Project: L2 Pragmatics and young learners

This image shows the book cover

Project 1: Primary English Project "PEP" (2016-2019)

Team members: Prof. Dr. Gila Schauer & research assistants M. Albrecht, S. Müller, D. Böhm


This project developed as a result of conversation that I had with  Dr. Grit Bergnerabout pragmatics and young language learners when she was still based at Erfurt. This initial conversation that mainly focused on the content of instructional materials used in German EFL primary classes lead to further discussions with MEd students and primary school teachers, as well as other researchers in other fields of primary EFL and the over time the different aims and parts of the project took shape. 

The aim of the project was to write a book for students, PhD students, pre-service teachers, in-service teachers and researchers that provided an overview of key pragmatic issues relevant for primary EFL instruction. It was hoped that this first research monograph on young EFL learners and pragmatics would help increase practitioners and researchers interest in and awareness of this topic and help to make pragmatics more visible in the field of young L2 learners. 

Since not all foreign language or teacher training programmes feature pragmatics, the monograph includes a very detailed review of the literature that introduces all concepts and terminology referred to and does not presume an any previous knowledge of pragmatics. It also introduces my concept of "Survival English" that is intended to provide beginner level learners with key speech acts that they may need in an emergency situation. 

The project consists of 4 parts:

  • A textbook analysis of 4 textbook series for years 3 and 4 of primary school (i.e., 8 textbooks in total) focusing on 10 speech acts (greetings, leave-takings, requests, responses to requests, expressions of gratitude, responses to expressions of gratitude, apologies, suggestions, responses to suggestions, and expressions of mental or physical states) 
  • An analysis of 22 picturebooks focusing on the same speech acts
  • A survey of EFL primary school teachers focusing on differentiation, inclusion, politeness, competences, teaching materials, childrens's literature, etc.
  • A contrastive analysis of oral and written data elicited from young EFL learners in different school contexts - a state primary and a private English language immersion school 

The results of this project were published in 2019 in the monographTeaching and Learning English in the Primary School: Interlanguage Pragmatics in the EFL context


(c) taken @ Pixabay

Projekt 2: Pragmatics and English in Secondary Education "PrESE" (2017- )

Team: Prof. Dr. Gila Schauer & research assistant D. Böhm

This project focuses on pragmatics and young learners in secondary school EFL contexts. To date the focus has been on materials analysis and the analysis of EFL learners' productive pragmatic competence in special needs and secondary general education. 


Schauer, G.A. (2022). Interlanguage pragmatic development in an instructed secondary school context - investigating input and output focusing on the speech acts of agreement and disagreement. In Halenko, N. & Wang, J. (Eds.), Pragmatics and English Language Learning (pp. 143-172). Cambridge University Press. 

Schauer, G.A. (2020). Lehrmaterialien für Sekundarschulschüler*innen mit speziellem Förderbedarf: eine kontrastive pragmatische Studie von Sprechakten in zwei Lehrwerken. In Glaser, K. & Limberg, H. (Eds.), Pragmatische Kompetenzen im schulischen Fremdsprachenunterricht (pp. 259-285). Peter Lang Verlag.


Project 3: Children's Literature, Pragmatics and Young Learners "ChilPY" (2020- )

[Translate to English:] Dieses Bild zeigt englischsprachige Kinderbücher.
(c) Wokingham Libraries @ Pixabay

Team: Prof. Dr. Gila Schauer, NN


The results of the PEP project revealed that the 22 children's books analysed in the first project tended to only contain a very limited number of speech acts that are necessary for everyday communication.

This research project aims to explore the potential of more recently published children's literature for the instruction of young L2 learners. It focuses on children's literature suitable for primary or secondary school EFL learners and concentrates on 

  • picturebooks published from the year 2000 onwards
  • graphic novels for children and teenagers
  • children's literature on specific topics (e.g., diversity, inclusion)


Schauer, G.A. (2023). L2 Pragmatics and CLIL in Primary EFL Education: Investigating the potential of graphic novels and picturebooks. In Falkenhagen, C. & Bergner, G. (Eds.), Storytelling in Primary CLIL (pp. 58-88). Gabriele Schäfer Verlag.

Schauer, G.A. (2022). Exploring the potential of graphic novels for L2 pragmatic teaching and learning – focus on young learners. The Language Learning Journal.

Additional articles / book chapters are in progress and under review. 


This image shows a keyboard.
(c) webandi @ Pixabay

Additional publications on pragmatics and young learners

In addition to publications that are part of research projects, I have also written articles on pragmatics and young language learners that are reviews or public commentaries:

Schauer, G.A. (2022). Teaching L2 Pragmatics to Young Learners: A Review Study. Applied Pragmatics, 4(2), 137-158. .[Open Access Teaching L2 pragmatics to young learners | John Benjamins (]

Beitrag im Wortmelder (Forschungsblog der Universität Erfurt) vom 23.03.2022:Nachgefragt: "Wie wichtig ist es für Kinder, sich in Krisensituationen in einer Fremdsprache ausdrücken zu können, Frau Prof. Schauer?"