Metapragmatic awareness in EFL: Reporting speech-acts

Eliza Kitis*, E. Dimitris Kitis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This paper lies in a poorly-researched area of interlanguage pragmatics, that of reporting discourse, and more specifically speech-acts. We present a small-scale study measuring L2 (non-native, of Greek L1) TEFL-training students’ ability in indirect speech, i.e., in reporting speech acts containing less conventionalized meaning modulators. The hypothesis that, despite their high linguistic competence in English, the students’ performance, and especially that of ‘freshers’, would drop significantly in reporting speech-acts containing such modulators was confirmed. The findings contribute to the persuasion that in EFL/ESL contexts, we need to focus on problems generated by poor understanding of functions in language use. The implications of this study are that rather than follow traditional ‘recipes’, i.e. technicalities such as backshifting, etc. in indirect-speech tasks, teaching methodologies need to develop students’ pragmatic competence, in this respect too, that will profitably also inform and complement technical aspects of reporting. In view of the findings, it is suggested that developing strategies of reporting speech-acts, and identifying utterance-force modulation vis-a -vis propositional (sentence) meaning can provide a platform for scaffolding reflective learning and developing metapragmatic awareness in L2. The article also provides modest evidence that courses raising pragmatic awareness should be included in EFL teacher-training curricula. The notion of utterance-type is also proposed as a useful level in accommodating pragmatic meaning in impoverished contexts of language teaching.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-32
Number of pages32
JournalInternational Journal of Language Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


  • (Meta)Pragmatic Awareness
  • Indirect Speech
  • Interlanguage Pragmatics
  • Reporting Indirect Speech
  • Utterance-Type Meaning


Dive into the research topics of 'Metapragmatic awareness in EFL: Reporting speech-acts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this