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ERIC Number: ED377692
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994
Pages: 19
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Politeness and Pragmatic Competence in Foreign Language Education.
LoCastro, Virginia
It is noted that a common belief among native Japanese-speakers is that it is not necessary to be polite when speaking English, despite the fact that politeness is seen as a Japanese cultural attribute. Researchers have also noted this discrepancy. A study investigated how Japanese secondary school textbooks for English as a Second Language (ESL) treat the issue of politeness in speech, one aspect of pragmatic competence. A list of conventional, formal linguistic markers (lexical, morphological, syntactic/semantic) of politeness was prepared for both English and Japanese. Eighteen ESL textbooks in use in Japan over the last decade, two recently-published texts conforming to revised curriculum standards, and other foreign-published textbooks were analyzed for explicit attention to politeness. None was found. This is attributed to the written orientation of some textbooks and to the kinds of interactional discourse presented in textbooks. In addition, incorrect or distorted translations of English were found. Further factors in lack of pragmatic training are identified, including the nature of classroom interactions and systemic differences in treatment of politeness issues in Japanese and English. However, it is argued that for developmental reasons, secondary school is an appropriate place to teach pragmatics, including politeness. Contains 26 references. (MSE)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Japan