Pragmatic Experimental Study

Imagine that you are asked to design an experimental study on pragmatics: 1) what would be your topic and why? b) What would be the objective of the study? c) What would be your hypothesizes? d) What would be the methodology (subjects, data collection, data analysis etc.)?

My topic would be “Pragmatic differences in the speech acts among high zones and low zones in Colombian Spanish”. I would like to study if there are pragmatic differences in the speech acts of requests, apology and thanking between the “high” zones which would be the ones near the Andes and mountains (Bogota, Medellin, Cali) and the “low” zones which would be the ones closer to the Caribbean (Barranquilla, Cartagena, Santa Marta) in Colombia because it interests me to understand the reasons for the notable linguistic variations among groups of people that are native from each area.

The objective would be to analyze and determine if there are pragmatic differences in the speech acts of request, apology and thanking among “high” and “low” zones in Colombian Spanish. The purpose would be to establish causes or reasons for the linguistic variations and determine the strongest variables that are part of the differences in the pragmatic uses of the speech acts among both groups.

My hypothesis would be that many factors influence the linguistic variations among “low” and high” zones in Colombia and they determine the social differences among people from both groups. Influence of other languages and cultures would be a variable that would make part of the difference among both zones because of the accessibility or seclusion both areas have gone through. Climatic and environmental setting could play a part in the difference among speech acts used by people from “low” or high” zones in Colombia because of the location of which area which would determine the habits and life style of both areas. Cultural traditions and values among people from “low” and high” zones could represent a difference in the speech acts used because of the preservation or development of linguistic features according to each society. Continue reading

Sociopragmatic Analysis of Korean Requests

The article refers to a sociopragmatic experiment conducted by interlanguage pragmatic researches who are interested in the use of language, acquisition and performance of a language learner and the use of a target language within a culture or social context. The study was done to analyze the pragmatic characteristics of speech acts of requests done by native speakers of English who are learning Korean as a foreign language in comparison with native speakers of English and Korean. The experiment included three groups of female participants: a group of Korean native speakers, a group of American Korean Foreign language learners and a control group of American English native speakers.

The purpose was to analyze the influence of social norms in the pragmatic speech act of request and the way language learners behave when communicating in the target language considering the implications of pragmatic expressions in the context. The study sought to understand the influence that the L1 may have over the L2 and if there is pragmatic transference from L1 to L2 in different social contexts as well as analyze the accurateness of cultural stereotypes. The experiment only used participants that lived in their native language country or that were learning Korean in an American classroom setting because people that live in the target language tend to adopt the social and linguistic patterns of the culture. The participants were asked to answer to 12 questions and make a request for each response. Continue reading

Inclusion of Social and Personal Values In the Public School System

Our American society has become more tolerant and understanding, of the current diverse population and culture, we are experiencing. Therefore, many changes have been made in order to accommodate the different living styles and traditions each group has brought to the American life; from Hispanic languages to Asian values, as an embracing country we have tried to include their various needs and perspectives in our system.

Schools offer support for foreign language speakers, English free-tuition classes for adults are provided in many public schools, translation and interpreter services are available in government agencies; in addition, important information about health, emergency procedures, weather and other issues are presented in different languages. Laws that protect everyone including those of other ethnicities, family background or race are part of the American values and society rules; which shows that even the judicial system is working to make every aspect of the law fair and equal for all.

However, as we have become more opened towards other people differences, we have also become more careful and cautious about the behavior and views we portray or share with others. Religion does not make part of the public school system; political views are not to be discussed in the classroom; personal statements, even when they are hurtful to others, are not to be corrected or ignored; but, how far can personal opinions go before we are allowed to offer a different perspective?. Continue reading

Engaging Troubling Students: A Constructivist Approach

In the book Engaging Troubling Students: A constructivist approach (2005), the authors Danforth and Smith give us an honest and insightful perspective about students with emotional or behavioral disorders and their interactions with the school system. The main purpose of the book was to encourage educators, communities and school personnel to analyze children’s behavior and the different events in their life that may be correlated to their conduct and performance in school.

The authors intended to be open and clear about their ideas and opinions on students that present challenging behavior in the school setting; moreover, they wanted to demonstrate that objective research may not be enough to comprehend students’ attitude because it lacks the affective factor and personal input that it could only be obtained through communication and interaction.

The authors use a critical constructivist approach, which is a combination of critical theory and constructivism, and that seeks to share ideas and opinions on how troubled students are educated in American schools. Since critical theory analyzes the social and economic injustices in society, it serves the purpose of providing an objective and analyzable perspective on students’ way of living and how this affects their behavior and performance; whereas, constructivism adds the individual factor to the approach by focusing on the students intellectual and emotional experiences which are undoubtedly brought into the classroom setting.

Both sides provide the authors with the opportunity to use socio-economic data and school policies, as well as examples of communication and interaction between students and educators, which could be helpful when looking for resources that would provide solutions to improve relationships among EBD children and the school system. Continue reading