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A pragmatic study of developmental patterns in Mexican students making English requests and apologies

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posted on 2022-03-28, 13:00 authored by Elizabeth Flores-Salgado
The purpose of this research was to analyse the pragmalinguistic and sociopragmatic development of language groups at different proficiency levels and investigate the relationship between interlanguage pragmatics and grammatical competence. For this study, 36 native Spanish speaking EFL learners at different proficiency levels were asked to respond in English to 24 different situations which called for the speech acts of request and apology. Their English performances were compared to those of 12 American English native speakers in order to provide base-line cultural data. Thirty six Mexican Spanish native speakers also participated as a control group in order to analyse the role of the mother tongue in the performances of the EFL learners. The data, collected using a carton oral production task (COPT), were analysed quantitatively and qualitatively. Results showed three important findings that illuminate the relationship between pragmatic development and grammatical competence and lent support to Kasper and Rose's (2003) claim of a universal pragmatic principle. The first finding suggested that basic adult learners possess a previous pragmatic knowledge in their L1 that allows them to focus on the intended meaning and, in most cases, and to assemble (from the linguistic structures available to them) an utterance that conveys a pragmatic intention and satisfies the communicative demands of a social situation. The second finding revealed that there are two essential conditions to communicate a linguistic action: the knowledge of the relevant linguistic rules and the knowledge of how to use them appropriately and effectively in a specific context. Without an elementary knowledge of the linguistic rules, it is impossible to select the forms to realize a speech act in a target-like manner. The findings further suggested that advanced learners possess the grammatical knowledge to produce an illocutionary act, but they need to learn the specific L2 pragmatic conventions that enable them to know when to use these grammatical forms and under what circumstances.



"September 2008". Bibliography: p. 189-196

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis professional doctorate


Thesis (DAppLing), Macquarie University, Division of Linguistics and Psychology, Dept. of Linguistics

Department, Centre or School

Dept. of Linguistics

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Peter Roger


Copyright disclaimer: Copyright Elizabeth Flores-Salgado 2009. Complete version suppressed for copyright reasons. However, on receipt of a Document Supply Request, placed with Macquarie University Library by another library, we will consider supplying a copy of this thesis. For more information on Macquarie University’s Document Supply, please contact




xi, 238 p. ill

Former Identifiers

mq:4108 1289577