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Interlanguage refusals : a cross-sectional study of Thai EFL learners' refusals in English

By Chirasiri Kasemsin


Using the speech act of refusals and formulaic language as focuses of analysis, this thesis aims to explore whether or not grammatical proficiency and development is distinct from pragmatic proficiency. The data were collected from 36 Thai EFL learners at three proficiency levels: low intermediate, intermediate and advanced, using four open role-plays. The role-plays were designed to incorporate different combinations of sociolinguistic variables of power and distance, as expounded in Brown and Levinson's\ud politeness theory. The data were analyzed from two perspectives: pragmatic and lexicogrammatical.\ud In the pragmatic analysis, the data were segmented in to refusal moves and interactional function categories. Drawing on politeness theories of face-saving, the\ud analysis focused on a comparison of the learners' use of refusal moves, the pragmatic orientation of their refusal moves in refusal episodes and face-saving manoeuvres. The\ud lexico-grammatical features of the data were analyzed in terms of their formulaicity. Sixteen native speakers of English were asked to identify formulaic sequences in the\ud role-play transcription. The formulaic sequences identified were tallied, analyzed in terms of proportion, frequency and variety, and compared across the three proficiency\ud levels. The analyses show that 1) the pragmatic orientation of refusal moves of the learners at the three proficiency levels was similar but 2) that the use of refusal moves\ud to mitigate the force of refusals was slightly different across the levels; 3) the overall language produced by the advanced learners had the highest proportion of formulaic\ud language, but 4) in the lexicalizations of refusals the low-inter-mediate learners used more formulaic language than the other two groups. The results indicate that the\ud pragmatic aspects of the learners' refusals seem to be independent of their proficiency level while the way they used formulaic language in the role-plays and in the\ud lexicalizations of refusals are related to proficiency level.\ud \u

Publisher: School of Education (Leeds)
Year: 2006
OAI identifier: oai:etheses.whiterose.ac.uk:806

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