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An Investigation into Communication Strategy Usage and the Pragmatic Competence of Taiwanese Learners of English within a Computer Mediated Activity

By Ying-Chuan Wang


In order to increase the competitiveness of Taiwan to international environment, Taiwanese Government has become aware of the importance of English in reforming English education and establishing a new language testing system in leading to more successful language learning. However, many scholars in Taiwan are dubious as to whether this reformed English education has really improved the English communicative ability of learners. The purpose of this study is, therefore, to investigate learners’ communicative competence in terms of communication strategy usage and pragmatic competence, by means of administrating a set of communicative task based activities within a computer mediated environment to provide evidence of the current learning outcomes. The administration of the set of communicative task based activities took place in August 2006. Drawing upon the framework proposed by Bachman (1990), both strategic and pragmatic competence could be identified. After data collection, the learners’ speech data was analysed based on the taxonomy of Poulisse (1993) and the findings revealed that the learners employed the re-conceptualisation strategy more frequently than the substitution strategy. A new strategy, named ‘additional strategy’, was also discovered during this study. By means of adopting the six criteria of pragmatic competence as suggested by Hudson et al. (1995) to score the learners’ responses, the results of learners’ performance were low with no distinct differences between three given speech acts. Based on the coding scheme of Blum-Kulka et al. (1989) and Beebe et al. (1990), it can be suggested that the learners were influenced by Chinese culture which resulted in inappropriate responses to the situations. Therefore, this study suggests that Taiwanese learners of English need to improve their communicative competence, particularly in terms of communication strategies and pragmatic competence. Furthermore, it can be said that it is vital to adopt a communicative task based activity into classrooms in Taiwan to increase opportunities for learners to interact with each other to improve language learning and teaching contexts

Publisher: University of Leicester
Year: 2010
OAI identifier:

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