ERIC Number: EJ1080038
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Abstractor: As Provided
How Does Pragmatic Competence Develop in Bilinguals?
International Journal of Multilingualism, v12 n4 p419-434 2015
This paper aims to discuss how the emerging new language with its own developing socio-cultural foundation affects the existing L1-governed knowledge and pragmatic competence of "adult sequential bilinguals." It is assumed that these bilinguals already have an L1-governed pragmatic competence at place, which will be adjusted to accommodate the socio-cultural requirements of the new language. So there is no separate L2 pragmatic competence. What happens is that the "existing L1-governed pragmatic competence becomes bilingual pragmatic competence" while changing dynamically under the influence of the new language and its socio-cultural requirements and behaviour patterns blending the emerging features and skills with the existing ones. I will argue that there is a basic difference between the development of pragmatic competence in L1 and the sequential development of bilingual pragmatic competence. While the former is controlled mainly by the socio-cultural environment the latter is mostly motivated by individual will and preference. In the L1 language development and social development go hand in hand as a mostly subconscious, automatic and instinctive process in which individual consciousness and willingness to acquire social skills and knowledge play a relatively limited role. The whole process depends mainly on exposure to and nature of socio-cultural environment. Bilingual pragmatic competence, however, develops differently. When the new language is added gradually the existing L1-governed pragmatic competence is affected (besides exposure to L2 and environment) and motivated by individual control, consciousness and willingness to modify existing skills and behaviour patterns and acquire particular social skills and ignore others. This is not to say that the socio-cultural exposure and environment is not important. It of course is. However, it appears that there is more individual control included in bilingual pragmatic development than is the case in L1 pragmatic development.
Descriptors: Pragmatics, Interpersonal Competence, Social Environment, Native Language, Social Development, Second Language Learning, Bilingualism, Sociocultural Patterns, Individual Characteristics, Adults, Behavior Patterns, Socialization, Interlanguage
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
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