Four perspectives on L2 pragmatic development

    Kasper, Gabriele

    An increasing body of research examines the development of L2 learners’ pragmatic ability (cf. reviews by Kasper & Schmidt, 1996; Bardovi-Harlig, 1999a; Kasper & Rose, 1999). While some earlier longitudinal studies chart observed acquisitional patterns descriptively without relating them to an explanatory framework of second language development (e.g., Ellis, 1992; Sawyer, 1992), other investigations are explicitly guided by – in the rare case, even designed to test – theoretical approaches to L2 learning. Since a fair amount of research under different theoretical orientations now exists, it is timely to take stock of what these approaches have contributed to our understanding of L2 pragmatic development and – not unlike the tenure process at some North American universities – assess their ‘future value.’