Pragmatics, intelligibility and culture: pedagogical issues

ELF-oriented pedagogy has moved away from the traditional ELT focus on language components and skills and incorporates typical ELF concerns in the area of pragmatics, culture and intelligibility. This section will briefly explore the main questions that the recent applied linguistics literature has raised in relation to these three areas before moving on to pedagogical applications.

Pragmatics and pedagogy

With regard to pragmatics, the hybridity and fluidity of ELF interaction highlighted by ELF research (Cogo, Chapter 1) makes it difficult to be too prescriptive in the areas of pragmatics teaching. McKay (2009) has argued for a context-sensitive approach to the teaching of ELF pragmatics in the classroom, pointing to three areas in which the teaching of pragmatics could concentrate: introducing and practising repair strategies, the use of conversational gambits and the development of negotiation strategies. Murray (2012) takes a similar line, calling for 'a bespoke social grammar for each interaction according to the particular characteristics of their interlocutor and of the broader context in which that interaction takes place' (p. 325). This would involve an explicit focus on those features of ELF pragmatics that have been shown to facilitate communication in ELF interaction. House (2013: 198-199) provides a list of speech act sequences and discourse features which in her view need to be introduced in class from a cross-cultural pragmatic perspective, while Murray provides a similar list, including the let-it-pass principle, code-switching, repetition, paraphrase, clarification, the use of certain discourse markers and self-repair. The question of how such complex packages of pragmatic input can be presented in the classroom in order to produce the accommodation skills on which ELF research sets a high premium is discussed below (see Awarenessraising in the classroom).

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