"I lost the bus: Can you give me a ride home?" Native and nonnative English speakers' speech act production and metapragmatic judgments: A study of apologies, complaints and requests
AuthorRuhil, Anuradha, 1965-
AdvisorWildner-Bassett, Mary E.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation reports the findings of a study on pragmatic ability and metapragmatic judgments of native and nonnative speakers of English conducted at a public university in the United States and also at a public university in Singapore. Specifically, the research study investigated the realization of apologies, complaints and requests focusing on the production of downgraders and upgraders. In addition, the study also examined metapragmatic ratings provided by these subjects and their reasons for the ratings. Thirty-eight native and thirty nonnative speakers participated in the first phase of the study, which involved responding to a 30-item discourse completion task (DCT). In the second phase of data collection, responses to the DCT were used to construct a metapragmatic judgment task (MJT) in order to investigate subjects' metapragmatic ratings of apologies, complaints and requests. A new group of native speakers (69 total) and thirty-seven nonnative speakers (a new but comparable group) completed the MJT (the Singaporean subjects were unavailable for participation in the MJT). Fourteen native and 16 nonnative speakers participated in the interviews. Various statistical tests were conducted to analyze the coded DCT responses as well as the MJT data. Interview protocols were summarized to study opinions provided by subjects for the MJT ratings. Results of this research study indicated that native speakers used a significantly higher number of downgraders in complaints and requests than nonnative speakers. A significantly higher number of downgraders were also supplied in requests than in complaints. Metapragmatic ratings of native speakers differed significantly from those of nonnative speakers in 29/90 cases. While the two groups were significantly different in their performance on the DCT and the MJT, the subjective opinions expressed about the appropriateness of responses converged to a great extent. In conclusion, this dissertation was able to contribute to our understanding of native and nonnative speakers' use of modality markers and their perceptions about appropriate language use. The results of this study also concur with previous research that indicates the need for instruction in pragmatic aspects of the L2.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Second Language Acquisition and Teaching