The effect of pragmatic instruction on speech act performance

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This chapter reviews previous research on pragmatic intervention by exploring the extent to which the teachability of second-language speech acts is constrained by the nature of intervention and learner-attributable factors. The superiority of explicit pragmatic intervention over implicit treatment is confirmed overall, particularly in the teaching of the sociopragmatic features of speech acts. However, evidence suggests that such positive effects of explicit intervention are not always assured; moreover, some forms of implicit intervention are equally effective. Such variations in the findings are best explained in terms of an explicit/implicit continuum rather than a dichotomous explicit versus implicit framework. The current review also suggests that higher levels of linguistic proficiency and learner motivation may be prerequisites for maximally enhancing pragmatic teachability.


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