The effects of instruction on pragmatic development: Teaching polite refusla in English

Bacelar da Silva, Antonio José
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This study was set up to further investigate whether relatively explicit instruction may be facilitative for L2 pragmatic development, and the most appropriate and effective ways to deliver the pragmatic information to L2 learners. Adopting a pre-test/post-test design with treatment and control groups, it incorporated metapragmatic awareness into task-based methodological principles in its instructional treatment in order to teach the sociopragmatic and pragmalinguistic components of the speech act of refusals. Fourteen low-intermediate learners from various L1s (Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanese, Serbian, and Portuguese) were randomly assigned to both control (7) and treatment (7) groups. Data, collected by means of role-play, were transcribed, and a qualitative discourse analytic approach was used to examine the learning outcomes in the treatment group as compared to the control group. The findings illustrate that the instructional approach enhanced the L2 pragmatic ability of performing the speech act in focus. This suggests that L2 pedagogy which aims at providing learners with metapragmatic information associated with meaningful opportunities for language use may result in gains in learners' L2 pragmatic development.
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