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Intercultural Pragmatics

Editor-in-Chief: Kecskes, Istvan

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Volume 9, Issue 4


Teachability and bilingualism effects on third language learners' pragmatic knowledge

Professor Eva Alcón Soler,
Published Online: 2012-11-07 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ip-2012-0028


The present study focuses on the benefits that teaching the speech act of refusal from a discourse perspective can have on third language learners' pragmatic knowledge. Additionally, it also explores whether receptive and productive bilinguals resort to pragmalinguistic, sociopragmatic, and linguistic information in different ways during the planning and execution of refusals in English. Ninety-two students of English (52 receptive bilinguals and 40 productive bilinguals of Catalan and Spanish) participated in the study, which involved a one-group pre-test/post-test design and an instructional treatment. Retrospective verbal reports were used to examine the information attended to during the pre-test and post-test role-plays, that is to say, before and after receiving instruction on refusals. Research findings showed that both receptive and productive bilinguals increased their attention and pragmalinguistic awareness of refusals in English, but the latter seemed to display a higher degree of metapragmatic awareness. In addition, productive bilinguals showed higher communicative sensitivity, mainly in the form of concern for the interlocutor's feelings, and a conversational approach that can be defined as hearer-oriented. Findings of the study add new insights on how bilingualism may influence third language pragmatic learning in instructional settings.

About the article

Professor Eva Alcón Soler,

Eva Alcón Soler is Professor of English Language and Linguistics at the University Jaume I (Castelló) and Head of the Research Group: Applied Linguistics and English Language Teaching. Her research interests include the acquisition of L2 pragmatics, the role of interaction in L2 learning and multilingualism. She has published widely on those issues in international journals such as Communication and Cognition, International Review of Applied Linguistics, System among others. She is the author of Bases Lingüísitcas y Metodológicas para la Enseñanza de la Lengua Inglesa (2002), has edited Learning How to Request in an Instructed Language Learning Context (Peter Lang, 2008) and co-edited Intercultural Language Use an Language Learning (Springer, 2007), and Investigating Pragmatics in Foreign language Learning, Teaching and Testing (Multilingual Matters 2008).

Published Online: 2012-11-07

Published in Print: 2012-11-27

Citation Information: , Volume 9, Issue 4, Pages 511–541, ISSN (Online) 1613-365X, ISSN (Print) 1612-295X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ip-2012-0028.

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