Contribution to Book
Cambridge University Press
Practice in Second Language Learning
The present study measures the impact that pragmatic intervention has when students are exposed to targeted language practice during a six-week study abroad programme in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The intervention had three goals. First, the researcher drew learners’ attention to language use and context through discussion about pragmatics and exposure to authentic input. Second, the intervention aimed at making students aware of the pragmatic norms of the target culture, including the appropriate use of communication strategies. The third and final goal was to afford the participants opportunities to engage in what DeKeyser (2007) and others argue are five critical aspects of language practice during study abroad: input, output, interaction, guided reflection and targeted feedback. Results indicated that over time all six students increased their use of targetlike request strategies. Journal entries and interviews with the researcher also revealed that the students became more aware of appropriate target-like request behaviour as a result of the language practice. In their journals and interviews, the students also attributed their pragmatic development to three additional sources: interactions with host families and other native speakers, their participation in service encounter exchanges and the targeted feedback given to them by the researcher. The results suggest that exposure to targeted language practice prior to and during study abroad can facilitate pragmatic learning and, in turn, contribute to a more successful study abroad experience.
Available for download on Friday, March 01, 2019