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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: The Role of Learning Environment in the Development of Pragmatic Comprehension
Author: Naoko Taguchi
Institution: Carnegie Mellon University
Linguistic Field: Pragmatics
Abstract: This study examines the role of environment in the development of pragmatic comprehension. It tracks two groups of Japanese students of English: 60 students in a college in Japan (English as a foreign language [EFL] learners) and 57 students in a college in the United States (English as a second language [ESL] learners). The learners completed a computerized listening task that measured their ability to comprehend two types of implied meaning: indirect refusals ( = 24) and indirect opinions ( = 24). The task was given to each group twice, before and after the students received approximately 120–130 hr of classroom instruction. Comprehension was analyzed for accuracy (scores) and speed (average time taken to answer each item correctly). Results showed that, in both learner groups, accuracy and comprehension speed improved significantly over time. For the EFL group, the magnitude of effect was much less for speed than for accuracy. In contrast, ESL learners showed significant improvement in comprehension speed, with a sizable effect size, but only marginal improvement in accuracy.


This article appears IN Studies in Second Language Acquisition Vol. 30, Issue 4.

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