The art of mitigating disagreement: How EFL learners do it

Kusevska, Marija (2014) The art of mitigating disagreement: How EFL learners do it. In: FLTAL'14 - 4th International Conference on Foreign Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics, 9-10 May, 2014, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.


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The principal motivation of this study is to investigate how Macedonian learners of English mitigate their disagreement. It is a follow-up of a much broader study in the field of cross-cultural pragmatics focusing on disagreement in Macedonian and American English (Kusevska, 2012). Our cross-cultural analysis reveals that Macedonian and American native speakers show preferance for different types of disagreement, the major difference being the frequency of mitigation as well as the linguistic means used for its realisation. For the purpose of this study, we have accepted the definition that mitigation is linguistic communicative strategy of softening an utterance, reducing the impact of an utterance, or limiting the face loss associated with a message (Fraser, 1980; Caffi, 1999, 2007; Martinovski, 2006; Clemen, 2010; Czerwionka, 2012). As mitigation in disagreement is closely connected with politeness, we have also relied on the model of politeness and the strategies for FTA realisation proposed by Brown & Levinson (1978/1987). We have looked at lexical and syntactic devices such as modal auxiliaries (e.g., can/could; may/might), hedges (kind of, sort of), discourse markers (well, but, look), verbs expressing uncertainty (I think, I don’t think), verbs expressing vagueness (seem, assume, guess), conditionals etc., that learners use to mitigate their utterances. Key words: speech acts, disagreement, politeness, mitigation, EFL learners

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: Humanities > Languages and literature
Divisions: Faculty of Philology
Depositing User: Marija Kusevska
Date Deposited: 28 May 2014 14:11
Last Modified: 07 Aug 2015 10:11

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