Korean ESL learners' pragmatic competence: motivation, amount of contact, and length of residence
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This study examined the motivation for learning English, the amount of contact with English, and length of residence in the target language area that affects Korean graduate students’ English pragmatic skills studying at Texas A&M University in the U.S. The study attempted to account for differential pragmatic development among 50 graduate-level Korean students in a target speech community in regards to functions of their level of motivation, amount of contact with English, as well as length of residence in the target language community. Compared to other studies of second-language acquisition (SLA) which have examined variation among individuals with respect to L2 language learning for quite some time, there has been relatively little inquiry into how second language learners acquire L2 pragmatics and which factors affect learners’ acquisition of L2 pragmatics. Based on the need for more research on the individual difference factors that affect developmental outcomes in L2 pragmatics, the following research questions were investigated: 1) How are differences in the Korean ESL learners’ degree of motivation related with their achievement of pragmatic competence? 2) How is the reported amount of contact with English related with the Korean ESL learners’ pragmatic competence? 3) How are differences in the Korean ESL learners’ length of residence related with their achievement of pragmatic competence? 4) To what extent does student motivation relate to the likelihood of pursuing contact with English? The data for the present study were collected using three types of elicitation instruments: a written background questionnaire, a discourse completion test, and the mini- Attitude/Motivation Test Battery. Analyses in the present study proceeded in three stages: descriptive statistics, correlation coefficients, and multiple regressions. The findings of the study provided that (a) the levels of motivation examined demonstrated a positive and moderate relationship to the Korean ESL learners’ L2 pragmatic competence; (b) overall, the amount of L2 contact appeared to have only a weak and insignificant impact on the participants’ pragmatic competence; (c) despite (b), one exception was that productive, more interactive type of language contact moderately influenced the participants’ level of pragmatic competence; (d) the participants’ length of residence moderately influenced the participants’ level of pragmatic competence; and (e) the participants’ level of motivation moderately affected their likelihood of pursuing contact with English.
Ahn, Soo Jin (2007). Korean ESL learners' pragmatic competence: motivation, amount of contact, and length of residence. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from