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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Dissertation Information

Title: The Nature and Conditions of Pragmatic and Discourse Transfer in Cross-cultural Interaction Investigated through Naturalized Role-play Add Dissertation
Author: Giao Tran Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Melbourne, Department of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Completed in: 2005
Linguistic Subfield(s): Discourse Analysis; Pragmatics; Sociolinguistics;
Subject Language(s): English
Director(s): Carsten Roever
Joanna Tapper

Abstract: For decades, the first linguistic and cultural influence on second language
performance (technically known as pragmatic and discourse transfer) in
cross-cultural interaction has fascinated researchers because its nature
and especially its conditions have never been fathomed out. The aims of
this investigation are threefold. First, it examines the nature of
pragmatic and discourse transfer in compliment responses by Vietnamese
speakers of English as a second language in cross-cultural interaction with
Australians. The examination also takes into account data from
conversations among Australian English native speakers and interaction
between Vietnamese counterparts. Second, the research project investigates
the underexplored conditions of pragmatic and discourse transfer. In the
quest for the nature and conditions of pragmatic and discourse transfer,
research methodologies provoke much debate because they have different
advantages and disadvantages, though the ultimate goal remains the
controlled elicitation of data that is comparable to real-life production.
The third aim of the present study is to propose and validate an innovative
methodology of data collection in cross-cultural and interlanguage
pragmatics research - the Naturalized Role-play. This methodology is
capable of realizing the highly desirable but virtually impossible goal of
eliciting spontaneous data in controlled settings.

In reference to the methodological design of the research project the
Naturalized Role-play provided the main corpus of data on pragmatic and
discourse transfer whose in-depth analysis revealed the nature of this
phenomenon. In addition to Naturalized Role-play data, background
questionnaire and retrospective interview data was collected to explore
conditions of pragmatic and discourse transfer. To demonstrate the
effectiveness and validity of the Naturalized Role-play, compliment
response data collected by means of the Naturalized Role-play was compared
with data from other major methods including the questionnaire, closed
role-play, open role-play and natural data recording.

Findings of this investigation indicated what was transferred and how
pragmatic and discourse transfer patterned, upon which new hypotheses were
formulated. The investigation also uncovered as yet unknown conditions of
pragmatic and discourse transfer (e.g. awareness in language production)
and their interaction. Moreover, the Naturalized Role-play proved to fulfil
its aim. It can combine advantages of major methods without their drawbacks
and is more effective (i.e. providing more natural data) than existing
means of data elicitation.

In essence, based on the Naturalized Role-play approach, this investigation
sheds new light on the nature of pragmatic and discourse transfer, offers
insights into its conditions and features a pioneering creative solution to
the controversial methodological problem. The study also presents
implications of its findings for second language learners, teachers and
native speakers of different languages in social interactions where
cultures meet.

Note: This dissertation has been published as:
Tran, Giao Quynh. (2006). The Nature and Conditions of Pragmatic and
Discourse Transfer Investigated through Naturalized Role-play. Muenchen:
Lincom Europa.