交际策略研究及应用

2008-11-18 19:38 来源: 作者: 网友评论 1 条 浏览次数 3659

交际策略研究及应用

 

作者:张 

导师:王同顺教授

 

摘要

 

    本研究探索了将结果型和过程型交际策略模型相结合的可 能性,使该模型既能对中国学生使用交际策略的情况进行描述,又能解释其潜在的心理和认知过程。论文提出了交际策略的分类模型,使用验证性因子分析对模型进 行了修改,并对模型中的各项交际策略进行了定义和例示,以使模型得到最终确认,并揭示中国学生在不同交际环境下的策略使用状况。在该模型的基础上,本研究 探讨了学习者的个人因素(如性格、认知风格和口语能力)与交际策略使用情况的关系。

   本研究试图解决以下几个问题:

   (1) 描述和解释中国大学生使用交际策略情况的模型是什么?

   (2) 中国大学生如何使用交际策略解决英语交流时遇到的困难?

   (3) 学习者的个性、认知风格和口语能力与交际策略的关系是什么?

理论背景

   交际策略,也被称为策略能力,是交际能力的重要组成部分之一,对交际策略的探索有助于人们对整个交际能力的理解,而策略能力的提高也将有利于形成更好的交际能力。交际策略的研究从上个世纪七十年代开始,这一概念由Selinker首次提出。到八十年代末和九十年代初,Nijmegen研究小组将该研究推向顶峰,并一直延续到本世纪。在中国,对交际策略的研究始于九十年代,其重点在交际策略的理论、影响因素和教授方法等方面。

   定义和分类是交际策略研究的焦点,因为任何其它方面的 研究都会因这两大问题的差异产生截然不同的结果。交际策略往往从社会交互性的角度或心理语言学的角度加以定义。前者强调交际策略使用的交互性,认为交际策 略是交谈双方对意义的共同协商;后者着重交际策略使用时的心理和认知过程,将有问题性和有意识性作为交际策略的主要特征。对交际策略的分类也有两种方法: 一种是结果型分类法,着重对二语学习者语言产出的描述,因此提倡分类模型中策略分类的细化和全面性。另一种是过程型分类法,强调使用交际策略时的心理和认 知过程,从而对语言的产出作出解释。因此过程型分类法主张模型中策略类别的简洁性、概括性和心理解释性。两种分类模型之间的截然不同产生了在交际策略的研 究方法和可授性问题方面的差异和矛盾,最终导致一些研究者回避对交际策略的研究和教授。虽然语言学家曾提出将这两类模型结合的可能性,但并没有提供实证研究加以说明。因此,本研究试图对交际策略进行更为全面的定义并为两类分类模型的结合提供实证支持。

    本研究以两种定义方法为基础,结合对中国学生在交际中使用策略的实际情况,将交际策略定义为“学习者在交流过程中由于语言知识或话题知识的缺乏或遗忘而发生理解或表达的困难时有意识使用的策略”。这一定义强调了在理解和表达两个方面可能出现的问题。此外,这一定义将问题的范围从语言知识延伸到了话题知识,而问题的起因除了语言或话题知识的缺乏也包括表达时对语言知识的暂时忘却。

    本研究以结果型和过程型分类模型以及Levelt的话语产出模型为基础,提出了一个较为全面的模型。该模型结合了两类模型的特点,并增加了新的策略类别。研究者使用定量和定性分析说明该模型建立的可能性,并对模型进行了修改, 从而确立最终的模型。

研究方法

    本研究采用了定量研究和定性研究相结合的方法。定量研究的对象是273名在校研究生,研究者最终对回收的240份有效问卷进行了分析。定量研究的主要工具除了问卷以外还有SPSS 11.5LISREL 8.50统计软件。前者是为了测量同一类策略中各策略项目的内部一致性,后者是为了对模型进行验证性因子分析并作出相应修改,以使模型得到最终确认。定性研究主要是对上海交通大学93名英语学习者在自由交谈、课堂对话和口语考试中的语料进行话语分析。研究者使用了策略标记和回顾法对策略的应用加以辨认,并用访谈的方法对部分策略的使用情况加以进一步说明。

    基于经修改并确认的模型,该研究还涉及了交际策略影响因子中个性和认知风格对交际策略使用的影响。研究过程中对其它影响因子,如语言水平等进行了控制。该研究采用了同一份交际策略问卷,并附加了测量学习者的个性(内/外向)以及认知风格(分析型/整体型)的题项,从而对具有不同的个性和认知风格的学生使用交际策略的情况进行了比较。为了研究交际策略和口语能力的关系,研究者根据该批学生CET口语考试成绩,将其分为高分组和低分组,对这两组学生的策略使用情况进行了比较,并用SPSS统计软件对所有数据进行了分析。

研究结果

    定量研究的结果表明,结合结果型和过程型的策略模型的 建立是可行的。这一模型不仅可以对语言交流中使用的交际策略进行描述,还能解释学习者在使用交际策略时的心理和认知过程。该模型主要由减缩策略、成就策 略、交互策略和拖延策略四部分组成。其中成就策略又可进一步分为补偿策略和检索策略;交互策略可分为求助策略和副语言策略。而补偿策略则由概念策略和语码 策略组成;概念策略又包括整体策略和分析策略。

    在定性研究中,研究者对策略进行了分类,举例和解释, 从而验证了定量研究问卷的结构效度和内容效度。定性研究的结果还表明,中国大学生使用各种交际策略解决交际过程中遇到的问题。其中使用较多的策略为重复、 填充词、结构重造、减少信息、迂回、逐字翻译、使用通用词和形式简化。学习者在不同的环境下的策略使用也有所不同。语码转换、求助策略、话题回避和副语言 策略在口语考试中使用较少——语码转换和求助策略多出现在课堂交流中而话题回避和副语言策略多出现在自由交谈中。

    个性及认知风格对交际策略使用影响的研究发现,外向型 学习者更乐意也更频繁地借助交际策略解决交际中出现的问题。他们比内向型学习者更多地使用成就策略,补偿策略,语码策略和副语言策略。另外,策略类型和学 习者认知风格相一致。分析型的学习者多使用分析策略,整体型的学习者多使用整体策略。但认知风格没有明显偏向的学习者比有明显偏向的学习者更多地使用概念 策略。研究结果还表明,策略使用与口语能力有一定的关系。口语能力相对较强的学习者多使用概念和检索策略,而口语能力相对较弱的学习者多使用语码策略。

结论

     本研究试图为结果型和过程型的分类模型的结合提供实证 依据,从而针对交际策略的研究在理论、方法和可授性等诸方面存在的分歧提出一个折中的解决方法。另外,性格和认知风格对交际策略使用具有一定的影响作用, 而学习者口语水平与交际策略的使用之间也存在一定的关系。因此,在策略培训中除了对策略进行直接教授以外还应注意增强学生的整体策略意识,并根据学习者的 个人特点(如个性和认知风格等),有效地、有针对性地对学习者加以培训,使交际策略的使用达到最佳效果,尽可能地提高学习者的交际能力。

关键词:  交际策略、定义、分类模型、认知类别、个性、口语能力

Abstract

      This research explores a taxonomy that can describe and explain Chinese college learners’ employment of communication strategies (CSs) when English is used as a foreign language.  It also investigates how some individual factors—cognitive style, personality and oral English proficiency—are related with the use of CSs.  It attempts to help learners be better aware of the use of CSs and be able to employ them when difficulty arises in communication.  Therefore, this research addresses the following questions:

 

 (1) What is the model that can describe and explain Chinese college learners’ use of CSs?

 

 (2)  How do Chinese college learners employ CSs to help ease the difficulties while communicating in English?

 

 (3) How do learners’ personalities, cognitive styles and oral English proficiency influence their use of CSs?

 

   Theoretical background

 

        For decades, researchers have been engaged in the study of communicative competence, which is believed to be one of the most important elements in language acquisition.  Strategic competence, also termed as communication strategies, is considered one of the major components in various models of communicative competence.  Therefore, the study of CSs is significant and indispensable for a complete knowledge of communicative competence and the improvement of CSs will undoubtedly contribute to the better communicative competence.

 

        Two different approaches have prevailed in the interpretation of CSs: the definition approach and the taxonomy approach.  Definition and taxonomy are the two focal issues because other CS-related topics have often brought about controversial results due to the diverse conceptualizations.  The definition approach involves the interactional approach and the psycholinguistic approach.  The former views CSs from a social perspective, emphasizing the communicative interaction relative to CSs, while the latter focuses on the psychological and cognitive aspects of CSs, taking problematicity and consciousness as the two major features.  There also exist two major camps of the taxonomies of CSs: the product-oriented and the process-oriented taxonomies.  The product-oriented taxonomies focus on the description of the language produced by the L2 learners and suggest the minute categorization of CSs by proposing additional categories, maintaining and expanding existing taxonomies.  On the other hand, the process-oriented taxonomies attempt to investigate the underlying processes of the use of CSs to explain speech output, thus meeting three requirements of the cognitive process: parsimony, generalizability and psychological plausibility.  The fundamental difference in the analytic approaches between the two types of taxonomies is accompanied by the noted divergence and contradiction of views on the methodological and pedagogical issues.  Such marked divergence results in a puzzling problem: if researchers, teachers or students choose to follow one school of thought, their research, teaching and learning may be criticized by those holding opposite views.  This divergence will be a source of conflict leading to the possible avoidance of research and teaching of CSs, which is an undesirable outcome.  Although the combination of the two different taxonomic approaches has been suggested by some researchers, no empirical evidence is provided.  Consequently, this research intends to give a definition of CSs on the basis of the two perspectives of definitions.  Meanwhile, it attempts to provide evidence to support the taxonomy that draws upon the strengths of various taxonomies.  It is a taxonomy that intends to describe and explain Chinese college learners’ use of CSs.

 

        Based on the strengths of both interactional and psycholinguistic definitions of CSs, and for the convenience of analyzing Chinese college learners’ use of CSs, CSs are defined in this research as strategies consciously employed by learners to communicate when they have difficulty encoding or decoding meaning because of the insufficient or inaccessible linguistic resources or the inadequate knowledge about a topic.  This definition emphasizes receptive as well as productive aspects of CSs.  Besides, the causes of problems in communication vary from the deficiency or irretrievability of the linguistic knowledge to the inadequacy of knowledge about the topic under discussion.

 

       On the basis of both the product- and the process-oriented taxonomies and Levelt’s psycholinguistic model of speech production, a more comprehensive taxonomy is proposed.  Such a taxonomy focuses on both the interactive aspect of the language produced by L2 learners and the cognitive features of psychological process in which CSs are used.  In addition, it takes receptive as well as productive aspects into consideration.  The study on the feasibility of the establishment of such a taxonomy is conducted by both quantitative and qualitative approaches.

 

  Methodology

 

        Of the two hundred and seventy three responses received from the subjects participating in the quantitative study, two hundred and forty were rendered valid and were finally analyzed, for each of the rest contained one or more choices either missed or skipped carelessly.  The instruments for the quantitative study included: 1) questionnaire, 2) SPSS 11.5, and 3) LISREL 8.50.  Based on the responses to the questionnaire items, a Confirmatory Factor Analysis of the proposed taxonomy was conducted.

 

        In the qualitative study, the speech data were analyzed, which were obtained from the performance of ninety three postgraduates in three different communicative environments: free chatting, classroom interaction and oral English test.  CS markers and the retrospective protocol were employed to identify the use of CSs and interviews were conducted to explain some confusing phenomena occurring in the conversation analysis.

 

        Finally, on the basis of the modified taxonomy, another quantitative study was conducted to investigate how individual factors influence the use of CSs.  The questionnaire from the previous study was used, with some additional personality and cognitive style questionnaire items, CET Spoken English Test scores of the subjects were collected and SPSS was adopted in comparative studies on CS use for four groups of learners: introverted versus extroverted learners, analytic versus holistic learners, learners with distinct cognitive tendency versus those without, learners with higher oral English proficiency versus those with lower oral English proficiency.

 

  Findings                    

 

       Results from the Confirmatory Factor Analysis have indicated that it was feasible to establish a taxonomy on the basis of the strengths of both process- and product-oriented taxonomies.  Such a taxonomy could provide psychological and cognitive explanations of the underlying processes as well as describe in detail the CSs used in speech performance.  The four major components of CSs in this taxonomy included: avoidance strategies, achievement strategies, interactive strategies, and stalling strategies.  Achievement strategies were further divided into compensatory strategies and retrieval strategies, while interactive strategies were comprised of appealing strategies and para-linguistic strategies.  In addition, compensatory strategies consisted of code strategies and conceptual strategies, which were further classified into holistic and analytic strategies (see Figure 4.2).

 

         The qualitative study has classified, exemplified and explained various CSs employed by Chinese college learners, thus supporting the construct and content validity of the questionnaire used in the quantitative study.  The analysis of the data demonstrates that Chinese college learners employed various kinds of CSs to solve communicative problems, among which the most frequently used strategies were repetition, fillers, restructuring, message reduction, circumlocution, literal translation, using all-purpose words and formal reduction.  Furthermore, strategies employed in different communicative environments varied, with code-switching and appeals for assistance often occurring in a classroom environment, and topic avoidance and para-linguistic strategies being frequently employed in free talks.

 

      It has also been found that the employment of CSs was related with learners’ personalities and influenced by their cognitive styles.  Extroverted learners more willingly and more frequently employed CSs, and para-linguistic strategies, code strategies, compensatory strategies and achievement strategies, in particular, to solve communicative problems.  In addition, analytic learners tended to use analytic strategies while holistic learners were inclined to employ holistic strategies.  But learners who were more balanced in their cognitive styles were likely to employ conceptual strategies.  The relationship between CS use and learners’ oral English proficiency was that learners with higher oral English proficiency tended to use conceptual and retrieval strategies more frequently, whereas those with lower oral English proficiency were more likely to employ code strategies.

 

  Conclusion

 
 
 

       This study has attempted to adopt an eclectic approach to defining and classifying CSs.  Empirical evidence is provided for the combination of the product- and the process-oriented taxonomies.  The purpose is to facilitate the eclecticism between the two totally different views on defining and classifying CSs and that between the controversial methodological and pedagogical issues concerning CSs.  The pedagogical implication of this research is to facilitate a method of CS training, which is not confined to the direct teaching of CSs but extended to raising learners’ awareness of CS use.  Such a method is also adjusted according to individual differences (e.g. learners’ personalities and cognitive styles).  In this way, Chinese college learners can make the most effective use of CSs to solve the problems they are likely to encounter while communicating in English and can finally achieve the desired success in communication.

KEY WORDS:   communication strategies, definition, taxonomy, cognitive style, personality, oral English proficiency

 

 

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