Personality and Development of Second Language Pragmatic Competence

| June 4, 2014

Personality and Development of Second Language Pragmatic Competence



Naoko Taguchi
Carnegie Mellon University, USA


Naoko Taguchi is an associate professor in the Modern Languages Department at Carnegie Mellon University. Her research interests include pragmatics, classroom-based research, and English-medium education. She is the author of Context, Individual differences, and Pragmatic Competence (2012, Multilingual Matters), editor of Pragmatic Competence in Japanese as a Second Language (2009, Mouton de Gruyter), and co-editor of Technology in Pragmatics Research and Teaching (2013, John Benjamins).


This study examined the effect of personality on the development of pragmatic competence among second language (L2) learners of English. Participants were 48 Japanese college students of English in an English-medium university in Japan. They completed a speaking test (k=12) that assessed their ability to produce two speech acts: requests and opinions, in high- and low-imposition situations. The measure was given three times over one academic year to track down development. Speech acts were analyzed for appropriateness (rated on a 5-point-scale) and fluency (planning time and speech rate). Participants’ personality was measured via Keirsey’s (1998) temperament sorter, and its effect on change in appropriateness and fluency was assessed. Results revealed no significant effect of the introvert-extrovert dimension on any aspects of pragmatic change. However, there was a significant effect of the feeling-thinking dimension on appropriateness and planning time.

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