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Dissertation Information


Title: Social networks, L2 pragmatics, and Spanish hasta as an aspectual marker with and without negation: Student understandings, judgments, and uses Add Dissertation
Author: Mikela Zhezha-Thaumanavar Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Degree Awarded: Western Michigan University , M.A. and Dr. Degres in Department of Spanish
Completed in:
2012
Linguistic Subfield(s): Pragmatics Sociolinguistics
Subject Language(s): Spanish
Director(s): Robert Vann

Abstract: This dissertation investigates how social networks influence
understandings, judgments, and uses of L2 pragmatics. The pragmatic
target is the particle hasta ‘until’ as it is used orally and in writing to
mark inception with and without negation in Spanish. This study
examines how L2 students of Spanish understand, judge, and use
hasta when they are members of social networks in university Spanish
classes based on (a) pedagogy practice, (b) class level, and (c) mode
of expression, and when, outside of university Spanish classes, they
are integrated into social networks that involve exposure to different
dialectal varieties of Spanish.

Data were collected from 72 students of Spanish. Statistical analysis
revealed that (a) students’ attitudes towards L2 pragmatics are
influenced by the linguistic norms propagated by their L2 instructors; b)
correlations are not always positive between class level and
understandings, judgments, and uses of L2 pragmatics; (c) mode of
expression affects only oral production of L2 pragmatics; and (d)
outside the classroom, membership in social networks that expose
individuals to particular Spanish dialects affects L2 pragmatics in
speech and writing in opposite ways.

This study contributes to (1) Spanish pragmatics, by showing that (a)
pragmatic change can be built on semantic and syntactic interaction,
(b) NPI formation in Spanish can be affected by the scope of negation,
and (c) aspectual markers in Spanish can derive from contextually-
influenced verbal situations and may be dialect-specific; (2) Spanish
sociolinguistics, by demonstrating that (a) there is value in using
network analysis to study language variation and change in Spanish,
(b) approaching Spanish L2 classrooms as social networks is
worthwhile, and (c) social network analysis may provide a viable
alternative or complement to SLA approaches in the study of L2
pragmatics in Spanish; and (3) Spanish L2 pedagogy, by highlighting
(a) the didactic importance of influencing student ideologies toward L2
pragmatics, (b) that students might benefit from being introduced to L2
pragmatics at the beginning stages of their Spanish language study,
and (c) the need for teachers of L2 Spanish to revise currently held
expectations for appropriate student understandings, judgments, and
uses of L2 pragmatic forms.