Indiana University Bloomington
Department of Second Language Studies  
Spanish: Estudios de lenguas segundas  

Meet the Faculty

César Félix-Brasdefer

Photo of Felix-BrasdeferEducation

Contact Information

Indiana University
Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Ballantine Hall 858
1020 East Kirkwood Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405-7103
Office Phone: (812) 855-9551

Research Interests

Personal Statement

My research examines issues of discourse pragmatics, face theory, politeness theory, and the intersection between speech act theory and conversation analysis. I am particularly interested in both politeness as practice and in the scientific conceptualization of politeness as a theoretical construct. I have conducted research on various aspects of cross-cultural pragmatics, comparing the realization patterns of speech acts and interactional patterns among native speakers of Spanish and English. Also, I am interested in sociopragmatic variation in the Spanish-Speaking world which can be examined by means of an analysis of spoken discourse in two or more varieties of Spanish.

 I also research different aspects of pragmatics in second language learning, including the realization of speech acts and conversational practices. In this respect, I am interested in the intersection between grammar and discourse pragmatics. For example, I am currently investigating the grammatical resources that second language learners use for the construction of turns and how turns are designed and then put into practice in learner-native speaker interactions. Another related interest is how prosody (e.g., intonation, stress) contributes to pragmatic meaning in conversation. I am currently designing a website that aims at providing a model for the teaching of pragmatics in second and foreign language contexts. The website is based on research in instruction in second language pragmatics and includes on-line activities to equip educators to teach various aspects of pragmatics in the classroom. In addition, the site features a component on pragmatic variation in the Spanish-speaking world and a series of speech acts that will be available in audio. This website will be available in March 2007.

Courses Recently Taught


Félix-Brasdefer, J. César. (2008). Politeness in Mexico and the United States: A contrastive study of the realization and perception of refusals.  Amsterdam:  John Benjamins.

Bardovi-Harlig, Kathleen, Félix-Brasdefer, J. César, Omar, Alwiya. (Eds.) (2006). Pragmatics and Language Learning, vol. 11. Manoa, HI: Second Language Teaching and Curriculum Center University of Hawai’i.

Journal Articles

Félix-Brasdefer, J. C. (in press).  Intra-lingual pragmatic variation in Mexico City and San José, Costa Rica: A focus on regional differences in female requests.  Journal of Pragmatics

Félix-Brasdefer, J. C. (2009).  Pragmatic variation across Spanish(es): Requesting in Mexican, Costa Rican, and Dominican Spanish. Intercultural Pragmatics, 6(4), 473-515.

Félix-Brasdefer, J. C. (2009).  Dispreferred responses in interlanguage pragmatics: Refusal sequences in learner-native speaker interactions.  Applied Language Learning, Vol. 19 (1-2), 1-27.

Félix-Brasdefer, J. C. (2008).  Pedagogical intervention and the development of pragmatic competence in learning Spanish as a foreign language.  Issues in Applied Linguistics, 16(1), 47-82.

Félix-Brasdefer, J. César. (2008). Teaching Spanish pragmatics in the classroom: Explicit instruction of mitigation. Hispania, 91(2), 477-492.

Félix-Brasdefer, J. César. (2008). Perceptions of refusals to invitations: Exploring the minds of foreign language learners. Language Awareness, 17(3), 195-211.

Félix-Brasdefer, J. César. (2008). Sociopragmatic variation: Dispreferred responses in Mexican and Dominican Spanish.  Journal of Politeness Research, 4(1), 81-110.

Félix-Brasdefer, J. César (2007). Natural speech vs. elicited data: A comparison of natural and role play requests in Mexican Spanish. Spanish in Context 4(2): 159-185.

Félix-Brasdefer, J. César (2007). Pragmatic development in the Spanish as a FL classroom: A cross-sectional study of learner requests. Intercultural Pragmatics 4(2): 253-286.

Félix-Brasdefer, J. César (2006). Linguistic politeness in Mexico: Refusal strategies among male speakers of Mexican Spanish. Journal of Pragmatics 38(12): 2158-2187.

Félix-Brasdefer, J.César (2004). Interlanguage refusals: Linguistic politeness and length of residence in the target community. Language Learning, 54(4), 587-653.

Félix-Brasdefer, J.César (2003) Declining an invitation: A Cross-Cultural Study of Pragmatic Strategies in Latin American Spanish and American English. Multilingua, 22(3): 225-255.

Recent Book Chapters

Félix-Brasdefer, J. C. (2010).  Data collection methods in speech act performance: DCTs, role plays, and verbal reports.  In E. Usó Juán and A. Martínez-Flor (eds), Speech act performance: Theoretical, Empirical, and methodological issues.  John Benjamins Publishing.

Félix-Brasdefer, J. C., & Bardovi-Harlig, K. (2010). "I'm sorry. Can I think about it?"  The negotiation of refusals in academic and non-academic contexts.  In D. Tatsuki & N. Houck (Eds.), Pragmatics From Research to Practice: Teaching Speech Acts.  Alexandria, VA: TESOL. 

Book Reviews

Félix-Brasdefer, J. C. (2010).  Acknowledgments: Structure of phraseology of gratitude in PhD dissertations.  Journal of Pragmatics.

 Félix-Brasdefer, J. C. (2010).  Variational Pragmatics: A focus on regional varieties in pluricentric languages.  (Eds. K. Schneider & A. Barron, 2008).  Multilingua 29, 119-123. 

Félix-Brasdefer, J. C. (2008).  Spanish pragmatics by R. Márquez-Reiter & M. E. Placencia (2005).  Basingstoke, Palgrave, Macmillan.  Spanish in Context, 5(1), 148-151.

Félix-Brasdefer, J. C. (2007).  Research on politeness in the Spanish-speaking world by M. E. Placencia & C. Garciá (eds.).  Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.  2007.  442 pp. (Book notice).  Pragmatics 17(2), 348.

Félix-Brasdefer, J. C. (2004).  Gender and politeness by Sara Mills (2003).  Cambridge University Press.  Available in the Linguist List online at: