Transferibility of Indirect Request Strategies

Takahashi, Satomi
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This study is intended to examine the transferability of five indirectness strategies realized by the "conventions of usage" of Japanese indirect requests when Japanese learners of English realize English indirect requests in four situations. Subjects representing two proficiency groups (beginning/intermediate (Low ESL Group) and highly advanced (High ESL Group)) were asked to undertake an acceptability judgment task for five indirect request expressions in Japanese and English, respectively, for each situation. The transferability rate was computed for each indirectness strategy for each situation by subtracting the acceptability rate of the English indirect request from the acceptability rate of the corresponding japanese indirect request. The obtained transferability rate was considered as representing the "psycholinguistic markedness" of each strategy, which determined its language·specificity /neutrality. The results clearly indicated that contextual factors played a major role in determining transferabilities at the pragmatic level. Furthermore, some proficiency effects on the transferabilities of those indirectness strategies were identified. Based on those findings, further attempts were made to explore what kind of contextual factors were most likely to affect transferability and to pursue a possible explanation for obtained results of proficiency effects on the transferabilities of the indirect request strategies.
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