Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 291

Search results for: proficiency

291 Relationships between Motivation Factors and English Language Proficiency of the Faculty of Management Sciences Students

Authors: Kawinphat Lertpongmanee

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The purposes of this study were (1) investigate the English language learning motivation and the attainment of their English proficiency, (2) to find out how motivation and motivational variables of the high and low proficiency subjects are related to their English proficiency. The respondents were 80 fourth-year from Faculty of Management Sciences students in Rajabhat Suansunadha University. The instruments used for data collection were questionnaires. The statistically analyzed by using the SPSS program for frequency, percentage, arithmetic mean, standard deviation (SD), t-test, one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA), and Pearson correlation coefficient. The findings of this study are summarized as there was a significant difference in overall motivation between high and low proficiency groups of subjects at .05 (p < .05), but not in overall motivational variables. Additionally, the high proficiency group had a significantly higher level of intrinsic motivation than did the low proficiency group at .05 (p < .05).

Keywords: English language proficiency, faculty of management sciences, motivation factors, proficiency subjects

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290 Communication Competence or Language Proficiency for Employability: An Investigation on Malaysian Polytechnics ESL Engineering Students

Authors: Chong Ling Ling

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In the Malaysian polytechnic, there are concerns about language proficiency, communicative competence, and employability among Malaysian polytechnic ESL engineering students. This study examined the relationships between communicative competence, language proficiency, and employability using descriptive analysis and inferential statistics. Next, Pearson’s Correlation determines the correlation between communication competence, language proficiency, and employability skills of Malaysian Polytechnic ESL engineering students. The total number of participants was 81 final-year engineering students. The findings revealed high positive correlations between the communicative competence -'I can talk with a friend in English.' and employability skill (r = 0.854, p = .031), also, language proficiency -'I can understand the English songs I listen to' and employability skill (r = 0.887, p = .038). The result is consistent with the theories. The result revealed that for the 81 students, communication competence and language proficiency, and employability skills are firmly and significantly correlated. Thus, it concluded that both communicative competence and language proficiency equally essential to ensure a higher employability rate among Malaysian polytechnic ESL engineering students.

Keywords: communicative competence, employability, language proficiency, Malaysian polytechnic

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289 Number Sense Proficiency and Problem Solving Performance of Grade Seven Students

Authors: Laissa Mae Francisco, John Rolex Ingreso, Anna Krizel Menguito, Criselda Robrigado, Rej Maegan Tuazon

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This study aims to determine and describe the existing relationship between number sense proficiency and problem-solving performance of grade seven students from Victorino Mapa High School, Manila. A paper pencil exam containing of 50-item number sense test and 5-item problem-solving test which measures their number sense proficiency and problem-solving performance adapted from McIntosh, Reys, and Bana were used as the research instruments. The data obtained from this study were interpreted and analyzed using the Pearson – Product Moment Coefficient of Correlation to determine the relationship between the two variables. It was found out that students who were low in number sense proficiency tend to be the students with poor problem-solving performance and students with medium number sense proficiency are most likely to have an average problem-solving performance. Likewise, students with high number sense proficiency are those who do excellently in problem-solving performance.

Keywords: number sense, performance, problem solving, proficiency

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288 Anxiety and Self-Perceived L2 Proficiency: A Comparison of Which Can Better Predict L2 Pronunciation Performance

Authors: Jiexuan Lin, Huiyi Chen

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The development of L2 pronunciation competence remains understudied in the literature and it is not clear what may influence learners’ development of L2 pronunciation. The present study was an attempt to find out which of the two common factors in L2 acquisition, i.e., foreign language anxiety or self-perceived L2 proficiency, can better predict Chinese EFL learners’ pronunciation performance. 78 first-year English majors, who had received a three-month pronunciation training course, were asked to 1) fill out a questionnaire on foreign language classroom anxiety, 2) self-report their L2 proficiency in general, in speaking and in pronunciation, and 3) complete an oral and a written test on their L2 pronunciation (the score of the oral part indicates participants’ pronunciation proficiency in oral production, and the score of the written part indexes participants’ ability in applying pronunciation knowledge in comprehension.) Results showed that the pronunciation scores were negatively correlated with the anxiety scores, and were positively correlated with the self-perceived pronunciation proficiency. But only the written scores in the L2 pronunciation test, not the oral scores, were positively correlated with the L2 self-perceived general proficiency. Neither the oral nor the written scores in the L2 pronunciation test had a significant correlation with the self-perceived speaking proficiency. Given the fairly strong correlations, the anxiety scores and the self-perceived pronunciation proficiency were put in regression models to predict L2 pronunciation performance. The anxiety factor alone accounted for 13.9% of the variance and the self-perceived pronunciation proficiency alone explained 12.1% of the variance. But when both anxiety scores and self-perceived pronunciation proficiency were put in a stepwise regression model, only the anxiety scores had a significant and unique contribution to the L2 pronunciation performance (4.8%). Taken together, the results suggested that the learners’ anxiety level could better predict their L2 pronunciation performance, compared with the self-perceived proficiency levels. The obtained data have the following pedagogical implications. 1) Given the fairly strong correlation between anxiety and L2 pronunciation performance, the instructors who are interested in predicting learners’ L2 pronunciation proficiency may measure their anxiety level, instead of their proficiency, as the predicting variable. 2) The correlation of oral scores (in the pronunciation test) with pronunciation proficiency, rather than with speaking proficiency, indicates that a) learners after receiving some amounts of training are to some extent able to evaluate their own pronunciation ability, implying the feasibility of incorporating self-evaluation and peer comments in course instruction; b) the ‘proficiency’ measure used to predict pronunciation performance should be used with caution. The proficiency of specific skills seemingly highly related to pronunciation (i.e., speaking in this case) may not be taken for granted as an effective predictor for pronunciation performance. 3) The correlation between the written scores with general L2 proficiency is interesting.

Keywords: anxiety, Chinese EFL learners, L2 pronunciation, self-perceived L2 proficiency

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287 Negotiation of Meaning among Iranian EFL Learners and the Relationship between the Proficiency Levels and the Transfer of Knowledge

Authors: Z. Komeili, Sh. Abadikhah, H. Talebi

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Interaction and negotiation of meaning in the foreign language (FL) contexts are crucial to L2 development. Although research studies on children in EFL contexts have increased in recent years, the study of Iranian children negotiating meaning during their communicative task performance still needs further study. The purpose of this study was to investigate young EFL learners' interaction and negotiation of meaning (NoM) during task completion and examine the difference in meaning negotiation between the different proficiency levels and the association between the learners’ proficiency levels and their transfer of knowledge. The participants were twenty-eight young Iranian EFL learners forming 14 proficiency-matched dyads and were assigned into two different groups according to their proficiency levels. The dyads were asked to complete the collaborative task; their interaction was transcribed and analyzed in terms of their NoM. To test the transfer of knowledge to the subsequent performance, tailor-made tests were designed based on the NoM of each individual dyad. The results indicated a significant positive relationship between the learners’ level of proficiency and their transfer of knowledge to the subsequent performance. Our findings suggest that the elementary group had engaged in more negotiation of meaning compared to the intermediate group, and the higher the proficiency level, the better they performed in the post-test and benefited from the NoM. The study has some implications for researchers, teachers, and young learners.

Keywords: collaborative tasks, negotiation of meaning, proficiency levels, sociocultural theory, tailor-made test

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286 Communicative Competence versus Language Proficiency

Authors: Pouya Vakili

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The aim of present paper is to have a rough comparison between language proficiency and communicative competence, moreover, how different scholars in the field of second language acquisition/assessment have defined competence in different paradigms. Researchers differ, however, in how they view 'competence'. Those who are dealing with generative tradition associated with Chomsky have defined it as linguistic competence (knowledge of the grammar of L2). Other researchers have adopted a broader perspective that is examining how learners acquire communicative competence (knowledge of both the L2 grammar and of how this system is put to use in actual communication).

Keywords: communicative competence, competence, language proficiency, linguistic competence

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285 Reliability of Self-Reported Language Proficiency Measures in l1 Attrition Research: A Closer Look at the Can-Do-Scales.

Authors: Anastasia Sorokina

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Self-reported language proficiency measures have been widely used by researchers and have been proven to be an accurate tool to assess actual language proficiency. L1 attrition researchers also rely on self-reported measures. More specifically, can-do-scales has gained popularity in the discipline of L1 attrition research. The can-do-scales usually contain statements about language (e.g., “I can write e-mails”); participants are asked to rate each statement on a scale from 1 (I cannot do it at all) to 5 (I can do it without any difficulties). Despite its popularity, no studies have examined can-do-scales’ reliability at measuring the actual level of L1 attrition. Do can-do-scales positively correlate with lexical diversity, syntactic complexity, and fluency? The present study analyzed speech samples of 35 Russian-English attriters to examine whether their self-reported proficiency correlates with their actual L1 proficiency. The results of Pearson correlation demonstrated that can-do-scales correlated with lexical diversity, syntactic complexity, and fluency. These findings provide a valuable contribution to the L1 attrition research by demonstrating that can-do-scales can be used as a reliable tool to measure L1 attrition.

Keywords: L1 attrition, can-do-scales, lexical diversity, syntactic complexity

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284 Canadian French as an Additional Language Teacher Candidates' Proficiency and Confidence Pre- and Post-Francophone Home-Stay: Practicum Experience as Revealed through Questionnaire and Interviews

Authors: Callie Mady

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This study investigated the Canadian French as an additional language teacher candidates’ confidence and language maintenance strategies by means of questionnaires and interviews pre- and post- a Francophone home-stay practicum experience. Teacher French language proficiency is one of the components of teacher knowledge that can influence students’ French as an additional language acquisition. Although advantageous, seeking opportunities to use French in a French milieu comes with challenges. Teachers, for example, have been found to be hesitant to speak French with native speakers for fear of judgment. Another identified challenge to spending time in a French milieu is finances; while teachers have recognized the value of such an experience, cost is prohibitive. In recognition of the potential barriers and the need to maintain/improve the French proficiency of 'French as an additional language' teachers, this study provided a two-week home stay in a Francophone environment for teacher candidates of French as an additional language with financial subsidies for their participation. Through the post-experience interviews, the French as an additional language teacher candidates revealed an improvement in French proficiency. Similarly, the teacher candidates cited an increase in confidence in the interviews and through the questionnaire. They linked this increase in proficiency and confidence to their experiences with their host families and other Francophone members of the community. This study highlights the provision of immersion experiences as means to support teachers’ language confidence and proficiency.

Keywords: French as an additional language education, teacher language confidence, teacher language maintenance, teacher language proficiency

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283 Poor Proficiency of English Language among Tertiary Level Students in Bangladesh and Its Effect on Employability: An Investigation to Find Fact and Solution

Authors: Tanvir Ahmed, Nahian Fyrose Fahim, Subrata Majumder, Tek Winesberry

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English is unanimously recognized as the standard second language in the world, and no one can deny this fact. Many people believe that possessing English proficiency skills is the key to communicating effectively globally, especially for developing countries, which can bring further success to itself on many fronts, as well as to other countries, by ensuring its people worldwide access to education, business, and technology. A notable number of students in Bangladesh are currently pursuing higher education, especially at the tertiary or collegiate level in more than 150 public and private universities. English is the dominant linguistic medium through which college instruction and lectures are given to students in Bangladesh. However, many of our students who had only completed their primary and secondary levels of education in the Bangla medium or language are generally in an awkward position to suddenly take and complete many unfamiliar requirements by the time they enter the university as freshmen. As students, they struggle to complete at least 18 courses to acquire proficiency in English. After obtaining a tertiary education certificate, the students could then have the opportunity to acquire a sustainable position in the job market industry; however, many of them do fail unfortunately, because of poor English proficiency skills. After statistical analysis, the study suggested certain remedial measures that could be taken in order to increase students’ proficiency in English as well as to ensure their employability potential.

Keywords: English language proficiency, tertiary education, unemployment problems, employability

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282 Investigating Classroom Teachers' Perceptions of Assessing U.S. College Students' L2 Chinese Oral Performance

Authors: Guangyan Chen

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This study examined Chinese teachers’ perceptions of assessing U.S. college students’ L2 (second language) Chinese oral performances at different levels. Ten oral performances were videotaped from which three were chosen as samples to represent three different proficiency levels based on professionals’ judgments according to the ACTFL proficiency guidelines. The three samples were shown to L2 Chinese teachers who completed questionnaires about their assessments for each speech sample. In total, 104 L2 Chinese teachers responded to each of the three samples. The Exploratory Factor Analyses (EFA) of the teachers’ responses revealed three similar rating criteria patterns for assessing the three levels of oral performances. The teachers’ responses to Samples 2 and 3 revealed five rating criteria: Global proficiency, Chinese conceptual framework, content richness, communication appropriateness, and communication clarity. The teachers’ responses to Sample 1 revealed four rating criteria: global proficiency, Chinese conceptual framework, communication appropriateness/content richness, and communication clarity. However, the analyses of variance (ANOVAs) revealed that the proficiency levels of the three oral performances differed significantly across all rating criteria. Therefore, the data suggests that L2 classroom teachers could use the similar rating criteria pattern to assess college-level L2 Chinese students’ oral performances at different proficiency levels.

Keywords: language assessment, L2 Chinese, oral performance, rating criteria

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281 The Impact of Language Anxiety on EFL Learners' Proficiency: Case Study of University of Jeddah

Authors: Saleh Mohammad Alqahtani

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Foreign language Anxiety has been found to be a key issue in learning English as foreign language in the classroom. This study investigated the impact of foreign language anxiety on Saudi EFL learners' proficiency in the classroom. A total of 197 respondents had participated in the study, comprising of 96 male and 101 female, who enrolled in preparatory year, first year, second year, and fourth year of English language department at the University of Jeddah. Two instruments were used to answer the study questions. The Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS) was used to identify the levels of foreign language (FL) anxiety for Saudi learners. Moreover, an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test was used as an objective measure of the learners’ English language proficiency. The data were analyzed using descriptive analyses, t-test, one-way ANOVA, correlation, and regression analysis. The findings revealed that Saudi EFL learners' experience a level of anxiety in the classroom, and there is a significant differences between the course levels in their level of language anxiety. Moreover, it is also found that female students are less anxious in learning English as a foreign language than male students. The results show that foreign language anxiety and English proficiency are negatively related to each other. Furthermore, the study revealed that there were significant differences between Saudi learners in language use anxiety, while there were no significant differences in language class anxiety. The study suggested that teachers should employ a diversity of designed techniques to encourage the environment of the classroom in order to control learners’ FLA, which in turns will improve their EFL proficiency.

Keywords: foreign language anxiety, FLA, language use anxiety, language class anxiety, gender, L2 proficiency

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280 Proficiency Testing of English for Specific Academic Purpose: Using a Pilot Test in a Taiwanese University as an Example

Authors: Wenli Tsou, Jessica Wu

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Courses of English for specific academic purposes (ESAP) have become popular for higher education in Taiwan; however, no standardized tests have been developed for evaluating learners’ English proficiency in individual designated fields. Assuming a learner’s proficiency in a specific academic area is built up with one’s general proficiency in English with specific knowledge and vocabulary in the content areas, an adequate ESAP proficiency test may be constructed by some selected test items related to the designated academic areas. In this study, through collaboration between a language testing institution and a university in Taiwan, three sets of ESAP tests, covering three disciplinary areas of business and the workplace, science and engineering, and health and medicine majors, were developed and administered to sophomore students (N=1704) who were enrolled in ESAP courses at a university in southern Taiwan. For this study, the courses were grouped into the above-mentioned three disciplines, and students took the specialized proficiency test based on the ESAP course they were taking. Because students were free to select which ESAP course to take, each course had both major and non-major students. Toward the end of the one-semester course, ending in January, 2015, each student took two tests, one of general English (General English Proficiency Test, or GEPT) and the other ESAP. Following each test, students filled out a survey, reporting their test taking experiences. After comparing students’ two test scores, it was found that business majors and health and medical students performed better in ESAP than the non-majors in the class, whereas science and engineering majors did about the same as their non-major counterparts. In addition, test takers with CERF B2 (upper intermediate) level or above performed well in both tests, while students who are below B2 did slightly better in ESAP. The findings suggest that students’ test performance have been enhanced by their specialist content and vocabulary knowledge. Furthermore, results of the survey show that the difficulty levels reported by students are consistent with their test performances. Based on the item analysis, the findings can be used to develop proficiency tests for specific disciplines and to identify ability indicators for college students in their designated fields.

Keywords: english for specific academic purposes (ESAP), general english proficiency test (GEPT), higher education, proficiency test

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279 The Effect of Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety and Tolerance of Ambiguity on EFL Learners’ Listening Proficiency

Authors: Mohammad Hadi Mahmoodi, Azam Ghonchepoor, Sheilan Sohrabi

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The present study was conducted to investigate the effect of foreign language classroom anxiety and ambiguity tolerance on EFL Learners’ listening proficiency. In so doing, 442 EFL learners were randomly selected form Azad University and some accredited language institutions in Hamaden, and were given the Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS) (1983), and Second Language Tolerance of Ambiguity Scale (SLTAS) (1995). Participants’ listening proficiency level was determined through listening scores gained in standardized exams given by university professors or institutes in which they studied English. The results of two-way ANOVA revealed that listening proficiency was significantly affected by the interaction of anxiety and AT level of the participants. Each of the two variables were categorized in three levels of High, Mid, and Low. The highest mean score of listening belonged to the group with low degree of anxiety and high degree of ambiguity tolerance, and the lowest listening mean score was gained by the group with high level of anxiety and low level of tolerance of ambiguity. Also, the findings of multiple regressions confirmed that anxiety was the stronger predictor of listening comprehension in contrast with tolerance of ambiguity. Furthermore, the result of Pearson correlation coefficient showed that there was a significant negative relationship between the participants’ foreign language classroom anxiety and their ambiguity tolerance level.

Keywords: Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety, Second language tolerance of ambiguity, Listening proficiency

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278 Developing Second Language Learners’ Reading Comprehension through Content and Language Integrated Learning

Authors: Kaine Gulozer

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A strong methodological conception in the practice of teaching, content, and language integrated learning (CLIL) is adapted to boost efficiency in the second language (L2) instruction with a range of proficiency levels. This study aims to investigate whether the incorporation of two different mediums of meaningful CLIL reading activities (in-school and out-of-school settings) influence L2 students’ development of comprehension skills differently. CLIL based instructional methodology was adopted and total of 50 preparatory year students (N=50, 25 students for each proficiency level) from two distinct language proficiency learners (elementary and intermediate) majoring in engineering faculties were recruited for the study. Both qualitative and quantitative methods through a post-test design were adopted. Data were collected through a questionnaire, a reading comprehension test and a semi-structured interview addressed to the two proficiency groups. The results show that both settings in relation to the development of reading comprehension are beneficial, whereas the impact of the reading activities conducted in school settings was higher at the elementary language level of students than that of the one conducted out-of-class settings based on the reported interview results. This study suggests that the incorporation of meaningful CLIL reading activities in both settings for both proficiency levels could create students’ self-awareness of their language learning process and the sense of ownership in successful improvements of field-specific reading comprehension. Further potential suggestions and implications of the study were discussed.

Keywords: content and language integrated learning, in-school setting, language proficiency, out-of-school setting, reading comprehension

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277 The Output Fallacy: An Investigation into Input, Noticing, and Learners’ Mechanisms

Authors: Samantha Rix

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The purpose of this research paper is to investigate the cognitive processing of learners who receive input but produce very little or no output, and who, when they do produce output, exhibit a similar language proficiency as do those learners who produced output more regularly in the language classroom. Previous studies have investigated the benefits of output (with somewhat differing results); therefore, the presentation will begin with an investigation of what may underlie gains in proficiency without output. Consequently, a pilot study was designed and conducted to gain insight into the cognitive processing of low-output language learners looking, for example, at quantity and quality of noticing. This will be carried out within the paradigm of action classroom research, observing and interviewing low-output language learners in an intensive English program at a small Midwest university. The results of the pilot study indicated that autonomy in language learning, specifically utilizing strategies such self-monitoring, self-talk, and thinking 'out-loud', were crucial in the development of language proficiency for academic-level performance. The presentation concludes with an examination of pedagogical implication for classroom use in order to aide students in their language development.

Keywords: cognitive processing, language learners, language proficiency, learning strategies

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276 An Event-Related Potentials Study on the Processing of English Subjunctive Mood by Chinese ESL Learners

Authors: Yan Huang

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Event-related potentials (ERPs) technique helps researchers to make continuous measures on the whole process of language comprehension, with an excellent temporal resolution at the level of milliseconds. The research on sentence processing has developed from the behavioral level to the neuropsychological level, which brings about a variety of sentence processing theories and models. However, the applicability of these models to L2 learners is still under debate. Therefore, the present study aims to investigate the neural mechanisms underlying English subjunctive mood processing by Chinese ESL learners. To this end, English subject clauses with subjunctive moods are used as the stimuli, all of which follow the same syntactic structure, “It is + adjective + that … + (should) do + …” Besides, in order to examine the role that language proficiency plays on L2 processing, this research deals with two groups of Chinese ESL learners (18 males and 22 females, mean age=21.68), namely, high proficiency group (Group H) and low proficiency group (Group L). Finally, the behavioral and neurophysiological data analysis reveals the following findings: 1) Syntax and semantics interact with each other on the SECOND phase (300-500ms) of sentence processing, which is partially in line with the Three-phase Sentence Model; 2) Language proficiency does affect L2 processing. Specifically, for Group H, it is the syntactic processing that plays the dominant role in sentence processing while for Group L, semantic processing also affects the syntactic parsing during the THIRD phase of sentence processing (500-700ms). Besides, Group H, compared to Group L, demonstrates a richer native-like ERPs pattern, which further demonstrates the role of language proficiency in L2 processing. Based on the research findings, this paper also provides some enlightenment for the L2 pedagogy as well as the L2 proficiency assessment.

Keywords: Chinese ESL learners, English subjunctive mood, ERPs, L2 processing

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275 Overuse Equals to Low Proficiency Level in English: A Corpus-Based Study on the Use of Linking Adverbials between Male and Female Speakers

Authors: Tsungming Wu

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The present paper investigates the use of linking adverbials between native male speakers and female speakers in their presentation. From previous studies, overuse of linking adverbials may be an indicator of the low proficiency level in English. In this study, female speakers are found to use more linking adverbials in general. However, the overuse of linking adverbials found in female speakers’ speeches does not imply female speakers’ lower English proficiency, but imply different approaches that male and female speakers adopt in dealing with their presentation tasks. Female speakers are found to be more interactional, leading to their more uses of interactive devices in the presenting process. On the other hand, male speakers take different approaches in dealing with their tasks. Male speakers try to be authoritative and amicable at the same time, resulting in the uses of both interactive devices and distancing devices in their speeches. The paper specifically presents and compares the use of the linking adverbial items, actually and so, in male speakers’ and female speakers’ speeches.

Keywords: LAs, linking adverbial, low proficiency, overuse

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274 The Application of Mapping, Practicing, Using Strategy with Instructional Materials Based on the School Curriculum toward the English Achievement of Indonesian EFL Students

Authors: Eny Syatriana

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English proficiency of Indonesian secondary school students is below standard. The low proficiency may come from poor teaching materials that do not meet the students’ need. The main objective for English teachers is to improve the English proficiency of the students. The purpose of this study is to explore the application Mapping, Practicing, Using (MPU) strategy with Instructional Materials Based on the School Curriculum toward the English achievement of Indonesian EFL Students. This paper is part my dissertation entitles 'Designing instructional materials for secondary school students based on the school curriculum' consisting of need analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation; this paper discusses need analysis and creates a model of creating instructional materials through deep discussion among teachers of secondary schools. The subject consisted of six English teachers and students of three classes at three different secondary schools in Makassar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Pretest and posttest design were administered to see the effectiveness of the MPU strategy. Questionnaires were administered to see the teachers and students’ perception toward the instructional materials. The result indicates that the MPU strategy is effective in improving the English achievement; instructional materials with different strategies improve the English achievement of the students. Both teachers and students argue that the presented instructional materials are effective to be used in the teaching and learning process to increase the English proficiency of the students.

Keywords: proficiency, development, English for secondary school students, instructional materials

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273 The Effect of Cross-Curriculum of L1 and L2 on Elementary School Students’ Linguistic Proficiency: To Sympathize with Others

Authors: Reiko Yamamoto

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This paper reports on a project to integrate Japanese (as a first language) and English (as a second language) education. This study focuses on the mutual effects of the two languages on the linguistic proficiency of elementary school students. The research team consisted of elementary school teachers and researchers at a university. The participants of the experiment were students between 3rd and 6th grades at an elementary school. The research process consisted of seven steps: 1) specifying linguistic proficiency; 2) developing the cross-curriculum of L1 and L2; 3) forming can-do statements; 4) creating a self-evaluation questionnaire; 5) executing the self-evaluation questionnaire at the beginning of the school year; 6) instructing L1 and L2 based on the curriculum; and 7) executing the self-evaluation questionnaire at the beginning of the next school year. In Step 1, the members of the research team brainstormed ways to specify elementary school students’ linguistic proficiency that can be observed in various scenes. It was revealed that the teachers evaluate their students’ linguistic proficiency on the basis of the students’ utterances, but also informed by their non-verbal communication abilities. This led to the idea that competency for understanding others’ minds through the use of physical movement or bodily senses in communication in L1 – to sympathize with others – can be transferred to that same competency in communication in L2. Based on the specification of linguistic proficiency that L1 and L2 have in common, a cross-curriculum of L1 and L2 was developed in Step 2. In Step 3, can-do statements based on the curriculum were also formed, building off of the action-oriented approach from the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) used in Europe. A self-evaluation questionnaire consisting of the main can-do statements was given to the students between 3rd grade and 6th grade at the beginning of the school year (Step 4 and Step 5), and all teachers gave L1 and L2 instruction based on the curriculum to the students for one year (Step 6). The same questionnaire was given to the students at the beginning of the next school year (Step 7). The results of statistical analysis proved the enhancement of the students’ linguistic proficiency. This verified the validity of developing the cross-curriculum of L1 and L2 and adapting it in elementary school. It was concluded that elementary school students do not distinguish between L1 and L2, and that they just try to understand others’ minds through physical movement or senses in any language.

Keywords: cross curriculum of L1 and L2, elementary school education, language proficiency, sympathy with others

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272 English Learning Strategy and Proficiency Level of the First Year Students, International College, Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University

Authors: Kanokrat Kunasaraphan

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The purpose of the study was to identify whether English language learning strategies commonly used by the first year students at International College, Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University include six direct and indirect strategies. The study served to explore whether there was a difference in these students’ use of six direct and indirect English learning strategies between the different levels of their English proficiency. The questionnaire used as a research instrument was comprised of two parts: General information of participants and the Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL). The researcher employed descriptive statistics and one-way ANOVA (F-test) to analyze the data. The results of the analysis revealed that English learning strategies commonly used by the first year students include six direct and indirect strategies, including differences in strategy use of the students with different levels of English proficiency. Recommendations for future research include the study of language learning strategy use with other research methods focusing on other languages, specific language skills, and/or the relationship of language learning strategy use and other factors in other programs and/or institutions.

Keywords: English learning strategies, direct strategies, indirect strategies, proficiency level

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271 Participation in IAEA Proficiency Test to Analyse Cobalt, Strontium and Caesium in Seawater Using Direct Counting and Radiochemical Techniques

Authors: S. Visetpotjanakit, C. Khrautongkieo

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Radiation monitoring in the environment and foodstuffs is one of the main responsibilities of Office of Atoms for Peace (OAP) as the nuclear regulatory body of Thailand. The main goal of the OAP is to assure the safety of the Thai people and environment from any radiological incidents. Various radioanalytical methods have been developed to monitor radiation and radionuclides in the environmental and foodstuff samples. To validate our analytical performance, several proficiency test exercises from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have been performed. Here, the results of a proficiency test exercise referred to as the Proficiency Test for Tritium, Cobalt, Strontium and Caesium Isotopes in Seawater 2017 (IAEA-RML-2017-01) are presented. All radionuclides excepting ³H were analysed using various radioanalytical methods, i.e. direct gamma-ray counting for determining ⁶⁰Co, ¹³⁴Cs and ¹³⁷Cs and developed radiochemical techniques for analysing ¹³⁴Cs, ¹³⁷Cs using AMP pre-concentration technique and 90Sr using di-(2-ethylhexyl) phosphoric acid (HDEHP) liquid extraction technique. The analysis results were submitted to IAEA. All results passed IAEA criteria, i.e. accuracy, precision and trueness and obtained ‘Accepted’ statuses. These confirm the data quality from the OAP environmental radiation laboratory to monitor radiation in the environment.

Keywords: international atomic energy agency, proficiency test, radiation monitoring, seawater

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270 Lexical-Semantic Processing by Chinese as a Second Language Learners

Authors: Yi-Hsiu Lai

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The present study aimed to elucidate the lexical-semantic processing for Chinese as second language (CSL) learners. Twenty L1 speakers of Chinese and twenty CSL learners in Taiwan participated in a picture naming task and a category fluency task. Based on their Chinese proficiency levels, these CSL learners were further divided into two sub-groups: ten CSL learners of elementary Chinese proficiency level and ten CSL learners of intermediate Chinese proficiency level. Instruments for the naming task were sixty black-and-white pictures: thirty-five object pictures and twenty-five action pictures. Object pictures were divided into two categories: living objects and non-living objects. Action pictures were composed of two categories: action verbs and process verbs. As in the naming task, the category fluency task consisted of two semantic categories – objects (i.e., living and non-living objects) and actions (i.e., action and process verbs). Participants were asked to report as many items within a category as possible in one minute. Oral productions were tape-recorded and transcribed for further analysis. Both error types and error frequency were calculated. Statistical analysis was further conducted to examine these error types and frequency made by CSL learners. Additionally, category effects, pictorial effects and L2 proficiency were discussed. Findings in the present study helped characterize the lexical-semantic process of Chinese naming in CSL learners of different Chinese proficiency levels and made contributions to Chinese vocabulary teaching and learning in the future.

Keywords: lexical-semantic processing, Mandarin Chinese, naming, category effects

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269 Relative Clause Attachment Ambiguity Resolution in L2: the Role of Semantics

Authors: Hamideh Marefat, Eskandar Samadi

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This study examined the effect of semantics on processing ambiguous sentences containing Relative Clauses (RCs) preceded by a complex Determiner Phrase (DP) by Persian-speaking learners of L2 English with different proficiency and Working Memory Capacities (WMCs). The semantic relationship studied was one between the subject of the main clause and one of the DPs in the complex DP to see if, as predicted by Spreading Activation Model, priming one of the DPs through this semantic manipulation affects the L2ers’ preference. The results of a task using Rapid Serial Visual Processing (time-controlled paradigm) showed that manipulation of the relationship between the subject of the main clause and one of the DPs in the complex DP preceding RC has no effect on the choice of the antecedent; rather, the L2ers' processing is guided by the phrase structure information. Moreover, while proficiency did not have any effect on the participants’ preferences, WMC brought about a difference in their preferences, with a DP1 preference by those with a low WMC. This finding supports the chunking hypothesis and the predicate proximity principle, which is the strategy also used by monolingual Persian speakers.

Keywords: semantics, relative clause processing, ambiguity resolution, proficiency, working memory capacity

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268 Working within the Zone of Proximal Development: Does It Help for Reading Strategy?

Authors: Mahmood Dehqan, Peyman Peyvasteh

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In recent years there has been a growing interest in issues concerning the impact of sociocultural theory (SCT) of learning on different aspects of second/foreign language learning. This study aimed to find the possible effects of sociocultural teaching techniques on reading strategy of EFL learners. Indeed, the present research compared the impact of peer and teacher scaffolding on EFL learners’ reading strategy use across two proficiency levels. To this end, a pre-test post-test quasi-experimental research design was used and two instruments were utilized to collect the data: Nelson English language test and reading strategy questionnaire. Ninety five university students participated in this study were divided into two groups of teacher and peer scaffolding. Teacher scaffolding group received scaffolded help from the teacher based on three mechanisms of effective help within ZPD: graduated, contingent, dialogic. In contrast, learners of peer scaffolding group were unleashed from the teacher-fronted classroom as they were asked to carry out the reading comprehension tasks with the feedback they provided for each other. Results obtained from ANOVA revealed that teacher scaffolding group outperformed the peer scaffolding group in terms of reading strategy use. It means teacher’s scaffolded help provided within the learners’ ZPD led to better reading strategy improvement compared with the peer scaffolded help. However, the interaction effect between proficiency factor and teaching technique was non-significant, leading to the conclusion that strategy use of the learners was not affected by their proficiency level in either teacher or peer scaffolding groups.

Keywords: peer scaffolding, proficiency level, reading strategy, sociocultural theory, teacher scaffolding

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267 The Effect of Realizing Emotional Synchrony with Teachers or Peers on Children’s Linguistic Proficiency: The Case Study of Uji Elementary School

Authors: Reiko Yamamoto

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This paper reports on a joint research project in which a researcher in applied linguistics and elementary school teachers in Japan explored new ways to realize emotional synchrony in a classroom in childhood education. The primary purpose of this project was to develop a cross-curriculum of the first language (L1) and second language (L2) based on the concept of plurilingualism. This concept is common in Europe, and can-do statements are used in forming the standard of linguistic proficiency in any language; these are attributed to the action-oriented approach in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). CEFR has a basic tenet of language education: improving communicative competence. Can-do statements are classified into five categories based on the tenet: reading, writing, listening, speaking/ interaction, and speaking/ speech. The first approach of this research was to specify the linguistic proficiency of the children, who are still developing their L1. Elementary school teachers brainstormed and specified the linguistic proficiency of the children as the competency needed to synchronize with others – teachers or peers – physically and mentally. The teachers formed original can-do statements in language proficiency on the basis of the idea that emotional synchrony leads to understanding others in communication. The research objectives are to determine the effect of language education based on the newly developed curriculum and can-do statements. The participants of the experiment were 72 third-graders in Uji Elementary School, Japan. For the experiment, 17 items were developed from the can-do statements formed by the teachers and divided into the same five categories as those of CEFR. A can-do checklist consisting of the items was created. The experiment consisted of three steps: first, the students evaluated themselves using the can-do checklist at the beginning of the school year. Second, one year of instruction was given to the students in Japanese and English classes (six periods a week). Third, the students evaluated themselves using the same can-do checklist at the end of the school year. The results of statistical analysis showed an enhancement of linguistic proficiency of the students. The average results of the post-check exceeded that of the pre-check in 12 out of the 17 items. Moreover, significant differences were shown in four items, three of which belonged to the same category: speaking/ interaction. It is concluded that children can get to understand others’ minds through physical and emotional synchrony. In particular, emotional synchrony is what teachers should aim at in childhood education.

Keywords: elementary school education, emotional synchrony, language proficiency, sympathy with others

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266 Teaching Method for a Classroom of Students at Different Language Proficiency Levels: Content and Language Integrated Learning in a Japanese Culture Classroom

Authors: Yukiko Fujiwara

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As a language learning methodology, Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) has become increasingly prevalent in Japan. Most CLIL classroom practice and its research are conducted in EFL fields. However, much less research has been done in the Japanese language learning setting. Therefore, there are still many issues to work out using CLIL in the Japanese language teaching (JLT) setting. it is expected that more research will be conducted on both authentically and academically. Under such circumstances, this is one of the few classroom-based CLIL researches experiments in JLT and aims to find an effective course design for a class with students at different proficiency levels. The class was called ‘Japanese culture A’. This class was offered as one of the elective classes for International exchange students at a Japanese university. The Japanese proficiency level of the class was above the Japanese Language Proficiency Test Level N3. Since the CLIL approach places importance on ‘authenticity’, the class was designed with materials and activities; such as books, magazines, a film and TV show and a field trip to Kyoto. On the field trip, students experienced making traditional Japanese desserts, by receiving guidance directly from a Japanese artisan. Through the course, designated task sheets were used so the teacher could get feedback from each student to grasp what the class proficiency gap was. After reading an article on Japanese culture, students were asked to write down the words they did not understand and what they thought they needed to learn. It helped both students and teachers to set learning goals and work together for it. Using questionnaires and interviews with students, this research examined whether the attempt was effective or not. Essays they wrote in class were also analyzed. The results from the students were positive. They were motivated by learning authentic, natural Japanese, and they thrived setting their own personal goals. Some students were motivated to learn Japanese by studying the language and others were motivated by studying the cultural context. Most of them said they learned better this way; by setting their own Japanese language and culture goals. These results will provide teachers with new insight towards designing class materials and activities that support students in a multilevel CLIL class.

Keywords: authenticity, CLIL, Japanese language and culture, multilevel class

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265 The effect of Reflective Thinking on Iranian EFL Learners’ Language Learning Strategy Use, L2 Proficiency, and Beliefs about Second Language Learning and Teaching

Authors: Mohammad Hadi Mahmoodi, Mojtaba Farahani

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The present study aimed at investigating whether reflective thinking differentiates Iranian EFL learners regarding language learning strategy use, beliefs about language learning and teaching, and L2 proficiency. To this end, the researcher adopted a mixed method approach. First, 94 EFL learners were asked to complete Reflective Thinking Questionnaire (Kember et al., 2000), Beliefs about Language Learning and Teaching Inventory (Horwitz, 1985), Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (Oxford, 1990), and Oxford Quick Placement Test. The results of three separate one-way ANOVAs indicated that reflective thinking significantly differentiates Iranian EFL learners concerning: (a)language learning strategy use, (b) beliefs about language learning and teaching, and (c) general language proficiency. Furthermore, to see where the differences lay, three separate post-hoc Tukey tests were run the results of which showed that learners with different levels of reflectivity (high, mid, and low) were significantly different from each other in all three dependent variables. Finally, to increase the validity of the findings thirty of the participants were interviewed and the results were analyzed through template organizing style method (Crabtree & Miller, 1999). The results of the interview analysis supported the results of quantitative data analysis.

Keywords: reflective thinking, language learning strategy use, beliefs toward language learning and teaching

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264 Synergism in the Inquiry Lab: An Analysis of Time Targets and Achievement

Authors: John M. Basey, Clinton D. Francis, Maxwell B. Joseph

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After gathering data from experimental procedures, inquiry-oriented-science labs often allow students the freedom to stay and complete the write up in class or leave lab early and complete the write up later. Teachers must decide whether to allow students this freedom to self-regulate this time. Student interviews have indicated four time-target strategies that may influence how students utilize this time: grade-target-A, grade-target-C, time-limited, and proficiency. The hypothesis tested was that variability in class composition relative to the four grade-target strategies has an impact on when students leave class, which in turn may influence their overall learning as exemplified by grades. Students were divided into the four indicated groups with a survey. Class composition and the GTA teaching the class had significant impacts on how long students stayed in class with class composition having the greatest impact. A factor analysis identified two factors. Factor 1 included classes with percentages of grade-target students opposite time-limited/proficiency students and explained 43% of the variance. Factor 2 included classes with percentages of grade-target-A/proficiency students opposite grade-target-C students and explained 33% of the variance. Students who stayed longer received significantly higher grades (P = 0.008) with no significant relationships between grade and Factor 1 or Factor 2 (P > 0.05). The time students stayed in class was significantly positively related to Factor 1 (P = 0.006) and significantly negatively related to Factor 2 (P = 0.008). These results support the hypothesis and indicate that teachers may want to know the composition of student-target strategies before deciding on how to have students allocate study time at the end of inquiry-oriented labs. According to these results, ideal classes for self-regulation have a high proportion of proficiency and time-limited students and a low proportion of grade-target students, or a high proportion of grade-target-A and proficiency students and a low proportion of grade-target-C students. Non-ideal classes for self-regulation were comprised of the inverse proportions.

Keywords: grades, inquiry lab design, synergism in student motivation, class composition

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263 Determining the Number of Words Required to Fulfil the Writing Task in an English Proficiency Exam with the Raters’ Scores

Authors: Defne Akinci Midas

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The aim of this study was to determine the minimum, and maximum number of words that would be sufficient to fulfill the writing task in the local English Proficiency Exam (EPE) produced and administered at the Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey. The relationship between the number of words and the scores of the written products that had been awarded by two raters in three online EPEs administered in 2020 was examined. The means, standard deviations, percentages, range, minimum and maximum scores as well as correlations of the scores awarded to written products with the words that amount to 0-50, 51-100, 101-150, 151-200, 201-250, 251-300, and so on were computed. The results showed that the raters did not award a full score to texts that had fewer than 100 words. Moreover, the texts that had around 200 words were awarded the highest scores. The highest number of words that earned the highest scores was about 225, and from then onwards, the scores were either stable or lower. A positive low to moderate correlation was found between the number of words and scores awarded to the texts. We understand that the idea of ‘the longer, the better’ did not apply here. The results also showed that words between 101 to about 225 were sufficient to fulfill the writing task to fully display writing skills and language ability in the specific case of this exam.

Keywords: English proficiency exam, number of words, scoring, writing task

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262 A Comparative Study on Compliment Response between Indonesian EFL Students and English Native Speakers

Authors: Maria F. Seran

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In second language interaction, an EFL student always carries his knowledge of targeted language and sometimes gets influenced by his first language cultures which makes him transfer his utterances from the first language to the second language. The influence of L1 cultures somehow can lead to face-threatening act when it comes to responding on speech act, for instance, compliment. A speaker praises a compliment to show gratitude, and in return, he expects for compliment respond uttered by the hearer. While Western people use more acceptance continuum on compliment response, Indonesians utter more denial continuum which can somehow put the speakers into a face-threating situation and offense. This study investigated compliment response employed by EFL students and English native speakers. The study was distinct as none compliment response studies had been conducted to compare the compliment response between English native speakers and two different Indonesian EFL proficiency groups in which this research sought to meet this need. This study was significant for EFL teachers because it gave insight on cross-cultural understanding and brought pedagogical implication on explicit pragmatic instruction. Two research questions were set, 1. How do Indonesian EFL students and English native speakers respond compliments? 2. Is there any correlation between Indonesia EFL students’ proficiency and their compliment response use in English? The study involved three groups of participants; 5 English native speakers, 10 high-proficiency and 10 low-proficiency Indonesian EFL university students. The research instruments used in this study were as follows, an online TOEFL prediction test, focusing on grammar skill which was modified from Barron TOEFL exercise test, and a discourse completion task (DCT), consisting of 10 compliment respond items. Based on the research invitation, 20 second-year university students majoring in English education at Widya Mandira Catholic University, Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia who willingly participated in the research took the TOEFL prediction test online from the link provided. Students who achieved score 75-100 in test were categorized as high-proficiency students, while, students who attained score below 74 were considered as low-proficiency students. Then, the DCT survey was administered to these EFL groups and the native speaker group. Participants’ responses were coded and analyzed using categories of compliment response framework proposed by Tran. The study found out that 5 native speakers applied more compliment upgrades and appreciation token in compliment response, whereas, Indonesian EFL students combined some compliment response strategies in their utterance, such as, appreciation token, return and compliment downgrade. There is no correlation between students’ proficiency level and their CR responds as most EFL students in both groups produced less varied compliment responses and only 4 Indonesian high-proficiency students uttered more varied and were similar to the native speakers. The combination strategies used by EFL students can be explained as the influence of pragmatic transfer from L1 to L2; therefore, EFL teachers should explicitly teach more compliment response strategies to raise students’ awareness on English culture and elaborate their speaking to be more competence as close to native speakers as possible.

Keywords: compliment response, English native speakers, Indonesian EFL students, speech acts

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