Culture and Identity in the Learning of Pragmatics During Study Abroad: A Longitudinal Case Study

Abstract

This presentation will introduce an on-going PhD research: a longitudinal case study investigating how five Chinese students sojourning in the UK develop their pragmatic knowledge and skills in English, and how this relates to their changing cultural values and the various identities they negotiate within different communities. Qualitative data were collected through semi-structured interviews and learning logs. The findings indicate identity challenges study-abroad students face in daily interactions concerning L2 pragmatics: linguistic barriers and unfamiliar conventions in interpersonal communications could hinder them from expressing themselves and forming relationships in the way they desire. This process appeared to be uncomfortable for some learners, but it triggered expansion in intercultural awareness and self-perception. It seems differences and difficulties related to L2 pragmatics nudged participants to go beyond linguistic forms to explore deeper cultural meanings behind the language and to reflect on values formed in their past experience. In brief, this study focuses on not only how learners acquire greater L2 proficiency but also how they apply language as a tool to socialise, and how L2 learning enables them to change and develop as a whole person in the study-abroad context. It has implications for institutions and tutors in higher education on how they might facilitate diversity and inclusion through helping international students to find their place in their adopted communities, gain a stronger position and have their voice heard through providing pragmatic-specific support.



Author Information
Xiaowen Liu, University of Leeds, United Kingdom

Paper Information
Conference: ECLL2021
Stream: Culture and Language

This paper is part of the ECLL2021 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by amp21