A phonopragmatic analysis of ELF spoken interactions


Abstract – ELF cross-cultural interactions occurring in specialized migration settings are often characterized by ‘gatekeeping’ asymmetries between the participants involved, challenging successful communication. The ‘phonopragmatic’ approach is here applied to the analysis of naturally occurring dialogues among ELF users with the aim of investigating how ELF speakers engaged in intercultural encounters differently appropriate the English language, not only according to their own native linguacultural and paralinguistic ‘schemata’, but also to specific pragmalinguistic purposes and processes. The phonopragmatic analysis is applied to a number of case studies – illustrating unequal encounters between asylum-seekers, language mediators and legal advisors, taking place at an important centre for legal counselling and assistance to refugees and performed through ELF and Italian Lingua-Franca – with the ultimate objective of exploring the occurring prosodic and auditory processes activated in such cross-cultural dynamics. The investigation of prosodic strategies employed for a pragmatic purpose by ELF speakers from different L1 backgrounds is focused on (i) ELF redefinition of existing native prosodic and acoustic correlates (in terms of stress, intonation, speech rate, and disfluency) in the pragmalinguistic use of an ELF variation; (ii) resulting L1 phonological transfers affecting the conversational composition and progress; (iii) the cross-cultural mediation of meaning, experience and intentionality in terms of phonopragmatic strategies and resulting lexical, syntactical, and stylistic performance; and (iv) the role played by prosody and paralinguistics in the negotiation of speakers’ attitudes, emotions, and socio-cultural ‘schemata’ in spoken specialized discourse related to medical and legal integration, mediated migration narratives, socio-cultural divergences, and cross-cultural representations of traumatic experience.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v24p157

Keywords: ELF migration contexts; ELF variations; World Englishes; intercultural mediation; phonopragmatics


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