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Speech Acts and Politeness across Languages and Cultures


Edited By Leyre Ruiz de Zarobe and Yolanda Ruiz de Zarobe

Speech Acts and Politeness are among the main areas of interest in pragmatics. These communicative phenomena can be considered universal and at the same time language and culture-specific. It is this latter dimension that has been at the centre of recent developments in pragmatics, and it is also the focus of this book.
The aim of this book is to reflect this development, providing evidence from four main areas crucial to pragmatics across languages and cultures: a description of a variety of speech acts and politeness strategies in different languages and cultures, a cross-cultural comparison of several speech acts and patterns of politeness, an in-depth analysis of issues concerning the learning and teaching of speech acts and politeness in second/foreign languages, as well as some methodological resources in pragmatics.
This book is intended for researchers, scholars and students interested in the field of pragmatics, in general, or in the fields of cross-cultural and second/foreign language pragmatics, and specifically for those interested in speech acts and politeness. It will also be useful to any scholar interested in how communication and culture are related.


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Section 3 Speech Acts and Politeness in Second/Foreign Language Teaching and Learning 239


Section 3 Speech Acts and Politeness in Second/Foreign Language Teaching and Learning J. CÉSAR FÉLIX-BRASDEFER / MARIA HASLER-BARKER Complimenting and Responding to a Compliment in the Spanish FL Classroom: From Empirical Evidence to Pedagogical Intervention 1. Introduction The ability to produce and comprehend communicative action in a second language (L2) encompasses different types of knowledge in order to learn the pragmatics of the target language. Although adult learners are equipped with universal pragmatic competence (implicit knowledge of speech acts [e. g., requests or compliments], routine formulas, rules of turn-taking, ability to open and close a conversa- tion, and rules of (im)politeness, etc.) (Kasper/Rose 2002: 165), learn- ers may also benefit from exposure to pragmatic input in the L2 envi- ronment and the instruction of pragmatics in the foreign language (FL) classroom (Bardovi-Harlig 2001, Rose 2005). According to Leech (1983) and Thomas (1983), pragmatics includes two com- ponents. The first, pragmalinguistic knowledge, refers to the linguis- tic resources that are available in a particular language and that are necessary to express a specific communicative effect. This includes knowledge of different forms and their meanings, as in a compliment ‘That’s a nice sweater.’ The second component, sociopragmatic knowl- edge, refers to knowledge of social conventions at the perception level, including awareness of the differences in social distance or social power among interlocutors, such as when it is culturally ap- propriate to give a compliment to a person of equal or unequal status. Both pragmalinguistic and sociopragmatic knowledge are crucial...

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