Learning pragmatic routines during study abroad: A focus on proficiency and type of routine

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The present study explores pragmatic learning during study abroad (SA) programs, focusing on gains in learner recognition and production of pragmatic routines, and considers whether proficiency and type of routine play a role in this. One hundred and twenty-two international students in their first semester of study at US universities completed a pre-test and a post-test version of a vocabulary knowledge scale (VKS) and a written discourse-completion task (DCT). Pragmatic routines elicited for recognition were categorised according to how bound they are to specific situations, while production routines were operationalised in terms of prototypicality. The results revealed that knowledge of pragmatic routines increased during a semester abroad, particularly in terms of recognition. While this increase was unrelated to proficiency, type of routine did play a significant role. Students showed greater gains in recognition of situational routines and in production of those that are highly-prototypical. The findings of the study underline the importance of SA programs for the acquisition of pragmatic routines, and suggest that exposure to routines in relevant contexts enhances pragmatic development.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)191-210
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 12.2017