Table of Contents
Abstract 1
Chapter One: Introduction
1.1 Pragmatic Competence 3
1.2 Speech acts 5
1.3 The Speech Act of Refusal 6
1.4 Explicit instruction for developing pragmatic knowledge 7
1.5 Statement of the problem 8
1.6 Research question and hypothesis 9
1.7 Significance of the Study 9
Chapter two: Review of the literature
2. Review of the literature 12
2.1 Introduction 12
2.2 Semantics versus pragmatics 14
2.3 Pragmatic competence versus pragmatic failure 15
2 4.Pragmatic Awareness 16
2.5 Cross-cultural pragmatics 18
2.6 Factors Influencing L2 Learners, pragmatic Acquisition 18
2.6.1 Linguistic competence 18
2.6.2 Length of Residence in a target Country 20
2.7 Speech acts 20
2.8 On heretical frameworks related to L2 pragmatic development 22
2.9 On teachability of pragmatic knowledge 23
2.10 Factors Influencing L2 Learners’ Pragmatic Acquisition 25
2.11 On how EFL learners produce refusals 26
Chapter three: Methodology
3. Methodology 36
3.1 Introduction 36
3.2 Participants 36
3.3 Instrument 37
3.4 Procedure 37
3.5 Data analysis 39
Chapter four: Results & Discussion
4. Results and discussion 41
4.1 Overview 41
4.2 Demographic statistics 41
4.2.1 Demographic statistics of participants according to gender 41
4.2.2 Demographic statistics of participants according to age 42
4.3 Descriptive Statistics 43
4.4 Checking the assumptions of covariance analysis 44
4.5 The findings of the hypothesis of the study 45
4.6 Discussion 46
Chapter five: Summary & Conclusion
5. Discussion and conclusion 54
5.1 Introduction 54
5.2. Summary 54
5.3. Conclusion 55
5.4. Implications 56
5.5. Suggestions for further research 57
5.6 Limitations of the study 58
References 60
Appendix 64
list of Table
Table 4.1 The Frequency and Percentage of Participants According to Gender 42
Table 4.2 Frequency and Percentage of Participants According to Age 42
Table 4.3 Descriptive statistics of learners’ polite refusal in English for experimental and control groups 43
Table 4.4. The test results of normality of variable distribution in the participants 44
Table 4.5. The results of homogeneity of the variances using Levene’s test 44
Table 4.6. The results of analyzing the homogeneity of the regression slopes in the variable of the study 45
Table 4.7. The ANCOVA results of the posttest mean scores of “polite refusal” 46
list of Figure
Figure 4.1 The Frequency and Percentage of Participants According to Gender 42
Figure 4.2 Frequency and Percentage of Participants According to Age 43
Figure 4.3. The comparison of pre- and posttest between control and experimental groups 46
Communicative competence as the language users’ knowledge of how language is used encompasses one important component, pragmatic competence, which plays an important role in proper use of language in various contexts. The present study brought the concept of pragmatic competence into focus and took up an inquiry to make it clear whether L2 learners’ ability in using the speech acts of refusals can be developed by explicit instruction. To do so, the study encompassed 60 L2 learners who were in intermediate level of ability studying English in some language institutes in Ilam. The study was experimental in its approach having both control and experimental groups which were pre- and posttested to see the effect of interventionist approach on their pragmatic ability. In order to include continuous explanatory variables, covariates, ANCOVA was put to service. For the purpose of getting data to evaluate learners’ degree of refusal knowledge, the participants took the discourse completion test prior and after the training course. The findings of the study revealed that leaners’ knowledge of using speech acts of refusals improved significantly by applying the explicit technique of instruction in the classroom. Results in this study suggest equipping the language learners with understanding of both linguistic forms and behavior patterns in refusing strategies of the target language.
Keywords: Pragmatic competence, speech acts of refusals, explicit instruction, L2 learners
Chapter One:
1.1 Pragmatic Competence
Over the last two decades, the development of learners’ communicative competence in second or foreign language has established one of the main concerns in language teaching in the field of Second Language Aqcuisition (Kasper & Rose, 2002). Recent models of communicative competence (Celce-Murcia, Dornyei, & Thurrell 1995; Martinez-Flor & Uso-Juan, 2006) have asserted that effective communication in target language entails not only knowledge of language system but knowledge of pragmatic rules and language use. Fundamentally, pragmatics reflects on communicative action and its context. Furthermore, pragmatics considers another dimension in communicative action and context that is the users involved.
It is a noteworthy fact that pragmatics plays a very significant role in the production and perception of speech. Crystal (1985) defines pragmatics as ”the study of language from the point of view of users, especially of the choices they make, the constraints they encounter in using language in social interaction and the effects their use of language has on other participants in the act of communication” (as cited in Allami & Naeimi (2011), p. 240). One of the main factors in the process of communication is pragmatic competence. How interlocutors produce and perceive speech in diverse situations is an important issue as creating inappropriate utterances would cause misunderstanding and miscommunication (Sahragard & Javanmardi, 2011).
Studying pragmatics enables one to probe people’s intended meanings, their assumptions, their purposes or goals, and the kinds of actions (for example, requests) while they are interacting (Yule, 1996). Based on this assumption, successful communication in the target language implies crossing the boundaries of grammatical knowledge and achieving the competency in pragmatics. Accordingly, pragmatic competence necessitates comprehension and production of speech acts and their appropriateness in a given context. Study of pragmatic development in a second language, observes how nonnative speakers comprehend and produce action in the target language and considers how second language learners develop the ability to understand and perform action in a target language.
The field of pragmatics has hosted a number of models by which the realm of pragmatic competence has been demarcated. Fraser (1983) for instance, defines pragmatic competence in terms of conveying an attitude. He describes communication as an interaction between speaker meaning and hearer-effect and is accomplished successfully when the speaker conveys his or her attitude to the hearer. He argues that this attitude can only be conveyed and interpreted through pragmatic competence. Faerch and Kasper (1984) proposed a model in which pragmatic competence was divided into two categories: declarative knowledge and procedural knowledge. The declarative knowledge includes six categories of knowledge: linguistic, socio-cultural, speech act, discourse, context, and knowledge of the world. The procedural knowledge, on the other hand, refers to the process of selecting and combining declarative knowledge from these categories. Bachman (1990) proposed another model that divides pragmatic competence into illocutionary and sociolinguistic competencies. The illocutionary competence has four main functions: ideational, manipulative, heuristic, and imaginative. The sociolinguistic competence, on the other hand, is divided into four categories: sensitivity to differences in dialect, sensitivity to register, sensitivity to naturalness, and knowledge of the culture.
As the above mentioned models portrayed, pragmatic competence encompasses a complex set of inter-related factors, both linguistic and socio-cultural. It comes as no surprise then that this kind of knowledge is very difficult for non-native speakers to acquire. Language learners often fail to follow the socio-cultural rules that govern language behavior in the target language, and this has been referred to in the literature as pragmatic failure.
1.2 Speech acts
Within the circle of pragmatic competence, the ways in which people carry out specific social functions in speaking such as apologizing, complaining, making requests, refusing things/invitations, complimenting, or thanking have been referred to as speech acts.
In contemporary philosophical thinking, words cannot have isolated entities, rather actions used with different functions (Wittgenstein, 1953, cited in Ishihara & Cohen, 2010). The main source of miscommunication is the inability to perceive and produce speech acts appropriately in the context by language learners. Successful production of the speech acts in a language simultaneously demands speaker’s linguistic proficiency and the pragmatic perception of speech acts. Performing the speech acts properly in a first and second language is very challenging as it comes from both linguistic and cultural variations between the languages (Hassani, Mardani, & Hossein, 2011).
The concept of context has been highlighted by studies on the speech acts. According to Austin (1962), three elements impact the appropriate circumstances for the realization of a speech act 1) the presence of the speaker, 2) the addressee, and the 3) situation. For Searle (1969), context is

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