Edited by Naoko Taguchi and YouJin Kim
[Task-Based Language Teaching 10] 2018
► pp. 138–157
Chapter 6. Developing pragmatic competence through tasks in EFL contexts
Does proficiency play a role?
Although task-based language teaching, on the one hand, and teaching pragmatics on the other, are not considered to be new trends anymore, there is still a gap in the research regarding how pragmatic features can be taught using a task-based approach. To fill the gap, the present study examines whether speech acts of apology, justification, and thanking are teachable through tasks in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) contexts. The study further investigates the role of L2 proficiency in the development of pragmatic awareness. The participants are 38 third-year university students in Spain who are enrolled in English for the Media course with two different levels of proficiency in English (B1 and C1 on the CEFR). The experiment consists of a pretest involving e-mail writing tasks and a posttest. Pretest/posttest tasks are analysed by rating the appropriateness of speech acts of apology, justification, and thanking on a six-point appropriateness scale and on grammar scales. Results display some positive effects of the task-based instruction on the learning of pragmatics in both proficiency groups. However, the results of the posttests for the grammar scales and the overall gains did not correlate with the proficiency scores, which suggests that L2 development of pragmatics cannot be fully attributed to L2 learners’ proficiency.