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The Role Of Cross-Cultural Pragmatic Competence In Chinese Students OF Efl: Making Requests

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    In the use of this mixed-methods study, a cross-cultural investigation on English requests applied by Chinese EFL graduate students in some universities has been undertaken. Request, according to Byon (2004), is “a directive that embodies an effort on the part of the speaker to get the hearer to do something” (p. 1674). To a very large extent, making requests in a foreign language can be said to be face threatening. This is because it demands the speaker to demonstrate considerable cultural and linguistic expertise.

    It is evident that breakdown in cross-cultural communication can simply be caused by in appropriate request strategies or the responses to such requests. When paying attention to Second Language Acquisition (SLA), different aspects of speech act of request could be explored in different language learning contexts, such as cross-cultural contexts, learning English as a Foreign Language (EFL), as in Ao (2005), learning English as a Second Language (ESL), as in Lin (2008), and Chinese . So far these studies have contributed to the request literature in many different ways and have resulted in the creation and modification of the Discourse Completion Test (DCT), taxonomy and coding scheme of request. The chapter two of this thesis discusses in detail, these studies.

    In the ongoing development of the request literature, no studies have so far examined the responses of the request strategies applied by Chinese EFL graduate students in cross-cultural settings. With the increasing number of Chinese graduate students in various universities across the world, it becomes more important to investigate this area because appropriate communication style constitutes the chief foundation on which Chinese students’ successful adjustment to new social and academic environment in the English speaking world are developed.

    Paying close attention to the request strategies applied by Chinese and other foreign nationals, I sought to discover the relationship that exits between a form of request and its response. These relationship might be the difficulties that Chinese students encounter in their day to day social and cultural encounters while communicating with English speakers. Although the incorporation of the study of the three social variables, namely social distance, relative power, and imposition of the request has been undertaken by some researchers, in their research designs, no one has touched on the effects the response to a request might have on the communication process. The purpose of the present study here is to address this void in the request literature. Due to the limited scope of the study, all participants were drawn from one university.

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