Edited by Leah Roberts, Florence Myles and Annabelle David
[EUROSLA Yearbook 8] 2008
► pp. 32–51
Impossible requests: L2 users' sociopragmatic and pragmalinguistic choices in L1 acts of refusal
The study compares pragmalinguistic knowledge of the L1 in non-routine situations in L2 users and L2 learners, aiming to see to what extent pragmalinguistic behaviours in the L1 are influenced by exposure to the L2. The first part of the paper discusses the nature of bilingual language knowledge and transfer in multicompetence. In the experiment, refusals to untypical requests were elicited by means of a discourse completion test (DCT). The L2 users in this study appear to be “more native than the native speaker” (Cook, Iarossi, Stellakis, & Tokumaru 2003) in their choice of semantic formulas, as compared to monolingual speakers of their L1. Since pragmatic transfer is ruled out by the baseline data from native speakers of English, an alternative explanation is proposed, based on the L2 users’ increased sensitivity to interactional demands (Genesee, Tucker & Lambert 1975), more varied experience at social interaction and changed perception of their L1.
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