Noel Houck, associate professor of linguistics in the Department of English & Foreign Languages, has co-edited a volume of essays on pedagogical applications of pragmatic theory. “Pragmatics: Teaching Speech Acts,” was published by TESOL Press in 2010. Designed specifically for teachers of English as a Second/Foreign Language, the book serves as an introduction to the features of linguistic forms appropriate for performing various speech acts, as well as activities for assisting students in acquiring those features.
Language teachers have long been aware of the devastating effect of learners’ grammatically correct yet situationally inappropriate spoken or written communication. Houck’s book addresses how to raise learner awareness of pragmatic gaffes through research-based, field-tested activities, such as composing email requests, giving advice, making workplace requests, expressing opinions, providing constructive peer-to-peer critical feedback, negotiating refusals and collaborating on digital activities. This is one of the first books to provide teachers not only with background on each act, but also with vital pedagogical support in the form of worksheets, audio files, transcripts, and answer keys.