Semester of Graduation

Spring 2019

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Foreign Languages and Literatures

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

The current study examines if L2 learners of Spanish acquire native-like norms of making a request during short-term study abroad in Argentina and Spain via Discourse Completion Tasks (DCT). The investigation included 3 groups of the participants: an experimental group of 15 U.S. students who studied in Argentina or Spain; a control group of 12 U.S. students who had not studied abroad; and a control group of 7 native speakers of Spanish. The results show that students in the study abroad group became more native-like in making a request to a certain extent. Firstly, the students in the experimental group used “conventionally indirect strategies” (Blum-Kulka et. al. 1989) more frequently in the posttest than they did in the pretest. Native speakers showed a strong preference for those strategies as well. Secondly, the students in the study abroad group showed a similar pattern to the participants in the native speaker group in the usage of the politeness marker. However, they still showed a high frequency of speaker-oriented strategies in some situations, whereas native speakers showed an absolute preference for hearer-oriented strategies in every situation. Lastly, two students in the study abroad group started to use the pronominal form vos, which is the most common pronominal address form in the country they visited, Argentina. Few studies on the impact of short-term study abroad programs on the development of pragmatic competence of L2 speakers have been conducted. Therefore, the current investigation contributes to the field of second language acquisition pragmatics as well as to our current knowledge of study abroad programs and their impact on the pragmatic development of L2 learners as well.

Committee Chair

King, Jeremy

Available for download on Thursday, March 17, 2022

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