Dissertation > Culture, science,education, sports > Education > Secondary education > Subjects teaching methods, teaching aids > Foreign language > English

A Study of Cross-cultural Pragmatic Failure in Senior High School English Teaching

Author YuanJie
Tutor YangDaPing
School Shandong Normal University
Course Curriculum and Pedagogy
Keywords intercultural communication pragmatic failure English language teaching
CLC G633.41
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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As the time of Global Village approaching, cross-cultural communication has become more and more frequent and necessary , language is the basic tool for people to communicate with others, and English language is the most important tool in inter-cultural communication for its international position and role. We use language to exchange information and to establish and maintain smooth, harmonious interpersonal relationships. This description of language makes us consider language not only in terms of its structure, but also in terms of its communicative functions. Hence language learning involves both usage and actual use related to specific contexts. It has been reported that pragmatic failures are the main cause of communication failures due to the pragmatic differences in ways of thinking, rules of speaking, social values, lexical connotations and other factors.(Chen & Huang, 2002:272).In order to keep pace to the development of international trend, The New Criteria for English Syllabus in Senior High School issued in the year 2003 made " to enable the students to communicate with foreigners properly " as the ultimate goal of the English curriculum in senior high school for the first time,which not only indicates foreign language teaching in our country has reached a new stage , moreover, but poses a challenge to conquer. For, as a whole, the English teaching in China especially in high school has always been focusing on the teaching of systematic knowledge of pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar, under the influence of traditional grammar-translation method and pressure of national examination. As a result, high school students’ cross-cultural communicative competence is weak and they commit this or that kind of pragmatic failure.Pragmatic failure was first proposed by Jenny Thomas as the inability to understand what is meant by what is said. According to her, pragmatic failure is an area of cross-cultural communication breakdown. Based on the analyses of pragmatic failure and guided by the "New Criteria", this thesis attempts to explore students’ problems in cross-cultural communication, namely, the pragmatic failure committed by Senior school students and solutions to these problems, which includes where the teacher should lay emphasis in language teaching, how to improve students’ cross-cultural awareness and how to foster the students’ pragmatic competence etc. In order to examine to what extent the Senior school students have developed their pragmatic competence by using the tentative suggestions proposed by the author, an experimental study was conducted in the form of questionnaire and test papers in Zhengzhou Number Nine High School from March to July in 2010. Simultaneously, a research investigation of changes of the students’ English knowledge was also carried out for examining the influence of cultural teaching on students’ English achievements. During the experiment an example of the implement of the cultural teaching is showed under the present circumstances.The statistic result has demonstrated the necessity to strengthen cultural teaching in senior high school English class for reducing students’ intercultural communicating pragmatic failure, as well as the effectiveness of cultural teaching on developing students’ interests in English learning and enhancing students’ English achievement.

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