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Nguyen, T. T. M. (2008). Criticizing in an L2: Pragmatic strategies used by Vietnamese EFL learners. Intercultural Pragmatics, 5(1), 41–66.
Criticizing has been a rather under-represented speech act in interlanguage pragmatics (ILP) literature. Native speakers (NSs) find this speech act challenging, often needing to pre-plan how to perform it (Murphy & Neu
1996). Thus, it can be expected that second-language (L2) learners will also experience considerable difficulty. This paper reports a study of the pragmatic strategies used by Vietnamese learners of English as a foreign
language (EFL) when criticizing in English with a view to shedding light
on the pragmatic properties of this under-researched act. Interlanguage data were collected from 36 adult learners via a peer-feedback task, a written questionnaire, and a retrospective interview. First and second language
baseline data were collected from two respective groups of 12 Vietnamese
NSs and 12 NSs of Australian English, via the same peer-feedback task
and questionnaire. Results showed that the English language learners
criticized in significantly different ways from the Australian NSs in terms
of their preference for realization strategies, their choice of semantic formulae,
and their choice and frequency of use of mitigating devices. A number
of interplaying factors might explain these differences: learners’ limited L2
linguistic competence and lack of fluency, which seemed to load their processing
capability under communicative pressure, their lack of L2 pragmatic
knowledge, and the influence of L1 pragmatics.
1613-365X (online)
1612-295X (print)
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