An exploratory cross-sectional study of interlanguage pragmatic development of expressions of gratitude by Chinese learners of English
The present study is an exploratory cross-sectional study of interlanguage
pragmatic development of expressions of gratitude, specifically, gratitude after receiving
a favor. Expressing gratitude is a speech act that is taught at an early age and is
commonly performed by native speakers of most languages. It is, thus, often assumed
that learners can successfully say thank you in the target language. However, studies
show that even advanced learners have difficulty adequately expressing gratitude.
The objectives of the present study are: (a) to investigate how native speakers of
Chinese and native speakers of English express gratitude as defined by length of speech
and use of strategies; (b) to examine whether there is evidence of pragmatic development
in the speech act behavior of expressions of gratitude among Chinese learners of English
with the increase of the length of residence in the United States; and (c) to examine
whether there is evidence of pragmatic influence from L1 Chinese in English expressions
of gratitude among Chinese learners of English.
The data were collected through a discourse completion task questionnaire.
Subjects’ responses were classified into eight thanking strategies. Descriptive and t-test
analyses were conducted to identify the pragmatic differences that distinguished the
behavior of the three English learner groups, which varied according to their length of
stay in the United States, from that of Chinese and English native speakers.
The results show that Chinese and English native speakers have different
preferences for thanking strategies in the eight situations. They are significantly different
in the length of speech and use of strategies. In addition, there is a positive effect of the
length of residence in the United States on English learners’ pragmatic development. The
results also show evidence of pragmatic influence from L1 Chinese. Moreover,
contextual variables, social status, familiarity and imposition, have a significant influence
on the length of speech and the use of strategies for all subject groups.
Abstract Approved: ____________________________________
Title and Department
School:University of Iowa
School Location:USA - Iowa
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:interlanguage language learning communicative competence second acquisition english gratitude chinese united states china
Date of Publication: