Category Archives: Pragmatics

Adapting teaching materials for L2 pragmatics instruction

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In the past three decades, English as an additional language (EAL) researchers and practitioners have become increasingly concerned with the instruction of second language (L2) pragmatics. Broadly defined as the ability to communicate and interpret meaning in social situations (Taguchi, 2015), pragmatics is an essential component of many models of communicative competence (Timpe-Laughlin et al., 2015). Typically, descriptions of L2 pragmatic competence comprise two parts. The first part, known as sociopragmatics, involves knowledge of how contextual factors (e.g. the relationship between speakers) inform language use. The second component, referred to as pragmalinguistic competence, entails knowledge of how particular linguistic forms (e.g. modals to make polite requests) are used to convey pragmatic competence (Leech, 1983). During the 1980s and 1990s,  Continue Reading →

communication, EAL, Pragmatics

Pragmatics in the classroom: Don’t take it literally


Among the first phrases that English-speaking students of Japanese learn are the equivalents of “hello” (こんにちは konnichi-wa) and “how are you?” (お元気ですか o-genki desu-ka). With these two phrases under their belts, students may fearlessly run around Japan greeting everyone they meet with “hello, how are you?” in the same way they would greet people back home. However, if they do, they would be making a mistake. Although Japanese speakers will certainly understand what is meant by konnichi-wa, o-genki desu ka, the second phrase is not generally asked of people one meets every day—unless they really don’t look well. O-genki-desu-ka is also not used to greet strangers like cab drivers or the baristas at Starbucks.  Continue Reading →