Title page for ETD etd-11092009-124748

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Vitale, Sarah J
Author's Email Address svital1@lsu.edu
URN etd-11092009-124748
Title Towards Pragmatic Competence in Communicative Teaching: The Question of Experience Vs. Instruction in the L2 Classroom
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Foreign Languages & Literatures
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
King, Jeremy Committee Chair
Brody, Jill Committee Member
Thoms, Joshua Committee Member
  • pragmatic competence
  • communicative competence
  • pedagogical intervention
  • language acquisition
Date of Defense 2009-09-11
Availability unrestricted
Traditionally, pragmatic aspects of the Spanish language are overlooked in the communicative classroom. Pragmatic competence is important because it may ultimately determine whether a successful communicative interaction takes place. Successful communication in language learning must not only address linguistic forms but also acknowledge language as a reflection of the socio-cultural norms of the L2 community. The research questions of this thesis explore the aspects of experience and instruction and their degree of influence as they relate to the development of pragmatic competence. This thesis reports on the results of a pedagogically-based, empirical study in which the researcher investigated the extent to which course level, study abroad, and pedagogical intervention facilitate the development of pragmatic competence of L2 learners when making a request in Spanish. Two main aspects of politeness, pronominal address forms and verbal forms, were examined to measure the learnersí level of pragmatic competence. Whether responses were pragmatically-appropriate were based on the responses of native speakers of Spanish. The results of this study reveal that learners who have more experience or exposure to the language, or explicit classroom instruction do not necessarily possess a higher degree of pragmatic competence than those who have not. These findings suggest that perhaps grammatical competence and pragmatic competence may develop separately and at differing rates. Further research and attention to the various factors surrounding pragmatic competence is necessary in the language educatorís goal to aid the student towards acquisition of overall communicative competence.
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