This book examines how Japanese learners of English learned about managing
politeness while they were studying at language schools in New Zealand.
Specifically, it investigates how they learned to produce and interpret a
range of disagreement strategies during oppositional talk with native
speakers of English. Employing a combined qualitative and quantitative
approach to data analysis, the book discusses the initial pragmatic
competence of the learners, and describes how their competence developed
over a ten-week period.
The book outlines some points of cultural divergence which may have
influenced the direction and the extent of the learners' pragmatic
development. It also sheds light on the language-acquisition strategies
utilised by the learners during their tenure in the host culture. Most
crucially, the book illuminates patterns of directness and indirectness in
the learners' selected disagreement strategies. These patterns challenge
the generally accepted theory that politeness always increases with social
Contents: Japanese learners of English - Disagreement speech acts -
Theories of politeness - Face-threat - Individualism and collectivism -
Power distance - Second language/Culture acquisition - Shifts in production
of disagreements - Utterance length - Shifts in recognising and
interpreting disagreements - Enryo-based assessments of pragmatic variation
- Power-risk assessments of pragmatic variation - Environmental and
pedagogical factors influencing pragmatic acquisition.