University of Limerick
Gasior_2014_intercultural.pdf (2.39 MB)

Intercultural pragmatics: an investigation of expressing opinions in Irish English amongst Irish and Polish students.

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posted on 2023-02-22, 09:36 authored by Weronika Zofia Gąsior
Research in cross-cultural pragmatics has been limited to a handful of speech acts, and opinions remain rather poorly documented. The aim of this research was to explore the speech act of opinions from the dual perspective of pragmalinguistics-sociopragmatics, focusing additionally on the Irish variety of the English language and the Irish-Polish intercultural context. An empirical study of the expression of opinions among Polish and Irish students was conducted, using a mixed-method approach. The corpus of opinions was gathered through open role-plays among Irish and Polish university students, and it was complemented with focus group interviews which explored issues of sociopragmatic attitudes and awareness in expressing opinions. The findings suggest that opinions should be treated as a speech act set, quite complex in its execution and an example of a rich environment for investigation of cooccurrence of many speech acts. Consequently, opinions are not achieved by simple ‘I think (that) x...’ sentences, but rather involve a negotiation of meaning represented in the use of concessive (dis)agreements, the most prominent being the use of ‘yes, but’ expressions. Additionally, opinions present not only face-saving strategies, such as those for polite disagreements, but they also promote face-enhancing moves and foster relationship-building communication. The findings suggest further that in the Irish culture opinions are based on beliefs, while from the Polish participants’ perspective they are also based on facts and expected to be supported in conversation by good arguments. These different perspectives may have repercussions on how both cultures approach exchanges of opinions. While a direct cultural clash between them is not a direct conclusion to be drawn from the data, a possible misinterpretation of each other’s intentions should be pointed out. Consequently, some pedagogical and interculturally-oriented recommendations with reference to opinions are put forward.



  • Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences


  • Doctoral

First supervisor

Freda Mishan

Second supervisor

Mairéad Moriarty





Department or School

  • School of Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics

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