Innovation in Language Learning

Edition 16

Accepted Abstracts

A Study on Impoliteness Encountered by Chinese EFL Students Studying in English-Speaking Countries

Meng Yu, Nankai University (China)


In the crossing field of Interlanguage Pragmatics, which is a new interdisciplinary subject composed of Pragmatics, Second Language Acquisition and cross-culture communication, the study of impoliteness phenomena has been a relatively hot issue that aroused discussions since the beginning of 21st century.
With the acceleration of globalization process, an increasing number of Chinese students begin to learn English as their second language and further their education in English-speaking countries in order to broaden horizons, improve their competitiveness in the personnel market.
Unavoidably, Chinese students may be faced with some occasions where foreigners say something impolite to them when living in an unfamiliar city. The study mainly discusses the verbal impoliteness that Chinese students may encounter in all sorts of occasions like in the social lives as well as in the school during the period of studying in English-speaking countries.
The paper adopts a qualitative case study method by asking some Chinese students, who have studied or are now studying in English-speaking countries, to fill in a questionnaire, which mainly contains their personal backgrounds and respective descriptions of impolite situation they met. According to the results of the survey, it is true that impolite discourses commonly happen. Nearly 40% discourtesy is caused by the deficient language competence of the second language learner. More than 60% of the students do not know how to react to the impoliteness.
This paper sorts out statistical results and combine methods concerning Spencer Oatey’s rapport management framework to further analyze these impoliteness phenomena. Useful suggestions involving reactions to impoliteness will be provided to students and pedagogical improvements will also be presented accordingly.
Keywords: Interlanguage Pragmatics, Second Language Acquisition, Impoliteness.
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