Trying to persuade: speech acts in the persuasive discourse of intermediate Spanish learners

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Statement of Responsibility:
Hardin, Karol J
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SIL International
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Part Of Series:
SIL e-Books 19
pages 155-179

This article examines the types of speech acts produced by intermediate Spanish learners as well as their selection of pragmalinguistic forms to communicate these acts. In contrast to much of the research on speech acts and pragmatics in interlanguage which has emphasized learner errors in comparison to native speakers, this study primarily examines what learners are able to produce, and it does so in the specific context of persuasive discourse. The college students in this investigation responded orally to two situations that involved an attempt to get a lazy spouse to do some work and to offer advice for finding a new girlfriend after a break-up. The student monologues in the first situation were compared with those of five native speakers to determine similarities and differences in preference for and production of speech acts. The results support existing second language acquisition research on pragmatic developmental patterns and suggest some principal lexical and pragmatic learner strategies for speech act production. Moreover, we analyze speech act realization as it pertains to three goals of persuasive discourse, thereby demonstrating how this subset of intermediate learners was beginning to understand the use of certain constructs to persuade in Spanish.

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Speech acts
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A Mosaic of languages and cultures: studies celebrating the career of Karl J. Franklin, Kenneth A. McElhanon and Ger Reesink
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