Social contact and speech act strategies in a Chinese study abroad context

Xiaofei Tang, Naoko Taguchi, Shuai Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This study examined the relationship between reported amounts of social contact and speech act strategies among 70 learners of Chinese enrolled in a study abroad program in Beijing. The participants completed a computer-delivered spoken discourse completion task (spoken DCT) eliciting three speech acts: requests, refusals, and compliment responses. Speech act strategies were compared between two groups of learners who reported different amounts of social contact (high and low social contact) as assessed via a self-report survey. Results showed that both high and low social contact groups favored using similar strategies to achieve the three speech acts. However, the high social contact group produced speech acts in a more sophisticated way: with a wider variety of request strategies, multiple refusal strategies used in combination and more deflecting strategies in compliment responses, compared with the low social contact group. The findings suggest that social contact helped learners expand their pragmalinguistic repertoire and employ more varied speech act strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-31
Number of pages29
JournalStudy Abroad Research in Second Language Acquisition and International Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 12 2021


  • Chinese
  • Compliment response
  • Refusal
  • Request
  • Social contact
  • Speech act

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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