A case study of seven Taiwanese English as a foreign language freshman non-English majors' perceptions about learning five communication strategies



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The primary purpose of this study was to identify what were Taiwanese University English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learners? perceptions about learning communication strategies. This study collected qualitative data about students? beliefs and attitudes as they learned communication strategies. The research question guiding the study was: What are Taiwanese University EFL learners? perceptions about learning five communication strategies? Twenty-four university students were trained for 10 weeks to use strategies in Faerch and Kasper?s (1983a) taxonomy, and seven volunteers were interviewed. None of the students majored in English but were enrolled in a required Basic English course in a Freshman English Non-Majors? (FENM) program in Agriculture College at Tunghai University. In the middle and at the end of the training period, participants were interviewed and videotaped for 90 minutes. The results were as follows:

  1. In the reduction set of communication strategies, seven volunteers tended to admit that ?topic avoidance? (1.) was applicable; however, they disagreed about ?keeping silence? because of their concern about politeness. 2) Students had mixed views about ?message abandonment? (2.) that ranged from a neutral position to appropriate and inappropriate usages.
  2. In the meaning replacement strategy (3.), most of the students believed that it was convenient to have access to getting to know their interlocutor?s intended meaning.
  3. In the second achievement set, four students perceived it was useful, but three students provided their vague attitudes with various suggestions for usage. For the interlanguage strategy (4.), six students noticed it offered a function of enhancing their comprehensibility in English communication, and one student had a neutral attitude. The data revealed students had sufficient and complex perceptions about ?word-coinage.?
  4. In the cooperation strategy (5.), six students believed it assisted them to achieve the purpose of learning, but two of seven students believed it was losing face when appealing for help.
  5. The constant method of analysis revealed eight themes associated with topic avoidance (1.), message abandonment (2.), meaning replacement (3.), interlanguage (4.), and cooperation (5.) strategies, were mentioned by seven participants. They were comprehension, politeness, intentionality, native language, face-saving (losing-face), interlanguage system, time-saving, and keywords.