Essay about Pragmatic Develpment in a Second Language

In line with the fact that speech acts of suggestion themselves have not been studied in the same capacity as other speech acts (Schmidt, et al., 1995), L2 pragmatics literature on suggestions is also quite limited. Only a small number of researchers have made attempts to explicitly address suggestions, how they are used in classroom interaction, and teacher-student conversations in conferences. Overall, a unanimous agreement exists among the available research (Bardovi-Harlig and Hartford, 1990, 1993; Bardovi-Harlig, 1996; Rintell, 1979; Bell, 1998; Matsumura, 2001) that L2 learners fall short of institutional expectations to use pragmatic strategies effectively because of a lack of the socio-cultural and sociolinguistic knowledge proposed as crucial to L2 learning by both Hymes (1972) and Kramsch (1993).

Bardovi-Harlig and Hartford (1990, 1993), for example, examine the different speech acts used by native speakers (NSs) and nonnative speakers (NNSs) in academic advising sessions. They find that NSs produce more suggestions while NNSs produce more rejections in each conference. Because of these NNSs’ expectations of certain forms of suggestions from their advisors about class schedules, they tend to reject the actual advisor responses because this pragmatic transfer. NSs, on the other hand, tend to counteract unwanted suggestions with a suggestion of their own and, as opposed to the NNS rejections, did so by the use of hedging. NSs additionally tended to cast their suggestions in more tentative terms by mitigation, contrasting the more assertive strategies utilized by NNSs (Bardovi-Harlig, 1996, p. 22). As shown by Bardovi-Harlig and Hartford (1990, 1993), these NNSs’ lack of pragmatic knowledge lead to their being less …

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