Apologies are an integral part of daily life for both native and nonnative speakers. While an L2 learner may have excellent grammatical and/or lexical skills, they may still commit pragmatic and linguistic errors in speech acts due to not knowing acceptable L1 sociopragmatic and sociolinguistic behavior. This study examines the use of apology speech acts by Taiwanese freshmen English majors at a private university and the use of online data collection versus traditional methods. Paper-andpencil and online discourse completion tasks (DCT) were used to examine the quantitative and qualitative differences in apologies by males and females according to length of apologies and strategies used. Results showed that the subjects used a total of ten strategies, all identified by previous literature. No significant differences were found between males and females in length of apologies, number of strategies used, or types of strategies used. There were also no differences between the paper and online DCT. The results suggest that speech act strategies, like other linguistic skills, begin at the most formulaic levels and may advance in complexity as proficiency increases. They also suggest that online data collection may be a valid tool for speech act elicitation. The results may be useful to EFL teachers who wish to increase their students’ sociopragmatic competence or gather speech act data.
Due to such factors as vocabulary, discourse pattern, and concept of time (Tiono, 2002), barriers in international communication are inevitable. While international communication takes place in various contexts and through different communication channels, the focus of the current study is on correspondence communication between people from different cultural backgrounds in the sales business. Specifically, the purpose of this study is to explore sources of misunderstanding among international salespeople in Taiwan regarding their written communication with customers from foreign countries. Based on literature reviewed, the common sources of misunderstanding in international business transactions can be a lack of familiarity in cultural practices of others, a wrongful use of strategies, or inadequate language competence. (Bazzanella & Damiano, 1999; Giles, Coupland, & Coupland, 1991; Mustajoki, 2007; Verdonik, 2010). To discover how these sources of misunderstanding may play a role in securing a deal for international sales personnel in Taiwan, this author had analyzed email correspondence contents of five experienced salespeople currently working at an export-sales department. It is believed that communication oriented towards relationship building and positive attitudes about customers along with meaningful coping strategies are some of the main requirements to reaching an agreement with foreign customers. Data collected was analyzed to summarize general sources of misunderstanding for Taiwanese international sales people in communicating through written messages with foreign customers. The purpose is to make due suggestions in related strategy use so as to make practical contributions for international communication practitioners in the specific context of international sales.
Vocational High School (VHS) English education in Taiwan has been confronting an ESP-versus-EGP dilemma. While ESP theorists proposed that ESP can be taught to secondary learners, little was known about VHS students’ perspectives on EGP versus ESP. Scant research has investigated different facets of students' needs (necessities, wants, and lacks) for both ESP and EGP in the four language skills and the reasons that contribute to any differences. To address the gap in the literature, 100 VHS students responded on a 6-point Likert scale to statements related to their necessities, wants, and lacks in learning the four skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) as well as the reasons resulting in their perceived needs in EGP and ESP. The results show that VHS students have a need for learning both EGP and ESP. The perceived necessities and wants for learning EGP are greater than those for learning ESP. The perceived lacks for ESP are greater than those for EGP. The findings also indicate that needs is a multidirectional, conflicting, and contradictory construct. What is seen as the most lacking skill (writing) is not what is deemed the most necessary and desirable (listening and speaking). What seems to be a required skill for success in the entrance examination (reading) is not ranked as the most necessary and desirable skill to learn. Finally, the top reasons for learning EGP and ESP, although ranked slightly differently, are all shared and are mostly related to instrumental motivation. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
This study aims to investigate what and how Taiwanese EFL university students write in their English academic lecture notes. In addition, this study also aims to examine the roles of lecture discourse signaling cues in the organization of EFL students’ lecture note-taking. The participants of this study include 24 EFL university or graduate school students enrolled in an academic listening course in a national university in Taiwan. All of the participants have an English proficiency level of B2 to C1 under the framework of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. To find out what the participants write in and how they organize their academic lecture notes, the participants are asked to listen to a 10-to-15-minute long mini-lecture with discourse signaling cues each week in class. The lecture notes are then collected for analysis. Analysis of the students' lecture notes reveals several findings: (1) the students have learned to use keywords and organizational structure in their lecture notes; (2) the quality of students’ lecture notes has improved; (3) the students have learned to use discourse signaling cues to retain detailed information such as examples and definitions in their notes. Based on the findings, this study suggests that, in order to improve academic listening skills, it is essential to develop note-taking skills with lecture discourse signaling cues for EFL students in Taiwan.