Spring 2018


Capstone Project

Degree Name



Laura Halldin

Content Expert

Brenda J. Ellingboe


The research question addressed in this project was, what are the areas of pragmatic difficulty for adult, native Arabic-speaking English learners when expressing politeness in English in ESL settings? Research of literature on the topic, accounts by cultural informants, and the author’s observations as an instructor of adult, native Arabic- speaking ELs informed five areas targeted for lessons in a pragmatics education seminar designed for this group—compliments, requests, inter-familial communication, communication between the sexes, and euphemisms. The author documents the details of the seminar lessons, which use a variety of student-centered instruction based on authentic language samples as advocated by researchers Wiggins and McTighe, Bardovi- Harlig and Mahan-Taylor, Knowles, and Parrish. The potential benefits and drawbackswhen implementing the seminar are weighed by the author who concludes that the academic exercise was a worthwhile endeavor with the potential to lessen the occasion of pragmatic error among the targeted group—adult, native Arabic-speaking English learners. Research to back the author’s conviction is cited.

Project Type



Adult Education, Curriculum, ESL/ ELLs

Included in

Education Commons