A Tale of four measures of pragmatic knowledge in an EFL institutional context
The upsurge of interest in L2 pragmatics studies has coincided with a growing interest in pragmatic assessment. Employing the most efficient measure of pragmatics has led many researchers to examine the existing measures to pinpoint the most useful ones. This study was an attempt to compare and contrast Written Discourse Completion Task (WDCT), Oral Discourse Completion Task (ODCT), and Role-play with Natural methodology in an EFL institutional context to see which measure approximated Natural methodology. To this end, data (requests) were collected from 27 intermediate–level Iranian EFL learners in a natural classroom institutional context over 15 weeks, and then the WDCTs, ODCTs, and Role-plays with the same contextual features were selected to elicit the intended data. The participants’ requests were transcribed and analyzed in terms of Schauer’s (2009) request head act strategy taxonomy and its internal and external modification devices. The results of Binominal tests indicated that, in spite of some minor similarities, none of the elicitation measures could approximate the natural data. The participants’ employment of direct, non-conventionally indirect request strategies, and internal and external modification devices were more conspicuous in the WDCTs, ODCTs, and Role-plays than those in the Natural methodology. The study implies that data collection methods should be selected based on researchers’ objectives and research questions.
Keywords: WDCT, ODCT, Role-play, Natural methodology, request speech act, internal and external modification devices
Published online: 25 August 2020
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