Roots of miscommunication


  • Elena Schmitt



Segunda lengua, Lengua inglesa, Investigación lingüística, Análisis del discurso, Competencia comunicativa, Enseñanza de la lengua, Diferenciación cultural


This paper proposes an account for the problem of miscommunication observed between native and non-native speakers of the English language. The analysis of interviews has shown that monologues produced by Russian speakers of English are structurally different from American monologues. A system based on the markedness theory was developed in order to account for the differences and provide a guide for teaching discourse skills in an ESL classroom It is suggested that universally sentences can be broken down into organizational features. This means that just like sounds, utterances can be found in polar opposition. The order in which utterances marked by these features are put together, represents the unmarked organizational structure of a monologue in a given language. The data received form the interviews indicates that Russian speakers of English do not acquire the unmarked American structure because they are not aware of the existing differences.


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How to Cite

Schmitt, Elena. 1998. “Roots of Miscommunication”. Alicante Journal of English Studies / Revista Alicantina De Estudios Ingleses, no. 11 (November):217-29.