Pragmatic Transfer in Moroccan EFL Learners’ Requests


  • Ayoub Loutfi Theoretical Linguistics


Pragmatic Transfer, EFL Learners, Requestive Strategies, Pragmatic Competence.


Chomsky’s generative paradigm has invaded and informed linguistic research and hence all linguistic subfields. The field of Second Language Acquisition (SLA) has not been exempted from this ostensible invasion. Yet, research conducted within this new paradigm has focused only on exploring and teaching formal grammatical forms; other components of linguistic competence, namely Pragmatics, have been pushed to the edges. More recently (Kasper & Blum-Kulka, 1993; Kasper, 1992; Ishihara & Cohen, 2010 among others), however, a growing interest in the effects of culture and native language on the development of the learners’ L2 has brought into focus the fact that for non-native speakers/ L2 learners to achieve a fully-fledged competence in the target language, they have, of necessity, to consider the sociocultural and pragmatic aspects of the target language. For this reason, the present paper is couched within the area of Interlanguage Pragmatics (ILP), the aim being to address the issue of the role of pragmatic competence in SLA in general and, more particularly, in a Moroccan EFL context. Conducted within the framework of the Cross-Cultural Speech Act Realization Project (CCSARP), this study, then, purports to investigate the issue of pragmatic transfer from L1 into the Interlanguage of Moroccan learners of English, particularly when these learners make requests in English. The two main hypotheses that the present paper attempts to defend are: (i) there is pragmatic transfer in the English requests produced by Moroccan learners of English, both from a Pragmalinguistic and Sociopragmatic perspective; (ii) L2 pragmatic competence acquisition is still wanting among Moroccan advanced students. The participants involved in this study are Moroccan university learners of English (second year and third year) and native speakers of English. Under this light, this study seeks to compare the average frequencies of direct and indirect strategies used by both native Moroccan English as a foreign language learners and native English speakers. Finally, this study will further attempt to explore whether transfer decreases as the study level increases. The paper concludes with some pedagogical implications.


. Achiba, M. 2003. Learning to Request in a Second Language: A Study of Child Interlanguage Pragmatics. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters, LTD.

. Austin, J. 1962. How to Do Things with Words. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

. Bachman, L. F. 1990. Fundamental Considerations in Language Testing. Oxford. Oxford, University press.

. Barron, A. 2003. Acquisition in Interlanguage Pragmatics: Learning how to Do things with Words in a Study Abroad Context. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

. Benbarka, L. 2002. Pragmatic Transfer in EFL Moroccan Learners’ Apologies. Unpublished DESA dissertation, Faculty of Education. Mohamed V, Souissi, Rabat

. Blum-Kulka, S. 1982. “Learning to Say what You Mean in a Second Language: A Study of the Speech Act Performance of Learners of Hebrew as a Second Languageâ€. Applied Linguistics 3, 29–59.

. Blum-Kulka, S. 1987. “Indirectness and politeness in requests: Same or different? Journal of Pragmatics 11, 131–46.

. Blum-Kulka, S. 1989. “Playing it Safe: The Role of Conventionality in Indirectnessâ€. In S. Blum-Kulka, J. House and G. Kasper (Eds), Cross-cultural Pragmatics: Requests and Apologies, (37–70). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

. Blum-Kulka, S. and Olshtain, E. (1984) Requests and apologies: A cross-cultural study of speech act realization patterns (CCSARP). Applied Linguistics 5, 196–213.

. Blum-Kulka, S., House, J. and Kasper, G. (Eds) (1989a) Cross-cultural Pragmatics: Requests and Apologies. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

. Brown, H. D. 2007. Principles of Language Learning and Teaching (5th ed.). White Plains, NY: Longman.

. Chomsky, N. 1965. Aspects of the Theory of Syntax. Cambridge: MIT Press.

. Ellis, R. 1997. Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

. Firth, A., & Wagner, J. 1997. “On Discourse, Communication, and (some) Fundamental Concepts in SLA Researchâ€. Modern Language Journal, 81, 286-300.

. Kasper, G. 1997. “Can Pragmatic Competence be Taught?†(NFLRC Net Work No. 6.) Honolulu: University of Hawaii at Manoa, Second Language Teaching & Curriculum Center.

. Kasper, G., & Blum-Kulka, S. 1993. “Interlanguage Pragmatics: An Introductionâ€. In G. Kasper & S. Blum-Kulka (Eds.), Interlanguage Pragmatics, (3 –18). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

. Kasper, G. and Schmidt, R. 1996 “Developmental Issues in Interlanguage Pragmaticsâ€. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 18, 149–69.

. Hymes, D. H. 1972. “On communicative competenceâ€. In J. B. Pride & J. Holmes (Eds.), Sociolinguistics, (269–293). Harmondsworth: Penguin.

. Ishihara, N. 2010. “Teachers’ Pragmatics: Knowledge, Beliefs, and Practice. In N. Ishihara & A.D. Cohen (Eds.), Teaching and Learning Pragmatics: Where culture and language meet, (21–36). Harlow: Pearson Education.

. Latif, H. 2001. A Sociopragmatic Study of EFL Moroccan Learners’ Requests. Unpublished DESA dissertation, Faculty of Education. Mohamed V, Souissi, Rabat.

. Lin, M. 2008. “Pragmatic Failure in Intercultural Communication and English Teaching in Chinaâ€. China Media Research, 4(3), 43-52.

. Searle, J. R. 1975b. “Indirect Speech Actsâ€. In Cole & Morgan (1975: 58-82). Reprinted in Searle (1979b: 30-57).

. Selinker, L. 1974. “Interlanguageâ€. Error Analysis: Perspectives on Second Language Acquisition, Richards, J. C. (Ed.), (31-54). London: Longman.

. Thomas, J. 1983. “Cross-cultural Pragmatic Failureâ€. Applied Linguistics 4, 91-109.




How to Cite

Loutfi, A. (2016). Pragmatic Transfer in Moroccan EFL Learners’ Requests. Asian Journal of Education and E-Learning, 4(1). Retrieved from