Pragmatic Failure in Cross-Cultural Communication

Xiaoli BAO


There is a phenomenon: a non-native speaker may confront miscommunication even with a good master of the target language, which is known as “pragmatic failure”. Unlike linguistic errors, native speakers often fail to recognize it as such and attribute it to boorishness, which may do more harm to communication. Though pragmatic failure is a primary cause of cross-cultural communication breakdown, it receives little attention, especially in traditional foreign language teaching. This thesis intends to examine Chinese English majors’ pragmatic failure in verbal communication, probes into the causes of pragmatic failures and puts forward strategies in avoiding pragmatic failure.


Pragmatic failure; Cross-cultural communication; English language teaching

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