Pragmatic adjustments by international students at Australian universities

Judith Rochecouste, Jianwei Xu

Onderzoeksoutput: Meeting abstract (Book)


This presentation reports on two separate studies with remarkable synergies. Both conducted at universities in Australia, the research investigated the experiences of international students and, in particular, the motivational goals that impacted on their ongoing development of English.
The studies sought to investigate the students' agency or the strategies that these students employed to adjust their new learning environments. Underlying these different strategies were goals influenced by a complex of motivational constructs. The research findings show that where some students were motivated by the status of being an English speaker, especially in the home country, others were inspired by the desire to develop their identity as flexible bilinguals. Other students saw the ongoing development of their English as a problem-solving exercise or simply a means to an end, that is, a necessity for academic success. Yet others expressed a love of language in general, of the English language in particular, or a desire to learn about western culture wherein English was the lingua franca.
In brief, affective variables such as self-efficacy were deemed to be fundamental in these students' tenacity in coming to terms with their new environment: an environment where they frequently found that their existing communicative competence and prior learning experience were not sufficient to guarantee academic success. In these cases, the participants drew on their own agency to engage in situations which exposed them to opportunities to achieve their goals. Thus they deliberately, and often with considerable trepidation, embedded themselves new Australian contexts to extend their understanding of the way that English is used in Australian culture and in Australian universities.
Sadly, the data also showed evidence of students who could not manage these adjustments and suffered considerable anxiety and loneliness, in spite of being surrounded by English speakers.
The methodologies used for these two research projects, the students' pragmatic adjustments, and the range of strategies utilized to achieve the desired 'English speaker identity' will be presented.
Originele taal-2English
TitelThe 12th International Pragmatics Conference, University of Manchester, July 3-8: Manchester, UK.
StatusPublished - 2011
EvenementUnknown -
Duur: 1 jan 2011 → …


Periode1/01/11 → …


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