Pragmatics & Pragmatic Competence

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Pragmatics & Pragmatic Competence (1):

Pragmatics & Pragmatic Competence (1) TC2EN Linguistics for Primary School Teachers!

Only in … (Is it acceptable?):

Asking someone you have just met for the first time: ‘How much money do you earn?’ Asking a woman “How old are you?” “How much do you weigh?” اعطيني خبز for the shop seller ايش هادي الشخابيط؟ OR “Are you sick”, said a woman to me while I had Henna on my hands. Example: Complimenting What elements do we have here? Only in … (Is it acceptable?) Intercultural miscommunication is often caused when learners fall back on their L1.

What is Pragmatics?:

What is Pragmatics? “ Kasper (1997, 2000) defines pragmatics as the study of how a speaker uses language in social interaction and its effect on other participants in the communicative event. ” (Kasper, 1993, p. 3). Context refers to both social and cultural situations in which communication happens. These situations or circumstances affect how messages are created and conveyed by the speaker and how they are received by the listener.

What is Pragmatics?:

What is Pragmatics? Pragmatics is “ the study of language from the point of view of the users, especially the choices they make, the constraints they encounter in using language in social interaction, and the effects their use of language has on the other participants in an act of communication ” (Crystal, 1985, p. 240). Simply put, pragmatics is the study of the level of appropriateness of linguistic performance according to the context or situation.

Why should ESL/EFL Teachers Care about Pragmatics?:

Why should ESL/EFL Teachers Care about Pragmatics? Consider this scenario… A flight attendant is walking down the aisle of an airplane offering passengers coffee by saying: “Coffee please!” Does this make sense to you? Was the flight attendant’s utterance grammatically incorrect?

Why should ESL/EFL Teachers Care about Pragmatics?:

Why should ESL/EFL Teachers Care about Pragmatics? What should the flight attendant have said? – Why? Coffee? Would you like some coffee? Coffee for you, sir/ma’am? May I offer you some coffee? Something else? When using any language, just knowing the words and correct grammar are not enough. You also need to know what to say to whom , when , and how to say it – that’s pragmatic competence.

Pragmatic Competence:

Pragmatic Competence Pragmatic competence is ‘the ability to use language appropriately in a social context’ (Taguchi, 2009) In other words, having pragmatic competence means that a speaker knows how to use the language to achieve different purposes (such as requesting, refusing, complimenting, asking, hedging, complaining, greeting, promising, apologizing, informing, etc.). It also means that a listener knows how to look past a speaker’s words to understand the speaker’s real intention. Example: Jamila : It’s hot in here! Amal : Would you like me to open the window? Jamila: Yes, please.

Pragmatic Competence:

Pragmatic Competence What’s the difference in these utterances? In other words, when would you use each utterance below and with whom? Be quiet! Be quiet, please. Would you be quiet, please? Would you mind keeping your voice down? I’d really appreciate it if you would lower your voice. Shut up!

Communicative Competence :

Communicative Competence The concept of communicative competence (a term coined by linguist Dell Hymes in 1972) grew out of resistance to the concept of linguistic competence introduced by Noam Chomsky (1965). The term communicative competence refers to both the knowledge of a language and the ability to use it effectively. Also called communication competence. Most scholars now consider linguistic competence to be a part of communicative competence. Pragmatic competence is a fundamental aspect of a more general communicative competence .

Can We/ Should We Teach Pragmatic Competence?:

Can We/ Should We Teach Pragmatic Competence? Do you think that it is necessary/important to directly teach pragmatic competence in EFL classrooms in Bahrain? Before you answer this question, let me tell you my story at a supermarket in KSA… So what do you think? Is pragmatic competence something that should be taught in EFL classrooms?

Check Your Pragmatic Competence in English:

Check Your Pragmatic Competence in English You’re at a bookstore looking for a book. After 15 minutes of searching, you decide to ask for help. You see the store clerk at the other end of the bookstore. What do you say/do? Your instructor assigned the class group work projects. Your group had difficulty meeting, and so you weren’t able to complete the project on time and need to request an extension. What do you say to your instructor? You missed your bus, and the next one won’t be for another hour, but you need to get home immediately because you have to catch a flight with your family. You see a classmate and request a ride home with them. What do you say?

How Should Pragmatic Competence be Taught in an EFL Context?:

How Should Pragmatic Competence be Taught in an EFL Context? We should teach pragmatic competence, but do you think we can ? Why or why not? Does the MOE English curriculum take pragmatic competence into account? So how do we teach pragmatic competence? Indirectly How? Directly How?


S.U.R.E.????? According to Brock (2005, p.20) teachers should consider the simple acronym S.U.R.E .to guide them as they help their students See , Use , Review , and Experience pragmatics in the EFL classroom.

Homework…( I assigned you into groups, صاااااح؟)):

Homework …( I assigned you into groups, صاااااح؟) ) Read the Four S.U.R.E. Steps in: Brock. M. & Nagasaka , Y. (2005). Teaching Pragmatics in the EFL Classroom? SURE You Can!. TESL Reporter 38(1). pp. 17-26. (Uploaded). 2. Read, reflect on the four S.U.R.E steps; critically thinking about their implementation in the Bahraini EFL classroom from the perspective of an English language teacher. 3. Assign a reporter to present to the class in less than 4 minutes what the group came out with from the reading. 3. With your group, think of 2 example/scenarios of lack of pragmatic competence in an EFL classroom in Bahrain. 3. Explain how you can come up with activities/techniques that can help you to develop/teach pragmatic competence (directly or indirectly). We will go over this point after you finish from your 5 minutes presentation. Thursday’s class, in shaa Allah!


Take Away(s) Goodies…


After completing week 2, you should have learnt about… Check your handouts!! The yare a Cadeau de votre professeur

Note.. Pragmatics is NOT only studying politeness, request, apology, compliment, etc. It studies: :

Note.. Pragmatics is NOT only studying politeness, request, apology, compliment, etc. It studies: from: Yule, George. (1996). Pragmatics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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