The Pragmatics of Requesting in the Canadian Workplace: A Comparative Investigation of Requests Presented in Workplace ESL Textbooks and Oral Discourse Completion Task Responses

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Ross, Alexandra




Within the workplace, pragmatic competence contributes to the performance of difficult speech acts such as requests (Wigglesworth & Yates, 2007). A prevalent concern in teaching second language (L2) pragmatics involves pedagogical materials (Bardovi-Harlig, 2017). Although previous research has found discrepancies in pragmatic language seen in L2 textbooks and elicited responses via discourse completion tasks (DCTs) (e.g. Pablos-Ortega, 2011), workplace language textbooks have seldom been investigated. Therefore, the present study used speech act typologies (Alcón, Safont & Martínez-Flor, 2005; Trosborg, 1995) and criteria for conventional expressions (Bardovi-Harlig, 2012) to identify the most frequently-occurring requests in 17 workplace language textbooks. The same process was applied to 30 native English speakers' elicited, audio-recorded oral DCT responses. Significant differences were found in the frequency of request types identified in the textbooks and elicited responses. The results suggest that workplace language textbooks provide insufficient pragmatic input for L2 learners who are preparing for the workplace.






Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Master of Arts: 

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Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Applied Linguistics and Discourse Studies

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Theses and Dissertations

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