Breaking the mold: Integrating pragmatics from day one in foreign language instruction

31 May 2024
Room E1

Breaking the mold: Integrating pragmatics from day one in foreign language instruction

Competence in a foreign language extends beyond linguistic proficiency, as the ultimate goal is effective communication in specific contexts with other individuals. This becomes particularly crucial for language learners, especially beginners, who often face constraints in traditional language learning programs, where instructional time is primarily allocated to grammatical content, leaving minimal room for the development of pragmatic skills (Niżegorodcew, 2011: 14).

This presentation advocates for the systematic inclusion of pragmatics in foreign language learning programs, emphasizing the simultaneous enhancement of grammatical and pragmatic competencies. As asserted by Payrató (2018: 66), language instruction should aim to enrich communicative competence by addressing both grammatical and pragmatic aspects in a balanced manner. From the outset, language learners should be guided in navigating the complexities of linguistic correctness and pragmatic appropriateness in expression and interpretation.

Examining the pragmatic competence of language learners involves identifying potential pragmatic interferences between their native language (L1) and the target language (Escandell Vidal, 2009: 99-102). Focusing on cross-cultural rather than purely intercultural perspectives (Kecskes & Romero-Trillo, 2013: 1), we will explore the specific challenges and considerations related to integrating pragmatics into the teaching of Spanish in German school contexts (Pons Bordería, 2005: 56).

The presentation will provide an overview of the key elements necessary for the effective transmission and acquisition of pragmatic competence within the realm of foreign language teaching, offering recommendations for their type and mode of instructional delivery.



Escandell Vidal, M. V. (2009). Los fenómenos de interferencia pragmática. MarcoELE. Revista de didáctica ELE, 9, 95–109.

Kecskes, I. and Romero-Trillo, J. (2013): Research Trends in Intercultural Pragmatics. Berlin: De Gruyter.

Niżegorodcew, A. (2011). Understanding Culture Through a Lingua Franca. In J. Arabski & A. Wojtaszek (Eds.), Aspects of Culture in Second Language Acquisition and Foreign Language Learning (pp. 7–20). Heidelberg: Springer.

Payrató, Ll. (2018). Introducción a la pragmática. Madrid: Síntesis.

Pons Bordería, Salvador (2005): La enseñanza de la pragmática en la clase de E/LE. Madrid: Arco Libros.