Examining Egyptian ESL Learners’ Grammatical and Pragmatic Awareness


  • Nourhan Sorour


Interlanguage pragmatics, pragmatic awareness, grammatical awareness, communicative competence


Proficiency in second language (L2) has traditionally been linked to grammatical competence. However, as opposed to common misconceptions about language learning, to be proficient in a second language does not only entail the ability to produce grammatically correct sentences, but it also entails the ability to use this language appropriately. The purpose of this study is to compare the pragmatic awareness of Egyptian students in an English-medium university to their grammatical awareness in an attempt to determine whether there is, in fact, a need for ESL instruction there to focus more on developing ESL learners’ pragmatic awareness. Data were collected from 67 Egyptian ESL learners at two different proficiency levels by means of a judgment task questionnaire adapted from Bardovi-Harlig and Dörnyei’s 1998 study. In-group comparisons revealed no significant differences between the grammatical awareness and the pragmatic awareness of the members within each proficiency group. The results of the cross-group comparisons indicated, however, that the high-proficiency group displayed a significantly higher level of grammatical awareness than the low-proficiency group. On the other hand, analysis of the difference in the pragmatic awareness between the high- and low-proficiency groups did not yield any significant results. This indicated that possessing a high proficiency level in an L2 does not necessarily entail a higher level of pragmatic awareness and that more focus should be placed on developing L2 learners’ pragmatic ability.

Author Biography

Nourhan Sorour

Nourhan Sorour is Assistant Lecturer at the Department of English Language and Literature of Alexandria University in Egypt where she currently teaches undergraduate courses such as Research Writing and Introduction to Linguistics. She has a BA in English Language and Literature from Alexandria University and an MA in Applied Linguistics and TESOL from the American University in Cairo. She taught academic English at the Intensive English Program at the American University in Cairo during her two-year Teaching Fellowship there.




How to Cite

Sorour, N. (2018). Examining Egyptian ESL Learners’ Grammatical and Pragmatic Awareness. Arab Journal of Applied Linguistics, 3(1), 78–104. Retrieved from https://arjals.com/ajal/article/view/155