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Title:Arguing in English as a Second Language: A Study of the Speech Act Performance of Arabic Speakers
Author(s):Kamel, Boshra Naguib
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Language and Literature
Abstract:This study examines the ways in which sociocultural factors affect second language performance. It reveals various difficulties second language learners might have in acquiring complex speech act forms and describes linguistic and social interference in learning a second language.
The instruments used were a 30-item discourse-completion task administered in English and in Arabic and a 16-item receptive multiple-choice test requiring subjects to rank order speech act strategies on the basis of degree of appropriateness. Forty native American English speakers and thirty-five native Arabic speakers formed the sample of the study. The forty native English speakers and twenty of the Arabic speakers were given both the discourse-completion task and the receptive multiple-choice test in English. The performance of the two groups on both tests was compared using chi-square and Mann-Whitney U tests for determining significance of difference.
Statistically significant differences between the two groups in their realizations of argumentation strategies on the discourse-completion task were found at three different levels: (1) the level of inter-respondent agreement on the different argumentation strategies; (2) the level of distribution of argumentation strategies used; and (3) the level of discrepancies in the choice of argumentation strategies across situations.
Some of the communicative deviations in the realizations of argumentation strategies by Arabic speakers could be attributed to direct interference from their mother language and culture. Interference appeared to operate at two levels: (1) the level of illocutionary force and discourse rules and (2) the level of idiomatic usage.
Differences between the two groups in their judgements of the degree of appropriateness of different argumentation strategies on the multiple-choice test were not, in general, statistically significant. A closer qualitative analysis of the data, however, revealed subtle linguistic and cultural differences that govern judgements of degree of appropriateness of various speech act strategies in the two groups.
Issue Date:1983
Description:250 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1983.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8409965
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1983

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