International Journal of Language & Linguistics

ISSN 2374-8850 (Print), 2374-8869 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijll

A Study of the Relationship between L2 Proficiency and Pragmatic Transfer in the Speech Act of Criticism
Deguang Zhu

The relationship between L2 proficiency and pragmatic transfer has been investigated by a few researchers, but without consistent results: some finding a positive relationship, some finding a negative one, while others finding no relationship. The present study is conducted to explore the relationship between L2 proficiency and Chinese English learners’ pragmatic transfer in the speech act of criticism at both levels of production and perception. With a Discourse Completion Task (DCT) and a contextual appropriateness assessment questionnaire as the instruments designed to collect the research data at both levels of production and perception, and with Independent-Sample TTest and the Degree of Discrepancy in use frequency or contextual appropriateness assessment as the measuring instrument, based on analysis of the data provided by 54 native Chinese speakers, 30 native American English speakers, 30 high proficiency Chinese English learners, 31 intermediate proficiency Chinese English learners and 50 low proficiency Chinese English learners, four types of relationship between L2 proficiency and pragmatic transfer at both levels of production and perception are discovered – straight ascending type, straight descending type, U type and inverted U type, and in general, the degree of pragmatic transfer decreases as L2 proficiency increases. It is hoped that the findings of the study may provide some references for further studies of pragmatic transfer and its relationship with L2 proficiency.

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