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A CROSS-LINGUISTIC STUDY OF

THE PRAGMATICS OF REQUESTS


BY STUDENTS OF THE BA ENGLISH
TEACHING PROGRAM AT BUAP
Jacob Maldonado Morales
CHAPTER 1
CHAPTER 1 – BASIC OUTLINE

1) Introduction
2) Significance
3) Background
4) Objectives
5) Research questions
6) References
1. INTRODUCTION
o We live in a globalized world where communication between
people from different countries using a lingua franca or a second
language is becoming a common phenomenon.
o The process of learning a second language is definitely seen as
an interesting area of analysis since it becomes relevant not
only to understand linguistic components like grammar rules or
syntax, but also to figure out how well language learners
perform in real communicative contexts by conveying messages
successfully while using a foreign language.
o Developing pragmatic competence by students is difficult since
norms and conventions differ from culture to culture.
2. SIGNIFICANCE
• Spanish students of English, even at advanced levels, may fall back on
their cultural background when formulating their request strategies.
Such an analysis of the definition of politeness allows us to understand
how it may be cross-culturally conceptualized and understood.
• This study will help to identify English language learners’ strengths
and weaknesses in relation to the use of the communicative
competence as well as the development of their pragmatic
competence when performing requests.
• The study will help to determine to what extent the learners are
conscious of the different norms and conventions that govern
communicative interaction in a foreign language.
3. BACKGROUND

• It is important to remark that individuals speak and use different


languages depending on the society they belong to (Mahmoud,
2014). This makes individuals acquire a language and its system
features, both linguistic and pragmatic, based on their daily
communicative encounters.
• Literature indicates that learners’ problems derived from
intercultural communication are strongly related to the use of L1
norms and conventions while performing a speech act in a L2
(Wolfson, 1989; Kasper, 1992).
3. BACKGROUND
• A second language learner has to be competent using the linguistic forms of
the target language as well as the suitable functions demanded by the
context if he wants to avoid pragmatic failure (Flores, 2011).
• Chomsky (1965) theory claims that a second language learner can be
considered competent if his knowledge upon grammar, syntax, phonology
and lexis of the second language are well-founded.
• Hymes (1972) proposes that a competent speaker must also know the
appropriate words that should be used in a specific context. He states that:
• a normal child acquires knowledge of sentences not only as grammatical,
but also as appropriate. He or she acquires competence as to when to
speak, when not, and as to what to talk about with whom, when, where, in
what manner (277).
4. OBJECTIVES
• To analyze the participants’ pragmatic competence level in both L1 and L2.
• To demonstrate what the participants’ proficiency level is when performing
the speech act of request in both languages.
• To identify what specific strategies learners utilize in order to achieve
requests successfully.
• To determine what influence interlanguage pragmatics has on learners.
• To compare the realization patterns of requests and conventions of means of
requests produced by Spanish speaking students with those EFL learners to
analyze the developmental process of acquisition of requests.
5. RESEARCH QUESTIONS

• i. What are the preferred requesting strategies in English used by the EFL
student participants?
• ii. What are the preferred requesting strategies in Spanish used by the L1
Spanish speaking student participants?
• iii. What are the observable modifications used by the participants in English
and the participants in Spanish in the process of making requests?
6. REFERENCES

• Chomsky, N. (1965). Aspect of the theory syntax. Boston: MIT Press.


• Diaz Perez, F. J. (2001). Produccion de actos de habla en Ingles y en Espanol: un análisis contrastivo de estrategias de cortesía verbal. Universidad de Jaén.

• Flores Salgado, E. (2011). The Pragmatics of Requests and Apologies: Developmental Patterns of Mexican Students. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Pub.
Company
• Goddard, C. & Wierzbicka, A. (1997). Discourse and culture in Van Dijk, T. A. (ed): 231- 257
• Hymes, D.H. (1972). “On Communicative Competence” In: J.B. Pride and J. Holmes (eds)
• Sociolinguistics. Selected Readings. Harmondsworth: Penguin, pp. 269-293.(Part 1)
• Kasper, G. 1992. Pragmatic transfer. Second Language Research, 8(3): 203–231
• Mahmoud, E. (2014). A cross-cultural study of pragmatically requestive speech act realization patterns. The British University in Dubai
• Nicholls, C. (2009). El conocimiento de normas pragmaticas en las peticiones electrónicas: un estudio comparativo entre hablantes del Español como
lengua nativa, lengua heredada, y lengua extranjera. University of Arizona.
• Neff-van Aertselaer, J., & Pütz, M. (2008). Developing Contrastive Pragmatics: Interlanguage and Cross-cultural Perspectives. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
• Thomas, J. 1983. Cross-cultural pragmatic failure. Applied Linguistics, 4(2): 91–109
• Wolfson, N. (1989). Perspectives: Sociolinguistics and TESOL. Cambridge; Massachusetts: Newbury House.