Raising and Assessing Pragmatic Awareness in L2 Academic Language Learning

By Angeliki Tzanne, Elly Ifantidou and Bessie Mitsikopoulou.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The present paper examines the pragmatic comprehension and metapragmatic awareness of academic L2 learners, as manifested in exam scripts from a written exam specifically designed to assess students’ pragmatic awareness. The exam is offered to fourth semester students of the Faculty of English Studies of the University of Athens, upon the completion of an academic language course, Genres in English, which deals with various media genres of English, mainly from newspapers and magazines. Contrary to extensive studies in pragmatics and oral communication in L2 contexts, in this paper we present our attempt to raise students’ pragmatic awareness through a metapragmatic analysis of written texts. In particular, we place emphasis on written discourse reception and expect our students to be able to identify pragmatically inferred effects retrieved from a text by linking parts of the text together. This approach to teaching pragmatics engages learners in a genuine reading context requesting the reader’s spontaneous reaction and contribution to the process of meaning making in L2.
Our research has confirmed that pragmatics can be taught in an L2 environment. More specifically, our study shows that it is possible to raise students’ pragmatic awareness in an L2 academic context by teaching them how to provide a metapragmatic analysis of newspaper and magazine texts. Concerning the factors affecting students’ pragmatic awareness, we would like to argue that further consolidation through practicing with the pragmatic comprehension and metapragmatic analysis of texts appears to contribute to raising students’ pragmatic awareness. Finally, it can also be argued that pragmatic awareness relates to language proficiency, as, on the one hand, cases of low pragmatic awareness are shown to be students with poor English, and, on the other hand, students with a high level of language proficiency exhibit raised pragmatic awareness even when they have only had limited practice with analysing texts.

Keywords: L2 Academic Learning, Text Force, Pragmatic Awareness, Interpretative Route

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 9, pp.297-310. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.267MB).

Dr. Angeliki Tzanne

Assistant Professor in Linguistics, Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of English Studies, University of Athens, Athens, Greece

Dr. Elly Ifantidou

Assistant Professor in Linguistics, Department of English Language and Literature , Faculty of English Studies, University of Athens, Athens, Greece

Dr. Bessie Mitsikopoulou

Assistant Professor in Linguistics, Department of English Language and Literature , Faculty of English Studies, University of Athens, Athens, Greece


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