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A cross-cultural study of Taiwanese and British university students' oral narratives

By Miao-Jen Chang

Abstract

This cross-cultural study investigates the structural and cultural differences and\ud similarities evident in 13 Mandarin (TM) and 17 English language narratives (TEFL)\ud produced by Taiwanese university EFL students and 17 narratives (BE) produced by\ud British university students. This study also explores how the Taiwanese L2 learners’\ud identities might affect their use of L2 discourse norms within their narratives. The\ud findings show that within the three sets of narratives, past experiences, in general, are\ud recounted in chronological order and the organisation of narratives follows the sequential\ud order defined by Labov (1972). In terms of orientation, there is some cultural variance.\ud The TM and TEFL narratives underscore the importance of family values in Taiwanese\ud society and underline the role of teachers in these students’ worlds. However, the data\ud shows some variance with Labov’s (1972) results in terms of the relationship between\ud complicating action, resolution and evaluation. In terms of external evaluation, the\ud British narrators use much more evaluation in directly addressing their listeners. In terms\ud of internal evaluation, there is significant variance within the three sets of narratives i.e.\ud stress usage, adverb usage, and repetition. The findings suggest that there is no major\ud difference in tellership and tellability in the three sets of narratives. In terms of learner\ud identity, although some Taiwanese EFL students demonstrate high levels of integrative\ud motivation, they have difficulty using L2 discourse norms in their narratives. This is\ud evidenced by their anxiety in relation to their locus of control. It is also manifest that their\ud learner identities have changed over a period of time and were constructed in various\ud sites of struggle, and by relations of power, in which they assumed different subject\ud positions

Topics: orientation, evaluation, locus of control, tellership, tellability
Publisher: University of Leicester
Year: 2009
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/7826

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