Journal for Language Teaching

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Pragmatic interpretation: There is a difference in the way that L1 and L2 learners experience the interpretation of a literary text

Bernice Badal


This study investigated the premise that pragmatic competence which is needed to access certain features of a literary text differs amongst first language and second language learners in a home language classroom in South Africa. It focused on understanding learners’ difficulties with pragmatic questions in contextual analysis and drew on findings from a qualitative study that examined learners’ pragmatic awareness and strategies in accessing a prescribed literary text. The findings illustrate how linguistic behaviour and exposure to certain features of the target language contribute to differing levels of pragmatic competence. The need is pointed out for the development of pragmatic knowledge of second language learners whose contextual knowledge and worldviews may be different to those of first language speakers but who compete at the same level in the home language classroom.

Keywords: pragmatic competence, contextual analysis, communicative competence, inference
AJOL African Journals Online