Development of Spanish requests and apologies during study abroad


  • Rachel L. Shively Illinois State University
  • Andrew D. Cohen University of MInnesota



second language acquisition, pragmatics, requests, apologies, study abroad


The present study analyzed the requests and apologies of 67 U.S. American study abroad students before and after spending one semester in a Spanish-speaking country. Ratings of students' pragmatic appropriateness by Spanish native speakers indicated that, overall, students improved their request and apology performance over the course of the semester. An analysis of students' request and apology strategy use, both pre- and post-study abroad, found that in certain ways students shifted their behavior to more closely resemble that of Spanish native-speaker baseline data, but that in some cases, they also remained or moved away from native-speaker norms. Another objective of the study was to examine the possible associations between students' background characteristics, contact with Spanish, and gains in intercultural sensitivity with gains over time in rated request and apology performance. Of these variables, only two of the language contact variables yielded statistically significant results. This study contributes to our understanding of second language pragmatic development and the influence of individual characteristics and environmental factors.

Recibido: 14-12-2007 / Aceptado: 07-08-2008

How to reference this article:

Shively, R. L. & Cohen, A. D. (2008). Development of Spanish requests and apologies during study abroad. Íkala. 13(2), pp.57-118.

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Author Biographies

Rachel L. Shively, Illinois State University

Rachel L. Shively is an Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics and Spanish at Illinois State University. Her research interests include SLA, pragmatics, discourse analysis, intercultural development, and language learning in study abroad.

Andrew D. Cohen, University of MInnesota

Andrew D. Cohen is a professor in the Program in Second Language Studies at the University of Minnesota. He has published widely on language learner strategies, pragmatics, language assessment, and multilingual education.


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How to Cite

Shively, R. L., & Cohen, A. D. (2008). Development of Spanish requests and apologies during study abroad. Íkala, Revista De Lenguaje Y Cultura, 13(2), 57–118.