the use of language about language.
Long’s (1983) Interaction Hypothesis, assuming the inadequacy of input alone (i.e., positive evidence), focuses on the provision of negative evidence, i.e., evidence that a mistake has been made. He proposes that interaction prepares the ground for obtaining such evidence within natural interaction. In particular, he proposes that particular sorts of interactive encounter, i.e., those in which there is negotiation of meaning, leading to feedback moves such as confirmation checks, comprehension checks, clarification requests, and especially interlocutor recasting of the L1 speaker’s utterance, provide timely and personalized negative evidence without compromising the naturalness of communication. This approach is located within Long’s proposals for the importance of a focus-on-form, since form is brought into focus incidentally through these conversational devices, enabling learners to attend to it and perhaps, at a later stage, incorporate the effects of such feedback into their interlanguage.
Sociocultural theory, a nonlinguistic theory (Van Patten & Benati, 2010), that takes its foundation from Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky, claims that culturally formed settings provides all learning or development for those participating in. Based on this theory, settings like schools, family life, peer groups and so on are cognitively oriented contexts which influence learning and development. Accordingly, all learning is situated and context-bound.
2.9 On teachability of pragmatic knowledge
Transferring pragmatic knowledge via instructional procedures has been investigated by some researchers; an example is Rose and Kasper (2001). However, the instructors’ pragmatic knowledge is the first problem. More precisely, Thomas (1983) notes the language teachers lack enough theoretical knowledge of pragmatics. Matsuda (1999) named two reasons for this problem in pragmatics teaching. First, teaching pragmatics is a difficult and sensitive issue due to the high degree of “face threat” it often involves and, second, the number of available pedagogical resources is limited. But the observed reluctance should also be partly attributed to the lack of some valid methods for testing interlanguage pragmatic knowledge.
Studies on English as a foreign language have often focused mostly on acquisition of phonological, morphological, syntactic and semantic forms than on the acquisition of pragmatic capability, emphasizing that EFL learners could acquire knowledge of the lexicon and grammar of the target language without having a reasonable control over the pragmatic uses of language. In addition, while successful communication includes being proficient at grammar and text organization as well as appropriate use of the target language, learners may not yet be certain about the appropriate time and place to use the proper form of language.
Related literature shows that the pool of systematics studies that deal with the explicit instruction of refusals in English (i.e., King & Silver, 1993; Silva, 2003) especially in foreign language context lacks sufficient attention. The main feature of the studies conducted on explicit teaching of pragmatics is that the instructional time is relatively short. Moreover, none of these studies employed control group in their design. The teaching procedures in different studies on the issue also vary, and such variation may have contributed to different results of the studies. Furthermore, to the author’s knowledge, nearly all of these studies are just of qualitative design.
In one study, Kondo (2001) put to service a pre-test/post-test design, without a control group, on 35 Japanese second language learners of English. The instructional treatment on American refusals consisted of implicit and explicit teaching including explicit explanation and analysis of semantic formulas, controlled free practices and cross-cultural comparison followed by discussion. Results of the study showed a degree of improvement in the Japanese learners and the movement towards the patterns of American refusals.
2.10 Factors Influencing L2 Learners’ Pragmatic Acquisition
It has been accepted that in EFL context learners have a limited chance to use the language. Thus, their acquisition of pragmatic competence seems difficult. However, researchers, (Dong, 2006; Edwards & Csizer, 2004; McLean, 2004; Rasekhi, 2004; Rose, 1994; Xiao, 2008) posit that factors, such as L2 learners, linguistic competence of a target language, a residence in a target country, exposure to authentic input, and pragmatic awareness can benefit EFL learners, pragmatic development.
Having a good command of linguistic ability of a target language will benefit pragmatic acquisition. Previous studies have proven that a lack of a target language linguistic knowledge is one of the factors causing L2 learners to fail in achieving great success in pragmatic competence (Nguyen, 2008). The results from these studies clearly show that linguistic competence is a very first tool for L2 learners to develop their pragmatic competence. However, the question is whether, learners with high language proficiency will possess a high level of pragmatic competence. This issue is of scholars, interest.
The second factor which is believed to be advantageous to L2 learners, pragmatic development is residence in a target country. Living in the country where learners have to use a target language as a means for their daily communication may give them a chance to develop their linguistic knowledge and pragmatic competence of a target language (Kasper & Rose, 2002). In addition, contact with native speakers may indirectly help pragmatic acquisition of learners (Porter, 1986, cited in Kasper & Rose, 2002). In the analysis of previous research, Jung (2002) also posits that living in the host community is positively related to a level of attainment in various aspects of pragmatic ability.
Authentic input may offer many advantages: presenting the use of language in real life, implying the existence of social distance, cultural differences and social values in real communication. To date, a number of studies have been conducted to examine whether the pragmatic competence of EFL learners can be developed through certain types of activities. One popular instrument frequently used to help promote such competence of the learners is authentic materials. Rose (1997) states, “In foreign language contexts, exposure to film is generally the closet that language learners will ever get to witnessing or participating in native speaker interaction.” In the same way, Grant and Starks (2001) claim that elevation conversations provide a wide variety of language function in an English conversation, such as natural speech and present in cultural and linguistic behavior of both the language and the participants. Guerray and Flor (2003) further posit that the use of films in the classroom provides learners with a great potential value to their pragmatic development, since it presents real language use in various contexts.
Lastly, pragmatic awareness or awareness in how to use language appropriately according to context (Rose, 1994; Rasekh, 2005) is also a factor contributing to L2 learners pragmatic development. It is, hence suggested that raising learners, pragmatic awareness may be effective to develop this type of competence of L2 learners. If learners possess a satisfactory level of pragmatic awareness, they are likely to have a good command of pragmatic ability. Rose (1994) suggests that pragmatic awareness rising has the distinct advantage of providing learners with primary information of the roles of pragmatics. Similarly, in her attempt to bring pragmatics and pedagogy together, Harlig (1996) states that raising awareness is effective for L2 learners’ pragmatic development.
2.11 On how EFL learners produce refusals
A number of studies have investigated the ways by which EFL learners produce refusals. These studied have made contributions to the general understanding of the
the use of language about language.