A Comparative Study of Chinese EFL Undergraduates’ Pragmatic Competence in English Letter Writing Between Urban and Suburban Universities

Zhilan Zeng, Subadrah Madhawa Nair, Walton Wider


In this era of globalization, pragmatic competence plays a vital role in cross-cultural communication. The objective of this study is to investigate whether location is a key factor influencing Chinese EFL undergraduates’ pragmatic competence in English letter writing by comparing urban and suburban universities. This study adopted a descriptive research design. The samples of the study were 450 Chinese college students, with 225 from a university located in an urban city (Guangzhou) and another 225 from a university located in a suburban city (Yiyang). All the participants in this study took an English letter writing test and their writings were analyzed from the perspectives of choice of vocabulary, grammar, syntax and organization. The findings from quantitative data indicated that the overall pragmatic competence of the students from an urban university was better than that of the students from a suburban university. Specifically, there was a significant difference in the overall pragmatic competence, choice of vocabulary, grammar, syntax between an urban university and a suburban university, whereas there was no significant difference in organization. Pedagogically, the findings suggest that pragmatic competence and learning environment should be taken into consideration and lecturers could adopt flexible and feasible approaches applicable to students living in different parts of the world.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/wjel.v12n6p377

World Journal of English Language
ISSN 1925-0703(Print)  ISSN 1925-0711(Online)

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