Second Language Pragmatics
Second language (L2) pragmatics is a field of applied linguistics that pursues research on second language acquisition (SLA), specifically on language use in social contexts, and the development of the ability to comprehend and produce appropriate language in complex, social interactions. Further, it brings together applications of pragmatics research to L2 teaching and learning as well as to other professional and everyday contexts, from service encounters to interpersonal relationships, where communication in more than one language or in one language by speakers from different cultural backgrounds takes place. Tannen’s book That’s Not What I Meant! (1986), after all, was inspired by L2 pragmatics about intimate, male-female native and nonnative English speaker couples. This contribution to the current handbook focuses not only on SLA and development concerns, but also on cross-linguistic and intercultural communication across languages and cultures in a variety of environments, especially in situated naturally occurring, everyday talk but not excluding classroom contexts. This chapter draws on work from formal linguistics and various disciplines of applied linguistics that contribute research findings to further our understanding of comprehension and production of pragmatic meanings.