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Interlanguage request modifications: British and Saudi speakers

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posted on 2023-08-30, 20:31 authored by Abdullah Alzahrani
Requests are considered one of the most face threating acts as they threaten the face of the hearer. Language users need to be aware of the pragmatic knowledge of the language they are using if they want to be native-like in their communication. Acquiring the pragmatic knowledge of the target language allows language users to produce messages that are culturally and socially appropriate. Lacking such knowledge would probably results in communication breakdown or misunderstanding between the native and non-native speakers of that language. It can also send a negative image about the speaker and interpreted by native speakers as being impolite. Investigations in the current study will be on the performance and perception of the requistive behavior of Saudi interlanguage learners (Saudi IL) as compared to the native British English speakers (BE). The current study address two main topics: first, the pragmalinguistic knowledge, and the focus are on the level of directness of the request act, the internal modifications, and the supportive move; and second, sociopragmatic knowledge. One hundred and eight participated in the study and formed three cultural groups: 36 native English-speaking British students (BE), 36 Saudi Arabic learners of English (Saudi IL), and 36 Saudi Arabic natives (SA). Discourse completion task (DCT) is the main data instrument used in the current study to elicit pragmalinguistic data, and it includes a single-turn response. Participants are asked to provide a written response to 12-given described situations. Scaled-Response Questionnaire (SRQ) is used to elite the sociopragmatic knowledge of the participants. The results of the study showed several interlanguage features of the Saudi IL learners in their request realizations, and the main result is that the three groups relied heavily on the conventionally indirect strategy of Query Preparatory (QP). Regarding the measurement of power difference and social distance, BE group were more apt to lessen the power distinction and stress the mutuality of 'showing respect', whereas Saudi IL group were inclined to accentuate unequal power distributions and emphasize the hierarchical asymmetry. Saudi IL group were found to prefer using external modifications more than the native speakers. In contrast, the Saudi IL showed less preference for employing internal modifications.



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