[Pragmatics and speech act performance, Section I. Theoretical groundings]
Pragmatics, a branch of linguistics which studies communicative actions in their sociocultural context, has been the focus of attention of a number of scholars over the last few decades (Rose & Kasper, 2001). Given the importance of this area of research to develop competent users of a given language, the present chapter first outlines its main defining characteristics. Then, among the different subareas included within this field, a detailed description of speech act theory is provided. The reminder of the chapter addresses the theoretical conditions needed for the learning of particular speech acts in instructed settings, namely exposure to pertinent input, opportunities for communicative practice and feedback.