ERIC Number: ED411698
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997
Reference Count: N/A
Social Distance as a Factor in the Achievement of Pragmatic Competence. CLCS Occasional Paper No. 47.
Simpson, Barbara Lazenby
Acquisition of pragmatic competence by second language learners in the target language environment is examined, drawing on a study of learners of English as a Second Language in Dublin (Ireland). The hypothesis presented is that learners who perceive social or cultural distance between themselves and the target language culture will have greater difficulty in achieving pragmatic competence and developing cultural and pragmatic awareness than those who do not perceive this distance. The first section examines theories of communicative competence and the position of pragmatic competence within them. Organization of knowledge into schemata, and the influence this may have on the learner lacking schemata appropriate to new cultural situations, are discussed. Social distance is described as it applies to the language learner, and the stages through which a learner passes in the acculturation process are also considered. The phenomenon of culture shock and the stage of anomie as a potentially critical period for a learner are explored. The second section considers the theory of speech acts and their realization in achievement of communicative competence, and difficulties in cross-cultural communication. The third section introduces the empirical study, and the fourth presents its findings. Implications for instruction are discussed in the final section. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Trinity Coll., Dublin (Ireland). Centre for Language and Communication Studies.
Identifiers - Location: Ireland (Dublin)