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Communication Strategies Used By Vietnamese Students Cultural Studies Essay

In Vietnam, British is now the most popular spanish and anyone who want to integrate themslves in to the global contemporary society and gain access to the world's knowlege to be sucessful in life is aware that British competence is one the main characteristics they need to have. English is seen all over the place in education, business, entertainment and ethnical exchanges. Therefore, English is becoming the main communication language in the united states.

In light of sociolinguistics development, linguistic analysts have been paying more and more attention to the importance of communication in its sociable context. The sociable factors in communication competence have been identified and researched. These have impacted firmly on teaching and learning the vocabulary. English learning is changing quite simply and positively. Learners of British do not learn British with regard to learning itself by treating grammatical knowledge mainly and separately but in the belief that it is more important to converse effectively in the vocabulary by sending and receiving communications, creating so this means and negotiating interpretation. These lead to the inclination toward which communication competence has recently been enjoying learners' great attractiveness. However, the effectiveness of communication in the prospective language is still both learners and teachers' deepest concern since learners who have already spent significant periods of time on learning the language to connect as the main goal of the learning but then the majority of them encounter too many difficulties in communicating in the words.

The learning context

In Petrovietnam Manpower Training University, where I am working as a instructor of British, students, the themes of the research, are technicians and graduates who are recruited to work in Petrovietnam's jobs and plants taking a special program. They may have graduated university with nearly equal English dialect education but have different English skills and like almost Vietnamese students, they have been trying to learn English in reason for communication but find difficult to connect in the terms. At the college, English is trained as you of the key subjects to provide the students with the language that they would need to execute their job. British speaking is attached special importance to and students are expected to be proficient at communication in all circumstances after concluding the course. To serve these purposes, communicative words teaching Approach (CLT) is applied in instructing these students so that they can particularly enhance their communicative skills.

The rationales and purpose of the study.

Communication is interactive. So in pre-intermediate speaking class, students are usually given topics to discuss in groupings with the assistant of their educator before delivering their ideas to the school. These activities aim to get students involved with social communication or discussion to compensate their insufficient practice in the EFL environment. These tasks require the students' big effort in trying to comprehend the others and getting themselves understood using any means at their learning stage. Regarding to my observation, generally in most situations, students at this level of British proficiency appear to struggle with expressing their thoughts because of their deficiency in linguistic skills, general understanding of the given issues or self confidence in using the dialect. Some of them exert themselves to the most to attain their communicative goals by unconsciously or consciously using different strategies to solve their particular communication problems and relatively confident in concluding the given activity meanwhile others just keep silent because they do not really know what to do to deal with the problems they may have during the chat and they neglect to keep most of the conversations happening as they would like to. So the purpose of this research is to recognize the normal communication strategies utilized by the students to improve efficiency of communication when they deal with the task of group debate and the communication strategy use of students of different British proficiency.

The research questions.

The study is conducted to discover the answers to the next questions:

What types of communication strategies are being used by Vietnamese students in British speaking class to compensate for his or her breakdowns in communication and also to enhance communicative performance in small group discussion?

Do students of different English proficiency utilize communication strategies in a different way?

Definitions of terms.

The term communication strategies is merely understand as methods or techniques that language users use to help themselves defeat problems occuring during communication to achieve communicative competence


Communicative competence

The definitive goal of any dialect learners is to attain communicative competence to get the best communication proficiency. Matching to Canale and Swain (1980), to attain communicative competence, learners need to gain the next perfect knowledge:

Grammatical competence which relates to the words knowledge (words and grammar guidelines) itself.

Sociolinguistic competence which is concerned to the capability to use also to interpret the utterances properly in various sociolinguistic communication situations.

Discourse competence is the ability to combine grammatical forms and meanings "to accomplish a unified spoken or written wording"

Strategic competence is the power of using verbal and non-verbal communication ways of make up for breakdowns in communication anticipated to limiting conditions in real communication or even to insufficient competence in a single or more of the the areas of communicative competence and also to enhance the success of communication

Among the four components that define communicative competence, tactical competence is probable relating to EFL learners most due to problems they commonly come across in communication and the communication strategies they often employ to resolve the issues. These strategies are believed vitally important "in negotiating interpretation where either linguistic buildings or sociolinguistic rules are not distributed between another vocabulary learner and a loudspeaker of the target terms" (O'Malley & Chamot, 1990, p. 43). Canale & Swain (1980) once confirm that good proper competence can help leanres with limiting L2 skills evade communication breakdowns.

Communication strategies

Many researchers have conducted research or studies on communication strategies up to now. Consequently, all of them in their own view claims different meanings and classifications of communication strategies.

Definitions of communication strategies

What happens if interlocutors do not understand each other because of their limited words resources? Can they keep their conversation happening when they cannot make themselves known? Cohen (1990, p. 56) feels that " a significant characteristic of successful sound system is that they use ways of keep the conversation going on". - They use communication strategies.

Tarone (1980, p. 419) explains communication strategy as "a common make an effort of two interlocutors to acknowledge interpretation in situations where essential meaning structures are not shared. " Communication strategies, to Tarone's interactional view, are socially-motivated strategies which are being used by several interlocutors to solve the problems of mutual insufficient understanding by negotiating meanings.

A communication strategy is simply described by Corder (1977 as cited in Bialystok, 1990) as "a systematic technique utilized by a speaker to express his interpretation when confronted with some difficulty. "

According to Faerch and Kasper (1983 as cited in Bialystok, 1990) communication strategies are "potentially mindful plans for handling what to someone presents itself as a challenge in reaching a specific communicative goal. " More associated with kinds of discourse, communication strategies in this classification are psychologically-motivated strategies that are related to mental programs of each interlocutor put in place in response to the issues of appearance.

Different authors determine communication strategies differently. However, the majority of the explanations show the purpose of communication strategies which is to cope with the problems that the words users face up to when communicating by using appropriate techniques.

Classifications of Communication strategies.

In the research on communication strategies, Dornyei, Faerch and Kasper and Tarone created their own classifications of communication strategies and their classifications.

Dornyei (1995 as cited in Dark brown, 2000) shows two branches of strategies: positive and negative.

Avoidence strategies (negative): topic avoidance and note abandonment

Compensatory strategies (positive): circumlocution, approximation, use of most purpose words, phrase coinage, prefabricated habits, non-linguistic transmission, literal translation, foreignizing, code turn, appeal for help, stalling or time-gaining strategies.

Faerch and Kasper (1983) classify communication strategies in to two main categories with the subcategories:

Avoidance tendencies - lowering strategies:

Formal lowering: phonological, morphological, syntactic and lexical.

Function lowering: reduction of speech skill modality, reduced amount of propositional context

Achievement action - compensatory strategies.

Code switching

Interlingual transfer: generalization, paraphrasing, expression coinage, restructuring.

Cooperative strategies

Non-linguistic strategies

However, Tarone's typology of conscious communication strategies (1977 as cited in Bialystok, 1990) seems to be simpler. Tarone classifies communication strategies in to the following categories:

Avoidance: issue avoidance and concept abandonment

Paraphrase: approximation, word coinage, circumlocution.

Conscious copy: literal translation, language switch

Appeal for assistance


Prior research found that all vocabulary users used communication strategies consciously or unconsciously. Bialystok observes that communication strategies should be grouped matching to different cognitive procedures and should be seen as a process of terminology use. I agrees with her at this time because of the fact that as vocabulary users, everybody knows that communication breakdowns may occur with anyone at any time during a discussion so when these problems happen, we all try some ways to get from the trouble by using some techniques called communication strategies.

Besides, Bialystok insists that communicative strategies are used by language individual in both L1 and L2, in this view, communicative strategies only reflect the way in which the language control system extends and adapts to the needs of communication (Lee, 2004).

In simple fact, the communication strategy use occurs during communicating consciously or unconsciously. However, learning and by using a language are activities related to cognitive functions so when dialect learners use the terms and the breakdowns come, they know about what situation they can be in and consciously think of a getaway by using different negative or positive strategies solve the problems like avoiding discussing the topic or strategy that they do not know much, giving the utterance unfinished, using many words to describe, creating new expression or switch to their mother tongue when they can not find the appropriate words to make use of and et ceteras. So, just what do learners do in each communication strategy?

In this newspaper, I would like to concentrate on the simpler classification, Tarone's typology of conscious communication strategies however in comparison with the other two of Dornyei and Faerch and Kasper.

Avoidance strategies

Both Dornyei and Tarone define avoidance strategies in the same way by mainly discussing two substrategies:

Message abandonment strategy which is employed by learners when they encounters terms difficulties. To cope with these upsetting situations, learners tend to leave their utterance unfinished.

Topic avoidance is another strategy learners use when they lack of or forget necessary linguistic knowledge expressing their thoughts on the topic. Their language problems may related to vocabulary or grammar rules that they don't know or remember. To overcome them, learners keep way from discussing this issue.

In my experience of coaching, students of very low effectiveness usually use these strategies for their serious deficiency for the prospective language instead of using the strategies called compensatory strategies in Dornyei's or Faerch and Kasper's classifications or paraphrase and conscious copy strategies as Tarone mentions in her typology of conscious communication strategies.


Including circumlocution, term coinage and approximation which Faerch and Kasper suggest can promote learning as well

Circumlocution strategy

Bialystok argues that circumlocution strategy in simple truth is paraphrasing strategy. In terms of linguistic, the conception of both strategies are extremely similar. Both strategies help learners make good use of simpler terminology or structures they may have at their learning stage to mention their thoughts that need more difficult vocabulary and grammar rules expressing.

Dornyei state governments that circumlocution is the strategy employed by learners when they would like to summarize something that cannot find the exact word or term to make use of by paraphrasing it. Doing this, they use more words to spell it out a phrase in the expectation that the listeners can get what they imply independently.

Approximation strategy

Dornyei and Tarone'ideas meet one another when they name the strategy approximation which Tiono and Sylvia (2004) found to be utilized the most by students with low communication apprehension and high proficiency in speaking course in Petra Christian University or college in Surabaya, Indonesia to pay their failing in retrieving the lexical items they have learned or their insufficiency in vocabulary when they are asked to retell a pictorial testimonies. In the strategy, learners look like confident and eager to make faults by using an alternative or similar lexical term that they know that is not correct to demonstrate the meaning of another phrase or term they aim to refer to. Using this method learners make an effort to make themselves comprehended by using their limiting vocabulary.

Word coinage is another compensatory strategy that learners use when they lack of vocabulary. In this strategy they make up a target language word which is based on the morphological guidelines that they know well. For instance: they know well that worker is somebody who works so they create cooker (somebody who cooks) from the verb make meals.

Conscious copy strategies

Literal translation strategy is usually used when the terms users discuss their first words or backdrop. Learners translate a phrase or an idiom or perhaps a structure using their company first terminology into that of the target language. In my learning context, learners use literal translation mainly when they have difficulties with finding right collocations for a expression. In cases like this they have a tendency to translate word after word from another terminology. For instance: deep espresso ( which is not explained in dictionary) for strong coffee. However, relating to translating a structure from learners first terminology, Faerch and Kasper name the strategy Restructuring in which learners reformulate the syntax of these utterance.

Language transition strategy or code switch or code switching by Dornyei or Faerch and Kasper

In this strategy, learners use lexical terms or sentences off their first words when they can not find the appropriate ones in the prospective language expressing their thoughts (They put some words or phrases off their first vocabulary). The strategy is also often utilized by first terms or background shared learners. This strategies may be expected to use the most by the things of this research for all of them are Vietnamese and in reality, additionally it is easy to understand this in any of the British category in Vietnam.

Appeal for assistance

Explicit need is the strategy where learners require help from the other people like more advanced learners or teacher by expressing " How do you say. ?" or " What is this called. ?".

Referring to dictionary strategy is made use by learners when they need the correct words or structures

Mine or Non-verbal communicative strategy also what Dornyei message or calls non-linguistic transmission or Non-linguistic strategy by Faerch and Kasper. In this plan, learners use non-verbal terms like gestures, facial manifestation or even imitating sounds to express meanings.

Mine and concept abandonment seem to be to be coi in Faerch and Kasper in terms of learning. They feel that both of these strategies cannot help learners with the learning. But as a professor I share Tarone's thoughts and opinions that in a few extent, by using these two strategies, the speaker can get help from the listener to find the appropriate or correct word or framework to express what he or she wants to say. In both coaching and learning context, mine and message abandonment can maintain positivity alerts from the learners to interact with their teacher in order to be trained event while communicating.

The review of related studies

Many studies and research have been done up to now on communication strategies and their results showed that almost every strategy were utilized by learners. However what strategies employed were contingent a great deal on the duty given because different problems would happen depending on different types of job, one -way job or two- way one (Mei & Nathalang, 2010). So the task requires learners different work and ways of solve the problems.

It is straightforward to understand this because less interactive activities exist in a single -way task like story showing while two- way task like role playing or discussing includes mostly interaction. To cope with one-way activity, learners have a tendency to use paraphrase, restructuring and subject matter abandonment since these strategies helps those to make clear the meanings as they make an effort to ensure the listeners' understanding. Whereas to cope with interactive process like doing role play or talking about, learners need to make special effort to make a deal to get communication goals so they cannot simply use avoidance strategies if indeed they still want their talk to keep and reach a common arrangement on what they exactly suggest. This agrees with the finding of Dobao & Martinez's review of Negotiating Meaning in Discussion between British and Spanish Speakers via Communicative Strategies. The finding uncovered that in connections, when linguistic problems arose, intermediate or advanced EFL learners and their interlocutors (who have been English native sound system or other EFL learners of these level) worked mutually to find solution by coordinating their use of CS, negotiating meanings to attain a mutual contract on the learners originally intended meaning.

Prior research also proved that the numbers of strategies employed by learners weren't influenced by their concentrate on language skills (Ting & Phan, 2008). However, relating to to only the numbers of strategies utilized by learners is not enough in conditions of language coaching and learning. Thankfully, the result found in Kwok's review of communication strategies employed by Hong kong students in small group conversation (1987) disclosed that students could actually make good use of different communication strategies in discourse to make their communication more effective. Moreover, the result also confirmed that a lot more the students mastered the communication strategies, the much better they could do in small group conversation.

Althought Bialystok is convinced that people should teach learners language alternatively than strategy but as a educator I do claim towards implication about teaching ways of learners from studies of Manchon (1999) and Faucette (2001). In my own learning context, the category with both high and low proficiency learners is common. So that it is simple enough to identify types of strategies that different learners use when the vocabulary problems come up and the potency of strategy use that the learners achieve in communication thought what's seen in the learning context can be subjectively seen and assessed. So, the study is hopefully an chance to confirm the happening through its conclusions.


The simple truth is that learners can frequently run into communication problems because of assorted reasons related to language problems and all of them find some ways to flee from the difficulty they got in. Those ways are called communication strategies. Looking back again at the studies and research that have been done on communication strategies so far, some significant pedagogic implication have been identified. That is communication strategy use can promote learners' communicative competence or the verification that using appropriate strategies can boost communication effectiveness and communication strategy use is teachable. So, what types of communication strategies that can help learners increase communication effectiveness should be considered mainly in this newspaper in the trust that more useful pedagogic implication closely involved English teaching will be found as research for language instructors to deal better using their job as well as to help their students improve their learning.

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