Complaint Strategies Used by Learners of Turkish as a Foreign LanguageZeynep Arslan, Mehmet Gürlek
The importance of learning and teaching Turkish as a foreign language is increasing every day. As is the case in the teaching of other foreign languages, the field faces a transition from practices focusing only on grammatical competence to a more holistic view in which the important end-goal is communicative competence. Teaching speech acts to learners of Turkish as a foreign language (Yabancı Dil Olarak Türkçe Öğretimi, or YADOT) and enabling them to use these speech acts in daily life is another prominent issue. The purpose of this qualitative study is to determine how successful the learners of YADOT are in their use of the complaint act in different contexts and which complaint strategies they apply. The case method was used and the participants were all at the level of B1, B2, or C1 at the Istanbul University Language Center, were selected through convenience sampling. The data was collected by discourse completion test, and analysis was based on 11 specified complaint strategies. This study found that learners of YADOT do not have difficulties in understanding the message being aimed at, but they are not competent enough to select the appropriate contextualized address forms or vocabulary items to initiate a dialogue.
Yabancı Dil Olarak Türkçe Öğrenen Öğrenicilerin Kullandığı Şikâyet Edimi StratejileriZeynep Arslan, Mehmet Gürlek
Günümüzde Türkçenin yabancı dil olarak öğrenimine ve öğretimine olan ilgi gittikçe artmaktadır. Yabancı dil olarak öğretilen diğer dillerde de olduğu gibi Türkçe öğretiminde de sadece dilsel edince odaklanan uygulamalardan iletişimsel yeterliliği edindirmeye yönelik, bütüncül bir bakış açısına geçilmesi büyük önem taşımaktadır. Bu doğrultuda yabancı dil olarak Türkçe (YADOT) öğrenicilerine söz edimlerinin öğretilmesi ve gündelik hayata uygun bir şekilde kullanımlarının sağlanması da dikkat çekilmesi gereken bir konudur. Bu nitel çalışmanın amacı YADOT öğrenicilerinin şikâyet ediminin farklı bağlamlarda kullanımında ne ölçüde başarılı olduklarını ve hangi şikâyet edim stratejilerine başvurduklarını belirlemektir. Araştırmanın yapısına uygun olan örnek olay desenine başvurulmuştur. İstanbul Üniversitesi Dil Merkezinde Türkçe öğrenmekte olan B1, B2 ve C1 seviyelerindeki 18 öğrenici ulaşılabilir örnekleme yoluyla seçilmiştir. Veriler söylem tamamlama testi uygulanarak toplanmıştır. Verilerin analizinde on bir şikâyet edim stratejisi temel alınmıştır. YADOT öğrenicilerinin bağlamlara yönelik verdiği cevapların analizinden elde edilen sonuçlara bakıldığında resmî ortamlarda şikâyet edilirken beklenenin aksine dolaylı şikâyet edim stratejilerinden çok doğrudan şikâyet edim stratejilerine başvurulduğu gözlenmiştir. YADOT öğrenicilerinin şikâyet ediminde iletişimsel yetileri verilmek istenen mesajı anlamada zorluk çekmedikleri, fakat bağlama uygun hitap biçimlerinde ve konuşmaya girişte kullanılan kelime seçimlerinde başarılı olamadıkları tespit edilmiştir.
Language learning is an essential process if individuals and societies are to interact with each other. Target languages are given foreign, second, or official status, following government policy. In the last few decades, not only teaching but also learning Turkish as a foreign language has become noticeably more important, and consequently, the number of studies on learning Turkish as a foreign language has increased. However, these studies generally focus on the question of how the learners’ four skills (namely reading, writing, listening and speaking skills) can be improved, and the need for studies into various other fields of linguistics, such as speech acts, is being underestimated. For example, although the learners sampled in this study knew which vocabulary items could be used in a specific context, they did not know how to contextualize them. At this point, the issue of using speech acts appropriately within specific contexts becomes pertinent, and in this case, speech acts are mainly classified as requests, apologies, and complaints. The main purpose of this study is to draw the attention of both instructors and learners of Turkish as a foreign language to the use of complaint acts, as well as to the language structures taught in Turkish classes, and to contribute to the improvement of the quality of speech act-based language teaching materials. The study also asks whether it is the length of the time spent in Turkey, the level of Turkish-language proficiency, and/ or the number of languages spoken by the individual that negatively or positively affects an individual’s choice of complaint strategies.
In terms of methodology, as per the study’s design, the case method was selected as being most appropriate. Using convenience sampling, participants were selected from among the students learning Turkish at the İstanbul University Language Center, which is one of the best language centers in Turkey. In total, the group consisted of 8 females and 10 males from different countries, ranging from 18 to 25 years of age, and ranging between intermediate and advanced levels of Turkish-language proficiency. The data was collected using a discourse completion test that included ten questions based on different real-life scenarios. The participants were expected to write their answers to the questions as naturally as possible, and their answers were analyzed through 11 complaint strategies of opting out, hints, annoyance, consequences, indirect, direct, modified blame, explicit blame (behavior), explicit blame (person), request for repair, and threat.
In the analysis phase, each answer to the 10 questions was assessed, and, according to the results, it was discovered that explicit blame (person) was the complaint strategy used most often and that the participants had a tendency to use request and apology strategies instead of complaint ones. Moreover, we found that neither YADOT learners’ Turkish-language proficiency level nor the length of time they had spent in Turkey correlated with their choice of the appropriate complaint strategies, and that the participants’ grammatical competence was not as developed as their pragmatic and communicative competence. One of the most prominent findings of this study is that the participants had problems differentiating formal and informal interlocutors. The statements they used in instructor‒student and neighbor‒neighbor dialogues were similar to each other. Also, according to the study’s results, the learners of YADOT were capable of using basic Turkish phrases but were not able to use those phrases, common Turkish greetings, and expressions in the appropriate contexts. As a result of this study based on the use of complaint strategies by learners of Turkish as a foreign language, it can be said that the pragmatic dimension needs to be taken into consideration in terms of teaching and learning Turkish as a foreign language.