Socio-pragmatic competence in Russian: How input is not enough

Hacking, Jane F.
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Heinle Cengage Learning
This chapter reports results from a study on the acquisition of socio-pragmatic competence by adult learners of Russian and, based on these results, proposes concrete methods for integrating instruction in socio-pragmatic aspects of L2 into the language classroom. Learners in the study had all spent 18 to 24 months living in a Russian-speaking environment and were highly proficient in Russian.They were given a discours completion task that focused on three types of speech act: apology, refusal, and request. Native-speaker ratings of participant performance indicated that, despite their extensive in-country experience, participants’ performance diverged from that of native speakers. The ratings also revealed that the speech acts tested produced varying results. For example, participants performed least well on apology scenarios.The chapter suggests reasons for the varied performance across speech act type.This assessment and rater comments were used to formulate a concrete approach for presenting socio-pragmatics in the classroom.The plan proposed consists of five types of activities, which can be adapted to various proficiency levels depending on the student population.
Hacking, J.F. (2008). Socio-pragmatic competence in Russian: How input is not enough. The American Association of University Supervisors, Coordinators and Directors of Foreign Languages Programs (AAUSC), 110-125.
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