Second language pragmatic attrition after studying abroad
Change of accuracy and speed in the appropriateness judgment task
This research examined the attrition and/or maintenance of second language pragmatic competence among Japanese learners of English after returning home from studying in the United Kingdom (U.K.). Participants were university students who had studied abroad (SA) for four months at two U.K. universities and had lived in a homestay environment. A pragmatic appropriateness judgment task of request-making sentences was administered at the end of the SA and six months after returning home, in which the accuracy and speed of appropriateness judgment of these request sentences were compared. The results demonstrated a loss of (a) judgment accuracy for under-polite inappropriate requests, but not for appropriate requests; and (b) automatic processing of request-making sentences, evaluated using the coefficient of variation, for both under- and over-polite inappropriate requests. These results suggest that pragmatic attrition does occur after SA but does not occur at the same time for every aspect of pragmatic competence examined.
Keywords: interlanguage pragmatics, study abroad, language loss, accuracy and speed of language processing, coefficient of variation
Published online: 12 November 2019
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