This discussion note concerns a key finding in a recent paper [. Lundell and Erman (2012). High-level requests: A study of long residency L2 users of English and French and native speakers]. That paper examines how highly advanced Swedish long-stay L2 speakers of English and of French perform L2 requests, and finds that they used downgrading internal modifiers a good deal less often than did native speakers. The authors seek to explain that finding solely in terms of the learners' states of knowledge, or willingness to use that knowledge. However, an equally important cause is probably that the learners were unable to access much of their knowledge during real-time task performance. This highlights the difficulty of explaining spoken interactive pragmatic performance solely from performance data. It also highlights the value of a well-known two-dimensional model of pragmatic acquisition as a tool for analyzing L2 behavior.