The acquisition of situation-bound utterances (SBUs), a sub-type of conventional expressions, constitutes an integral part of pragmatic competence. In particular, recognition of conventional expressions is a necessary condition for production. However, learners’ receptive knowledge of Chinese SBUs has received limited attention, especially in Chinese as a foreign language (CFL). This cross-sectional study aims to measure CFL learners’ written recognition of Chinese SBUs in relation to the length of learning experience and the type of speech act conveyed by the expressions. An 18-item multiple-choice discourse completion task (MDCT) eliciting different types of speech acts was administered to 156 Italian year-1, year-2, and year-3 CFL learners. For each item, the key option and the distractors consisted of the responses to a previous discourse-completion test provided by Chinese native speakers and a different pool of Italian CFL learners, respectively. Statistical and qualitative analysis of the MDCT data suggests that: (i) the participants displayed a poor receptive knowledge of Chinese SBUs, with limited developmental patterns; (ii) the factors that mainly affected the responses were overgeneralization and L1 transfer, both lexical and pragmatic, while the type of speech act only played a marginal role.
Conti, S. (In corso di stampa). The recognition of situation-bound utterances: Testing receptive pragmatic knowledge in Chinese as a foreign language. In H.Z. Istvan Kecskes (a cura di), Chinese as a Second Language Research from Different Angles (pp. 52-75). Brill [10.1163/9789004678149].