Strategic Competence of Bilingual Undergraduate Engineers in a Technical University

Indra Devi S, Hanipah Hussin
2015 Asian Social Science  
Today's increasingly borderless, transcultural and challenging business world, requires engineers to be communicatively competent in the oral and written form. Unfortunately, breakdowns in communication often happen, due to linguistic and psychological boundaries. In such conditions, verbal and non-verbal communication strategies also known as strategic competence helps to compensate the breakdowns. This study seeks to determine whether the Malay bilingual engineering undergraduates, who form
more » ... e majority in a technical university in Malaysia, adopt the avoidance or achievement strategy dominantly in attaining a written communication goal. The instruments that were used in the study include survey questionnaires, focused group interview and Written Discourse Completion Tasks. The findings based on the Written Discourse Completion Tasks reveal that the achievement strategy which includes literal translation manifests as the most dominant strategy employed by the undergraduates. The paper concludes with a note on the significant role played by language instructors in providing optimal scaffolding. It also points towards directions for future inquiry on the need for a rigorous review of the language curriculum in technical universities so that the undergraduate engineers are able to improve their strategic competence as well as overcome the momentary inadequacy of their second language resources due to the linguistic repertoire of the Malay language which stigmatizes them as speakers of the second language.
doi:10.5539/ass.v11n17p144 fatcat:bceehkemdveldgpmucij2lidni