Teaching Requests and Request Responses in a Chinese Study Abroad Program: Speech Acts and Discursive Pragmatics

YEH, Meng

International Journal of Chinese Language Education; Dec 2020; Issue No. 8; p.1 - 35

Department of Chinese Language Studies, The Education University of Hong Kong
Chinese Language Program, Columbia University
Chung Hwa Book Co. (H.K.) Ltd.

Research has suggested that explicit instruction of pragmatics in a study abroad context is beneficial (Taguchi, 2015b). Yet, so far there is not a comprehensive curriculum available to teach Chinese pragmatics. This exploratory study aims to fill this gap by demonstrating an innovative and research-informed curriculum on teaching request and request responses implemented in a study abroad program in China. The pedagogical design of the current curriculum is based on two research areas: 1) pragmalinguistic and sociopragmatic instruction, drawing upon findings from Speech Act-based frameworks (Blum-Kulka, House, & Kasper, 1989; Ishihara & Cohen, 2010, p. 2) instruction on sequential aspects of requests in conversation, based on research within Discursive Pragmatics (Kasper, 2006) and Conversation Analysis. In addition to instruction, this paper also discusses the use of authentic conversation and the activities designed for students to practice pragmatic strategies in social interactions offered in study abroad contexts. Student learning results in this curriculum are evaluated by open-ended role plays. An analysis of student role-play performance is included to show that explicit instruction and the interactional opportunities during study abroad are beneficial to guide students to employ pragmatic resources in request sequences in a co-constructed interaction.

Instructed Chinese Pragmatics Requests & Refusals study abroad Discursive Pragmatics Conversation Analysis speech acts


2520-7733 (Print); 2521-4241 (Online)

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