Context, Individual Differences and Pragmatic Competence

Author: Naoko Taguchi

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Multilingual Matters
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234mm x 156mm

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Pragmatic competence plays a key role in the era of globalization where communication across cultural boundaries is an everyday phenomenon. The ability to use language in a socially appropriate manner is critical, as lack of it may lead to cross-cultural miscommunication or cultural stereotyping. This book describes second language learners' development of pragmatic competence. It proposes an original theoretical framework combining a pragmatics and psycholinguistics approach, and uses a variety of research instruments, both quantitative and qualitative, to describe pragmatic development over one year. Situated in a bilingual university in Japan, the study reveals patterns of change across different pragmatic abilities among Japanese learners of English. The book offers implications for SLA theories, the teaching and assessment of pragmatic competence, and intercultural communication.

Taguchi brings impressive psycholinguistic rigor to the longitudinal study of pragmatics, with an innovative focus on the development of listening and speaking ability. While her Japanese EFL subjects became somewhat more like native speakers in the performance of low-imposition speech acts, a rich analysis of student interview data and journal entries revealed their limited gains in high-imposition speech acts to be partly the result of limited exposure to such pragmatic behavior.

This book reports on a multi-method study of pragmatic competence in which development is not seen as a linear process but rather as a dynamic one in which factors like social distance and degree of imposition are not treated as static factors but as part of a larger set of variables that form a complex system of nested and dynamically interactive factors. The combination of qualitative and quantitative data on different time scales makes this study unique in the field of applied linguistics.

This book makes important contributions to the field of ILP. It adds to the rather limited body of longitudinal studies in ILP, especially those investigating both productive and receptive aspects of pragmatic competence. It proposes an original theoretical framework, which constructs pragmatic competence as both an accurate demonstration of pragmatic knowledge and the efficient processing of pragmatic knowledge. In addition, the study employs a variety of research instruments, both quantitative and qualitative, in order to describe learners' pragmatic development at both the group and individual levels, which makes the study unique in the field of ILP. In a nutshell, this book is highly recommended for researchers and students at the graduate level who are interested in both ILP and SLA.

the LINGUIST LIST 23.2344

Taguchi's rich descriptions of the case histories and her explorations of enabling and constraining factors in the individual, the context, and their interactions shine like gems in this book. This monograph would be of great value to language educators and researchers for its practical and methodological implications. In addition to practitioners, researchers and students in the field of L2 acquisition, especially those who study interlanguage pragmatics, would also benefit from this book as it provides an excellent model of a developmental study that involves careful planning of qualitative data collection methods and rigorous instrumentation of measurement tools. Overall, this monograph on individual learners' language learning experiences and their relationship with developmental trajectories makes an indispensable addition to the growing body of research on L2 pragmatic development.

Language and Education, 2012, 1–4, iFirst Article

Taguchi has provided break-through research in the field of longitudinal studies of Pragmatic Competence (PC). In a two-part study done over a year, the author successfully incorporated qualitative methodology into her work. Taguchi's writing style is clear and meticulous, providing explanation for each step of the study, enabling aspiring researchers to follow her methodology and her reasons for each action. That also makes the book dense with information – it is difficult to do it justice in a review...Taguchi's work has the potential to change the way we view and engage in research in the area of PC. The book, in my opinion offers new insights for all involved in second language acquisition and linguistics fields.

RELC Journal (2013), 43(3) 411 –414

The volume represents a complex, painstakingly designed and executed study, whose careful and detailed analysis sets a high standard for ILP research. The volume should be of interest to SLA researchers, teachers of English to speakers of other languages, practitioners and researchers, and others interested in the complex interactions that shape the course of pragmatic development in a second language.

Studies in Second Language Acquisition (2013)

Naoko Taguchi is an associate professor in the Modern Languages Department at Carnegie Mellon University where she teaches courses on SLA, pragmatics, and Japanese language and culture. She is a Fulbright scholar, and the recipient of the 2004 MLJ-ACTFL Emma Birkmaier Outstanding Dissertation Award. She edited the volume Pragmatic Competence and is co-editing the volume Technology in Interlanguage Pragmatics Research and Teaching. She is currently on the editorial board of Japanese SLA.

Chapter 1: Context, Individual Differences, and Pragmatic Development: An Introduction

Chapter 2: Longitudinal Studies in Interlanguage Pragmatics

Chapter 3: Theoretical Framework, Research Questions, and Methodology

Chapter 4: Patterns and Rate of Pragmatic Development

Chapter 5: Individual Differences in Pragmatic Development

Chapter 6: Summary and Conclusion

Postgraduate, Research / Professional
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