Title page for ETD etd-06032004-191432

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Stapleton, Laura Elizabeth
Author's Email Address besita2470@msn.com
URN etd-06032004-191432
Title Variation in the Performance of Speech Acts in Peninsular Spanish: Apologies and Requests
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Linguistics (Interdepartmental Program)
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Arnulfo Ramírez Committee Chair
Hugh Buckingham Committee Member
Janna Oetting Committee Member
Michael Hegarty Committee Member
Miles Richardson Dean's Representative
  • Spanish
  • requests
  • apologies
  • linguistics
  • speech acts
Date of Defense 2004-03-31
Availability unrestricted
This study examines variations in the performance of speech acts and additional discourse features in situational speech patterns of Peninsular Spanish. Based on studies by Blum-Kulka, et al. (1989), nine situations were created, varying from less severe to more severe, to elicit natural responses for apologies and requests. Forty participants from Castile and Andalusia were interviewed, and the data were coded to examine the differences in speech act realizations and the use of specific discourse features. The participants’ responses were classified by regional, gender, and age differences for the data set. Sociolinguistic differences in the use of additional discourse features were also compared, examining the use of alerters, personal address items, intensifiers, polite markers, hedges, accepting responsibility, offering repair, and the expression of need. In part three of this study, native speaker judgments and metalinguistic discussions were conducted to test the speech act data of participants from Castile and Andalusia and to verify the acceptability of the responses.

Results show that in the performance of speech acts, little variation is seen for region, gender, and age. The speech acts for apologies and requests are formulaic in nature, and only change with situational variation. Likewise, even though some differences exist, there is no statistical significance in the use of additional discourse features according to region, gender, and age. The use of these discourse features provides information for Spanish language variation and in the areas of linguistic politeness and language and gender. Results from the metalinguistic discussions provide qualitative data, supporting the findings of speech act realizations. Further investigation is suggested modifying targeted speech acts and situational contexts.

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