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					The Instruction of Email Pragmatics to
     Second Language Learners

                  Shawn Ford
    Department of Second Language Studies
        University of Hawai‘i at Manoa
        Presentation Outline
I.          Initial motivation for study
       A.     Student email messages
       B.     Action research project
       C.     Pilot study
II.         Current research project
       A.     Theoretical framework
       B.     Methodology
       C.     Results
III.        Future research
IV.         Conclusion/ questions
         Sample Student Email Message

From student@hawaii.edu
Sent Sunday, September 1, 2001 12:50 am
To sford@hawaii.edu
Subject

Hello Professor~
I don't think, I can turn the reports on next monday. I liked to
delay the time to turn the paper. Can you do it for me? I have
some reasons and excuses for it. I will talk to you about it in
class. so, please delay the due date for me.
Plz also reply me for its answer on e-mail.
Thank you.
     Action Research Project

  1. Find existing teaching materials for electronic
                     communication;

2. Find any existing guidelines or rules for electronic
                    communication;
 3. Adopt, adapt, or develop a lesson for electronic
                    communication;

              4. Implement the lesson;
 5. See if there is any change in patterns of usage.
     Action Research Project Results
• Advanced-level ESL students need instruction in
  guidelines for writing formal email messages;

• Teaching materials on this topic are not readily
  available;

• There is an abundance of information about email
  pragmatics (netiquette);

• Email pragmatics is teachable;

• Students showed gains in proper uses of formal email
  pragmatics from pre- to immediate post-test, which was
  maintained in the delayed post-test.
                      Pilot Study

• 8 non-native English-speakers (NNSs)
  students of ELI 100- undergraduate, advanced writing class
  researcher’s own students
• 5 native English-speakers (NSs)
  graduate students of the Second Language Studies
  Department at UH Manoa

• Study conducted in UH Manoa classrooms and computer
  labs, and via email
    Research Questions and Hypotheses
1. What are the differences between NNSs and NSs of
   English in the pragmatic features of email requests
   concerning academic topics sent to unfamiliar professors?
2. Do the differences found in the first research question
   effect the acceptability of the email requests?

3. What are the effects of instruction in the usage of
   appropriate pragmatic features when writing email
   requests?
                Results of Pilot Study
• NS email messages contain more acceptable formal
  features and more acceptable content features of email
  pragmatics.

• NS email messages appear more acceptable than those
  of NNSs.

• Data analysis shows gains in the use of acceptable formal
  features of pragmatic email requests from pre- to post-tests
  after treatment. Delayed post-test shows gains maintained
  but not at the level of the immediate post-test.

• Data analysis shows gains in the use of acceptable content
  features of pragmatic email requests from pre- to post-tests
  after treatment. However, delayed post-test shows that gains
  were maintained only slightly above the level of the pre-test.
Research Study Theoretical Framework
      • Pragmatic universals
      • Pragmatic development and ESL

      • Instruction of pragmatics and ESL

      • Requests and ESL

      • Email pragmatics

      • Instruction of email pragmatics
      • Measuring pragmatic development
               Pragmatic Universals
Key Studies:

• Brown & Levinson (1978)
  varying degrees and realizations of politeness are
  fundamental to all languages

• Hill, Ide, Ikuta, Kawasaki, and Ogino (1986)
- pragmatic systems operate on two basic principles-
  discernment and volition
     discernment: "...a recognition of certain fundamental
     characteristics of addressee and situation" (p. 361)
     volition: the speaker's true intentions in a given
     communicative event
- discernment and volition operate at different levels across
  cultures
     Pragmatic Development and ESL
Key Studies:

• Kasper, G., & Blum-Kulka, S. (1993)
  forwarded research agenda to study interlanguage
  pragmatics

• Schmidt, R. (1993); Kasper, G. & Schmidt, R. (1996)
  studies of meta-awareness and development of inter-
  language pragmatics

• Bardovi-Harlig, K., & Hartford, B.S. (1993)
  investigated pragmatic change longitudinally in the
  academic environment
Pragmatics should be taught because it does not appear
to be easily transferrable from L1 to L2;

Pragmatics should be taught because this will raise
awareness of appropriate language use, which in turn
has been shown to aid in language development;

Pragmatics can be taught, as is evidenced by a number
of early studies of classroom language learning and
instruction.
    Instruction of Pragmatics and ESL
Key Studies:

• LoCastro, V. (1994)
  lack of English pragmatics instruction in textbooks
• House, J. (1996); Kasper, G., & Rose, K. (2001)
  examined developing awareness of pragmatics through
  explicit classroom instruction

Pragmatic development in L2 learners can be
enhanced through explicit awareness-raising
techniques.
                 Requests and ESL
Key Studies:

• Blum-Kulka, S., House, J., & Kasper, G., (Eds.). (1989)
  edited volume devoted to studying the pragmatics of the
  request and apology speech acts

• Schmidt, T.Y. (1994)
- compared actual request data to request lessons found in
  popular ESL textbooks
- results showed that textbooks were deficient in the range of
  real-world request types
- results also showed that textbooks were deficient in the
  explanations of the request types given
• Kitao (1990); Kim (1995); Kasange (1998); Kim (2000)
- each study investigated the performance of English
  requests by a different cultural group
- each study found evidence of negative transfer of L1
  pragmatics
- each study concluded with the need for explicit instruction
  in making English requests


Requests are one of the most frequently occurring
speech acts across languages;

There are major cross-cultural differences in realizations
of constructing and interpreting requests;

Forming pragmatically appropriate requests in an L2 is
problematic.
                    Email Pragmatics
Key Studies:

• Shea (1994)
  principles of netiquette: basic rules for behaving and
  interacting through electronic communication

• Gaines (1999)
  discovered a new written genre with unique textual features
  in academic email data: "...a pseudo-conversational form of
  communication, conducted in extended time and with an
  absent interlocutor" (81)
• Inglis (1998)
  investigated cross-cultural miscommunications that arise in
  office environments due to culturally different perceptions of
  appropriateness in email and Internet communication
Studies Most Relevant to the Present Study:

• Hartford & Bardovi-Harlig (1996);
   Weasenforth & Beisenbach-Lucas (2000); Chen (2001)
- each study analyzed email requests sent by university
  students to their professors
- each study found that the email requests of NNSs
  contained features that may negatively effect the
  acceptability of the messages and the fulfillment of the
  requests
Instruction of Email Pragmatics
Key Studies:

????????????????????????????????????

None to my knowledge. At least not yet...
      Measuring Pragmatic Development
Key Studies:
• Blum-Kulka, S., House, J., & Kasper, G., (Eds.). (1989)
  Cross-Cultural Speech Act Realization Project (CCSARP)
  elaborate coding scheme for analyzing requests
• Norris (2001)
  task-based language assessment: "...performance of
  communication tasks that have some relationship to non-test
  or ‘real-world’ activities, and these elicited task performances
  are assessed according to explicit criteria" (164).

Task-based performance assessment measured with a
coding scheme combining CCSARP guidelines and
netiquette rules proposed by Shea (1994).
               Subjects & Location
• 29 native English-speakers (NSs)
  graduate students of the SLS Department

• 15 non-native English-speakers (NNSs)
  students of ELI 100- undergraduate, advanced writing class
  researcher’s own students

• Study conducted in UH Manoa classrooms and computer
  labs, and via email
 Research Questions and Hypotheses
1. What are the differences between NSs and NNSs of
   English in the pragmatic features of email requests
   concerning academic topics sent to unfamiliar
   professors?

2. What are the effects of instruction in the usage of
   appropriate pragmatic features when writing email
   requests?

I eliminated the second question from the pilot study
concerned with discovering the pragmatic features that
effect the acceptability of the email messages.
                  Tests and Treatment
NNS Data:
• Pre-test: email request assignment as homework

• Treatment: Netiquette lesson delivered via Internet

• Immediate Post-test: email request assignment as homework

• Delayed post-test: email request assignment as homework
• Pre-test, treatment, and post-test at beginning of semester;
  follow-up test at the end of the semester

NS Data:
The NS data for the study was elicited via email using the same
prompt given to the NNSs.
                   Data Elicitation
I used the following prompt to elicit email request data from
both NNSs and NSs:

For this short homework assignment, I want you to write a
hypothetical email message to a professor.
Here’s the situation:

Information about the setting and the Professor-
You’re taking a 200-level History course from a professor
  who you don’t know at all.
His name is Dr. Peterson, he is in his mid-40s, he is an
  average-sized Caucasian man, and he has taught in the
  History Department at UH for many years.
Other than this information, you don’t know anything else
  about Dr. Peterson.
Information about your email message-
It’s within the first two weeks of the beginning of the
  semester.
Your first major writing assignment is due next week,
  which is a 3-page book report.
Everyone in the class had to read the same book and do
  the same assignment.
You need more time to finish your book report, so you
  must send Dr. Peterson an email message to request an
  extension.
This is the first time that you have ever sent Dr. Peterson
  an email message.

Write your email message to Dr. Peterson requesting an
extension to turn in your book report. When finished writing
it, send it directly to me by email <sford@hawaii.edu>.
Treatment
                    Data Coding
Once all NS and NNS data was received, I coded the
data using a form developed specifically for this purpose.

To develop the form, I drew from
• Blum-Kulka, S., House, J., & Kasper, G., (Eds.) (1989)
  for the content pragmatic features of the email messages

• Shea, V. (1994)
  for the formal pragmatic features of the email messages
                                #     A    B     C LENGTH OF MESSAGE:
       DATA:
                                                   REQUESTS PER MESSAGE:
HEAD ACT(S):
          Primary -
             Secondary -
 EMAIL FEATURES                 NA    LA   A MA                                          PRAGMATIC FEATURES
Subject heading                                            Alerters                  Freq. Upgraders             Freq. Downgraders:
Salutation- greeting                                                    title/role                   expletiv e      Syntactic             Freq.
          recipient's title                                            surname                 time intensif ier           interrogativ e
      recipient's name                                                f irst name              lexical uptoner          negation of prep.
          punctuation                                                 nickname                  determination                subjunctiv e
Intro- sender's name                                             endearment                   repetition of req.             conditional
                af f iliation                                      of f ensiv e                  orthographic                   aspect
Closing                                                                 pronoun             emphatic addition                     tense
Signature                                                      attention getter             pejorativ e determ.        conditional clause
Emoticons                                                  Strategy                  Freq. Supportive Moves Freq. Downgraders:
Spelling                                                      mood deriv able                      preparator        Lexical & PhrasalFreq.
Grammar                                                      explicit perf orm.               precommitment           politeness marker
                    OVERALL RATING                           hedged perf orm.                        grounder                understater
Politeness                           Perlocution            locution deriv able                     disarmer                     hedge
1. Very impolite                     1. Least acceptable      want statement                promise of reward              subjectiv izer
2. Slightly impolite                 2. Less acceptable      suggest. f ormula              imposition minim.                downtoner
3. Appropriate                       3. Acceptable               preparatory                            insult                   cajoler
4. Too polite                        4. More acceptable            strong hint                          threat                 appealer
5. Ov erly polite                    5. Most acceptable                mild hint                   moralizing
Representative Sample: NS Email Request
From Native Speaker <ns@mailmail.com>
Sent Sunday, March 9, 2003 11:25 pm
To    sford@hawaii.edu
Subject History Article Critique

Dear Dr. Peterson,

I am currently working on the article critique for our history
class and have encountered some trouble. As a result, I do
not believe that I will be able to complete my paper by the
due date. I was wondering if I could have a one week
extension to complete the assignment. I am sorry for any
inconvenience that this might cause.

Sincerely,
Native Speaker
              Email Formal Features
From Native Speaker <ns@mailmail.com>
Sent Sunday, March 9, 2003 11:25 pm
To    sford@hawaii.edu
Subject History Article Critique

Dear Dr. Peterson,

I am currently working on the article critique for our history
class and have encountered some trouble. As a result, I do
not believe that I will be able to complete my paper by the
due date. I was wondering if I could have a one week
extension to complete the assignment. I am sorry for any
inconvenience that this might cause.

Sincerely,
Native Speaker
                  Request Head Act
From Native Speaker <ns@mailmail.com>
Sent Sunday, March 9, 2003 11:25 pm
To    sford@hawaii.edu
Subject History Article Critique

Dear Dr. Peterson,

I am currently working on the article critique for our history
class and have encountered some trouble. As a result, I do
not believe that I will be able to complete my paper by the
due date. I was wondering if I could have a one week
extension to complete the assignment. I am sorry for any
inconvenience that this might cause.

Sincerely,
Native Speaker
         Mitigating Supportive Moves
From Native Speaker <ns@mailmail.com>
Sent Sunday, March 9, 2003 11:25 pm
To    sford@hawaii.edu
Subject History Article Critique

Dear Dr. Peterson,

I am currently working on the article critique for our
history class and have encountered some trouble. As a
result, I do not believe that I will be able to complete my
paper by the due date. I was wondering if I could have a
one week extension to complete the assignment. I am sorry
for any inconvenience that this might cause.

Sincerely,
Native Speaker
Representative Sample: NNS Email Request
From Nonnas Peaker <nns@hawaii.edu>
Sent Sunday, January 19, 2003 12:56 pm
To    sford@hawaii.edu
Subject Emergency!! Dr. Peterson!
Hello, Dr. Peterson, I am a student from your History 251
class. My name is Nonnas Peaker. I know we have a writing
assignment due next week, I am kinda run out of the time
because I got work and sports. Could you give me some
extension period, therefore I can finish the assignment well. I
think two more days are good enough for me. Please reply my
email ASAP, and thank you for taking your time.
               Email Formal Features
From Nonnas Peaker <nns@hawaii.edu>
Sent Sunday, January 19, 2003 12:56 pm
To    sford@hawaii.edu
Subject Emergency!! Dr. Peterson!
Hello, Dr. Peterson, I am a student from your History 251
class. My name is Nonnas Peaker. I know we have a writing
assignment due next week, I am kinda run out of the time
because I got work and sports. Could you give me some
extension period, therefore I can finish the assignment well. I
think two more days are good enough for me. Please reply my
email ASAP, and thank you for taking your time.
                  Request Head Act
From Nonnas Peaker <nns@hawaii.edu>
Sent Sunday, January 19, 2003 12:56 pm
To    sford@hawaii.edu
Subject Emergency!! Dr. Peterson!
Hello, Dr. Peterson, I am a student from your History 251
class. My name is Nonnas Peaker. I know we have a writing
assignment due next week, I am kinda run out of the time
because I got work and sports. Could you give me some
extension period, therefore I can finish the assignment well. I
think two more days are good enough for me. Please reply my
email ASAP, and thank you for taking your time.
           Mitigating Supportive Moves
From Nonnas Peaker <nns@hawaii.edu>
Sent Sunday, January 19, 2003 12:56 pm
To    sford@hawaii.edu
Subject Emergency!! Dr. Peterson!
Hello, Dr. Peterson, I am a student from your History 251
class. My name is Nonnas Peaker. I know we have a writing
assignment due next week, I am kinda run out of the time
because I got work and sports. Could you give me some
extension period, therefore I can finish the assignment well. I
think two more days are good enough for me. Please reply my
email ASAP, and thank you for taking your time.
                  Politeness Markers
From Nonnas Peaker <nns@hawaii.edu>
Sent Sunday, January 19, 2003 12:56 pm
To    sford@hawaii.edu
Subject Emergency!! Dr. Peterson!
Hello, Dr. Peterson, I am a student from your History 251
class. My name is Nonnas Peaker. I know we have a writing
assignment due next week, I am kinda run out of the time
because I got work and sports. Could you give me some
extension period, therefore I can finish the assignment well. I
think two more days are good enough for me. Please reply my
email ASAP, and thank you for taking your time.
                        Upgraders
From Nonnas Peaker <nns@hawaii.edu>
Sent Sunday, January 19, 2003 12:56 pm
To    sford@hawaii.edu
Subject Emergency!! Dr. Peterson!
Hello, Dr. Peterson, I am a student from your History 251
class. My name is Nonnas Peaker. I know we have a writing
assignment due next week, I am kinda run out of the time
because I got work and sports. Could you give me some
extension period, therefore I can finish the assignment well. I
think two more days are good enough for me. Please reply my
email ASAP, and thank you for taking your time.
                         Data Analysis
To summarize findings from the NS data (N=29):
1. NS messages score slightly above average acceptance for perlocutionary
   effect (3.14) and politeness (3.07);

2. NS messages contain on average 7.6 of the 9 required formal netiquette
   features with above average acceptability (2.3);

3. NS messages contain on average 9 pragmatic features, the majority of
   them being supporters and alerters;

4. Almost all NS messages contain a grounder, title, and surname, and use
   the preparatory strategy to form requests;

5. 3 NS messages contain upgraders (Hi!, Aloha!, Thank you!);

6. NS messages score above acceptable for spelling (2.9) and grammar (2.5);

7. NS messages average 1 request per message; and

8. NS messages average 92 wpm in length.
To summarize findings from the NNS pre-test data (N=15):
1. NNS messages score less than average acceptance for perlocutionary
   effect (2.20) and above average for politeness (3.33), although there is
   extreme variability;

2. NNS messages contain on average 6.6 of the 9 required formal
   netiquette features with below average acceptability (1.8);

3. NNS messages contain on average 8 acceptable pragmatic features;
   however, no trends can be found in their use;

4. NNS data set contains 12 upgraders (interjections, time intensifiers,
   request repetitions);

5. NNS messages score acceptable for spelling (2.0) and below acceptable
   for grammar (1.5);

6. NNS messages average 2 request per message; and

7. NNS messages average 97 wpm in length.
             Results of Research Study
Research Question #1:
What are the differences between NNSs and NSs of English in
the pragmatic features of email requests concerning academic
topics sent to unfamiliar professors?

• NS messages score higher than NNS messages for per-
  locutionary effect (3.14 : 2.20).
• NS messages score average for politeness, while NNS
  messages score more overly polite (3.07 : 3.33).
• NS messages contain more acceptable formal features of
  email pragmatics (subject, greeting, closing, no emoticons).

• NS email messages contain more acceptable and consistent
  content features of email pragmatics (few upgraders).
               Results of Research Study
Research Question #1:
What are the differences between NSs and NNSs of English in the pragmatic
features of email requests concerning academic topics sent to unfamiliar
professors?

• NS messages score higher than NNS messages for perlocutionary effect
  (3.14 : 2.20).

• NS messages score average for politeness, while NNS messages score
  more overly polite (3.07 : 3.33).

• NS messages contain more acceptable formal features of email pragmatics
  (subject, greeting, closing, no emoticons) than those of NNSs.

• NS email messages contain more acceptable and consistent content
  features of email pragmatics (few upgraders) than those of NNSs.

• NS email messages score most acceptable for grammar, while NNSs score
  less than acceptable (2.5 : 1.5)

• NS email messages average 1 request, while NNSs average 2 requests.
Research Question #2:
What are the effects of instruction in the usage of appropriate
pragmatic features when writing email requests?

• Data analysis shows gains in the use of acceptable formal
  features of pragmatic email requests from pre- to post-tests
  after treatment. Delayed post-test shows gains maintained
  but not at the level of the immediate post-test.
  - Pre: 6.3/9, Immediate Post: 8.4/9, Delayed Post: 7.6/9

• Data analysis shows gradual improvement toward the use of
  acceptable content features of pragmatic email requests from
  pre- to post-tests after treatment.
  - more acceptable content features of email pragmatics
  - fewer upgraders used
  - however, no trends can be found in the data set
Research Question #2:
What are the effects of instruction in the usage of appropriate
pragmatic features when writing email requests?

• Data analysis shows gradual improvement toward the use of
  acceptable content features of pragmatic email requests from
  pre- to immediate post- to delayed post-test.
  - more acceptable content features of email pragmatics
  - fewer upgraders used
  - however, no trends can be found in the data set
  - analysis of content features problematic
• No changes found in spelling or grammar from pre- to
  immediate post- to delayed post-test.
  - spelling and grammar discussed in treatment but not the focus

• No changes found in the number of requests per message, and
  no significant differences found in wpm after treatment.
• Data analysis shows significant gains in the use of acceptable
  formal features of pragmatic email requests from pre- to post-
  tests after treatment.
 Test             N      Mean     SD         Low         High
 Pre              15     6.60     1.88       3.00        9.00
 Immediate post   15     8.33      .98       6.00        9.00
 Delayed post     15     8.07      .96       6.00        9.00
 Total            45     7.67     1.52       3.00        9.00

 ANOVA for Formal Features
 Source of variation SS           df      MS         F
 Between Groups       26.13        2      13.07      7.23 *
 Within Groups        75.87       42       1.81
 Total               102.00       44
 * p < .05

 Post-Hoc Test for Formal Features: Scheffe
 (I) TEST           (J) TEST          Mean Difference    SE     Sig.
 Pre               Immediate post -1.73 *                .49    .004
                   Delayed post       -1.47 *            .49    .017
 Immediate post    Pre                 1.73 *            .49    .004
                   Delayed post          .27             .49    .863
 Delayed post      Pre                 1.47 *            .49    .017
                   Immediate post       -.27             .49    .863
 * The mean difference is significant at the .05 level
•Additionally, data analysis shows significant gains in the
 acceptability of the formal features used from pre- to immediate
 post-test, which were not maintained in the delayed post-test.
Test              N     Mean      SD     Low      High
Pre               15    1.76      .64     .67     2.67
Immediate post    15    2.35      .43    1.11     2.89
Delayed post      15    2.16      .35    1.56     2.89
Total             45    2.09      .54     .67     2.89

ANOVA for Formal Features    Acceptability
                  SS         df    MS        F
Between Groups     2.75      2     1.38      5.77 *
Within Groups     10.01      42     .24
Total             12.77      44
* p < .05

Post-Hoc Test for Formal Features Acceptability: Scheffe
(I) TEST           (J) TEST          Mean Difference SE      Sig.
Pre               Immediate post -.59 *                .18   .007
                  Delayed post       -.41              .18   .086
Immediate post    Pre                 .59 *            .18   .007
                  Delayed post        .19              .18   .587
Delayed post      Pre                 .41              .18   .086
                  Immediate post -.19                  .18   .587
* The mean difference is significant at the .05 level.
 Additionally, data analysis shows significant gains in the
  perlocution of the email messages from pre- to immediate
  post-test, which were not maintained in the delayed post-test.
 Descriptive Statistics for Perlocution
 Test               N       Mean     SD       Low         High
 Pre                15      2.20     .68      1.00        3.00
 Immediate post 15          2.73     .46      2.00        3.00
 Delayed post       15      2.60     .51      2.00        3.00
 Total              45      2.51     .59      1.00        3.00

 ANOVA for Perlocution
 Source of variation  SS            df     MS         F
 Between Groups        2.31          2     1.16       3.75 *
 Within Groups        12.93         42      .308
 Total                15.24         44
 * p < .05

 Post-Hoc Test for Perlocution: Scheffe
 (I) TEST           (J) TEST          Mean Difference     SE     Sig.
 Pre               Immediate post -.53 *                  .20    .04
                   Delayed post       -.40                .20    .16
 Immediate post    Pre                 .53 *              .20    .04
                   Delayed post        .13                .20    .81
 Delayed post      Pre                 .40                .20    .16
                   Immediate post -.13                    .20    .81
 * The mean difference is significant at the .05 level.
• Graph of perlocution gains from pre- to immediate post- to
  delayed post-tests.




• Although perlocution showed improvement after treatment,
  there was very little change in politeness.
   Implications of Research Study Results
• ESL students need explicit instruction on the proper use of
  email pragmatics;

• Guidelines for email pragmatics can and should be taught;
• Ready-to-use materials on this topic are both useful and
  necessary;

• Email pragmatics should be addressed periodically instead of
  just in one treatment;

• Instruction in email pragmatics can improve the perlocution of
  NNS requests, can improve the use of formal email features,
  and may improve the use of content pragmatic features
• Instruction in email pragmatics may help students create email
  messages that achieve desired results.
                     Future Research
• Continue data analysis to determine what makes email
  messages more perlocutionarily acceptable.

• Continue data analysis to determine if there are certain formal
  and content pragmatic features that make email messages
  more perlocutionarily acceptable.
• Continue to gather more data from undergraduate ESL
  students to add to this corpus.

• Study treatment design on NSs to determine if gains are
  similar to NNSs.
• Elicit help of additional raters to code a portion of the data to
  determine the reliability of the coding scheme and rating.
      Conclusion

Thank you for attending!

				
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