Pragmatic socialization in an English-medium university in Japan

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16 Scopus citations


This study examines the development of pragmatic competence among 48 first-year students in an English-medium college in Japan. The students were assessed on their ability to express opinions appropriately in formal and informal situations on three occasions during one academic year. Qualitative data on their sociocultural experiences were collected through interviews, class observation, and journals. Results revealed that although production of informal opinions showed strong progress, ability to express opinions in formal situations did not develop. This was explained by the students' lack of attention to sociocultural language use. Because classroom teachers encouraged direct modes of communication, disregarding politeness considerations, students developed a wrong assessment of target form-function-context mappings that constrained their progress. Findings revealed that academic English proficiency and pragmatic competence did not develop at the same rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-181
Number of pages25
JournalIRAL - International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • English-medium instruction
  • Immersion
  • Politeness
  • Pragmatic competence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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