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Understanding and Overcoming Pragmatic Failure in Intercultural Communication: From Focus on Speakers to Focus on Hearers

 

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Author: Padilla Cruz, Manuel
Department: Universidad de Sevilla. Departamento de Filología Inglesa (Lengua Inglesa)
Date: 2013
Published in: International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, 51, (1), 23–54
Document type: Article
Abstract: For learners to communicate efficiently in the L2, they must avoid pragmatic failure. In many cases, teachers' praxis centres on the learner's performance in the L2 or his role as a speaker, which neglects the importance of his role as interpreter of utterances. Assuming that, as hearers, learners also have a responsibility to avoid pragmatic failure, this paper endorses the relevance-theoretic view of communication, its explanation about why misunderstandings arise, and the belief that the learner's sophistication in understanding is not the same as that of a native. Therefore, it argues that learners must be taught to be cautious optimistic hearers. As a result, learners will be able to reject interpretations of utterances, which, due to the linguistic or cultural incompetence of their native or non-native interlocutors in the L2 system, they are led to regard as relevant enough although their interlocutors may have expected them to arrive at a different interpretation.
Size: 199.2Kb
Format: PDF

URI: http://hdl.handle.net/11441/34215

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/iral-2013-0002

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