Dina R. Yoshimi and Haidan Wang, Editors, 2007
Selected Papers from Pragmatics in the CJK Classroom: The State of the Art
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JFL learners' pragmatic development and classroom interaction examined from a language socialization perspective

Yumiko Tateyama
University of Hawai‘i at Manoa



With the growing recognition that language learning is more complex than merely acquiring linguistic structures and forms and that language learning and use are shaped by both cognitive and sociocultural processes, a language socialization (LS) perspective has been proposed as an alternative theoretical framework in second language acquisition (SLA) (Watson-Gegeo, 2004; Watson-Gegeo & Nielsen, 2003). Many existing LS studies in second language (L2) settings have investigated how L2 learners are socialized into the target language (TL) and its sociocultural norms. For instance, Falsgraf and Majors (1995) and Poole (1992) investigated teachers' socialization of L2 learners, focusing on teachers' talk in L2 classrooms.

Kasper (2001a) considered LS perspectives with regard to L2 pragmatic development. She states that while most language socialization occurs implicitly, through the learners' participation in a target discourse practice, explicit socialization also occurs in some aspects of pragmatics in which the more competent member makes the pragmatic information salient to the learner. Kasper (2001a) also discusses the sociocultural framework with regard to L2 pragmatic development. Referring to Schieffelin and Ochs (1986), she notes that LS and sociocultural theory are compatible in their ontological stance, in spite of their different epistemological goals. In LS and sociocultural theory alike "novices are guided in their accomplishment of tasks that they would be unable to complete on their own" through social interaction or collaboration (Kasper, 2001a, p. 523). The two perspectives are also compatible in terms of methodological principles: they both employ microanalysis of discourse.

Studies which examine L2 pragmatics using a language socialization framework include Yoshimi (1999) which investigated the possible role of first language (L1)1 socialization in the pragmatic production of the Japanese sentence final particle ne by L2 learners of Japanese. Ohta (1999) examined Japanese as a Foreign Language (JFL) learner development of the ability to express conversational alignment via language socialization in interactional routines of the classroom. Her study shows that participation in the follow-up turn of the IRF routine was first peripheral in the teacher-fronted class but as students engaged in pair work, they incorporated the use of the follow-up turn into their talk.

Matsumura (2001) examined the effects of LS on Japanese L1 learners in offering advice, using a multiple choice metapragmatic judgment instrument. In his study, the study abroad group in Canada showed evidence of L2 socialization toward more target-like use of English compared to the group remaining in Japan with respect to perception of interlocutor status and use of status-appropriate advice-giving routines. In particular, the study abroad group improved significantly more than their counterparts in Japan in the perception of pragmatic appropriateness when offering advice to equal and lower status interlocutors.

While Matsumura's study is unique in the sense that it incorporated a quasi-experimental design in the LS study, it would have been more compelling if interactional data were provided to substantiate the results obtained from the quantitative analysis. As Zuengler and Cole (2005) state, a close investigation of actual talk is needed in order to see the socialization process in action. The present study attempts to fill this gap. Using a quasi-experimental design, it investigates: 1) the effects of instruction in teaching the speech act of request in Japanese to adult JFL learners as measured by pre- and post-tests; and 2) how classroom interaction, in particular teacher's use of directives or requests as well as interactions that students engage in with respect to making a request, is related to the L2 learners' pragmatic development. While the LS perspective is primarily used as a theoretical framework for the present study, I will expand its operational definition to include some concepts from sociocultural theory such as assisted performance. This is based on the argument that LS and sociocultural theory are compatible in examining pragmatic development (Kasper, 2001a) as discussed above and that research in LS has incorporated theoretical and methodological perspectives from other disciplines, including sociocultural theory (Schiefflin & Ochs, 1986).




Students enrolled in four intact second-year Japanese classes (fourth semester Japanese) at an American university participated in the study. Two classes served as an experimental (Exp) group and the other two as a control (Cont) group.2 There were twenty-four students (thirteen males and eleven females) in the Exp group and twenty-two students (eleven males and eleven females) in the Cont group. The majority were native speakers (NSs) of English except for two Korean and one Chinese in the Exp group and one Korean and one Chinese in the Cont group. Their average age was 20.8 for the Exp group and 20.2 for the Cont group.



Table 1 shows a summary of procedures for the present study.

Table 1. Summary of procedure
Week Instruments
4 Consent Form & Background Information Sheet
5 DCTs (pre-test)
6 TMs (pre-test)
7 RPs (pre-test)
8 Video Rating Task (pre-test)
10-12 Treatment
13 DCTs (post-test)
14 TMs (post-test)
15 RPs (post-test)
16 Video Rating Task (post-test)

The first data elicitation measure utilized as a pre-test was a set of discourse completion tasks (DCTs), which consisted of ten items requiring the participants to produce requests. There were two counter-balanced forms that were administered at week 5. In week 6, the participants engaged in two telephone message tasks (TMs): one was leaving a message for a friend and the other was leaving a message for a teacher. In week 7, the participants engaged in two role plays (RPs), which were follow-up tasks to the TMs they had performed a week earlier. The participant asked a friend for a favor in the first RP and asked a teacher for a favor in the second. The TMs and RPs were used to assess student ability to perform requests orally, taking contextual factors described in each task card into consideration. The DCTs were used to determine learner ability to perform requests when they are not pressed with a demand for oral production. In week 8, a video rating task was administered. In this task, the participants watched six short video clips of a JFL student's performance of a request and rated the student's performance in each video clip on a scale of 1 through 7, with 1 being awful or unacceptable and 7 being wonderful or native-like. The video rating task was intended to assess learner receptive pragmatic knowledge. Thus, the task was supposed to require less cognitive effort than the DCTs, TMs, and RPs. The treatment was provided between weeks 10 and 12. The post-test was administered in the same order as the pre-test between weeks 13 and 16. After the entire data collection was completed, student performance in the TMs and RPs were rated by three raters, who were NSs of Japanese, on a scale of 1 through 7, with 1 being awful or unacceptable and 7 being wonderful or native-like.

The treatments provided to each group are summarized below in Tables 2 and 3. The bulk of the treatment was provided when a lesson on making a request was covered as part of the course syllabus. Students in the Cont group received regular instructions on making requests, following closely what was presented in the lesson of the textbook. The Exp group engaged in additional consciousness raising activities, which included watching video clips pertinent to making requests, collecting conversations in which requests were made, and examining how those conversations were organized. They also engaged in oral communicative practice with NSs of Japanese, focusing on requests. At the end of the lesson there was a one-on-one feedback session with the instructor about each student's in-class oral performance on making a request, which was video recorded earlier. The students were also asked to write a self-reflection about their oral performances.

Table 2. Summary of treatment - Exp group

Items Content

1. Introduction of new grammatical structures
2. Consciousness raising 1 (requests in English/Japanese; power, status, imposition, etc.; video clip)
3. Consciousness raising 2 (NS demo; analysis of conversations that include requests)
4. Explicit teaching about request forms and routine expressions
5. Communication practice 1 (how to begin & end a conversation)
6. Communication practice 2 (leaving a phone message)
7. Communication practice 3 (w/NSs of Japanese - requesting)
8. Reading and writing practice
9. In-class oral performance, written reflection, and one-on-one feedback

Table 3. Summary of treatment - Cont group

Items Content

1. Introduction of new grammatical structures
2. Grammar exercise 1
3. Grammar exercise 2
4. Explicit teaching about request forms and routine expressions
5. Communication practice 1 (conversation drills in the textbook)
6. Communication practice 2 (conversation drills in the textbook)
7. Communication practice 3 (w/NSs of Japanese - expressing opinions)
8. Reading and writing practice
9. In-class oral performance

The Cont group also received explicit instruction on making a request in Japanese. The instruction closely followed what was presented in the lesson of the textbook. Some handouts were provided to the students but they were not as extensive as those given to the Exp group. The Cont group students also had opportunities for oral communicative practice with NSs of Japanese, but they were not directly related to requests. The Cont group also performed an in-class oral performance. The instructor evaluated their performances but unlike the Exp group there was no individual feedback session. Class sessions, both Exp and Cont groups, were video recorded at regular intervals while the treatment was provided. The videotaped classroom interactions were examined from the LS perspective, in particular focusing on the use of requests by the teacher, the students, and the visiting NSs of Japanese.3

TMs and RPs as well as self-report data after each task were audio and/or video recorded and later transcribed. In analyzing the data, a coding scheme was developed for request strategies based on previous research (Blum-Kulka, House, & Kasper, 1989; Falsgraf & Majors, 1995; Takahashi, 1996) as well as my earlier study which examined requests performed by JFL learners of different proficiency levels and NSs of JPN (Tateyama, 2004). Table 4 shows the coding for request strategies used in the DCT responses, TM tasks, and RPs. Donative auxiliary verbs, i.e., the verbs of giving and receiving such as kureru (to be given), kudasaru (to be given, honorific), morau (to receive), and itadaku (to receive, humble), are linguistic devices to soften the illocutionary force conveyed by the main verb in Japanese. They are also conventionally indirect strategies to show linguistic politeness. In Table 4, they appear in Strategies 3 and 4. Forms at the bottom of the chart are considered more polite (e.g., 4b is more formal and polite than 4a, which is more polite than 3b and so on). Strategies 5a, 5b, and 5c indicate "Want statements" and 6a and 6b indicate "Asking for permission". As I examined the data, it became evident that quite a few students used a simple question form such as kakimasu ka (Do you write?) and an invitation form such as kakimasen ka (Don't you write?/Would you like to write?) as a request, thus a separate category was developed for these forms as 8a "Others": V-masu/masen ka. Forms which do not fall in any of the strategies from 1 through 7 were included in 8b "Other forms".

Table 4. Coding for request strategies

1. Polite imperative
V -te
V -te kudasai (Please V)

5a. Want statement (direct)
V-tai desu (I want to V)
V-te hoshii desu (I want you to V)
N ga hoshii desu (I want N)

2. Polite request
N onegai shimasu (N please)
N onegai dekimasu ka (Could I ask N?)
*V-te onegaishimasu

5b. Want statement (polite form 1)
V-tai n desu kedo/ga (I would like to V but…)
V-te hoshii n desu kedo/ga
V-te moraitai n desu kedo/ga (I would like you to V but…)

3a. Normal questions (plain form)
V-te kureru/kurenai
V-te moraeru/moraenai (Can you do me the favor of V?)

5c. Want statement (polite form 2)
V-te itadakitai n desu kedo/ga (I would like you to V but…

3b. Normal questions (polite form)
V-te kuremasu/kuremasen ka
V-te moraemasu/moraemasen ka
(Could you do me the favor of V?)

6a. Asking for permission (polite form 1)
V-te mo ii desu ka (Will it be all right if I V…?)

4a. Polite questions (polite form 1)
V-te kudasai masu/masen ka
V-te itadake masu/masen ka
*V-te itadaki masu/masen ka
(Would you please do me the favor of V?)

6b. Asking for permission (polite form 2)
V-te mo ii/yoroshii deshoo ka (Would it be all right if I V…?)

7. Non-conventional indirect requests

4b. Polite questions (polite form 2)
V-te kudasara nai deshoo ka
V-te itadake nai deshoo ka
*V-te itadaki nai deshoo ka
(Would you be so kind to do me the favor of V?)

8a. Others
V-masu/masen ka (Do you V?/Don't you V?;Will you V?)

8b. Other forms

Note. *Ungrammatical


Results and Discussion

First I highlight major findings obtained from the DCTs, TMs, and RPs. Next, I discuss some of the classroom interactions that seem relevant to the learning outcomes.


Table 5 shows the frequency distribution of request strategies used by the students in the pre- and post-DCTs.

Table 5. Frequency distribution of DCT request strategies
shem Strategies
1 2 3a 3b 4a 4b 5a 5b 5c 6a 6b 7 8a 8b
Exp pre shem shem shem shem shem shem shem shem shem shem shem shem shem shem
Form A 37 2 6 13 10 0 1 0 0 11 7 9 23 7
Form B 24 4 1 4 3 0 5 1 0 5 3 16 23 20
Total 61
Exp post shem shem shem shem shem shem shem shem shem shem shem shem shem shem
Form A 29 2 4 9 10 9 4 1 0 4 6 10 11 4
Form B 15 0 10 29 23 8 0 0 0 13 8 11 10 5
Total 45
Cont pre shem shem shem shem shem shem shem shem shem shem shem shem shem shem
Form A 17 7 1 11 7 1 4 0 0 23 10 12 14 5
Form B 22 7 5 10 4 1 0 4 0 12 8 19 12 13
Total 39
Cont post shem shem shem shem shem shem shem shem shem shem shem shem shem shem
Form A 16 2 13 11 15 8 3 0 0 10 7 6 13 1
Form B 9 1 13 20 6 7 1 4 0 15 7 15 7 5
Total 25
Note: Strategies 1. Polite imperative; 2. Polite request; 3a. Normal questions (plain); 3b. Normal questions (polite); 4a. Polite questions (polite 1); 4b. Polite questions (polite 2); 5a. Want statement (direct); 5b. Want statement (polite 1); 5c. Want statement (polite 2); 6a. Asking for permission (polite 1); 6b. Asking for permission (polite 2); 7. Non-conventional indirect requests; 8a. Others (V-masu/masen ka); 8b. Other forms

One of the most notable changes was an overall increase in the use of donative auxiliary verbs in the post-test for both groups (Strategies 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b). The increase was conspicuous: 3a Exp 3% → 5.9%, Cont 2.6% → 12.1%; 3b Exp 7.2% → 16.1%, Cont 9.2% → 14.4%; 4a Exp 5.5% → 14%, Cont 4.8% → 9.8%; 4b Exp 0% → 7.2%, Cont 0.9% → 7%. Of these changes, particularly notable was the increase of Strategy 4b (V-te itadakenai/kudasaranai deshoo ka) in the post-test. They were almost non-existent in the pre-test. For instance, David,4 one of the students in the Exp group, wrote as follows in requesting a supervisor to return the anti-virus software that the student had lent to him (post-test Form B item #2), "sumimasen, chotto yoroshii deshoo ka. boku no virus software o tsukaimasu ka. sumimasen ga, boku no software o kaeshite itadakenai deshoo ka. doomo sumimasen. (Excuse me, may I interrupt you for a second? Will you use my anti-virus software? I'm sorry but would you be so kind to return my software? Thank you very much.)" In addition to the use of the conventionally indirect request strategy, the effective use of routine expressions (i.e., sumimasen, sumimasen ga, doomo sumimasen and chotto yoroshii deshoo ka) made this response very appropriate.

Another characteristic change in the frequency of request strategies used is the decrease in the use of Strategy 1 V-te (kudasai). In the Exp group, there were 61 occurrences or 26% of all request strategies used in the pre-test. This figure decreased to 45 occurrences or 19.1% in the post-test. In the Cont group, 39 occurrences (17%) in the pre-test decreased to 25 occurrences or 11.6% in the post-test. Moreover, in the Exp group, there was a dramatic decrease in the use of Strategy 8 (V-masu/masen ka). There were 46 occurrences or 19.6% in the pre-test but it decreased to 21 occurrences or 8.9% in the post-test. It appears that those who did not opt for Strategies 1 or 8 in the post-test successfully chose conventionally indirect strategies, 3a, 3b, 4a, and 4b instead, in particular when addressing higher-status interlocutors.5

TMs and RPs

Table 6 shows the mean rating scores for each group in the pre- and post-tests. The Exp group showed more improved scores in the RPs than in the TMs, while the Cont group scores improved consistently in all four tasks.

Table 6. Experimental & control groups mean rating scores
shem TM 1 TM 2 RP 1 RP 2
Exp Pre 2.81 2.81 3.03 3.00
Exp Post 2.89 3.17 3.51 3.63
Cont Pre 2.92 2.85 3.29 3.35
Cont Post 3.41 3.21 3.62 3.74

In order to determine whether or not these improved scores were statistically significant, a four-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed with repeated measures. As shown in Table 7, there were statistically significant differences within subjects between pre-test and post-test, as indicated by Time, in both TMs and RPs for both groups, F(1,44)=48.461, p <. 025. In other words, both treatments were effective in developing the students' pragmatic competence. With regard to the between-subjects effects, there were no statistically significant differences, F(1, 44)=3.732, p >. 025. This indicates that the increases of the rating scores were not significantly different between the two groups. This is also shown in Figure 1.

Table 7. TM and RP: ANOVA for learning condition
Source SS df MS F p Eta Sq Obs Power
Between-Subjects Effects
Group (A) 3.481 1 3.481 3.732 .060 .078 .471
Error 41.144 44 .935 shem shem shem shem
Within-Subjects Effects
SIT (B) 13.838 1 13.838 36.486 .000* .453 1.000
(A)x(B) .017 1 .017 .044 .834 .001 .055
Error (B) 16.688 44 .379 shem shem shem shem
INT (C) .105 1 .105 .453 .513 .010 .099
(A)x(C) .290 1 .290 1.200 .279 .027 .120
Error (C) 10.650 44 .242 shem shem shem shem
TIME (D) 14.052 1 14.052 48.461 .000* .524 1.000
(A)x(D) .001 1 .001 .002 .967 .000 .050
Error (D) 12.758 44 .290 shem shem shem shem
(B)x(C) .098 1 .098 .690 .411 .015 .077
(A)x(B)x(C) .596 1 .596 4.124 .048 .086 .394
Error (B)x(C) 6.359 44 .145 shem shem shem shem
(B)x(D) .425 1 .425 1.409 .242 .031 .139
(A)x(B)x(D) .892 1 .892 2.961 .092 .063 .285
Error (B)x(D) 13.256 44 .301 shem shem shem shem
(C)x(D) .182 1 .182 .796 .377 .018 .086
(A)x(C)x(D) .326 1 .326 1.428 .238 .031 .140
Error (C)x(D) 10.043 44 .228 shem shem shem shem
(B)x(C)x(D) .003 1 .003 .011 .917 .000 .026
(A)x(B)x(C)x(D) .151 1 .151 .654 .423 .015 .074
Error (B)x(C)x(D) 10.163 44 .231 shem shem shem shem
Note: Eta Sq: Partial Eta Squared; Obs. Power: Observed Power; SIT: Situation (TM & RP); INT: Type of Interlocutor (friend or teacher); *p < .025

This image shows Figure 1, as described in the text
Figure 1. Overall mean rating scores in pre- and post-tests by Group


Classroom interaction and learning outcomes

Students' request strategies and teacher's talk

The analysis of the request strategies used in the pre- and post-tests of the DCTs, TMs, and RPs showed an increase in the use of donative auxiliary verbs and a decrease in the use of V-te (kudasai). In other words, after the instructional intervention, more students began to incorporate conventionally polite request forms such as Verb -te itadakemasen ka (Would you please V?) instead of simply using more direct V-te or V-te kudasai (Please V). It was speculated that the overuse of V-te or V-te kudasai in the pre-test might have been related to the teacher's talk in the classroom. A close examination of the teacher's talk6 revealed that the teacher predominantly used these forms: 29 tokens out of 52 or 55.8% as shown in Table 8.

Table 8. Teacher's use of directives/request forms

Strategies Frequency (tokens) Percentage

1. V-te/V-te kudasai(Please V) 29 55.8%
2. N doozo (Please N) 5 9.6
3. V mashoo (Let's V) 4 7.7
4. V-te hoshii n desu ga (I would like you to V but…) 3 5.9
5. V-te itadakemasu ka (Would you please V?) 2 3.8
6. V(potential) masu ka (Can you V?) 2 3.8
7. Others 7 13.5

For instance, when the teacher wanted a student to read a sentence, she said, "xxx san, yonde kudasai. (xxx-san, please read.)" In a classroom setting in which the context is clear and the roles are clearly divided, often it is unnecessary for the teacher to specifically indicate what he or she wants the students to do. The teacher is the one who organizes the classroom activities using different directives. It was often the case that the teacher's calling the student's name or adding "doozo (please)" after the name served as a directive without any further elaboration. The teacher hardly used the most conventionally polite request forms. The only exception was when she asked a favor of the visiting NSs of Japanese to do a certain task or she asked them to please come and visit the class again the following week. It was fortunate that the students had an opportunity to observe the most conventional request form (i.e., V-te itadakemasen ka/itadakenai deshoo ka (Would you be so kind as to do V?)) used in an authentic situation while attending the class. Without these visiting NSs present in class, the instructor would probably have never used the most conventionally polite request forms in class.

There was an occasion in which the instructor asked the students to do something out of the ordinary. When she asked the students to do a research related assignment at home, she began with "chotto mina san ni onegai ga aru n desu kedo… (I have a favor to ask all of you but…)" After explaining what it was about, the teacher said the following: "kore chotto uchi de ne yatte kite hoshii n desu. (I'd like you to do this at home and bring it back.)." Because the students had to take extra time to complete the task, the instructor treated the task as an imposition on the students. Thus, the instructor started with "chotto mina san ni onegai ga aru n desu ga… (I have a favor to ask all of you but…)" and then, instead of the commonly used directive "V-te kudasai", she opted for the want statement "V-te hoshii n desu ga…". Although the instructor used language that signaled her understanding that asking the students to do extra work was an imposition, she did not opt for the most conventionally indirect polite form. This suggests that the different status and the power between the teacher and the students that exist in the usual classroom setting was a mitigating factor in the instructor's making this request. For many L2 learners in the foreign language setting, it is often the case that the instructor's utterances in the classroom are the only input for them. Considering this fact, it is not surprising that the students in the present study used more direct request forms prior to the instructional intervention.

Another intriguing fact exhibited in the students' request strategies is the use of V-masu/masen ka such as kakimasu ka (Do you write?) and kakimasen ka (Don't you write?/Will you write?). After examining the teacher's talk, it was found that the teacher's use of the potential form served as a request. For instance, after a handout that had a sample telephone message on it was distributed, the teacher asked one of the students as follows: "xxx san, yomemasu ka. (xxx-san, can you read it?)". The teacher was checking whether or not the student was able to read it because there were some kanji in the message. The student who was called upon took it as a request to read the passage rather than a simple yes/no question so she immediately started to read the passage. Another instance was when the teacher was wondering whom she should ask to do a demonstration of a task with her. The teacher said, "xxx san, shimasen ka. (xxx-san, why don't you do it?)." Even though the teacher was checking to see if the student she called would be interested in doing the demonstration with her, the student took it as a request to perform the task with the teacher, as shown in his non-verbal action of standing up and moving towards the teacher to perform the task. Instances like these might have served as input for the students to use V-masu/masen ka as a request, which was particularly abundant in the pre-test.

LS in action - consciousness raising activity

The results of the quantitative analyses of the TMs and RPs showed that there was a statistically significant difference in the students' performances in the pre- and post- tests. It will be interesting to examine some of the classroom interactions to see how students are socialized to the TL norms and develop their pragmatic competence. In this section, first I examine one of the consciousness raising activities offered to the Exp group. This is followed by a close examination of the interaction between one of the participants in the Exp group and a visiting NS of Japanese.

Consciousness raising activities in teaching pragmatics have been discussed by Bardovi-Harlig (1996), Judd (1999), and Rose (1994), among others. Rose (1994) argues that a pragmatic consciousness-raising approach has as its aim to sensitize learners to context-based variation in language use. Bardovi-Harlig (1996) suggests that the teacher make learners actively engage in the discovery process. For instance, as an introduction to a TL speech act, the teacher encourages students to think about how it functions in their own language and culture. In this way, the learners can be their own ethnographers; they observe their own language use as well as that of the TL.

The students were asked to look at and comment on a video transcript in which a JFL learner, who was not a participant in the present study, was making a request in Japanese of a NS of Japanese. You will see the students comment on the closing and opening of the conversation, as well as pragmalinguistic appropriateness of the use of V-te kudasai to make a request. (Excerpt is provided for the first half of the video clip.)

Excerpt 1 (T: teacher S: Susan)
1T:What do you think of this exchange?
2S:It's ba::d.
3T:It's bad? Which one is bad?
4S:Especially at the end=
5T:Uh huh.
6S:=ima kara kurasu? He goes hai aa (.) sore jaa.
8S:Then, he just leaves.
9 T:Uh huh.
10S:It seems really rude. Especially ( ) sayonara.
11T:Um. (.5) What he could have done?
12S:Probably (1.5) small talk.
13T:ok, small [talk.
14S:shem shemshemshemshemshemshem[It would have been like (.5) it's kind of like
15shemreally mean (.) even I wouldn't do this in English. To
16shemapproach a person and ask them a favor and then walk way.
17 shemSeems like that was the only reason for talking to them.
18T:I see. Uh huh.

As shown in the excerpt above, Susan commented on the closing, saying that it seemed very rude. In particular, she pointed out that saying just "hai aa (.) sore jaa (yes um (.) see you then) (line 6) and "sayonara (Goodbye)" (line 10) after the interlocutor asked, "ima kara kurasu? (Do you have a class now?)" (line 6), was rude. It is interesting to note that she made her remarks based on the expectations generated by her L1 norm when she said, "…it's kind of like really mean (.) even I wouldn't do this in English. To approach a person and ask them a favor and then walk way. Seems like that was the only reason for talking to them" (lines 14-17).

When the teacher asked the students what they thought about the beginning part of the conversation that they had examined, several students commented that it was direct. One of the students indicated that greetings such as "How are you?" or "How was the class?" were not asked. Towards the end, another student wondered if the use of "karite kudasai (Please borrow.)" which should have been "kashite kudasai (Please lend me.)" was appropriate. Another student commented that a question should have been asked instead of demanding the requested item. When the teacher asked what could have been used as an alternative, the students said "moraemasen ka" and "kuremasu ka." The teacher reiterated that these donative auxiliary verbs should be used when asking a favor of equal or lower status interlocutors.

This video clip illustrates a process in which L2 learners raise their awareness about the TL sociocultural norms through a critical examination of the TL discourse while referring to their L1 sociocultral norms. At the same time, it also shows the teacher's explicit socialization of the students to the TL use by specifically commenting on the donative auxiliary verbs that should be used. It should be noted that this activity was conducted during the second consciousness raising activity, and it was not until the following period that the instructor explicitly went over the different pragmalinguistic request forms, which included "moraemasen ka/kuremasen ka" that the students had suggested be used in the video clip above. Thus, it was rather surprising that the students even commented on the appropriateness of the pragmalinguistic forms. This indicates that the students possessed a fairly sophisticated knowledge with regard to the TL use.

LS in action - interaction between a JFL learner and a NS of Japanese

In the next excerpt, you will see a student in the same class that engaged in the consciousness raising activity above interact with a NS of Japanese. Prior to this excerpt, the instructor and Aya, the visiting Japanese student, demonstrated making requests in Japanese in front of the class. The teacher asked Aya to please come and visit the class again the following week, and Aya asked the instructor if she could tell her about the summer session courses offered at the university. After observing the two NSs of Japanese making requests to each other, now it was the students' turn to interact with the visiting Japanese student. Aya randomly selects Steve, one of the students in class, and asks him if he could check her English paper. Throughout the interaction, you will see the entire class' attention was focused on the exchange between the two, and that when they notice that their fellow classmate is having a hard time responding, they help him by whispering English equivalents or Japanese words, as shown in Excerpt 2.

Excerpt 2 (A: Aya, S: Steve, D: Dina, M: Mary, SS: students)
((Steve is sitting at a corner, Dina is at the other end, and Mary is sitting next to Steve. Aya is standing in the classroom facing her back towards the camera, and then she positions herself towards Steve. The rest of the students are watching her.))
1A:.h (1)sutiibu san.
shemSteve Mr
shemshem".h (1)Steve."
4A:um (1)etto ima eego no peepaa kaiteru n desu kedo:
shemFL now English LK paper writing N CP but
4A:"uhm (1)uhm I'm writing an English paper now bu:t"
5S:um eego no peepaa [desu ka.
shemFL English LK paper CP Q
shem"uhm is it an English paper?"
6A:shem[un eego.
yeah English
"yeah, English."
7S:eego no [peepaa desu ka.
English LK paper CP Q
is it an English paper?"
8A:shem[un (.) eego de peepaa kaiteru n desu kedo,
yeah English in paper writing N CP but
"yeah (.) I'm writing a paper in English but,
9chotto (.5) guramaa ni jishin ga nai node, (.5)
shema little grammar P confidence S not so
shem"I'm a little (.5) unsure about my grammar so, (.5)
10chotto chekkushite moraitai kedo (.) ii? jikan aru?
shema little check would-like-to-receive but ok time have
shem"I'd like you to check it but (.) is it ok? you have time?"
11S:chekku shimasu ka.
check do Q
"do I check?"
12A:un. chekku shite hoshii n da kedo.
yeah check would like N CP but
"yeah, I'd like you to check it but."
13S:aa SO desu ka. (.) ano:
oh so CP Q FL
"oh, I see. (.) uhm:"
15A:jikan arimasu ka.
time have Q
"do you have time?"
17→D:( )0time0? ((D says this while further leaning towards S))
20SS:hahahaha hahahaha haha ha ((J jumps a bit. The entire class bursts into laughter.))
"hahahaha hahahaha haha ha"
22M:0( )0 ((M whispers something to S and S looks at her.))
23A:aa dono ji- (.5) itsu ga ii desu?
FL which when S good CP
"uhm what ti- (.5) when is good?"
24S:0itsu ga0 (.) ano: (1.5) rai- (.) raishu: suiyoobi (.) desu ka.
when S FL nex- next week Wednesday CP Q
"0when0 (.) uhm (1.5) is it (.) nex- (.) next week Wednesday?"
25A:hai. (.) jaa raishuu no suiyoobi ni:
yes then next week LK Wednesday P
"yes. (.) then next Wednesday"
26ichioo peepaa mottekuru n de,
tentatively paper bring N so
"I'll tentatively bring my paper so,
27mite kudasai, ranchi taimu ni.
look please lunch time at
please take a look at it during lunch time."
29SS:hahahaha hahahaha haha. ((The class bursts into laughter.))
"hahahaha hahahaha haha."
30((S looks at Mary. S shakes his head.))
31A:ranchi taimu (.) isogashii desu ka.
lunch time busy CP Q
"are you busy (.) during lunch time?"
32S:ah ie um (1) 0um (1) ano: (.5) ie0
oh no FL FL FL no
"oh, no uhm (1) 0uhm (1) uhm: (.5) no0"
35→S:HIMA desu.
free CP
"I'm FREE."
36SS:hahahaha. ((The class bursts into laughter))
37A:ja:, issho ni gohan tabe nagara (.) mite kudasai,
then together meal eat while look please
"then, while eating lunch together (.) please take a look at
38peepaa eego no.
paper English LK
my English paper."
39S:hai ((nods))
40A:jaa, sono (.) mata raishuu ni (.5) aimashoo?
then that again next week in meet let's
"well then, that (.) let's (.5) meet again next week."
41S:.h haha. ((S bends forward and laughs, shaking his head.))
".h haha."
42SS:hahahaha. ((The class laughs.))
shemagain, while laughing.))
44A:0sugoi0 ( ) tte n da (2) [doo shiyoo.
great QT N CP how do
"0great0 It's that ( ) (2) what shall I do?"
45→M:[0( )0((M whispers something to S.))
46→S:OH (.) hai.
oh yes
"OH (.) yes."
47 SS:hahahaha. ((Everybody bursts into laughter again.))

In line 4, Aya explains that she is writing an English paper. Steve offers his candidate understanding in lines 5 and 7, saying "um eego no peepaa desu ka (Uhm is it an English paper?)" Hearing this, Aya explains it one more time in line 8 and she further adds an account expressing uncertainty about her ability to write in English (line 9). She makes a request in three parts, first by expressing her desire "chotto chekkushite moraitai kedo (.) (I'd like you to check it but (.))" followed by two short questions, "Ii? (is it ok?)" and "jikan aru? (Do you have time?)" (line 10). Steve offers a candidate confirmation check, saying "chekku shimasu ka (Do I check?) in line 11, which was not a pragmatically appropriate utterance in the context. Aya reiterates that she wants him to check the paper in line 12. In line 13, Steve finally shows his understanding of what Aya meant, saying "aa SO desu ka. (Oh, I see)." After Aya asks if Steve has time in line 15, there was a two second gap. Noticing that Steve is in trouble, Dina, a student sitting at the opposite corner from Steve, offers help. The first part of her utterance is not audible but her softly spoken "time" suggests that she was supplying the English equivalent of Aya's utterance in line 15, that is, "Do you have time?" With this help, Steve says "HAI (Yes)" in line 19 and the class bursts into laugher. A similar sequence is observed in the second half of the excerpt. After making an arrangement for checking the paper, Aya reiterates her request with the direct request form "mite kudasai, ranchi taimu ni. (Please take a look at it during lunch time.)" (line 27). This is followed by a one second gap (line 28) and laughter by the class. Aya asks Steve if he is busy during lunch hour, "ranchi taimu (.) isogashii desu ka" (line 31). Steve starts his response with ah, ie (Oh, no), followed by fillers and a repetition of ie. (No.) (line 32). Orienting to Steve's struggle in producing an answer, Mary offers him the word hima (free) as a solution (line 34). Steve appropriates the word and produces "HIMA desu. (I'm FREE.)" with emphatic stress on the critical element (line 35). Again, his response triggers laughter from class (line 36). Lastly, in the pre-closing where Aya suggests that they will meet again the following week (line 40), Steve shows that he does not understand her utterance by shaking his head and laughing (line 41), which triggers laughter from the class and Aya as well. Here again, Mary offers assistance by whispering something to Steve. Her utterance is not audible (line 45) but Steve's "OH" directed towards Mary and "hai (yes)" (line 46) provided as an answer to Aya's earlier suggestion in line 40 suggests that Mary translated Aya's utterance and he finally understood it.

The excerpt raises a couple interesting issues about learning and the socialization process. One of them is how Aya proceeds with her request. She starts with a pre-sequence that prepares the topical context for the request she is about to make. First, she explains that she is writing an English paper (line 4), and then she offers an account, her uncertainty about her ability to write in English (line 9). Following this, she makes a request by expressing her desire, "chotto chekkushite moraitai kedo (.) (I'd like you to check it but (.))" But she does not just stop there; she adds two short questions, "Ii? (Is it ok?)" and "jikan aru? (Do you have time?)" (line 10). This entire sequence is a commonly used pattern when making a request in Japanese. By presenting the request in the way she did, it seems that not only the focal student, Steve, but also the students who were watching this exchange were socialized to the typical sequence of making a request in Japanese. Furthermore, when Aya reiterates her desire that she wants Steve to check her paper, she says, "chekku shite hoshii n da kedo (I'd like you to check it but…)" (line 12). She replaced moraitai, the word she originally used in her request, with hoshii, but she kept the meaning intact. It might be the case that this helped the students to be socialized to different pragmalinguistic forms that index the same meaning.

The other aspect that should be noted regarding the excerpt above is that those who were not engaged in the actual interaction offered assistance to the focal student when he was in trouble by providing English equivalents or Japanese words, as shown in lines 17-19, 34-35, and 45-46. Ohta (2001) discusses the role of an active listener in a peer interaction. In the excerpt we just saw, the entire class's attention was focused on the interaction between their fellow classmate and the Japanese interlocutor. As active listeners they had resources available to think about the immediate production without going through the demands of production itself. Although their assistance to the focal student might not have been anything more than socializing learners to the use of language in a pedagogically oriented interaction, the interaction between Steve and Aya would not have been completed without their assistance. In this sense, the assistance of the students watching the exchange was crucial not only for the focal student per se but for themselves as well in order to have an opportunity to observe how the NS would proceed with the request in the TL they were studying.

Lastly, it should be also noted that the entire conversation in Excerpt 2 was much more extensive than a typical model conversation that appears in the textbook. Problems with textbook representations of speech acts and discourse functions have been pointed out by several researchers (e.g., Bardovi-Harlig, Hartford, Mahan-Taylor, Morgan, & Reynolds, 1991; Kasper, 2001b; Mori, 2005). Celce-Murcia and Olshtain (2005) and Jones and Ono (2005) suggest a discourse-based approach in L2 teaching. Scotton and Bernsten (1988) proposes using natural conversations as a model for textbook dialogue. Having the entire class actually observe the conversation between two NSs of Japanese as well as a JFL student and a NS of Japanese should have helped the students to be socialized to TL use in making requests.


Conclusion and pedagogical implications

The present study examined the effects of instruction in teaching Japanese requests to JFL learners as well as how classroom interaction was related to the learning outcomes. The results showed that the students improved their performances in DCTs, TMs, and RPs in the post-test. This is consistent with previous research which indicates the effectiveness of instruction in teaching pragmatics (Kasper & Rose, 2002; Rose, 2005; Rose & Kasper, 2001). However, no statistically significant difference was observed between the two groups. This might be due to the fact that the differences in the instructional packages provided to each group were not sufficiently different. Or, it might be the case that the Cont group students, who started out with a better performance than the Exp group students, were able to grasp the important elements in regard to requests without going through consciousness raising activities or one-on-one feedback sessions.

With regard to the relationship between classroom interaction and the learning outcomes, it was found that the teacher's talk included quite a few direct request forms or directives, and it is possible that this might have affected the students' extensive use of direct request strategies, in particular in the pre-test. After the instructional intervention, the use of indirect request strategies increased in both groups in the post-test.

In order to understand the socialization process, two video clips were examined. In the consciousness raising activity, the students referred to their L1 norms when they examined the TL discourse, which contributed to raising their awareness with regard to the TL speech act. It was also pointed out that the students had a fairly sophisticated awareness of the appropriate use of pragmalinguistic forms, in particular with regard to the head act of the request forms. In the video clip of the interaction between a JFL student and a NS of Japanese (Excerpt 2), we saw the entire class' attention was focused on the two interlocutors that were engaged in the talk. Some of the students watching the exchange offered help when the student who was engaged in the conversation was having difficulty. Because of their assistance, the focal student was able to complete the interaction with his interlocutor. At the same time, the other students had an opportunity to observe how the interaction between the focal student and the NS of Japanese unfolded. They also had an opportunity to be socialized to a typical request sequence in Japanese by observing how Aya proceeded with her request, which was much more extensive with repetitions and elaborations included than a typical textbook dialogue. Furthermore, the NS used more than one pragmalinguistic form that indexed the same meaning, which gave the students a chance to be socialized to the use of different forms in an on-going interaction.

Although what we have examined is limited to rather short segments of the classroom interactions that were collected in the present study, it is fair to say that they could have contributed to the students' improved performances in the post-test. In fact, Steve, the student who had a hard time responding to the NS in the excerpt above, improved his rating scores in the post-test RP by two points. In the pre-test, he opted for V-masu ka such as kakimasu ka in almost all of his requests. In the post-test, he incorporated conventionally indirect forms such as V-te moraemasu ka/V-te itadakemasen ka, and his speech was better organized in terms of the sequence as shown in the use of pre-requests and incorporation of small talk. As Schieffelin and Ochs (1986) state, in the language socialization process there is a socialization to use language and socialization through the use of language. By examining how interactions unfold, we will be able to see how learners are socialized into TL norms and cultural values. An understanding of this socialization process will also lead to a better understanding of the learning process, especially with respect to L2 pragmatic development.

Lastly, as for pedagogical implications, it should be noted that the classroom setting is a unique place and that language use there, in particular the teacher's talk, is different from what would be normally observed in a conversation outside of the classroom. As L2 teachers, we should keep this in mind and try to augment the gap by incorporating authentic materials or inviting NSs of the TL to the classroom so that the students have more opportunities to actually observe a broader range of use of the TL. In particular, having a NS guest in class allows teachers to provide authentic model dialogues to learners. Video recording such dialogues while demonstrating them in class and converting them into audio or video files so that students have an easy access to them on their computers would allow them to review the dialogues outside of the classroom. Because these are the dialogues that they have actually observed in class, they would be much more conducive for learning than cut-and-dried textbook dialogues.



1. The L1 in this case was English.

2. Two classes conducted during the fall semester of 2002 and two classes conducted during the spring semester of 2003 participated in this study. One class each semester was randomly assigned as Exp group and the other as Cont group.

3. While the present study was in progress, a few NSs of Japanese visited the classes at regular intervals, and they participated in class activities.

4. All names are pseudonyms.

5. A similar distribution pattern was observed for the use of request strategies in the TMs and RPs: request strategies in these data were also examined in the same manner as those of the DCTs.

6. A total of three hours of instruction offered to one of the experimental group classes was analyzed.



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Appendix: Transcription conventions and abbreviations

Transcription conventions
?rising intonation
.falling intonation
,continuing intonation
:elongated syllable
::longer elongated syllable
Haudible breathing
text marked stress
TEXTspoken loudly
<text>spoken slowly
0text0spoken softly
(1.5)length of significant pause in seconds
=latched talk
-word cutoff
( )unsure hearings
((behavior))paralinguistic behavior
CPCopula verb be in various forms
LKLinking nominal
NEGNegative morpheme
OObject marker
QQuestion marker
QTQuotation marker
SSubject marker

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