Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 3

Speech Acts Related Publications

3 Teaching Turn-Taking Rules and Pragmatic Principles to Empower EFL Students and Enhance Their Learning in Speaking Modules

Authors: O. F. Elkommos

Abstract:

Teaching and learning EFL speaking modules is one of the most challenging productive modules for both instructors and learners. In a student-centered interactive communicative language teaching approach, learners and instructors should be aware of the fact that the target language must be taught as/for communication. The student must be empowered by tools that will work on more than one level of their communicative competence. Communicative learning will need a teaching and learning methodology that will address the goal. Teaching turn-taking rules, pragmatic principles and speech acts will enhance students' sociolinguistic competence, strategic competence together with discourse competence. Sociolinguistic competence entails the mastering of speech act conventions and illocutionary acts of refusing, agreeing/disagreeing; emotive acts like, thanking, apologizing, inviting, offering; directives like, ordering, requesting, advising, and hinting, among others. Strategic competence includes enlightening students’ consciousness of the various particular turn-taking systemic rules of organizing techniques of opening and closing conversation, adjacency pairs, interrupting, back-channeling, asking for/giving opinion, agreeing/disagreeing, using natural fillers for pauses, gaps, speaker select, self-select, and silence among others. Students will have the tools to manage a conversation. Students are engaged in opportunities of experiencing the natural language not as a mere extra student talking time but rather an empowerment of knowing and using the strategies. They will have the component items they need to use as well as the opportunity to communicate in the target language using topics of their interest and choice. This enhances students' communicative abilities. Available websites and textbooks now use one or more of these tools of turn-taking or pragmatics. These will be students' support in self-study in their independent learning study hours. This will be their reinforcement practice on e-Learning interactive activities. The students' target is to be able to communicate the intended meaning to an addressee that is in turn able to infer that intended meaning. The combination of these tools will be assertive and encouraging to the student to beat the struggle with what to say, how to say it, and when to say it. Teaching the rules, principles and techniques is an act of awareness raising method engaging students in activities that will lead to their pragmatic discourse competence. The aim of the paper is to show how the suggested pragmatic model will empower students with tools and systems that would support their learning. Supporting students with turn taking rules, speech act theory, applying both to texts and practical analysis and using it in speaking classes empowers students’ pragmatic discourse competence and assists them to understand language and its context. They become more spontaneous and ready to learn the discourse pragmatic dimension of the speaking techniques and suitable content. Students showed a better performance and a good motivation to learn. The model is therefore suggested for speaking modules in EFL classes.

Keywords: Pragmatics, Communicative Competence, Speech Acts, EFL, turn-taking, empowering learners, enhance learning, teaching speaking, Learner Centered

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2 Speech Acts and Politeness Strategies in an EFL Classroom in Georgia

Authors: Tinatin Kurdghelashvili

Abstract:

The paper deals with the usage of speech acts and politeness strategies in an EFL classroom in Georgia (Rep of). It explores the students’ and the teachers’ practice of the politeness strategies and the speech acts of apology, thanking, request, compliment / encouragement, command, agreeing / disagreeing, addressing and code switching. The research method includes observation as well as a questionnaire. The target group involves the students from Georgian public schools and two certified, experienced local English teachers. The analysis is based on Searle’s Speech Act Theory and Brown and Levinson’s politeness strategies. The findings show that the students have certain knowledge regarding politeness yet they fail to apply them in English communication. In addition, most of the speech acts from the classroom interaction are used by the teachers and not the students. Thereby, it is suggested that teachers should cultivate the students’ communicative competence and attempt to give them opportunities to practise more English speech acts than they do today.

Keywords: English as a Foreign Language, Speech Acts, Georgia, politeness principles

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1 Evaluation of Pragmatic Information in an English Textbook: Focus on Requests

Authors: Israa A. Qari

Abstract:

Learning to request in a foreign language is a key ability within pragmatics language teaching. This paper examines how requests are taught in English Unlimited Book 3 (Cambridge University Press), an EFL textbook series employed by King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to teach advanced foundation year students English. The focus of analysis is the evaluation of the request linguistic strategies present in the textbook, frequency of the use of these strategies, and the contextual information provided on the use of these linguistic forms. The researcher collected all the linguistic forms which consisted of the request speech act and divided them into levels employing the CCSARP request coding manual. Findings demonstrated that simple and commonly employed request strategies are introduced. Looking closely at the exercises throughout the chapters, it was noticeable that the book exclusively employed the most direct form of requesting (the imperative) when giving learners instructions: e.g. listen, write, ask, answer, read, look, complete, choose, talk, think, etc. The book also made use of some other request strategies such as ‘hedged performatives’ and ‘query preparatory’. However, it was also found that many strategies were not dealt with in the book, specifically strategies with combined functions (e.g. possibility, ability). On a sociopragmatic level, a strong focus was found to exist on standard situations in which relations between the requester and requestee are clear. In general, contextual information was communicated implicitly only. The textbook did not seem to differentiate between formal and informal request contexts (register) which might consequently impel students to overgeneralize. The paper closes with some recommendations for textbook and curriculum designers. Findings are also contrasted with previous results from similar body of research on EFL requests.

Keywords: Speech Acts, EFL, Saudi, requests, textbook evaluation

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