The impact of task variation on request and refusal speech act production in Iranian EFL learners

Mansour Jalilimehr, Abdolreza Pazhakh, Bahman Gorjian


Abstract-Second language learners need to acquire not only linguistic rules but also sociolinguistic ones to communicate appropriately and effectively. This study investigated the effect of two social tasks on the production of requests and refusals. The sample involved 40 BA and MA Iranian students of English and they were evaluated for their ability to perform speech act of requests and refusals. Closed role plays were used to generate data. The closed role play included two situation types based on three social factors: power difference (P), social distance (D) and the degree of imposition (I). In one situation, the power relationship between interlocutors was equal, the distance was small and the degree of imposition was also small (PDI-low). In another situation, the listener had greater power, the distance was large and the degree of imposition was large too (PDI-high). Learners' oral production was analyzed for appropriateness and speech speed. In addition, learners' choice of linguistic strategies over two social situations was examined. Results revealed that second language learners produced PDI-high tasks slower in comparison to PDI-low ones. Results also revealed that second language proficiency influenced appropriateness and speech speed significantly. Moreover, each group chose different linguistic strategies indicating the effect of task variation on oral speech act production.


Requests, refusals, social distance, appropriateness, speech speed

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