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Pragmatic instruction in L2-Russian: a study on requests and advice

Issue: Vol 4 No. 1 (2020)

Journal: Instructed Second Language Acquisition

Subject Areas:

DOI: 10.1558/isla.39864


Over the last three decades, a growing number of studies have investigated the effects of instruction on the acquisition of pragmatic features in L2. The bulk of this research has focused mainly on the teaching of English as a second/foreign language. However, instructional pragmatic studies in L2-Russian are lacking. The main purpose of our study is to contribute towards filling this gap by analysing the effects of pragmatic instruction on the acquisition of two speech acts by Italian learners of Russian. Furthermore, we aim to explore whether the Multimodal Russian Corpus (MURCO), a multimedia subcorpus of the Russian National Corpus, can be an effective tool for teaching speech acts in L2-Russian. Our research was composed of one experimental group (n = 18) and one control group (n = 11); each was composed of two intact classes of Italian university students at an intermediate level of L2-Russian, who were pre- and post-tested using a written discourse completion task. The experimental group was subjected to a programme of pragmatic instruction – eight thirty-minute MURCO-based lessons devoted to requests and advice, while the control group was taught according to the standard syllabus, that is, with no pragmatic instruction. The results revealed that the use of the target pragmatic features varied significantly in the experimental group, but not in the control group, thus showing a general positive effect of the instructional treatment based on the MURCO corpus. However, some limitations were identified with regard to the usability of this tool by teachers and learners.

Author: Daniele Artoni, Valentina Benigni, Elena Nuzzo

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