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Title An investigation into the ability of South African students at Stellenbosch University to interpret implicatures in their second language English
Publication Date
Date Available
Degree MPhil
Discipline/Department General Linguistics
University/Publisher Stellenbosch University

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Due to increasing concern about the low levels of throughput at university level, and with an ever-growing awareness of the important role that students’ academic literacy plays in academic success, Stellenbosch University implemented language support courses in various faculties across the campus. In addition, the massification of higher education means that the demographic profile of the student population in university classrooms has changed, and lecturers are increasingly faced with students from a variety of multicultural contexts. It is within this context that a study was done to determine to what extent linguistic and cultural background affects a speaker’s ability to derive meaning from conversational and, by extension, academic implicatures in English. Previous studies have found that native speakers (NSs) and nonnative speakers (NNSs) of English infer different meanings when confronted with particular types of implicature and that NNSs tend to interpret certain types of implicature correctly more often than others. First-year students at Stellenbosch University with a variety of mother tongues were asked to complete a questionnaire containing various types of implicatures. Their responses indicated significant differences in the accuracy with which NSs and NNSs interpreted certain types of implicatures, and in the meanings they arrived at. The thesis considers possible reasons for these differences, and discusses the implications of the study’s results for academic literacy/language support courses offered at South African universities.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Te midde van toenemende kommer oor die lae deurvloeikoerse op universiteitsvlak, en ’n al groter bewustheid van die beduidende impak van studente se akademiese geletterdheid op akademiese sukses, het die Universiteit Stellenbosch taalondersteuningskursusse in verskeie fakulteite op kampus geïmplementeer. Daarbenewens het die massifikasie van tersiêre onderwys tot gevolg dat die demografiese profiel van die studentebevolking in universiteitsklaskamers verander het, en dosente kom toenemend in aanraking met studente vanuit diverse kulturele kontekste. Binne hierdie konteks is ’n studie onderneem om vas te stel in watter mate ’n spreker se vermoë om die betekenis van geïmpliseerde taalgebruik (in alledaagse gesprekke en by implikasie ook akademiese taal) te bepaal, deur taal en kulturele agtergrond beïnvloed word. Navorsing het getoon dat moedertaalsprekers en nie-moedertaalsprekers van Engels verskillende betekenisse toeken wanneer hulle met sekere tipes geïmpliseerde taalgebruik in aanraking kom, en dat nie-moedertaalsprekers sekere tipes geïmpliseerde taalgebruik meer dikwels korrek interpreteer as ander. Eerstejaarstudente aan die Universiteit Stellenbosch met ’n verskeidenheid moedertale is gevra om ’n vraelys met verskillende tipes geïmpliseerde taalgebruik te voltooi. Die response het getoon dat daar beduidende verskille is in die akkuraatheid waarmee moedertaalsprekers en nie-moedertaalsprekers…

Subjects/Keywords Linguistics; Dissertations  – Linguistics
Contributors Conradie, Simone; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of General Linguistics.
Language en
Rights Stellenbosch University
Country of Publication za
Format 118 leaves
Record ID handle:10019.1/71635
Repository stellenbosch
Date Indexed 2018-01-05

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Stellenbosch University http://scholar.sun.ac.za Chapter 3: Research design and methodology 47 3.1 Introduction 47 3.2 Research questions and hypotheses 47 3.3 Research design 48 3.4 Methodology and data collection 49 3.5 Participants 50…

…status 69 4.5 Conclusion 72 Stellenbosch University http://scholar.sun.ac.za Chapter 5: Discussion 73 5.1 Introduction 73 5.2 Effect of L1/cultural background 73 5.2.1 Overall performance on Implicature Test 73 5.2.2 Performance on different…

…limitations of study 95 6.5 Suggestions for future research 97 6.6 Final remarks 97 Bibliography 98 Appendix A: Background Questionnaire 106 Appendix B: Implicature Test 111 Stellenbosch University http://scholar.sun.ac.za LIST OF TABLES Table…

…backgrounds 88 Stellenbosch University http://scholar.sun.ac.za LIST OF FIGURES Figure 2.1: Factors that affect language test scores (Bachman, 1990:165) 38 Figure 4.1: Between-group differences in performance on the Implicature Test 63…

…Implicature Test 68 70 Figure 4.8: Performance of different socio-economic status groups on English Language Profiler 71 Stellenbosch University http://scholar.sun.ac.za CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION 1.1 Introduction South African students entering university…

…beyond sentence level (Weideman, 2003a:xi). Several higher education institutions, including Stellenbosch University, have subsequently implemented academic literacy and language support courses to help students become more proficient in the…

…implicature (i.e. 1 Stellenbosch University http://scholar.sun.ac.za communication in which a speaker implies, but does not overtly express, a particular meaning and that therefore requires a hearer to work out (infer) the meaning intended by…

…descriptions and examples of the different types of implicature. 2 Stellenbosch University http://scholar.sun.ac.za implicature. A secondary research objective concerned the possibility of the influence of various factors, such as L1/cultural background, L2…