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Presentation on theme: "M ITIGATING A DVICE : A S TUDY OF I RANIAN L2 L EARNERS OF E NGLISH AND A USTRALIAN E NGLISH S PEAKERS Mahshad Davoodifard School of Languages, Cultures."— Presentation transcript:

1 M ITIGATING A DVICE : A S TUDY OF I RANIAN L2 L EARNERS OF E NGLISH AND A USTRALIAN E NGLISH S PEAKERS Mahshad Davoodifard School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics English as an International Language February 2010

2 I NTRODUCTION What is advice? “Any activity that involves one party conveying to another what the former believes to be beneficial to the latter regarding some performance or behavior” (Waring 2007, p.367) Why study advice? 1. prevalent in everyday conversational interactions 2. Less well documented in the speech act literature 3. governed by several social, situational and personal factors reflective of culture-specific norms and values 4. No existing pragmatic study of advice in Persian as a native language 5. No existing investigation of advice in Persian- English interlanguage pragmatics 2

3 F OCUS OF THE STUDY Unsolicited advice offered by Iranian Persian- speaking learners of English and Australian English speakers External modification strategies mitigating supportive move strategies Grounder Preparator Imposition minimizer Disarmer Internal modification strategies Syntactic downgraders Lexical/phrasal downgraders Appealer Hedge Politeness marker Subjectivizer Understater 3

4 S UPPORTIVE MOVE STRATEGIES Grounder: giving reasons, explanations and justifications Preparator : preparing the hearer for the advice Disarmer : removing any potential objection the hearer might raise Imposition minimizer : reducing the imposition placed on the hearer by the advice offered 4

5 DOWNGRADERS Syntactic : conditional, interrogative, negation etc. Appealer : devices used by the speaker to appeal to the hearer’s benevolent understanding (Blum Kulka et al., 1989) Hedge : devices used to indicate tentativeness, possibility and lack of precision Politeness marker Subjectivizer : “elements in which the speaker explicitly expresses his or her subjective opinion vis-à-vis the state of affairs referred to in the proposition (Blum Kulka et al., 1989). Understater : adverbial modifiers used to under- represent the state of affairs referred to in the proposition 5

6 M ETHOD Participants Data collection instruments English and Persian Discourse Completion Tests (DCT) 14 scenarios Different topics and settings Varying in age, gender, social distance UndergraduatePostgraduate IRAN406 AUSTRALIA1011 6

7 R ESULTS FREQUENCY OF ADVICE Number of advice offered per person Similar number of advice in Iranian English/Persian DCT data Postgraduate participants offered advice more frequently Iranian participants offered advice more frequently than Australian respondents UndergraduatePostgraduate Iranian English12.314.2 Persian12.914.8 Australian English10.711.2 7

8 S UPPORTIVE MOVE STRATEGIES : FREQUENCY ANALYSIS Most frequently used by Iranian undergraduate participants who used them also more frequently than Iranian postgraduate respondents as well as Australian participants at both levels UndergraduatePostgraduate Iranian English9.3 (N=371) 6.3 (N=38) Persian9.4 (N=374) 7.8 (N=47) Australian English6.3 (N=63) 7 (N=77) 8

9 S UPPORTIVE MOVE STRATEGIES : P ERCENTAGE DISTRIBUTION The Iranian participants used higher levels of grounder They also used higher levels of imposition minimizer with their Persian advice The Australian participants used higher percentages of preparator GrounderPreparatorDisarmerImposition minimizer Iranian English 70.6214.2 Persian72.414.63.89.2 Australian English 59.3304.36.4 9

10 G ROUNDER : DOWNGRADING OR UPGRADING ? People don’t live just to study. They study as part of their life. Call it a day. Go and get some sleep. (PG26, Postgraduate; EPDCT) A good mentality affects a person’s appearance a lot. Try to be happy and at the same time work on your appearance as well. (PG22, Postgraduate; PDCT) You look exhausted, can you afford a night off to relax; it’ll probably help your productivity. (A09, Postgraduate; EDCT) 10

11 D OWNGRADERS : FREQUENCY ANALYSIS Use of downgraders per person: Australian participants used downgraders most frequently Iranian participants used downgraders similarly in their L1 and L2 Iranian postgraduate participants used downgraders slightly more frequently than the undergraduate respondents UndergraduatePostgraduate Iranian English1.23.4 Persian22.8 Australian English7.16.8 11

12 D OWNGRADERS : PERCENTAGE DISTRIBUTION Syntactic Downgraders AppealerHedge Politeness Marker SubjectivizerUnderstater Iranian English 344.5179.830.74 Persian 33221.21.435.55.5 Australian English20.51.341.70324.5 12

13 Hedges constitute more than 40% of downgraders used by Australian participants: Maybe you shouldn’t drink out of the hose. The sign there says it’s not very sanitary. It could make you really sick. (A06, Australian; EDCT) Maybe we should go over to the place over there and get some salads. That might be better for us than the junk food. (A14, Australian; EDCT) Subjectivizers were used similarly across all groups: Really? I reckon you should put it off for a few months. The weather up there is way better in the September holidays. (A06, Australian; EDCT) I believe morality is [more] important than appearance and you can attract people by your behavior. (56, Year level 4, EPDCT) Iranian participants used higher levels of syntactic downgraders: Mary, I’ve seen you trying to lose weight. Why don’t you try a diet? I think that’s the best way to lose some weight. (34Q, Year level 3, EPDCT) 13

14 SUMMARY The Iranian participants gave advice more frequently than the Australian students The Iranian participants of higher age and L2 proficiency level gave advice more frequently The Australian participants used downgraders significantly more frequently than the Iranian respondents The Iranians used grounder strategy more frequently to give reasons for their advice 14

15 C ONCLUSION Variations in advice giving can reveal deep sociocultural values of speakers from different linguistic backgrounds Iranian Persian speakers seem to have high respect and a strong sense of obligation towards advice giving They can show friendliness and kheir khaahi (wanting the good for others) through advice giving Frequent use of grounder and lack of downgrading strategies can maximize the chance of the advice being accepted by the hearer The Australian participants do not give advice frequently. For them, advice might be regarded as interference in other people’s affairs and threatening to their privacy Analysis of culture-specific norms and values dominating the use of language can contribute to minimizing cultural clashes and misunderstandings in intercultural/cross- cultural communication 15

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