Developing pragmatic awareness and competence in heritage language learners: the effects of intergenerational and intercultural encounters

Jianwei Xu, Hui Huang

Onderzoeksoutput: Meeting abstract (Book)


Traditional literature on pragmatics instruction in second or foreign language classroom settings tends to predominantly focus on the acquisition of native-like pragmatic norms. Recently, however, an increasing number of researchers have proposed a shift of focus from acquiring such pragmatic norms to developing intercultural positions (e.g. Judd, 1999; Dervin & Liddicoat, 2013; MaConachy, 2013). Essentially, this proposal is motivated by the concern that in intercultural education it is not necessarily the end product for many learners to take on native norms; rather, it is the processes of meaning making and interpretation at the intersections of language and culture that should be deemed as paramount for language learners. In this sense, opportunities should be created for learners to develop a heightened awareness of the cultural connotations of particular ways of speaking and recognize how linguistic meanings are embedded in cultural systems of understanding (He, 2008; McConachy, 2013; Schieffelin & Ochs, 1986). This paper addresses the unique opportunities created by a large project in Australia in which younger second language (L2) learners were paired with older bilinguals and conducted naturalistic conversations in order to enhance the L2 (Chinese, German and Spanish) development and intercultural communication experience of young Australians learning the languages as L2. The focus of the paper is upon the ways in which a cohort of Australian upper secondary students (novice learners) learning Chinese as a heritage language engaged with the deeper associations of language and culture through the guidance of older speakers (expert users) of Mandarin. Drawing on discourse and conversation analyses, we are interested in how the expert users assisted the novice learners in tying conversational routines and speech acts to a range of cultural assumptions in order to teach them to think, feel and act in accordance with the values, ideologies and traditions of the group (Duff 2007). It is expected that the findings and the discussion will shed light on the importance of the approach to studying pragmatic awareness in intercultural education.
Originele taal-2English
Titel14th International Pragmatics Conference, July 26-31: Antwerp, Belgium
StatusPublished - 28 jul 2015
Evenement14th International Pragmatics Conference - Antwerp, Belgium
Duur: 26 jul 201531 jul 2015


Conference14th International Pragmatics Conference


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