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Investigating Interlanguage Thanking Behavior of High School Students in Taiwan
Lu, Wei Ting
Yu, Ming Chung
Lu, Wei Ting
|Issue Date:||2018-02-02 11:57:51 (UTC+8)|
Thanking is one of the most important language functions in interpersonal relationships. It is also important for language learners to appropriately express gratitude in the target culture. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the expressions of gratitude by native American English speakers (NSE) and native Chinese speakers (NSC) and examine whether Taiwanese EFL adolescents had achieved native-like performance in L2 thanking. The American participants were teenagers in the United States. The EFL learners were given a reading test from the GEPT first in order to distinguish native Chinese speakers from EFL learners. Then, a discourse completion test (DCT) was administered to all three groups: English version for the NSE and EFL learners, and the Chinese version the NSC. The quantitative and qualitative analyses were performed to compare both native groups’ thanking performance and further determine if EFL learners had approximated the pragmatic norms of the target language.
The results showed that NSE employed explicit thanking strategies most often, but apology and ‘others’ strategies and opt-out the least often. In contrast, NSC employed indirect thanking strategies such as apology and ‘others’ strategies more frequently than their American counterparts. However, the EFL learners had experienced pragmatic failure, transferring thanking strategies from L1 pragmatic norms to English. In addition, teaching-induced errors and waffle phenomenon were responsible for the learners’ deviations from native English norms. It is suggested that language teachers may help learners develop cultural awareness by drawing their attention to the similarities and differences between thanking behavior in one’s native culture and the target culture.
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