The interlanguage pragmatic development of the speech act of requests by Korean non-native speakers of English in an ESL setting

Sangkyung Han, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

Most interlanguage pragmatics (ILP) studies have focused on the effect of L2 proficiency on the development of ILP. The results of these studies often have not shown a strong relationship between L2 proficiency and ILP development. Often, the findings of these studies have implied that a non-native speaker's (NNS) experience in the target language community rather than L2 proficiency might be a more influential factor for acquiring pragmatic knowledge (Kasper, 1989, 1996; Kasper & Schmidt, 1996; Rose, 2000). Based on the need for more research on the effect of NNS' experience in the target language community on the development of ILP, the following research questions were investigated: (1) What is the effect of extended experience in the target language community by Korean NNSs of English on the use of directness in the speech act of requests? (2) What is the effect of extended experience in the target language community by Korean NNSs of English on the use of mitigation in the speech act of requests? ^ Korean subjects at an American university were placed in one of three groups depending on their length of residence in the U.S.: short term (less than one year), mid term (one to three years), or long term (at least 5 years). A group of native speakers of English provided baseline data. Each group consisted of eight subjects. Data were obtained by an Oral Discourse Completion Task in which subjects' responses in nine request situations were tape-recorded and analyzed, using the coding scheme of Cross Cultural Speech Act Realization Project, in terms of use of directness and mitigation. ^ Results from Oral DCT data did not show a clear effect for length of residence on the development of the speech act of requests. First, no significant effect of different lengths for residence on the use of directness was found because all subjects used conventionally-indirect strategies more than any others. Second, no clear effect of different lengths for residence on the choice of mitigation was found because subjects used similar external modifications across the nine request situations. However, the effect of length of residence did appear in the increasing use of biclausal formulas and the amount of external modifications. ^

Subject Area

Education, Language and Literature|Language, Linguistics|Speech Communication

Recommended Citation

Sangkyung Han, "The interlanguage pragmatic development of the speech act of requests by Korean non-native speakers of English in an ESL setting" (January 1, 2005). Dissertations available from ProQuest. Paper AAI3165689.
http://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI3165689

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