Why Do Korean Listeners Have Difficulty Recovering the Meaning of Casual Speech in English? A Study in Pragmatics

Jiyon Cook


This paper pragmatically explores why Korean listeners encounter difficulties in recovering the speaker's meaning during casual English conversations. Meaning is derived not only from the simple decoding of the composed words but also through a more complex cognitive-pragmatic process of “free enrichment.” In addition to enriching a linguistically encoded logical form, deriving meaning necessitates the recognition of different uses of a language, one of which is the use of expressions in the listener’s culture. The differences in the perception of utterances between native and non-native English speakers highlight the influence of metapragmatic awareness on free enrichment. It can elaborate and/or repair a propositional attitude alongside a linguistically encoded logical form as well as determine an explicature or implicature. This study finds that the need to be aware of the uses of the target language imposes a more conscious burden on Korean listeners, leading to difficulties in recovering the speaker’s meaning.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5539/ass.v8n6p40

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