The Open Education or the Traditional One: Requesting in Interlanguage Pragmatics
Publication Type
Original research

This study is a comparative pragmalinguistic and sociopragmatic research of L2 request performance between learners in the open and classical learning settings in Palestine. With the assumption that learners in both settings are driven by their L1 speech norms (L1 interference), the researcher tried to explain learners " English language performance both pragmalinguistically, in regards to the level of indirectness and types of modification, and sociopragmatically, in regards to the impact of social parameters like status, distance and degree of imposition on the level of indirectness and amount of modification. As English and Arabic are distinct linguistically and culturally, the researcher tried to explain the extent of such influence with reference to language learning in both settings. The study was carried out at Al-Quds Open University (QOU) and the Arab American University (AAU) in Palestine. For data collection, the discourse completion task (DCT) was used. The quantitative analysis of data is followed by a qualitative one with reference to learners " responses in the DCT. The findings showed that while QOU learners approximate L1 requesting norms pragmalinguistically and socipragmaically, AAU learners tend to play it safe through preference for norms that are less face threatening and more conforming to the English language data. The differences between both groups of L2 learners " performance of requests could be attributed to the different methods of instruction and language learning policies at both universities. The study recommends a greater emphasis on face-to-face meetings and the application of more interactive media for teaching and learning English as a foreign language in the open education settings. Introduction Interlanguage pragmatics (ILP henceforth) is an interdisciplinary field of study that combines pragmatics and language learning. ILP has been defined as " the study of non-native speakers' comprehension, production and acquisition of linguistic action in L2 " (Kasper, 1995, p.141) or the study of " non-native speakers' use and acquisition of L2 pragmatic knowledge " (Kasper and Rose, 1999, p.81). This field considers the speakers " ability to adapt to the situation and interlocutors " demands, determining whether it is acceptable to perform a speech act in a given situation and, if it is acceptable, selecting one or more semantic formulas that would be appropriate in the realization of the given speech act (Cohen, 1996). Interlanguage pragmatics, in reference to pragmatic transfer (L1 interference), distinguishes between learners' pragmalinguistic and sociopragmatic abilities. Pragmalinguistics, according to Leech (1983), is the linguistic resources a language encompasses to express a certain illocutionary force. Sociopragmatics, on the other hand is the " sociological interface of pragmatics " (Leech, 1983, p. 10), or the influence social norms and values have on the choice of linguistic forms to perform a particular illocutionary act. Based on such distinction and in reference to language learning, Thomas (1983) made a distinction between what he called pragmalinguistic and sociopragmatic failures. Pragmalinguistic failure is conventional and can be avoided with more attention by language learners to grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. Sociopragmatic failure, on the other hand, relates to the transfer of L1 social and cultural norms into L2. This kind of transfer could be harmful and face threatening when it violates the social and cultural norms of L2 leading to misunderstanding and negative stereotyping.

Journal of The Arab American University,pp. 33-58
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Both (Printed and Online)