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Investigating Chinese Second Language Pragmatic Competence in Interaction Using Paired Speaking Tests.

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Title:Investigating Chinese Second Language Pragmatic Competence in Interaction Using Paired Speaking Tests.
Authors:Xia, Xue
Contributors:East Asian Lang & Lit-Chinese (department)
Date Issued:Aug 2018
Publisher:University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Abstract:Second language pragmatic competence, the ability of language learners to
understand and perform the pragmatic functions of target languages in social interactions
(Taguchi & Roever, 2017), develops over time and is an important research area. Youn
(2015) defines L2 pragmatic competence in interaction as the ability of interactive
participants to use different pragmatic and interactive resources to achieve pragmatic
meaning and conduct actions in organized sequences. In the current study, the peer-topeer
paired speaking test, considered as a way of classroom assessment, was employed to
investigate Chinese learners’ second language (L2) pragmatic competence in interaction
in the personal language use domain. An analytical rubric was developed based on related
conversational organizations and interaction relevant studies for raters to award scores.
Mixed method design was employed to analyze the data - test takers’ in-test discourse.
The results indicate that open role-play and situational topic discussion
(extended discourse) tasks were effective in eliciting interactions for assessing the
construct. The test content was based on the needs analysis of the most commonly used
situations, topics, and language functions in this domain. When using the analytical
rubric to assess test takers’ in-test discourse, inter-rater reliability did not meet
established thresholds. The detailed results of DA for 12 excerpts of in-test discourse not
only identified additional components (language use and situation response), but also
distinguished new interactional features within the three major interactional rating
categories (turn-taking organization, sequence organization and topic management). DA
revealed that all the rating categories were distinguishable across three different
competence levels, a finding that was confirmed via quantitative analyses (descriptive
statistics and repeated measures ANOVA). Based on the general interactional features
summarized from in-test discourse, the developmental trajectory of Chinese learners’ L2
pragmatic competence in interaction was summarized by five elements: frequency,
proactivity, complexity, content and coherence. Specifically, as L2 pragmatic
competence in interaction develops, learners are more active, and their cognitive abilities
are more capable of dealing with faster turn-takings, more complex structures, and the
more coherent delivery of deeper content. The findings from the mixed method approach
were strengthened and could help to revise the analytical rating rubric and improve future
rater training. In summary, the findings offer the potential to contribute to the future
assessment of Chinese learners’ L2 pragmatic competence in interaction.
Description:Ph.D. Thesis. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2018.
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - East Asian Languages and Literatures (Chinese)

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