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Sociocultural Theory and L2 Instructional Pragmatics

Sociocultural Theory and L2 Instructional Pragmatics

Rémi A. van Compernolle


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Book Details


Winner of the AAAL First Book Award 2017!

This book outlines a framework for teaching second language pragmatics grounded in Vygotskian sociocultural psychology. The framework focuses on the appropriation of sociopragmatic concepts as psychological tools that mediate pragmalinguistic choices. Using multiple sources of metalinguistic and performance data collected during a six-week pedagogical enrichment program involving one-on-one tutoring sessions, the volume explores both theoretical and practical issues relevant to teaching second language pragmatics from a Vygotskian perspective. The book represents an important contribution to second language instructional pragmatics research as well as to second language sociocultural psychology scholarship. It will be of interest to all those researching in this field and to language teachers who will find the pedagogical recommendations useful.

This work is the first book-length proposal to reconceptualize instructional pragmatics from the perspective of Vygotskian Sociocultural Theory. Based on a cogent reconceptualization of 'appropriateness', the book offers a coherent approach to sociopragmatic and pragmalinguistic competencies as learning targets and to the instructional practices through which these competencies can effectively be developed and assessed in language instruction. With its profound theoretical grounding and empirical rigor, van Compernolle's book significantly advances scholarship on the instructed development of second language pragmatics.

Rémi A. van Compernolle is Assistant Professor of Second Language Acquisition and French and Francophone Studies in the Department of Modern Languages, Carnegie Mellon University. His areas of research include second language acquisition, pedagogy, and assessment, pragmatics and sociolinguistics, and classroom discourse and interaction.

This book provides a remarkably robust theoretical reconceptualization of L2 instructional pragmatics.  The book is situated in a cutting edge treatment of sociocultural theory that is adeptly related to pedagogical practice in the difficult-to-teach area of pragmatics.  Throughout the text, the theoretical and pedagogical discussions are richly illustrated with empirical examples.  Overall, the work has significant implications for pragmatics and other discourse-based research in applied linguistics.

American Association for Applied Linguistics Book Award Committee

This remarkable book recounts an empirical study of L2 instructional pragmatics from a Vygotskian perspective...Combining rigorous scholarship and clever application, van Compernolle’s study reflects SCT’s commitment to praxis, understood as the unification of educational theory and practice. In brief, the book’s theoretical import lies in its careful reconceptualization of instructional pragmatics in terms of SCT, while its practical significance derives from its insightful pedagogical recommendations for materials, teaching and assessment. The end result is a work that will be of great interest to many kinds of readers—researchers, teachers, and graduate students.

Carl S. Blyth, University of Texas at Austin, USA

Van Compernolle's research presents a theoretically motivated and evidence-based instructional framework for mediating the development of pragmatic ability in language learners. He brings together important pedagogical applications of sociocultural theory, e.g. dynamic assessment, concept-based instruction, and the use of strategic interaction scenarios as an instruction tool. As such, the book makes a significant contribution to the sociocultural literature and provides a new direction for the theory and practice of developing pragmatic variation in language learners.

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Contents v
Acknowledgments vii
Transcription Conventions ix
1 Introduction 1
2 Appropriateness in Language Learning and Language Teaching 29
3 Understanding Learners as People 64
4 Developing Awareness of Pragmatic Knowledge Through Verbalized Reflections 93
5 Developing Pragmatic Knowledge Through Appropriateness Judgment Tasks 120
6 Developing Performance Abilities Through Strategic Interaction Scenarios 153
7 The Future of Vygotskian Approaches to Instructional Pragmatics 184
References 209