Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Proceedings of  2nd  MEC TESOL Conference   2020                   Pp.298-313

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A Small-Scale Exploratory Study on Omani College Students’ Perception of Pragmatic
Meaning Embedded in Memes

Maher Al Rashdi
Centre for Foundation Studies
Middle East College, Muscat, Oman


Abstract :
Memes are a viral phenomenon in the contemporary digital culture. The modern, digital definition of memes depicts them simply as pictures with texts circulated in social media platforms that tackle a particular issue in a humorous way (Chen, 2012; Rogers, 2014; Shifman, 2014). Due to its growing popularity, memes have been considered as a tool to negotiate cultural-social norms especially among teenagers (Gal, Shifman & Kampf, 2016). However, not much research has been done on memes in relation to other fields. Therefore, it is important to examine how the educational field could benefit from utilizing memes in discourse analysis and English teaching. To be more specific, the study aims at investigating the perceptions of Omani students at Middle East College of the utilizations of memes in the education. The present study seeks to answer the question: how do Omani undergraduate students perceive the use of memes inside the classroom? Primarily, data was collected through observing 29 semester three students in a higher education institute by giving them five different memes to infer their pragmatic meaning. After the observation, a short questionnaire was distributed to students to investigate their perception of memes. The findings revealed that most students were able to infer the pragmatic meanings embedded in memes. In addition, students held positive attitudes towards the use of memes in their study. The paper concluded with some practical implications on the best methods to utilize memes in education, and suggestions for future research. This exploratory study was significant since it contributed more to the body of literature that is done on the field of discourse analysis and memes.
Keywords: discourse analysis, language learning, memes, middle east college, Oman, pragmatic meaning

Cite as: Al Rashdi, M. (2020). A Small-Scale Exploratory Study on Omani College Students’ Perception of Pragmatic Meaning Embedded in Memes.  Arab World English Journal(AWEJ). Proceedings of 2nd MEC TESOLConference 2020: 298-313.


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Maher Al Rashdi is an English lecturer with more than 6 years of experience in Omani higher
education institutions. He is currently working at the foundation institute at the University of
Nizwa. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English language from Sultan Qaboos University and is
presently working on his master’s degree in TESOL at the University of Nizwa. He is interested
in infusing technology with education to facilitate teaching and learning.