Pragmatic Competence: Difficulties faced by Pakistani EFL Learners

  • Muhammad Ashraf University of Lahore, Lahore, Pakistan
  • Dr. Sikander Ali University of Lahore, Lahore, Pakistan
Keywords: Pragmatic Competence, EFL Learners, Pragmatic Failure


The study investigates the pragmatic knowledge; pragmatic competence level as well as speech act strategies used by Pakistani EFL learners. It reveals that Master level English language learners are unable to produce and comprehend the intended meanings in the target language. As a result, pragmatic failure and misunderstanding occurred. Pragmatic comprehension and production is essential for effective communication especially for EFL learners in this modern age where people have to communicate cross-culturally as English is being used as lingua franca internationally. The study explores the problems faced by EFL learners in comprehending and producing the correct speech acts in English. The study used two data collection tools: a WDCT in which speech acts of refusal and apology are used to find out pragmatic competence level and difficulties faced by Pakistani EFL learners. A Likert Scale questionnaire is used to know about the views and suggestions of the Pakistani EFL learners about the teaching and learning environment regarding the pragmatics. The data of speech acts of refusal is analyzed qualitatively according to the taxonomy of Beebe, keeping in view frequency, shift and content of semantic formulas. While the data of speech acts of apology is analyzed according to the speech act strategies of Cohen. Data collected through the Likert scale questionnaire is analyzed quantitatively. The study finds out that pragmatic competence level of Pakistani EFL learners is very low as well as they have to face many difficulties which result in pragmatic failure.  Findings of the study show that Pakistani EFL learners lack knowledge of pragmatics in the target language. EFL learners acknowledged that pragmatic knowledge is very important for effective communication and it should be an integral part of syllabus and classroom activities.