Interlanguage pragmatics in a service encounter: diagnosing how Spanish learners of English for the Tourism Industry inform tourists at a visitor centre

Abstract: This study explores the behaviour of (pre-)intermediate Spanish learners of English for the Tourism Industry at the transactional phase of a service encounter wherein they have to carry out one of the tasks for which they are trained: giving information at a tourist visitor centre. More specifically, this study analyses (i) the strategies wherewith they dispense tourist information, and (ii) how they attend to relational aspects during the encounter or manage rapport with tourists through such strategies and the information dispensed. Thus, this study purports to shed light onto learners’ skills prior to instruction in an area which, although usually included in ESP textbooks, seems to have been overlooked by practitioners in interlanguage pragmatics. The preliminary need diagnosis that this paper makes may be the foundation upon which pedagogical intervention may subsequently be designed.