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Language, Mind, Society: CLCS Public Lecture Series

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

“Men don’t beg” – when gender meets interlanguage pragmatics.

Speaker: Dr Otilia Martí-Arnándiz, Department of Education, Universitat Jaume I, Castelló, Spain.

Time & Venue: 6.30pm, Neill Theatre, Long Room Hub, Trinity College Dublin.


Unlike 'proficiency level' and 'stay abroad', the individual variable of 'gender' has been mostly neglected within the field of interlanguage pragmatics (Kasper & Rose, 2002). Yet, the close relationship existing between gender and politeness has been deeply explored by feminist linguists. Although both the dominance view represented by Lakoff (1975) and the difference framework advocated by Tannen (1990, 1998) have been widely critiqued (e.g. Mills, 2002, 2003), third-wave feminist scholars like Cameron (2009) still claim for the maintenance of gender as a potentially relevant variable within interactionalist sociolinguistics. This talk aims at pondering the effect of gender on the production of the politeness marker “please” when mitigating requests by Spanish EFL undergraduates from Universitat Jaume I, based in Castelló de la Plana, Spain. Participants in this study comprised 100 EFL learners, 50 males and 50 females with a balanced presence of elementary and intermediate students. Our discussion will focus, on the one hand, on gender stereotypes like the over-emotional woman versus men hiding their emotions except for anger (Davis, 1995: Barrett et al., 2000; Fisher & Manstead, 2000: 9; and Ackerman et al., 2001: 811); and, on the other hand, on the effects of pragmatic development (Achiba, 2003) and L1 transfer (Lorenzo-Dus & Bou-Franch, 2003).

About the speaker:

Dr Otilia Martí-Arnándiz is Associate lecturer of Didactics of English Language and Literature at the Department of Education (Universitat Jaume I, Castelló, Spain). She holds two B.A. in Contemporary History (from the University of València, Spain) and English Philology (from Universitat Jaume I, Castelló), two M.A. in the same fields; and, a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from Universitat Jaume I in Castelló. Her research interests include the acquisition of pragmatics with a special focus on learners’ proficiency level and gender, as well as the role of teachers’ beliefs on implementing CLIL in Pre-school and Primary education from a multilingual perspective. She has participated in books developing those issues, such as Eva Alcón-Soler (ed.) (2008) Learning How to Request in an Instructed Language Learning Context, Bern: Peter Lang; or Leyre Ruiz de Zarobe & Yolanda Ruiz de Zarobe (eds.) (2012) Speech Acts and Politeness across Languages and Cultures, Bern: Peter Lang. She has also co-edited with Patricia Salazar Campillo (2013) Refusals in Instructional Contexts and Beyond, Amsterdam/New York: Rodopi, and co-authored with Maria Pilar Safont Jordà (2008) Achieving Multilingualism: Wills and Ways, Castelló de la Plana: Col·lecció e-Estudis filològics/2 de la Universitat Jaume I, a book resulting from the organization of ICOM (International Conference on Multilingualism).