Volume 13 (2008) Pages 30-45
There is a wide agreement that cultural differences should be dealt with in the EFL classroom for the sake of those learners already immersed in a high context culture such as Japan or Korea. Based on that sociolinguistic perspective, many culturally diverse (non)linguistic phenomena are taught in class. However, is this teaching effective in enhancing learners pragmatic competence? How well do they infer the implicated meaning behind common expressions, such as greetings, apologies, declining, and so on? Do they pay attention to both the literal meaning and the implicated meaning? The purpose of this paper is to examine whether or not there is a relationship between learners English proficiency and inference accuracy. Subjects of this study were 90 Japanese university EFL learners from three different classes. The material adapted for research was a movie scene that included 'phatic communion. The results of the research indicated that there is no relationship between English proficiency and inference accuracy, in other words, extensive knowledge obtained in a classroom does not necessarily include advanced skills in inferring the implicature such as politeness.