Interlanguage Pragmatics: Deviant Patterns of Negative Responses to English Negative Yes/No Questions by L1 Thai Speakers

Jidapa Chantharasombat, Nattama Pongpairoj


This study investigated the potential cause of L1 Thai speakers’ persistent deviations from target-like negative responses to negative yes/no questions in L2 English context based on the theory of interlanguage pragmatics, particularly pragmatic transfer. L1 Thai undergraduates were categorized into two groups according to their level of L2 English linguistic proficiency. A discourse completion task (DCT), which required the participants to complete their turns in a conversation under different situations, were used to elicit their negative responses. The results revealed that negative pragmatic transfer, influenced by differences in linguistic action patterns of negative responses to negative yes/no questions between Thai and English, occurred in the performance of L1 Thai speakers in both lower and higher L2 English proficiency groups. However, the overall results suggested that the lower proficiency group tended to rely more on their L1 Thai pragmatic competence and showed higher tendency of negative pragmatic transfer than the higher proficiency group. The research indicated that negative transfer from the speakers’ different L1 Thai pragmatic influence from L2 English could make an impact on their non-target-like performance. Moreover, their level of L2 English linguistic proficiency and degree of reliance on their L1 Thai pragmatic knowledge could affect their production to diverge from L2 English pragmatic norms.


interlanguage, pragmatics, transfer, responses, negative yes/no questions, L1 Thai, L2 English

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