Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 10. Number 4. December 2019            Pp. 391-394 
Book Review
Second Language Pragmatics
Author: Naoko Taguchi and Carsten Roever
The title of the book:  Second Language Pragmatics
Year of publication: 2017
Place of publication: Oxford/New York
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of pages: 336
Reviewer: Dr. Fahad Alzahrani
The field of second language pragmatics is a growing area that has attracted many scholars’ attention. Since its emergence, there have been many changes and developments which highlight its importance in the acquisition, learning and teaching a second language (L2). Historically, there have been at least two research publications outlining issues in L2 pragmatic development (i.e., Bardovi-Harlig, 1999; Kasper & Schmidt, 1996) and two reviews evaluating the growth of the field; the most recent one is the seminal work by Kasper and Rose (2002) which summarizes the developments occurred within the earlier phase of the field of L2 pragmatics. Still, it has been a decade since Kasper and Rose’s (2002) review of the developments occurred within the earlier phase of the field of L2 pragmatics. There are major changes and advancement in the body of literature of ILP which prompted the two leading scholars in this field, Taguchi and Roever, to contribute to the field with this new work. Thus, Second language pragmatics is a three-decade’s worth of substantive findings from the research literature. It provides a renewed and up-to-date comprehensive overview of the current state of the field of second language pragmatics research, specifically in relation to second language learning, instruction and assessment.
    Taguchi and Roever’s (2017) work makes a significant contribution to the field of L2 pragmatics as it enriches the literature by reviewing the current situation of L2 pragmatic research from acquisitional and sociolinguistic perspectives. It covers theoretical frameworks and historical backgrounds of pragmatics learning and presents methodological and empirical developments in L2 pragmatics research.
    This insightful book consists of ten chapters, and the discussion through chapters 2 to 9 revolves around seven major topics within pragmatics: 1) theories of pragmatics learning; 2) research methods; 3) longitudinal research and developmental trajectories in pragmatics; 4) individual variation and characteristics in pragmatic learning and development; 5) pragmatic instruction and assessment; 6) contexts of pragmatics learning and development; and 7) L2 pragmatics in the era of globalization.
    Chapter one, which is the introductory chapter, concisely introduces the field of pragmatics which is the fundamental source discipline for L2 pragmatics. This chapter reviews three essential sub-fields of pragmatic research that are of particular relevance to the book: cross-cultural pragmatics, intercultural pragmatics, and interlanguage pragmatics that led the discussion to a more detailed presentation of the agendas and development of interlanguage pragmatics. This chapter concludes with explaining the rationale of writing the book and describing how it is structured.
    Chapter two, entitled ‘Disciplinary domain and history’, explains how the field of L2 pragmatics, as a discipline, is situated within academic disciplines such as pragmatics, interactional sociolinguistics and conversation analysis. It discusses how the history of L2 pragmatics research is traced from its beginning in research based on speech acts to the current thriving status of discursive pragmatics, highlighting models in communicative competence. It also addresses the theoretical framework of the construct of pragmatic competence.
    Chapter three, ‘Theoretical models of pragmatics learning and development’, discusses seven different theories within Second Language Acquisition (SLA) related to the development of pragmatic competence. This includes the noticing hypothesis, the two-dimensional model, skill acquisition theories and sociocultural theory. Featuring important studies in each assumption along with similarities and differences across the seven models, the discussion in this chapter evolves around the central question: What mechanism drive pragmatic development and move learners from their current stage to a higher stage of pragmatic competence?
    Chapter four, ‘Research Methods in L2 Pragmatics’, critically reviews the major approaches to data collection and analysis in second language pragmatics research. It discusses types of data elicitation methods which include receptive judgment data, receptive non-interactive production data and interactive production data. This chapter also reviews instruments used widely in L2 pragmatics, for example, discourse completion tasks, role plays, elicited conversations and natural data. The chapter outlines data analysis procedures which include speech act coding and conversational analysis. The main purpose of this chapter, however, is to draw conclusions that can be validly drawn from data under these approaches.
    Chapter five explores the commonality of patterns of pragmatic development. Relying on findings from longitudinal studies available and on cross-sectional ones, this chapter outlines some broad developmental pathways along a continuum with two poles: a low-ability learners and advanced pragmatic ability ones. The authors discuss developmental trajectories in the learning of L2 pragmatics in areas that are well-explored such as speech acts as well as areas that are under-researched such as routine formulae and implicature.
    Chapters six and seven discuss the relationship between learning and learner characteristics (internal and external factors) such as motivation, aptitude, and identity.Chapter 6 is a research-based argument on the impact of individual differences on learning while chapter 7 is about the impact of the learning context. Chapter 7 is a synthesis of the existing pragmatic competence and development literature in four distinct learning contexts: study abroad contexts, the formal classroom, technology-enhanced learning contexts, and the immigration contexts. This chapter mainly addressed the question: what contextual features that can promote the learning of pragmatics in each context?
    Chapter eight, entitled Teaching and assessing L2 pragmatics, provides an overview of several approaches that can accelerate learners’ pragmatic development through instruction such as, awareness-raising deductive and inductive approaches to pragmatic.
    Taking a wider perspective, Chapter nine, is a survey of background literature in three areas –English as a lingua franca (ELF), intercultural competence and heritage language learners which represent the current globalization trends in applied linguistics.
    Finally, Chapter ten is a summary of the topics and research covered in the whole book. References and a glossary index of authors cited and key terminologies are presented in several pages afterward.
    In conclusion, the book is a very well-structured and user-friendly book with a ‘summary and directions for future research’ section at the end of every chapter, except chapter 1. The topics covered are sequenced in a well-connectivity manner. This well-researched book makes a major contribution to the field by bringing recent research and developments in L2 pragmatics research. Beside evaluating the current state of the field, this book details new topics and research agendas and challenges that emerged as the field enters its fourth decade. This makes this work a significant source of knowledge to drive the field into the next decade.
    With that being said, the book is informative and serves as a reference book for researchers, teachers, teacher trainers, L2 learners and graduate students who already possess some background in the of L2 pragmatics. Nevertheless, it can also be considered as a valuable book for introductory courses of pragmatics or second language pragmatics for both undergraduate and graduate students. Overall, Taguchi and Roever’s work deserves the attention of anyone who wishes to build on their current knowledge and further explore options of pragmatics research, assessment, and teaching.
Reviewer: Dr. Fahad Alzahrani
University of Tabuk, Saudi Arabia
ReferencesKasper, G., and Rose, K.R. 2002. Pragmatic development in a second language. Oxford: Blackwell.
Taguchi, N., and Roever, C. 2017. Second language pragmatics. Oxford: Oxford University Press
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