A contrastive perspective on Moroccan learners’ (in) directness in their interlanguage requests
Cross-cultural and pedagogical implications
Keywords:Contrastive request strategies, Interlanguage requests, (In)directness, internal mitigation, opting out choice, Pragmatic transfer
This study investigated interlanguage request performance by Moroccan learners of English (MLs) from a contrastive perspective. More specifically, it explored how MLs’ interlanguage requests converged or diverged from English Natives’ (ENs) requests in the use of strategy types and (in) directness. First, a contrastive pragmatic analysis of requests by Moroccan natives (MNs) and ENs is deemed necessary to provide native baseline data and establish MNs’ and ENs’ pragmatic norms of request performance. Second, an interlanguage request analysis is conducted to reveal the pragmatic features of MLs’ requests. The three sets of data for this study were collected via an open questionnaire as it serves the purpose of this investigation. The results revealed that MLs deviated from the ENs’ pragmatic norms of (in) directness, mostly by falling back on their native pragmatic norms, which bears testimony to pragmatic transfer. Requests do not seem to be conceived of in the same way by MNs and ENs, and MLs transferred their native request conception when performing in English. MLs used more direct strategies. The study predicts instances of cross-cultural misunderstanding and pragmatic failure in intercultural encounters between MLs and ENs, which is likely to cause undesirable cross-cultural clichés and stereotypes. The paper suggests some pedagogical implications to alleviate this problem among MLs.
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