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Second and Foreign Language Pragmatics Wiki

Page history last edited by Megan DiBartolomeo 6 years, 3 months ago

Recently uploaded material 


How to express commands, orders and suggestions in French: Speech act or area of focus --> Requests


Identifying Speech Acts and Body Language in Textbook Telenovelas: Speech act or area of focus --> Greetings (Openings and Closings) and Leave Takings


Giving and responding to invitations in French: Speech act or area of focus --> Invitations


Apologies and Apologetic Expressions in French: Speech act or area of focus --> Apologies


Apologies in French: Speech act or area of focus --> Apologies


Dear colleagues, 

We are pleased to invite you to participate in a wiki for the teaching of second language (L2) and foreign language (FL) pragmatics. For our purposes, pragmatics is defined as the ability to deal with meaning as communicated by a speaker (or writer) and interpreted by a listener (or reader) and to interpret people's intended meanings, their assumptions, their purposes or goals, and the kinds of actions (e.g., making a request) that they are performing when they speak or write (Yule, 1996, pp. 3-4). Pragmatics includes among other things politeness/impoliteness, speech acts (greetings, thanks, requests, compliments, apologies, complaints, etc.), conversational style, humor, sarcasm, teasing, cursing, discourse markers, conversational implicature (i.e., the implied meaning as interpreted by listeners based on the context of an utterance and their knowledge of how conversation works), and deixis (i.e., words and phrases that cannot be fully understood without additional contextual information - e.g., nominal pronouns like “she” and demonstrative pronouns like “this”). 

The wiki, wlpragmatics, is intended to serve as a repository for teaching materials in a variety of target languages (TLs). It is our sense that this wiki will address a felt need in the L2/FL pragmatics community and will provide accessible teaching resources for those interested in further incorporating the instruction of pragmatics into their various teaching contexts. We are currently seeking contributions from language teachers and researchers who have had experience teaching pragmatics. As our goal is to create a collection of teachable items, we ask that these contributions be practical and aimed at classroom instruction. 

We welcome contributions that address (but are not limited to) the following topics: 

  • Materials that can be readily used in classroom teaching of TL pragmatics, such as:
    • Videos or recordings of natural discourse (e.g. holiday dinner table conversations)
    • Examples of speech acts and/or how to teach them (e.g. criticism, advice, apologies, compliments, persuasion, nonverbal responses, small talk, humor, cursing, greetings and closings, etc.)
    • Perception or production of sarcasm/dealing with tone of voice
    • Examples of conversational management/mismanagement by learners
    • Sharing anecdotal accounts of pragmatic failure, especially sociocultural goofs (e.g. a nonnative American English-speaker asking an American how much s/he makes a month or how much their new house or car cost)
    • Using inappropriate linguistic forms for a given situation (e.g. In English, using very in an apology for inflicting bodily harm: “I am very sorry for smashing into you”)
    • The pragmatic consequences of using words which have multiple meanings or other connotations that could be misinterpreted by native speakers


  • Questions or advice regarding the teaching of TL pragmatics
    • Incorporating technology in lessons (e.g., the creation of video clips, or where and how to download videos online)
    • How to differentiate between lack of pragmatic knowledge and resistance to accommodate on the student’s part (e.g., with an e-mail communication: "Hello, teacher. Please give my paper another read. I deserve a better grade,”trying to determine whether the lack of mitigation is due to a lack of knowledge or a conscious choice to be a bit rude)
    • How to determine which speech act norms are most appropriate for their classroom, since the norms may vary according to the particular speech community where the language is spoken (as in the case of the different World Englishes)
    • How to assess pragmatic performance

If you would like to contribute to the wlpragmatics wiki, please submit your materials to wlpragmatics@gmail.com . We accept contributions in any language, though the base language for this website is English.

We request that the materials be unpublished, however, we will post the citations for previously published materials if you would like to have them included. If any parts of your submissions have been published elsewhere, be sure to get permission from the publisher for them to appear in the pragmatics wiki. Contributions to the wlpragmatics wiki are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). 

If the material consists of lesson plans, then it would be helpful to indicate the goal of each lesson, a description of the activity on a step-by-step basis, and suggestions for ways to vary it as well. It would be helpful if you also could provide some ideas about assessing pragmatic performance in the classroom.

If you have questions about the website, send them to the same email address. Once there is a respectable quantity of material, we will post it to the wiki. 

It would be most helpful if you provide basic information along with your submissions:

  1. Your name and contact information,
  2. If you are teaching or have taught pragmatics, where?
  3. Whether you are teaching or have taught the TL as an L2 or an FL for the learners.

Thank you for your interest and collaboration! We hope that this website will provide valuable teaching resources to the global L2/FL pragmatics teaching community and we look forward to your contributions. 

The creation of this wiki is being directed and funded at present by Andrew D. Cohen, Prof. Emeritus from the University of Minnesota, USA (website: https://z.umn.edu/adcohen), currently based in Oakland, CA. The wiki will be monitored by Megan DiBartolomeo, a graduate student at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.


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