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ABSTRACT  Native language users draw on implicit understandings and cultural patterns to create and understand messages in conversation. What can foreign language learners do to learn these implicit understandings and patterns so that they may appropriate the language well enough to accomplish the same? What basic unit of analysis can we use to build curricula supportive of this development? Adding to the complexity of interpreting and constructing meaning in a particular language is the cross-cultural factor. Ways of constructing conversations between two people from different cultures may have similarities and differences from ways in which Japanese and Americans construct conversations with members from their own individual cultures. Cross-cultural pragmatic knowledge is important to building the individual's ability to communicate with people from different cultures. This paper argues for giving higher priority to developing cross-cultural pragmatic competence in communication. Examples will be provided from Japanese, where knowledge about cross-cultural pragmatics helps a learner to construct meanings. Also included are examples of two approaches to designing curricula that would create contextualized opportunities for learners to develop this type of competence and how grammar, i.e., the metalinguistic knowledge about language, can be used to further this type of language learning.