Learning Pragmatics through Computer-Mediated Communication in Taiwan

Document Type: Research Paper

Authors

Texas A&M University

Abstract

This study investigated the effectiveness of explicit pragmatic instruction on the acquisition of requests by college-level English as Foreign Language (EFL) learners in Taiwan. The goal was to determine first whether the use of explicit pragmatic instruction had a positive effect on EFL learners’ pragmatic competence. Second, the relative effectiveness of presenting pragmatics through two delivery systems—face-to-face, in-class activities and computer-mediated communication (CMC) via e-mail and WebCT—wascompared. One hundred and eighteen Taiwanese undergraduate students completed the entire study. There were 40 students in the control group, 36 students in the experimental/Teacher Instruction group and 42 students in the experimental/CMC group. The results showed that explicit pragmatic instruction had a positive impact on the EFL learners in both the Teacher Instruction and CMC groups. Learners who received explicit pragmatic instruction performed better on the Discourse Completion Task posttest than those who did not. The findings also indicated that technology can be a valuable tool for delivering pragmatics instruction.

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