Effects of linguistic proficiency on speech act development in L2 Chinese during study abroad

Shuai Li, Xiaofei Tang, Naoko Taguchi, Feng Xiao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This study investigated the effects of different levels of linguistic proficiency on the development of multiple speech acts during study abroad. Participants were 109 American learners of Chinese recruited from a study abroad program in China. They were divided into a higher proficiency (HP) group and a lower proficiency (LP) group based on their scores on a standardized Chinese proficiency test. The participants completed a computerized oral Discourse Completion Test (DCT) that assessed the production of compliment response, refusal, and request as pre-and posttests. The learners' oral productions were analyzed according to measures of appropriateness rating and speech rate. Linguistic analysis was performed to examine changes in strategy preference and distribution across the three speech acts. Results revealed a complex relationship between proficiency, speech act type, pragmatic performance measure (e.g., appropriateness, speech rate), and ways that pragmatic changes are evaluated (e.g., developmental trajectory, amount of gain).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-151
Number of pages36
JournalStudy Abroad Research in Second Language Acquisition and International Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 19 2022


  • L2 Chinese
  • pragmatic development
  • proficiency
  • speech acts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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