Condolence in Classroom Teaching: Iraqi EFL University Students' Pragmatic Deviation

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Kamal Hasan Jawad


Research studies concerning pragmatic acquisition by students have established that  pragmatic nonconformity or deviation in the execution  of speech acts, among which is "condolence", is primarily due to  the students' incompetence to identify the proper meaning and to handle the proper form. In Iraqi context, most Iraqi EFL university students are found to inapproriately use illocutionary acts, as they digress from the sociocultural standards and pragmalinguistic rules used for making condolence. When producing circumstances comprising the use of the expressive condolence, students' speeches and responses do not conform to those of native speakers. Their replies seem awkward or refer to certain spoken situations other than those required in the communicative process or interaction. Thus, the study intends to identify Iraqi EFL students' deviation in the performance of the expressive condolence in order to get at the reasons behind this unconventionality. To achieve this aim, fifty Iraqi EFL college students of the University of Baghdad , College of Languages, Department of English, have been chosen to give ( data) replies to a test containing five situtations involving the production of condolence. Responses to the test have shown that negative transfer of L1 socio-pragmatic knowledge and lack of pragma-linguistic rules are the main characteristics that EFL Iraqi students resort to when handling condolence. Socio-pragmatic deviation occurs because they are linguistically unconscious of the conventions and means used in the target language; therefore, their performance is a non-native one. Further, lack of syntactic and semantic knowledge is an influential factor in producing certain spoken situations of condoling.

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