How Might the Analysis of the Social Context Influence B2-C2 Level Learners’ Linguistic Choices in Oral Discourse?




study abroad, sociopragmatics, oral discourse, L2 pragmatic competence, advanced language learners


The significance of pragmatic competence in L2 speakers’ successful social integration has been highlighted, and the need for assessing it has increased as the number of international students in English-speaking countries has risen. Many existing pragmatic tests are based on the Speech Act Theory and employ discourse completion tasks. However, these have been criticized for overlooking the importance of the discursive side of pragmatics. Furthermore, there has been little research into gaining learners’ insight into their thought processes while analyzing the given social context, which in turn will influence their linguistic choices and pragmatic performance. The aim of this research was, therefore, to examine how the depth of learners’ context analysis might influence their linguistic choices in authentic tasks and impact the conversational strategies employed in order to achieve the communicative goal. Data were collected from thirty B2-C2 level international university students, who performed four monologic tasks. This was followed by a semi-structured interview to gain participants’ perspectives on the contexts. Task performance was analyzed qualitatively using Conversation Analysis, and interview data was utilized to better understand language use and strategies in task performance. The results indicate that with increasing proficiency, learners not only employed more pragmalinguistic devices when deemed necessary, but they also placed a stronger emphasis on cooperation and the mutual achievement of the communicative goal. The data from the semi-structured interviews also highlighted that with increased proficiency there was a greater depth of contextual analysis, focusing more closely on the conversational partner’s circumstances and potential reaction to the request.

Author Biography

Edit Willcox-Ficzere, Oxford Brookes University

Edit Willcox-Ficzere (Dr., Senior Lecturer) is currently working at Oxford Brookes University. Her research interests include pragmatic competence and politeness.


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How to Cite

Willcox-Ficzere, E. (2023). How Might the Analysis of the Social Context Influence B2-C2 Level Learners’ Linguistic Choices in Oral Discourse?. Baltic Journal of English Language, Literature and Culture, 13, 142–161.