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Pragmatics and Speech Acts

An important area of the field of second/foreign language teaching and learning is pragmatics -- the appropriate use of language in conductingspeech actssuch as apologizing, requesting, complimenting, refusing, thanking. This website offers information about speech acts and how they can be learned and taught, and outlines a research project focused on this important topic.

Background Information: Why Teach Speech Acts?

Learners of all languages tend to have difficulty understanding the intended meaning communicated by a speech act, or producing a speech act using appropriate language and manner in the language being learned. Research has found that classroom instruction on speech acts can help learners to improve their performance of speech acts and thus their interactions with native speakers.

Descriptions of Speech Acts

A collection of research-based descriptions of speech acts which includes practical information for language teachers, advanced learners, and developers of language learning materials.

Pragmatics and Speech Acts Bibliography

This extensive annotated bibliography is focused primarily on the research literature and is organized into two main sections: general topics within pragmatics and specific speech acts. The bibliography includes studies with native and non-native speakers along with research on teaching and learning pragmatics in a second language.

Second and Foreign Language Pragmatics Wiki

This new resource is designed to be a repository for pragmatics teaching materials in a variety of target languages. Language teachers and researchers who have taught pragmatics are invited to contribute their successful teaching materials directly to the wiki.

Strategies for Learning Speech Acts in Japanese

Targeted at intermediate to advanced learners of Japanese, this interactive website includes a series of introductory exercises and five sets of exercises to learn about and practice apologies, compliments, refusals, requests, and thanks in Japanese.

Dancing with Words: Strategies for Learning Pragmatics in Spanish

Designed for learning Spanish pragmatics, this self-access website contains an introductory unit, resource unit, and eight learning modules addressing different speech acts. Each module is self-contained and includes video clips, interactive activities, and models for self-correction.

Research Project: Learner Strategy Training in the Development of Pragmatic Ability

This innovative research study (2002-2006) examined the impact of specialized speech act training materials on non-natives' ability to learn and use pragmatic information more successfully when speaking a foreign language. The project began with learners of Japanese using learning module about Japanese speech acts and was replicated with learners of Spanish.

CARLA Summer Institutes for Language Teachers

Each summer CARLA offers a wide array of professional development opportunities for K-16 language teachers.

CARLA Bibliography

The CARLA bibliography contains more information on publications and presentations by faculty and staff involved in this project.

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