Pragmatic Markedness in the ELF- Mediated Discourse of Legal Counseling to West-African Female Migrants


This paper introduces a cognitive model of pragmatic markedness for the analysis of the ways in which non-native speakers of English as a lingua franca (ELF) differently interpret situations of legal counseling they are involved in. It will be argued that interpretative divergences are to be ascribed to the participants’ different ‘schematic representations’ of the same situations which may come into conflict, thus causing misunderstanding. In this paper, misunderstanding is investigated in relation to a number of case studies regarding asymmetric situations in which West-African (Nigerian) female migrants, using their pidgin/creole-English varieties as ELF variations, should be assisted – but actually are disregarded – by Western (Italian) ELF-speaking legal advisors who are biased against them. The assumption is that the participants ‘transfer’ their respective native linguacultural features to their ELF variations, which are perceived as ‘deviant’ – and, therefore, ‘marked’ – by the other participants in the same situations of intercultural communication.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v52p145

Keywords: Pragmatic markedness; English as a Lingua Franca; Schema Theory; migration encounters; legal discourse


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