Teaching Pragmatic Competence: A Journey from Teaching Cultural Facts to Teaching Cultural Awareness

  • Iryna Lenchuk
  • Amer Ahmed

Abstract

Pragmatic competence is one of the essential competences taught in the second language classroom. The Canadian Language Benchmarks (CCLB, 2012a), the standard document referred to in any federally funded program of ESL teach- ing in Canada, acknowledges the importance of this competence, yet at the same time notes the limited resources available to help ESL teachers address it in the classroom. Informed by the theoretical construct of communicative competence and its application to second language learning, the article offers an exemplar of the whats and hows of teaching pragmatics in the ESL classroom. The article stresses the importance of making explicit to the learners the sociolinguistic and sociocultural variables that underlie native speakers’ linguistic choices. It is hoped that ESL learners will thus develop a better understanding of the reasons that make native speakers choose one linguistic expression rather than others when performing a certain linguistic act. The speech act of complimenting is used here as an exemplar.

Author Biographies

Iryna Lenchuk
Iryna Lenchuk is a PhD candidate in the Linguistics and Applied Linguistics program at the Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics at York University, Toronto, Ontario. She is also a part-time TESL Instructor at the Faculty of Continuing Education and Training, Seneca College, Toronto, Ontario.
Amer Ahmed
Amer Ahmed is a PhD candidate in the Linguistics and Applied Linguistics program at the Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics at York University, Toronto, Ontario.
Published
2014-02-20
How to Cite
Lenchuk, I., & Ahmed, A. (2014). Teaching Pragmatic Competence: A Journey from Teaching Cultural Facts to Teaching Cultural Awareness. TESL Canada Journal, 30(7), 82. https://doi.org/10.18806/tesl.v30i7.1153
Section
In the Classroom