A pragmatic analysis of L2 Spanish requests: Acquisition in three situational contexts during short-term study abroad

Lori Czerwionka
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  • Purdue University, West Lafayette, USA
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  • Lori Czerwionka is an Assistant Professor of Spanish and Linguistics at Purdue University. Her research addresses pragmatics, second language pragmatics, and intercultural communicative competence.
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and Alejandro Cuza
  • Purdue University, West Lafayette, USA
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  • Alejandro Cuza is a Professor of Spanish and Linguistics in the School of Languages and Cultures at Purdue University. His research focuses on the acquisition of Spanish morphosyntax and semantics among second language learners, heritage speakers and young bilingual children.
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This study examines pragmatic acquisition of requests for English-speaking learners of Spanish. This research expands upon previous work by investigating the acquisition of second language requests during a short-term immersion program (6 weeks) in Madrid, Spain and in three situational contexts: food and drink, general merchandise, and familial. Data were collected using an experimental computerized oral discourse completion task. Requests made by learners (501 requests) and native speakers (224 requests) were compared considering personal deictic orientation and directness of the requests. For learners, shifts from speaker-oriented to hearer-oriented requests indicated greater pragmatic development in food and drink and familial contexts. Results are discussed considering pragmatic developmental stages and differential results in the three contexts.

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Intercultural Pragmatics is a fully peer-reviewed forum for theoretical and applied pragmatics research. The journal promotes the development and understanding of pragmatic theory and intercultural competence by publishing research that focuses on general theoretical issues, more than one language and culture, or varieties of one language, while making a special effort to cross disciplinary boundaries.