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ln E. Hinkel (Ed.

), Handbook of research in second language teaching and leaming


428-452), Vol. 3. NY: Routledge.

3t
Teaching and Learning Second Language Pragmatics
AndrewD. Cohen

Statement of Purpose/Focus

The purpose of this chapter is to give readers a sense as to the breadth of topics being investigated
in L2 pragmatics research these days. The field is burgeoning as this chapter is being written, as
research papers on L2 pragmatics are being given more frequently at a panoply of meetings. This
chapter intends to describe a number ofthe studies so that readers can get a sense ofwhat has been
done recently in the field and what remains to be done. Researchers may find just the niche for them-
selves through reviewing what has been done. Teachers will hopefully get ideas as to what needs to
be taught in the L2 classroom with regard to pragmatics, an often neglected area in L2 language
studies-to the detriment of language users who wish to avoid the embarrassment of pragmatic
failure due to a lack of knowledge as to how to be pragmatically appropriate.

DefiningTerms
L2 pragmatics is seen as a subfield within general pragmatics, which in turn is seen as a subfield
within sociolinguistics. The concern of pragmatics is with meaning as communicated by speakers
(or writers) and interpreted by listeners (or readers), with a focus on intended meanings, assump-
tions, and actions performed when speaking (e.9., making a request) (based on Yule, 1996, pp. 3-4).
Whether the reception or production in a given L2 is pragmatically successful depends on various
factors, such as ( I ) the language users'proficiency in that L2 and possibly in other (especially related)
languages; (2) their age, gender, occupation, social status, and experience in the relevant L2-speaking
communities; and (:) their previous experiences with native (and near native) speakers of the L2
and their multilingual/multicultural experiences in general (for more on definitions of pragmatics,
see Cohen, 2}l4a).
The ultimate goal of the chapter is to glean insights from research studies as to how learners can
be more pragmatically appropriate in a host of L2 performance situations, whether in the perception
and production ofspeech acts or in other areas. Speech acts are often, but not always, the patterned,
routinized language that natives and pragmatically competent non-native speakers and writers in
a given speech community (with its dialect variations) use to perform functions such as thanking,
complimenting, requesting, refusing, apologizing, and complaining (see Olshtain & Cohen, 1983, pp.
l9-21; Cohen, 1996, pp. 384-385). Speech acts are a challenging area of pragmatic behavior because

428
Second Language Pragmatics . 429

of the possible misfit between what one does or does not say or write in a language in the given speech
act and what is meant by it. Speech act theory, in fact, provides a reliable and valid basis for examin-
ing pragmatic patterns that are primarily focused on selected utterances from the discourse (Mey,
1993) . Beyond speech acts, there are numerous other areas of pragmatic focus. Thus, this coverage of
L2 pragmatics issues will start by boking first at the notion of research altogether, then at politeness,
and then at speech acts, the favorite focus of pragmatics research. Then, we will look at other areas
clf pragmatics: conversational overlap, backchanneling, humor, sarcasm, the pragmatic function of
discourse markers, deixis, and conversational implicature. We will end by considering the teaching
)1 of L2 pragmatics and the learning and performing of pragmatics.

ics
Important Developments/Trends/Traditions in L2 Pragmatics
The author ofthis chapter has studied l2 languages beyond the native language (English) over the
course of a lifetime, and this has included two Asian languages, |apanese and Mandarin.r While
achieving relative pragmatic control in, say, four of these languages (Hebrew and three Romance lan-
guages), there is still a sense that even with these languages, pragmatic failure may occur (see Cohen,
1997,2001).In fact, it is more the pragmatic failures than the pragmatic successes that have made for
acute awareness that pragmatic performance benefits from explicit instruction-that learners do not
just acquire pragmatic niceties through osmosis. A major source of this pragmatic failure has been
inadequate knowledge as to how to perform speech acts. It is no accident that much of the L2 prag-
matics research literature focuses on speech acts. It is the inability ofnon-natives to perform speech
acts appropriately which has captured so much of researchers'attention. Such a focus has provoked
at least two reactions from critics. The first is that it is myopic to look just at isolated speech acts
rather than viewing them as part of a larger discourse, where in fact a series of different speech
acts may interact (see Cohen & Ishihara, 2014). Second, there is the view that much of pragmatics
deals with other issues. Consequently, this chapter makes an effort to be comprehensive in its cover-
age of topics that have been studied in L2 pragmatics.
The perspective taken in this chapter is that while L2 pragmatics is a fascinating area in its own
right and worthy of extensive and robust study, it is equally valuable to fashion means to make this
knowledge accessible to L2 learners so that they can learn to be more pragmatically appropriate. So,
the chapter is meant to be speaking both to researchers and teachers, as well as to learners.

Themes in the Research Literature

Research Methods

Study Abroad

Study abroad (SA) is a popular context these days for conducting L2 pragmatics research. A creative
study with the aim <lf describing pragmatic development of students while in SA focused on service
encounters recorded in situ between L2 learners of Spanish and local Spanish service providers in
ETS ciIN Tbledo, Spain (Shively,20ll). The participants in the study were seven U.S. students who studied
;eption abroad'for one semester. What made the research design innovative was that the data consisted of
terned, naturalistic audio recordings that participants made of themselves while visiting krcal shops, banks,
iters in and other establishments. The study was longitudinal with recordings made at the beginning, mid-
anking, dle, and end of the semester by each student, for a tr>tal of 113 recordings. Additional data included
)83, pp. students' weekly journals and interviews with participants. The analysis focused on openings and
)€cause requests and examined the ways in which students'pragmatic choices shifted over time, considering
430 . Andrew D. Cohen
development' over-
in tl
explicit instruction in pragmatics in that
the role of language socializ.ation and and adopted some oi
A SII
suggested that the students leart-red I
all, the changes in openings and requests
,-t.rrrrri, .''f sJ'vice encounters in
the Tbledo speech community' *'id
,fr. ,r"**r,i.
pra
tbr
Descri bi ng Vrt r i,tt io rt i n I nte rl a t rgu'tgt Pragrt Lt t ic s

another line t'f tha


was in the way the o.u:1*ttt collected'
whereas in the Toledo study the innovation pragmatics' tati
would be to get at true variation in intercultural
research stiil in need of actualization or subculture with that oi PCI
the p.agiratics of one cu]tu1e
while cross-c ultural pragmaticscompares in c.ntact and
(at least as tne a"utht" defines it) looks at cultures
another, intercultural ltragmatics to conduct genuinelr'
the hybrid forms of pragmatics that
resultliom this interaction' So if we were P,.
subjects who are
be important to include in the sample
intercultural pragmaticiresearch, it would
likely to have eiements of hybrid pragmatics
t: tntl:1."1'l
.. --- :.^., on
(2012a), fcrcusing
.-- doctor-patient interactions ..a

A hypothetic"r ,rray *i'i f.,)p"r".g in.cohen and .:


would be involve<1' The paper identified
in the uS Southwest ;,r'whi.h intercultural Pragmatics used. and concerns about
-

discussed research design issues,


types of data employed, the measures
number of variables that can lead tcr
data analysis. m. p.opir.Jrt,r,ly
*u, intended to irlgtlignt the
Wht'idnitt"s use Spanish as a non-native language' o
pragmatic variation in the research outcomes'
thequestionishowtheirpragmaticsisperceivedbytheirSpanish.speakingMexicanimmigrant
the pragmatics of this
A
patients and with *il,*p;. The proposed study suggeste<1 comparing (x
docto's intJiacting with these same
patie'ts' English-
context with that of native Spanish-speaking uS Southwest' and doctors
T
speaking doctors interacting rvith
mainstream patients in English in the tr
just what
The pr.pose of tt'Jl reselfch is to problematize
in Mexico interacting with their patients. into accoLrnt d
intercultural pragrnatics entails ihen
it involves speech communities in flux' taking ir
individual variation' being used? [s it Eng-
is
d
English, whose pragmatics
So, for example, when an Asian learner speaks Even if there is an
d
culture?
the firrt-1u.,g.rui. (L l) language and
lish with a pragmatics ;;..1", from pragmatics are being
whih"fnglish-speakingcountry's
effort t. reflect English-language pragmatics, does it really matter if the n

a<lhered to, and if the speakers


do not inclu<1e uny rruti.l" E,-rgiist speakers, l
in these cases rvould violatitrn
by native speakers? 1-r otierrvords'
pragmatics reflect approaches used about this topic below under I
pragmatic failure? More will be said
of native-speaker norms constitute t
"Teaching English as a Lingua Francal' (
I
Speech Acts
Rater Variation in the Assessment of
pragmatic performance
native-speaker raters who evaluated
This study addressed variability among
ofEnglish-as-a-fo'eig"-languae(ff-flltu""tt'lTuguchi'201t):t:l:,andhigh-impositionrequests
oral discourse completion
+s lru learners through a computeri'z'e<1
and opinions *... p.od.,..i u| (one African American, one
of mlred cultural backgrouncls
test (DCT) . pn.., ,-,utiu. english speakers the speech acts' To explore
assessed the appropriateness of
Asian American, and t*n L.rroliuns) verbal reports were
norms and the *".;;; rr.nua the raters' u.....lrr.rrt practice, introspective
and s.cial rules ir.l
and differences i, the ust nf p'ugmatic
norms
coliected ur-rd ..reul.J siitilarities forms such as the directness
raters were more focused on iinguistic
evaluating appropriateness. Some decision on
markers' whiie others based their scoring
level of expressions or the use of politeness and semantic moves
of positivei negative politeness strategies
non-linguistic aspects such as the use unique features that they
as well as the content of speech.
Still other tu"" i"..:"potuttd utldi'ional'
a useful sugges-
(e.g., whether or not a student provided
felt were saiient into the evaluation criteria the raters differed
whJn fcrcused on the same dimension'
ti.n when criticiz-ing his/her friencl)' Even
430 . AndrewD.Cohen

the role of language socialization and explicit instruction in pragmatics in that development. Over-
all, the changes in openings and requests suggested that the students learned and adopted some of
the pragmatic norms of service encounters in the Toledo speech community.

D escribing Variatio n in Interlanguage Pragmatics

Whereas in the Toledo study the innovation was in the way the data were collected, another line of
research still in need of actualization would be to get at true variation in intercultural pragmatics.
While cross-cuhural pragmatics compares the pragmatics of one culture or subculture with that of
another, intercubural pragmatics (at least as the author defines it) looks at cultures in contact and
the hybrid forms of pragmatics that result from this interaction. So if we were to conduct genuinelr'
intercultural pragmatics research, it would be important to include in the sample subjects who are
likely to have elements of hybrid pragmatics in their data.
A hypothetical study was proposed in Cohen (2012a), focusing on doctor-patient interactions
in the US Southwest in which intercultural pragmatics would be involved. The paper identified and
discussed research design issues, types of data employed, the measures used, and concerns about
data analysis. The proposed study was intended to highlight the number of variables that can lead to
pragmatic variation in the research outcomes. When doctors use Spanish as a non-native language,
the question is how their pragmatics is perceived by their Spanish-speaking Mexican immigrant
patients and with what impact. The proposed study suggested comparing the pragmatics of this
context with that of native Spanish-speaking doctors interacting with these same patients, English-
speaking doctors interacting with mainstream patients in English in the US Southwest, and doctors
in Mexico interacting with their patients. The purpose of such research is to problematize just what
intercultural pragmatics entails when it involves speech communities in flux, taking into account
individual variation.
So, for example, when an Asian learner speaks English, whose pragmatics is being used? Is it Eng-
lish with a pragmatics overlay from the first-language (Ll) language and culture? Even if there is an
effort to reflect English-language pragmatics, which English-speaking country's pragmatics are being
adhered to, and if the speakers do not include any native English speakers, does it really matter if the
pragmatics reflect approaches used by native speakers? In other words, in these cases would violation
of native-speaker norms constitute pragmatic failure? More will be said about this topic below under
"Teaching English as a Lingua Francal'

Rater Variation in the Assessment of Speech Acts

This study addressed variability among native-speaker raters who evaluated pragmatic performance
of English-as-a-foreign-language (EFL) learners (Thguchi,20l1). Low- andhigh-imposition requests
and opinions were produced by a8 EFL learners through a computerized oral discourse completion
test (DCT). Four native English speakers of mixed cultural backgrounds (one African American, one
Asian American, and two Australians) assessed the appropriateness of the speech acts. To explore
norms and the reasoning behind the raters' assessment practice, introspective verbal reports were
collected and revealed similarities and differences in the use of pragmatic norms and social rules in
evaluating appropriateness. Some raters were more focused on linguistic forms such as the directness
level of expressions or the use of politeness markers, while others based their scoring decision on
non-linguistic aspects such as the use of positive/negative politeness strategies and semantic moves
as well as the content of speech. Still other raters incorporated additional, unique features that ther'
felt were salient into the evaluation criteria (e.g., whether or not a student provided a useful sugges-
tion when criticizing his/her friend). Even when focused on the same dimension, the raters differed
Second Language Pragmatics . 431

er- in their degree of acceptance. For instance, all raters considered excessive verbosity as problematic in
ol a small request, but they had different criteria for determining how much was too much.
The main finding was that English Ll raters do not form a unitary category. They can vary
rvidely in their perceptions and interpretations of appropriateness, politeness, and formality in
pragmatic performance if they come from subcultures that have very different community norms
tbr social interaction and communicative events, as in Taguchi's (2011) study. It is also possible
of that the raters in that study subconsciously tailored their comments to meet the perceived expec-
ics. tations of the researcher and did not produce a report that reflected their response to the original
of performance.
nd
elv
Politeness and Impoliteness
,;;
-{ pervasive concern addressed in the pragmatics literature is that of politeness and impoliteness.
)ns Here let us sample just a few of the recent studies-first looking at cross-cultural variation in the
nd perception of impoliteness and at ethnic variation in perceptions of politeness within a country, and
)ut then at teasing, jocular insults, and swearwords.
to
8e,
Cross-Cuhural Variation in the Perception of Impoliteness
rnt
lis An investigation of cross-cultural variation in the perception of impoliteness was conducted based
;h- on 500 instances of impoliteness as reported by students in England, China, Finland, Germany, and
)rs Turkey (Culpeper, Marti, Mei, Nevala, & Schauer, 2010). The analytical framework looked at rapport
tat management, covering various types of face and social equity. An analysis of differences between
nt the geographically separated data sets revealed that the England-based data had a preponderance of
impoliteness events in which quality face was violated, whereas the China-based data had a prepon-
J-
) derance of instances where equity rights were violated-where group values were prized more highly
n than individualistic ones.
6 Generally, research (Hickey, 2005) places Spanish-speaking cultures in the group of rapproche-
e nrcnt cultures, which relate politeness to positively assessing the addressee and creating bonds of
:I iriendship and cooperation, and English-speaking cultures in the group of distancing cultures,which
r primarily use politeness to generate respect and social differentiation. A study compared the under-
standings and use of politer.ress by native speakers of Spanish from Spain and non-native speakers
of Spanish from the US (Garcia & Terkourafi, 2014). The respondents' behavior as reported in writ-
ten questionnaires was related to these norms. The results confirmed these predictions and further
showed that the more advanced learners were able to align themselves better with Spanish norms but
still had some problems with the turn-taking system.
Another politeness study first compared the complaints <lf 10 krcal native-Malay speakers and l0
expatriate native-English speakers in Brunei in terms of move structure and levels of directness, com-
bined with the frequency of modality markers ( Ho, Henry, & Alkaff, 2012) . ln addition, it attempted
to address the relationship between polite behavior and its effectiveness in eliciting the appropriate
response from the hearer. Data from an oral DCT revealed similarities and differences in the com-
plaint move structure between Malay and English speakers. Both gnrups were rated as using fairly
indirect language in two key moves of the complaint, but they used different strategies to mitigate
the social effects of their complaints and requests for action. The results confirmed the cclmmonly
held belief that pr>liteness does vary between cultures. Furthermore, responses from an acceptability
judgment questionnaire indicated that being indirect, and therefore polite, may not be effective in
eliciting the appropriate response to a request f<rr action in a complaint speech act. Both groups, for
example, considered direct requests to be more effective in getting a response in a situation with a car
432 Andrew D. Cohen

mechanic than that ofindirect requests, although they also thought that an aggressive direct request
might not be as effective.

Cross-Cubural Dffirences in Handling Rudeness

A study of impoliteness investigated the communicative practices in English and German online
discussion fora as exemplified by two thematically related sample threads (Kleinke & Bris, 2015). Lin-
guistic rudeness was investigated from a first-order perspective, considering laypersons'perceptions
of token structures realized in specific contexts as rude, and a second-order perspective, focusing on
strategies outlined in theoretical models of politeness. The paper considered the question of how
participants used intergroup rudeness as a means of in- and out-group construction and examined
how intergroup rudeness was metapragmatically negotiated as the discussions unfolded. The English
thread, drawn from the BBC's message board Have Your Say (HYS), contained 880 postings, and the
German one, from Spiegel Online (SPON), consisted of 754 postings. To ensure comparability, the
two threads dealt with the same topic: the Pope's 2008 visit to the US. In the English forum, the topic
question was "Should the US give the Pope such a presidential welcome?" In the German forum,
participants were asked "Der Papst in den USA-Retter in der Not?." ('The Pope in the US-the sav-
ior?'). The German forum was clearly more interactive and showed a preference for rudeness and
(a quite substantial amount of) meta-discourse on the interpersonal level. In contrast, postings in
the English forum tended to retreat to group levels, avoiding personal attacks and metapragmatic
comments. The results showed that intergroup rudeness as well as metapragmatic comments were
handled differently in the two communities explored.

Politeness and lmpoliteness in Ethnic Varieties

Building on earlier research describing pragmatic features of New Zealand English (NZE) and
identifying ways in which politeness was expressed in NZ workplace talk, Holmes, Marra, and Vine
(2012) extended the sociopragmatic analysis of NZE in several ways. Using the theoretical model
that the researchers had developed to analyze workplace interaction, they focused on intercultural
interactions between Maori and Pdkehd (i.e., Kiwis of European descent) and utilized data from
both Mdori and Pakehi workplaces to shed light on distinctive features of politeness in NZE work-
place discourse. For example, they examined the value of egalitarianism in NZ society and explored
its pervasive influence on the ways in which politeness was achieved in different NZ communi-
ties of practice, exemplifying some distinctively NZ ways in which formality and informality were
indexed in workplace interaction. The analysis illustrated how these influences were manifest in
small talk, humor, meeting protocols, and in the extension of the distinctive pragmatic particle e/r to
new domains. The study suggested how Maori ways of doing things were subtly influencing Pakeha
norms and thus contributing to the development of a distinctively New Zealand set of values and

Teasing

Teasing is a humorous speech genre in which a co-present participant is the target of joking-a
behavior that while intended as playful could be viewed pragmatically as being somewhat impolite
behavior. Research on teasing in everyday conversation has revealed a range of functions, includ-
ing socialization, identity negotiation, conflict resolution, bonding, and amusement. A recent study
looked at six undergraduate students from the University of Minnesota who chose to spend a semes-
ter studying in Toledo, Spain (Shively,20L5). The participants were 201Zl-yearold native-speaking
Second Langr.rage Pragmatics . 433

direct request college sophomores or juniors, majoring or minoring in Spanish. A total of 24 recordings ( 12 hours)
of conversations with their Spanish host families were collected. The results of the study revealed
that in everyday c<>nversations during SA, three of the subjects were teased fairly frequently by their
Spanish host families, while the other three were teased infrequently. The topics of teasing included
eating habits, study skills, drinking and partying too much, impractical footwear, romantic inter-
lerman online ests, and physical attributes. However, one particular topic appeared consistently: teases in which

]os,2015). Lin- the topic was learners'non-target-like L2 use, L2 misunderstanding, or L2 abilities. The researcher
ns'percePtions argued that teasing can potentially facilitate L2 learning by drawing learners'attention to language
on use and form, which in turn helps reveal the social norms and practices of the host family and of the
ive, focusing
uestion of how host culture in general.
r and examined
led. The English Jocular Insubs
rostings, and the
the A research project on leadership discourse and gender in Hong Kong workplaces kroked at jocular
'mparability, insults occurring at a business meeting in a small factory outlet involving three male and three female
tbrum, the toPic
German forum, staff members (Ladegaard, 2012). The two female leaders used jocular insults and other forms of ver-
the US-the sav- bal abuse repeatedly, in what was interpreted as instrumental rudeness on the part of the two leaders.
These discursive strategies were seen as having the purpose of attacking their interlocutors'face and
tbr rudeness and
rtrast, Postings in thereby enhancing the leaders' power. The researcher pointed out that whereas jocular insults may
d metapragmatic function not only as a means by which superiors maintain their position in the workplace but also
as a socially acceptable strategy by which the subordinates can challenge their leaders, in the present
c comments were
context these strategies were used predominantly by the two leaders. The researcher argued that a
careful consideration of the sociopragmatic norms of the micro- and the macro-context may explain
why the subordinates would accept these insults.
In this particular context, the power distance and hierarchical relationships would explain why
these leaders' demeaning discourses were not directly challenged. The researcher pointed out that
rglish (NZE) and
;, lllarra, and Vine
normatively masculine and feminine management styles may be culturally specific. Apparently it
theoretical model is considered legitimate for Chinese leaders to adopt a paternalistic autocratic management style,
d on intercultural and empkryees are expected to be deferential and obedient. In a culture that places great emphasis
rtilized data from on power distance and filial piety, there is little to protect employees from exploitation. Bearing in
ress in NZE work-
mind that this study reported data from just one meeting in one workplace in Hong Kong, the study
ciet,v and exPlored
nonetheless lent support to more recent accounts in sociolinguistics arguing that women are not
,nt NZ communi- intrinsically more polite or considerate than men.
I informality were
; rvere manifest in Swearwords
natic particle eh to
nfluencing Pakeha Knowing how tt'l perform in a pragmatically appropriate way includes knowing when and how to
swear. Unfortunately, language teachers are often reluctant to teach learners how to swear, especially
I set of values and
when teaching Asian students, whose sensibilities may be easily offended by such instruction. A
study in NZ, for example, fbund that knowing how to use the f-word was crucial in bonding with
fellow workers and with the boss on the soap factory floor in New Zealand. Over 2,000 interactions
were collected in English (mostly English L1) (Daly, Holmes, Newton, & Stubbe, 2004). Non-natives

arget of joking-a apparently can find themselves ostracized for not cursing like their peers. On the comprehension
side, the learner may hear these invectives and be put off <>r even shocked, and certainly not eager to
;omewhat imPolite
'firnctions, includ- learn when and how to use them.

tent. A recent study


Another study published at the same time investigated the perception of the emotional force of
swearwords and taboo words (S-T words) among 1,039 multilinguals (Dewaele, 2004). The study was
e to spend a semes-
based r>n data drawn from a large database collected through a web questionnaire on bilingualism
:ld native-speaking
434 . AndrewD.Cohen

and emotions. As to the findings, f-tests revealed that the perceived emotional force of S-T words was
highest in the Ll and gradually lower in languages learned subsequently. Self-reported Ll attriters
were found to judge S-T words in their Ll to be less powerful than for those who were still dominant
in their Ll. Participants who learned their language(s) in a naturalistic or partly naturalistic/context
gave higher ratings on emotional force of S-T words in that language than did instructed language
learners.

Research on the Nature of Speech Acts

Compliments in English

A recent study offered a multimodal analysis of turns in everyday English interactions that are used
for making compliments (Keisanen & Karkkainen,2014). Based on 8 hours of video-recorded casual
face-to-face conversations in English among mostly native speakers of American English from a cor-
pus at the University of Oulu and a video recording called "Farmhouse," the researchers argued that
gaze direction had a specific role in the production of both compliments and their responses. It was
found that compliment producers sought mutual gaze in order to pursue a response, while recipients
typically avoided mutual gazeby turning their head and gaze down towards their lap or some object
at hand in order to display resistance towards self-praise.

Apologies in Japanese

Another study, just of L I pragmatics, was undertaken to investigate the functions of apology expres-
sions in fapanese, given that their meanings are situated and negotiated during the interaction
(Sandu, 2013). Data were collected from lapanese television dramas, where the ongoing develop-
ment of the relationships that protagonists were involved in was chronologically observed. The
researcher found that shifts from go mefi'sorty' and warui'bad' to sumimasen'sorry' occurred mostly
in confrontational discourses, where the protagonists engaged in some sort of arguments or in tense
situations where conflict seemed imminent. Three realization patterns of these shifts surfaced from
the data: avoiding conflict and displaying discontentment, staging and negotiating selves, and atti-
tudinal distance. Nevertheless, these patterns were not mutually exclusive; overlapping between the
former two and the latter two was encountered in most of the examples, self-presentations remain-
ing the constant. Shifts from the use of gomen and warui to the use of gomen nasai'excuse me, I'm
sorry'occurred when the speakers attempted to distance themselves from the interlocutors (attitu-
dinal distance) or when the speakers offered a heartfelt apokrgy. Shifts from sumimasen to gomen
nasai c<>mmonly occurred when the status of the relationship that the characters were involved in
was undetermined, still undergoing negotiations, as a way of adjusting the attitudinal distance. So,
gomen nasai was found to function as an attitudinal distance-gauging device and for expressing a
heartfelt apology.

Requests in Vietnamese and Finnish


Another study of Ll pragmatics employed open role-plays in six scenarios with differing social power
and perceived imposition levels to elicit requests from nine Vietnamese native speakers (Nguyen &
Ho, 2013). Data were analyzed for level of directness, choice of request strategy, and use of modi-
fication. The findings suggested that unlike requests in some European languages reported in the
literature, requests in Ll Vietnamese were realized predominantly by means of imperatives in equal
power situations and the use of query preparatory strategies (e.g., the speaker checks the hearer's
Second Language Pragmatics . 435

i rvords was ability/willingness to perform the act or asks for permission to perform the act, with the utterance
Ll attriters often taking the form of a question) in low-to-high power situations, regardless of imposition levels.
ll dominant Re<luests were modified preferably by means of supportive moves such as steers (i.e., phrases used
.stic/context to prepare the hearer for the request, such as by checking if the hearer was available to perftrrm the
ed language request) and grounders (i.e., excuses, reasons, or explanations that speakers used to justifr their
request and thus to appear reasonable), and through lexical means such as the use of address terms,
honorifics, modal particles, and appealers (i.e., particles or phrases the speaker used to call for the
hearer's understanding and sympathy).
Another request study used elicited request speech act data in Finnish to view variability of personal
perspective in the use of formal or informal "yc'lu" fcrrms across a variety of situations (Peterson, 2010).
The data for the study were elicited through scripted, face-to-face oral DCT interviews with 6U speakers
that are used of Finnish who all lived in the greater Helsinki area. The speakers exhibited a great deal of congruency
;orded casual when they were scripted as addressing someone familiar, being in a position of e<1ual or higher status
;h tiom a cor- than the interlocutor, and when the request was considered a low imposition. In such situations, speakers
rs argued that tended to use a second-person perspective, with informal "you" forms. For example, the combination
ponses. It was of a low rate of imposition and familiarity resulted in the use of straightforward use of a second-person
hile recipients perspective and the infcrrmal "you' form in nearly all of the requests, such as a request to an assistant to
rr some object take phone messages ("You work at a telecommunications company. Y>u ask your assistant to take your
phone messages while you are in a business meeting. Your assistant has worked in your department for
five years. You say:") and a request to a close relation frrr some salt ("Yclu are cooking dinner at home, and
your Iclose relation] is in the kitchen. Yiru need salt, and your hands are oily. Vru say:").
On the other hand, a situation that was highly face-threatening, such as asking special permis-
pology expres- sion from a relatively new supervisor to leave early for a lunch break ("You are a secretary, and you
:he interaction have worked at the company for three weeks. Tbday you want to meet a friend for lunch, so you ask
loing develoP- your supervisor if you can leave early. You say:"), resulted in no requests made in a second-person
observed. The perspective. Rather, speakers opted for a request that preserved the addressee's negative face, either
ccurred mostlY a first-person or third-person perspective. Scenarios where the addressee was a stranger, combined
ents or in tense with a high rate of imposition, such as in asking to use that person's mobile phone ("You are on your
; surfaced from way downtown on the bus, and your mobile phone's battery is dead. Xru need to phone your friend
;elves, and atti- to decide where you will meet for coffee. The person sitting next to you, who is about your same age,
ng between the has a mobile phone. You say:") elicited the most variation in terms of perspective.
tations remain-
'excuse me, I'm
Cro ss-Cultural Speech Act Research
ocutors (attitu-
nasen to gomen l(esearch on speech acts often uses the paradigm <lf comparing L1 perfrlrmance across languages. It is
rere involved in a pleasure to how robustly research on speech acts has developed in the last 40 years-especially
see
ral distance. So, with regard to English-as-a-second-language (ESL) and English-as-a-foreign-language (EFL)
[or expressing a studies. Back in the late 1970s, little empirical data were available on how natives and non-natives
performed pragmatics. Now there is a sizeable <luantity of such data. Clearly, native speakers of cer-
tain languages have gotten greater fcrcus, such as Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, and Kurean speakers of
English, but work has alst> been done in collecting ESL/EFL data from speakers of other languages,
sueh as Persian, Arabic, and German. And every day there are new studies looking at pragmatics in
ing social power languages other than English.
Lkers (Nguyen & One area of development is an increase in the study of certain speech acts, with a focus on speech
nd use of modi- acts that had not been studied at all or only on a limited basis, such as the speech act of giving con-
reported in the dolences clr that of criticizing someone (i.e., beyond academic or literary criticism, as encouraged
eratives in equal by teachers). Another is to look at written speech acts, such as in email messages. The following are
ecks the hearer's two such studies.
436 . Andrew D. Cohen

Complaints

One recent study looked at complaints across cultures (Chen, Chen, & Chang, 20 I I ). In this studl',
a total of 20 Americans in the US and 20 Thiwanese university students were recruited and asked to
respond to a DCT containing eight complaint-provoking scenarios: the waiter spilling a drink on
a patron's new shirt, discontent with the late shift at work, background noise while on the phone,
someone cutting in line at a theater, a hole found in a new T-shirt, the tutee not paying attention,
the chairperson forgetting an appointment with a member of staff, and a mother opening her child's
mail. The DCT was used in the study because it clearly elicited the complaints under study and
allowed for cross-cultural comparisons. Five complaint strategies (opting out, interrogation, accusa-
tion, request for repair, and threat) were identified and analyzed in terms of their overall and com-
bined use across the eight scenarios. The quantitative results indicated that the American and the
Chinese participants shared similar distributions in both overall and combined strategy use across
the complaint situations. The qualitative findings, however, showed differences in choice of linguistic
forms and expression of semantic content. The study revealed that compared to American com-
plaints, the Chinese complaints seemed to be more sensitive to social power.

Requests

Another cross-cultural speech act study examined 200 email requests written in English by Greek
Cypriot university students at a maior, English-medium university in Cyprus over a period of sev-
eral semesters (Economidou-Kogetsidis,20l l). The emails were sent to two English Ll faculty who
had lived in Cyprus for more than 15 years and to nine EFL faculty who had lived in the UK or US
for more than 10 years. The study examined forms of address (salutations), the degree of direct-
ness employed, and the degree and type of supportive moves and lexical/phrasal modifiers used by
students in order to soften or aggravate their e-requests. The faculty members'communication style
with their students could be characterized as friendly but formal (e.g., they did not encourage first-
name use with students and had contact with students only during class and office hours). Six arche-
type responses drawn from the email data were evaluatedby 2a British lecturers from l2 universities
in the UK. The study found that the non-native-speaking (NNS) students'emails were characterized
by significant directness (particularly in relation to requests fclr information), an absence <lf lexi-
cal/phrasal downgraders, an omission of greetings and closings, and inappropriate or unacceptable
forms of address. Consistent with previous email studies, the results revealed that the NNS students
resorted largely to direct strategies ("please" + the imperative), rather than more appropriate con-
ventional indirectness, both in the case of requests for action and for information. The researcher
argued that such emails could be perceived as impolite and discourteous and therefore capable of
causing pragmatic failure, primarily because such messages appeared to give the faculty no choice as
to whether to comply with the request and failed to acknowledge the imposition involved.
A study comparing ESL vs. EFL refusals investigated the effect of participating in an SA program
on the pragmatic development of Chinese students' employment of internal modifiers in their L2
English refusals (Ren,20l3). Twenty Chinese students studying abroad in the UK and 20 Chinese
students remaining at home participated in the study, and their L2 refusals were examined over the
course of one academic year. Data were collected three times by an eight-situation Multimedia Elicita-
tion Task-a computer-based multimedia DCT in which participants were asked to sit at a computer,
watch a series of slides, listen to instructions and to specifically recorded initiating utterances, and
respond orally. The results revealed that the two groups showed similar development with regard to
the range of internal modification types in their refusals. Analyses of the participants'use of individual
internal modifications revealed different developmental patterns in the utilization of address terms
Sectxrd Language Pragnratics . 437

and downtoners. The SA students ernployerl more downtoners than their at-home (AH) coltnter-
parts in their refusals. The findings also revealed that only the SA students showed finc'-tuning. The
SA students rarely ernplrryed an address term in their refusals. When they did, they krrew they coulcl
address the high-status interlocut<irs by their first names according to the L2 culture. In contrast, the
AH stuclents employed a title to address the high-status interlocutclrs much more frequently.

Apologies

There are some excelletrt examples i>f cross-cultural studies that rigorously triangulate to ensure that
the findings are more robust in nature. fur example is a study of 35 Greek native speakers and 35
learners of Gree'k in Greece for stucly abroad from England (Bella, 2014). The study involved DCTb,
questionnaires ab<tut the perceived power relationsl-rips and distance in vignettes, ancl verbal report to
verify tlre rationale fbr the responses. The study re.,,ealed major differences in perrlormance in Greek
in fbur situations, with the non-natives diverging in significant ways ti-om the natives. For example,
in a situation about apologiz.ing for missing an appointment with their professor, the vast majority of
Greek native speakers avoided telling the truth-that they had tbrgotten about it. lnstead, they opted
tirr explanations that mainly involved Lunily and health problems, which are generally considered
legitimate and acceptable excuses tirr transgressions in Greek society. Their verbal reports revealed that
telling the truth could be conceived by the prof-essor as an insult, since it would be interprreted as a sign
of indiff'err'nce ancl disrespect. Moreover; it wruld damage their own inrage as respronsible ancl reliable
k
students. In contrast, the learners of Greek opted frrr telling the truth about missing tl're appointment.
A stttcly of Car.rarian Spanish speakers demonstrated that there is variation in speech act perfirr-
1{.)
mance ncrt just by culture but also bir dialect (Gonz61ez.-Crut, 2012) . This study provided insights
_'s
-t_ into the most frecluent apology strategies used by a gr()up of 100 university students at a university
in the Canary Islands, Spain, when apologizing in eight different situations. A DCT was constnlcted,
by
which took into account the degree of familiarity between the participants, the severity of the offense,
)'le
'st- the age of the offended pcrson, and gender. Canarian respondents used direct apoloeies with the
typical apologetic formula Lo siento'l'm sorry'as the strategy that seemed to be most frequently used.
lc-
The strategy ofexpressing an apokrgy obtained the highest percentage of use (427o), ftrllowed at great
,ies
clistance by the other strategies-giving an explanation (.17%t), offer of repair (13olo), n-rinimizing
r,ed
the offense (7(/o), acknowledging resprxrsibility (4%r), denying responsibility (jolt), and promise of
:ri-
non-recurrence(0.tt?ir).Thestudyalsoconsideredl'rurnorasantrpokrgvstrategy(used I5%rof the
rble
tirrre). The male respondents opted lcrr humor as a strategy more often than women, whg seemed
rnts
to prefbr givirtg explanations. Also, wornen tencled to promise non-recurrence and to n-rinimize the
on-
offense nrore often than men.
:her
eof
te as Thonking

Another cross-cultural speech act study had as its aim to ascertain the attitndes that llritish and
;ram American English native speakers had towards the speech act of thanking in Spanish (de Pablos-
rL2 Ortega,2010). A corpus of 64 coursebooks, which included 250 situations representing the speech
.nese
act of thanking orally, was used to construct a questionnaire to determine the attitudes of 300 par^
r the
tic:ipants, divided equ:rll1,amorlg Spanish, British, and American respondents. The British and US
icita-
respt>ndents were enrolled in Spanish L2 or FL courses, and the Spaniards were enrollecl either in
)uter,
Spanish or English clc'gree prograrns in Spain. The questicrnnaire included l2 scenarios in which the
, and thanking formula was omitted. Participants were prompted to answtr questions based on their per-
,rd to
ceptions and to includc othe'r resp()nses whenever they.considered them to be appropriate. The n.rain
'idual
tinding was that both British and American speakers signaled the absence of thanks in the Spranish
terlxs
438 . Andrew D. Cohen

culture as an indicator that the Spaniards were being rude and inconsiderate. Spanish speakers, on disct
the other hand, accepted the high probability of situations in which no thanks took place in Spain as of ty
an integral part of the way of interacting in the Spanish culture. Thanking in the British culture was subj<
seen as a necessary speech act in certain contexts and, if absent, the British wcluld consider it a sign in all
of rudeness, showing a lack of consideration, thus prclducing a negative attitude. The US students recol
did not view the absence of thanks as negatively as the British students did. activ
Aust
close
Co nt pli men ts Across Di ulect s
this t
As an exarnple of a crclss-dialectal study of speech acts, a study was conducted which examined simi-
larities and dift'erences in the realization of compliments (about a person'.s skills) in Cameroonian
Back
and Canadian French (Farenkiir, 2012). The data were collected by means of DCTs administered to 55
participants in Yaound6 (Cameroon) and 39 respondents in Montr6al (Canada). The Cameroonian Anot
participants showed a preference for double-head acts (i.e., two separate compliments, like "Your to sip
presentation was super. I really found it interesting."),lvhile the Canadians more frequently employed its ef
single-head acts. It was also found that indirect realizations of head acts occurred only in the Camer- EFL
oonian data (e.g., complimenting a meal by saying "l'11 come back some day for a cooking lesson."). 2(\14
ture
foun,
Expressing Emotions
cultu
As an example of a cross-cultural study investigating a lesser-investigated speech act area, research c()mI
was conducted to examine how English L1 users expressed emotions in Mandarin and how this dif- frequ
f'ered from the way that Mandarin Ll users expressed emotions (Jian,2015). Scenarios were adopted chanr
to elicit joy, anger, sadness, fear, and neutrality. Both groups articulated anger, joy, and fear with a of <iu
high pitch. Both groups also employed high intensity for anger and joy and low intensity firr sadness T}
and fear. Learners generally employed larger fundamental frequency ranges than native speakers, back.
particularly for anger and fear. Learners of Mandarin articulated ievel tones with lengthened dura- interl
tion and contour tones with shortened duration, affecting the correctness of the portrayal of emo- and/,
tions. Learners used a similar intensity range for all emotions, whereas native speakers tended to vary sever
thc intensity with diffcrcnt cmoti()ns. used
in sit
their
Conversational Oveflap

One area <>f real concern for Asian speakers of American English beyond speech acts is how to break
Hum
into an ongoing conversation, especially given the preferred politeness patterns in their native lan-
guages and cultures. Typically, the non-native misjudges whether a given pause means it is okay to Getti
break in, especially since native speakers of different languages may have diff-erent ways of pausing Att.'r
and may also have different attitudes about someone cutting into the conversation during someone stud,
else's turn. For example, research comparing conversational strategies in French and Australian Eng- Ll le
lish found that French speakers not only tolerate, but indeed expect, a variety of incursions into a ers
current speaker's tnrn, unlike speakers ofAustralian English, and that these incursions are generally degr
treated as collaborative strategies (Beal,2010). Apparently conversational overlap in French is con- ir.r Er
sidered a feature of invcllvement and liveliness, lending a sense of joint purpose to verbal exchanges. ticiP'
By contrast, it i.s regarded as aggressive and unacceptable by members of Anglo-Saxon speech com- e\tr.
munities like English native speakers (Kerbrat-C)recchioni, 2005). nlit\
Against this research backdrop, a study was conducted focusing on overlirpping talk as a feature of
conversational management in multi-participant talk in advanced L2 French, in relation to Ll French I
and English (Guillot, 20l ). The data collected consisted of multi-participant simulated television l
Second Language Pragmatics . 439

Peakers, on discussions on the topic of anti-smoking can'rpaigns. They represented the communicative behavior
in Spain as irf two tnain groups of subjects: aclvanced learners of French (four groups, two of pre-year-abroad
;ulture was :ubjects, trvo of post-year-abroad subjects) and native speakers of French (two groups) ( 25 subjects
der it a sign in all, fbur to eight per group). All groups were recorded twice, first in their L2, then in their L I l the 12
L-S students recordings thus encornpassed Ll and L2 French, and L1 and L2 English. The findings confirmed the
:ctive propensity of French speakers to use overlapping talk as an interactional resource mclre than
.\ustraliar.r English speakers. The fiequency of use of overlaps in the L2 French post-year-abroad data,
closer to Ll French than to Li English, suggested that the greater interactional and strategic value of
rhis type of overlap in L1 French may have been recognized ancl built on.
:mined simi-
-ameroonian Backchanneling
nistered to 55
Jameroonian \nother area of concern in terms of conversational management is how listeners use backchanneling
lrs. like "Your to signal that they are following a conversation. A recent study focused on backchannel f'eedback and
:.dv empltryed its effect on intercultural cornmunication in dyadic conversations in English between 30 Japanese
:n the Camer- EFL stuclents based in the Nagasaki prefecture and three Arnerican exchange students (Cr,rtrone,
-:ng lesson."). l(114). The findings of this stucly demonstrated several difl'erences in how nrembers of each cul-
rure used backchannels in terms of fre<yuency, variabilit,v, placement, and function. This study also
round evidence supportirlg the hypothesis that backchantrel conventions that are not shared between
;ultures contrjbute to rnutual negative perceptions. The resr"rlts of this study showed that, when
: area, research ;ompared to tire American college students, the Japanese EFL students sent backchantrels far more
:i how this dif- trequently overall, which rnost notabiy included a greater percentage of simultaneous speech back-
\i lvere adopted channels and minimal responses. The Americans spoke a great deal more , posed a far greater nurnber
-rnd fear with a of questions, and procluced a greater percentage of extenclecl responses.
sadness This study demonstrated a tendency among the Japanese participants to produce unconventional
'.in'tbr
:ative speakers, backchannels in situations when they did not understand what their interlocutor was sayir.rg. The
ngthened dura- intc'rprc'tation for this behavior was that fapanese EFL speakers may sometimes feign r.rnderstanding
:travai of emo- .rnd/or agreement in order to keep conversations pleasant. This belief was further strengthened by
) tended to vary :evcriil of the |apanese EFL participants' admission in the playback interviews that they had often
used a cclntinuer, a sign of understanding, agreement, and/or support, and empathy as backchannels
in situations where theydid not understand (71o/o) andlor when theydisagreed (100o/o) with what
rheir intcrlocut()r was suyirrg.

is how to break
Humor and the Uses of Laughter
;heir native lan-
ans it is okay to Getting humor in an L2 is a <launting task. Ploclucing it appropriately is even more cinunting.
\\-avs of pausing .\ttempts at it rnay end Llp with non-natives being laughed at nx)re than being laughed with. One
luring someone study of failed humor had as its goal to conduct a rigorous examination of just what is entailed in
-\ustralian Eng- L2 learners'attempts to unclerstantl humor (Bell & Attarclo,2010). Six advancecl non-native speak-
ncursions into a c-rs (three )apanese, two Korean, and one Chinese gradllate student) of English, all studying to get a
rns are generally degree in an MA TESOL program, kept diaries in which thr'y recordecl their experiences rvitJr hurnor
n French is con- in English over an eight-week period. Grtrupr meetings were held every two weeks to allow the par-
erbal exchanges. ticipants tir elaborate on, interpret, and discuss tl.reir experiences. All instances of failed humor were
ion speech com- extracted, coded, and used to construct a typology, which identified seven ways in which a speaker
may tail to successfully engage in a hurnorous exchange:
rlk as a feature of
ion to Ll French 1. failure t() process language at the illocutionary level,
uiated television 2. failure to understand the meaning of words (including connotations),
440 . Andrew D. Cohen

3. failure to understand the pragmatic force of utterances (including irony),


4. failure to recognize the humorous frame,
5. experiencing a f-alse negative: missing the ioke,
6. experiencing a false positive: seeing a joke where none was intended, and
7. f'ailure to understand the incongruity of the joke.

A follow-up study by one of the same researchers fircused on native English speakers' handling oi
humor, as if to accentuate just how problematic responses to attempted humor can be, even for native
speakers (Bell, 2013). The researcher looked at native-speaker responses to a joke that hinged on a
rather subtle pun ("how's" = "house"). The pun situation involved the mail carrier incluiring about
a homeowner's dog that had attacked him in the past but wasn't outside the last few days. When
the mail carrier asks, "How's your dog?" the horneowner, hearing (or pretending to hear?) "House
your dog," responds'I didl'The joke was impossible for most hearers to comprehend without an
explanation. A total of 278 Ll-hearer responses were elicited by 22 undergraduates enrolled in a
sociolinguistics course at a large, public university in the western US. The most common reactions
included non-verbal responses, explicit expressions of non-understanding (..g.,"I don't get it"),
laughter, silence, and repetition of the punch line. Significant differences were found when analyzing l

the responses by gender and social relationship, but not age. The joke was met with laughter 28o/o of
the time. The numerous hearer.s who did not understand it tended to respond with uncornfortable
or nervous laughter.
Focusing just on laughter, a study was conducted looking at the ways in which laughter-
specifically, what was termed copinglaughter-was utilized to manage the face-threatening relational
aspects of disagreernents rather than to deal with the actual content of disputes (Warner-Garcia,
2014). The four specific fiunctions of coping laughter that were analyzed were ( 1) mitigation of face-
threat, (2) concealment of face-loss, (3) serious-to-non-serious trame switch, and (4) f'acilitation of
topic transiticln. The functions were seen to be dependent on who initiated the laughter, how other
participants responded to the laughter, and the overarching context and participant roles at play in
the interaction. The researcher argued that coping laughter was an eflective strategy for dealing with
the interactional liiction caused by a disagreernent without dealing with its content.

Sarcasm

Equally as daunting for L2 leamers as perceiving humor is perceiving sarcasm. According to Kim
(2014), successful understanding of sarcasm in L2 can be a substantial challenge for learners for at
least tlvo reasons: ( I ) the inherent incongruity of meaning that is frequently exhibited in instances of
sarcasm and (2) the highly context-dependent nature ofsarcasm. Native speakers ofa language possess
top-down knowledge (e.g., intuitions and experiences) through which they can (in many cases) suc-
cessftilly interpret their interlocutors' sarcastic intent, while non-native learners have to use a bottom-
up approach. As an example of recent research on this topic, a study examined how Korean adult EFL
learners interpreted sarcasm in spoken English (Kim, 2014). Twenty-eight Korean adult emplolees of a
I

trading company in Korea participated in the study. Participants were asked to identify instances of
sarcasm in video clips taken from the US TV sitcom Friends, and then to assess the possible intent of
the speaker and the communicative goals associated with these sarcastic utterances. During individual
interviews, participants reported the cues that they attended to while processing sarcasm. Analysis
revealed that learners drew upon certain features of Ll schema during the L2 comprehension process.
According to the researcher, there were various explanations for why Korean participants did not
perceive the use of sarcasm in Friends, such as lack of knowledge about how sarcasm is generally used
in the specific L2 context, lack of linguistic data about highly conventionalized sarcastic utterances,
Second Language Pragnratics . 441

and lack of knowleclge about the types of cues used to c()nvey sarcasm (Kim,2014). For example,
the majority of native-speaker participants sirw the use of "Yeah, right" in Friends not only as an
example of a conventionalized sarcastic remark but also as a way of disagreeing with or making fun
of the interlocutor. For those 60(Xr of the Korean participants who did perceive it as sarc:rsm, they all
misperc:eived the intent as being that of simply trying to be funny. Many Korean pirrticipants also
apparently lacked knowledge abotrt how to interpret speakers'facial expressions, especially the use of
ng of a "blank face," which is one of the cues that sarcasm users in the US typically adopt.
lative
ona
The Pragmatic Function of Discourse Markers
lbout
!hen Frequently used discourse markers, such as "I think," "well," "yes/yeah," "you know," and "p[ease," can
Iouse play an important role in signaling pragmatic functions, both in speaking and in writing. The fol-
ut an krwing are brief descriptions of two recent studies that highlight the issue.
lina
tions
it"), The Frequency of Use of Discourse Markers

'zing One stucly of college EFL learners in China krokecl at the frecluencyof use of discourse rnarkers2 by
'lrit of 141 English majors t}om three Chinese universities (Wei,2011). The data consisted of responses to
table interview questions such as "Holv might your life look ten years from now?", descriptions of their
home and of recent activities, and an apology to a friend for having missed a dinner engagement.
While intermediate ancl advanced students used similar discourse markers and in the same order of
ional n-ragnitude, quantitative and qualitative analyses indicatecl that advanced students tc-nded to better
rrcia, employ discourse markers than intermediate students in managing spoken interactions coherently
thce- and in performing social functions to cater to contextual needs.
rn of
rther
The Cross-Cuburtrl N[isuse of Discourse Marke rs
ry in
rvith Another study investigated the effect of native language (Mandarin) on the use of English discourse
markers by Ll Chinese speakers of English (Liu, 2013). Ten graduate students originally fiom main-
land Chinzr zrnd five Arnerican English rrative spezrkers at the University of Florida servecl as subjects.
All students were intcrviewed fbr 15 minutes in English by r.rative English speakers. Topics for the
interviervs included hobbies, weekend activities, sports, favorite teachers, favorite movies and TV
Kim programs, and their happiest experiences. The Chinese students were interviewed on the same topics
rr at in Chinese. Results showed that three Chinese discourse markers were f<rund to influence their cor-
:s of responding English exprcssions. The finding tl.rart the Ll Chinese speakers used the deliberative func-
iSCSS tion of "I think" in medial or final position, whilc'the native English speakers clid not, would suggest
suc- that theytransferred this use of "I think" from their Ll (wd juide). Second, the Ll Chinese speakers
om- used "yeah/yes" as a backchannel after the interlocr-rtor's reactior.t "uh-huh" or "okay," while the native
EFL English speakers clicl r.rot. This use was also interpreted as negative trar.rster tnrm the correspondittg
ofa Chinese expressicrr.t r/u) because it has this function in Chinese. Finally, Chinese Ll speakers used"ah"
:s of to perform a clause-medial function (followed by self-correction) in the same way that a would be
rt of used in Cl'rinese, while the native English speakers did not use "ah" in this way.
dual
lvsis
tess.
Deixis
not Another concern of pragmatics reseurrchers is that of deixis, ntmely, the use of words and phrases
rsed that cannot be fully unclerstood without additional contextuzrl it.rformation. W<rrcls are cleictic if
rces, their senrantic meaning is fixed but their denotational meaning varies tlepending on tirr-re and/or
442 Andrew D. Cohen

place (e.g., words like "there," "this," and "that"). This would also apply to the use of personal pro-
nouns. When bilinguals do not use pragmatically normative forms in one of their languages, it is
often assumed that they do so because of insufticient exposure. A study showed, however, that bilin-
guals who are thmiliar with pragmatic norms for the use of personal pr<lnouns may choose to reject
them and, by extension, the sociocultural worlds that they index (Koven,2009). The study involved
interviews and ethnographic observations of 22 bilingual women in their late teens to early fwen-
ties, who were the daughters of Portuguese migrants tcl France. His findings were that they used
second-person address forms with their parents in their two languages in ways that diverged from
French and Portuguese monolingual usage. By examining participants' metapragmatic discourse
about French and Portuguese pragmatic paradigms of address and their different implications for
relationship and identity, the researcher argued that these bilinguals chose forms of addre.ss that at
times n-rarked a rejection of the sociocultural norms. His conclusion was that their language use was
partially mediated by their ideologically informed attitudes towards the socially indexical forms in
and across each language.

Conv er s atio n al I mpli catur e

A t'urther concern o[ pragmatics researchers is for conversational implicature, namely, the implied
meaning as interpreted by listeners based on the context of an utterance and their knowledge of
how conversation works. Non-natives need to decode linguistic and contextual clues and then use
them to make inferences about speakers' implied intentions. As a sample of recent L2 research on
implicature, Thguchi (2013) reported the results of two studies, in the first of which participants
were 160 |apanese learners of English in a branch of an American university in Japan. The respon-
dents'ability to comprehend implicature was measured with a computerized listening test consisting
of 40 multiple-choice items: 16 conventional implicature items (i.e., where the interpretation was
encoded in linguistic forms-e.g., "she has two daughters"), 16 non-conventional implicature items
(i.e., where the meaning was derived from context-e.g., "A: Has Tim left for school yet? B: It's after
9"), and eight literal-meaning items. The conventional implicature included two indirect speech
acts: requests and refusals. Ability to comprehend conventional implicature was found to precede
comprehension of non-conventional implicature, both in terms of accuracy and speed of compre-
hension. The conventionality effect was found to be strong when the convention rvas shared between
Ll and L2, as in the case of indirect refusals in )apanese and English where it is common to provide a
reason or excuse when refusing. Indirect requests, on the other hand, did not have the same level of
conventionality effect because the linguistic forms encoded as convention (e.g., "Do you mind if" +
verb) were unique to English. Consequently, processing time was slower.
The second study examined comprehension of implicature among L2 learners of English (Tagu-
chi,2013). The study traced development at two different levels: the accurate demonstration of prag-
matic knowledge (knowledge of how to interpret implied intentions) and the processing capacity of
this knowledge (the speed rvith which learners access and process information). Participants were
57 )apanese college ESL stuclents in Hawaii and 60 |apanese college EFL students in ]apan. All ESL
students except one had a home-stay arrangement with local families who were native speakers clf
English, but all EFL students lived on campus and had another |apanese student as a roommate. A
computerized listening test was developed to assess learners'ability to comprehend conversational
irnplicature. The test had 58 items: 24 conventional implicature,24 n<ln-conventional implicature,
and l0 literal comprehension items. Conventional implicature included indirect refusals that took
the form of giving an excuse to refuse sr.lmeone's invitation, request, or offer. Non-conventional items
were written as expressions used to convey opinions in a non-literal manner and did not involve any
discourse routines or conventions oflanguage use. The study found that the degree ofdevelopment
Second L;rnguage Pragmatics . 443

()nal Pro- in accuracy and response speed was greater for conventionai inrplicatures than for non-conventional
ages, it is implicatures. Conventional implicatures (indirect refusals) were easier and faster for the learners
hat bilin- to comprehend and showed a robust development over a short period of time. Non-conventional
: to reject implicattires were fbund to be both difficult to comprehend and late-developing. Although both
involved ESL and EFL groups improved significantly in comprehension, when the degree of developntent was
rh' tlven- compared, the increase of speed was mLlch smaller than tl.rat of accurac,v tbr the ESL group, rvhile
hey used the EFL group showed the opposite pattern: a greater gain in the accuracy score than in the response
qed from spced.
liscourse
tions for
Teaching L2 Pragmatics
:s that at
l use was Having covered issues regarding the "what" of L2 pragmatics, the chapter will now consider how
lorms in to teach the pragmatics of language behavior. There is a noticeable gap betweerr what research in
pragmatics has lbund and how langtrage is generally taught today-thus, a rather weak link between
theoly and practice. The reason why this chapter has concentrated on pragmatics reseirrch in leacling
journals was precisely to ttnderscore the importance of a research basis for choosing pragmatic mate-
rials to teach. Generally, explicit teaching about how language tunctiur,s in cliscourse has been found
implied to be more beneficial than leaving lezrrners to figure out pragmatic behavior for themselves (Coher.r,
iedge of 2012b).ln this section on L2 pedagt)gy, we will discuss in turn the teachirrg of requests, criticism,
:hen use refusals, phatic comrnunicatioll, English x a litryua .franca (ELF), materials development, digitally
:arch on mediated contexts fbr learning pragmatics, and the assessment of pragmatics.
:r;ipants
respon-
Teac'hing Requests irt rtrt L2
,:rsisting
ion was A study found that learners who had to discover implicitl,v the r-rnderlying rules for downgrading
ie items requests (i.e., figuring out how to link the sociopragmatic ancl pragmalinguistic featuresi in the
it's alter infrrrmation to variotts meanings c<lnveved by the dorvngrading of recluests) hacl an advantage over
speech those who just received explicit inforrnation about making requests (Takimoto, 2008). The learners
precede who needed to induce the implicit rules were better able to process information about the target fea-
TTIIPI€- tures and store this information in working memory than those who were provided the rules explic-
\et\{een itly. So this finding may suggest temprering a bit our unbridled enthusiasm fbr explicit instruction of
',x-ide a L2 pragmatics, in part because learners differ as to their learning style preferences (see, flor example,
ier-el of Cohen, 2012a). In addition, some rules of L2 pragmatics are more readily taught than others.
rd if" +
Teaching Criticism in an L2
Tagu-
,f prag- Looking at the explicit teaching ofa less-taught spreech act, a study evaluated the relative effectiveness
acin,of of two types of forn.r-focused instruction on the acquisition of the speech act set of constructive criti-
t-i \l,ere cism of a peer's essay writing by 69 Vietnamese learners of English (Ngu,ven, Phant, & Pham, 2012).
\11ESL Three high-intermediate EFL intact classes of pre-service EFL teacl-rers (N = 69) were recruited. Over a
.kers of 10-week course, the explicit group (N = l$) participrated in consciousness-raising activities and receivecl
nate. A explicit meta-pragmatic explanations and correction of their errnrs in forrn and meaning. The implicit
rtional group (N
= 19), on the other hand, participated in pragmalinguistic input enhancement and recatst
iature, activities. The two treatment groups were compared with a control group (N - 22) on pre-test anci
rt took post-test performance, consisting of a DCI a roie-play, and an oral peer-t-eedback task. There was also
Iitems a delayed post-test comprising the same procluction tasks to measure long-term retention. The results
lr-e any revealed that both of the treatment groups significantly irnproved in the immediate post-test over the
pment pre-test, or-rtperformitrg the control group. T'he trezrtment groups also mirintained their im;rrovement

)
444 . Andrew D. Cohen

in the delayed post-test. Of note, the explicit instruction group performed significantly better than TI
the implicit group on all measures. an
Er
Ti
Teaching Refusals in an L3
p('
Another approach to pragmatics research regarding speech acts has been to look at the learning of
pragmatics among multilinguals. One study examined the benefits that teaching the speech act of Ct
refusal from a discourse perspective had on L3 learners'pragmatic knowledge (Alc6n Soler, 2012). si,
Retrospective verbal reports were used to examine the impact of instruction on attention and aware- ra
ness of refusals and to explore whether receptive and productive bilingual learners resorted to prag- SP

malinguistic, sociopragmatic, and linguistic information in different ways during the planning and nr
execution of refusals. There were 92 university students Iearning English L3 pragmatics in the study, th
40 who had acquired Catalan as their Ll and Spanish as their L2 (referred to in the study as produc- di
tive bilinguals) and 52 students who had acquired Spanish as their Ll and Catalan as an L2 (termed ci.
receptive bilinguals). Pragmatic input was provided using excerpts from the Friends sitcom series, a\
with the focus on refusals to invitations in a situation of power and social distance. The findings rh
showed that teaching refusals at the discourse level increased the learners'pragmalinguistic aware-
ness of refusals in English L3, regardless of their degree of Catalan and Spanish bilingualism. In
contrast, productive bilinguals outperformed receptive bilinguals in L3 metapragmatic awareness. a1n

The interpretation provided was that the productive bilinguals had greater communicative sensitiv-
ity, in large part because they were already making more contrasts between the Catalan and Spanish
.\I
linguistic systems, and thus had a better sense of intended meanings and social variables affecting
language use.
C()

It
Teach i ng P hati c Co m m u nication
f!-
Phatic communication, or small talk, plays an important role in the pragmatics of social interactions. tr.
This non-referential use of language is enlisted in order to share feelings or establish a mood of
sociability rather than to communicate information or ideas. Small talk can be used to create, main- tit
tain, and/or enhance friendly relationships. The problem for non-natives is that they may not know
how to make small talk effectively, and didactic materials tend not to include it as an independent
topic, nor do they neatly define it, distinguish its different manifestations, or address its sociocul-
tural peculiarities (Padilla Cruz,2013). Effective phatic communication requires a meta-pragmatic
awareness of a wide range of complex and subtle issues, such as when and with whom to engage in
it, the underlying reasons to do so, the types of phatic tokens that may be exchanged, the topics that
such tokens may address, and the potential effects achievable. Based on an approach to teaching the
pragmatics of specific L2 aspects (Martinez-Flor & Us6-luan, 2006), a proposal was made for teach-
ing phatic communication to non-natives (Padilla Cruz,2013). More recently, interview data from
145 immigrants to Australia simply reinforced the view that teaching learners how to engage in small
talk is advisable (Yates & Major,20l5).

Teaching ELF
Tl-
In an increasingly global world, more people are communicating with each other in English, although acl
it is not the native language of either speaker, in a context where there are no native speakers of Eng- usl
lish around to evaluate their pragmatics. So, as already queried earlier in this chapter, whose prag- ter
matics do they use? A recent study performed qualitative analysis on a sample of data produced by a
multicultural group of MA students for whom English was the lingua franca (Maiz-Ar6val o, 2014). tt'r
Second Language Pragrnatics . 445

The researcher investigated the extent to which learners stuck to their own culturally pragmatic rules
and the extent to which they adhered to those of the target culture in a multicultural rlass where
English was the meclium of instructjon and the language for students' peer-t()-peer c()ulrnunication.
The focus was ()n the speech act r>f disagreement, given its face-threatening nature and its disruptive
potential if carried out in what interlocutors might perceive as the "wrong" way.
ts of Ten students from different cultural backgmunds, studying English Linguistics at the Universidad
.t of Complutense of Madrid, were asked to carry out a group assignment. The negotiation and discus-
rl12 ). sicln process was computer-rnediated via the use of forums within their university's Moodle progran.r
rr'are- rather than face-to-face. This allowed the researcher to collect 15,598 words of naturally occurring,
spont.rneoLls written data. By participating in an online asynchronous discussion, the students did
Prag-
,s and not have to fight for conversational turns, but rather were atrle to contribute to the discussion at
itudy, their orvn pace. The tindings revealeci that students on the whole showed a tendency to avoid strong
.11(luc- disagreement and instead to f-avor mitigated disagreement, such as the use of hedges, asking fi>r
.crmed clarification, and giving explanations. Moreover, students with high linguistic proficiency displayeci
a wider range of strategies and tended to folkrw the pragmatic rules of British English, since most of .:t'..
series,
indings therr had liveil in the UK lor a while before coming to Spain. Students whose linguistic proficiency :,rl.i

J\{are^ was lower also showecl a tendencl. to avoid strong disagreement, but they were mnch nrore limited :rif -
ii.*
lism. In with regard to their mitigating strategies, favoring the non-native overuse of expressions of regret
'':;i1.1
lreness. and hedges. ::ti:;.
':1:i'
sensitiv-
Spanish
Materiols Deyelopment fttr L2 Pragmatics ,l';

.ittecting
While textbooks are ofien authorized and treated as unproblematic, especially in foreign language
contexts, many of them still fall short in terms of appropriate language use in context (Pulverness,
2003; Ishihara, 201 I ). The goal of one recent study was to expltlre whether current discourse analytic
research is reflected in the lessons irnd communication exarrples of five ESL textbooks used in Ar"rs-
3ractions. tralia, by using spoken requc'sts as the subject of investigation ( Petraki & Bayes, 20 1 3 ). The textbooks
mood of were evaluated on five criteria deriving from research on politeness, sl.reech act theory, and conversa-
main-
rte, tion analysis. The criteria included whether and the extcnt to which the textbooks:
not know
ependent i raised students'cnrss-cultural awareness of retluests,
sociocul- 2. exposed students to clifl'erent request ftrrnrs: direct, convention:rlly indirect ("Wrrr.rld you
)ragmatic mind . . .?), and nonconventionally indirect (i.e., a hint, e.g. "My computer screen is fiozen
engage in again..."),
opics that 3. adequately explored the contextual thctors that affect the degree ofpoliteness,
rching the 4. emphasiz-ed pref-erred or disprreferred responses (i.e., t'ace-threatening),
fbr teach- 5. exposed students to n'rulti-turn rccluest forms:
data from
. pre-sequen6s.-s.o., "Excuse me. I'm sorry to bother 1,ou IPI{ESEQLI ENCE], but could you
possibly get my ctrse down {irr me? { REQUEST ] I'
;e in small
. re-requests-e.g., "Can ,vou change the date on it? [REQLIEST]'l then re-requests with
"Well, can't you just turn a blind eye? [ItE-I{EQUEST]."

The study fbund that none of the courseboclks covered all of the criteria and that some courselrooks
i, although actua.lly had very inadequate lessons. The results of the textbook analysis r-lenronstrated that teachers

:rs of Eng- using these five coursebooks ancl designers offuture coursebooks would be advisecl to enhance their
llose prag- teachi ng of requests by drawing on pragmatics research and on authentic examples.

Cuced by a
Despite the general r.reglect of pragmatics n.raterials in L2 coursebooks, there have been some efforts
alo, 2014). to address this lack, such as the appearance of volumes which do provide sarnples of instructional
446 . Andrew D. Cohen

materials and lesson plan.s for [.2 pragmatics (e.g. Bardovi-Harlig & Mahan-Thylor,2003; Ishihara
& Cohen, 2014;Martinez-Ilor & Us6-luan, 2010; Tatsuki & Houck, 2010; Houck & Thtsuki, 2011 r.
Examples of more extensive curricular materials include Riddiford and Newton (201 0) for teaching
a range ofbusiness or workplace interactions in ESL contexts, Sykes and Cohen (2006) for teaching
communicative acts in Spanish, and Ishihara and Maeda (2010) for teaching speech acts in japanese.
ln order to prclvide an updated treatment of this topic, Ishihara and the author looked at (a) what
we know, (b) what we think we know, and (c) what we need to find out with respect to materials
development inL2 pragmatics (Cohen & Ishihara,2012). The conclusion was that pragmatics i:
often neglected or only marginally treated in existing L2 curricula and that further development oi
L2 pragmatics materials would support teachers in preparing learners to understand and use lan-
guage effectively in context, as well as to express their own voice as theywish in the target communitr'.

Learning Pragrnatics irt Digitally Mediated Contexts

Al area that has come into its own in research on L2 learning is that of language learner strategie:
and the application o[ strategies to the learning and performance of L2 pragmatics (Cohen & Sykes.
2013). The underlying concern is with the potentially important role of strategies in heightening
learners'ability to make informed choices with regard to how they handle intercultural situations.
The focus is on assisting learners in developing a more robust repertoire of strategies for their han-
dling of pragmatics within intercultural communication. The aim is to support learners in building
a toolkit of common pragmatic options that can be used as they co-construct communication in a
variery of intercultural interactions.
Ttr begin addressing these issues, a strategic approach to L2 pragmatics was included in a general
website launched by the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) in 2001 .l
Thc-n a lapanese pragmatics website was launched in 2003, and a Spanish pragmatics website lr.as
launched in 2006.5 Both the Japanese and the Spanish websites benefited from research in cross-
cultural pragmatics and from interventional studies investigating the effects of explicit pragmatics
instruction on the development of pragmatic ability. Their goal was to employ web-based strat-
egy instruction: to enhance learners'developrnent and use of language learner strategies, to provide
guidar-rce in complex pragmatic language use that is difficult to "pick up," and to facilitate learning
through web-based material.s.
A taxonomy of strategies for learning and performing L2 pragmatics was applied to the construc-
tion of the Spanish pragmatics website, DancingwithWords, aimed at facilitating the learning oi
pragmatics appropriate for the Spanish-speaking world, with strategy material integrated into the
website. Research was conducted by means of two studies, involving both this Spanish pragmatics
website and a synthetic immersive environment lSlE),Croquelandia,which was designed as a three-
dimensional immersive space for the learning of pragmatic behaviors in Spanish (Cohen & Sykes.
20i3). Results showed some reported differences in strategy use in the two different kinds of digital
environments, with the tinding of most relevance to the notion of intercultural education being that
in the SIE, learners reported an increased use of metapragmatic strategies for dealing with L2 prag-
mtrtics. This finding highlighted the role of strategies in making informed choices about pragmatics.
The next step was to set up a CARLA wiki, where pragmatics researchers and instructors world-
wide can contribute their insights and findings to promote L2 pragmatics. The main strategy will
be to use crowdsourcirry, namely, soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and espe-
cially from the oniine community. The goal will be to make the CARLA collection of L2 pragrnatics
infitrmation more varied than it currently is, with more on language variation across users and
dialect variation as well. The site could include simulations where learners have the opportunitl'
to produce L2 pragmatics. It could also include information on additional speech acts and revised
Second Language Pragmatics . 447

tra content basc.d on the 10 or so years since the ]apanese and Spanish websites were cclnstructed
1). (Cohen, 2016).
rng
ing
Assessment of Pragrnatics
:se.
hat Although researchers are beginning to take greater interest in the assessment of L2 pragmatics (sce,
ials e.g., the edited volume by }{oss & Kasper,2013), classrcom teachers n-ray still avoid the assessment
sis of pragmatics, especially non-native teachers who feel that they are incapable of judging what con-
tof stitutes correct behavior. Nonetheless, there are sound reast'urs for assessing L2 pragmatics in the
lan- classroom (Cohen, 201 4b):
-rity.
. It sends a messageto the students that their ability to be pragmatically appropriate in tl.re com
prehension and production of language in different sociocultural situations is a positive thing.
. Having such iterns on a test motivates students to study about the perftrrmance of speech acts.
:gies . It gives teachers an opportrurity to see the relative control their students have in what may at
1'kes, times be a signiticant area for L2 performance.
ning . It gives teachers an opportunity to see whether learners have learned the pragrnatics that were
ions. included in the instructiolt.
han-
lding A number of possible tirsks have been suggested for assessing the comprehension of pragmatic
rina performance. One approach is to have learners indicate how well they think s()meone else has pcr-
formed pragmatically. There are also various ways to collect students' pragmatic productiotr, sucl.t
'neral as through oral role-play, written discourse as if sproken, rrultiple-choice responses, or short-atrswer
001 .4 responses. It would appear that if speech act situations, tirr example, are made realistic and if guicle-
I WaS lines are proviclecl to teachers on horv to rate key aspects of pragmatics, then assessment of pragntat-
.ross- ics would be m.rre prevalent (Cohen, 2014b).
ratics Bardovi-Harlig and Shin (2014) arguecl that testing in pragmatics has tbr too long relied on the
itrat- same six rleasures of pragmatics assessnlent introduced by Hudson, Detmer, and Brown (1992, 1995).
rvide They denronstrated that a wealth of potential test tbrmats in the L2 pragmatics acquisition literature
:ning are as yet untapped resources for pragmatics testing. They introcluced tasks that were used in pragmatic
research, which thev cor.r.iderecl innovative in the context of assessment, and acldressed the potential of
truc- each task to enhance task authenticity, tl-reir practicality for testing, and their poter-rtial for brttadening
ng of oLlr construct representation. By format, the tasks that they presented ftrr consideration includecl oral
o the production (oral for oral), written production (written firr written), and audio and/or audio-visutrl
ratics conversational excerpts with written/reacl interpretations. By area of pragmatics, the tasks covered
hree- conventional expressions, pragmatic routines, conversational implicature, pragmaticalily judgntents,
iykes, sociopragmatic judgrnents, interaction of grammar and pragmatics, and speech act identification. The
igital production tasks simulated turn taking by provicling unanticipated turns through ccllnputer gelleration
I that or audio presentation, requiring responses frorn the test takers. They started with the production tasks
?rag- and then rnoved ot.t to consider interpretation, judgrnent, and prediction tasks.
atics.
orld-
Lear ning and Performing Pragmatics
rwill
3spe-
L2 Delelopnrcntal Issues Jor Clilclren
ratics
; and Research has been cor.rductecl to describe developmental patterns in t[.re interlangttage pragmalic
rnity cornprehension of young learners of English. One such stucly looked at the performance of 176
vised seven-, nine-, and twelve-year-old Cantonese learners of English on a multiple-choice comprehension
448 Arrdrew D. Cohen

exercise consisting of five direct and indirect speech acts (recluests, apologies, ret'usals, compliments.
and complaints) in contextualized dialogues, supplemented with verbal report data on the process-
ing strategies from a subsample of 60 of these learners (Lee, 2010). The rationale for using more
indirect speech act realizations was that children in early childhood (i.e., ages 6-9) gradually come
to better understand and produce indirect speech acts as they become more lware of other ways to
express intention and lose the default assumption that there is semantic congruence between a lit-
eral utterance and a speaker's intended meaning. The overall mean comprehension scores increased
steadily by age, with the diff'erence in the scores across age groups only significant statistically between
the seven- and nine-year-olds. All of the learners perfbrmed well in the comprehension of direct
speech acts, but the seven- and nine-year-old learners encountered problems in cornprehending
indirect speech acts, particularly indirect refusals, compliments, and complaints. Their performance
and processing strategies provide some evidence fcrr the development of direct and indirect speech
act comprehension in L2 learning-tiom relying on literal meaning or the semantic congruence
between meaning and expression to other strategies, such as speaker intention and contextual clues,
as they transit tiom early to middle childhood.

Adrit Learning and Perlbrmance of L2 Pragmatics


While it is crucial to focus on teachers and their teaching of pragmatics, it is equally important to
tbcus on learners and the strategies that they employ in an effort to ensure that the input that they
process is pragmatically comprehensible to them. Likewise, attention needs tcl be given to the strate-
gies that learners can use so that their output is cornprehensible pragmatically to their interlocr.rtors
(Cohen,201l). This entails taking a close look at specific examples of what comprehensibility of
language at the level of intercultural pragmatics actually means. In looking at both the comprehen-
sion and production of pragmatic material, the strategies that might be called on in order to avoid
pragmatic failure need to be considered (Cohen, 2005). So this means looking at what it might take
strategically in order to effectively comprehend input pragmatically, whether the input is through
langnage, gestures, or silence. A strategy for understanding cursing at the workplace, for example,
would be to pull over a working associate and ask to be briefed on the various ways to curse appro-
priately in that context (e.g., when in anger, when in jest, considering issues ofage, status, and gender,
and so forth).
In addition, it would be advisable for learners to consider using strategie.s for ayoiding pragmatic
failure in the production of language. Hence, they would need to know which strategies tcl use in
order to avoid negative transfer of norms from the L 1 or another language, overgeneralization of per-
ceived L2 pragmatic norms, and the effect of instruction or instructional materials. They would als<r
need strategies frrr communicating appropriately even if they have only limited L2 grammar ability
and strategies for dealing with their own resistance to abiding by the perceived L2 norms. Just with
regard to avoiding negative transf-er in dealing with speech acts, for example, learners may benefit
from checking with local peers as to the most appropriate ways to respond to a compliment, as well
as how to make requests that are likely to be responded tcl favorably in various situations in the given
speech community. The ultimate concern is to identify strategies that might assist learners in their
effbrts to have their conversational partners correctly interpret the intended pragmatics in their com-
munications, all the while being mindful of the role that teachers can play in facilitating this process.

Conclusion and Future Directions

This review of research literature on L2 pragmatics has sought insights for the teaching and learning
of L2 pragmatics by first looking at approaches to research methods, since we can learn a good deal
Second Language Pragmtrtics 449

:]1ents. about how to gather and analyze data frtxn such studies. 'Ihe conclusion to draw here is that the fielil
:r)cess- of pragmatics is open to innovative research in a variety of areas.
L m(lre With regard to the issue of politeness and impoliteness, the review m:rde the point that control of
i come pragmatics includes knowing how to pr'rceive impoliteness and how to actually be inrpolite at times
,\'avs to when called for (e.g., knowing how to curse). The point to take away from this discussinn is that
:n a lit- sociocultr-rral approp.rli3lsness comes in alI shapes and sizes.
, reased Next, we tonsidered research dealing with the natllre of speech acts and then looked at cross-
) et\\'een cultural speech After that, the focus was on other areas of pragmatics of concern to
erct research.
,f direct L2 teachers: conversational overlap, backchanneling, humor and the use of laughter, sarcasm, the
hending pragmatic function of discourse markers, deixis, and conversational implicature. This range of topics
-rrmance relating to L2 pragmatics research just underscores the challenges facing teachers as to what to teach
.t speech and the commensrlrate challenges of learners in terms of what needs to be learncd.
lSruence In an e{Icrrt to move from theory to practice, the chapter also focused on peclagr>gy; teac}ring L2
'.-ral clues, learners a more-commonly-taught speech trct (requests) and a less-commonly-taught speech act
(criticisrn), teaching L3 learners a crxrmonly taught speech act (refusals), teaching phatic commur.ri-
cation, teaching pragmatics to ELF learners, materials development fbr L2 pragrnatics, the learning of
pragraatics in digitally mediilted contcxts, and the assessr-nent of pragmatics. Of these issues, perhaps
the ELF issue is the most provocative. Whose pragmatics should speakers use if they are interacting
ir)rtant to with other non-native speakers of English, without interver.rtion by any native speakers? This issur' is
t that theY just beginning to be explored.
thc'strate- Finally, we fbcused on learners and on s.trategies lbr the learning and perforrr-ring of pragmatics.
::rlocutors While teachers can do krts of things to pronrote L2 pragmatics in the language classrrxrm and beyond,
nsibility of the enormity of the letrrning task-as witnessed by all the topics covered in this review-means that
omprehen- learners woul<l benefit highl1,from being proactive about tl.reir own learning in this ckrmain. T]re
ier to avoid more strategic that learners can be in this process, the better.
might take
is through
Notes
.rr erample,
urse aPpro- l. Asiclefronrnumeroustr4)sto,apanandChina,theauthorhastravelcdrepeatedlytootherAsiancountrieslikeThailand
and South Korc'a, where cultural aspects of pragmatics are aI times in noticeahle contra.st to those in English-tanguage
and gender,
cultures.
2. Which tlre researcher referred to as7-rrrtgrnrttic morkers.
g pragmatic 3. Prngnnlingris,ic ref'ers to rvhat conslitutes approprixte linguistic fonns fbr lrxpressing the intent of the speech act, takirrg
es to use in into irccount the norms of [rehiivior that applv in the given situation. Sociopr4matiL: refers to the norms of bchavior tbr
rtion of per- realizing the given speccb act in a given context, taking jnto account the culture involved, the relative age and qender of the
interlocutors, their sociirl class and occupation.s, and their roles and status in the interaction (Thomas, I 9li-t).
,'would also
4. Retrieved June 9,201.5 lionr http://ur,vw.carlir.Lrmn.cclu/speechacts/index.html.
nmar ability
5. Iletricved June 9, 2015 fronr http:,//rmnr,.carla.unrn.edu/speechacts/iapanesc/introto.speechact.s/index.htnr, and http://
ns. Iust with mylv.carla.unrn. edlr/spcechacts/sp_pragmatics/home.htrnl.
may benefit
nent, as well
; in the given
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