Pragmatic Markers Produced by Multilingual Speakers: Evidence From a CLIL Context

  •  Ana Herraiz Martinez    
  •  Ariadna Sánchez Hernández    


The purpose of this study is to investigate the production of pragmatic markers (PMs) by multilingual students in a CLIL context. Previous studies have analyzed pragmatic competence in multilingual settings (e.g., Cenoz, 2003; Martín-Laguna & Alcón-Soler, 2015; Portolés, 2015; Safont & Portolés, 2016). However, to the best of our knowledge, no previous study has investigated the use of PMs across languages at the oral level in the multilingual classroom. As suggested by Nashaat-Sobhy (2017, p. 69), there is a need for studies that support or refute whether CLIL helps students communicate more appropriately. In an attempt to fill this gap, the overall aim of this research study is to explore how multilingual students use PMs across languages –namely Spanish, Catalan and English- in terms of frequency and type of PM.

Participants were 19 Spanish students in an instructional context where three languages are in contact, namely English, Catalan and Spanish. They completed a language background questionnaire and comparable oral decision-making tasks carried out in pairs, one task in each of the target languages. The analysis explored the frequency and type of PMs (i.e. textual and interpersonal markers). Findings revealed significant differences in the frequency and type of both interpersonal and textual PMs across the three languages, shedding some light on the particular characteristics of the pragmatic competence of multilingual learners in a CLIL setting.

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