Carsten Roever, Stanley Wang, Stephanie Brophy
November 1, 2014
Learner background factors have been shown to affect learning of L2 pragmatics, which has been demonstrated especially for proficiency and length of residence. However, these factors have generally been investigated individually, not allowing conclusions as to their relative contributions. In this study, we use Poisson regression to investigate the effect of proficiency, length of residence, gender and multilingualism on learners' comprehension of implicature, recognition of routine formulae and production of speech acts in English. 229 ESL and EFL learners completed a web-based pragmatics test with 12 items per section. We found that only proficiency significantly affected implicature comprehension, length of residence and proficiency were significant factors in the recognition of routine formulae, and proficiency and gender significantly impacted speech act production. Although the effect of proficiency in our study is far greater than for any other background factor, we caution against overemphasizing its importance to learning of pragmatics overall.