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An Empirical Research on Pragmatic Failure from the Perspective of Adaptation Theory

Author: LiuYunYun
Tutor: JiZheMin
School: University of North
Course: English Language and Literature
Keywords: pragmatic failure the Adaptation Theory communicative context adaptation competence
CLC: H319.3
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2013
Downloads: 67
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Pragmatic failure, which has been one of the most important research topics in the fields ofpragmatics and cross-cultural communication, greatly influences the conveyance of information andthe exchange among people. Therefore, in the process of improving students’ language proficiency incollege English teaching, teachers should pay more attention to students’ pragmatic failure in theirlanguage use and enhance their pragmatic competence. This thesis attempts to evaluate the pragmaticcompetence of the college students and detect their pragmatic failure in communication. Furthermore,it provides suggestions to the avoidance of pragmatic failure in the framework of the AdaptationTheory.An empirical study was carried to analyze the reasons of pragmatic failure in verbal andnonverbal communication. This study is conducted in three classes of non-English major students inShanxi Coal Mining Administrators College. The three classes, altogether122students, two classesare freshmen, one class are sophomores. Survey, students in the two kinds of verbal and nonverbalcommunication can produce pragmatic failures, and higher average students pragmatic errors,pragmatic ability is generally low, but also to verify the ability of language learners have strongpragmatic competence.Based on the pragmatic failure committed by the students in the questionnaire, the author adoptsVerschueren’s Adaptation Theory as theoretical framework to analyze the causes of the pragmaticfailure. Then the author concludes that the pragmatic failure results from the language users’ neglectsof both contextual and structural correlates adaptability. In the process of communication, when theinterlocutor fails to adapt to the interpreter’s mental world, social world and physical world, and failsto make the adaptation to the context and linguistic structure in the choice-making of language, thepragmatic failure will occur. Therefore, in the specific communicative process, the interlocutorsshould make dynamic adaptation to the communicative context and linguistic context, and choose theappropriate style of speech as well as correct linguistic form so as to avoid the pragmatic failure.Whether a round of interaction is successful is determined by whether interlocutors take all adaptiveattitude towards these factors of communicative context.Based on the qualitative and quantitative study, this study also suggests some pedagogicalimplication for English teaching and cross-cultural communication. In a word, based on the Adaptation Theory, the thesis studies the problem of pragmatic failure ina detailed way, which is meaningful to the improvement of the students’ pragmatic competence incommunication and is of great significance to college English teaching.

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