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Socio-Psychological Determinants of ESL Pragmatic Competence in Nigeria

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Abstract:

The inability of Nigerian secondary school students` inability to match utterances with contexts in which they are appropriate (Pragmatic competence) has affected their overall communicative competence. It is therefore not surprising that misunderstandings and misinterpretations often characterize speakers` intention in utterances. Scholars have identified socio-psychological factors as major determinants of language proficiency which subsumes pragmatic competence. Hence, this ex-post facto research examined the socio-psychological determinants of pragmatic competence among 2,400 senior secondary school students in South-Western Nigeria. Three research questions were raised while pertinent data for the study were generated with the use of pragmatic competence test and questionnaire on socio-psychological determinants of students` pragmatic competence. The data generated ere analyzed using multiple regression analysis. The results revealed that: Socio-psychological factors to a large extent determine students` pragmatic competence; students home background, interest and verbal ability are the specific socio-psychological determinants of students. Pragmatic competence and they are effective predictors of students pragmatic competence. Based on predictors of student pragmatic competence. Based on these findings, it is recommended that English Language teachers should move beyond linguistic processing of meaning to pragmatic meaning in language teaching and learning, ad that authentic language samples must be used by English language teachers to provide practice for students in expressing themselves pragmatically, not just linguistically. English language teachers must also adopt teaching and learning strategies that will maximize pragmatic competence of the earners given the variations in their interest, verbal ability and home background.

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