Do bears fly? Revisiting conversational implicature in instructional pragmatics

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    Instructional pragmatics in teacher education is generally focused on ways that ESOL teachers can develop the pragmatic competence of L2 learners. However, as every interaction in an English medium classroom requires a high level of pragmatic competence on the part of teachers themselves, it can also be conceptualised more broadly to encompass the development of aspects of NNS teachers’ own pragmatic competence which are important for teaching. This article reports on a case study involving a small group of NNS teachers who were taught about implicature with an explicit focus on concepts and metalanguage taken directly from Gricean pragmatics. Part of a published DCT which had been originally designed for research purposes was then adapted as a follow-up activity, assessing learning and providing students with opportunities to reflect on the linguistic and cultural factors underlying their initial responses. While raw test scores suggested that the explicit knowledge of theory was limited in its application to understanding implicature, the post-task reflections and discussion gave a very different picture. The research suggests firstly that despite the limitations of the Gricean model of implicature its intuitive nature makes it valuable for the education of teachers, and secondly that its application is most effective in a context of intercultural learning.
    Original languageEnglish
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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