Pragmatic competence of heritage learners of Chinese and its relationship to social contact

Naoko Taguchi, Haomin Zhang, Qiong Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This study aimed to investigate: (1) Chinese heritage learners' (CHLs) pragmatic competence in comparison to foreign language learners of Chinese (CFLs) and (2) the relationship between CHLs' pragmatic competence and their language contact in a range of social settings. Focal linguistic forms included sentence final particles (SFPs) and formulaic expressions (FORs). Sixty Chinese language learners in the intermediate- and advanced-level classes (31 CHLs and 29 CFLs) participated in the study. Participants completed a computerized listening comprehension task, a written production task, and a language contact questionnaire. Findings showed that CHLs outperformed CFLs in both comprehension and production of Chinese sentence final particles and formulaic expressions. The analysis of language contact questionnaire revealed that learners who reported a greater amount of interactive language contact achieved higher scores on the pragmatic tasks, regardless of the constructs and skill domains assessed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-37
Number of pages31
JournalChinese as a Second Language Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Chinese
  • Heritage learners
  • Language contact
  • Pragmatic competence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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