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LINGUIST List 17.1829

Mon Jun 19 2006

Diss: Applied Ling/Pragmatics: Xia: 'Pragmatic Skills as Reflected...'

Editor for this issue: Meredith Valant <meredithlinguistlist.org>


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        1.    Meredith Valant, Pragmatic Skills as Reflected in Phone Conversations: A socio-cognitive inquiry into native non-native speaker interactions


Message 1: Pragmatic Skills as Reflected in Phone Conversations: A socio-cognitive inquiry into native non-native speaker interactions
Date: 19-Jun-2006
From: Meredith Valant <meredithlinguistlist.org>
Subject: Pragmatic Skills as Reflected in Phone Conversations: A socio-cognitive inquiry into native non-native speaker interactions


Institution: State University of New York at Albany
Program: Pragmatics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2006

Author: Saihua Xia

Dissertation Title: Pragmatic Skills as Reflected in Phone Conversations: A socio-cognitive inquiry into native non-native speaker interactions

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics
                            Pragmatics
                            Sociolinguistics

Dissertation Director:
Jim Collins
Istvan Kecskes
Judith Langer

Dissertation Abstract:

This study investigated adult ESL learners' use of pragmatic skills demonstrated in naturally recorded Problem-Solving Service Call (PSSC) conversations between NS and NNS of English. The project had the following goals: to identify pragmatic patterns, collocations, and formulaic utterances used by NNS in phone conversations; to examine learners' thought processes while exploring and discussing pragmatic behaviors demonstrated in phone conversations; and to investigate the effects of exploring and discussing natural phone conversations upon learners' inquiries into how to make effective phone conversations.

To achieve the goals and answer the research questions, a two-level data collection method was utilized. At the first level, 10 NNS phone collectors recorded 23 PSSCs.

At the second level, facilitated by the researcher and a native speaker, 7 advanced ESL learners participated in two 100-minute Double Inquiry Sessions. Participants analyzed, evaluated, and negotiated with four of the 23 calls employing a holistic view of pragmatic skills in making effective phone calls. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected from the two sessions by audio and video taping; five stimulated recall interviews and one Language Learning Experience Survey were also collected. All data were transcribed, and then analyzed from a socio-cognitive pragmatic perspective.

Findings strongly indicate that learners constructed, instead of being explicitly instructed, pragmatic strategies and knowledge by examining NS' and NNS' and their own pragmatic performance in PSSC contexts; learners centered their inquiries and explorations on two pragmatic principles: effectiveness and appropriateness. PSSC conversations challenged learners visibly and invisibly, and exercised significant effect upon their awareness of pragmatic properties.

Examination of learners' thought processes indicates that the construction of pragmatic skills and knowledge occurred at both the linguistic and conceptual levels. Learners constructed criteria of effective phone conversations by utilizing PSSC contexts. Learners activated their Common Underlying Conceptual Base to find the fundamental yet finely nuanced meaning of noticeable pragmatic patterns and analyzed them from L1 and L2 language channels. Learners challenged the given effectiveness rating scale by constructing measuring points.

Qualitative and quantitative findings significantly point to this socio-cognitive approach's potential in pragmatic skills learning. Based on the findings and methods applied, the study recommends an Interactive Inquiry Approach to pragmatic learning and instruction.



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