Backward Transfer of Apology Strategies from Japanese to English: Do English L1 Speakers Use Japanese-Style Apologies When Speaking English?

When learning a second language, there are elements of a learner’s native language that can transfer and are exhibited during production in the second language. This can extend not only to the way things are said but even to gestures that are language- and speech-act-specific. However, there is evidence that the same can occur backwards, that is to say that elements of a second language can be exhibited during production of one’s native language (Pavlenko and Jarvis, 2002). This study focuses on English L1 learners of Japanese who have spent significant time both in country and learning the language to see if they exhibit Japanese tendencies when performing apologies in their native English. Comparisons between those with no Japanese experience were made with those who had extensive Japanese experience. Through video recordings of 45 participants engaging in six apology-induced scenarios (non-Japanese, n=24; Japanese, n=21), the participants showed that backward transfer occurs with repetition of IFIDs and nonverbal cues. Further research through different methods can be more telling.

Thesis Author: Candice April Flowers

Year Completed: 2018

Thesis Chair: Dan P. Dewey


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