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The development of ESL learners' pragmatic competence : a longitudinal investigation of awareness and production.

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Abstract

The present paper presents the results of a longitudinal study into the development of ESL learners‟ pragmatic awareness and their productive pragmatic competence. The data for the investigation of the learners‟ pragmatic awareness were elicited with Bardovi-Harlig and Dörnyei‟s (1998) seminal video-and-questionnaire instrument and semi-structured interviews, while the data for the investigation of the learners‟ productive pragmatic competence were collected with the Multimedia Elicitation Task (MET) that had been specifically designed for this study. All ESL learners were German native speakers who attended an English university for the duration of one academic year. Sixteen ESL learners provided the data for awareness part of the investigation and nine of those sixteen took part in the productive part of the study. The results indicate that two factors seem to influence learners‟ pragmatic development in the L2 context: the temporal effect of exposure to the L2 as well as individual learner variation.