ERIC Number: ED207340
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Apr-21
Discourse Factors in the Evaluation of Language Ability.
Features of connected discourse that have been identified by discourse analysis may be applied to the evaluation of oral proficiency in a second language. For example, in the area of semantics, a speaker's control of the cause-result relationship involves, among other things, the ability to produce the different grammatical and lexical manifestations of this relationship. Evaluation of the many possible ways of expressing a relationship as in the sentence "He died of malaria" could be based on a scalar norm with age and education variables. The ability to make inference from texts is another testable skill. In the realm of phonological cohesion, the ability to place stress on the proper element according to the preceding context is an element of discourse competence that needs to be evaluated. Other examples of cohesion that can be evaluated in a discourse context are pronominalization and classification of lexical items within a hierarchy. Finally, the evaluation of oral language ability will consider the staging system, the set of strategies available for communicating semantic choices. Among the methods available for such an evaluation are comprehension questions, paraphrase in context, and text production. Norms for evaluating discourse may be absolute or variable; the norms will be established on stylo-statistical principles. (JB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Regional Seminar of the Southeast Asia Ministers of Education Organization Regional Language Centre (15th, Singapore, April 21-25, 1980). Best copy available.