Assessing Pragmatic Ability of Thai Hotel Management and Tourism Students in the Context of Hotel Front Office Department

| July 20, 2011
Assessing Pragmatic Ability of Thai Hotel Management and Tourism Students in the Context of Hotel Front Office Department

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Sonporn Sirikhan
Chulalongkorn University, Thailand
Kanchana Prapphal
Chulalongkorn University, Thailand

Bio Data
Sonporn Sirikhan is a Ph.D. candidate in the English as an International Language Program, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand. She received her M.A. in Teaching English as a Foreign Language from the Faculty of Education, Chiangmai University. Her gratitude extends to Prof. Dr. Kanchana Prapphal and to the 90th Anniversary of Chulalongkorn University Fund (Ratchadaphisek Somphot Endowment Fund) for financing this research project. Her main interests are ESP teaching, teaching materials development, and pragmatic assessment.

Dr. Kanchana Prapphal, the corresponding author, is a professor at Chulalongkorn University Language Institute. She has contributed a number of articles in language teaching and testing.

Effective and appropriate communication in the hotel business needs more than linguistic knowledge. Pragmatic competence plays a very crucial role. This study aimed to (1) assess students pragmatic ability in the context of the hotel Front Office department; (2) study whether the levels of English proficiency have a significant effect on pragmatic ability, and investigate similarities and differences of linguistic forms related to pragmatic ability produced by the students with different levels of English proficiency; and (3) study the errors that interfere with the students pragmatic knowledge. The subjects were 90 fourth-year Thai university students related to hospitality services. The stratified random technique was applied to obtain the sample size of the students in each language ability group. The research instruments were: a needs assessment questionnaire; the Front Office Pragmatic-Test (FOP-Test); and a pragmatic knowledge questionnaire. Descriptive statistics and one-way ANOVA were employed to assess the students ability, and observe the effect of the levels of English proficiency on pragmatic ability. Content analysis and frequency counts were conducted to reveal linguistic features and pragmatic failures. The findings revealed that (1) the FOP-Test could distinguish the students pragmatic ability into high, average, and low levels; (2) there was a significant effect as a result of the levels of English proficiency on pragmatic ability; and the linguistic features that differentiated the students pragmatic abilities, in all groups, were the use of politeness markers and address forms; and (3) students produced pragmatic failures, in both pragmalinguistics and sociolinguistics. These errors were perceived as ineffectiveness and inappropriateness in hotel staff and guest communication. The findings provided more insights into ESP and EOP teaching and assessment, especially in hospitality services for Thai students.


See pages 72-94

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Category: Monthly Editions, Volume 53