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Knowledge, analysis, subjectivity, and awareness: Approaching L2 pragmatics in global contexts
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Abstract

A foundational component of human interaction is person-to-person understanding through pragmatic behaviors, that is, the expression and understanding of meaning. Human connections happen every day, all the time, and in numerous contexts. However, patterns for communicating and interpreting meaning are increasing difficult to define, isolate, and teach. In recent years, digital technologies have expanded the possibilities for human interactions in ways that were never before imagined, further complicating the teaching and learning of interlanguage pragmatics (Taguchi & Sykes, 2013; Thorne, Sauro, & Smith, 2015). Now, more than ever before, considerations around L2 pragmatics necessitate a global perspective that considers a multiplicity of interlocutors and contextual variables. From a practical perspective, globalization further complicates the teaching and learning of pragmatics (Alcón-Soler & Martínez-Flor 2008; Félix-Brasdefer 2007, Martínez-Flor & Usó Juan, 2010, Sykes 2009), making a synthesized approach critical to researching dimensions of L2 pragmatics from a co-constructed, transnational perspective (Risager, 2007).

Utilizing pilot data from projects in three languages - Spanish, German, and Korean - this presentation will discuss an empirically based framework to L2 pragmatics for global contexts. Data to inform the model is drawn from three mixed method studies including pre and post surveys, interviews, and analysis of user behavior. The model places skill development at the forefront of instructional necessity and, in combination with emerging digital tools, offers a means to overcome barriers to instruction and assessment of pragmatic competence. Specifically, the presentation will present results related to four dimensions critical to L2 pragmatic analysis and instruction – (1) knowledge, (2) analysis, (3) subjectivity, and (4) awareness. Results suggest that digital tools, specifically digital simulations and virtual reality immersive environments, are productive spaces for learning and assessing pragmatic skills. Furthermore, they highlight the fundamental role of a skills-based approach to L2 pragmatics in light of the increasing complexity of global interactional contexts. The presentation will conclude with implications for research and teaching.

Summary

L2 pragmatics necessitates a global perspective that considers a multiplicity of contextual variables. This presentation addresses a framework to approach L2 pragmatics for global contexts, placing skill development at the forefront of instruction. In combination with emerging digital tools, the model offers a means to overcome barriers in L2 pragmatics.

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