Sociolinguistic and Pragmatic competences

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September 10, 2009 by Willy Cardoso

Teachers need to be more aware of the sociolinguistic and intercultural components of  language use, and focus more on the development of the pragmatic competences and non-verbal communication skills of their students. Coherence, natural sequencing, appropriate style and register, facial expressions, eye contact, confidence, and a sympathetic relation with the interlocutor are to be fostered by language teaching. We know this is not easy to find ready in a coursebook or language program, so my suggestion is: find videos of role-models, leaders, artists, i.e. people that catch your attention through their spoken words and use these videos to make noticeable the features of good communication. That will inspire your students and yourself to improve in other aspects of spoken English.


 “Communicative Competences” as presented in the Common European Framework comprise:

1.  Linguistic competences

 1.1    Lexical competence

 1.2   Grammatical competence

 1.3    Semantic competence

 1.4     Phonological competence

 1.5     Orthographic competence

 1.6     Orthoepic competence


2. Sociolinguistic competences

 2.1    Linguistic markers of social relations

 2.2    Politeness conventions

 2.3   Expressions of folk wisdom

 2.4   Register differences

 2.5   Dialect and accents


3. Pragmatic competences

 3.1    Discourse competence

 3.2   Functional competence


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