A conversation analysis-informed test of L2 aural pragmatic comprehension

Scott F. Walters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Speech act theory-based, second language pragmatics testing (SLPT) raises test-validation issues owing to a lack of correspondence with empirical conversational data. On the assumption that conversation analysis (CA) provides a more accurate account of language use, it is suggested that CA serve as a more empirically valid basis for SLPT development. The current study explores this notion by administering a pilot CA-informed test (CAIT) of listening comprehension to learners of English as second language (ESL) and to a control group of native speakers of English. The listening CAIT protocol involved participants' addressing multiple-choice items after listening to audiotaped conversational sequences derived from the CA literature. Statistical analyses of pilot-test responses, correlations of test score with participant demographic variables, and CA-informed, qualitative analyses of nonnative and native speaker responses with reference to operationalized pragmatic norms provided tentative evidence that the CAIT aural-comprehension measure possesses some utility in SLPT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-54
Number of pages26
JournalTESOL Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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