Date of Award

4-2014

Embargo Period

2-8-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Modern Languages

Advisor(s)

Dr. Barbara F. Freed

Second Advisor

Dr. Rémi Adam van Compernolle

Third Advisor

Dr. Naoko Taguchi

Abstract

Study abroad provides a rich context for learning pragmatics but students’ development is often complicated by their difficulty in interpreting mismatches between their own languaculture and the host community’s languaculture (that is, rich points (Agar, 1994)). Drawing on sociocultural theory, this study explores the ways in which expert mediation by a teacher-researcher may support students’ observations, understandings, and use of French pragmatic practices while abroad. The data for this study included pre and post language awareness interviews, pre and post strategic interaction scenarios, and regular journal entries from two groups of participants: non-expert-mediated (NM, n=8) and expert-mediated (EM, n=8) students. The EM students met with the researcher for biweekly journal discussions in addition to the tasks listed above. These discussions provided learners with a concept-based, systematic framework (adapted from van Compernolle, 2014) to support their interpretations of pragmatic practices. The NM students completed all data sources with the exception of the journal discussions. The data are analyzed for differences in the types of pragmatic practices that became salient to the learners, the qualitative changes that emerged in their metapragmatic awareness, and changes in students’ pragmatic language use throughout the semester. The results demonstrate that all students noticed a wide range of pragmatic practices and deepened their understanding of the social meaning behind pragmatic practices. The NM students relied on their everyday empirical evidence gleaned from being abroad whereas EM students appropriated the concepts and were able to use them as tools to interpret their observations and plan their own language use. This study shows that concept-based expert-mediation can equip study abroad students with a framework by which they can better 1) interpret the “real, everyday” French they encounter and 2) plan and evaluate their own language use. Broader pedagogical implications are also addressed

Share

COinS