Pragmatic Transfer in English Emails Produced by Chinese L2 English speakers : A Study of the Underlying Cultural Ethos, and the Effect of Speakers’ English Proficiency andExposure to English

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Engelska institutionen


This study focuses on the pragmatic transfers that emerge in the English emails produced byChinese L2 English speakers. Despite doubts about taking Chinese English as a new variety, the study believes there are some common and unique pragmatic features existing in the English text produced by Chinese L2 English speakers. 104 emails written by 13 subjects with different English proficiency and different English exposure were collected. Questionnaires were sent out to the same subjects, trying to find out the factors that affect their pragmatic performance.

The study accomplished the following main findings: 1) There are differences in the extent to which pragmatic transfer occurs among different subjects. 2) The individual subject’s pragmatic performance in English is not necessarily decided by the subjects’ English proficiency. 3) The extent of pragmatic transfer in the individual subject’s case seems to be much more complex situation than depending on any single factor of the following: English proficiency, exposure to English, or confidence in using English. 4) Some email writers have different extent of pragmatic transfer in the situations with different levels of tension. 5) However, whether the subjects have different extent of pragmatic transfer or not seems again to be too complex a situation to decide which of the factors (English proficiency, exposure to English, or confidence in using English) plays a decisive role.

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