Technology-enhanced language learning and pragmatics: Insights from digital game-based pragmatics instruction
Language Teaching, 2023-05-16
Learning pragmatics involves learning linguistic forms and their communicative functions as well as the context where the form-function relationships are realized. Given its socially grounded, context-sensitive nature, pragmatics may be best learned in a technology-enhanced environment that provides direct access to contextualized communicative practice. Technology can help produce rich multimodal input, opportunities for interaction with consequences, and experience-based learning, which are all important elements of pragmatics learning. This lecture highlights these benefits of technology-enhanced pragmatics learning using a digital game as a sample platform. We created a digital game to teach request-making in English by having participants experience interpersonal consequences of their request as feedback (observing their interlocutor's reactions to their choice of request-making forms). Using the digital game with Chinese learners of English, a series of studies were conducted to investigate a variety of topics, such as the effects of different feedback conditions on learning outcomes, role of metapragmatic knowledge in learning, and transfer of request-making knowledge to a novel speech act. This lecture presents findings from these studies and concludes with future research directions on technology-enhanced pragmatics learning.