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Effect Of Target Language Proficiency And Task Type On Chinese EFL Learners' Use Of Communication Strategies

Posted on:2005-03-05Degree:MasterType:Thesis
Country:ChinaCandidate:H PangFull Text:PDF
GTID:2155360125464333Subject:Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Abstract/Summary:PDF Full Text Request
The paper reports on a study conducted in an attempt to gain an insight into CSs use, especially into the effect of target language proficiency and task type on Chinese EFL learners' use of CSs. Besides, as the first attempt in CS research, culture-specific notions have been used as referents in the study. The subjects, 32 Chinese EFL learners, are asked to perform two tasks. The first one is a concept-identification task with context-free target items, and the second is a retelling task with Chinese culture-specific notions being placed within context. The analyses focus on the 24 concepts that are expected to be problematic.The results of the study are, first, learners' target language proficiency does affect their CSs use. Contrary to the previous research findings, the high proficient learners tend to use more CSs than the low proficient when they are presented with the same number of problems; the achievement strategies are used relatively more often by the high-proficient group, whereas the reduction strategies appear to be more in demand by the low proficient; while employing CSs to communicate problematic concepts, the high proficient show a preference for embedded approximation. Second, CSs use varies with types of reference tasks. Task 1, the concept-identification task with context-free problematic items, gives rise to higher number of CSs than does task 2, the retelling task with problematic items being placed within context; the former tends to elicit long and analytic strategies whereas the latter short, time-saving strategies; foreignizing is totally absent in both of the tasks, due to the lack of typological relatedness between the learners' L1 and L2; paralinguistic strategies do not produce any significant inner-tasks difference, the adoption of which appears to be dependant on the specific nature of the problematic item itself, rather than on task type; no topic avoidance takes place in task 1, whereas task 2 evokes a great number of this type of CSs; the use of topic avoidance strategy appears to be related to the location of the problematic item in the context, its difficulty level, and the information it carries. Third, culture-specific notions prove to be a good way to elicit CSs use; with so many CSs produced, the task suggests that the familiarity of the L2 speakers with the concepts does not always help them in dealing with communicative problems, rather, it is their knowledge of how to talk about it in the L2 that matters more; being culture-specific in nature, these notions tend to stimulate more code-switching and literal translation CSs than do universal concepts.Finally, with regard to learners' patterns of CSs using, it is observed that, first, in task two after explaining the target items the first time they are introduced in the speech, the subjects always use the same words subsequently that they use initially, whether this is an approximation, literal-translated words, or L1 words to refer to the same concepts when they reappear in their speech. Second, as to the problematic items which elicit both approximation and circumlocution, or both literal translation/L1 word and circumlocution, there exists a pattern of approximation/literal translation/L1 word followed by circumlocution.The findings of the study are considered to have clear pedagogical implications and applications for the field of foreign language teaching, especially in the areas of CS teaching materials designing and choosing, teaching methodology, syllabus design, and language testing.
Keywords/Search Tags:communication strategies, language proficiency, task type, culture-specific notions
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