LINGUIST List 14.1811

Sun Jun 29 2003

Qs: L2 Role Play; Cross-cultural Politeness

Editor for this issue: Naomi Fox <>

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  1. laura collins, role play tasks with second language
  2. Fay Wouk (FOA DALSL), Query: Cross-cultural politeness references

Message 1: role play tasks with second language

Date: 27 Jun 2003 19:07:39 -0000
From: laura collins <>
Subject: role play tasks with second language

The role-play task is sometimes used in testing situations to evaluate
the oral proficiency of second language learners. Most of the studies
we have found on the scoring of role-play tasks refer to 2-role
situations where the roles are played by an interviewer/tester (i.e.,
a proficient or 'native' speaker) and an L2 learner. I would
appreciate hearing from Linguist List members who are aware of
analyses of language produced during the role-play task in situations
where both roles are played by the L2 learners. We are interested in
the different ways performance on this task has been evaluated,
including analyses focused more narrowly on specific linguistic
components of learners' production (syntax, morphology, lexis), and
those which take into account task-features, pragmatic competence and
other aspects of conversational interaction. I will post a summary of
the responses.
Laura Collins, PhD
TESL Centre, Dept of Education
Concordia University, Montr´┐Żal
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Message 2: Query: Cross-cultural politeness references

Date: Sat, 28 Jun 2003 07:44:42 +1200
From: Fay Wouk (FOA DALSL) <>
Subject: Query: Cross-cultural politeness references

Can anyone help me with the appropriate references for the following
claims, which I am sure I have read, but cannot remember where?
(Alternatively, you could tell me that I am misremembering, and that
no one has ever made such claims, which would be just as helpful.)

1. Cross-culturally polite/mitigated utterances tend to be longer
(more words, longer words) than bald-on-record/unmitigated utterances.

2. Cross-culturally politeness tends to increase with greater
differences in status, in particular from the lower status person to
the higher status person.

3. In many cultures, the politeness/intimacy relationship follows a
u-shaped curve, with greatest politeness in the middle area, with
acquaintances, and less politeness with intimates and strangers.

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