The nature and conditions of pragmatic and discourse transfer investigated through naturalized role-play

The nature and conditions of pragmatic and discourse transfer investigated through naturalized role-play. By Giao Quynh Tran. (Linguistics edition 55.) Munich: LINCOM Europa, 2006. Pp. 332. ISBN 3895869988. $106.31.

Reviewed by Manuel Padilla Cruz, University of Seville

This volume is a cross-cultural study of pragmatic and discourse transfer of compliment responses in Vietnamese advanced learners of English as an L2 when interacting with Australian English native speakers. It falls squarely within a sound and fruitful tradition of cross-cultural and interlanguage pragmatics studies. Tran is motivated by the obvious impact of the nonnative speaker’s L1 and culture on their L2 production, and hence analyzes their performance in the L2 and the consequences of pragmatic and discourse transfer for cross-cultural communication.

The volume has eleven chapters. The first chapter is introductory and presents the aims of the research, the significance of its topics, and the structure of the book. The rest of the chapters can be divided into two parts. Chs. 2–6 comprise a theoretical part, while Chs. 7–11 comprise the empirical research carried out and its conclusions.

Ch. 2 describes and explains the key concepts that allow readers to understand pragmatic and discourse transfer: pragmatics, discourse, interlanguage, transfer, cross-cultural interaction, and interlanguage pragmatics. Ch. 3 is exclusively dedicated to pragmatic and discourse transfer, so it offers a complete review of previous research into this area. In close connection with it, In Ch. 4, T extensively discusses research into compliment responses, explains the reasons behind the choice of this communicative act for the analysis of pragmatic and discourse transfer, reviews contradictory findings about pragmatic and discourse transfer in this act, and suggests possible solutions to that research. In Ch. 5, T addresses again the notion of pragmatic and discourse transfer, reviews it, and offers a new and complete definition of the term. Finally, Ch. 6 critically discusses issues related to methodology in cross-cultural and interlanguage pragmatics research.

Ch. 7 presents the research questions of the study and expands on the reasons for examining them. Ch. 8 explains the procedures for data collection and data analysis and describes naturalized role-play, the procedure employed to obtain data. It also explores the conditions of pragmatic and discourse transfer through data from background questionnaires, retrospective interviews, closed and open role-plays, and field notes of natural data. Ch. 9 presents the research findings. These findings reveal the usage of different strategies by Vietnamese advanced learners of English as an L2 to respond to compliments, indicate what is transferred, show patterns and conditions of pragmatic and discourse transfer, and confirm the effectiveness of the naturalized role-play in cross-cultural and interlanguage pragmatics research. Ch. 10 focuses on the nature and conditions of pragmatic and discourse transfer in compliment responses, and the role of awareness in pragmatic and discourse transfer, and offers some pedagogical implications for L2 learners, teachers, and speakers of different languages in cross-cultural interaction. It also stresses the contributions and practicality of the naturalized role-play, and reflects on the limitations of the study carried out. Finally, Ch. 11 offers the general conclusions of the study, some suggestions for further research, and some remarks on related issues.