ADAMA SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY UNIVERSITY      SCHOOL OF HUMANITIES AND LAW,          DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH    INVESTIGATING...
INVESTIGATING THE CHALLENGES AND  OPPORTUNITIES FOR DEVELOPING PRAGMATIC COMPETENCE OF EFL STUDENTS: THE CASE OF St.      ...
DeclarationI declare that the research paper hereby submitted to Adama scienceand Technology University for the degree, Ma...
ADAMA SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY UNIVERSITY          SCHOOL OF HUMANITIES AND LAW                 DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH       ...
AcknowledgmentsI sincerely thank my advisor, Dr. Haileleul Zeleke, for his insightful comments, professionalguidance and d...
List of Figures and TablesList of Figures                                                                                 ...
Table 19. Table 19. MDCT Score Description………………………………………………………..…99Table 20. The MDCT score of the students by group……………...
List of Acronyms UsedL1…………………………………..first languageL2…………………………………. second languageFL…………………………………… foreign languageEFL……...
ABSTRACTThis paper investigates the challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in EFL context.Learners often fin...
Table of contents                                                             PageAcknowledgements………………………………………………………………...
2.4. Pragmatics………………………………………………………………………………….17  2.4.1.Dimensions of Pragmatics………………………………………………………………18  2.4.2.Pragmat...
2.7.Possibilities/Opportunities for Teaching Pragmatics in EFL Classroom…………………….44  2.7.1.The Role of Language Teacher’s ...
3.8. Procedure for Data Analysis………………………………………………………….59CHAPTER FOUR: DATA ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION…………………………..604.1. ...
CHAPTER ONE                                     INTRODUCTION   1.1. BackgroundLearning a foreign language is regarded nowa...
the learning of a language, such as textbooks, printouts, or grammar books. Teaching authenticlanguage use, which resemble...
Pragmatic competence can also be acquired through raising awareness on the pragmatic aspects ofsecond/foreign language, an...
programming, among other things. Indeed it is related to any work with a touch of language. To thisend, the study aims at ...
• the pragmatic input is taught explicitly with limited tasks and task varieties,     • the content(information-based) app...
 understand a speaker’s intentions;     interpret a speaker’s feelings and attitude;     differentiate speech act meani...
Equipping Ethiopian students with communicative competence in order to help them communicateeffectively in all walks of th...
1.4.2. Specific Objectives of the StudyThis study was aimed to evaluate the communicative competence of Ethiopian EFL lear...
2. What are the challenges perceived by high school teachers to develop students’ pragmatic   competence?   3. How do the ...
1.7. Delimitation of the StudyIt is not an easy task to make an investigation of the challenges and opportunities of devel...
1.9. Organization of the studyThis study is divided into five chapters. Chapter One, presents an overview of the study in ...
Register: refers to the sort of social genre of linguistic use. It comprises three dimensions-field,tenor, and mode. Field...
CHAPTER TWO                        REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE   2.1. Communicative CompetencePeople in virtually all loc...
As stated by Spitzberg (2009) Appropriateness means:          …the valued rules, norms, and expectancies of the relationsh...
2.2. Communicative PerformanceThe idea once competence is acquired, performance will take care of itself is false (see Wid...
syntactic, lexical, morphological, and phonological features of the language, as well as the capacityto manipulate these f...
Canale and Swain (1980)         Canale (1983)            Bachman and Palmer (1996) Grammatical               Grammatical  ...
pragmatics are indexical, presupposition, implicature, and speech acts, but in reality there is no limitto the ways in whi...
sociopragmatics is essentially about appropriate social behavior in a certain speech communitywhich has to do with context...
which one is functioning, because failure to do so may cause users to miss key points that are beingcommunicated or to hav...
Generally, pragmatics is needed if we want a fuller, deeper and more reasonable account of humanlanguage behavior (Mey, 20...
pedagogical intervention has a facilitative role in learning pragmatics in FL contexts (see Bardovi-Harlig, 2001; Rose and...
explicitly using input enhancement techniques. Explicit pedagogic intervention is viewed asnecessary in order to develop l...
with explicit sociocultural and pragmalinguistic knowledge about those routines focused on”(JALT, 2001:110).Tatsuki, Donna...
2.5.1. Describing Speech ActsUnder this section we shall discuss descriptions of different situations, which may call for ...
people typically use apologies for (see http://www.carla.umn.edu/speechacts/descriptions.html) Theseare: to say that they ...
transportation is unreliable, coming late to a meeting and giving an explanation like, “The bus waslate,” might be perfect...
In English, there is a difference between ‘very’ and ‘really,’ with ‘really’ implying more regret   and ‘very’ more etique...
Likewise other researchers have also identified topics of compliments. According to Cohen andIshihara (2010:58) the major ...
c. Questioning or requesting reassurance or repetition (Do you really like them?)   d. Reciprocating (So is yours.)   e. S...
make the censure more justifiable by providing supportive statements, or by using upgraders toincrease the force of a comp...
2.5.1.4. Speech Acts of RefusalsIn making a refusal, the speaker/writer is typically communicating a potentially undesirab...
2.5.1.5. Speech Acts of RequestsBy making a request, the speaker infringes on the recipient’s freedom from imposition(http...
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context
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Challenges and opportunities for teaching pragmatics in efl context

  1. 1. 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
  2. 2. 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
  3. 3. 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
  4. 4. 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__________________________________________ _______________________
  5. 5. 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-
  6. 6. 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-
  7. 7. 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-
  8. 8. 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-
  9. 9. 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-
  10. 10. 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
  11. 11. 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 2.5.1.1.Speech Acts of Apology……………………………………………………………..26 2.5.1.2.Speech Acts of Compliments………………………………………………………..28 2.5.1.3.Speech Acts of Complaints………………………………………………………….31 2.5.1.4.Speech Acts of Refusals……………………………………………………………..33 2.5.1.5.Speech Acts of Requests……………………………………………………………..34 2.5.1.6.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
  12. 12. 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 3.4.1.1. Sampling Units for the Content Analysis……………………………………….....52 3.4.1.2. Data Coding Scheme for Content Analysis……………………………………….53 3.4.1.3. 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
  13. 13. 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
  14. 14. 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
  15. 15. 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.
  16. 16. 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
  17. 17. 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,
  18. 18. • 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:
  19. 19.  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.
  20. 20. 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.
  21. 21. 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?
  22. 22. 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.
  23. 23. 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.
  24. 24. 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.
  25. 25. 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.
  26. 26. 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.
  27. 27. 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).
  28. 28. 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
  29. 29. 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.
  30. 30. 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
  31. 31. 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,
  32. 32. 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
  33. 33. 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).
  34. 34. 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
  35. 35. 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
  36. 36. 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
  37. 37. 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.
  38. 38. 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. 2.5.1.1. 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
  39. 39. 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
  40. 40. 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.
  41. 41. 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). 2.5.1.2. 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).
  42. 42. 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.)
  43. 43. 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). 2.5.1.3. 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
  44. 44. 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?).
  45. 45. 2.5.1.4. 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)
  46. 46. 2.5.1.5. 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):

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