Pragmatics is part of communicative competence. In order to communicate successfully, pragmatic competence is of vital importance. Although pragmatics has played a significant role in L2 learners' communicative competence, pragmatics still has not been commonly taught in the classroom. The present research investigates the efficacy of instruction in pragmatics in the advanced Chinese language class has on the production and appropriate use of apology strategies, and examines the correlation between exposure in a Chinese Speaking Community (CSC) and pragmatics development. The subjects include 55 students in their third-year of college-level Chinese, divided into four classes at Brigham Young University. The study uses an experimental design in which the participants are assigned either to an explicit instruction group or an implicit instruction group. Participants in both groups also report their experience in a CSC. Results of this study show which as a whole improved their apology performance over the 8-week instruction, as rated by Chinese native speakers. Results reveal no significant difference between the explicit and implicit instruction groups, suggesting that explicit and implicit approaches were both effective methods in facilitating pragmatic competence. In addition, we also found no statistically significant difference between the CSC and Non-Chinese Speaking Community (NCSC) group in their pragmatic development. The findings of the present study indicate that pragmatic knowledge may emerge from classroom instruction, regardless of explicit or implicit instructional approaches; and living in a Chinese speaking communities do not necessary aid or accelerate the development of pragmatic competence.



College and Department

Humanities; Center for Language Studies



Date Submitted


Document Type





pragmatics, Chinese, L2, apology, advanced learners, abroad, explicit instruction, implicit instruction, appropriateness