Relationship between Cultural Distance and Pragmatic Comprehension

Vahid Rafieyan, Maryam Sharafi-Nejad, Zahra Khavari, Ayoob Damavand, Lin Siew Eng


The distance between language learners’ culture and the culture of the target language community is considered to play a crucial role in determining the level of pragmatic comprehension. In this respect, a study was conducted over 30 German students, perceived as culturally close to the British, and 30 South Korean students, perceived as culturally distant from the British, studying English as a Foreign Language at a university in their home countries. Pragmatic comprehension ability was assessed through a 24-item multiple choice pragmatic comprehension test. The findings suggested the crucial role of cultural distance in pragmatic comprehension ability, that is, a shorter distance from the culture of the target language community led to a higher level of pragmatic comprehension. The pedagogical implications of the findings suggested the provision of opportunities for the students of English as a Foreign Language to be exposed to the culture of the target language community through cultural instruction, educational sojourn, or telecollaborative partnership.

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English Language Teaching       ISSN 1916-4742 (Print)   ISSN  1916-4750 (Online)

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