From Linguistic Expressions to Intercultural Communication: The Significance of Pragmatics in EFL Teaching and Learning


The variety of norms across languages and cultures poses a challenge to second language (L2) speakers in engaging in meaningful intercultural communication. This study discusses the incorporation of pragmatics in an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) Freshman course at the tertiary level, and in particular, through teacher reflections and teaching assistants’ observations. When immersion in the target language and culture is limited, explicit teaching and conscious learning may facilitate acquisition of linguistic and pragmatic features so as to promote successful communication across languages and cultures. However, L2 textbooks often lack coverage of pragmatics. The instructor’s mindful incorporation of authentic pragmatics materials when opportunities arise can help students engage in meaningful conversations. Differences in cultural norms can cause unintentional communication misunderstandings during intercultural interactions. Some nuances (e.g., backchannel) in naturally occurring conversations might be challenging for L2 learners to decode. When necessary, explicit instruction can be more effective in raising students’ awareness. The instructor’s reflections and incorporation of pragmatics in language teaching help to raise students’ awareness. To encourage analytical skills and promote implicit learning in language classrooms and beyond, we propose 1) teaching and learning of both linguistic and non-linguistic features, 2) enhancing communicative skills with topics relevant to the students, 3) use of authentic materials for illustrating the pragmatics aspect. Acquisition of pragmatics in an EFL course can have a significant impact on students' intercultural communication in various contexts, such as academic/professional settings, home country and abroad, given the increasing mobility of individuals in our globalized world.

Author Information
Chiung-Yao Wang, National Central University, Taiwan
Leechin Heng, National Yunlin University of Science and Technology, Taiwan

Paper Information
Conference: ECLL2023
Stream: Culture and Language

This paper is part of the ECLL2023 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Wang C., & Heng L. (2023) From Linguistic Expressions to Intercultural Communication: The Significance of Pragmatics in EFL Teaching and Learning ISSN: 2188-112X The European Conference on Language Learning 2023: Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon