Chapter 2. Comprehension of conversational implicature

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Computer technology has created new options for interlanguage pragmatics analysis. Researchers can now quickly test second language (L2) learner’s efficiency in processing pragmatic meaning without relying on paper-and-pencil methods. This chapter presents examples of such technology-enhanced analysis in the comprehension of conversational implicature among learners of L2 English. Previous research has examined implicature comprehension by using paper-and-pencil tests that require learners to read or listen to conversations and identify speakers’ implied intentions by responding to multiple-choice questions. My studies have expanded the scope of this practice by introducing a computer-based listening test that measures both accuracy and speed (response times) in comprehension. These two attributes have been measured to illustrate different processing loads encoded in implicature as well as different stages of development in L2 learners’ ability to comprehend implicature. This chapter presents two studies which exemplify the uses of response time data.


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