Depth of Vocabulary, Morphology, and Inference Making as Predictors of EFLs Pragmatic Knowledge

Document Type : Original Article


Department of English Language, Chabahar Maritime University, Chabahar, Iran


Pragmatics is described as the use of language appropriately in diverse and real circumstances to achieve various communicational goals. Despite the significant importance of pragmatic knowledge, second/foreign language learners have been reported to lack acceptable levels of pragmatic competence. To optimize pedagogical techniques implemented in second/foreign language classrooms and increase levels of pragmatic knowledge among second/foreign language learners, component skills that explain variations of pragmatic knowledge need to be delineated. To address the area, 33 Iranian upper-intermediate foreign language learners, having been screened through Venture placement test, were tested in terms of size and depth of vocabulary knowledge, morpho-syntax knowledge, inference making as independent variables, and pragmatic knowledge as dependent variable. Results from linear regression analysis indicated that depth of vocabulary, morphological knowledge, and inference making ability contribute to pragmatic knowledge, with the depth of vocabulary knowledge being the most powerful predictor. However, the model explained less than 40 percent of pragmatic knowledge. It indicated that pragmatic knowledge is complex. Although mastery over this set of cognitive-linguistic skills can be used as a tool to disentangle semantic clues in different contexts, teaching such cognitive-linguistic and metalinguistic skills can only partially meet the learners’ need to master pragmatic knowledge. Pertinent suggestions and implications for the second/foreign language classrooms are discussed according to the obtained results.  


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