Research in foreign language (FL) acquisition has shown that connectives, a key linguistic element contributing to cohesion and sentence complexity, pose a great challenge for FL learners at all proficiency levels. In spite of the importance of connectives in foreign language acquisition, little research has been conducted to explore how connectives are taught and presented in foreign language classrooms and textbooks.
The primary purpose of this study is to examine the presentation and introduction of connectives as well as the pedagogical activities provided for learning connectives in Chinese textbooks for novice to intermediate FL learners. To achieve the purpose of the study, three different sets of widely-used Chinese textbooks were selected and compared. The results show that while the amount of coverage varies greatly among the three sets of textbook, the sequence of presenting connectives in each series of textbooks closely follows the ranks suggested in the HSK Grading Standards and Grammar Outline (HSK is the shortened form for Chinese Proficiency Test). As for the activities, although all three textbooks claim to adopt a communicative approach to FL teaching, they differ considerably in the type of activities provided. In addition, it is evident that more traditional form-focused exercises are included in those textbooks than meaning-focused communicative tasks.