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LINGUIST List 22.2052

Thu May 12 2011

Diss: Pragmatics: Grieve: 'Adolescent Identity and Pragmatic Marker...'

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        1.     Averil Grieve , Adolescent Identity and Pragmatic Marker Acquisition in a Study Abroad Context

Message 1: Adolescent Identity and Pragmatic Marker Acquisition in a Study Abroad Context
Date: 11-May-2011
From: Averil Grieve <agrieveunimelb.edu.au>
Subject: Adolescent Identity and Pragmatic Marker Acquisition in a Study Abroad Context
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Institution: University of Melbourne
Program: Department of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2010

Author: Averil M. Grieve

Dissertation Title: Adolescent Identity and Pragmatic Marker Acquisition in a Study Abroad Context

Linguistic Field(s): Pragmatics

Dissertation Director:
Gillian Wigglesworth
Carsten Roever

Dissertation Abstract:

This longitudinal study investigated the acquisition of interpersonal
markers by adolescent German students on a five or ten month exchange to
Australia. Interpersonal markers were defined as syntactically optional
elements of speech that provided implicit information about the
relationship between the speakers and the message. The study also explored
how structured and semi-structured data collection methods impacted on
interpersonal marker use.

The data consisted of audio-recordings of informal conversational
interviews and the retelling of a story based on Mr Bean DVD clips. A
language contact questionnaire was also used to help explain variation in

Three groups of sixteen to seventeen year old adolescents were recruited
for the study: an experimental group of twenty-six German exchange students
to Australia, a control group of twenty adolescents in Germany and
native-speaker data from a group of twelve Australian adolescents. The
experimental group was further divided into fourteen teenagers on a ten
month exchange and twelve adolescents on a five month exchange to Australia.

The exchange students acquired a large number of those interpersonal
markers most associated with adolescent language within the first five
months of their exchange. However, even after ten months of the exchange,
levels of interpersonal marker use did not always match that of native
speakers. Lower levels of interpersonal markers were found for students
participating on a five month exchange compared to those on a ten month
programme. This was most likely due to lower levels of personal investment
and social integration in the five month cohort. Little or no acquisition
was observed for German high school students who did not participate in an
extended exchange. On a methodological level, a reliable system for the
coding of pragmatic markers was developed. The study also highlighted
issues of task effects in interview versus retelling data collection and of
collecting information via written language contact profiles.

The research adds to the growing repertoire of study abroad and
developmental pragmatic competence literature and is of particular interest
to exchange programme development as well as curriculum design for second
language teaching.

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