Pragmatic transfer, relevance and procedural meaning in L2

in International Review of Pragmatics
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Abstract

Pragmatic transfer traces back to Thomas’ (1983, 1984) definition of “pragmatic failure” as a violation of sociolinguistic rules which result in misinterpretation (for a historical overview, see Bou Franch, 2012). As a result, negative transfer has received a great deal of attention for being a cause of miscommunication in L2 and a domain where corrective strategies towards native-like performance were much in need (see Kasper, 1992). In this study, positive transfer is triggered by a cognitive procedure rather than a sociolinguistic skill and is examined in terms of learners’ acquired ability to infer pragmatic meanings in L1 and L2. Using the relevance-theoretic distinction of conceptual-procedural meaning (Wilson, 2011), the study seeks to unveil facilitating effects of L1, L2 and interventions on participants’ ability to interpret newspaper editorials while using procedural expressions as evidence for pragmatic inferences drawn.

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