The pragmatics of thanking reflected in the textbooks for teaching Spanish as a foreign language

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The aim of this paper is to present a classification for the speech act of thanking as reflected in the textbooks for teaching and learning Spanish as a foreign language and to ascertain the formulaic sequences used when expressing gratitude (i.e. from a pragmalinguistic viewpoint) in the Spanish language. For the purpose of this investigation, a corpus of 64 coursebooks, which included 250 situations representing the speech act of thanking, was used. Situations were analysed in order to design the classification of gratitude which took into consideration the relationship between interlocutors, and the object and/or the action for which this speech act was performed. The use of thanking sequences was explored by means of a questionnaire administered to 100 Spanish native speakers. The questionnaire results were then contrasted with the thanking formulae found in the coursebooks. The outcome of the investigation provided a classification of thanking which consisted of four main categories, subsequently divided into twelve subcategories. The results also revealed the sociopragmatic representation of thanking in the coursebooks for teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language and the most frequent specific thanking formulae used by native speakers. We expect that the classification will serve as a basis for future investigations in which this specific speech act is explored from a pragmatic standpoint.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2411-2433
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011

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