Sessions / Pragmatics
The importance of pragmatics can be seen in the work of graduate students from around the world. Our Forum features Anh Ton Nu, a Vietnamese teacher working on her PhD through Macquarie University in Australia. She is focused on including pragmatics in teacher education for Vietnamese high school teachers. The other panelist is Hind Baadache from the University of Biskra in Algeria, and she is investigating why students have difficulty making requests politely. For short, our forum can be called, PPP—Pragmatics in PhDs in Progress.
The importance of practicing the pragmatic information provided in the textbooks has been emphasised and the lack of tasks to support such practice in ELT textbooks has been pointed out (McGroarty & Taguchi, 2005; Shimizu et al., 2007, 2008). Using textbooks is only a way to provide novice level EFL learners with opportunities to practice language. They may feel comfortable in practicing with the use of textbooks in the classroom environment. This study explores five beginner level internationally used commercial ELT textbooks and seven EFL textbooks used in Japanese senior high schools as to presentation of practice tasks which include speech acts. The outcomes of the study reveal differences between these two sets of textbooks as to 1) particular types of speech acts which can be commonly practiced in the textbooks; 2) how communicatively these speech acts are treated in the tasks. At the same time, the weakness of the tasks provided in each set of textbooks is discussed in terms of developing learners' pragmatic competence. Finally, some practical suggestions are made as to adapting textbooks for pragmatic instruction.
While plurilingual/multilingual speakers enrich their conversations by drawing from various languages, challenges abound. Two common obstacles plurilingual/multilingual speakers in Japan face is the use of Wasei Eigo or “English-based terms created in Japan,” (Gollin, 2013). While these words may “sound like English,” they often have different meanings from the words from which they were derived or may not even exist in the English language. Another pitfall concerns the appropriateness of words or phrases that may be acceptable in one culture but not in another. This presentation will offer a list of thirty Wasei Eigo terms encountered both in and out of the classroom over the past two years as part of a research project. While no means a comprehensive list, the terms shared will likely increase a teacher’s awareness of Wasei Eigo-based words and phrases in the ESL classroom. Wasei-Eigo based activities and materials such as an illustrated version of “Concentration” and Wasei-Eigo journals will be introduced and shared.
This study analyzes video-recorded interactions of 14 pairs of Japanese university students learning English as a foreign language to determine qualitatively the similarities and differences in their ways of managing pragmatically competent conversations in English before and after incorporating chat-style writing into instruction. Here, chat-style writing is an original teaching method devised by the presenter using relay-style writing, similar to exchanging written messages and SNS chats, for the purpose of encouraging conversation according to the context. Presentation focuses on utterances that answer questions and on ways of using other-initiated repetition (allo-repetition) for backchannels and confirmation of the interlocutors’ comprehension. As a tentative result, the conversation recorded after the adoption of the chat-style writing showed development in the amount and content of answers to questions, and the number of allo-repetitions by the listener was slightly reduced. However, there were several interactions where the interlocutors reverted to Japanese when they could not use English expressions very well. Based on these findings, the author considers the similarities and differences between speaking exercises and writing exercises and scrutinizes this practical method by considering the degree of contribution that chat-style writing can make to conversational instruction.