Investigating ELF intercultural mediation in asylum-seeking contexts. A phonopragmatic approach


Abstract – The paper aims to investigate ELF intercultural mediation by means of the phonopragmatic approach, here applied to the analysis of legal interactions in immigration settings characterized by ‘gatekeeping’ asymmetries. More precisely, the research hypothesis is that ELF users involved in intercultural encounters differently appropriate the English language not only according to their own different native linguacultural ‘schemata’, but also to specific pragmalinguistic goals and intentions. Nonetheless, this dynamic process often interferes with the achievement of successful communication through mutual accommodation strategies usually applied by ELF users. The phonopragmatic approach, therefore, aims to explore the possible prosodic and auditory processes involved in such cross-cultural dynamics, with particular attention to the speakers’ illocutionary and pragmatic intentions and the performing of speech acts. Hence, a corpus of recorded data from cross-cultural interactions, in ELF and Italian Lingua-Franca, between asylum-seekers, language mediators and legal advisors is here explored by means of a cross-linguistic acoustic, conversational and register analysis with the ultimate aim of investigating (i) how existing L1 prosodic and acoustic aspects are redefined in the use of an ELF variation; (ii) to what extent the resulting L1 phonological transfers affect the ELF variations (in terms of phonological phrasing, syntactic and lexical choices); (iii) how meaning, experience and understanding are mediated and cross-culturally constructed in interactions through phonopragmatic strategies; and (iv) the role played by prosody and paralinguistics in the negotiation of speakers’ attitudes, emotions, and socio-cultural ‘schemata’.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v21p219

Keywords: ELF phonopragmatics; intercultural mediation; cross-cultural transfers; multimodal analysis; intercultural pedagogy


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