teachers need professional training to know how to teach pragmaticseffectively. Although the learners’ self-perceived competence mean score was high, their MDCT
result was low; and this confirmed that self-perceived competence and the actual performancenever match. This is why according to Dewaele (2007) higher levels of self-perceived competenceare linked to lower levels of communication which in fact has to be further investigated in our owncontext.Ultimately, it has long been recognized that language is an essential and important part of a givenculture and that the impact of culture up on a given language is something intrinsic andindispensable. Therefore, it has become axiomatic to state that there exists a close relationshipbetween language and culture. This can further be argued that all communication acts are culturally-loaded. Communication may be affected by culturally-related factors because communication actsare fundamentally developed through social interactions. The results of this study indicated thatteaching language should also consider this fact so as to help learners develop the communicativeskills which demanded of them in the social life spectrum out of the school compound. If this issimply paid a lip service and not be practiced cultural boundaries may bring about certainmisunderstandings that will obstruct seriously the flow of communication process. Therefore,cultural and pragmatic awareness must aim to face these communication breakdowns. 5.3. RecommendationsThere is no doubt that effective teaching in Ethiopian EFL classrooms can improve students’pragmatic knowledge. Therefore, it is necessary for the textbook writers to write user friendlytextbooks in terms of providing pragmatic information to both the teachers and students. Theresearcher has a strong belief that future EFL textbook would include immense presentation of avariety of linguistic forms along with explicit metapragmatic explanations and contextually rich andauthentic opportunities for students to practice those forms. As it is the most important aspect oflanguage learning, textbooks developers should also take a note of procedures of teaching, selectionof authentic materials and designing of tasks. Besides, they should not forget the essentiality ofassessing the pragmatic aspects by providing modern approaches to testing pragmatic features oflanguage.More importantly, there is a high expectation for aspiring teachers’ trainers and textbook writers toimprove their own knowledge of pragmatics and pedagogy for optimal students learning outcomes.Teachers also should be able to receive sufficient knowledge in the area of pragmatics while theyare on job or taking undergraduate courses.
The aim of instruction in pragmatics is not to force learners to adopt native speaker pragmaticchoices or is not linguistic imperialism, but to expose learners to positive evidence or linguisticempowerment to use the words of Phillipson, (2009: 12), making them aware of a variety oflinguistic resources that are used in combination with specific contextual factors. This knowledgeprogressively enables learners to make more sound decisions when choosing linguistic as theyinteract in the target language.In consequence, it is necessary to conduct research exploring the effects of instruction inpragmatic aspects of the English language in an Ethiopian EFL setting. Taking theory as thefoundation, learners can be instructed on the strategies and linguistic forms by which specificpragmatic features are performed and how these strategies are used in different contexts. This maycontribute to the role language teaching has to help students situate EFL communicative practicesin their sociocultural context and appreciate their meanings and functions within the EFLsetting.Here the researcher has provided teaching methods and concepts for teachers to refer to. First,teachers should try to use dialogues or scenarios to activate students’ awareness of pragmaticknowledge, explain the meanings of these different language uses, and most importantly discusslanguage uses with students after exercises (Uso-Juan & Martinez-Flor, 2006). Teachers can alsogive students a scenario, ‘a student asks a teacher to extend a deadline of final exam, for example’.Students have to think about how to give an appropriate response to the teacher if they are in thatkind of situation, and later teachers discuss answers with students (Rose, 1994; Crandall &Basturkmen (2004); Takimoto, 2006; Meier, 1997).Second, increasing opportunities for students to produce target pragmatics is important. Teacherscan use role-play activities to observe students’ pragmatic competence. Or teachers can providediscourse completion task (DCT) with students, which can have students read a variety of situationsand write down what they would say in each situation(Lee, S.J & McChesney, B., 2000). Thesituations could be an apology for a friend, a request for parents, or a suggestion for subordinate(Alcon, Soler, 2005; Eslami-Rasekh, 2005; Takimoto, 2006).Third is to make students as observers and discoverers (Markee & Kasper, 2004). Teachers candevelop students’ pragmatics senses in several ways. For instance, teachers can prepare four videoclips containing different uses of requests, and students need to write down the phrases used to ask
somebody to do something in these clips, and finally students also have to think about why peoplein the video clips use different types of language. Teachers can also have students to collectpragmatics information outside the classroom such as TV, radios, novels, and other resources(Alcon Soler, 2005; Eslami-Rasekh, 2005).Finally, teachers should instill the concept of target pragmatics into students, and give explicitpragmatic instruction no matter what language levels they are (Uso-Juan & Martinez-Flor, 2006;Boxer, D. & Pickering, L., 1995). Hence, it’s imperative for teachers to know how to adjust lessonsbased on students’ language proficiency, and to incorporate basic pragmatic knowledge intolessons. Most importantly, teachers should develop students’ own perception of target pragmatics,so that students can observe or notice language usages from TV, movie, magazine, and novel.It is also commendable for teachers that an EFL classroom can provide the context and the explicitinstruction necessary for learners to begin developing pragmatic competence in English. If our goalas teachers of English is for our students to leave our classrooms with the ability, at least on somelevel, to communicate successfully in English, then we have to move beyond the bare bonesapproach to teaching language. We must put flesh and blood on those bones by using English forboth classroom management and language instruction and by creating opportunities for students tosee, use, review and experience the English language in communicative contexts.Additional research is needed to determine the effectiveness of metapragmatics for lower-levellearners and those in non-university settings. Before using metapragmatic instruction, teachers mustclearly identify their goals and determine the level of understanding they want their students todemonstrate. In addition, instruction must be presented as a series of choices for empowermentrather than a checklist for acculturation.In sum, the two crucial things of teaching pragmatics are to have students recognize the importanceof appropriately using a language in a given context, and to help them develop their own “pragmaticanalysis” while encountering different language uses from a variety of sources. Teachers can justuse last five minutes in every lesson to introduce pragmatics, and do pragmatic activities. Explicitinstruction can help learners a lot and if teachers can successfully activate students’ pragmaticawareness, students will definitely develop their pragmatic competence gradually. Morespecifically,
Teachers should: have adequate pragmatic competence; receive training and development that is of great importance; design activities aiming at raising students’ pragmatic awareness; plan activities offering opportunities for communicative practice; realize that there is not a single best way to develop the students’ pragmatic competence in EFL classroom. Instructions, implicit or explicit, deductive or inductive, all function. Teaching approaches, eclectic or suggestopedic, both improve the learners’ pragmatic abilities; encourage learners to read widely about the culture of the target language and participate in as many social activities as possible so as to broaden their views and enrich their social experiences; lay more emphasis on functions, not merely on grammar and vocabulary; organize more activities of listening and speaking than those of reading; give more attention to dialogues and conversations than to texts; test the learners’ pragmatic competence rather than merely their linguistic competence;Textbooks should be prepared: Enriching classroom input of textbooks with real-world materials, such as recordings of native speaker conversations, radio programs, and even television soap operas; with authentic and real life speech; with high quality in pragmatic knowledge; being supplemented with additional books that focus on pragmatics. 5.4. Implications for future researchThe findings of this study have implication for classroom teaching, future research, and curriculumdesign.
Future research implicationsFrom the data, it’s difficult to conclude that what pragmatic topics, such as refusals, compliments,apologies, complaints, etc., the teachers focused on while designing an effective lesson. In otherwords, the results didn’t explain how teachers incorporate a specific area of pragmatic knowledgeinto a lesson. Moreover, no assessment could prove that those students would really absorbpragmatic knowledge to develop their pragmatic competence. Thus, future study might focus on aparticular area of pragmatics and design a comprehensive lesson and assessment for EFL teachers.Or researchers could conduct a study to examine which area of pragmatic knowledge that studentsare good/bad at, and what the reasons are.As the current research is based on content analysis of two textbooks and questionnaires, thefindings were not conclusive enough to make a broad generalization. Henceforth, further research iscalling for attention to investigate how upper high school teachers can develop students’ pragmaticcompetence in the process of classroom instruction by using different practical approaches.Researchers in the area should pay due attention to each one of the communicative acts such ascompliments, complaints, apologies, request, gratitude etc. on their own. Further research at thehigher education level is recommended.Further research should include a larger sample size and control group. Retrospective interviewscould offer valuable information about the factors affecting participants’ mitigation choices,possibly highlighting examples of pragmatic resistance or helping to identify pragmatic knowledgewhich has been acquired but not yet realized.Additional research should also examine students’ oral requesting, apologizing, complimenting,complaining, thanking, suggesting, refusing, etc. perhaps in the performance of the communicativeacts when students are unaware that they are being assessed. Such an assessment could offer insightinto the treatment’s impact on students’ real-world using the language. It could also highlightchanges not captured by the students’ written assessments as a result of their limited literacy skills.This is especially important for students, like the participants in this study, whose English fluencycannot be captured in written assessments. Future studies should also examine the effectiveness ofmetapragmatic instruction on lower-level learners to determine what basic organizationalknowledge, if any, is required in order for metapragmatic instruction to be effective.
Finally, this study examined only making requests, refusals, apologies, giving compliments,complaints, giving thanks; and further research is needed to develop effective metapragmaticinstruction for additional speech acts. Research should be undertaken at both micro and macrolevels of pragmatics at the higher learning institutions. Pedagogical ImplicationsLanguage learners need to be taught pragmatic routines to help them avoid negative transfer, whichin fact lead to communication failure, when speaking English. The results of the studies reviewedsuggest that learners in an EFL context could benefit from pragmatic input. Although learnersbenefit from both implicit and explicit instruction, explicit instruction has been shown to be moreeffective (Rose and Ng Kwai-fun, 2001).Teachers ought to prefer to explicitly teach their studentscommunicative acts such as compliments, refusals, apologies, complaining, gratitude/thanks,requests, strategies to accepting and rejecting requests, advice, invitation, compliments, suggestionetc. For teachers who are unfamiliar with researches related to communicative acts or prefer toadopt a model lesson, an excellent website ishttp://www.carla.umn.edu/speechacts/descriptions.html/.The researcher believed that along with explicitly teaching pragmatic routines, awareness raising isan essential component to aid students in their pragmatic development. The responses from studentswere very positive, especially when they gave answers to open ended DCT.One needs to take the issue of cross-cultural pragmatics into the classroom if as Jung (2001, p.6)indicates, pragmatics is a subject that is an indispensable part of language learning and which hasreceived insufficient attention in acquisition. But the question is how to go from recognizing theimportance of the issues to moving into classroom language learning and mitigating cross-culturalcommunication failure. There may be no easy solutions it would appear. Some writers alluding tosuch difficulties argue that the cross-cultural pragmatics is ‘potentially an explosive’ area of makingjudgments on what is pragmatically acceptable to the foreign learner. Openness to differentpragmatic interpretations consistent to sensitivities of various cultures and social groups would besomething to keep in mind as well as an approach free of stereotypical judgments.Pragmatic competence can be developed in the classroom through a range of situations andactivities. The researcher believed that pragmatic rules that are different from or nonexistent in the
students’ first language need to be given emphasis. Comparative studies and needs analyses can becarried out to address the most challenging pragmatic issues facing particular groups or all students.On the whole, EFL context represent unique challenges for teaching of pragmatic competence, andtoo little attention has been paid to this area. ‘If the pragmatic competence is to be dealt withsuccessfully in an EFL settings, methods and materials must be developed which do not assume ordepend on NS (native speakers) intuitions of the teacher’ (Rose, 1994:5). Teacher Education ImplicationPragmatic competence is one of the vital components of communicative competence that needs tobe considered in EFL teacher education programs. Unfortunately, available teacher educationsources on EFL methodology and assessment lack a focus on teaching the pragmatic aspects oflanguage as witnessed by the teachers. Pragmatics has been identified as an important component oflanguage teachers’ knowledge base and appears to have been incorporated into some teachereducation programs in both EIL and EFL contexts. However, the treatment of pragmatics in teachertraining courses tends to center on theory/rhetoric rather than practical applications. Implication for Curriculum DesignEducational administrators should take “pragmatics” into consideration when designing curriculumguidelines for English subjects. Adding some discourse completion tasks or scenario tests intonational examinations should be a good start to value pragmatic knowledge. Furthermore, teachertraining and teaching materials should be provided so that teachers will develop students’ pragmaticcompetence.
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APPENDICES APPENDIX-1 ADAMA SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY UNIVERSITYSCHOOL OF HUMANITIES AND LAW, DEPARTMENT OF HUMANITIES AND LANGUAGES (Textbooks’ Pragmatic Content Evaluation Checklist)General pragmatic information, metalanguage, metapragmatic information, and speech acts’treatments in the textbooks understudy will be checked using the following criteria. Thefrequency of the following pragmatic information in each textbook will be checked page-by-page.Key Book 1=10th grade English textbook Book 2=11th grade textbookML=metalanguage explanation Mp=metapragmatic explanation Speech acts Book 1 Book 2 ML MP ML MPInterpersonal exchanges12. Greeting and leave taking13. Making introductions and identifying oneself14. Extending, accepting and declining invitations and offers15. Making and breaking engagements16. Expressing and acknowledging gratitude17. Complimenting and congratulating18. Showing interest, surprise, sympathy, disbelief, disappointment, interestInformation 5. asking for and giving information 6. reporting (describing, narrating) 7. explaining 8. rememberingOpinions 9. expressing and finding out about attitudes and opinions 10. agreeing and disagreeing 11. approving and disapproving 12. showing satisfaction and dissatisfactionFeelings 7. expressing love, happiness, sadness, pleasure, anger, embarrassment, pain, relief, fear, annoyance, surpriseSuasion 8. suggesting, requesting, instructions
9. giving orders, advising, and warning 10. asking for, granting and withholding permissionProblems 6. complaining and criticizing 7. blaming and accusing 8. admitting and denying 9. regretting 10. apologizing and forgivingFuture scenarios wishes, hopes, and desires plans, goals, and intentions promising predicting and speculating possibilities and capabilities of doing somethingFollowing Rules of Conversation 1. taking turns in conversation 2. introducing topics of conversation 3. staying on topic 4. rephrasing when misunderstood 5. how to use verbal and nonverbal signals 6. how close to stand to someone when speaking 7. how to use facial expressions and eye contactChanging language according to the needs of a listener orsituation, such as 8. talking differently to a baby than to an adult 9. giving background information to unfamiliar listener 10. speaking differently in a classroom than on a playground
APPENDIX-2 ADAMA SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF HUMANITIES AND LAW, DEPARTMENT OF HUMANITIES AND LANGUAGES Questionnaire (for teachers)Dear Teacher/Senior Teacher of English,This study aims at identifying the difficulties you might face in teaching your students a veryimportant aspect of knowledge of English language known as pragmatic competence/awareness.Pragmatic competence/awareness can be roughly defined as the ability to use language formsappropriately in social situations or contexts. As teachers of English we face many difficulties inteaching this aspect of language/knowledge. Such difficulties can be classified in to four categories:difficulty related to your teacher education program relevant or relevant in-service training,difficulties related to textbooks and teacher guides, lack of exposure to real life use in naturalsituations outside the classroom and difficulties related to testing this aspect of knowledge. Thisquestionnaire is designed with the purpose of finding out which difficulties you are facing currently.Hence, you are kindly requested to respond to the following questionnaire.Many thanks for your cooperation. The researcher,Personal informationGender: M F Level of your education: Diploma Degree Masters DegreeExperience in teaching the English language: one year two years three years +1. Have you studied a course on pragmatics (more specifically speech acts such as: requests, refusals, apologies, compliments, thanks, complaints, etc) in your undergraduate teacher education program? Please, put a tick mark in front of your answer. a. Yes b. no And you can put forward a point regarding the time and courses you have received about pragmatics, please.___________________________________________________________
Raters Statements and Items Inadequate Fairly Adequate adequate2 Have you been taught any of the following items in any of your undergraduate courses or in-service training courses? To what extent have pre-service and/or in-service education programs helped you?a Become aware of pragmatics as a branch of linguisticsb Compare English and your L1 pragmatic norms and strategiesc Learn norms of ‘politeness’ in face to face interaction in Englishd Teach the pragmatic aspect of the English languagee Design or select activities for teaching of this aspect of knowledge of Englishf Design tests of this aspect of knowledge of English Please, add anything you think relevant that is not mentioned about your learning pragmatics _____________________________________3 To what extent do your students’ English textbooks and teacher’s guides include each of the following?a Explanation related to this[pragmatic] aspect of knowledge of Englishb Activities that help students practice performing those[pragmatic] uses of languagec Guidance about how to teach those[pragmatic] uses of languaged Guidance for teachers as to how to test those[pragmatic] uses of language4 Teachers do not include in their lesson plan Strongly agree Partially agree teaching such [pragmatic] language aspects. If you do not include any lesson of pragmatics in disagree Agree your lesson plan why? a/time allotment b/lack of knowledge c/lack of training d/students language level e/teachers’ language level f/type of assessment g/inadequate materials Do not forget adding other challenges you feel you are facing please, ________________
5 Please put a tick mark in front of your Strongly response Partially disagree Agree agree agreea Some people argue that one of the reasons why teachers do not teach pragmatic/cultural aspect of the English language is lack of extra time.b Many teachers have limited knowledge of the target culture [English language culture] and, therefore, are afraid to teach it in the classroom.c English language teachers are often confused about what aspect of the language culture to cover.d Teachers’ talk in the classroom is more important in foreign language classrooms where opportunities for the full range of human interactions are limited to help learners acquire pragmatic knowledge.e The current English textbook discusses and identifies pragmatic areas of the students’ needs and students will be able to relate to the social and cultural contexts presented in the textbookf Methods and techniques of teaching communicative language and pragmatics are supposed to be differentg Teaching pragmatic competence is difficult and teaching pragmatic competence is not as important as teaching communicative abilityh Teachers rarely bring in outside materials related to pragmaticsi Learning pragmatics from textbooks is impossiblej Textbooks are inadequate in presenting authentic pragmatic language samples, but teachers can overcome shortcomings of textbooksk Textbooks cannot be counted as a reliable source of pragmatic inputl What would you like to suggest at the end that need to be done regarding the teaching of pragmatics ______________________________
APPENDIX-3 The Pragmatics Awareness Test Situations [Scenarios]Dear students,The following template is prepared to obtain information from you that would be used for researchpurpose. Therefore, cooperate with me in responding to the questions you are asked. I would like tothank you in advance for your cooperation. The researcher,Personal informationGender age grade levelBackground questionnaire1. Birth place ______________________________2. First language ___________________mother tongue _____________3. Self evaluation of proficiency in English as compared to native/first language Raters Skills Excellent very good Fair poor Speaking Listening Reading WritingYour responses to the following situations will also help the researcher to know your knowledge ofcomplimenting, apologizing, thanking, complaining, requesting, and refusing. So please, choose theappropriate answer for each item in relation to the situations accordingly.There are 20 situations on the following pages. Each situation will have possible responses. Circle theletter of your choice (a, b, c, d, e or f) that you think is the most appropriate and acceptable for thesituation described. Thank you!Situation 1:Your friend gave you a nice complement on your new t-shirt. You notice this friend is wearing a newdress too. You would like to say something nice but actually you don’t think it suits her at all. Whatwould say? A. "I like your dress too but I think you need another color." B. "I see youre wearing a nice new dress too. I think it really suits you. How much did it cost?" C. "Oh, is that a new dress too? Nice." D. "And you are very nice today. Are you wearing a new dress too? Its very pretty." E. You would say nothing.Situation 2:Your friend tells you that she is considering taking an evening course. You heard that this course isvery difficult. What would you say? A. "Dont take that course, please. Its too hard!" B. "Youd better not take that course." C. You would say nothing. D. "I suppose that course to be really difficult. Are you sure you want to take it?"Situation 3:The librarian comes up to you and your friend but looks at you and tells you that you are talking tooloudly. What would you say? A. "Sorry, I didnt realize we were talking so loud." B. “Thank you; it’s OK."
C. Im terribly sorry. I honestly forgot I was in a library. Please accept my sincere apologies." D. "OK, OK but I wasnt the only one talking, you know." (You point to your friend.) E. You would say nothingSituation 4:You are in an exam room. Your pen has run out of ink. You know the teacher who is invigilating theexam has extra pen. You stand up and go to the teacher and say: A. "Oh, my pen seems to have run out of ink!" B. "I wonder if you have a pen I could borrow? Mine seems to have run out of ink." C. "Excuse me sir; I want your extra pen, please. Mine seems to have run out of ink." D. "Give me your extra pen, please." E. You would say nothing. F. You simply shake the pen to make it write.Situation 5:You are in a hurry for school time is almost over. You decide to buy a pen on your way to school.You pay for it and then the salesclerk asks you to fill out a customer survey form. If you fill out theform you will be late. What do you say? A. "Sorry, but Im in a hurry." B. "Im sorry, I wish I could but I really cant. Im in a hurry for school.” C. "No, I dont have time for such things." D. "OK, but I’ll do it very quickly." (You fill out the form and are late.) E. You shake your head to indicate no and say nothing.Situation 6: When telling your friend that you like his/her shirt, you say: A. "Hey, cool shirt, I like that!" B. "Hello, you look very nice today, I really like that shirt." C. “Hello, you look nice, I like that shirt” D. “Thank you; it is nice shirt for how much did you by?” E. “You are so sweet.”Situation 7:Consider, for example, a teacher making a simple request of a student to close a classroom door toshut off the noise from the corridor. There are a number of ways this request can be made; which oneis the most appropriate one? A. "Could you please close the door?" B. "Why arent you shutting the door?" C. "SHUT THE DOOR!" D. “Go back, and shut that door!” E. “Don’t you know that the door should be shut.”Situation 8:You would like to go to a concert this weekend but you don’t have any money. You must not miss itas one of the artists is your favorite. You have to borrow some money from your older uncle whosename is Chemere. How would you ask? A. “Give me 50 birr that I will pay you back tomorrow, please.” B. “It’s not such a big deal if you lend me 50 birr that I will pay you back soon.” C. “Oh, Chemere, please, I would like to go to the concert but I have no money. Would you lend me 50 birr? I can pay you back tomorrow, I promise.” D. “Lend me 50 birr please, you will be paid tomorrow.”Situation 9:Hunde is your neighbor. He is 40 and an office worker. You took his bicycle to school and got in anaccident. How would you apologize in an acceptable way?
A. “Hey, Hunde, I’m really sorry.” B. “Oh, Hunde, I’m very sorry. I took your bicycle to the school, and I got in an accident. Forgive me. I’m going to take it to a garage, and I myself am going to pay the costs of the repairs.” C. “I’m really very sorry, Hunde.” D. “Hello, Hunde, I’m terribly sorry but I will repair it for you. I’m going to take it to a garage” E. “Oh my, what an idiot I am!”Situation 10:You are wearing a new shirt and a classmate looks at you and says: “This shirt looks great on you!Blue is a great color for you.”You answer: A. ‘Hello, Thank you.’ B. ‘Oh, I’m sure thank you.’ C. ‘Yeah, I’m keen on choosing colors, don’t worry.’ D. ‘Thanks, I bought it for trip to Sodere’ E. Silence (you say nothing).Situation 11:You were planning on going to breakfast with your close friend, Guta, but as you walk up, it isalready 40 minutes past the time you were supposed to be at the restaurant. You call your friend’s cellphone and apologize:You answer: A. ‘How can I make up to you? Can I buy you lunch on Sunday?’ B. ‘I’m so forgetful. You know me, I’m never on time.’ C. ‘Have you been waiting for a long time? It’s ok, forget it.’ D. ‘I’m sorry; would you be willing to reschedule the appointment?’ E. SilenceSituation12:Your friends and you are given a project work that must be submitted within two days. One of yourfriends is very much uncooperative. He doesn’t come on time whenever you ask him to contribute.What would you say to him in that case? A. “No harm done!” B. “Shame up on you that we should have done it by now.” C. “You are always late and now we have less time to do the job.” D. “Come on let’s finish it.” E. “Go and do it alone; it is not my business.” F. You say nothing.Situation 13:You and your uncle went to a restaurant. You ordered roasted chicken. Your uncle decides to ordersomething else. When his meal comes it looks delicious but when your meal comes, it is burnt. Whatwould you say to the waiter? A. "Hey waiter, my meal is burnt. Take it back to the kitchen and get me what he has." (You point to your uncle’s meal) B. "Please forgive me but my meal is burnt." C. "Excuse me waiter, Im sorry to have to say this but my meal is burnt. Give me something else, please." D. You would eat it even though it does not taste good.
Situation 14:Just when you finally start eating your uncle lights up a cigarette. You do not like cigarette smokewhen you are eating. What would you say to your uncle? A. "Doesnt cigarette smoke ruin your appetite?" B. "Get out of here with that cigarette!" C. "Would you mind waiting until Im finished eating before smoking." D. "Youre ruining my meal. Put your cigarette out. Please." E. You would say nothing.Situation 15:After the meal you would like to thank your hosts. What would you say? A. “Thank you so much. That was a great meal." B. “Thank you." C. “You treated me too well. Thank you from the bottom of my heart." D. "I appreciated the meal." E. You would say nothing.Situation 16You are a student. You forgot to do the assignment for your English language. When your teacherwhom you have known for some years asks for your assignment, you apologize to your teacher. A. “Can I bring it to you at the end of the day?” B. “Shall I do the assignment at once?” C. I’m sorry; Ive completed my assignment but forgot to bring it with me. Ill hand it in tomorrow.” D. You would say nothing.Situation 17When someone compliments the watch you are wearing and says - I like your watch, you would: A. Say, "Oh this cheap thing? Its not worth much." B. Give it to him/her. C. Say, "Thanks" and smile. D. Say, "Would you like to have it?"Situation 18For a woman it is not considered appropriate to give compliments to: A. A woman about her husband. B. A man about his wife. C. A couple about their child. D. A doctor about his or her salary.Situation 19If someone offers you some food that you really dont like, you might say: A. "I hate that." B. "Sure, Id love some more." C. "Ill have just a little bit, please." D. "Thanks, but Im really full.”Situation 20You have just been asked out to dinner but you really dont want to go with the person who invited you. Youmight say: A. "Thanks a lot but Im busy tonight.” B. "No, I really dont enjoy being with you. C. "Im dieting so I mustnt go out to eat." D. "I dont think so. I already have plans."
Look back at situations 1-20. When you wrote down your answers what did you think? Circle asmany as you want. a). I remembered what I heard in class b). I heard it once somewhere c). I remembered what I wrote in my notebook d). I remember the teacher had explained it e). I knew the answer from reading f). I translated it from my mother tongue g). It sounded right h).others ______________________________________________________________________________I. Number the following actions from what you think is most difficult for you to say in English towhat is the least difficult, starting with number one as most difficult.___________Invitations___________ Refusals/Saying no to an offer__________ Apologies/Saying sorry for something__________ Requests/Asking for things__________ Commands/Telling someone to do something__________ Compliments___________ Giving suggestions___________ Giving advice___________ thanking someone___________ ComplaintsJ. Reason out why you ordered those actions from the most difficult to the least__________________
APPENDIX-4 Table12. Classroom Observation ChecklistItems Subcategories Spotted Unspottedcategory 1. drills 2. translation Classroom Activities 3. discussion 1. presentations 2.conscious raising activities 3.explicit instruction of pragmatics 4.awareness-raising activities 5.guided practice 9. game 10. role plays 11. DCT, ODCT, MDCT or WDCTParticipant 1. teacher to studentsorganization 2. student to students or student to the classroom 3.group work 4. individual workContent or 1. form/grammarexplicit focus 2. discourseon language 3. usage 4. use/function: complaining, complimenting, refusing 1. written Materials used 2. audio 3. visual 4. stories 5. dialogues 6. scenarios/situations/authentic language samples or models 1. use of target language Communicative 2. information gap 3. sustained speech features 4. reaction to code or message 5. incorporation of preceding utterances 6. discourse initiation 7. relative restriction of linguistic form/semantic formula
APPENDIX-5 Table2.Communicative Acts in the Textbooks Example or strategiesCommunicative or realization of Topic /types strategies strategies Book 1 Book 1Acts appearance/possessions e.g., You look absolutely beautiful!)Compliments performance/skills/abilities (e.g., Your presentation was excellent.) personality traits (e.g., You are so sweet.) Direct refusals (e.g. ‘No’, ‘I can’t’, ‘I don’t think I can’) Statement of regret (e.g. ‘I’m sorry’) Statement of positive opinion (e.g. ‘I’d love to’, ‘I wish I could’) (e.g. ‘I have to study for the test’)Refusal Excuse, reason, explanation Gratitude (e.g. ‘Thank you’) Statement of future (e.g. ‘Perhaps some other time’) acceptance Indefinite reply (e.g. ‘I’m not sure’, ‘I don’t know’) Statement of alternative (e.g., ‘How about the movies’) Statement of empathy (e.g. ‘No offence to you’) Good wish to hearer (e.g. ‘Have a nice trip’, ‘Hope you have fun’) Thanking someone explicitly (e.g. Thanks, thank you, thank you for, thank you very much, thanks a lot, fine thanks…) Expressing gratitude (e.g. I’m grateful…) Expressing the appreciation (e.g. That’s kind of you, that’s nice ofThanking of the addressee you…) Expressing the appreciation (e.g. That’s lovely, it’s appreciated…) of the act Acknowledging a debt of (e.g. I owe a debt of gratitude to…) gratitude Stressing one’s gratitude (e.g. I must thank you…) Expressing emotion (e.g. Oh, thank you…) Suppressing one’s own (e.g. I’m an ingrate, I’m so careless) importance[self-denigration] Explicitly apologizing (e.g. I apologize)oloApgie s
Offering/presenting one’s (e.g. I present my apologies) apologies Acknowledging a debt of (e.g. I owe you an apology) apology Expressing regret (e.g. I’m sorry, I’m regretful …) Demanding forgiveness (e.g. Pardon me, forgive me, excuse me…) Explicitly requesting the (e.g. I beg your pardon, ) hearer’s forgiveness Giving an explanation or (e.g. I’m sorry “The bus was late,” it’s account so unusual…) Self-denigration or self (e.g. How stupid of me, how awful, I reproach ought to know this) Minimizing responsibility (e.g. I didn’t mean to…, I thought this was…, ) Expressing emotion (e.g. Oh, I’m so sorry…,) Acknowledging responsibility (e.g. It’s my fault…,) for the offending act Promising forbearance from a (e.g. I promise you that will never similar offending act happen again) Offering redress (e.g. Please let me pay for the damage I have done) Asking about ability to do (e.g. Can you come to the party? something[ability] Can you help me? Can I talk to Mr. president? ) Asking about the possibility (e.g. Is it possible…, would you of the desired act happening mind…,) [consultation] Asking whether the hearer is (e.g. Will you…, would you(like)…, ) willing to do or has an objection to do something[willingness] Expressing a wish that the (e.g. I would like you to…,)Requesting agent should do something [want] Expressing a need or desire (e.g. I want…, I need…,) for goods [need] Stating that the hearer is (e.g. You must…, you have to…,) under the obligation to do something [obligation] Stating that it is appropriate (e.g. You should…, ) that the hearer performs the desired action Asking an idiomatic WH (e.g. What about…, how about…, why questions don’t you…, why not…) Hypothesis (e.g. If you would…, perhaps you would….)
Appreciation (e.g. I would be grateful if you would do…, I would be glad if …) Permission quest (e.g. May I …, let me…) Naming the object requested (e.g. The next slide please) Checking the (e.g. Is Mr…there…) availability[existence] Valuation-an utterance (e.g. e.g. Its really disgusting.) expressing the feelings of the Speaker about either the Addressee or the problem. Closing - An utterance made (e.g. OK, thanks. ) by the Speaker to conclude the complaint set. Threat- An utterance stating (e.g. e.g. "I, er..could take it higher an action the Speaker might than just talking to you." ) take, depending on the reaction of the Addressee. Remedy - An utterance (e.g. This is going to have to stop.) calling for some corrective action. Justification of The ( e.g. Is this time particularly difficult Addressee - An utterance for you?" ) giving a reason or excuse for the Addressees havingComplaining committed the wrong or considering the effect on the Addressee. Justification of the speaker- ( e.g. "... because I... youre making me An utterance explaining why miss lectures by turning up late." ) the Speaker is making the complaint and the effects of the wrong on the Speaker. Act Statement- An utterance (e.g. "This is the fourth time this month which states the problem youve been really late!" ) directly. Orientation - An utterance (e.g. Ive been meaning to talk to you giving the Speakers intent in about the rubbish youve been leaving initiating the complaint, but outside. ) with no detail. Opener- An utterance (e.g. "Listen, Jimmy." ) initiating the speech act set but giving no information about the wrong. Explicit complaint (e.g. You’re not fair. You’re inconsiderate. One should
not postpone this type of operation. I’ve been waiting here for nearly an hour. You are always late. I expected different treatment from a physician like you.)Request for Explanation- (e.g. I mean, why do you do it?)An utterance calling for anexplanation of theAddressees behavior,Blame -An utterance finding (e.g. You realize cause youre latefault with the Addressee or again...)holding him/her responsiblefor the wrong,
APPENDIX-6 ADAMA SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF HUMANITIES AND LAW, DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE (QUESTIONNAIRE for SELF-PERCEIVED COMPETENCE)Dear students, the following table is about your general perception with regards to yourcommunicative competence. Hence, you are kindly required to put a tick mark in front of yourresponse for each description. Thank you.5=strongly agree 4=agree 3=neither agree nor disagree 2=disagree 1=strongly disagree Criteria Description Value 5 4 3 2 1 1 Speaking English can help me interact with native speakers. 2 Studying English is important because it can help me make friends who speak English. 3 Learning English is important because it Sociocultural/sociolinguistic Competence will broaden my world view. 4 If I speak English well, I can travel around the world without language barriers. 5 I want to do well in English because I want to show my ability to my parents/ teachers/ friends. 6 I want to improve my English because most of my friends speak English very well. 7 I want to improve my English in order to understand foreign cultures. 8 It is important to speak appropriate English in different social contexts. 9 I think learning English will be more effective if we have group discussion with classmates during the class. 10 Whenever I have communication breakdown in conversations with native speakers, I will try to use verbal or non- verbal messages to bridge the gap. 1 I usually practice many grammar drills in order to improve my English. 2 I will ask myself to express my thoughts competence in a comprehensive and correct manner in Discourse English. 3 I perceive that I can express my ideas naturally in spoken English.
4 I will try to talk to native speakers to strengthen my spoken English. 5 I perceive that I feel more comfortable to express my ideas in written English. 6 I will read different grammar books written by different authors to improve my grammatical competence. 7 Students are expected to be able to use extended utterances where appropriate 8 Students need to have the ability to maintain coherent flow of language over several utterances 1 Whenever there are words which I don’t understand, I will look up the dictionary Strategic Competence right away. 3 Whenever there is something we don’t understand in class, We should raise the questions immediately. 4 When I read an article written in English, I will always try to guess those unknown words based on their contexts. 5 As long as there are things I don’t understand, I will ask questions to teachers. I really believe that memorizing 1 vocabulary needs to go competence withGrammaticalCompetence reading. 2 English four skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing should be developed at the same time. 3 I usually spend a lot of time memorizing vocabulary. 1 I know what to say, when to say and how to say and rule of talking when talking with other people in English 2 I pay special attention when I make Pragmatic Competence requests 3 I pay special attention to other people making requests 4 I pay special attention to other people when I refuse 5 I pay attention to other people’s feeling, status and age when I complain 6 I know when I should use modal verbs such as can, could, would, or may when apologizing, requesting, refusing, thanking, inviting, suggesting ,etc.
7 I know taking turns in conversation8 I know how to do rephrasing when misunderstood9 I have the skill as to how to use verbal and nonverbal signals10 I know how close to stand to someone when speaking11 I have the skills as to how to use facial expressions and eye contact12 I know the giving background information to unfamiliar listener will help13 I know speaking in a classroom is different from speaking on a playground14 I know how to address and talk to people whose age and status are different from mine