How Saudi migrants’ metapragmatic judgments of Arabic L1 nonverbal greetings change after intense and prolonged exposure to English
This study investigates the impact of spending more than three years in an English environment on Saudi migrants’ metapragmatic judgments of Arabic L1 nonverbal greetings and their personality traits. Participants are 437 adults comprising three groups: Saudi L2 speakers of English in the UK, Saudis in Saudi Arabia, and British L1 speakers of English in the UK. They observed and rated an audiovisual stimulus illustrating Saudi L1 nonverbal greeting behaviours of handshake and cheek-to-cheek kiss. Statistical analyses revealed that appropriateness ratings by Saudi migrants in the UK diverged from those by Saudis in Saudi Arabia and approximated those of English L1 users in the UK. Moreover, appropriateness ratings by Saudi migrants were differently associated with personality profiles, which differed for three traits between the two Saudi groups. These findings suggest change in L1 metapragmatic judgements as well as personality as a result of prolonged and intense exposure to an L2. The results are interpreted in the light of Cook’s (2012) concept of multicompetence.
Keywords: metapragmatic awareness, nonverbal greetings, personality, Arabic, English
Published online: 23 June 2021
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