The effect of L2 proficiency and study-abroad experience on pragmatic comprehension

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136 Scopus citations


This cross-sectional study examined the effect of general proficiency and study-abroad experience on pragmatic comprehension in second-language English. Participants were 25 native English speakers and 64 Japanese college students of English divided into three groups. Group 1 (n= 22) had lower proficiency and no study-abroad experience. Group 2 (n= 20) and Group 3 (n= 22) had higher proficiency than Group 1 but differed in their study-abroad experience. Group 2 had no study-abroad experience, but Group 3 had a minimum of 1 year of study-abroad experience in an English-speaking country. They completed a pragmatic listening test measuring their ability to comprehend conventional and nonconventional implicatures. Group performance was compared for the comprehension accuracy scores and response times. There was a significant effect of proficiency on response times but no effect of study-abroad experience. Comprehension accuracy scores revealed mixed findings. It was advantageous for students to have study-abroad experience in the comprehension of nonconventional implicatures and routine expressions but not in indirect refusals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)904-939
Number of pages36
JournalLanguage Learning
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Conventional and nonconventional implicatures
  • Interlanguage pragmatics
  • Pragmatic comprehension
  • Routines
  • Study-abroad

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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