Pragmatic transfer in requests and apologies performed by Algerian EFL learners
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This study investigates the performance of the speech acts of request and apology by Algerian EFL learners as part of their interlanguage pragmatics, focusing on the phenomenon of pragmatic transfer. The author attempts to contribute in a research area which is underexplored in the context of EFL in Algeria. Speech acts and politeness realisations differ across languages and cultures. This divergence is likely to result in face-loss or communication breakdowns when learners communicate with native speakers. A Discourse Completion Task is administered to two control groups in Arabic and English and two groups of Algerian learners at two proficiency levels (low and high). The findings reveal many areas of cross-cultural variability in Arabic and English requests and apologies. For example, in Arabic, requesters tend to employ imperatives, terms of address, hearer-oriented expressions, lexical softeners and religious-bound expressions while, in English, they seem to favour modal items, speaker-oriented requests, consultative devices, imposition minimisers and apologies. Moreover, there seems to be no taboo in admitting responsibility in Arabic apologies, but, in English, apologisers favour repair and concern strategies instead of responsibility. Both types of transfer are evident in the learners’ performance. Pragmalinguistic transfer is extant in the employment of linguistic items inspired by the mother tongue and word-for-word translation. Sociopragmatic transfer is evidenced in learners’ perception of situational variables and the evaluation of contexts which resemble, to a great extent, those of the mother culture. In requests, transfer is evidenced in HAs, modification and request perspective. The last aspect has the least immunity to transfer. Furthermore, interlanguage IFIDs, intensification, and strategies of responsibility, explanation and concern, in apologies, testify to the mother culture’s influence. Linguistic proficiency neither gives a marked advantage to the high-proficient group nor does it trigger more transfer. Other features impact the learners’ production such as lack of pragmatic competence and interlanguage-specific features.
- Doctorat langue Anglaise