Prosodic Pointing in inferential comprehension: the application of Relevance Theory to L2 listening instruction

Palavras-chave: Prosodic Pointing, Competência Pragmática, Vigilância Epistêmica, Teoria da Relevância, Instruções de Compreensão Oral em L2.

Resumo

The interface between pragmatics and prosody has been shown to be significant in intercultural communication (RIESCO BERNIER; ROMERO-TRILLO, 2008; ROMERO-TRILLO, 2002, 2012, 2015, 2019). In this paper, we re-evaluate the pragmatics-prosody interface on the grounds that prosody is seldom interpreted independently from accompanying gesture, facial modification and head movement. To enhance L2 hearers’ pragmatic competence, or what we define as attentional and inferential abilities, we introduce prosodic pointing as an ostensive phenomenon inclusive of both vocal and visual paralinguistic features used synchronously to communicate and interpret one’s intentions. We believe that the way relevance mechanisms (SPERBER; WILSON, 1986; WHARTON, 2014) focus the hearer on the speaker’s ostensive nonverbal behaviours, for him to use them as cues to speaker meaning, can be exploited in L2 listening instruction that aims to develop epistemic vigilance (SPERBER 1994; PADILLA CRUZ, 2013) and pragmatic competence in Chinese hearers of L2 English. In English, you can show disagreement by saying ‘Yes, he \was’. In Chinese, however, ‘yes’ always means agreement. Chinese speakers typically disagree by saying ‘No, he was’, thus potentially causing misunderstanding. We investigate how introducing prosodic pointing to Chinese L2 learners can help in fine-tuning their epistemic vigilance in L2 English through an intervention study involving input and immediate recall sessions. The results show (i) evidence of Chinese interpreters of L2 English fine-tuning their epistemic vigilance and, as result, the important role of prosodic pointing in enhancing their pragmatic competence, and (ii) the need for further relevance-based L2 instructional studies focused on enhancing inferential and interpretive competence in hearers of L2 English.

***Apontamento prosódico na compreensão inferencial: a aplicação da Teoria da Relevância à instrução auditiva L2***

A interface entre pragmática e prosódia tem se mostrado significativa em comunicação intercultural (RIESCO BERNIER; ROMERO-TRILLO, 2008; ROMERO-TRILLO, 2002, 2012, 2015, 2019). Neste artigo, nós reavaliamos a interface pragmática-prosódica assumindo que a prosódia é raramente interpretada de maneira independente de gestos, modificações faciais e movimentos de cabeça. A fim de aprimorar a competência pragmática do ouvinte em L2, ou o que definimos como habilidades inferencial e de atenção, introduzimos o conceito de indicação gestual-prosódica (prosodic pointing) como uma ferramenta baseada na relevância que inclui características tanto segmentais como paralinguísticas, usadas sincronizadamente para comunicar a intenção do falante. Acreditamos que a maneira como mecanismos de relevância (SPERBER; WILSON, 1986, WHARTON, 2014) fazem o ouvinte focar em comportamentos ostensivos não verbais - a fim de que ele as use como pistas para o significado do falante - pode informar instruções de compreensão oral em L2 que busquem desenvolver a competência pragmática e a vigilância epistêmica (PADILLA CRUZ, 2013) em falantes chineses de inglês como L2. Em inglês, você pode mostrar discordância ao dizer ‘sim, ele \foi’. Em chinês, no entanto, ‘sim’ sempre significa concordância. Falantes chineses normalmente expressam discordância ao dizer ‘Não, ele foi’, o que potencialmente pode causar um mal-entendido. Nós investigamos como a introdução de ‘instruções prosódicas’ para chineses aprendizes de L2 pode aprimorar a competência pragmática e a vigilância epistêmica através de um estudo de intervenção com uma combinação de metodologias que envolvem testes de recepção, testes de compreensão oral e testes de recordação. Os estudos mostram (i) a necessidade de instruções que coloquem o aprendiz de L2 em um papel direto de ouvinte a fim de que sua atenção selecione as pistas ostensivas do falante e as use em seu processo deinterpretação e (ii) a importância de melhorar as instruções de compreensão inferencial partindo de estudos de L2 baseados na relevância.

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Biografia do Autor

Pauline Madella, University of Brighton, Hastings

Pauline Madella is currently completing a PhD in Linguistics and English Language at the University of Brighton. She holds an M.A. in English Language Teaching and has extensive experience teaching English to Chinese L1 speakers. Her research explores the use and interpretation of ostensive non-verbal behaviours – intonation, facial expression, gesture - in communication, and in particular their role in cueing speaker intentions. Her doctoral work focuses on how exposure to prosodic pointing in L2 pragmatics instruction can enhance relevance-based pragmatic competence in Chinese hearers of L2 English.

Jesús Romero-Trillo, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid

Jesús Romero-Trillo is Full Professor in Pragmatics at the Department of English Philology (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid). He obtained an MSc in Applied Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh, as a Stevenson Scholar (1990) and finished his PhD at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (1994). He specialises in Applied Linguistics with specific emphasis on the pragmatics-intonation interface in English and on the theory and application of corpus linguistics to cognition and the study of social conflict. He is the Editorin- Chief of the journal Corpus Pragmatics (Springer).

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Publicado
2019-12-27
Como Citar
Madella, P., & Romero-Trillo, J. (2019). Prosodic Pointing in inferential comprehension: the application of Relevance Theory to L2 listening instruction. Letrônica, 12(4), e34157. https://doi.org/10.15448/1984-4301.2019.4.34157