Chinese EFL Undergraduates’ Pragmatic Competence in English Letter Writing

Zeng Zhilan, Subadrah Madhawa Nair, Walton Wider


Pragmatic competence, as an essential part of communicative competence, plays a vital role in people’s daily communication, especially cross-cultural communication. This study aims to investigate Chinese EFL undergraduates’ pragmatic competence in English letter writing according to gender and faculty, and explore four EFL lecturers’ perceptions on pragmatic competence, problems faced by their students and methods used by lecturers in teaching English letter writing. This research is a descriptive research design using QUAN-QUAL model. A letter writing test was employed as one research instrument. Stratified random sampling was adopted to select 450 samples (225 males and 225 females) from three faculties (150 from Chinese Language Faculty, 150 from Management Faculty, and 150 from Education Faculty) in Nanfang College, Guangzhou and Hunan City University. In the real study, students’ writing was graded by one lecturer based on the scoring rubric adapted from Chen’s scoring rubrics for pragmatic competence and IELTS writing scoring rubric in which 5 components were included: choice of vocabulary, grammar, syntax, organization, mechanics. The results of the letter writing test indicated that female students’ pragmatic competence was better than male students’, and the pragmatic competence of students from social science faculty (Chinese Language Faculty and Management Faculty) was better than those from natural science faculty (Education Faculty). Lecturers considered it necessary to teach pragmatic competence in class though only a small proportion of lecturers did it. It is suggested that some teaching approaches such as process approach, modeled writing, revise after writing could be used in class so that students’ motivation is stimulated and better learning results could be achieved.

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World Journal of English Language
ISSN 1925-0703(Print)  ISSN 1925-0711(Online)

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