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Title: Comprehension questions in language proficiency tests : some pragmatic considerations
Other Titles: 语言水平测试中理解型试题的语用考察
Authors: Jiang, Y 
Keywords: Language proficiency test
Difficulty scales of comprehension
Issue Date: 2001
Publisher: 现代外语'出版社
Source: 现代外语 (Modern foreign languages), 2001, v. 24, no. 1, p. 44-53 How to cite?
Journal: 现代外语 (Modern foreign languages) 
Abstract: 本文从语用学的角度考察语言测试的一些理论性问题,重点讨论汉语水平考试及香港理大研制的粤语区普通话水平考试中听力理解题的难度计算标准。笔者提出,语用学的一些概念、理论机制和研究思路有助于我们对语言水平考试的难度做出更科学精确的描述和丈量,对等级标准和评分标准的厘定、试题的设计和相应的语言教学都有一定程度上的指导作用。在介绍了一些基本语用概念之后,笔者在现有语用学研究成果的基础上归纳发挥,提出了话语理解的难度分级,并将其与Brown (1994)根据话语体裁类型提出的理解难度分级作了比较。笔者认为这两种难度分级可以互相补充,对语言水平考试都有一定的应用价值。 更多还原
This paper examines the extent pragmatic findings can contribute to the designing of language proficiency tests, with special reference to Chinese Proficiency Test (HSK) (for second language learners) and the Hong Kong variant of Putonghua Proficiency Test (PSK [HKPU]) (designed at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University for native Cantonese speakers) Like most proficiency tests, PSK (HKPU) and HSK, now being run on an increasingly wider scale, contain listening and/or reading comprehension questions. Since the administering of such questions presupposes a thorough understanding of the study of meaning in communication, pragmatic concepts and processes ought to have a vital role to play in this business. However, research into the designing of both kinds of tests revealed that comprehension questions are designed more in accordance with some dated terms of rhetoric or intuitive judgments on contextual meaning than out of pragmatic considerations. Consequently, it is often hard for language teachers as well as learners to grasp the rationale behind such type of questions. Equally hard is the setting of standards to determine the difficulty level related to such questions. In this paper, I introduce some basic concepts in pragmatics and construct a difficulty scale on the basis of these concepts. The scale is compared to the genre-based difficulty scale constructed by Brown (1994) and is shown to complement the latter. Also discussed are issues related to pragmatic reasoning, the understanding of which provides underpinnings to the design of comprehension questions in language proficiency tests.
ISSN: 1003-6105
Rights: © 2001 China Academic Journal Electronic Publishing House. It is to be used strictly for educational and research use.
© 2001 中国学术期刊电子杂志出版社。本内容的使用仅限于教育、科研之目的。
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