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Assessing Intercultural Language Learning

The Dependence of Receptive Sociopragmatic Competence and Discourse Competence on Learning Opportunities and Input


Veronika Timpe

Although Intercultural Communicative Competence (ICC) has become a key objective in foreign language (FL) education, curricula offer little in how language teachers can promote ICC through language instruction. This book responds to the challenge of how intercultural language learning can be accounted for more profoundly in FL teaching. By means of innovative intercultural assessments, the author investigates the development of three language competences central to ICC in relation to learning opportunities as experienced by German learners of English. Audiovisual media were found to be a major input factor in the development of intercultural language abilities. The book ends with a discussion of how audiovisual media can be implemented in secondary and tertiary FL and teacher education.
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Chapter VII: Limitations, Conclusions, and Directions for Future Research


This chapter presents a summary of the main findings together with recommendations for further research, teaching, and assessment. However, before outlining the final conclusions, implications, and contributions of this study, a number of limitations and constraints regarding the present investigation will be addressed.

In the context of this study, several limitations about the sample, the test instruments, and the methodology used in this research project need to be acknowledged.

In terms of the sample, the most obvious limitation is the homogeneity of the sample which can be criticized as a “convenience sample” (Roever, 2011, p. 474) as it only included L1 German university-level learners of English who, apart from individual differences, share a rather common socio-economic, educational, geographical, and age background (Roever, 2011). Given that pragmatics is linguistic action in social contexts, receptive and productive “pragmatic performance is sensitive to the sociocultural backgrounds and experiences of those who interact in a given setting” (Taguchi, 2012, p. 260). Due to this context-sensitivity, all respondents were selected in reference to a specific setting: a German university context. Although the study thus contributed to investigations set within an academic context, a rather underrepresented domain in L2 pragmatic research (Roever, 2011), the findings cannot be generalized to other L1s or age groups.

Furthermore, future studies should provide for a larger and more balanced sample size given that the limited and rather imbalanced sample size of N = 105 posed a number of challenges and limitations to the statistical analyses...

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