Instruction and pragmatic change during study abroad email communication

The study deals with the effect of instruction and study abroad (SA) on pragmatic knowledge. More specifically, the focus is on gains in explicit knowledge of request mitigators, and whether learners draw on this knowledge when they perform email requests. Email requests produced by 60 Spanish students staying abroad (30 treatment/30 control group) were analysed as regards the frequency of internal mitigators on four separate occasions. Findings from the present study show that as length of SA increases participants compare explicit knowledge gained from pragmatic instruction with what happens in real email communication. As a result, although individual variation is observed, we notice a general pattern towards a decrease in the use of request mitigators and towards accepted patterns of email interaction in the community in which students find themselves.
Eva Alcón Soler
Editorial / Journal: 
Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 9 (1)