Indiana University

The Department of Second Language Studies

César Félix-Brasdefer

Photo of César Félix-Brasdefer

Professor of Hispanic Linguistics and Pragmatics & Discourse
Adjunct Associate Professor of Second Language Studies
(812) 855-9551
Global and International Studies Building 2135

Pragmatics Website:

Research Interests

  • Pragmatics and Discourse Analysis
  • Second Language Pragmatics
  • Research Methods in Pragmatics Research
  • Instruction and Assessment in L2 Pragmatics
  • Pragmatic Variation in First and Second Language Contexts
  • Cross-Cultural and Intercultural Pragmatics
  • Pragmatic Development in Study Abroad Contexts
  • Hispanic Linguistics


  • Ph.D. 2002, Hispanic Linguistics, University of Minnesota
  • M.S. 1998, Spanish Linguistics, Georgetown University
  • M.A. 1996, Hispanic Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • B.A. 1992, Universidad Autónoma de Tlaxcala, México

Personal Statement

My research looks at issues of pragmatics and discourse analysis in first and second language contexts. I adopt a pragmatic-discursive perspective to analyze language use in social interaction. I have conducted research on various aspects of second language pragmatics such as pragmatic development, pragmatic transfer, language proficiency, assessment, and instruction. I am interested in pragmatic development in study abroad contexts as well as in immigrant contexts, such as heritage language learning. I also examine intercultural communicative competence in foreign language classrooms and study abroad programs. From a pragmatic variation perspective, I examine intra-lingual variation in different regions of the United States, Mexico, Spain, and Central America. In particular, I investigate the language of service encounters in cross-cultural and intercultural settings. I employ different research methodologies, such as the ethnographic method and a variety of experimental methods, to examine pragmatic phenomena in formal and non-formal contexts.

Books and Edited Volumes

  • Félix-Brasdefer, J. César. (forthcoming). Pragmática del español: contexto, uso y variación. London & New York: Routledge
  • Bardovi-Harlig, K., & Félix-Brasdefer, J. C. (Eds.). (2016). Pragmatics and Language Learning, vol 14. Manoa, HI: Second Language Teaching and Curriculum Center University of Hawaii.
  • Félix-Brasdefer, J. C. (Ed.) (2015). Current Issues in Pragmatic Variation. IU Working Papers in Linguistics, vol. 15(1).
  • Félix-Brasdefer, J. César. (2015). The Language of Service Encounters: A Pragmatic-Discursive Approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Félix-Brasdefer, J. C., & Koike, D. (Eds.). (2012). Pragmatic Variation in First and Second Language Contexts: Methodological Issues. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
  • 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.

Research Publications

  • Félix-Brasdefer, J. C. (2010). 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.

Courses Taught

  • Pragmatics
  • Grammar and Social Interaction
  • Cross-Cultural Pragmatics
  • Research Methods in Linguistics
  • The Role of Instruction in Learning Second Language Pragmatics
  • Introduction to Hispanic Linguistics

The learning of second and foreign languages is a rich and fascinating process involving linguistic, psychological, cultural, and social dimensions. The Indiana University Department of Second Language Studies is dedicated to teaching and research on the structure, acquisition, and use of nonnative language in both instructed and contact contexts.