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Papers in English

Introduction to a thematic review: Pragmatics research in Chinese as a second language

Naoko Taguchi and Shuai Li

As Chinese is quickly becoming the language for intercultural communication, rules and norms of interaction in Chinese – how to speak with the level of politeness and formality required in a situation, or to understand another person’s intention communicated indirectly – are critical aspects of learning Chinese. Despite this growing interest in Chinese teaching and research, most studies have focused on formal aspects of Chinese competence (e.g., grammar and character knowledge), and little research has addressed pragmatic aspects of Chinese learning (Taguchi, 2015). To fill this gap, this thematic review presents four empirical studies on pragmatics in Chinese as a second language. Four studies deal with a variety of pragmatic features in Chinese (e.g., sentence final particles, formulaic expressions, request-making forms, mitigation strategies, stance markers) to illustrate how those features can inform us about L2 Chinese learners’ pragmatic competence and development.

Keywords: Chinese; pragmatic competence; second language

Pragmatic competence of heritage learners of Chinese and its relationship to social contact

Naoko Taguchi, Haomin Zhang and Qiong Li

This study aimed to investigate: (1) Chinese heritage learners’ (CHLs) pragmatic competence in comparison to foreign language learners of Chinese (CFLs) and (2) the relationship between CHLs’ pragmatic competence and their language contact in a range of social settings. Focal linguistic forms included sentence final particles (SFPs) and formulaic expressions (FORs). Sixty Chinese language learners in the intermediate- and advanced-level classes (31 CHLs and 29 CFLs) participated in the study. Participants completed a computerized listening comprehension task, a written production task, and a language contact questionnaire. Findings showed that CHLs outperformed CFLs in both comprehension and production of Chinese sentence final particles and formulaic expressions. The analysis of language contact questionnaire revealed that learners who reported a greater amount of interactive language contact achieved higher scores on the pragmatic tasks, regardless of the constructs and skill domains assessed.

Keywords: Heritage learners; Chinese; pragmatic competence; language contact

Development in the use of Chinese mitigation in interaction

Feng Xiao

This study investigated changes in the use of mitigation and face negotiation in interaction in two advanced-level Chinese learners over eight weeks in China. Data included video-recordings of semi-structured interviews between the learners and a Chinese native speaker as well as their stimulated recalls with the recorded interviews. Sequential analysis of their use of mitigation showed that, at the beginning of their study abroad (SA), the learners used the dànshì /kěshì (‘but’) clause but did not use the four mitigation forms identified as common sentential mitigation devices in Chinese corpora (reduplication of verbs, verb+yīxià, the sentence final particle ba, and a/ya). Eight weeks later, they started using the sentence final particle ba, but not the other three common sentential mitigation forms. At the discourse level, they used single pre- and post-expansions at the beginning of SA; eight weeks later, they started using multiple pre- and post-expansions. The stimulated recall data revealed that the learners’ use of mitigation in both the pre- and post-interviews was based on their face (i.e., pubic self-image) consideration in interaction.

Keywords: mitigation; interaction; L2 Chinese

Epistemic stance in Chinese heritage language writing – A developmental view

Yang Xiao-Desai and Ka F. Wong

Drawing on data from a learner corpus of blogs, this study explores epistemic expressions used in Chinese heritage language (CHL) writing from a developmental perspective, and aims to provide a better understanding of pragmatic development in heritage language learning context. A total of 6,511 blog entries written by 266 heritage learners from four different proficiency levels were analyzed cross-sectionally. The findings revealed three notable developmental patterns in CHL learners’ use of epistemic markers (EMs): 1) a rapid increase in the frequency and diversity of EMs at the beginning of CHL curriculum, 2) a period of stability from the second quarter onward, and 3) a divergence of frequency and diversity at the advanced level, whereby the diversity of EMs increased again, but the overall frequency of EMs remained unchanged. Significant developmental variability was also found between grammatical sub-groups of epistemic markers. Overall, the study shed light on the development of CHL learners’ pragmatic competence, and demonstrated the effectiveness of learner corpora as a research tool for studies of pragmatics learning.

Keywords: epistemic stance; learner corpus; Chinese as a heritage language

An exploratory study on the role of foreign language aptitudes in instructed pragmatics learning in L2 Chinese

Shuai Li

This study investigated whether and how foreign language (FL) aptitudes interacted with different instructional conditions to affect pragmatic gains in L2 Chinese. Fifty American learners of Chinese were randomly assigned to an (explicit) input-based treatment group, an (explicit) output-based treatment group, and a control group. Following a metapragmatic session, the two treatment groups practiced target request-making forms through their respective computer programs, while the control group did not practice. Gains in pragmatic performance were measured by a listening judgment test and an oral production test at immediate and delayed posttests. The participants also completed three foreign language (FL) aptitude tests assessing rote memory, grammatical sensitivity, and working memory. The results revealed different patterns of correlation between FL aptitudes and pragmatic gains. The input group showed positive correlations between working memory and reductions in judgment response times at both immediate and delayed posttests. The output group showed a positive correlation between grammatical sensitivity and gains in production speech rates at immediate posttest; a negative correlation was also found between rote memory and reductions in production planning times made at immediate posttest.

Keywords: foreign language aptitude; request; explicit instruction; input-based and output-based instruction; Chinese

Papers in Chinese


王, 小潞 / 任, 婉

量词是汉语重要词类之一,但汉语二语者的量词使用偏误却很难消除。为促进汉语二语量词习得,本文通过研究汉语量词的习得和运用规律,归纳了汉语量词的四种词义联想方式:原型联想、形象联想、隐喻联想和转喻联想;对浙江大学 40 位汉语二语中高级学习者的汉语量词习得情况进行的问卷调查,验证了词义联想在汉语二语量词习得过程中的重要作用。鉴于此,我们有理由相信:面对丰富而复杂的汉语量词体系,通过词义联想构建一个具有激活扩散特性的量词语义联想网络是寻找量词的记忆规律、促进量词习得的有效途径。

关键词: 汉语量词, 词义联想, 汉语二语量词习得


彭, 家法 / 朱, 冬雪

本文采用语料调查和问卷调查相结合的方法研究英语母语留学生对汉语情态动词习得顺序和情态动词四种句法特征(即对主语的选择、否定词运用的差异、被动化以及情态动词的连用)的习得情况。三种语义类型情态动词的习得顺序是:认识情态动词>道义情态动词>动力情态动词;本文所研究的十个情态动词的习得顺序是:会 > 能 > 要 > 可以 > 应该 > 可能 > 愿意 > 必须 > 肯 /敢;多个义项的情态动词的习得顺序是:应该1 > 应该2,会2 > 会1,可以2 > 可以4 > 可以3 > 可以1,能3 > 能1,要2 > 要3。“能2、能4、要1” 在我们所收集的语料中没有出现。留学生对汉语情态动词主语选择习得较好,对 “不+情态动词” 的习得好于 “没+情态动词”,不接受 “控制情态动词+被” 而接受 “提升情态动词+被” 结构,对情态动词连用的使用偏误较多。本研究的相关发现对留学生汉语情态动词教学有重要参考价值。

关键词: 汉语情态动词; 习得; 习得顺序; 句法特征; 英语母语学生


丹, 莫

学习策略在二语学习的过程中起着重要作用,写作策略对二语学习者的写作过程与成效有着不可忽视的影响。本研究试图通过对留学生的写作策略训练实验探索培养 CSL 学习者写作策略,提高写作能力的教学模式。作者以 20 名准中级水平留学生为对象,进行了为期八周的培训。策略培训内容包括元认知策略、认知策略、补偿策略与情感策略四类。实验结果表明:写作策略训练可以有效提高学生的写作策略使用频率,增强策略意识,对写作能力的提高有一定促进作用。

关键词: 写作策略; 训练模式; 实验研究