Keeping it Real: Vietnamese-English Pragmatic Representations in EFL Textbook


  • Tran Thi Mai Thi Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages
  • Aiden Yeh Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages


Pragmatic representations, speech acts, pragmatic competence, Vietnamese EFL learning, EFL textbook


For non-native English learners to successfully manage authentic intercultural and international communication, their pragmatic competence should be considered as fundamental as their linguistic capacity (Bachman, 1990). As the foundation for developing language skills, English textbooks provide EFL learners with preliminary exposure to real-life situated pragmatic interactions. However, there is limited empirical research on the authenticity and appropriateness of the pragmatic representations in Vietnamese EFL textbooks at present. To fill in the gap, this paper provides a content analysis designed to quantitatively and qualitatively investigate a cross-culturally written textbook used for secondary EFL learners in Vietnamese context. It aimed to examine (1) types and distribution of speech acts the textbook covered, (2) meta-pragmatic information accompanying the linguistic realizations of those speech acts, and (3) appropriateness and authenticity of such pragmatic representations in relation to Vietnamese social context. The results revealed a variety of speech acts introduced in the contents but also highlighted their problematic distribution and sequence. Despite their occurrences, the linguistic patterns to achieve the speech acts were limited and accompanied by decontextualized and oversimplified meta-pragmatic information. From a Vietnamese cultural perspective, the attempts to reflect Vietnamese conventions of daily communication were spotted but the inappropriateness of the linguistic choices in the real social interactions was also indisputable. Therefore, some pedagogical implications were suggested to further improve the EFL textbook, reflecting the authentic social encounters rather than disseminating the textbook writers’ prescribed fictitious responses.


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Author Biographies

Tran Thi Mai Thi , Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages

Tran Thi Mai Thi is a Vietnamese postgraduate student attending an MA in English program at Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages, Taiwan. Her research interests are English language teaching and Applied Linguistics.

Aiden Yeh, Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages

Dr. Aiden Yeh is an Asst. Professor and Director of Academic Cooperation & Exchange Section at Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages, Taiwan, where she also serves as Academic Adviser for Southeast Asian Studies Program. She has a PhD in Applied Linguistics (Birmingham University, UK) and MSc in ELT Management (Surrey University).



How to Cite

Tran, T. M. T. ., & Yeh, A. (2020). Keeping it Real: Vietnamese-English Pragmatic Representations in EFL Textbook. International Journal of Language and Literary Studies, 2(1), 1–20.