Comprehending implied meaning
The combined effects of L2 proficiency, length of residence, and interaction
This study investigated the extent to which proficiency, length of residence, and intensity of interaction in a target language affect L2 learners’ pragmatic ability in comprehending conversational implicature and indirect speech acts. 68 participants, 38 L1 English and 30 L2 English users, completed two measures: a pragmatic listening test measuring implied meaning comprehension and a language contact profile survey identifying length of residence and intensity of L2 interaction. The standard multiple regression analysis revealed a significant relationship between implied meaning comprehension and learners’ proficiency, length of residence, and intensity of interaction. Together, these factors explained a significant amount of the variance in learners’ overall comprehension ability, with proficiency being the strongest predictor, followed by intensity of interaction, then length of residence. Findings also showed that while it was more challenging for the less proficient learners to comprehend conversational implicature than indirect speech acts, there was no significant difference between the two types for the higher proficiency group. Further analysis of the L2 interaction types indicated a significant, moderate relationship between the time spent speaking and learners’ implied meaning comprehension. These findings offer pedagogical and methodological implications for L2 pragmatic development.
Keywords: L2 pragmatic competence, implicature, indirect speech acts, proficiency, length of residence, intensity of interaction
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