Essay on acquiring communicative competence
The chapter deals with the concept of acquiring communicative competence, which plays a crucial role in learning and teaching a language. The chapter explores the development of this ability among children with the aim of helping an individual to understand how they acquire their communicative competence. The section begins by defining communicative competence as the capacity “to function according to cultural models for communicative behavior”. Findings from different researchers that have explored learning stylistic strategies have been presented. They all indicate that language is used by people to attain certain communicative goals that include giving opinions, providing instructions, or striking an agreement.
Based on the research conducted by Halliday on the acquisition of communicative styles, it is seen that the models of language that children develop are influenced by their social functions. The processes takes place as they mature and undergo different social experiences. A language fulfills certain universal functions that help children realize their intentions. However, the techniques of achieving them vary both culturally and linguistically. It is only through their daily experiences that children acquire and develop their communicative behavior. As they become aware of social distinctionsEssay on acquiring communicative competence within their community, they start to consider various communication styles valuable.
The author examines how children learn politeness, to express their feeling, to dispute, and become aware of status and role within a family. Every culture upholds certain values. Consequently, its members are socialized to display specific behaviors. The author gives the example of Japan’s communicative style that highlights the importance of showing empathy towards others. In this language, a harmonious relationship is built by both speakers and listeners. Speakers have to be sensitive to the feelings of others. Moreover, they must consider the impact of their statements on other people. On the other hand, listeners negotiate harmony by interpretation the underlying intentions of the speaker to decode any hidden feelings or intentions. The author examines how this is achieved in Japanese culture. The chapter points out that caregivers use direct admonitions and examples when teaching children.
The author compares Japanese culture to the Samoan one and points out that while the former emphasizes on the need for children to control their feelings, the later encourages them to display and discuss them, whether positive or negative. Children that speak the Samoan language consider their language as a tool through which they can express their attitudes and feelings. Several methods are also used to indicate the emotions and attitudes of a speaker. Additionally, their language has two sets of personal pronouns: one for expressing sympathy and another that is neutral for affect. The chapter indicates that children learn affect markers that indicate sympathy for themselves and later on learn those that express empathy for others. Given that this happens before they reach age four, it is evident that the Samoan culture lays emphasis on the need to express and discuss one’s emotions.Essay on acquiring communicative competence
With respect to learning to dispute, the author points out that some speech communities encourages the open display of conflict. According to Marjorie Goodwin and Charles Goodwin, this is especially the case among African-American preadolescents. Instead of mitigating disapproval or deferring to others, they tend to engage in verbal confrontation. Though these children apply several stylistic patterns when engaged in a dispute, the speakers indicate opposition from the very start of their turn.
The author indicates that children learn status and roll through socialization. The process is influenced by the roles that they perform. In the family settings, they first observe that characteristics such as gender and age create different categories of people. When exploring status and role within the context of American English and culture, the author points out that children lack power since they fail to attract the attention of adult speakers. Additionally, their speaking turns are often interrupted by adults. In most cases, it is the children that receive directives. They are therefore the ones controlled by others.
The author concludes by exploring ways in which children develop gender-sensitive patterns through which they express directives. According to a research done by Gleason, children at age four issued directives in a style that resembled that of their same-sex parent. Additionally, the author notes that children develop their notion of gender and social relation through incorporation and exposure within given family interactions. To support this claim, the chapter refers to a study conducted by Elinor Ochs and Carolyn Taylor that identified mundane family communications as having a profound impact on the construction of gender understandings among children.
Discussion questions-essay on acquiring communicative competence
- Discuss the values that are upheld by your culture and that are displayed by its members through their behavior.
- How are children taught communicative skills in your culture? For instance, discuss the use of examples and direct admonitions by caregivers.
- In your culture, are children encouraged to guard their feelings or to discuss and display them openly? Why?
- There are specific rules that govern disagreements. Discuss any two stylistics patterns used by children in your culture when engaged in a dispute.
- List categories of people in your culture that have more rights than others and discuss the powers they hold.
- How are children incorporated into family interactions in your culture?