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This study investigates the effects of instruction (input plus focused metapragmatic noticing) on the oral production of conventional expressions, particularly those conventional expressions which perform specific pragmatic functions in English. Using a pre-test–instruction–post-test design we tested 36 university-level students in six intact intensive English classes in order to determine whether guided metapragmatic noticing activities help learners increase oral production of targeted conventional expressions and whether such gains (if they are realized) can be generalized to other conventional expressions. Students were divided into two groups of three classes each; the two groups received instruction on a different set of expressions. Results showed that both instructional groups showed significant gains on one set of conventional expressions but not another, suggesting that learning conventional expressions is sensitive to instruction but also constrained by the transparency of the expression and the learners’ level of linguistic development.
Journal: System - Volume 40, Issue 1, March 2012, Pages 77–89