The study examines acquisition of the pragmatics of Indonesian by a group of twelve Australian learners participating in an in-country language course of seven weeks duration while living in a homestay with a local family. The location is the town of Salatiga in Central Java. The study focuses on the participants' learning of three features: address terms, leave-taking routines, and complaints.
The research questions are: i) how much do the participants learn about the three target pragmatic features? ii) do the participants share the same path of development? iii) is the success of participants related to their pattern of social interactions during their stay, or to their attitudes towards the host culture?
While the study of pragmatic acquisition by Study Abroad participants has greatly expanded during the last decade, this project is the first to investigate the potential gains made during such a short stay abroad. Apart from the obvious theoretical importance of whether even a short stay can make a difference, the question has high practical importance given that short Summer courses are the only way that many language students do their Study Abroad.
The study uses a multi-method approach, combining written pre-and post-tests, retrospective verbal reports, four interviews with each participant, and regular diary-keeping tasks.
As of April 2012, all data collection has been completed. Roughly half of the verbal report and interview data has also been transcribed as a preparatory step for detailed analysis.