Volume 20 Number 2

Teaching the Pragmatics of Russian Conversation Using a Corpus-referred Website
Edie A. Furniss, University of Houston

Pragmatic competence is essential for oral fluency and listening comprehension, allowing speakers to use and interpret language appropriately in varied contexts. The use of technological applications for teaching pragmatics is on the rise (Taguchi & Sykes, 2013), in part because they are well-suited to the types of awareness-raising tasks which support Schmidt’s (1993; 2001) noticing hypothesis. However, the effectiveness of computer-assisted language learning (CALL) applications in the teaching of routine formulas—phrases with pragmatic functions—has yet to be examined. This paper reports on the impact of an awareness-raising, corpus-referred instructional website on L1 English learners' acquisition of nine Russian routine formulas. Intermediate and advanced learners of Russian were recruited and assigned to either the experimental (n = 18) or control (n = 16) group. All participants completed an oral proficiency assessment, a background questionnaire, and a pre-test, post-test (two weeks after the pre-test) and delayed post-test (four weeks after the post-test) that assessed comprehension, use, and aural recognition of the routine formulas. Experimental group participants completed the web-based modules and responded to a feedback form. Results indicate that the intervention had a durable effect on learners' awareness of the targeted routine formulas and lowered aural recognition of nonce formulas.

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