ERIC Number: EJ769653
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Feb
Reference Count: N/A
Requests in a South African Variety of English
Kasanga, Luanga A.
World Englishes, v25 n1 p65-89 Feb 2006
The main assumption in this article is that the pragmatics of the variety of South African English commonly referred to as black South African English (BSAE) have been shaped, over time, by educated bilinguals, through a transfer of features from African languages. Transfer of syntactic forms, now firmly established in the variety, is evidenced by, among other things, the preferred use of forms dispreferred in requesting formulae in the native varieties of English. To test the hypothesis of transfer of forms into English for the same requesting functions as in Sesotho sa Leboa (Northern Sotho), an African language of South Africa, use was made of a contrastive study, using ethnographic notebook data of BSAE and DCT (discourse completion task) elicited requests in both languages and acceptability judgements on 'politeness' in the African language. The results of a pragmatico syntactic analysis, which found a mismatch between knowledge about and use of appropriate speech act formulae in the native form of English, (1) confirm the hypothesis of a transfer of strategies from L1 to L2 over time in the speech of educated bilinguals which shaped BSAE; (2) suggest the influence of 'cultural rules' (because contact of languages involves contact of cultures) in shaping the pragmatics of BSAE, on the basis of which the 'Cultural Difference Hypothesis' is proposed; and (3) concur with the emerging conclusion of the institutionalization of BSAE as an indigenized variety of English.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Pragmatics, Cultural Differences, Speech Acts, African Languages, Language Variation, Hypothesis Testing, Contrastive Linguistics, Second Language Learning, Bilingualism, Communication (Thought Transfer), Syntax, English (Second Language)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa