The effect of Virtual and Real Classroom Instruction on Inter-language Pragmatic Development: Microblogging versus Traditional Instruction of Speech Acts to Iranian EFL Learners

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of Foreign Languages, Faculty of Literature and Humanities, Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran


Despite the fact that virtual learning seems to have considerable potential for enhancing language learners’ communicative abilities, it has received less attention for improving pragmatic competence of learners in EFL educational settings. The present study was an attempt to investigate the impact of virtual and real classroom instruction of speech acts on the pragmatic awareness and development of Iranian EFL learners. To do so, a quasi-experimental study was designed and, through a homogeneity test, 57 EFL female language learners at the intermediate level were chosen. The participants were randomly divided into the experimental groups of virtual and real classroom learning and went through the procedure of pretest, intervention, and posttest; the pertinent data were collected by means of a PET test, a speech-act pre-test and comparable post-tests of speech acts. Both measures of independent and paired-samples t-test were used to analyze the data. The findings revealed that instruction of speech acts through both virtual and real classroom techniques can be conducive to the promotion of pragmatic awareness among the EFL learners in the Iranian context; meanwhile, real classroom instruction of speech acts proved to be more fruitful and more significantly elevated the pragmatic awareness of Iranian EFL learners. We conclude the study drawing on the implications of our findings for ELT and EFL policy makers, language educators and teachers, material developers, and learners.


 Akutsu, Y. (2006). Request strategies appeared in oral communication A' textbooks. The Economic Journal of Takasaki City University of Economics, 48(3), 135-149.
Alderson, C. (2004). The shape of things to come: Will it be the normal distribution. Studies in Language Testing18, 1-26.
Alipour, F., Youhanaee, M., Barati, H., & Nasirahmadi, A. (2015). Intentional vs. incidental vocabulary learning through games by young EFL Persian speakers. International Journal of Research Studies in Educational Technology, 4(1). 23-34.
Amiri, M., & Birjandi, P. (2015). Reliability and content validity of a
comprehensive discourse completion test of interlanguage pragmatics for academic situations. Sino-US English Teaching12(9), 654-659.
Amiri, M., Birjandi, P., & Maftoon, P. (2015). Valid criteria for the selection of
speech acts of academic situations to develop a comprehensive discourse completion test of interlanguage pragmatics. International Journal of Review in Life Sciences, 5(5), 988-1001.
Asaoka, C. (2019). Early professional development in EFL teaching: Perspectives experiences from Japan. Amsterdam: Multilingual Matters.
Bachman, L. F. 1990 (). Fundamental considerations in language testing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bachman, L. F., & Palmer, A. S. (1996). Language testing in practice: Designing and developing useful language tests. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bachman, L. F., & Palmer, A. S. (2010). Language assessment in practice:
Developing language assessments and justifying their use in real world. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Baker, M. (2018). Translation and conflict: A narrative account. London: Routledge.
Bardovi-Harling, K. (1999). Exploring the interlanguage of interlanguage pragmatics: A research agenda for acquisitional pragmatics. Language Learning, 49 (4), 677-13.
Bardovi‐Harlig, K. (2018). Teaching of pragmatics. In J. I. Liontas & M. DelliCarpini (Eds.), The TESOL encyclopedia of English language teaching (pp. 1-7). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.
Bardovi‐Harlig, K., & Dörnyei, Z. (1998). Do language learners recognize pragmatic violations? Pragmatic versus grammatical awareness in instructed L2 learning. TESOL Quarterly32(2), 233-259.
Bell, N. (2012). Comparing playful and non-playful incidental attention to form. Language Learning62(1), 36-265.
Billmyer, K. (1990). I really like your lifestyle: ESL learners learning how to compliment. Penn Working Papers in Educational Linguistics, 6 (2), 31-48.
Birjandi, P., & Rezaei, S. (2010). Developing a multiple-choice discourse completion test of interlanguage pragmatics for Iranian EFL learners. ILI Language Teaching Journal (Special Issue: Proceedings of the First Conference on ELT in the Islamic World), 6(1, 2), 43-58.
Blum-Kulka, S., House, J., & Kasper, G. (1989). Cross-cultural pragmatics: Requests and apologies. In S. Blum-Kulka, J. House, & G. Kasper (Eds.), Investigating cross-cultural pragmatics: an introductory overview (pp. 1-34). Norwood: Ablex.
Boudaghi, A. (2015). A comparative study of the pragmatic competence of native and non-native speakers of English. (Unpublished master’s thesis). Kualalumpur, Malaysia: University of Malaya.
Brown, H. D., & Lee, H. (2015). Teaching principles. Cindy: Education Press.
Chen, J. C. (2016). The crossroads of English language learners, task-based instruction, and 3D multi-user virtual learning in second life. Computers & Education102, 152-171.
Chun, D., Kern, R., & Smith, B. (2016). Technology in language use, language teaching, and language learning. The Modern Language Journal100(S1), 64-80.
Cohen, A. (2009).Speech acts. Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA). The University of Minnesota website available at:
Derakhshan, A., & Arabmofrad, A. (2018). The impact of instruction on the pragmatic comprehension of speech acts of apology, request, and refusal among Iranian intermediate EFL learners. English Teaching & Learning42(1), 75-94.Dillenbourg, P., Schneider, D., & Synteta, P. (2002). Virtual learning environments. In 3rd Hellenic Conference Information & Communication Technologies in Education (pp. 3-18). Kastaniotis Editions, Greece.
Economidou-Kogetsidis, M. (2015). Teaching email politeness in the EFL/ESL classroom. ELT Journal69(4), 415-424.
Edward, M. & Csizer, K. (2004). Developing pragmatic competence in the EFL classroom. English Teaching Forum, 42(3), . Retrieved, 16 August, 2006 from
Ellis, R. (2008). Study of second language acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Fujii, Y. (2012). Raising awareness of interactional practices in L2 conversations: Insights from conversation analysis. International Journal of Language Studies6(3), 99-126.
Gironzetti, E., & Koike, D. (2016). Bridging the gap in Spanish instructional
pragmatics: from theory to practice. Journal of Spanish Language Teaching, 3(2), 89-98, DOI: 10.1080/23247797.2016.1251781
House, J. (2015). Translation as communication across languages and cultures. London: Routledge.House, J., & Kasper, G. (1981). Cognition in communication. The newer Languages, 80, 42-55.
House, J., & Kasper, G. (1987). Inter-language pragmatics: Requesting in a foreign language. In W. Loerscher & R. Scheulze (Eds.), Perspectives on language in performance (pp. 1250-1288). Tubingen: Narr.       
Hulstijn, J. H. (2001). Intentional and incidental second language vocabulary learning: A reappraisal of elaboration, rehearsal and automaticity. New York: Hinle & Hinle.
Hulstijin, J. (2011). Incidental learning in second language acquisition. In C. Chapelle (Ed.), The encyclopedia of applied linguistics (pp. 1-5). Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Jeon, E. H., & Kaya, T. (2006). Effects of L2 instruction on interlanguage pragmatic development. In J. M. Norris & L. Ortega (Eds.), Synthesizing research on language learning and teaching (pp. 165–211). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Jianda, L. (2004). Measuring interlanguage pragmatic knowledge of Chinese EFL learners. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation) City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.
Jianda, L. (2010). Assessing EFL learners’ inter-language pragmatic knowledge: Implications for testers and teachers. Reflections on English Language Teaching, 5(1), 1-22. 
Kasper, G. (2001). Four perspectives on L2 pragmatic development. Applied Linguistics, 22(4), 502-530.
Kasper, G. & Blum-Klan, S. (1993). Interlanguage pragmatics: An introduction. New York: Oxford University Press.
Kasper, G. (1997). Can pragmatic competence be taught? Honolulu: University of Hawai'i, Second Language Teaching & Curriculum Center. Retrieved from The World Wide Web:
Kerawalla, L., Luckin, R., Seljeflot, S., & Woolard, A. (2006). “Making it real”: exploring the potential of augmented reality for teaching primary school science. Virtual Reality, 10(3), 163-174.
Khosrow-Pour, M. (Ed.). (2019). Computer-assisted language learning: Concepts, methodologies, tools, and applications. Hershey, Pennsylvania: IGI Global.
Lee, G. J. (2019). Examining the impact of Mall integration on ESL and EFL teachers and students. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Alliant International University, South Korea.
Lin, T. J., & Lan, Y. J. (2015). Language learning in virtual reality environments: Past, present, and future. Journal of Educational Technology & Society18(4), 486-497.
Martinez-Flor, A. (2004). The effect of instruction on the development of pragmatic competence in the English as a foreign language context: A study based on suggestions. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Castellon, Spain: Universiatat Jaume I.
Martinez-Flor, A., & Fukuya, Y. J. (2005). The effects of instruction on learners' production of appropriate and accurate suggestions. System, 33, 463-480.
Masrour, M. R., Babaii, E., & Atai, M. R. (2019). Interlanguage pragmatics: Iranian EFL teachers’ cognition. Alberta Journal of Educational Research65(3), 238-257.
Matreyek, W. (1990). Communicating in English, examples and models. 1, Functions. London: Prentice Hall.McConachy, T. (2019). L2 pragmatics as intercultural pragmatics: Probing sociopragmatic aspects of pragmatic awareness. Journal of Pragmatics, 2(23), 117-131.
Molderez, I., & Fonseca, E. (2018). The efficacy of real-world experiences and service learning for fostering competences for sustainable development in higher education. Journal of Cleaner Production172, 4397-4410.
Nahavand Zadeh, N., Gorjian, B., & Pazhakh, A. (2014). The effect of instruction and consciousness raising (CR) on teaching pragmatic functions in writing among Iranian high school EFL learners. International Journal of Language Learning and Applied Linguistics World, 5(2), 430-442.
Nation, I. S. P. (1990). Teaching & learning vocabulary. Boston, Heinle & Heinle
Norris, J., & Ortega, L. (2000). Effectiveness of L2 instruction: A research synthesis and quantitative meta-analysis. Language Learning, 50, 417-528.
Ober, C. P. (2019). Twitter in the veterinary diagnostic imaging classroom: Examination outcomes and student views. Journal of Veterinary Medical Education46(1), 91-96.
Olshtain, E., & Cohen, A. (1990). The learning of complex speech act behavior. TESL Canada Journal7(2), 45-65.
Pishghadam, R., & Sharafadini, M. (2011). Delving into speech act of suggestion: A case of Iranian EFL learners. International Journal of Business and Social Science2(16), 152-160.
Saeedi, F. (2018). The Difference between predictability of Iranian EFL teachers’ emotional intelligence and sense of plausibility with their sense of classroom management. Journal of Modern Research in English Language Studies5(1), 73-94.
Saniei, A., Birjandi, P., Abdollahzadeh, E., & Nemaiti, M. (2015). Raising EFL Learners' Pragmatic Awareness of Intercultural Rhetoric in Writing. Journal of Teaching Language Skills, 34(1), 115-143.
Savignon, S. J. (1997). Communicative competence: Theory and classroom practice (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.Schmidt, R. (2010). Attention, awareness, and individual differences in language learning. Proceedings of CLaSIC 2010. Centre for Language Studies, 721-737. Singapore, National University of Singapore.
Seth, A., Okpatah, B., Richard, A., Coffie, A. J., & Justice, A. O. (2019). Supplementary virtual-class system as a possible frontier for bridging the grades gap between top tier and low tier high schools in Ghana. American Journal of Educational Research7(1), 6-11.
Shively, R. L. (2010). From the virtual world to the real world: A model of pragmatics instruction for study abroad. Foreign Language Annals43(1), 105-137.
Singhal, S., Bagga, S., Goyal, P., & Saxena, V. (2012). Augmented chemistry: Interactive education system. International Journal of Computer Applications, 49(15),1-5.
Suvanto, K. (2013). A too ambiguous concept to be taught?: English teachers' notions of pragmatic competence. (Unpublished master’s thesis). University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylän yliopisto, Finland. October 2013.
Taghizadeh, R. (2017). Pragmatic competence in the target language: A study of Iranian Learners of English. (Unpublished doctoral Dissertation). Manchester, the UK: University of Salford.
Taghizade Mahani, S. (2012). A cross-sectional study of Iranian EFL learners’ realization of request speech acts. (Unpublished master thesis). Eastern Mediterranean University, Gazimağusa, North Cyprus. Retrieved from:
Taguchi, N. (2015). Instructed pragmatics at a glance: Where instructional studies were, are, and should be going. Language Teaching48(01), 1-50.
Tajeddin, Z., Alemi, M., & Pashmforoosh, R. (2018). Idealized native-speaker linguistic and pragmatic norms in English as an international language: Exploring the perceptions of nonnative English teachers. Language and Intercultural Communication18(3), 300-314.
Tajeddin, Z., Alemi, M., & Razzaghi, S. (2014). Cross-cultural perceptions of impoliteness by native English speakers and EFL learners: The case of apology speech act. Journal of Intercultural Communication Research43(4), 304-326.
Tajeddin, Z., & Hosseinpur, R. (2014).The Impact of Deductive, Inductive, and L1-Based Consciousness-Raising Tasks on EFL Learners' Acquisition of the Request Speech Act, Journal of Teaching Language Skills, 33(1), 73-92.
Takimoto, M. (2013). Exploring the effects of intention-oriented input-based instruction in second language pragmatics: A case of English request hedges. The Journal of Asia TEFL, 10(4), 41-69.
Tan, K. H., & Farashaiyan, A. (2016). Challenges in teaching interlanguage pragmatics at Private EFL institutes in Iran. Pertanika Journal of Social Sciences & Humanities, 24, 45-54.
Tang, Y., & Hew, K. F. (2017). Using Twitter for education: Beneficial or simply a waste of time?. Computers & Education106, 97-118.
Tateyama, Y., Kasper, G., Mui, L., Tay, H., & Thananart, O. (1997). Explicit and implicit teaching of pragmatics routines. In L. Bouton (Ed.), Pragmatics and language learning (vol. 8) (pp. 200-222). Urbana, IL: University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.
Tulodziecki, G., & Grafe, S. (2019). Media competence. In R. Hobbs & P. Mihailidis (Eds.), The international encyclopedia of media literacy (pp.1-14). London: Wiley-Blackwell.
Upadhyay, S. (2018). A conceptual model incorporating Twitter as a Language Tool in ESL/EFL Learning. TESOL International Journal, 13(4), 49-54.
 Wildner-Bassett, M. (1994). Intercultural pragmatics and proficiency: Polite noises for cultural appropriateness. International Review of Applied Linguistics, 32, 3-17.
Xiao, F., Taguchi, N., & Li, S. (2019). Effects of proficiency sub-skills on pragmatic development in L2 Chinese study abroad. Studies in Second Language Acquisition41(2), 469-483.
Xu, W., Case, R. E. & Williams, G. M. (2017). Longitudinal pragmatic  and  grammatical  development  in English among Chinese Students. TESOL International Journal, 12(2), 65-77.
Yeh, E., & Wan, G. (2019). The use of virtual worlds in foreign language teaching and learning. In M. Khosrow-Pour (Ed.), Computer-assisted language learning: Concepts, methodologies, tools, and applications (pp. 1949-1972). Hershey, Pennsylvania: IGI Global.
Yousefi, M., & Nassaji, H. (2019). A meta-analysis of the effects of instruction and corrective feedback on L2 pragmatics and the role of moderator variables: Face-to-face vs. computer-mediated instruction. ITL-International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 3(14), 12-24.
Yuan, F. (2018). Roles of action research in the professional development of Chinese language teachers. Chinese as a Second Language. The journal of the Chinese Language Teachers Association, USA53(3), 201-221.