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Second Language Pragmatic Competence: Individual Differences in ESL and EFL Environments

Wyner, Lauren Jill

Pragmatic competence is as an essential aspect of communicative competence. Does environment have an effect on developing pragmatic competence? Do levels of pragmatic competence differ between English as a second language (ESL) and English as a foreign language (EFL) students? Most studies have shown greater pragmatic awareness among ESL students than EFL students, indicating that the target language (TL) environment has a positive influence on the appropriate use of sociopragmatics. Some studies, however, have yielded a different outcome that not only challenges previous research but defies the assumption that living in the TL environment allows pragmatic competence to better develop. This review of the literature finds that input alone is insufficient for pragmatic competence; learners must notice linguistic forms in their use. A deeper analysis also reveals that individual factors such as pragmatic transfer and learner motivation have a more complex role to play than exposure.

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Working Papers in TESOL & Applied Linguistics

More About This Work

Academic Units
Applied Linguistics and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
Published Here
November 9, 2015
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