LINGUIST List 23.2982

Mon Jul 09 2012

Diss: Pragmatics/Arabic/English: Al-Zubaidi: 'Cross-Cultural Pragmatics...'

Editor for this issue: Lili Xia <>

Date: 09-Jul-2012
From: Nassier Al-Zubaidi <>
Subject: Cross-Cultural Pragmatics of the Expressions of Gratitude in the Performance of Native Speakers of American English, Iraqi Arabic, and Iraqi EFL Learners
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Institution: University of Baghdad Program: PHD Program (Linguistics) Dissertation Status: Completed Degree Date: 2011

Author: Nassier Abbas Ghubin Al-Zubaidi

Dissertation Title: Cross-Cultural Pragmatics of the Expressions of Gratitude in the Performance of Native Speakers of American English, Iraqi Arabic, and Iraqi EFL Learners

Linguistic Field(s): Pragmatics
Subject Language(s): Arabic, Standard (arb)                             English (eng)
Dissertation Director:
Dr. Abdullatif Alwan Al-Jumaily
Dissertation Abstract:

Expressing gratitude is one of the most frequently occurringcommunicative acts in most human languages/cultures. It is a pragmaticfunction that is crucial in establishing and maintaining social bonds.The present study investigates Iraqi EFL learners' realization andperception of the speech act of expressing gratitude compared to theperformance of native speakers of American English and Iraqi Arabic.The objectives of the present study are: (1) to investigate theproduction and perception of the speech act of expressing gratitude bynative speakers of American English, Iraqi Arabic, and Iraqi EFLlearners; (2) to investigate whether these three groups employ similaror different patterns in realizing and perceiving the speech act underinvestigation, and whether Iraqi EFL learners are closer to Iraqi Arabicor American English speech norms; (3) to investigate the influence ofL1 pragmatic transfer on Iraqi EFL learners' performance; (4) toinvestigate the influence of contextual variables of social status, socialdistance and imposition on the three groups' pragmatic performance;and (5) to investigate the influence of cultural values and assumptionson the three groups' pragmatic performance. The data were collectedthrough a discourse completion task (DCT) and a scaled-response task(SRT) which were utilized to elicit pragmalinguistic knowledge andsociopragmatic knowledge respectively from 150 participants dividedinto three groups: (1) 50 native speakers of American English; (2) 50native speakers of Iraqi Arabic; and (3) 50 Iraqi EFL learners. Theresults show that: (1) on the perception level, the three groups followeddifferent patterns in assessing the four perceptional questions of thedegree of gratefulness, the degree of imposition, the likelihood ofexpected gratitude giving, and the likelihood of expected gratituderesponding; (2) on the production level, the three groups generatedrelatively similar strategy types with some exceptions and differentamount of strategy use. As far as length of speech is concerned, IraqiEFL learners generated a different number of strategies of thanksgiving and responding compared to that of native speakers of AmericanEnglish and of Iraqi Arabic; (3) contextual variables influenced thegroups' production and perception of the speech behavior underinvestigations. Overall, Iraqi Arabic and Iraqi EFL groups were moresensitive to social status while American English group was moresensitive to social distance. As to the degree of imposition, itconsistently affected the three groups' performance; (4) Iraqi EFLlearners demonstrated a relatively developmental patternapproximating the use of American English norms of speech, thoughthey continued to be significantly influenced by their L1; (5) bothnegative pragmalinguistic and sociopragmatic transfers were found inIraqi EFL learners' production and perception of the speech act underinvestigation; and (6) cultural values and assumptions of both nativecultural groups influenced the production and perception of the speechact under investigation. Based on the findings, the study concludeswith some pedagogical implications that could be implemented in theEFL context, and presents some suggestions for future research.

Page Updated: 09-Jul-2012