Metapragmatic Knowledge and Transfer of Learning across Speech Acts

Naoko Taguchi, Ying Chen, Yuqing Qin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This study explored the relationship between metapragmatic knowledge and transfer of learning from one speech act to another. Using a digital application, 105 Chinese learners of English received implicit instruction on how to formulate a high-imposition request to someone in a higher social status and larger social distance. Immediately after the instruction, they reported what they thought they learned or noticed during the instruction, which served as an indication of their metapragmatic knowledge. After this, they completed immediate and delayed post-tests that assessed their knowledge of the instructed speech act (request-making) as well as their knowledge of the uninstructed speech act, advice-giving (transfer item). Results showed that the participants made significant gains in their productive knowledge of both speech acts after the instruction. The participants’ metapragmatic knowledge significantly correlated with their test performance for both speech acts. These findings indicate that transfer of learning from one speech act to another can occur after instruction. The findings also support that metapragmatic knowledge established during instruction is related to the transfer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-238
Number of pages22
JournalApplied Linguistics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language


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