The Effect of Pragmatic Instruction on the Syntactic Complexity of Iranian EFL Learners’ Suggestions and Requests

Maedeh Ghavamnia


A general question that is at the heart of much research in applied linguistics and second language acquisition is what makes a second or foreign language user, or even a native speaker, a more or less proficient language user? Many researchers and language practitioners believe that the constructs of second language performance and second language proficiency are multi-componential in nature, and that their principal dimensions can be adequately, and comprehensively, captured by the notions of complexity, accuracy and fluency (Skehan, 1998; Ellis, 2003, 2008; Ellis & Barkhuizen, 2005). Hence, this study sets out to examine the effect of pragmatic instruction operationalized through how the input is enhanced, on the syntactic complexity of the suggestions and requests a group of intermediate Iranian EFL learners make on a phone and email task, comparing their performance through pre- and post-tests. After conducting the Wilcoxon Signed Ranks Test, the findings indicated that input-based instruction of English suggestions and requests has a positive effect on the syntactic complexity of the speech acts produced by the participants on the post-tests in comparison to the pre-tests. The results are discussed with implications for classroom practices and future research.


EFL context; input-based instruction; pragmatic instruction; requests; suggestions; syntactic complexity

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