Kurdistan Region-Iraq Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research Salahaddin University -Erbil


A Thesis Submitted to the Council of the College of Languages, Salahaddin University-Erbil in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in English Language and Linguistics

By Hayder Mohamad Sadiq -B.A. Salahaddin University-Erbil-2007

Supervised by
Asst. Prof. Dr. Mohamed Basil Kasim Al-Azzawi

April 2010 AD

Gulan 2710 K

Jamad Al-awal 1431 H

Supervisor’s Report
I certify that this thesis has been prepared under my supervision at Salahaddin University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in English Language and Linguistics.

Signature: Supervisor: Asst. Prof. Dr. Mohamed Basil Kasim Al-Azzawi Date: / / 2010

In view of the available recommendations, I forward this thesis for debate by the examining committee.

Signature: Name: Dr. Saman Hussein Omar Chairman of the Departmental Committee on Post-Graduate Studies in the Department of English, College of Languages, Salahaddin University Date: / /2010


Examining Committee’s Report
We certify that we have read this thesis and as an Examining Committee examined the student in its content, and in our opinion, it is adequate with the standing of ― …………..‖ as a thesis for the degree of Master of Arts in English Language and Linguistics.

Signature: Prof. Dr. Muhammad Ma‘ruf Fattah Chairman

Signature: Asst. Prof. Dr. Wuria Azadin Ali Member

Signature: Dr. Hoshang Faruq Jawad Member

Signature: Asst. Prof. Dr. Mohamed Basil Kasim Al-Azzawi Member and Supervisor



/ 2010

Approved by the Council of the College of Languages

Signature: Name: Prof. Dr. Nawzad Hassan Khoshnaw, Dean of the College of Languages

Date: III


/ 2010

Chapter one is an introduction to the thesis. The questionnaire contains situations that require verbal and non-verbal communicative aspects of the language. Among many factors. pragmatic. and the method are explained. the significance. a study of senior university students’ communicative competence. Chapter four dwells on some factors that affect language use and language learning. the researcher sheds light specifically on the IV . explores the term. The thesis is divided into six chapters. Chapter two is a review of the emergence of communicative competence. It is felt that students‘ communicative competence needs more development and maturation. The hypothesis. In this study it is suggested that senior university students be exposed and trained in the language‘s sociocultural. the historical development and areas of communicative competence are elaborated on. This thesis. The term itself has undergone many modifications since it was first publicly discussed by Dell Hymes in 1966. The term has been and still is most influential in the area of Second Language Acquisition and English as a Foreign Language. Chapter three explores and reviews the models of Communicative Competence in second or foreign language pedagogy. the purpose.Abstract The term Communicative competence has changed a lot of the way language is seen or taught. and communicative aspects of English. the researcher studies some aspects of the term by having senior students answer a questionnaire. and in the light of a general framework of communicative competence. The principles of communicative language teaching are outlined.

References are made to language transfer. draws some the conclusions. The study analyzes speech acts which embodies verbal and non-verbal communicative aspects of language. Chapter six. A bibliography of books and sources on the consulted books follows. assumptions and communicative or conversational style of Kurds and Americans. Chapter five focuses on pragmatic competence as a crucial component of communicative competence. V . and speech acts. differences in cultural values. According to the results of the study. the last chapter. and abstracts in Kurdish and Arabic come at the end. There will be reference to some cultural differences between Americans and Kurds. recommendations. interlanguage pragmatics. These aspects are related to the study of senior students‘ communicative competence. and suggestions for further studies. the language used by the students has many interlanguage features. Kurdish senior students of English have insufficient communicative competence to interact with native speakers of American English.sociocultural and sociolinguistic aspects. The subjects were ten Americans and forty senior college students from the department of English language. Also.

.................................................1 Canale and Swain (1980)...............................................................4 Communicative Competence ..........................................................................0 Introduction ................................................2................. 1 1............. 20 3................................................................................................Table of Contents Abstract.3 Delimitation ..................................... 6 2........................2 Universal Grammar and Foreign Language Learning ........... 7 2.............................2 Dell Hymes (Ethnography of Speaking)...........4 Gumper’z view ......... 3 2.................................................... 2 1...................1 Purpose of the Study .. 24 VI ................................................................................................... 20 3............................................1.........................1....2.............. 2 1.............4 Procedure ............................ 13 2.........................................................................................................2..................2...................2 Bachman and Palmer (1996) Communicative Language Ability . 5 2....... 3 2........................................................3 Units of Analysis and the SPEAKING Model ...... 1 1...................................... 1 1.................. 2 Chapter Two .............................1 Criticism of Chomsky’s Theory ...............3 Halliday’ view .......... IV Chapter One ...... 6 2...................................................... 20 3...................................... Canale (1983) ........................................................................................ 3 Emergence of the Notion “Communicative Competence” ...........................1.... 17 2..........................5 Value of the Study ..............1 Models of Communicative Competence .............................................................................................................................2 The Ethnography of communication .......................... 9 2............... 1 1....................................................................................................................... 20 3..................................................................2 The Significance of the Study... 20 Communicative Competence and Communicative Language Teaching .............................................................................. 3 2............................................. 1 Introduction ..............1.................... 19 Chapter Three ..................................0 Introduction ..............4 Hypotheses ...............1 Chomsky’s Theory of Language Acquisition ......................

.2 Relation between Language and Culture: ........................................................................3............1.............................1.....................................................2.....1 Cultural Diversity ............................................................... 29 2-Discourse competence ...................................................3..................................................................... 43 4............0 Introduction ................................................... 57 4...................2 Communicative competence as the goal of Communicative Language Teaching .............................. 51 4........................................................................ 29 3Linguistic Competence .....................7 Time ...................................................................... 52 4.......... 36 Chapter Four ...................................................................................................................... 34 3..............9 Age........................... 55 4.3......................................................................................................................................................2...........................3 Privacy .............. 47 4......................3 Comparing Kurdish and American Culture........................1 Defining Culture .......................................3.... 42 Language.3................... 55 4................................................................3............................6 Change and Destiny ............1..................................................... 45 4......................10 Male.....................4 Equality ..... 32 3..................... 30 4-Formulaic Competence .....................3........................Female Behavior............... 27 3..............1 Language Knowledge (Language competence) ......................................... 57 4....... 31 5-Interactional Competence..........................................................2 Individualism ..............3 Celce-Murcia’s (2007) Proposed Revision of 1995 Models .3................................................ 52 4.....................3........................4 Other related views ....... 42 4..........................3............................................. 58 VII ...............................................................................................................1.......5 Informality....8 View of Human Nature ................................................................................... 25 Pragmatic knowledge........................................2 Strategic competence .......................................................... 47 4......................... 28 1-Sociocultural competence ............................... 25 12Organizational competence ..............................................3.. 42 4.... 31 6-Strategic Competence ..................... 26 3................................... Culture and Communication.. 42 4......................................................................

........... 60 4.............4...............1.............4.................................1............................................................4......................... 80 1-Direct Complaints ................................................4.....5.................................................... 60 4...............................................5 Nonverbal aspects of communication ................ 68 4..... 58 4..............5 Paralinguistics .....................3.............................................. 84 VIII ........2 Direct versus Indirect Communication: ................4 Communicative (Conversational) Style of Americans and Kurds..........4.............................. 68 4...................4........................ 74 5...........3 Turn taking and pause time: ......................2 Complaints .....................................3.............. 81 2-Indirect Complaints ........................................................... 72 5................................................ 70 5...............5............................................ 63 4................ 70 The Study of Fourth Year Students’ Communicative Competence ..........................5 Speech Act Theory ..... 70 5...................2.................................4 Proxemics ..........12 Small vs.................5.......................................................................................................................................................4..... 66 4................ 69 Chapter Five ................ 69 4...................2. 84 5.............................2.......... 4 Cross-cultural pragmatic failure...... 78 5..3 Haptics ...........1 Appropriate topics for conversation: ..1 Pragmatics in Foreign Language Learning: ....................2 Oculesics ....... 70 5...................2 A Review of the Speech Acts Examined .................................4................................................ 82 5................4 Silence ........................................................................1............. Positive Values of Mainstream Americans ......... 62 4....................................................2. 72 5................................................................................................................................... 66 4...0 Introduction ...........................2 Interlanguage pragmatics .................. 75 5.....1... 82 4............ 65 4.................4.......1 Apology ..................................11 High and Low Context Cultures ............................................. large power distance ........................5.................... 67 4............................4......................................................................1........3 Pragmatic Transfer ........................3 Compliments / Responses ..................4................................................... 78 5.......................4 Refusals ..........1 Kinesics...........5........

.....5.....Requests ...4 Refusal of Suggestions ............................... 90 5......................................1 Direct Strategies ........................................... 87 5........ 93 2............................ 85 5..2 American Refusals ..2......................................................3 Study Objectives .................... 92 2....................................................................................3..Refusals ..2...... 97 4...................................................Correction .. Direct .......................5..3 The Study ..............2...............................................................3..........................................4 Analysis of the study and Students’ answers: ................................7 Speech Act of Correction ..... 101 7................................. Indirect .........................2......................... 91 5............................. 89 5......4...............3 Non-conventionally indirect strategies ............................. 84 2........................................................................................................................6 Thanking ....................2 Refusals of Invitations ..................................3 Refusal of Offers ........................................................................................................................................................... 87 5..........2.................................................................. 88 5........................................ 92 1-Written discourse completion test (WDCT):.................... 87 5............Multiple-choice discourse completion test (MDCT) .....................2 Conventionally indirect strategies ...........................Thanking .......... 84 1.5..................................................................................................5 Requests .............2...........2..2..............................1 Refusals of Requests .4................. 93 5........ 102 IX ............ 90 5..................................................................2. 98 5.....................................................2 Participants ................... 96 3-Compliment and compliment responses ........................4 Methodology ...................2..................2..............4.............................. 93 1-Apologies ............................2........................... 90 5.....................2............................4..............Complaining ............................................ 89 5....1 Research Questions ............................................4......................................... 86 5.....................4..................... 91 5..... 86 5.............................. 88 5.................... 99 6......................................1 Functions of Refusals .....................................................................3..............................2............2........................ 88 5...3...................5..........................................2...........

..........2 Suggestions for Further Research ........................................... 102 Chapter Six ................................................................................................................. 113 Abstract in Arabic Abstract in Kurdish X ............. 107 Appendix ...............................................................................................................................................................................................................................1 Conclusions ..........8........ 109 Bibliography ...................................................................2 pedagogical Recommendations ...................................... 105 6............................................................ 106 6................ 105 6............................. 105 Conclusion......................Introduction .............................................................

For example according to the study. The aim of this thesis is indicating those aspects of language that the senior students have difficulty at. speakers of English language as a foreign language have problems with communicating successfully in English.2 The Significance of the Study This study is an important endeavor in understanding the effectiveness of the current curriculum for teaching English language at the departments of English language.Chapter One Introduction 1. preferred topics for conversation.3 Delimitation The present study reviews the causes that lead Dell Hymes disagree with Chomsky on first language acquisition. and values. Among the topics are: cultural assumptions. it is necessary that the curriculum should be based on a generally accepted framework of communicative competence. It basically asks for innovation and change of the curriculum. In the course of doing so. The study is helpful for both students and instructors. the thesis also points out some issues that have to be given more attention to by students and teachers. It suggests some ideas and proposals it deems necessary to be considered. The study shows how the students have benefited from the curriculum. 1. and channels of communications. The study then 1 . 1. The thesis discusses the communicative style of Kurdish people and American people and the factors that create their distinctive style of communication via language. Then it focuses on the extensions of communicative competence in the field of language learning.1 Purpose of the Study Generally speaking. beliefs.

4 Hypotheses The main hypotheses of this study can be put in the following points: 1. It is a beginning in looking at language through a new and effective principle.There are features of the first language in producing speech acts or other channels of communication.Culture shapes language and should be studied or merged with other branches of linguistics. can be valuable to the students and college instructors. 4. 1.Knowledge of culture is important for successful communication with native speakers of English language. 1. Second way is called Multiple-choice discourse completion test. In other words language transfer can be noted in students‘ oral or written language utterances. this lack of knowledge can cause cross-cultural miscommunication. 3.4 Procedure The procedure followed in this study is based on two methods for eliciting data from a questionnaire. seeing language as a dynamic tool for making different people from different speech communities understand each other without getting lost in a communication breakdown. as a first step.5 Value of the Study This study.Students have insufficient cultural and pragmatic awareness. That is. Its values are focusing on language as a means of communication.limits its emphasis on the components of communicative competence with sociocultural and pragmatic competence as two important components. First evaluation test is written discourse completion test. 1. 2. 2 . specially speech acts.

shifts of attention and interest. 1971). Hymes‘ use of the term started a revolution in language teaching and linguistic theory: many other scholars and linguists proposed their model and definition of the notion. in a completely homogeneous speech-communication. unconscious. (Chomsky. and errors (random or characteristic) in applying his knowledge of this language in actual performance.1. who know its (the speech community's) language perfectly and is unaffected by such grammatically irrelevant conditions as memory limitations. 3) He argues that the best form of language linguists should study is the abstract knowledge an ideal speaker has. p. An account of the historical background of the development of the term is given below. In it he outlined his ideas about the goals of linguistics. the term communicative competence was coined by Dell Hymes (1966. distractions. 3 . Chomsky mainly focuses on the linguistic knowledge an ideal speaker has of his or her language.1 Chomsky’s Theory of Language Acquisition In 1965 Noam Chomsky published Aspects of the Theory of Syntax. abstract rules of grammar in the mind of an ideal speaker or listener. He calls this knowledge ―linguistic competence‖. He states that in this often-quoted statement: Linguistic theory is concerned primarily with an ideal speaker-listener. This ideal speaker should not be affected by memory limitations or distractions.0 Introduction Basically. It refers to the perfect. 2. He introduced the term in his criticism of Chomsky‘s view of ―competence‖ and ―performance‖. 1965.Chapter Two Emergence of the Notion “Communicative Competence” 2.

Performance utterances are often characterized by irrelevant features that do not exist in the rules of grammar. disconnected phrases‖. not only that but also new sentences or utterances. Performance.. performance is an imperfect reflection of linguistic competence. What is interesting to Chomsky is the rapidity of language acquisition by children. 3). according to Chomsky. He devoted most of his works for analyzing the underlying rules of English grammar. unfinished structures. children‘s input is the performance by the adult speakers. performance is ―the actual use of language in concrete situations‖ (Chomsky. incoherent utterances and pauses.etc. 1965. on the other hand. And adult speakers often speak with ―false starts.Linguistic competence. the main question Chomsky posed was how children learned an ideal linguistic competence when their main language input is imperfect. Competence meaning ―speaker-hearer‘s knowledge of his language‖ is tacit knowledge. Chomsky emphasized that linguists should study the rules of grammar of their native languages. being the output of competence. It helps speakers produce an infinite number of sentences or utterances. enables a speaker to become an expert in her own native language. Chomsky makes an important distinction between ―competence‖ and ―actual performance‖. obviously. 4 . is misleading for children learning their first language. Examples of such deviations vary from slips of the tongue. According to Chomsky. Thus. hesitations. Chomsky‘s objective in paying all his attention to studying these rules was to figure out the links that relate meaning inside the brain of the speaker to sound forms that represent these meanings in the mouth of the speaker.. While. Because. p. the factors affecting such behaviors are in the scope of psycholinguistic studies: they are considered mental and neurological. He called his perspective ―generative grammar‖: the rules generate an endless number of sentences or utterances. Clearly.

Among those who opposed Chomsky‘s insistence on grammatical competence is the American anthropologist and sociolinguist Dell Hymes. and adoption his own notion of Language Acquisition Device (LAD). since it is harder for them to learn a language at an old age (Robert Shimtt. According to him.The answer to this and other queries was in Chomsky‘s rejection of Skinners‘ theory of Behaviorism. Thus. Chomsky came under attack and criticism from other linguists and scholars.2 Universal Grammar and Foreign Language Learning The theory of Universal Grammar was Chomsky‘s explanation for the acquisition of first language by children.1. Applications of UG to the learning or acquisition of foreign language is uncertain. He then called it Universal Grammar (UG). and the goal of linguistic grammars was to discover the rules and principles underlying all languages. UG can only explain the success of very young children acquiring first language during a particular period called critical period. p. 2002. human beings are endowed with an in-built device for acquiring any language.UG might not even be available for years after puberty. Teachers. One of the reasons that makes foreign language learning researchers doubt the validity of UG is the issue of the critical period. 116) Researchers studying foreign language learning from a UG angle mostly focus on pointing to the linguistic competence of the learners. teachers assess learners‘ knowledge by giving them sentences and asking the learners to judge the grammaticality of the sentence. This means that older learners of other languages must use other means of learning. Since his theory of language acquisition is purely linguistic. 5 . too. try to find out what the students know rather than what they can say or write in spontaneous real life situation. 2. This method has been dominant to date in the teaching of English language at the Kurdish universities and schools. abstract and vague.

Hymes makes an analogy or comparison of Chomsky‘s distinction of linguistic competence and performance: linguistic competence linguistic performance innately-derived power in the eating the apple.2 Dell Hymes (Ethnography of Speaking) 2. 6 . Sociolinguistics. although Chomsky refers to it as language in use. the same thing with Chomsky‘s category of performance. thrusting the Garden of Eden perfect speaker-hearer into a fallen world intuition and linguistic knowledge real speech of interlocutors in a of an abstract. isolated.2.1 Hyme‘s view of Chomsky‘s competence and performance Functional This focus on psychological restrictions that deal with memory and perception makes Chomsky‘s view totally omit some very important and crucial aspects of language use. Linguistics Table 1. ideal social world speaker-hearer internal to linguistic structure language form grammaticality as a criterion Generative Linguistics (Chomskyian school) external to linguistic structure language function & use acceptability as a criterion Linguistic Anthropology.1 Criticism of Chomsky’s Theory Hymes (1971) comments on Chomsky‘s definition of competence and performance. It ignores the socio-cultural significance of any human interaction. he points out that Chomsky‘s competence doesn‘t account for language use.2.

and that any linguistic theory must account for the study of performance: The concept of performance will take on great importance. expressive values. and he also argued that linguistic theory. the study of the variety of genres. especially language function. insisted that the only knowledge counted in linguistic theory is that of formal structures. the consitutive role of sociocultural features that can take into account socio-economic differences. dance. in addition to knowledge of formal structure. that interrelate with speech in the communicative life of a society and in terms of which the relative importance and meaning of speech and language must be assessed (Hymes. p. 284). argues against the pervasive theory of linguistics of that time. narration. Hymes states that performance is closely related to social life. through ethnographic research. found variation in underlying knowledge of speakers. Hymes.2. Hymes had opposite ideas. song. further.2 The Ethnography of communication Being an anthropologist. multilingual mastery. 1971. Hymes noticed that linguists had paid little or no attention to other fields of study that interact with linguistics. and independence of sociocultural features‖ (1971. drama. visual art.Hymes. 1996). instrumental music. socially determined preception. contextual styles and shared norms for the evaluation of variables. it ignored important 7 . and also. relativity of competence. should also count for ―patterns of use‖ used by native speakers (Cazden. 2. homogeneous speech community. Anthropology was not flawless either. in so far as the study of communicative competence is seen as an aspect of what from another angle may be called the ethnography of symbolic forms. 274). While Chomsky assumed that linguistic competence is shared by all individual native speakers of a language. He stated that there was a great need for an alternative theory: A theory is required that can deal with a heterogeneous speech community differential competence. He called on the linguists ―to transcend their notions of perfect competence.

One of the general questions the ethnography of communication asked was ―what does a speaker need to know to communicate appropriately within a particular speech community. According to Hymes. doing ethnographic researches helps a person understand about their own unconscious rules of speaking. He turned to a new field that covers this interrelationship. Or if a male student. he introduced the new discipline in his essay ―The ethnography of speaking‖ in 1962. a greeting is a question about the other person‘s health: ―how are you?‖ but in Iraq sometimes wishing someone good health can be greeting ―May God help them‖. where. who has learned English as a foreign language without interacting or living with 8 . the emphasis on functions of language. A conversation taking place during a court meeting is completely different from one happening between close friends. It is knowledge of not only knowing the rules of communication (linguistics and sociolinguistics) but also cultural rules that create the context of speaking. p. 2). and how does he or she learn to do so?‖ (Savile-Troike. not how. 2003. Hymes believed that linguists need ―to transcend their notions of perfect competence. was a clear departure from the goals set by other linguists. What the speaker has to know is communicative competence. Instead the priority of the ethnography of communication was when. It was a reaction to Chomsky‘s predominant idea ―if we hope to understand human language and the psychological capacities on which it rests. or for what purpose it is used‖ (1968. to whom. The goal of the ethnography of communication.aspects of culture. This new discipline focused on the patterning of communicative behavior since it is one of the crucial parts on which the system of culture is built. Some examples will illustrate that point. and independence of socio-cultural features‖ (1971. by whom. Since it requires studying other cultures. 62). under which social circumstances something can be said. both fields of study only complete one another to help a child acquire a correct and appropriate language. in what manner. It took language as a ―socially situated cultural form‖. we must first ask what it is. Generally. homogeneous speech community. 274). p.

They are concerned with the linguistic resources people use in context. communication situation. Values. These and other cross-cultural encounters between speakers from different countries prove that culture and language are like bones and meat in a human body. when not to speak. shared sociocultural understandings regarding speech (sherzer 1975).Speech Community: according to Hymes (1974. routines. the ways of speaking of a speech community. Below are explanations of the major concepts followed by elaboration of the Speaking model: 1. functions of language. 9) "the starting point is the ethnographic analysis of the communication conduct of a community". beliefs. Lyons (1970) uses shared language use. Hymes also introduced a tool for analyzing speech communication he called it SPEAKING model. They share knowledge of what to say. how to say it. compliments a male American friend‘s looks. and patterns of communication in addition to many other features of communication held 9 . Different scholars and linguists have defined speech community according to different criteria. culture without language is incomplete and vice versa. but he might be thought of as a homosexual person. communication event. Members of a particular speech community know ―the way of speaking‖ of other members. Chief among these are speech community. and communication act.2. speech acts etc. p. assumptions and superstitions are reflected in the language of every nation.3 Units of Analysis and the SPEAKING Model Ethnographers analyze speech behavior in its widest cultural and social contexts in order to discover culturally distinctive variations. ―shared norms‖ and values concerning language use (Labov 1972). Hymes introduced several concepts as basic units for the ethnographic study of speaking. he might get in an embarrassing situation. Furthermore. when to speak. These concepts can be considered as objects of analysis.native speakers of English. pattern of use. 2. What is common in all these definitions is shared knowledge and experience.

The situation may remain the same in different locations or be different in the same location. Some communicative events have been labeled. students do not speak unless they are asked to talk or want to ask a question. It has a topic and participants using a certain variety of a language. as well as a shift in focus from…. more than one communicative event may take place. and an auction are examples of communicative situations. A holiday party. 4. a religious sermon. a woman asking a shopkeeper about the cost of a coat and the shopkeeper answering her is a speech event.text to…interaction.62) A communicative situation may have more than one communicative event.p. 2002. 2. A speech event constitutes an important unit of analysis: Hymes replaces Chomsky‘s ―utterance‖ with speech event: The speech event is to the analysis of verbal interaction what sentence is to grammar…It represents an extension in the size of the basic analytical unit from the single utterances to stretches of utterances. It has a beginning and an end. which may differ in different communities.Communicative act: is the action done or implied in using words within a communicative event. political meetings. for example. During a lecture. It is what distinguishes a member of one speech community from someone participating in that same speech community.Communicative (speech) event: is an exchange of speech in a communicative situation. for example at a party.Communicative Situation: refers to the specific settings and scenes in which communication takes place. so it is easy to infer their topics like talk shows. which is a single communicative situation.in common in their speech style. and gossip sessions. For example. (quoted in Shmitt. a question like ―do you have a cigarette?‖ is usually a request for a cigarette. Communicative events are governed by norms and rules of speech. a college lecture. For example. 3. Interlocutors in a 10 . This shared knowledge is what distinguishes one speech community from another one.

In the context of a communicative event. at a funeral. Each communicative event and its act are conducted in a manner different from the previous or following communicative event: people sit quiet during a sermon. Hymes developed a model for ethnographic analysis. and praying. and apologize. request. silence can mean empathy and solidarity with the relatives of the deceased person. silence can have meanings. praise. speak softly during supplication and take different body positions when praying. 1974). sermons. sermon. For example. advice. To make it easy to remember he made an acronym of the initial letters of each keyword and called it SPEAKING. offend. They may use verbal or nonverbal channels of communication. it is easy to point out the patterns of communicative events such as greetings. is intended to be used to look at any naturally occurring speech to discover the rules for speaking (modes of speaking. then this framework (Hymes. topics. Since ―in order to speak a language correctly. compliment. compliments. one needs not only learn its vocabulary and grammar. The scene is a mosque. supplication. Most of the communicative events fall into regular patterns in similar forms with expected beginnings and ends. jokes and ordering food at restaurants. these eight main elements have other subcomponents. Within each communicative event.conversation may request. To illustrate these concepts. a range of communicative acts are performed: Remembering God. but also the context in which words are used‖. ethnographers first seek to discover some patterns resembling those of simpler communicative events. leave-takings. and thanks. When encountering more complex communicative events. In order to study and analyze speech events in different communities. It typically consists of these communicative events like: reciting Quran. insult. For instance. message forms 11 . a communicative situation at a mosque will explain more.

grandmother. Linguists will make distinctions within these categories. At times. at other times. the audience can be distinguished as addressees and other hearers (pp. Scene is the "psychological setting" or "cultural definition" of a scene. The aunt's story might begin as a response to a toast to the grandmother. or spirit" of the speech act (p. an aunt might tell a story to the young female relatives. and outcomes (pp.within particular settings and activities). including characteristics such as range of formality and sense of play or seriousness (pp 55-56). but males. Finally. Possibly there would be a collaborative interruption during the telling.P – Participants: refers to speaker and audience. 12 .55). for instance.Act Sequence: Form and order of the event. The aunt might imitate the grandmother's voice and gestures in a playful way. teach the young women. The aunt may tell a story about the grandmother to entertain the audience.S . Moreover it looks at context. the cultural impacts and factors that shape a particular speech event. in general. might also hear the narrative. 3. manner. and honor the grandmother. 4. the group might applaud the tale and move onto another subject or activity. The family story may be told at a reunion celebrating a birthday party of one of the family members. 56-57). or she might address the group in a serious voice emphasizing the sincerity and respect of the praise the story expresses. 5.54 & 56).Setting and Scene: "Setting refers to the time and place of a speech act and. 57). to the physical circumstances" (p.The living room in the grandparents' home might be a setting for a family story. the family would be festive and playful. The story's plot and development would have a sequence structured by the aunt. 2. Below is a summary of the main key elements of the Speaking model: 1. serious and commemorative. although not addressed.E – Ends: Purposes.K – Key: Cues that establish the "tone.A . for example. At the family reunion. goals.

6. These rules and norms vary from one speech community to another. and speech communities sometimes have their own terms for types. In a playful story by the aunt. A serious. Hymes had a different thought. A member of any speech community has to be equipped with special knowledge in order to participate in speech events successfully. Different disciplines develop terms for kinds of speech acts. 58-60). From all these discussions Hymes makes it clear that communication and speaking between members of any speech community are governed and restrained by cultural rules and norms. formal story by the aunt might call for attention to her and no interruptions as norms. 8. or possibly those interruptions might be limited to participation by older females. The aunt might tell a character tale about the grandmother for entertainment.N – Norms: Social rules governing the event and the participants' actions and reaction. the norms might allow many audience interruptions and collaboration. in this case.4 Communicative Competence The concept of communicative competence was introduced by Dell Hymes in the context of arguments against Chomsky‘s distinction of competence and performance. 2. Chomsky called it competence.2. the kind of story. Each component of the SPEAKING grid raises various questions about aspects that affect ant speech event. 13 .I – Instrumentalities: Forms and styles of speech (pp.G – Genre: The kind of speech act or event. The aunt might speak in a casual register with many dialect features or might use a more formal register and careful grammatical "standard" forms. or an example as moral instruction. 7. The speaking model is significant for students and others who find themselves interacting with people from other cultures because of the way it helps people understand the ways that communication differs in different cultural situations.

communicative. He or she acquires competence as to when to speak. could not be sufficient for successful communication. when not. a child becomes able to accomplish a repertoire of speech acts. For example. and to evaluate their accomplishment by others . when.Whether (and to what degree) something is feasible? 14 . to take part in speech events. cultural. 1971. This abstract knowledge. p.Whether (and to what degree) something is formally possible? This question is concerned with the grammaticality and acceptability of. on occasion. (Hymes.Hymes (1972) translated Chmosky‘s competence into ―systemic potential‖ and took competence ―as the most general term for the capabilities of a person‖. Hymes established acceptability as a replacement. in what manner. He put these aspects in the form of four questions that need to be asked to understand competence and language use: 1. In short.285)‖ 2. (p. it is not possible to say ―I have the time‖ in response to ―do you have the time?‖ Hymes puts it this way: ―something possible within a formal system is grammatical. Thus the theory of generative grammar had totally overlooked the aspect of appropriacy. which only focused on coding and decoding language. a social action or a nonverbal behavior. p. 1972. there is a context for every grammatically correct utterance they use. or. 278). A sentence might be grammatical but not possible. as well as several other dimensions of competence. where. . . ―There are rules of use without which the rules of grammar are useless‖ (Hymes. for instance. a sentence. and as to what to talk about with whom. Hymes refers to it in this statement: We have then to account for the fact that a normal child acquires knowledge of sentences not only as grammatical but also as appropriate. 277–8) Instead of grammaticality as a criterion. Because the speech communities are heterogeneous.

A patient with memory limitations may not be able to repeat after a doctor word-for-word. how to ask for and give information. when to speak and when to remain silent. 286). according to cultural and social norms of their speech community. 15 . what the routines for turn-taking are in conversation. 3. but since they happen in communicative interactions.Whether (and to what degree) something is done? This question is about the occurrence of linguistic structures or other forms of communication. a term that entails competence as one of many components. utterance. what nonverbal behaviors are appropriate in various contexts. they are correct. It is about how common they occur. it includes grammar. The participants in a situation try to act and speak in an appropriate way. And this is what any theory of competence should encompass: In sum.This question is related to cognitive and psychological aspects of communication. 1972. Out of the above discussions and explanations. to whom one may speak. For example. p. the goal of a broad theory of competence can be said to show the ways in which the systemically possible. Communicative competence does not stop at grammar. Saville-Troike states that Communicative competence extends to both knowledge and expectation of who may or may not speak in certain settings.Whether (and to what degree) something is appropriate? Contextual factors are brought into action here. how one may talk to persons of different statuses and roles. the feasible. Any sentence. and the appropriate are linked to produce and interpret actually occurring cultural behavior (Hymes. speech or social act meeting these four criteria can be acceptable in respective speech communities. They might be considered inappropriate and strange. one can understand how Hymes augmented Chomsky‘s competence by communicative competence. 4. it is considered inappropriate for a male person to kiss another male person in the United States.

how to enforce discipline. how to offer or decline assistance or cooperation. What communicative competence entails and includes is not easy to determine. an ability he needs to have. the famous linguist Deborah Tannen. they depend on what they learn or input they receive. Saville-Troike (2003) makes an outline of components of the shared knowledge involved in appropriate communication: 1. And since mere knowledge of grammar cannot account for successful communication.Linguistic knowledge (a) Verbal elements 16 .p.24) analyzed the situation and traced the Californians‘ impressions of the New Yorkers to differences in ―pacing‖. being such a broad term covering skills and knowledge needed that can be observed in a linguistic situation. Although they speak the same language in the same country. For example. and the like – in short. Their task is not easy. This example makes one wonder about the difficulty a speaker has when trying to speak a foreign language. (Saville-Troike 2003. From an ethnographic point of view. learners who have learned and are learning a language as a foreign or second language formally at schools or colleges suffer the lack of communicative competence. how to give commands. Sometimes differences between speakers of the same language belonging to different speech communities can create conflict between interlocutors. observes that Californians said the conversation was dominated by the New Yorkers. Tannen (2004. In other words. everything involving the use of language and other communicative modalities in particular social settings. p. ―pausing‖ and ―overlap‖.18) This quote explains how difficult it is for a person to communicate in a foreign speech community because of the complexity of communicative competence. communicative competence is what learners of a foreign language need to have. after a Thanksgiving conversation between New Yorkers and Californians. the Californians found the New Yorkers‘ conversational style uncomfortable.how to request.

the term communicative competence arose from Hyme‘s criticism of Chomsky‘s distinction of competence and performance. Again.Interaction skills (a) Perception of salient features in communicative situations (b) Selection and interpretation of forms appropriate to specific situations.(b) Nonverbal elements (c) Patterns of elements in particular speech events (d) Range of possible variants (in all elements and their organization) (e) Meaning of variants in particular situations. and relationships (rules for the use of speech) (c) Discourse organization and processes (d) Norms of interaction and interpretation (e) Strategies for achieving goals 3. He considers Chomsky‘s distinction between ―idealized knowledge and its actual 17 . he is interested in language use in its social context and the functions of language.3 Halliday’s view Halliday approaches language from a sociological perspective. The term is considered a very controversial one in the field of linguistics: many other scholars from different fields of linguistics have put forward their understanding and criticisms of the term.Cultural knowledge (a) Social structure (status. 2. power. speaking rights) (b) Values and attitudes (c) Cognitive maps/schemata (d) Enculturation processes (transmission of knowledge and skills) These components along with other areas of communicative competence added by other applied linguists will be explored in the next section and chapter three. Hymes added sociolinguistic aspects to competence. 2. roles.

the aim of linguistics should be categorizing the different choices speakers have for realizing sociological behaviors. and lexicogrammatical. Hymes retains the idea of knowing. The difference lies in that competence refers to what a speaker knows. is concerned . He calls it another name for what linguists had described and what they had not. while meaning potential implies what the speaker can do and what she can mean. and therefore all components of meaning. The speaker can do many things. Halliday‘s focus on the functions of language and its social context has contributed to field language pedagogy and learning. p. Halliday (1973) points out that his concept of meaning potential is different from Chomsky‘s notion of competence. It is about what the speaker can do and can mean. 13). since only through the study of language in use are all the functions of language. It should be remembered that Hymes‘ notion of communicative competence is very different from Chomksy‘s notion of competence. . The speaker can say different things when encoding the semantic options in linguistic forms at her disposal. Meaning potential refers to sets of options and alternatives in meaning that are available to the speaker. Furthermore. ―At the heart of this approach is his language defining notion of the ‗meaning potential‘‖ (Munby 1978. The speaker can mean different things in translating these social behaviors into semantic options.use‖ as unnecessary. with the description of speech acts or texts. His approach to knowing language and using it is a socio-semantic one. Thus meaning potential divides language into three layers: sociological. 145). except that Hymes defines this in terms of ―competence‖ in the Chomskyian sense of what the speaker knows‖.. According to Halliday "Linguistics . hence social behaviors. In Halliday‘s view. p. Further. though. . He elaborated a strong theory of 18 .. Halliday claims that meaning potential ‗‗is not unlike Dell Hymes‘ notion of ―communicative competence‖. brought into focus" (Halliday 1970. semantic.

Gumperz summarizes his definition of communicative competence as follows: ―Whereas linguistic competence covers the speaker‘s ability to produce grammatically correct sentences. p. the regulatory function: using language to control the behavior of others. 2.‖ (quoted in Wardhuaugh. forms which appropriately reflect the social norms governing behavior in specific encounters. the representational function: using language to communicate information. communicative competence describes his ability to select. the instrumental function : using language to get things. 19 .4 Gumper’z view Gumperz questions whether theoretical linguists should use judgment of grammaticality as the basis for syntactic analysis. He specified seven functions of language that help children acquire their first language: 1. 2. They were concerned only with child‘s first language acquisition. 2006. the interactional function: using language to create interaction with others. 4. 3. the personal function: using language to express personal feelings and meanings. the imaginative function: using language to create a world of the imagination. 5. from the totality of grammatically correct expressions available to him. 7. 25) It is worth mentioning that Chomsky‘s and Hymes‘ discussion of competence and communicative competence was merely about native speakers‘ linguistic and communicative abilities. the heuristic function: using language to learn and to discover.functions of language. He points out that whether a sentence is grammatical or not cannot be determined without a speaker‘s ability to imagine a context in which the sentence is interpreted. 6.

1 Canale and Swain (1980). Sociolinguistic competence was further divided by Canale (1983) into two separate components: sociolinguistic and discourse competence.1 Models of Communicative Competence The construct of communicative competence has been particularly influential in the field of foreign language learning. (1995). 3. Canale (1983) In their often-cited article on communicative competence in relation to foreign language pedagogy. some scholars in the field of foreign language learning have attempted to describe the construct by identifying its various components. the models and extensions of communicative competence in the field of language teaching will be discussed. For this reason.0 Introduction In this chapter. as it has a direct relationship with the communicative approach to language teaching. More will be said about the communicative language teaching. sociolinguistic. and strategic competence. Canale and Swain (1980) proposed a theoretical framework in which they outline the content and boundaries of three areas of communicative competence: grammatical.1. He defines communicative competence as ―the underlying 20 . The most representative and significant models that have arisen within the field of foreign language learning are those of Canale and Swain (1980).Chapter Three Communicative Competence and Communicative Language Teaching 3. 3. Bachman and Palmer (1996) and Celce-Murcia et al.

Figure 3.systems of knowledge and skill required for communication‖ (Canale. p. spelling.1 Canale and Swain (1980) and Canale‘s (1983) model of communicative competence The four areas of communicative competence they identified are briefly outlined below (as shown by Figure 1): 1. As far as performance is concerned. 1983. It includes phonological and lexicogrammatical rules and rules of word formation.5). What is interesting about their framework of communicative competence is that even the aspects of skills that are needed to employ the knowledge are now assumed to be part of one‘s competence. sentence formation. The communicative competence is.‖ which is defined as ―the realization of such knowledge and skill under limiting psychological and environmental conditions such as memory and perceptual constraints. 1983. and all other areas of their framework are lacking in Chomsky‘s definition.5). fatigue. then. distractions. Chomsky‘s ―competence‖ is equivalent to the ―grammatical competence‖ mentioned by Canale and Swain.Grammatical competence: refers to the mastery of language code (verbal or non-verbal). nervousness. If we are to compare Canale and Swain‘s construct of communicative competence with that of Chomsky‘s in a broad sense.rules 21 . distinguished from what Canale calls ―actual communication. p. and interfering background noises‖ (Canale. Chomsky‘s performance and Canale and Swain‘s actual communication point to roughly the same phenomenon of uttering sentences in real communicative situations.

1983. 3. It takes into account the contextual factors such as participants. Canale illustrates this factor by an example of a waiter using very rude and informal language when taking a customer‘s order: ‗ok.g. But in Canale (1983) it refers only to the sociocultural rules of use. As for appropriateness. scientific. what are you and this broad gonna eat?‘ What we can learn from Canale‘s account of this competence is its importance. Canale‘s example is of inappropriateness of a waiter at a restaurant to command the customer to order a certain meal. norms of interaction and purposes of interaction. It is the knowledge of distinguishing grammatical and ungrammatical sentences and constructions and choosing the correct constructions. chump. 2. It is also obvious how Hyme‘s ideas of social dimensions of language have influenced foreign language literature.) and attitudes of formality and degrees of politeness. Genre refers to the type of the text: written or oral.Sociolinguistic competence: in Canale and Swain (1980) this competence encompasses socioculutral rules of use and rules of discourse.Discourse competence: ―this type of competence concerns mastery of how to combine grammatical forms and meanings to achieve a unified spoken or written text in different genres‖ (canale. speech acts of complaining. The former focuses on appropriate use of communicative functions (e. Grammatical competence is an important concern in Canale‘s model and any foreign language programme.that help a learner to be able to construct and interpret literal meaning of utterances. apologizing. Appropriateness of form includes the choice of proper forms for the realization of a particular communicative function. p. etc. argumentative. Thus it concerns the extent to which utterances are produced and understood appropriately in different sociolinguistic contexts.9). commanding. 22 . Canale‘s sociolinguistic competence distinguishes between appropriateness of meaning and appropriateness of form.

Strategic competence: ―this competence is composed of mastery of verbal and non-verbal communication strategies that may be called into action‖ (p. or insufficient competence in one or more of the other areas of communicative competence. But as Canale himself states ―how these components interact with one another (or with other factors involved in actual communication) has been largely ignored‖. ellipsis. Cohesion unifies the form of the text through the use of pronouns. whether literal or communicative acts. This refers to deliberate manipulation of language for rhetorical effects. 23 . Unity in text is brought about through cohesion and coherence. conjunctions and parallel structures on the level of utterances. their intention was to illustrate the kinds of knowledge and skills that any foreign language learner needs to be taught and to develop the theoretical basis for a communicative approach in the foreign language teaching based on an understanding of the nature of human communication (Canale and Swain. A speaker may resort to these strategies in two cases: (a) to make up for breakdowns in communication. A persons who has learned English as a foreign language may not know all the necessary words. inability to remember the correct word or expression. 4.or a business letter. As it is clear from the way their framework is described. or ―area for trains‖. Coherence makes relationships on the level of different meanings in a text. if a learner doesn‘t know the word for train station. she may try to paraphrase it or describe it through clues she has at hand and say: ―the place where trains go‖. 1980). These strategies also help a learner who doesn‘t have sociolinguistic competence in the target language. (b) ―To enhance the effectiveness of communication‖. For example.10). synonyms.

1996. p. arguing that it was difficult to see whether the knowledge components were understood in their theories as simply manifested in the language skills in different modalities and channels.1990).2 Areas of language knowledge (Bachman and Palmer.68) 24 .1. Bachman stressed the importance of describing ―the processes by which [the] various components interact with each other and with the context in which language use occurs‖ (Bachman. writing. This model was first designed for language-testing and evaluation considerations. listening.3. and reading).2 Bachman and Palmer Language Ability (1996) Communicative Bachman (1990) presents a more detailed description of the construct of communicative competence in his proposed framework. Figure 3. 1990: 81). or whether they are fundamentally different in quality (Bachman. He pointed out the fact that earlier theories on language proficiency apparently failed to take into account the distinction between linguistic knowledge and the four basic language skills (speaking.

he developed three central components for CLA that are essential to define one‘s competence in communicative language use: language knowledge. i. morphology. and also in understanding their meaning and in ordering them to form texts. They enable recognition and production of grammatically correct sentences as well as comprehension of their propositional content. There are two areas of organizational knowledge: grammatical knowledge and textual knowledge: a.1 Language Knowledge (Language competence) According to Bachman and Palmer (1996). knowledge of cohesion (ways of marking semantic relationships among two or more sentences in a written text or utterances in a conversation) and knowledge of rhetorical organization (way of developing narrative texts. strategic competence. 1. comparisons. oral or written. Language knowledge is further divided into two broad categories: organizational knowledge and pragmatic knowledge. and metacognitive strategies.Organizational competence Organizational competence is knowledge involved in the production and identification of grammatical and ungrammatical sentences. b.Using a different terminology for the object of description (Bachman calls it ―Communicative Language Ability. 3.2.Textual knowledge: Textual knowledge enables comprehension and production of (spoken or written) texts.‖ which is abbreviated as CLA). It covers the knowledge of conventions for combining sentences or utterances into texts. descriptions.1.) or conversational 25 . phonology.67). language knowledge is ―a domain of information in memory that is available for use by metacognitive strategies in creating and interpreting discourse in language use‖ (p. classifications etc.Grammatical knowledge: Grammatical knowledge includes several rather independent areas of knowledge such as knowledge of vocabulary.e. and graphology. syntax.

organization (conventions for initiating. and sociolinguistic competence. Bachman (1990) provides a description of the pragmatic component on the basis of van Dijk‘s (1977) work. Interpretation of the pragmatic meaning of the utterances also requires knowledge of the setting and participants. Functional knowledge ―enables us to interpret relationships between utterances or sentences and texts and the intentions of language users‖ (1996. maintaining and closing conversations). which relates to the context. those of functional (illocutionary). knowledge of ideational functions refers to knowledge that enables speakers to express their experience of the real world.Pragmatic knowledge A second component of Bachman‘s (1990) model refers to the relationship between the language and the language users. and as the features of the context that promote appropriate language use on the other. in Bachman and Palmer (1996). Expressions of feelings like anger. pragmatics is understood as dealing with the relationships between utterances and the acts performed through these utterances on the one hand. the utterance ‗Can I see your lighter?‘ most likely functions as a request for using the hearer‘s lighter. a. Therefore. namely that of pragmatic competence. involves those sociolinguistic conventions that are related to language use. Bachman and Palmer also incorporate four of Halliday‘s functions of language into functional knowledge. 2. happiness and sorrow are 26 . If the hearer holds her lighter without handing it to the speaker. First. the pragmatic component in Bachman‘s model is made up of two subcomponents.Functional knowledge: Bachman (1990) calls it ‗Illocutionary competence‘.69). In this sense. whereas the latter. she has misinterpreted the function of the utterance. For example. p. The former conceptualization concerns the illocutionary force.

and insults. assessment of communicative sources. ability to be sensitive to differences in register. choosing one or more of them and deciding whether or not to attempt to complete them. they discuss four abilities pertaining to sociolinguistic knowledge: ability to be sensitive to regional and social language varieties.70). knowledge of manipulative functions. For example. and planning. teaching and problem solving are some examples.Sociolinguistic knowledge: Bachman and Palmer call it sociolinguistic knowledge and this is the other component of pragmatic knowledge. along with grammatical competence. Fourth. sociolinguistic competence and functional competence are put together to form a speaker‘s pragmatic knowledge. composes. To be more precise. knowledge of imaginative functions is ability to use language to make an imaginary world.70). in turn.2 Strategic competence Strategic knowledge is conceived in the model as a set of metacognitive components which enable language user involvement in goal setting.2. 3.examples of these ideational functions. Some examples are requests. Assessment is a means by which language use context is related to other areas of communicative language ability: topical knowledge and affective schemata. In their framework. p. knowledge of heuristic functions. and ability to understand cultural reference and figures of speech (Bachman and Palmer. suggestions. Goal setting includes identifying a set of possible tasks. Third. greetings. laws. this knowledge helps speakers affect the world around them. Planning involves deciding 27 . ability to produce and interpret utterances based on naturalness of language use. 1996. to write poetry and make figures of speech. his or her language competence. rules. which. Use of language for learning.1. this knowledge is involved in ―extending our knowledge of the world around us‖ (p. we use language to make jokes. b. Second.

like Canale and Swain‘s (1980) and Canale (1983) framework. it points out the idea that communicative competence can not only be achieved by improving learners‘ grammatical knowledge. (1995) proposed that actional competence (the ability to comprehend and produce all significant speech acts and speech act sets) should also be part of communicative competence. but also concerns the development of other competencies such as the textual and pragmatic ones.‘s (1995) framework of communicative competence differs from the two previously described models in its conceptualization of 28 . However.. These authors made two changes in terminology of the Canale-Swain‘s model: (1) that sociolinguistic competence be changed to sociocultural competence (the cultural background knowledge needed to interpret and use a language effectively) and (2) that grammatical competence be re-labeled as linguistic competence to explicitly include the sound system and the lexicon as well as the grammar (i. this model of communicative competence does not seem to specify the existing relationship among its components and subcomponents.‘s (1995) model accounts for the connection between all constituents of the concept of communicative competence.1. Hence.how to make use of language knowledge and other components involved in the process of language use to complete the chosen task successfully. as it identifies pragmatic competence as one of the main components of communicative competence. morphology and syntax). According to Alcon (2000b).3 Celce-Murcia’s (2007) Proposed Revision of 1995 Models In the mid nineties Celce-Murcia et al. 3. Celce-Murcia et al. only Celce-Murcia et al. Bachman‘s (1990) and Bachman and Palmer‘s (1996) model has been rather influential on studies concerned with the development and use of pragmatic aspects in a second or foreign language.e.

but depends on three further constituents. how to express messages appropriately within the overall social and cultural context of communication. linguistic and actional competence. sequencing. since it does not stand as an isolated subcomponent. pp. and utterances to achieve a unified spoken message. pp. This is where the communicative intent and sociocultural knowledge intersect with the lexical and grammatical resources to express messages and 29 . i. Celce-Murcia (2007) proposed a revised version of Celce-Murcia et al. (1995. 23–24) describe several sociocultural variables. structures. a sense of genres and registers. and cross cultural awareness. status. References are made to Figure 3. social distance and their relations to each other: power and affect. three of which are most crucial in terms of the new model. Celce-Murcia et al. major dialects/regional differences.e. 1-Sociocultural competence Sociocultural competence refers to the speaker‘s pragmatic knowledge.discourse competence. and arrangement of words. Below is an outline of the new model as presented in Celce-Murcia (2007. This includes knowledge of language variation with reference to sociocultural norms of the target language.  social contextual factors: the participants‘ age.  cultural factors: background knowledge of the target language group. 2-Discourse competence Refers to the selection.‘s (1995) framework of communicative competence. In fact a social or cultural mistake can be far more serious than a linguistic error when one is engaged in oral communication. gender. In the recent model actional competence is a subcomponent of interactional competence and a new component of formulaic language has been added. which shows the interrelationship between the six components.  stylistic appropriateness: politeness strategies. 44-50). namely those of sociolinguistic.

coordination. adjectives) and function words (pronouns. before/after). (1995. conjunction. managing old and new information.  lexical: knowledge of both content words (nouns. syllable types) and suprasegmentals (prominence/stress.  syntactic: constituent/phrase structure. lecture. Halliday l976). maintaining temporal continuity and other organizational schemata through conventionally recognized means.e. word order (both canonical and marked).Linguistic Competence Linguistic competence includes four types of knowledge:  phonological: includes both segmentals (vowels. productive derivational processes. etc.). Celce-Murcia et al. temporal terms (now/then. the figure above). . and textual reference (e. and rhythm). this/that). and lexical chains (i. service encounter. prepositions. sermon. narrative. determiners. spatial terms (here/there. grammatical inflections.attitudes and to create coherent texts. report. substitution/ ellipsis.g. subordination.  coherence: expressing purpose/intent through appropriate content schemata. etc 3. 30 modification. pp.  deixis: situational grounding achieved through use of personal pronouns.  generic structure: formal schemata that allow the user to identify an oral discourse segment as a conversation. 13– 15) describe several sub-areas of discourse competence. consonants. interview. the following table. four of which are most important with regard to the current model:  cohesion: conventions regarding use of reference(anaphora/cataphora). basic sentence types. verbal auxiliaries.  morphological: parts of speech. intonation. embedding. verbs.

goals. problems (complaining.4-Formulaic Competence Formulaic competence is the counterbalance to linguistic competence. to kick the bucket = to die. legible handwriting  idioms: e.).g.g. etc. etc) 5-Interactional Competence Interactional competence has three sub-components relevant to the new model:  actional competence: knowledge of how to perform common speech acts and speech act sets in the target language involving interactions such as information exchanges. predictions. interpersonal exchanges. Celce-Murcia extends it to other dialogic genres:  how to open and close conversations  how to establish and change topics  how to get. open-ended systems listed above. etc. etc. play the piano adverbadjective: statistically significant. 31 . promises.)  conversational competence: inherent to the turn-taking system in conversation. See you (later/tomorrow/ next week.  routines: fixed phrases like of course. to get the ax = to be fired/terminated  lexical frames: e. regretting. and relinquish the floor  how to interrupt  how to collaborate and backchannel.. mutually intelligible adjective-noun: tall building. future scenarios (hopes.. Formulaic competence refers to those fixed and made up chunks of language that speakers use heavily in everyday interactions. all of a sudden and formulaic chunks like How do you do? I’m fine. thanks. I’m looking for ______________. apologizing. Linguistic competence entails the recursive. how are you?  collocations: verb-object: spend money. expression of opinions and feelings. blaming. hold.

 non-verbal/paralinguistic competence includes:  kinesics (body language), non-verbal turn-taking signals, backchannel behaviors, gestures, affect markers, eye contact.  proxemics (use of space by interlocutors)  haptic behavior (touching)  non-linguistic utterances with interactional import (e.g. ahhh! Uh-oh. Huh?) The role of silence and pauses Celce-Murcia (2007) stresses the importance of interactional

competence and its subcomponents, especially non-verbal or paralinguistic features. This emphasis stems from the fact that languages differ in their use and construction of speech acts and non-verbal features of communications.







competence framework

6-Strategic Competence
This competence refers to the knowledge and use of learning and communication strategies. Celce-Murcia cites Oxford‘s (2001) three learning strategies:


 cognitive: these are strategies making use of logic and analysis to help oneself learn a new language through outlining, summarizing, note taking, organizing and reviewing material, etc.  metacognitive: these strategies involve planning one‘s learning by making time for homework or for preparation, and engaging in selfevaluation of one‘s success on a given task or on one‘s overall progress. This is achieved in part by monitoring and noting one‘s errors, learning from teacher and peer feedback, etc. Compensating for missing or partial knowledge by guessing the meanings of words from context or the grammatical function of words from formal clues are also an aspect of metacognitive strategies.  memory-related: these are strategies that help learners remember or retrieve words through the use of acronyms, images, sounds (rhymes), or other clues. The other crucial strategies, which are the ones mentioned in CelceMurcia et al. (1995, pp. 26–29), are communication strategies; they include the following:  achievement: strategies of approximation, circumlocution, code switching, miming, etc.  stalling or time gaining: using phrases like ‗Where was I?’ ‘Could you repeat that?’  self-monitoring: using phrases that allow for self repair like ‗I mean…’  interacting: these are strategies that include appeals for

help/clarification, that involve meaning negotiation, or that involve comprehension and confirmation checks, etc.  social: these strategies involve seeking out native speakers to practice with, actively looking for opportunities to use the target language.


3.1.4 Other related views
During the 1970s and 1980s many applied linguists with a primary interest in the theory of language learning and/or the theory of language testing gave their valuable contribution to the further development of the concept of communicative competence. Just a few of them will be mentioned in the following, namely those whose theoretical reflections and empirical work seem to have had the most important impact on the theory of communicative competence. Savignon (1985, p. 130) views communicative competence as:
The ability to function in a truly communicative setting - that is a dynamic exchange in which linguistic competence must adapt itself to the total information input, both linguistic and paralinguistic of one or more interlocutors. Communicative competence includes grammatical competence ( sentence level grammar ), socio-linguistic competence ( an understanding of the social context in which language is used ), discourse competence ( an understanding of how utterances are strung together to form a meaningful whole ), and strategic competence ( a language user’s employment of strategies to make the best use of what s/he knows about how a language works, in order to interpret, express, and negotiate meaning in a given context ).

Blum-Kulka and Levenston (1983, p. 120), offered additional extensions to communicative competence. Blum-Kulka views semantic competence as consisting of: 1. Awareness of hyponmy, antonymy, converseness, and other possible systematic links between lexical items, by means of which, the substitution of one lexical item for another can be explained in particular contexts. 2. Ability to avoid using specific lexical items by means of circumlocution and paraphrase. 3. Ability to recognize degrees of paraphrasic equivalence.


together with autonomy and social responsibility (Quoted in Michael Byram 1997.  Strategic competence: when communication is difficult speakers have to find ways of 'getting our meaning across' or of 'finding out what somebody means'. etc. 55). 41). van Ek's model of 'communicative ability' (1986: 35) comprises six 'competences'. 35). The Council of Europe. sociolinguistic competence covers the relation between linguistic signals and their contextual or situational meaning (p.  Social competence: involves both the will and the skill to interact with others. . 39). In describing what she regards as a conceptual expansion. . relationship between communication partners. empathy and the ability to handle social situations (p. attitude. involving motivation. self-confidence.  Socio-cultural competence: every language is situated in a sociocultural context and implies the use of a particular reference frame which is partly different from that of the foreign language learner.  Sociolinguistic competence: the awareness of ways in which the choice of language forms . these are communication strategies. .  Linguistic competence: the ability to produce and interpret meaningful utterances which are formed in accordance with the rules of the language concerned and bear their conventional meaning . pp. . communicative intention. asking for clarification (p.  Discourse competence: the ability to use appropriate strategies in the construction and interpretation of texts (p. . Kasper ( 1997. . 10-11).In Europe. such as rephrasing. socio-cultural competence presupposes a certain degree of familiarity with that context (p. . 65). p. 47). that meaning which native speakers would normally attach to an utterance when used in isolation (p. 345 ) notes that strategic competence operates at the levels of pragmatic and 35 . is determined by such conditions as setting.

about the communicative competence wrote. and being able to apply the rules to make whatever adjustments are necessary according to contextual demands.135). By the same token. Decisions about these issues belong to the field of syllabus design or course design. While the ability to solve receptive and productive problems due to lack of knowledge or accessibility remains an aspect of strategic competence. The term has been redefined and extended constantly. p. and advanced levels. language teaching has seen many changes in methodology in the last century.2 Communicative competence as the goal of Communicative Language Teaching In planning a language course. so to speak. and which skills and micro skills to teach and in what sequence. Communicative competence in this view is essentially a matter of adaptation. ―Communicative competence is not a matter of knowing rules for the composition of sentences and being able to employ such rules to assemble expressions from scratch as and when occasion requires. and a kit of rules.G. Communicative competence was a reaction against Chomsy‘s theory of language and language acquisition. decisions have to be made about the content of the course. it is now more generally thought of as the ability to use linguistic knowledge efficiently. Decisions about how best to teach the contents of a syllabus belong to the field of methodology. intermediate. including decisions about what vocabulary and grammar to teach at the beginning. and rules are not generative but regulative and subservient. It is much more a matter of knowing a stock of partially pre-assembled patterns. Widdowson (1989. She adds that the extension is compatible with the view that language use is always strategic.‖ 3. H. 36 . formulaic frameworks.organizational competence but in a broader sense than that proposed by Canale and Swain.

The learned system relates to formal instruction where students engage in formal study to acquire knowledge about the target language. studying the rules of syntax is part of the learned system.The notion of communicative competence resulted in a new approach to language teaching. The acquired system relates to the unconscious aspect of language acquisition. we refer to the predominant theory of foreign language learning which was developed by the University of Steven Krashen. called Communicative Language Teaching or Communicative Approach. For example. a difference between learning and acquisition is important to mention. In passing. In this system. too. It. There are five main components of Krashen‘s theory. this acquired system is at work. came as reaction against the traditional approaches and methods of language teaching. speakers are less concerned with the structure of their utterances than with the act of communicating meaning. The five components are as follows:      The Acquisition Learning Hypothesis The Monitor Hypothesis The Natural Order Hypothesis The Input Hypothesis The Affective Filter Hypothesis This Acquisition Learning hypothesis actually combines two fundamental theories of how individuals learn languages. When people learn their first language by speaking the language naturally in daily interaction with others who speak their native language. Krashen (1981) has concluded that there are two systems of language acquisition that are independent but related: the acquired system and the learned system. Here. Krashen privileges the acquired system over the learned system. 37 . Each of the components relates to a different aspect of the language learning process.

During 1970s. describing wishes and needs. since it was argued that language ability involved much more than grammatical competence. the Council of Europe developed a syllabus for learners based on notionalfunctional concepts of language use. in the United States. They saw the need to focus in language teaching on communicative proficiency rather than on mere mastery of grammatical structures. Hymes‘s concern with speech communities and the integration of language. In Britain. The syllabus was based on Halliday‘s ideas of language as meaning potential and social use of language. 38 . attention shifted to the knowledge and skills needed to use grammar and other aspects of language appropriately for different communicative purposes such as making requests. to observe sociolinguistic norms of appropriateness. While grammatical competence was needed to produce grammatically correct sentences. giving advice. communication. British applied linguists emphasized a fundamental dimension of language that was poorly discussed in current approaches to language teaching at that time. That was the functional and communicative potential of language. Hymes (1971) had reacted to Chomsky‘s characterization of the linguistic competence of the ideal native speaker and. and culture was similar to that of Firth and Halliday in the British linguistic tradition. making suggestions. This reaction to traditional approaches of teaching can be traced back to simultaneous developments in Europe and North America. The centrality of grammar in language teaching and learning was questioned. retaining Chomsky‘s distinction between competence and performance. proposed the term ‗‗communicative competence‘‘ to represent the ability to use language in a social context. a reaction to traditional language teaching approaches began and soon spread around the world as older methods such as Audiolingualism and Situational Language Teaching fell out of fashion. and so on. Meanwhile. As the European countries became more dependent on one another.

66) put it. 3. 22) summarize the main principles of communicative language teaching: 1. and other British applied linguists on the theoretical basis for a communicative or functional approach to language teaching. Widdowson.Language teaching is based on a view of language as communication.Language learning is facilitated both by activities that involve inductive or discovery learning of underlying rules of language use and 39 . 4. curriculum developers.Foreign language learning is facilitated when learners are engaged in interaction and meaningful communication. That is.104).The work of the Council of Europe. and Richards (2006. 6). sociolinguistic competence and all the other components of communicative competence in the light of Hymes four criteria and models of communicative competence outlined above. communicative language teaching aims at ―(a) make communicative competence the goal of language teaching and (b) develop procedures for the teaching of the four language skills that acknowledge the interdependence of language and communication. 1990. And as Richards and Rogers (1986.‖ Setting communicative competence as its goal. communicative language teaching (CLT) pays more attention to the sociocultural competence. led to the development of the new approach: Communicative Language Teaching.Culture is recognized as instrumental in shaping speakers‘ communicative competence. Savignon (2002. in both their first and subsequent languages. speakers communicate about something to someone for some purpose. either orally or in writing. and the equally fast embracing of these new principles by British language teaching specialists. p. language is seen as a social tool that speakers use to make meaning. implications of these ideas by textbook writers. most of the advocates of the movement now see it as an approach. Although communicative language teaching began as an innovation in the field of syllabus design by British applied linguists. Citing (Berns. the writings of Wilkins. 2.

both in terms of the content of learning as well as processes they might employ. as well as the use of self-assessment. 6.The role of the teacher in the language classroom is that of a facilitator.  Students have to use their target language.organization. 5. viewing CLT as an approach (that is. as well as by those involving language analysis and reflection. rather than a specific method of teaching. in unrehearsed contexts under proper guidance. and functional use of language for meaningful purposes. 1994a. It is clear from these characteristics that CLT is a major departure from earlier pedagogical approaches. who creates a classroom climate conducive to language learning and provides opportunities for students to use and practice the language and to reflect on language use and language learning. productively and receptively. which are summarized below:  Focus in a classroom should be on all of the components of communicative competence of which competence is just part. The use of small groups is one example of this.  Classroom activities should be designed to engage students in the pragmatic.Giving learners greater choice over their own learning. describes four underlying characteristics in defining CLT in a foreign language classroom. particularly grammar translation methods that pay special attention to overt presentation of grammatical rules and translation. 1994a) to use to enhance their 40 grammatical or linguistic . Brown (1994a). but not under the control of a teacher (Brown.  Both fluency and accuracy should be considered equally important in a foreign language learning classroom. p. authentic. 245). And yet there seems to be a little consensus as to what actually to present to the learners or what lesson ―techniques‖1 (Brown. a theoretical position about the nature of language and of language teaching). And they are complementary. 7.No single methodology or fixed set of techniques is prescribed.

ignoring these aspects could cause cross-cultural miscommunication and misunderstanding. Brown (1994b) lists six key words of CLT to better understand what it aims at: learner-centered.Speech acts. politeness principles and other areas of pragmatic competence vary from one culture to another. 41 . one can draw some general deductions: 1.Language is best taught in its social and cultural context. integrated.The view of language as communication and interaction. covers all the aspects involved in communication. After presenting the three models of communicative competence and the teaching approaches. content-centered. these aspects differ crossculturally. a main principle of the communicative approach. cooperative (collaborative).communicative competence and not just their grammatical commands through CLT. Moreover. Whether verbal or nonverbal. students need to be made aware of cross-cultural differences in realizing and recognizing speech acts. 3. 5. interactive. Therefore. 4.Language and culture are interrelated and inseparable. and task based. 2.Sociocultural or sociolinguistic competence is as necessary in language learning and teaching as grammatical competence.

This means personality. traditions.0 Introduction This chapter will focus on the differences between American and Kurdish cultural values. (p. how their cities are planned and laid out. and knowledge or beliefs about their relationships or positions within the universe. Barrett (1984) defined culture as ―the body of learned beliefs. Hall (1977) concisely described the function of culture in the following statement: Culture is man‘s medium. how problems are solved. p 18) 42 . However. how they move. it is frequently the most obvious and taken-for-granted and therefore the least studied aspects of culture that influence behavior in the deepest and most subtle ways. 2008. how transportation systems function and are organized. traditions and communicative styles. how people express themselves (including shows of emotion). the way they think.Chapter Four Language. 4. there is not one aspect of human life that is not touched and altered by culture. and guides for behavior that are shared among members of any human society‖ (p. as well as how economic and government systems are put together and function. Culture and Communication 4. how to interact with the physical environment.1 Defining Culture Culture is difficult to be defined because it is the essence of who we are and how we exist in the world. like the purloined letter. Pragmatic competence with its problematic areas for students will be explained in the context of the test given to fourth year students in chapter five. Many anthropologists and other researchers have provided definitions for culture as the underlying phenomenon guiding humanity. It is derived from understandings acquired by people through experience and observation (at times speculation) about how to live together as a community. 54). 16) (Quoted in Hollins.

. It can be seen.. Kramsch sees culture as such: Culture in language learning is not an expendable fifth skill.. Culture. that culture is closely linked to language and its use and that in order to communicate successfully and proficiently knowledge of culture is important.. 43 . Hyme‘s criticism of Chomsky was mainly because of the latter‘s overlooking of the cultural dimension of language. and writing. Returning to how culture should be interpreted in language teaching and learning. Culture‘s importance in learning or teaching language either as a foreign or second can be understood in Widdowson‘s words: If we do not engage students with socio-cultural meanings then do we not trivialize the subject? . Hyme‘s notion of communicative competence and its four criteria was the basis for later developments and extensions of the term. and we provide little basis for the kind of awareness of other cultures and communities which is claimed one of the purposes of foreign language study. so to speak. challenging their ability to make sense of the world around them. Bachman‘s sociolinguistic knowledge. (1992. 865).. tacked on. p.What do students learn English for? ..2 Relation between Language and Culture: As was shown in the past discussions. making evident the limitations of their hard-won communicative competence.Carter (2000) defines culture simply as ―learned patterns of thought and behavior that are passed from one generation to another and are experienced as distinct to a particular group‖ (p. 335) Knowledge of the target language culture is crucial in successful communication and interaction with native speakers of the target language. (Kramsch. ready to unsettle the good language learners when they expect it least. reading. listening. It is always in the background. [W]e are teaching an impoverished pragmatics. Cele-Murica‘s sociocultural competence or van Ek‘s socio-cultural awareness. 1993: 1) 4. to the teaching of speaking. has been the center of attention in language teaching and learning. These definitions refer to the overwhelming impact of culture on human experience. whether part of Canale‘s sociolinguistic competence.. therefore. right from day one.

maintaining that they were inextricably related so that a person could not understand or appreciate one without the knowledge of the other. The claim is usually referred to as the Linguistic relativity hypothesis or simply Sapir–Whorf hypothesis. Sapir acknowledged the close relationship between language and culture. ‗Through its verbal and nonverbal aspects.222) 44 . attitudes and beliefs. The exact nature of the relationship between language and culture has fascinated. nor alone in the world of social activity as ordinarily understood. and these symbols are seen as having cultural value: people use language (symbols) as a symbol of their social identity. facial expressions and gestures all create meanings understandable to other people. express the shared ideas. (Quoted in Wardhaugh. According to Kramsch (1996. The passage which most clearly summarizes his views (1929b. language expresses. .We see and hear and otherwise experience very largely as we do because the language habits of our community predispose certain choices of interpretation. talking on the phone. but are very much at the mercy of the particular language which has become the medium of expression for their society. facts. but also create experience through language. since language is a system of symbols. writing letters. people from a wide variety of backgrounds.3). . language symbolizes cultural reality. 2006. embodies and symbolizes cultural reality. and cross-cultural pragmatic failure. Finally. whether be it through face-to-face interaction. ‗Language expresses cultural reality’ because the words people utter refer to common experience. 207) is as follows: Human beings do not live in the objective world alone.However. language embodies cultural reality‘ (P. It is quite an illusion to imagine that one adjusts to reality essentially without the use of language and that language is merely an incidental means of solving specific problems of communication or reflection. 3). Sapir and his student Whorf claim that the structure of a language influences how its speakers view the world. to this way. . language transfer. p. insufficient socicultural competence can lead to cross-cultural misunderstandings. and continues to fascinate. p. And since people do not only express experience. The fact of the matter is that the ‗real world‘ is to a large extent unconsciously built up on the language habits of the group.

1997. While the first version. According to him. fishing. there are still some core values and assumption in every culture. Before contrasting and comparing American culture. asking for a favor.28) Duranti briefly summarizes how language and culture interact: to be part of a culture means to share the propositional knowledge and the rules of inference necessary to understand whether certain propositions are true (given certain premises). p. writing a letter for a job application (Duranti. p. giving a formal speech. Cultural values and benefits are in part constitutive of linguistic relativity. 45 . weaving. To the propositional knowledge. pp. For the purpose of the thesis only those aspects will be explained that are most relevant. there is not an agreed upon list of values and assumptions. American society is a heterogeneous one. interests and occupations that take up the intention of the community‖ (cited in Bonvillain. answering the phone. 28-29).Sapir‘s focus was mainly on analyzing the vocabulary of different languages to discover the physical and social environment in which people lived. 2003. of linguistic relativity claims that cultural reality in part results from linguistic factors. Most of this information is based on values and assumptions and taken from Althen‘s (2003) book. Hymes argues that People who enact different cultures do to some extent experience distinct communicative systems. To Sapir. ―The complete vocabulary of a language may indeed be looked upon as a complex inventory of all the ideas. so are its aspects. 2008. Sapir‘s version. (1966b. not merely the same natural communicative condition with different customs affixed. one might add the procedural knowledge to carry out tasks such as cooking. Nevertheless. farming.3 Comparing Kurdish and American Culture As it is hard to define the term culture. 44). people in different societies live in different worlds because of the different languages they speak. one should keep in mind the ‗melting pot‘ United States is known for. 116) (Cited in Saville-Troike. Unlike Kurdish society. 4. Because the United States has a unique cultural diversity.

social workers. and adherents of other political views as well. There are Republicans. teachers. Some live in urban areas. libertarians. the university presidents. and behaviors of ―mainstream‖ Americans are those of the white middle class. Communists. Italian American. animists. values.Cited in Althen (2003) America‘s population reflects remarkable ethnic diversity. There are people who have many years of formal education and people who have nearly none. journalists. But for the sake of the argument and the thesis. and others. some in rural locations. 12. representing 10 percent of the total U.S. computer technicians. yellow. plumbers. Democrats. and people in thousands of other occupations. scientists. African Americans and Arab American are commonly used and reflect the persistence of various ethnic heritages within the U. let‘s say that the predominant ideas. and red. Muslims. Protestants of many denominations. then. Buddhists. People in that category have long held the large majority of the country‘s most influential positions. brown. While the majority of Americans are non-Hispanic white. has been strongly influenced by white middle-class males. and novelists who have successfully exerted influence on the society.5 percent of the population is Hispanic. 46 . America‘s population includes Catholics.4 million foreign-born residents in the United States. and about 1 percent is Native American. There are the very rich as well as the very poor. about 4 percent is Asian. black. 12 percent of the population is African American. there were 28. immigration officers. There are lawyers.S. Terms such as Asian American. and Jews of several persuasions. In the year 2000. farmers. American culture as talked about in this book. They have been the political and business leaders. population. Some people believe in no Supreme Being or higher power. independents. socialists. There are people whose skin is labeled white.

3. ethnic. She wanted to make sure that students understood her. she took it by a grain of salt. and personal preferences within the limits of established laws intended to provide the maximum of personal and group freedom. The reason for the offense is because this type of ‗language‘ would not be accepted within American society. Despite carefully planned laws and public policy. including language. And they may even make offending remarks about them. religious. but being interested in Kurdish culture and having some Korean in her. though unintentionally.4. group memberships. For example. Ethnic groups living in the United States emigrated from different parts of the world during different time periods. political. The Constitution protects citizens‘ rights to be different and to choose their own lifestyles. do not know such cultural diversity. was teaching Conversation to third year students at Salahaddin University. 4. a young American born lady. cited in Brown (1990. aspects of diversity such as particular cultural practices remain problematic. or have not lived or interacted with Americans. Asians and Native Americans. Main ethnic groups are Euro-Americans. One student made this remark ―teacher you‘re your pronunciation is Chinese‖. whose parents are from Korea by origin.1 Cultural Diversity The United States is characterized by great economic. People from other countries that have not been to United States. The original culture of each ethnic group had a deep structure that included primary ideologies and interrelated beliefs and values. Africans. and social diversity. 190). She could have felt offended. Students should have cultural awareness to avoid offending.3. she asked ‗am I talking too fast?‘ almost all the students said ‗yes‘. Hispanic or Mexicans. According to Geert Hofstede (1986). p. societies are either individualistic or collectivist. Generally 47 . racial. yet maintain relative peace and order.2 Individualism An important difference between cultures is view of the self by the members of any culture.

‖) Family background. One may choose to join groups. Americans tend to define and evaluate people by the jobs they have. (―Who is she?‖ ―She‘s the vice president in charge of personal loans at the bank. or ―overly dependent. with the needs of the individual being satisfied before those of the group. interdependent family. or their God [as is the practice in some other countries]. tribe. from early age. a person identifies primarily with self. (7) Americans are also trained to conceive of themselves as separate individuals. In general. according to their inclinations. or with fulfilling obligations to others. They are not trained to see themselves as members of a close-knit.‖ 48 . are taught to be individualists. educational attainments. being self-sufficient. In an individualistic society. When they encounter a person from other countries who seems to them excessively concerned with the opinions of parents. and other characteristics are considered less important in identifying people than the jobs they have. religious group. nation. but group membership is not essential to one‘s identity or success. in fact Althen (2003. indecisive. and they assume everyone else in the world is too. We are raising them to be rugged individualists…. p. 5) asserts that: The most important thing to understand about Americans is probably their devotion to individualism. This statement by Spock (1998) shows how important self-reliance is to Americans: In the United States…very few children are raised to believe that their principal destiny is to serve their family. Americans. Looking after and taking care of oneself. Independence and self-reliance are greatly stressed and valued. or any other collectivity. to depend on themselves. guarantees the well being of the group. Generally children [in the United States] are given the feeling that they can set their own aims and occupation in life. They are trained from very early in their lives to consider themselves as separate individuals who are responsible for their own situations in life and their own destinies.Americans are known for their individualism. they assume that the person feels trapped or is weak. people tend to distance themselves psychologically and emotionally from each other. their country. with following traditions.

make our own decisions.‖ ―Help yourself‖. 2008. For example when asking about family. p. One′s identity derives from the group and one would never think of breaking the loyalty towards the group.Bellah et al (1985) pointed out the centrality of these values in the following statement: We [the society at large] believe in the dignity. The `we′ identity takes precedence over the `I′ identity in collectivistic cultures. (p. Certain phrases one commonly hears among Americans capture their devotion to individualism: ―You‘ll have to decide that for yourself. At first I had no idea what it meant. 142) (Cited in Hollins. I need your help‖ unless they ask you for help first.‖ ―Be your own best friend. sometimes Kurds say ―So. Opposite to American individualism. no one else will. indeed the sacredness. of the individual. judge for ourselves. An interesting field note that always reminds me of individualism is a baffling sentence that was tattooed on the arm of one of my American friends. It is knowledge about American individualism that can enable a learner understand these and thousands of other phrases that reflect the American concept of individualism and uniqueness.‖ ―If you don‘t look out for yourself. different and rebellious. they tell you ―If want to‖ not ―yeah. In a collectivist society. Anything that would violate our rights to think for ourselves.‖ ―Look out for number one. is not only morally wrong. This means that there is lifelong loyalty and goals of the `in-group′ are more important than personal goals. people from many other cultures regard some of the behavior Americans legitimize by the label ―individual freedom‖ to be self-centered and lacking in consideration for others. And sometimes when offering help to Americans. 49 . it is sacrilegious. but after living with Americans and observing their behavior I understood what my friend meant: I am unique. It read ―I am the stone the builder rejected‖. Kurds can be said to be collectivists.20) By contrast. live our lives as we see fit.

p. The table below shows some of these differences. and is recently married. cited in Brown (2000. 312). 192). p. shows differences between the relationship of teacher-student and student-teacher interactions and attitudes. Hosfstede (1986. 50 .How are the kids doing?‖ even if the person asked the question doesn‘t have kids.

The child got much closer to us and tried our patience. Patron: How old are you? 51 . a child came up to us wanting to sell chewing gum. We got up and went back to our hotel and sat in the lounge. We politely shook our heads and said ‗no.hour. we felt very uneasy as our privacy was violated. who dislike being alone. thank you‘. and this is Felicity! Felicity: (smiling) Hello. We were enjoying our privacy again. Americans tend to regard such people as weak or dependent. We refused to buy.4. Or when trying to enter a house in the United States. Americans assume that most people ―need some time to them‖ or ―some time alone‖ to think about things or recover their spent psychological energy. The magic polite words ―thank-you and please‖ gradually disappeared from our response to the child. Most Americans have great difficulty understanding people who always want to be with another person. My friend and I were no longer able to enjoy our conversation. The child kept trying to sell us his chewing gum.3. music and our privacy. A Vietnamese patron at the hotel came to initiate a conversation with us: Patron: Hello! How are you? My name is Thu.but.3 Privacy Also closely associated with the value they place on individualism is the importance Americans assign to privacy. Mark Lê (2005.. Patron: Where you came from? Mark: Australia. Mark: I‘m Mark. Americans may ask you to ―leave me alone‖. pp. My friend was also from Australia. While we were enjoying the coffee.. After half an. Sometimes when in a bad state of mind. knocking on the door only means request for permission.. Patron: What is your name again? Felicity: Felicity Patron: It is a strange name. 275-276) cites an interesting account of violation of their American privacy by Vietnamese when he and his friend were in Vietnam: My friend and I were having a cup of coffee in a coffee shop in Hue.. What are you doing here? Mark: We‘re visiting Hue. The child refused to go away.

should have equal rights economically. individuals are free to choose different ways for pursuing ―life. politically.Mark: Twenty one. friendly manner. American clerks.3. 4. have been trained to believe that they are as valuable as any other people.S. Patron: How much do you earn? 4. deferred to. Store clerks and table servers. for example. liberty. and socially. citizens.4 Equality There is a basic belief in the American society that all citizens. Mark: I work part-time.‖ This means choosing different lifestyles and different ways of providing for one‘s livelihood. may introduce themselves by their first (given) names and treat customers in a casual. In fact the constitution affirms equality among all U. male or female. This informal behavior can outrage foreign visitors who hold high status in countries where it is not assumed that ―all men are created equal. Patron: You‘re student or you work. partly because of the inequalities inherent in a democratic system. or treated as though they could do no wrong or make no unreasonable requests.5 Informality The American notions of equality lead Americans to be quite informal in their general behavior and in their relationships with other people. even if they happen to be engaged at a given time in an occupation that others might consider inferior or lowly. Americans see these people as best52 . like other Americans. and happiness.3. They dislike being the subjects of open displays of respect—being bowed to. In a democratic society. These ideals have been difficult to attain. Patron: Is she your girl friend? Mark: We‘re friends. legally.‖ Americans are generally quite uncomfortable when someone treats them with excessive respect.

This behavior reflects not so much a special interest in the person addressed as a concern (not conscious) for showing that one is a ―regular guy.‖ Americans tend to make friends slowly. Kurds. says Carbaugh.40) What is intriguing. For example. The superficial friendliness for which Americans are so well-known is related to their informal. For example. p.behavior friends. An American girl. ―Hi!‖ they will say to just about anyone. or ―Howya doin?‖ (That is. i. ―But then they‘re superficial. And other Americans living there claimed that the Finnish were ‗so silent and shy‘. She said ―they. I don‘t understand that. The person comes up to you and says ‗How are you?‘ and you talk for a while and it‘s nice. Ihere have been criticisms about the Kurds‘ ‗forthrightness‘.‖ Immediately she added. Americans are friendly. More observant visitors notice that Americans tend to be remote and unreachable even among themselves. They are difficult to get to know on a deeper level. and that they don‘t like. They are very private. and some see them as naïve. they will have to be on their best behaviors. It‘s really nice. ask 53 . keeping their personal thoughts and feelings to themselves. I saw this person [whom she had had small talk with the day before] the next day and she just waved and acted like she didn‘t even know me. if they make them at all. is that the Americans who lived in Finland had their complaints against the Finnish. Carbaugh in his book Cultures in conversation gives an interesting account of Finnish girls‘ view of Americans: A 22-year-old Finnish female. who has come to Kurdistan to study. ―How are you doing?‖ or ―How are you?‖). complained that Kurds were very forthright. Some people think Americans are insincere. There is this complaint against Kurdish people by Americans. On the other hand this informality of Americans makes people from other countries believe that they can talk about everything with Americans.e. They have to change their personality to get along with such people. 2005. and had this to say about Americans: ―Well. had just returned to Finland from the United States. This American informality is something many people from other cultures misunderstand.‖ (Carbaugh. There‘s this small talk thing that they do. egalitarian approach to other people. an American studying in a Finish university was upset to hear that. Ulla.

Robson advises service providers. of evidence that we should not be taken seriously. most importantly our use of first names. or even strike up a conversation while sitting next to someone at a public event. and I said ―if you were asked that question again say I make some money enough to live by‖. these little pieces of "small talk" aren't meant to discuss 54 . Robson (1996) who has worked with Kurdish refugees in the United States explains this misinterpretation in this statement: Americans who have worked extensively with Kurds. Kurds need to know that they cannot call service providers or elders by their first names. she was very uncomfortable about it. Raifsnider sums up this problematic area in a well in and inclusive statement. meetings.me about how much I make‖. employees working with Kurdish refugees. and other encounters with the Kurds. Moreover. unless they are invited to do so. together with Kurds who have lived here for a while. For example. It's true that this kind of behavior may seem too casual—or even just plain strange—toothers. or comment on the weather when standing in an elevator. She asked for my advice. have stressed the crucial importance of maintaining a formal relationship with the newly-arrived Kurds. Americans often greet people they don't even know. but many Americans consider it friendly. For example. especially in the first days of resettlement when impressions are being made. Robson suggests that Kurdish refugees be taught about American informality. They may talk to strangers while waiting in line. to change their behaviors and dress codes and be more formal: Service providers are urged to forego the standard American informality and friendliness. Kurds have to be taught that informality follows rules. They comment that our American informality. and observe strict protocol during interviews. Of course. dress more formally. she says: Have you ever heard a complete stranger say hello to you as you pass him or her on the street? Don't worry. is interpreted by all but the most sophisticated Kurds as a sign of weakness. That's not unusual. Another misinterpretation of American informality by Kurds is the impression Kurds get when they move to the United States. and to become more formal in dealings with the Kurds: Use titles and last names all around.

and a better future contrasts sharply with the fatalistic attitude that characterizes people from many other cultures.‖ Americans say. the participants go their separate ways and rarely commit to any kind of social involvement. notably Arabic and Kurdish culture where there is a definite reverence for the past. progress. who often have a lot of acquaintances—at work.anything very serious or personal or make new friendships.3.‖ As Americans are trained to see things. This is normal for Americans. That‘s why Americans can be very unforgiving towards the mistakes people make. at stores and restaurants. (2003.3. But Americans also make an important distinction between casual acquaintances and close friends. or even sacrilegious. And I remember well how an experienced American army captain advised me and said: ―Tony you choose to be miserable or successful. Americans set dreams for themselves and work on making them come true. If you‘re depressed. When they end. This fundamental American belief in change. This view can be noticed in the phrase ―living the dream‖ in response to greetings like ―How are you doing?‖ 4. p. then just do whatever it takes to be happy again. the future will not be better than the past or the present unless people use their time for 55 . God. you‘d best use it wisely.6 Change and Destiny To Americans ―History does not matter‖ and ―it is the future that counts‖. Because they are ultimately in control of their lives and destiny. or at least the few powerful people or families that dominate the society.7 Time ―Time is money. they have no excuse for unhappiness or misfortune. arrogant. The idea that people in general can somehow shape their own futures seems naïve. they say ―there is no excuse for what you have done‖. don‘t listen to what others say about your ability to achieve your goals‖. ―You only get so much time in this life. They believe that they can do anything if they put their minds to it: if there is a will there is a way. the future is often considered to be in the hands of fate. at the gym. In those cultures. 9) 4. If you are suffering or unhappy. in their neighborhoods. it‘s because you have chosen to be.

 You need to budget your time. yearly budgets. You cannot say good morning after twelve o‘clock a. it has become customary to pay people by the hour. Because of the way that the concept of work has developed in modern Western culture. I've invested a lot of time in her.m. evening and night. You're running out of time.  That flat tire cost me an hour. week. Lakoff and Johnson (2003. one who has a written list of things to do and a schedule for doing them. 56 .  I don't have enough time to spare for that.constructive. pp. Making the best of time by Americans can be seen in some other daily formulaic expressions. Is that worth your while?  Do you have a minute?  Another day another dollar  He's living on borrowed time. In their prominent Metaphors we live. Americans divide each day into four parts. 8-9) describe the importance of time in the American culture: Time in our culture is a valuable commodity. and paying your debt to society by "serving time. In our culture TIME IS MONEY in many ways: tele-phone message units." They exemplify this metaphorical concreteness by quoting some common sentences:  I don't have the time to give you. hotel room rates. Americans admire a ―well-organized‖ person. or year. afternoon.  You don't use your time profitably. hourly wages. interest on loans. I lost a lot of time when I got sick. where work is typically associated with the time it takes and time is precisely quantified. It is a limited resource that we use to accomplish our goals. morning.  Put aside some time for ping pong. future-oriented activities.

If they are happy they say ―I had a good day‖. Kurds have more time for rest than work. and Americans are fairly open to strangers. too. They are not disturbed by all the money they give to their government. or a social engagement. they say ―the government uses our money to provide services for us. the less you can accomplish. 4. Unlike Americans. And when in a bad mood. 4. In Iraq and Kurdistan. Americans pick up fast food.3. government build roads. People can and should be trusted. buildings‖. Kurds may say ―don‘t worry. if we couldn‘t do it today. they don‘t tell you what has made them unhappy. and for the reason why the person turned bad.Americans see each day different than the previous day. 57 . And the most popular way of wishing someone good luck is expressions like: ‗Have a nice day. In Kurdish and few Asian cultures. they just say ―I am having a bad day‖. an appointment. God is great.9 Age The American emphasis on concrete achievements and ―doing‖ means that age is not highly valued for the older you are. and willing to accept them. most Americans will feel offended if you are more than ten to fifteen minutes late for a meeting. a slight apology can solve the situation. once said an American man.8 View of Human Nature People are considered basically and inherently good. If someone does an evil deed. Kurds have three meals at home. have a great evening‘ etc. On the other hand. they believe that they. bridges. we can have tomorrow‖. Americans look for the explanation. If someone must be late. if you are late for a meeting or an appointment. Americans do not wait for the government to do everything for them. time is seen as cyclical and everreturning.3. should help out. he will try to give notice. For Kurds there is time for everything. when a plan does not go the way it supposed to go.

It is not always assumed that a man and a woman are romantically involved if they spend time together. Americans eagerly accept the idea that people should be treated as individuals. an anthropologist. American culture can be said to be put in a low-context culture.Female Behavior It has long been known in university circles the in United States that young Arab and Kurdish men have to be overtly taught that.Age is also suspect because new is usually better in American culture. This is not the case in the Unites States. distinguishes between low and high context cultures. this ideal means that men and women can interact with each other as individual human beings rather than as representatives of a gender. Most of the information must be in the transmitted message in order to make up for what is missing in the context. 58 . 4. Such view is dominant in the Kurdish society.3. think that a man and woman hanging out together means they are both wife and husband. or in a romantic relationship. most of the time. with only minimal information in the transmitted message. Kurds. engaged. and the younger have to listen quietly. one can tell that Kurdish is a high-context culture. In male-female relationships. the eldest person speaks first. there is always suspicion about male-female relationships. Low context transactions are the reverse. this does not mean that an American woman is automatically loose or immoral. Based on this criterion. In Kurdistan. 4. According to Hall: High context transactions feature pre-programmed information that is in the receiver and in the setting. generally. and the elderly are generally out of touch with what‘s new. Hall 1976. In contrast.3. Many men have women whom they consider to be ―just friends‖ and vice versa.11 High and Low Context Cultures Edward T.10 Male. The younger have to be on their best behavior and use honorific titles. although American women have much more freedom than Kurdish or Arab women do.

Time is highly organized. Relationship more important than task. Product is more important than process Table 4. Locus of control and attribution for failure Use of non-verbal communication Expression of reaction Cohesion and separation of groups Strong distinction between ingroup and outgroup. outward reaction Flexible and open grouping patterns. to directness and indirectness there will be a detailed elaboration. with use of metaphor and reading between the lines.Since these last two dimensions are closely related. Factor High-context culture Low-context culture Many covert and implicit Overtness of messages messages. Process is more important than product Inner locus of control and personal acceptance for failure Much nonverbal communication Many overt and explicit messages that are simple and clear. Strong people bonds with People bonds affiliation to family and community Level of commitment to relationships Flexibility of time High commitment to longterm relationships. or affect the way people in different speech communities communicate. external. inward reactions Visible. Low commitment to relationship.2 Differences between low and high context cultures 59 . Outer locus of control and blame of others for failure More focus on verbal communication than body language Reserved. Task more important than relationships. changing as needed Fragile bonds between people with little sense of loyalty. Time is open and flexible. Strong sense of family.

Since these last two criteria are closely related.12 Small vs. And they are more comfortable with their bosses and managers. p. the sending and receiving of messages. in other words. 13). 60 . since they express their ideas. Edward Hall. Conversational or communicative style is everything about what a person says and how she says it.4 Communicative (Conversational) Style of Americans and Kurds Communication. has maintained that culture is communication. members of society see each other as equals. regardless of their position. more will be said about it in the next section. In countries with high power distance. is an integral part of any culture. ―when members of different groups are directly engaged with each other” Scollon and Scollon (2001. 125). and doubts. like Kurdistan. large power distance Another criterion in Hofstede's framework for assessing culture. The terms intercultural or cross-cultural communication are used for describing the differences of culture and discourse between interlocutors. to directness and indirectness. or affect the way people in different speech communities communicate. this criterion measures ―how much the less powerful members of institutions and organizations expect and accept that power is distributed unequally‖ (1991. like American and most of the western cultures. disagreements.4. Intercultural communication is sometimes used when members of the same speech communities interact For example African-Americans. people are too afraid to express their doubts and disagreement with their bosses or people in higher ranks. Communicative style varies from one culture to another culture. Asians who live in the United States may have different ways of communication.p. 4. In cultures with small power distance.3. the noted interculturalist. Hispanics. There are many elements involved when two persons communicate.

and religion 2 Socialization: (a) Education. the aspects of culture which are most significant for the understanding and comparing systems of discourse of different cultures are the following: 1 Ideology: history and worldview. According to Scollon and Scollon (2001). acculturation (b) Primary and secondary socialization (c) Theories of the person and of learning 3 Forms of discourse: (a) Functions of language: – Information and relationship – Negotiation and ratification – Group harmony and individual welfare (b) Non-verbal communication: – Kinesics: the movement of our bodies – Proxemics: the use of space – Concept of time 4 Face systems: social organization. which includes: (a) Beliefs. or in the nonverbal signals that accompany them. values. in the way they are said. whether it is in the words themselves. which includes: 61 . For example Kurds conversing with Americans have more differences in communicative style than Asian-Americans when communicating with European-Americans. communication. In the cross-cultural context. is more complicated. like everything else. It is almost impossible to send a message that does not have at least some cultural content. enculturation.Cross-cultural communication refers to the process of communication between members of different speech communities and different countries or in Scollon and Scollon‘s (2001) words ―communication systems of different groups when considered abstractly or when considered independently of any form of social interaction” (13).

Iran. Some of these topics are: questions about financial matters. Illness. what jobs they have. people from Germany. Another very common topic is what the speakers ―do. (3) the depth to which they want to get involved with each other. Although the whole communication process is affected by culture. discussing and arguing about politics is a favorite way to pass the time and to get to know other people better. and sometimes religion. body weight. cited in Althen (2003) communicative style includes: (1) the topics people prefer to discuss. 4. interrupting. (2) their favorite forms of interaction in conversation. For them. and using silence as a communicative device.‖ The most common topic of small talk is the weather. It is considered 62 .(a) Kinship (b) The concept of the self (c) Ingroup–outgroup relationships (d) Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft According to Barnlund (1989). Unlike Americans. There are also topics that Americans see as too personal.1 Appropriate topics for conversation: When they first encounter another person.4.‖ meaning. and sex are some other bad topics. and even Kurds many other countries consider politics. the researcher will deal only with aspects that are crucial and different according to two different cultures. Taking turns during conversations. Some other aspects are Opening or closing conversations. to be excellent topics for informal discussion and debate. (4) the communication channels (verbal or nonverbal) on which they rely. your boring job. normally. Americans are explicitly taught not to discuss religion and politics unless they are fairly well acquainted with the people they are talking with. Americans engage in a kind of conversation they call ―small talk. Brazil. and (5) the level of meaning (factual versus emotional to which they are most attuned. but for the purpose of the thesis.

She comments: Listening to American smalltalk leads some foreigners to the erroneous conclusion that Americans are intellectually incapable of carrying on a discussion about anything significant. Groups that prefer a direct style of communicating also focus on the explicit meaning of words. it does not necessarily reflect their level of intelligence. 63 . Foreigners should keep in mind that this is the type of communicative style that Americans are accustomed to. Since direct style and indirect style of communication is closely related to high or low context cultures. or social lives are beyond the Americans‘ ability to comprehend. and the United States a heterogeneous low context culture.impolite to tell someone. An incident that always reminds me of how sensitive body weight is to Americans is when an American friend had shown his wife‘s picture to an Iraqi. Some foreigners believe that topics more complex than weather. p. that he or she has gained weight. Althen says that some people from other cultures see Americans as less knowledgeable because of their avoidance of bringing up certain topics like religion. In general. 37) 4.‖ meaning that they should focus explicitly on the information they wish to convey and downplay the context. the truth is more important than sparing someone‘s feelings. especially a woman. similar to low context cultures. ‗You can take my words to the bank‘ conveys a belief that individuals say exactly what they mean. American speakers and writers are taught to include only the ideas and information directly and obviously related to the topic at hand. This comment upset my friend so much that he kept telling himself that his wife was not overweight.4. sports. The Iraqi man had said that his (American‘s wife) was fat. The popular saying. (2003. you don‘t need to read between the lines.2 Direct versus Indirect Communication: It has already been established that Kurdish culture is homogeneous and high context society. In a low context culture like the American culture. They are supposed to ―make their points clear. it‘s important to tell it like it is. philosophy and politics. they will be merged into one topic. people say what they mean and mean what they say. honesty is the best policy.

people carry within them highly developed and refined notions of how most interactions will unfold. they try to ease into their requests.Sometimes when Kurds want or need something from Americans. it‘s okay to say no. to confront people. a person may get a bad impression from the opposite culture. criticism is straightforward. Most of the time Americans say ―what‘s up‖ and ―get to the point‖. they have evolved a more indirect style of communication. 64 . Because these cultures tend to be collectivist. which tend to be homogenous and collectivist. Cross-cultural miscommunications and misinterpretations arise when members of high context cultures interact with members of low context cultures. In high context cultures. getting/ giving information is the principal goal of the communication exchange. Sangeeta Gupta sums up how high and low context cultures view each other in Table 4. People often convey meaning or send messages by manipulating the context. They have less need to be explicit and rely less on words to convey meaning and especially on the literal meaning of the spoken word and more on nonverbal communication. If not educated and have no cultural awareness. the facts and pragmatism are more important than being careful about what you say. The prime goal of the communication exchange is maintaining harmony and saving face. Dr.3 below. Face has moderate importance. such as Kurdish culture. of how they and the other person will behave in a particular situation. Because people in high context cultures already know and understand each other quite well. people work closely together and know what everyone else knows.

occurs. a current speaker may select next speaker or parties may self-select. or.Direct communicators think indirect communicators: Indirect communicators think direct communicators:  Are evasive  Are insensitive  Have no tact and are boorish  Are insulting  Are harsh  Increase tension by dealing with issues in a direct manner  Are dishonest  Can‘t take a stand  Have no opinion  Increase tension by not dealing with issues directly Table 4.3 Direct and Indirect communicators‘ view of each other 4. You have to move quickly. most likely it is because Iraqis jump to conclusions before the 65 . I have observed Iraqis jump in conversations or interrupt conversations with Americans.  Turn-allocation techniques are used.  Occurrences of more than one speaker at a time are common. p. but brief. at least. You can either serve a new idea.  Transition from one turn to a next turn with no gap and no overlap or with slight gap or slight overlap make up the majority of transitions. or aim for the ball another player just hit. Cited in Bonvillain (2008.4. Sacks (1974) lists some mechanisms for American turn-taking:  Speaker change recurs.  Overwhelmingly one party talks at a time. someone else may get there first.3 Turn taking and pause time: American conversation resembles a tennis or volleyball match. One party talking at a time is what distinguishes American turn-takings. 115).

They are uncomfortable with silence and move quickly (many times too quickly) to fill in the quiet with meaningless words. Americans are sometimes impatient with people who take long turns. as knowing the rules of language itself. In the context of foreign language learning it has become common to talk about 66 . Such people are said to ―talk too much.counterpart finishes his or her turn. this one is generally useful. 4. 4. The young do not usually enter a conversation unless asked a question or given permission. the phrase nonverbal communication refers to communication effected by means other than words (assuming words are the verbal element). Or they wait for the eldest person to break the ice. if not more. Some nonverbal aspects are universal.5 Nonverbal aspects of communication Knapp and Hall (2002) define nonverbal communication and also make it clear that ―To most people. they believe actions have more credibility than words. this broad definition should serve us well. but it is the culture specific elements that could lead to miscommunication. understanding the culture specific nonverbal behaviors should be the focus in studying any language and trying to communicate in that language.4 Silence Americans can find it difficult to resist talking. According to Poyatos(2002). They are quite comfortable with silence. ―Understanding communication events fully requires the interpretation of meanings conveyed through nonverbal channels.‖ Nonverbal elements of communication are as important.4. And since all our nonverbal behavior is unconscious. Like most definitions. but it does not account adequately for the complexity of this phenomenon.‖ Many Americans have difficulty paying attention to someone who speaks more than a few sentences at a time.4. As long as we understand and appreciate the points listed here. Kurds and Iraqis are just the opposite. and that it is better to talk too little than too much.

nonverbal fluency as an integral part of communicative competence. beckoning. Bratani (2007. pp. According M. while Mehrabian (1972) argued that in face-to-face communication non-verbal cues convey about 93% of the meaning. Americans shake hands firmly and keep direct eye contact with the person they meet. Cited in Bratanić (2007) early study conducted by Birdwhistell (1970) indicated that up to 65% of a message‘s meaning is communicated through nonverbal clues. and rather indiscriminately and over simplistically (mis)interpreted.1 Kinesics refers to body movement and posture. that‘s because speakers of all cultures think that nonverbal messages are the same everywhere and speakers‘ lack of knowledge about culture-specific nonverbal behaviors.5. Some examples of kinesics are hand shaking. The movements of the body. Kinesics is an important part of nonverbal communication behavior. 86-90) the most important types of nonverbal behavior can be categorized according to the disciplines that study them: 4. Similar statistics have ever since been rather mechanically reproduced. I know exactly what an American thinks or say when shaking hands with Kurds and Iraqis. These findings have been quoted excessively. and sitting. Nonverbal communication may lead to miscommunication and misunderstandings.4. as well as gesture. Cultural fluency can be defined as verbal nonverbal-fluency. facial expression and eye contact and is thus most closely connected with what is popularly referred to as body language.‖ The importance of nonverbal communication can be proved by citing many researches that have been conducted to measure the role of nonverbal behavior in communication.K sign. Contrary to that 67 . 38% of meaning to paralinguistic features. His statistics (attributing 7% of meaning to the words spoken. Having lived with Americans. or separate parts. and 55% of meaning to facial expression) have become widely popular. O. convey many specific meanings and the interpretations may be culture bound.

Americans often tell Kurds to ―shake like a man‖. when speaking.3 Haptics sometimes referred to as tacesics. usually look each other directly in the eyes. or indecisive. For this reason.Kurds make limp and weak hand shake Americans may assume that the person is weak-willed. But a brief touch on the arm could be interpreted in various ways.2 Oculesics or eye behavior. their bottom of their feet facing others. 4. Kurds. When sitting Americans sit in a way that makes them comfortable. 4. ranging from flirtatious to sympathetic or reassuring depending upon the situation. for Americans. eye contact and its avoidance etc. insecure. keep their looks down attempting to respect the speaker. without being painful or aggressively firm.4. Americans. it doesn‘t matter whether they use their right or left hand. or — worse — as a sign that you are guilty of something and are trying to hide it. or that's right. There is a difference between the way Kurds and Americans beckon a person. it is important to make your handshake firm and strong. they may put one leg on the other. depending on age and rank. Kurds usually call a person using their entire right hand only. It means OK. more specifically looks at the influence of visual contact on the perceived message that is being communicated. because this will also send the wrong message! And since they prefer informality. This can be considered rude in Kurdish culture. Americans are not as openly affectionate as those from some other cultures. The listener keeps direct eye contact.5. on the other hand.5. and waving inward. It is acceptable in America to use the index finger to beckon someone. but generally it is more acceptable for opposite sexes to touch each other than the 68 . or perfect.4. This same gesture means a sexual insult in Kurdish culture. This way of sitting is considered rude in Kurdish culture. Moreover. It analyzes eye gaze. looking away briefly from time to time. deals with touching behavior. In America the OK gesture is made with the index finger and thumb forming a circle with the other fingers extended. This behavior may be interpreted as a lack of self confidence.

same sex doing that. For example Americans, unconsciously, are suspicious of seeing two young Kurds walk hand in hand. This is, ofcourse, due to the issue of sexuality. Kurds should be aware of this when interacting with Americans. Proxemics is concerned with personal space usage. According to Hall (1959.), the use of proxemic zones considered ―normal‖ and acceptable in American culture (more precisely middle-class Americans of Northern European heritage) would approximately correspond to the following.  intimate distance (embracing, touching or whispering, 15-45 cm or 6-18 inches)  personal distance (interactions among good friends, 45-120 cm or 1.5-4 feet)  social distance (interactions among acquaintances, e.g. business transactions (1.2- 3.5 m or 4-12 ft)  public distance used for public speaking (over 3.5 m or 12 ft) When talking with strangers, Americans keep stepping back if they see the other person is standing too close. Kurds stand closer to the interlocutor. Paralinguistics deals with vocal communication parallel to language itself, such as non-word utterances and other non-verbal vocal clues (tone of voice, loudness, pitch etc.) rather closely related to language use. American vocal patterns tend to be in a mid-range of pitch and on the low end of vocal variation. It is characterized by non-emotional, while Kurd‘s pitch sounds more emotional.


Chapter Five The Study of Fourth Year Students’ Communicative Competence
5.0 Introduction
In this chapter the focus is going to be a continuation of exploring the various aspects of communicative competence. This time the focal point will be on the pragmatic competence and speech acts. In addition to this, the results and analysis of the students‘ answers to the questionnaire administered to them.

5.1.1 Pragmatics in Foreign Language Learning:
Crystal defines Pragmatics as ― the study of language from the point of view of users, especially of the choices they make, the constraints they encounter in using language in social interactions and the effects their use of language has on other participants in the act of communication" (Crystal 1985, p. 240). In other words, pragmatics is the study of communicative action in its sociocultural context. According to Bardovi-Harlig(2002,p. 182) traditionally the study of pragmatics has focused on five main areas: Conversational Implicature,

Presupposition, Speech Acts, Deixis and Conversational structure. But the focus is narrower in the field of foreign language studies: mainly on speech acts and to a lesser extent conversational implicature and conversational structure. Safont Jordà (2005) adds relevance theory and politeness principles. Cited in Bardovi-Harlig(2002,p. 182) is Stalnaker‘s (1972, p. 383) description of the intersection of pragmatics and foreign language studies: ―the study of linguistic acts and the contexts in which they are performed‖. Leech (1983) and his colleague Jenny Thomas (1983) proposed to subdivide pragmatics into a pragmalinguistic and sociopragmatic component. 70

Pragmalinguistics refers to the resources for conveying communicative acts and relational or interpersonal meanings. Such resources include pragmatic strategies like directness and indirectness, routines, and a large range of linguistic forms which can intensify or soften communicative acts. For one example, compare these two versions of apology - the terse 'I'm sorry' and 'I'm absolutely devastated. Can you possibly forgive me?' In both versions, the speaker apologizes, but she indexes a very different attitude and social relationship in each of the apologies (e.g., Fraser, 1980; House & Kasper, 1981; Brown & Levinson, 1987; Blum-Kulka, House, & Kasper, 1989). Sociopragmatics was described by Leech (1983, p. 10) as 'the sociological interface of pragmatics', referring to the social perceptions underlying participants' interpretation and performance of communicative action. Speech communities differ in their assessment of speaker's and hearer's social distance and social power, their rights and obligations, and the degree of imposition involved in particular communicative acts (Takahashi & Beebe, 1993; BlumKulka & House, 1989; Olshtain, 1989). The values of context factors are negotiable; they can change through the dynamics of conversational interaction, as captured in Fraser's (1990) notion of the 'conversational contract' and in Myers-Scotton's Markedness Model (1993). Pragmatic ability in a second or foreign language is part of a nonnative speakers‘ communicative competence and therefore has to be located in a model of communicative competence, most clearly in Bachman and Palmer‘s (1996) communicative language ability, and in other names in Celce-Murcia and Canale‘s (1983). The most dominant area of pragmatics in foreign language studies is the theory of speech acts. And this is what will be elaborated in this chapter.


5.1.2 Interlanguage pragmatics
Interlanguage pragmatics is a new subfield within the foreign language learning research area. It is concerned with the pragmatic competence and performance of second and foreign language learners; thus, studies in this field focus on the non-native speaker‘s use and acquisition of pragmatic knowledge in/of the target language. Kasper and Dahl (1991, 216) define interlanguage pragmatics as referring to nonnative speakers‘ comprehension and production of pragmatics and how that foreign language-related knowledge is acquired. The first studies appeared almost 30 years ago in North America (Borkin and Reinhart, 1978) and Europe (Hackman, 1977). From that moment, scholars have focused on speech-act performance by learners of a foreig language. One of the most influential works in this field is that of Blum-Kulka et al. (1989), who attempted to discern variations in speech-acts production by individual from different linguistic backgrounds.

5.1.3 Pragmatic Transfer
The concept of transfer was first used in the Contrastive Analysis which was connected to behaviorist views of language learning and to structural linguistics. The amazing effect that the L1 had on the L2 mainly at the level of pronunciation, led researchers in the 1960s to the Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis (CAH). In those days, there were two widely held beliefs. Firstly, the native language strongly influenced the foreign language. Secondly, this influence was negative. Accordingly, contrastive analysts held that the first language interfered with second or foreign learning. The CAH suggested that where two languages were different, there would be negative transfer or interference since learners would experience difficulty that would result in the production of errors; and that where two languages were similar, there would be positive transfer since learning would be facilitated and few errors would result. The term ‗transfer‘ is generally used to refer to the systematic influences of existing knowledge on the acquisition of new knowledge. People usually 72

approach a new problem or situation with an existing mental set: a frame of mind involving an existing disposition to think of a problem or a situation in a particular way. Mental sets are largely determined by culture-specific knowledge. Therefore, communication between individuals from different cultural backgrounds may be influenced by their different mental sets. For example, in some cultures an offer of coffee after a meal is generally recognized as a polite way to indicate to the guests that they ought to leave soon if they do not wish to outstay their welcome. In other cultures, an offer of coffee on a similar occasion is just an act of the host's kindness (or even an invitation to the guests to stay a little bit longer than they had intended). Kasper defines pragmatic transfer as "the influence exerted by learners' pragmatic knowledge of languages and cultures other than foreign language on their comprehension and production and learning of foreign language pragmatic information" (Kasper, 1992, p. 207). Kasper (1992) identifies two types of pragmatic transfer: Pragmalinguistic transfer and Sociopragmatic transfer. A pragmalinguistic transfer is the influence of the learner‘s knowledge about the illocutionary force or politeness value assigned to particular linguistic form-functions in native language, which, when mapped by learners into the perception and production of a similar situation in target language, sounds different to native speakers. In Kasper‘s words, it is ―the process whereby the illocutionary force or politeness value assigned to a particular linguistic material in NL influences learners‘ perception and production of form-function mappings in target lanugage‖ (Kasper, 1992, p. 209). A sociopragmatic transfer is a process ―operative when the social perceptions underlying language users‘ interpretation and performance of linguistic action in target language are influenced by their assessment of subjectively equivalent native language contexts.‖(Kasper, 1992:209). Accordingly, it can be inferred from Kasper‘s dichotomous division of pragmatic transfer that negative pragmatic transfer also has two corresponding 73

22). According to text books using a different style or using words according to formality and informality is not accepted.91).1. who insists a theory of linguistic communication. What Fraser describes means ―pragmatic failure or the inability to understand what is meant by what is said‖ presented by Thomas (1983. For example. Where a common linguistic or cultural background is not shared between people. 5. each culture conveys this meaning differently. can be used as specific paralinguistic and prosodic features such as tone of voice. negative sociopragmatic transfer.types. facial expressions. or perhaps the result of failure to communicate‖ (1983. or confusing the hearer. two friends meet and one greets the other by exclaiming ―WOW! Linda! What did you do to your 74 . 4 Cross-cultural pragmatic failure Thomas defines pragmatics as ―meaning in interaction‖ which involves ―the negotiation of meaning between speaker and hearer. in any particular domain. are not part of communication but the result of communication. Culture.91). gestures. belief. p.30). and loudness to establish the meaning of the message or accomplish other conversational results. even the clothes people wear convey meaning. which includes world view. tone of voice. According to Thomas the term ‗cross-cultural‘ means not only ―native-non native interactions. Most of the text books provide samples of different speech acts. gestures. such as convincing. p. annoying. The first type is negative pragmalinguistic pragmatic transfer. ―any effects beyond the successful recognition of the speaker's intentions. social and linguistic) and the meaning potential of an utterance‖ (1995. p. intonation. According to Fraser. and the other. for example speech act of greeting. However. p.‖ but it also means ―any communication between two people who. the context of utterance(physical. do not share a common linguistic or cultural background‖ (1983. values and behavior and so on. cross-cultural tensions occur in terms of the ease with which they can communicate effectively. In other words.

Kaspar points out four reasons of learner's pragmatic failure as follows: … the learners (a) rely too heavily on bottom-up processing.1. immediately recognizable to any native speaker of American English by its intonational contour. (b) do not make sufficient use of illocutionary force indicating devices. Kaspar indicates two types of foreign language learner's pragmatic misunderstanding of being unable to distinguish between phatic talk and referential talk. It was for too long the assumption of philosophers that the business of a ‗statement‘ can only be to ‗describe‘ some state of affairs. According to Wolfson.hair? I almost didn't recognize you. 1) 75 . (c) have problems in activating frames relevant in the given context. ―the sort of compliment. (…) But now in recent years. which it must do either truly or falsely. p. which would once have been accepted without question as ‗statements‘ by both philosophers and grammarians have been scrutinized with new care. they actually take their origin in the philosophy of language.82). or only intended in part. many things. 1) 5. p. (Austin. 1962. Although speech act studies are now considered a sub-discipline of cross-cultural pragmatics. to record or impart straight forward information about the facts (…).5 Speech Act Theory Speech act theory attempts to explain how speakers use language to accomplish intended actions and how hearers infer intended meaning from what is said. 1983:82). or to ‗state some fact‘. and (d) have too little flexibility for frames shift if incoming data are incompatible with a currently active higher-order frame (1984. It looks great‖ (Wolfson. (…) It has come to be commonly held that many utterances which look like statements are either not intended at all. p. has more than once been perceived as a serious insult by a nonnative speaker who was unfamiliar with the meaning of the intonation and who could only interpret the words by their literal meaning‖ (1983. and of missing the intended illocutionary force of indirect speech acts.

giving commands. as one cannot use the verb ‗to insult‘ to explicitly insult someone (e. I apologize. Representatives are an attempt to describe the world and the ‗world to match the words‘ (Searle. ordering. speakers may employ other linguistic resources to express the illocutionary force of a speech act. In his seminal book Speech Acts. 3) a perlocutionary act refers to what we achieve ―by saying something such as convincing. warning. I refuse.). directives. 109). requesting. it should be noted that not all speech acts may be realized using speech act verbs. When the speaker tries to get the hearer to commit to some future course of action we are dealing with directives. deterring. while the purpose of using expressives is to show the speaker‘s psychological state of 76 . In the case of commissives. that is. Languages have different linguistic resources for communicating speech acts. Searle (1976) classifies illocutionary speech-acts in five groups. etc..Austin proposed a three-way taxonomy of speech acts: 1) a locutionary act refers to the act of saying something meaningful. surprising or misleading‖ (1962. but rather.g. asking questions. say. or refusing. the speaker commits himself to some future course of action. For Austin. offering apologies. 1976: 3). persuading. directives are attempts to make the world match the words. making promises. complaining. and even. the realization of a particular speech act depended on the appropriate circumstances of the speech event such as having a conventional procedure and the presence of the appropriate persons and circumstances.. and so on. Searle (1969) noted that speaking a language is performing speech acts. 2) an illocutionary act is an act performed in saying something that has a conventional force such as informing. the act of uttering a fragment or a sentence in the literal sense (referring and predicating). Austin‘s speech act theory was solidified and further developed by the American philosopher John Searle. acts such as making statements.g. and. Speech acts can be realized explicitly using performative verbs or speech act verbs (e. expressives and declarations. ‗I insult you!‘). namely those of representatives. According to Searle. I promise. However. commissives. p.

on the other hand. ―I‘d love to go.g. She investigated apology strategies in: Hebrew. Olshtain (1989) found that speakers did not apologize the same crossculturally.‖ These are just a couple of common examples that illustrate that speech acts are often realized quite differently cross-culturally. Such conversational difficulties may in turn cause breakdowns in interethnic communication (Gumperz. An example is. 1990. Speech acts are realized differently cross-culturally. p. and German.‖ American English speakers. It is difficult for a foreign language learner to conceptualize the notion that not only do they have to learn the lexical items and syntactic 77 . When the nonnative speakers violate speech act realization patterns typically used by native speakers of a target language. they often suffer the continuing risk of unintentionally violating conversational (and politeness) norms. An example is. difficulties may arise due to their lack of mastery of the conversational norms involved in the production of speech acts.mind regarding his/her attitude to some prior action or state of affairs. Japanese speakers tend to give very vague excuses when refusing invitations. thus giving up their claims to being treated by their interactants as social equals (Kasper. ―I won‘t let it happen again). a promise of forbearance is both common and expected in some apology situations. declarations require extralinguistic institutions for their performance (e. 1990). but I am busy. Canadian French. tend to give very concrete excuses. One of the most startling differences between the Hebrew and American speakers was that Hebrew speakers did not give a promise of forbearance (for example. The importance of studying speech acts is crucial in developing the students‘ ability to communicate properly in the target language because when foreign language learners engage in conversations with native speakers. Australian English. but I have to attend a wedding on that day. 139). appointing a new director). In English. ―I‘m sorry. Finally.

Description of the questions is made by referring to typical forms of speech acts agreed upon by applied linguists. but the whole conceptualization of what that speech act is may differ between the two languages. again. her host interpreted her reply as a request for a drink other than whiskey. It is very important.1 Apology 1. An American who was visiting Israel was offered a drink by a friend. ―Well. Research has found that classroom instruction on speech acts can help learners to improve their performance of speech acts and thus their interactions with native speakers. Her reply was. or appropriate potential answers. instances of miscommunication can occur. or producing a speech act using appropriate language and manner in the language being learned. 5. To say that they are sorry 78 . each category of questions will be described. 1995) illustrates differences in the degree of directness of speech acts. due to differing conceptualizations of speech acts.2. Students‘ answers will be compared and contrasted to those descriptions. 121). that speech acts be taught in classroom because learners of all languages tend to have difficulty understanding the intended meaning communicated by a speech act. 5. Another example (Thomas. The American woman was attempting to indicate that she would prefer to keep drinking whiskey.2 A Review of the Speech Acts Examined In order to analyze the answers given by senior students. however.structure of a speech act. I‘ve been on whisky all day‖ (p. This is just one example that further illustrates the fact that Americans are not always ―direct‖ and that even with the best intentions in mind.In American English people typically use apologies for a variety of reasons such as: 1.

" or "apologize. Acknowledgement of responsibility.2. The speaker uses a word. 1981." At a somewhat lower level would be an expression of self-deficiency: "I was confused/I didn't see/You are right. The apologizer makes a bid to carry out an action or provide payment for some kind of damage resulting from his/her violation." C. An expression of an apology. There are five possible strategies for making an apology (Cohen & Olshtain. The offender recognizes his/her fault in causing the infraction. To explain why the offense happened 3." B. The speaker describes the situation which caused him/her to commit the offense and which is used by this speaker as an indirect way of apologizing. To make a repair for the offense and maintain a good relationship with the addressee 2. 79 . The degree of such recognition on the part of the apologizer can be placed on a scale. A." "forgive. expression. . or sentence containing a verb such as "sorry. If someone is late for an appointment with a friend s/he might say something like. An offer of repair. 119-125).Complex speech acts like apologies actually consist of a set of routinized patterns or strategies typically used by native speakers of the language." "excuse." At a still lower level would be the expression of lack of intent: "I didn't mean to. D. The highest level of intensity is an acceptance of the blame: "It's my fault. An explanation or account. pp.

1985. 1993)  to confront a problem with an intention to improve the situation ("a facethreatening activity". "troubles talk" (Tannen. I worked so hard!" 2. disapproval. that's for sure. 1993a. For example: 1. which is again situation-specific and less frequent than the other strategies. 1992). annoyance. 1996). "I can't believe I didn't get an A on this paper. Trosborg. threats. 1993. 5. 1985. Brown & Levinson. 1996) 80 . "Same here. obtain agreement. censure. or reprimand as a reaction to a perceived offense/ violation of social rules (Olshtain & Weinbach. for example ― I wouldn‘t let it happen. 1993a. A promise of non-recurrence."How can I make it up to you. blame. 1990) (Boxer. The apologizer commits him/herself to not having the offense happen again. She doesn't give away A's very easily.why don‘t I buy you lunch on Friday? Or someone who fails to make it to an appointment might say. 1978)  to share a specific negative evaluation. 1995)  to hold the hearer accountable for the offensive action and possibly suggest/request a repair (Olshtain & Weinbach.2 Complaints Americans use complaints:  to express displeasure.2."  to vent anger or anxiety/let off steam (Boxer. "Would you be willing to reschedule the meeting?" E. and establish a common bond between the speaker and addressee "trouble sharing" (Hatch.

Isn’t that horrible?). there’s something I want to talk to you about.. I don’t want to be horrible about it. direct and indirect complaints. 1993a. don’t you?  Look. Indirect complaints often open a conversation and establish solidarity between the speakers. 1-Direct Complaints Strategies Explanation of Purpose / Warning for the Forthcoming Complaint  Listen. John.) 81 . to open and sustain conversations (Boxer.. are often investigated separately. Request for non-recurrence (The speaker requests that the complainee never perform the offence again or improve the behavior. Complaint   I think maybe the grade was a little too low. While direct complaints are addressed to a complainee who is held responsible for the offensive action (Could you be a little quieter? I’m trying to sleep). Request for Solution/Repair    I would appreciate it if you would reconsider my grade. indirect complaints are given to addressees who are not responsible for the perceived offense (She never cleans up after her. You remember our agreement. 1996) Two categories of complaints. Would you mind doing your share of the duties? I presume your insurance will cover the damage. I put a lot of time and effort in this.

5.....) 3... 1983.30-3)1. 1981. you know?/Why did they have to raise tuition?) Boxer (1993a. Situation (I feel... I’d really like to find out about this because I’m hoping it won’t happen again...       I can’t take it.. 82 . This is not my day! It drives me crazy! Unfortunately. 1990).. Self (Oh. Wolfson.. It’s not fair. I’m so stupid..2.  To establish/confirm/maintain solidarity (Manes & Wolfson.. How dare. I can’t stand. I’m up to here. 2-Indirect Complaints Indirect complaints usually begin with an introductory expression like one of the following:       There’s no way. Well. The problem is. boxed in. pp.. in a way.. Indirect complaints tend to center on three themes: 1. Other (John is the worst manager. I’m sick and tired. 1989). It’s a shame.3 Compliments / Responses In American English compliments are used for a variety of reasons:  To express admiration or approval of someone‘s work/appearance/taste (Manes.) 2. Herbert..

personality traits Such comments as "Good boy" and "You‘re so sweet" are compliments on the addressee‘s personality traits. 1989). 1992). 1983). Concise compliments such as "Nice shot!" are typically given by male speakers (Herbert. 1990. appearance/possessions Compliments on someone‘s appearance or possessions are the most common type of compliments in American English. To replace greetings/gratitude/apologies/congratulations (Wolfson. Dunham. performance/skills/abilities "You did a good job!" and "You are such a wonderful writer" are examples of compliments on performance/skills/abilities. 1978. Like or love are used 90% of the time in this type of compliment. 2. This category of compliments occurs less frequently than those on appearance/possessions and performance/skills/abilities (Holmes. Wolfson. 1988). 1989). 3. 1983. "Your blouse looks beautiful!" is an example of an adjectival compliment. 83 . requests and criticism (Brown & Levinson. Billmyer. "I really love your car!" is an example of a compliment that contains a semantically positive verb. 1983). Major compliment topics can be classified into four categories 1. Some other semantically positive verbs that are used would be admire and be impressed (Wolfson. 1990).  To open and sustain conversation (conversation strategy) (Wolfson.  To soften face-threatening acts such as apologies. 1983.  To reinforce desired behavior (Manes.

for example.. Offers.) 5. Direct 1.4.2.g. a new article of clothing. It is useful for nonnative speakers to know. 1983. Refusals can be classified into two categories: 1./I don't think so) 84 . Favorable comments on the attractiveness of one's children. or a haircut. Non performative statement o o "No" Negative willingness/ability (I can't. as do compliments on cars and houses. Positive Values of Mainstream Americans 1. Using performative verbs (I refuse) 2. and the adjective thin (e. The fact that the new appearance may be due to an alteration (such as a new hairstyle or the loss of weight) as well as to a purchase leads us to conclude that the true importance of the comment lies in the speaker's having noticed a change. (p. (p. whether it is a car. "You look thin") is interpreted as complimentary in itself in this society. That this is very definitely not the case for speakers from other societies around the world is often a cause of some confusion. boyfriends. Invitations. Judd. 114) (N. thereby proving that he or she considers the addressee worthy of attention.4.2. and even husbands./I won't. and Suggestions.4 Refusals 5. 113) 2.Being slim has strong positive value among mainstream speakers of American English. or girlfriends seem to fall within this category. and even insult. when nonnative speakers are the recipients of such remarks.1 Functions of Refusals Refusals can be used in response to: Requests. pets. wives. that the quality of newness is so highly valued in this society that a compliment is appropriate whenever and acquaintance is seen with something new. Wolfson & E.

./I promise I'll..) 6... empathy. reason..)  Criticize the request/requester (statement of negative feeling or opinion....) 7.) Why don't you do X instead of Y (Why don't you ask someone else?) 5.) 2.) 9. Promise of future acceptance (I'll do it next time./I'd prefer. and assistance by dropping or holding the request 85 .. Excuse.) 3./I feel terrible. Statement of philosophy (One can't be too careful.. Set condition for future or past acceptance (If you had asked me earlier. Attempt to dissuade interlocutor  Threat or statement of negative consequences to the requester (I won't be any fun tonight to refuse an invitation)  Guilt trip (waitress to customers who want to sit a while: I can't make a living off people who just order coffee.. Statement of principle (I never do business with friends. Indirect 1...) 8.../I have a headache) 4. Statement of regret (I'm sorry. Statement of alternative o o I can do X instead of Y (I'd rather. Wish (I wish I could help you.. insult/attack (Who do you think you are?/That's a terrible idea!)  Request for help.2./Next time I'll. I would have. explanation (My children will be home that night.

)  Self-defense (I'm trying my best./I'm doing all I can do.2.Acceptance that functions as a refusal o o Unspecific or indefinite reply Lack of enthusiasm 11. Americans typically start with expressing a positive opinion or feeling 86 . Excuses are commonly given as part of American refusals. Let interlocutor off the hook (Don't worry about it. I don't know./You don't have to. Main strategies are detailed below./That's okay.2./I'm not sure.4.) Hedge (Gee.2 American Refusals 5.4. Beebe et al. (1990). 5.2.) 10.1 Refusals of Requests Felix-Brasdefer (2008) elaborates American refusals in detail.Avoidance o Nonverbal     Silence Hesitation Doing nothing Physical departure o Verbal      Topic switch Joke Repetition of part of request (Monday?) Postponement (I'll think about it.

" then use an expression of regret/apology followed by an excuse to speakers of either higher.2." "I'd love to go. "Don't worry" or "Never mind" and reinforce it with expressions like "I know it was an accident. Americans generally give an expression of regret or apology. they tend to say "Thank you" at the end of their refusal to a friend (a status equal) who makes an invitation.2. With status equals.3 Refusal of Offers When a cleaning woman offers to pay for a broken base.2. lower.2. but not with others of unequal status. In few cases. then express regret (I'm sorry). Refusal of Suggestions Offering an alternative to be pursued by the refuser or making suggestions for the recipient of the refusal to carry out are common strategies. 5. They talk to people of higher or lower status than themselves in a similar way. In general. 5. 5.about the requests or requester (or pause fillers uhh/well/oh/uhm when talking to a higher-status person). and finally give an excuse. or equal status. 87 . Americans might say. For instance. native speakers of American English tend to be sensitive to status equals versus status unequals (either higher or lower).2." letting the interlocutor off the hook.4. and then give an excuse. especially when talking to someone of higher or lower status than themselves (status unequals)." "Thank you. Expressions of regret and gratitude are used frequently in declining invitations. but they speak to status equals in a different way than status unequals. expressions of gratitude and attempts to dissuade are offered as well.2 Refusals of Invitations Americans tend to begin with expressions like "Well.

As for the requester.5. 1989. 11). such as imperatives): Clean up the kitchen. I’m asking you to clean up the kitchen. s/he may hesitate to make requests for fear of exposing a need or out of fear of possibly making the recipient lose face (Blum-Kulka et al.1 Direct Strategies (marked explicitly as requests.2.2. You’ll have to clean up the kitchen. Brown & Levinson (1987). One way for the speaker to minimize the imposition is by employing indirect strategies rather than direct ones.2 Conventionally indirect strategies (referring to contextual preconditions necessary for its performance as conventionalized in the language): How about cleaning up? Could you clean up the kitchen.5. The scale of directness can be characterized according to the following three strategies: 5. I’d like to ask you to clean the kitchen. Since requests have the potential to be intrusive and demanding. The recipient may feel that the request is an intrusion on his/her freedom of action or even a power play.2. (1989). In this sense. please? 88 .. 5. requests are face-threatening to both the requester and the recipient.5.5 Requests By making a request. the more transparent it is and the less of a burden the recipient bears in interpreting the request. the speaker infringes on the recipient‘s freedom from imposition. there is a need for the requester to minimize the imposition involved in the request. p. Blum-Kulka et al. The more direct a request is. I really wish you’d clean up the kitchen.

or to a friend who has handed you something.2. Many examples of thanking appear in a ritualized form. Different cultures seem to agree on general trends of situational variation.2. 201-202. For example.6 Thanking Americans thank/express gratitude in different ways for different reasons. especially those living in larger cities. 89 . They may say:    "Thank you so much for the gift!" to show gratitude. A certain language (like German) may tend to use more direct-level requests than other languages (like Japanese) equally in an appropriate manner within the culture. Others tend to automatically thank others for performing a service for them. may say nothing at all to a bus driver or a cashier.3 Non-conventionally indirect strategies (hints) (partially referring to the object depending on contextual clues): You have left the kitchen in a right mess. such as saying "Thanks" or "Thank you" to a bus driver. (in response to a persistent hassle) Blum-Kulka & Olshtain (1989).5. Friends use more casual requests than acquaintances provided that the content of the request is the same." to signal the conclusion of a conversation. a big favor usually comes with more indirect and/or polite strategies than a low-imposition request. However. 5. the specific directness levels appropriate for given situations might differ cross-culturally. I’m a nun. Some speakers. thank you." to compliment someone.5. pp. a cashier. Both situational and cultural factors influence use of these request strategies. "Thanks for the wonderful meal. or "That’s all.

5. Thank you for all your help. That’s all right.2. B. pp.138-156) analyzed Japanese and Americans‘ performance of speech acts of correction by ―looking at how this speech act is performed with status unequals— a person of lower status addressing someone of higher status and a person of higher status addressing someone of lower status‖. four requests. two compliment/responses. 1.3. It’s really nothing. Coulmas (1981). Don’t mention it/That’s all right. The questions were put in order of twenty two questions total and categorized and labeled in order to give the participants hints about what they were supposed to answer. and three introductions questions.Thanks and apologies can be responded in similar terms (That’s all right / Not at all). 72-73. I’m terribly sorry I did this to you. two thanking. 5. 90 . three refusals.3 The Study 5. Beebe (1993. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. Thanks implying the indebtedness of the speaker to the listener closely resembles apologies where the speaker actually recognizes his indebtedness to his listener.7 Speech Act of Correction Takahashi and M. It’s really nothing. 2. What thanks and apologies have in common is the concept of indebtedness.1 Research Questions A questionnaire consisting of eight categories of speech acts were selected: four apologies. two complaints. For example: A. one correction. p.

native and nonnative speakers may use different formulas for the same speech act. What motivated the selection of speech acts as research questions is the fact that speech acts‘ realizations vary enormously from one culture to another. and to find out their performance of speech acts. Bardovi-Harlig (1996. Fourth year students were chosen for several reasons: they are expected to have reached an advanced level of linguistic knowledge. they are thought to have no difficulty understanding the questionnaire‘ requirements. Thus the closer the performance of the students of speech acts the closer they are to the level of advanced and culturally competent speakers of English. 91 .3. 2002) has identified four main differences between the way native and nonnative speakers use speech acts.2 Participants The questionnaire was administered to a classroom of forty fourth year students at Salahaddin University.3.5.  First. college of languages and ten Americans .  Second. 5. For example nonnative speakers may give more additional explanations when they ‗waffle‘ by mitigating supportives as reported in Cenoz and Valencia (1996).3 Study Objectives From the literature review on communicative competence. native and nonnative speakers may use different speech acts. An example of this was reported by (Bardovi-Harlig and Hartford 1993) who found that native speakers used more suggestions and nonnative speakers more rejections. it was observed that pragmatic competence constitutes an important component of communicative competence. And the most relevant component of pragmatic competence to second/foreign language learning is speech acts.

237) 5. The learner might deviate from the accepted norm when choosing a semantic formula for a specific situation. 3. I hope you brought the book I lent you. however. they are: 1-Written discourse completion test (WDCT): WDCTs are written questionnaires including a number of brief situational descriptions.3. p. she realizes that she forgot to bring it along. Third. 2. For example an explanation is provided but the content is quite different in the case of native and nonnative speakers. 92 .4 Methodology There are different and various ways to assess the pragmatic competence of students. Two of these assessment tools have been adopted here. Participants are asked to provide a response that they think is appropriate in the given context: At the professor‘s office A student has borrowed a book from her teacher. (Quoted by Cenoz 132 2007) Olshtain ( 1983) proposed a number of possible deviations that might occur in foreign language learners' performance of an apology as a result of inappropriate application of socioculturd rules: 1. Teacher: Miriam. (Olshtain. The learner might perform the speech act at a level of intensity inappropriate in relation to a particular offense. they may use similar formulas but the content may be different. the utterances produced by native and nonnative speakers may differ in the linguistic forms used. The learner might choose a combination of semantic formulas which is inappropriate for a specific situation.  Fourth. When meeting her teacher. followed by a short dialogue with an empty slot for the speech act under study. which she promised to return today. 1983.

only ten students used the five strategies that make a well-formed apology. When your teacher whom you have known for some years asks for your assignment. A. Following is a sample MDCT item: You are a student. Shall I do the assignment at once? So sorry! It’s my fault! C. The five strategies are: 93 . but I forgot the deadline for the assignment. the analysis adopted here will be categorized discussions of the components of communicative competence as they are referred to in chapter three by different applied linguists. I forgot about that. Most commonly.Miriam: Teacher: OK. The key and several distracters then follow in random order (Davies et al. I've completed my assignment but forgot to bring it with me. or a question). sir. 1984. but please remember it next week. 1999). I'll hand it in tomorrow. (Blum-Kulka & Olshtain. Pardon me. you apologize to your teacher. But for the sake of the thesis. out of forty students.4 Analysis of the study and Students’ answers: There are different ways of analyzing subjects‘ language. 198) 2. You forgot to do the assignment for your Human Resources course. In case of apologies.Multiple-choice discourse completion test (MDCT) MDCTs consist of test items where the test taker is required to choose the correct response (the key) from the several given options. I'm sorry.. 5. Can I bring it to you at the end of the day? B. p. multiple-choice items include an instruction to the test taker and a stem (typically either a phrase or sentence to be completed. 1-Apologies A close look at the students‘ answers to the questionnaire reveals interesting results.

Americans didn‘t want to lose their son‘s trust by promising to repair the situation. The Kurdish subjects on the other hand answered their sons‘ reminding in various ways. While most of the students‘ apologies had a promise of non-recurrence. As for the explanations or excuses. ‘I am so sorry’. Other examples of this type are: ‘I apologize you that will be the last time’. they would put themselves in a very weak situation and they can‘t promise to never be late again. The other thirty students all didn‘t include one or more than one of these strategies. One can tell the difference between American apologies and Kurdish apologies in the second situation. and a promise of non-recurrence. Almost all the ten Americans. I didn’t do it on purpose’. Two-third of the students started by bringing up excuses. ‘I am sorry. They said by promising. who answered. I will never do it again‘ lacks excuse and responsibility. another student wrote ‘My mind is so busy…. ‘I was slept last night’. The student jumps from an apology to a promise of nonrecurrence. the Americans avoid or tried to avoid such a promise. For example saying ‗I am sorry. They admitted responsibility for forgetting to take their sons out. responsibility.an expression of an apology. They also gave an explanation but they mostly emphasized repair.I have so many problems’. Kurds on the other hand tried to convince their sons why 94 . I try to review of myself’. repair. ‘ I am sorry I obliged to do this because I had condolence’. an explanation. ‘I am sorry I forget the meeting for a second time’. In the second situation which is about a parent forgetting to fulfill his promise to his son for the second time. promised to make it up for their son. Forgetting a meeting can be a severe case and it requires a sincere and convincing apology. it is clear that most of the excuses have some socio-pragmatic transfer in them. For example a student gives this explanation: ‘Sorry I just used to be late.

bumping into an old lady. Absence of holding responsibility and making repair are very obvious in the students‘ realization of speech acts of apology. ‘I have my work’. Some excuses or explanation given by the students are: ‘I really didn’t see you. I just wanted to go out. besides a sincere apology. let me pick up the packages for you’. They said ‘because my car was broken the gear’. referred to explanations and excuses that led them to bump into the lady. and ‘I am so sorry. Kurds. but they did that in a different way than Americans. I haven’t done anything’. ‘I am sorry for forgetting. let me help you. Some American apologies for situation four are: ‘I am so sorry. it was out o my control’. ‘I’m sorry. For example. ‗Excuse me. I didn’t do it deliberately’.they could not fulfill their promise. Some examples from the answers are: ‘ah. The Kurdish students promised to repair the situation. it was something suddenly happened. ‘sorry I was busy’. on the other hand. can you walk. they made sure they help the lady pick up the packages. ‘oh my beloved. Americans. I was too quick’. They said: ‘ I can give your price’. ‘Because I have something more important’. and I am sorry for that and I don’t repeated again’. Unlike Americans the Kurdish students mainly focused on the causes of the damage. you don’t know that I have a lot of work to do’. In situation four. sorry for that’. American responses all had expressions of being responsible for the damage and promise to fix the damage. I was so busy with my job’. ‗it is totally my fault‘ is a clear indication of responsibility. ‘I am so sorry my mind was very busy. ‘let me get you to 95 . ‘I am sorry but everybody makes mistakes’. The Americans make sure that they exchange information with the owner of the damaged car by saying things like ‘let me give you my contact information and insurance information and I’d be happy to cover the costs of repair’. and ‘ just be patient’. I repair your car’. the differences between Americans and Kurds are clear. ‘don’t be angry I will repair for you’. I am sorry I didn’t mean anything.

‘Good! I help you whatever you want as before’ The difference lies in the way Kurds react to friends.’ Some Kurdish complaints against their friend‘s stance are: ‘It isn’t friendship this way.’ The Kurdish learners were much more hesitant in their selection of strategies. opting for complaints rather than threats. ‘what’s your deal? Why couldn’t you help me. It seems that friendship is more binding in Kurdish society and therefore.’ ‘ If you don't stop this loud music immediately I'll call the police. You pick up the phone and you say . I will be forced to call the police. What is going on. turn that shit off’.’ ‘Hey. Some examples from Americans‘ are: ‘what’s up the info you got on that test’. A sense of 96 . I really am sorry’. . the disappointment is great. ‘I will help you.Complaining Situation five was particularly sensitive to the differences in strategy selection on the severity scale: "It is not the first time that loud rock music is heard from your neighbor's apartment quite late at night.the clinic to get it checked out’. shame on you’. ‘Some people would like a little peace and quiet but you are completely inconsiderate’. I think you owe me an apology’ and ‘ hey out of all times I helped you. I will not be like you’. many using threats and ultimatums such as: "If you don't turn off your stereo soon I'll break your door down. let us get rest’." In this situation the American native speakers tended to choose the most severe strategies. ‘please. when a friend performs a breach of confidence. ‘If you don’t that music off. Thanks but no thanks. you couldn’t lend me a hand this time. and ‘let me help you with your package. you know its midnight and too tired to hear it’.’ Situation six shows how different the concept of friendship is between Americans and Kurds. 2. . such as: ‘I'm trying very hard to sleep but it is impossible with all this noise’. ‗why do people not care of the feelings of other people.

and ten chose C. 3-Compliment and compliment responses Compliment and compliment response speech acts tell us a lot about culture differences and the influence of culture on language. expressing deep personal disappointment. d. So. Fourteen students chose D. They unconsciously translate ‗I like your watch‘ as a request by the other interlocutor. Say. Kurds on the other hand varied in their choices. "Would you like to have it?" All the American subjects chose C (thanks and smile). three A. Say. "Oh this cheap thing? It's not worth much. (it is not considered appropriate to give compliments to: a. The interesting finding here is that Kurds have trouble understanding formulaic language of compliments. four B. d. c. A doctor about his or her salary) Americans found all the choices as possible but they also emphasized the context. whether directly or indirectly. Give it to him. c. Situation seven reads like this: When someone compliments the watch you are wearing and says ―I like your watch‖. Some of them said that the way the compliment is given tells whether it 97 . others skipped the question. A couple about their child. A man about his wife. This is an instance of intercultural or crosscultural misunderstanding. you would: a." b. Say. three of them refused the compliment. A woman about her husband.solidarity is well founded among friends and there is no need to negotiate via lengthy exchanges. and the rest offered to give their watch away to the other person. Situation eight was rather controversial. The complaints produced by the Kurdish respondents in this case were rather brief. b. "Thanks" and smile.

they all chose D. But Americans used rhetorical questions like ‗isn‘t he/she cute‘ and ‗isn‘t she adorable‘. Kurds on the other hand thought in Kurdish and deemed it impolite to refuse the offer to eat more than one needs to eat." 98 . that is they said ―Thanks. It consists of an expression of gratitude and an excuse. "Thanks. I really don't enjoy being with you." b.Refusals There were three speech acts of refusals in the questionnaire. please. Situation nine was somehow similar to situation eight. "Sure. The Kurdish subjects had different choices." d. especially men. All the ten Americans chose the fourth answer. Americans somehow more direct than Kurds in their refusals. two A." d. and one student chose B. I already have plans. Kurdish responses varied again. The choices may come from the fact that Kurds do not. The Americans refused to force themselves to eat more so they refused very politely." c. I'd love some more. "I don't think so. Situation ten was like this: If someone offers you some food that you really don't like. and the rest chose D. 4.‖ c. you might say: a. "I hate that.is appropriate or not. It can be said that the only reason behind choosing C is because of the fear of the notion Evil Eye prevalent in Kurdish society. It was about the best way to compliment a child. five B. Fifteen subjects chose C. Situation twelve was similar in content. or cannot compliment a married woman because of jealousy and a male dominant society. "No. but I'm really full. two A. Situation eleven was refusing to lend one‘s car to a friend. "I'm dieting so I mustn't go out to eat. eight chose C. The Kurds preferred to compliment a woman‘s husband rather than a man‘s wife. "I'll have just a little bit. but I‘m really full‖. it consisted of an invitation to a party that the invited person doesn‘t want to go." b."Thanks a lot but I'm busy tonight. The choices were a. Despite that. The words used by both Kurds and Americans were similar.

’ Another one uses conventionally direct strategy. Some answers are: ‘please be quiet. ‘Please help us to keep quiet’.Requests When requesting both students and American subjects used different strategies. ‘Please bro change that for me. ‘Can you speak slowly’. ‘can you please quiet down or I am going to excuse you from the library. Ten of the Kurdish students chose D. ‘can you please allow me to change the color of this shirt’. it’s a public place’. my dad doesn’t like this. but very formal: ‘May I change this shirt for a different color?’ other Americans reminded the shopkeeper that they had bought the shirt there as a gift for their fathers. In situation fourteen. Americans start with ‗excuse me‘ followed by the request. which is very important so that the invitation doesn‘t go disrespected and unappreciated.’ He then explains why he wants to change the shirt. for example they said ‘keep the noise to the minimum’. five chose C.’ The students‘ answers shared using mitigations like ‗please‘ and other strategies. 99 .. In both situations a person requests that the other person stop disturbing other students and stop blocking another person‘s view. ‗…. and twenty four chose A. This means that almost half of the subjects skipped expression of gratitude. one subject chose B. Americans used direct strategies. he said ‘it’s a gift for my father. he considers this is for ladies’ Situations fourteen and fifteen bear similarity in content.because my father don’t desire to this color’. ‘please keep it down’. 5.All the American subjects chose A: that is an expression of gratitude followed by an explanation or excuse. For example an American used conventionally indirect strategies by saying: ‘Do you have this shirt in another color.’. ‘quiet down! This is not a café. The students used similar strategies but used different semantic formulas. ‘please remain silent’ and ‘Please here is library not stadium’ etc. But what is distinctive in their answers is the indication that makes one realize they have been produced by non-native speakers.

Americans tended to use non-conventionally indirect requests. ‘it would be better if you sit with me and watching game’. It is a request from two persons of different status: a student requests his/or her teacher repeat what he had been explaining because the student didn‘t understand all of the explanation. I didn’t follow you in your lecture. ‘please I can’t see the game’. If you let me to see it’. ‘you are not made of glass. For example one subject says ‘you are not a window. For example nearly twenty students used the expression ‗pardon me‘ as the request 100 . I didn’t catch all of it’. They overused uncommonly used expressions suitable for the situations. can you please repeat yourself. Some of these requests were made by American native speakers: ‘May you please say that one more time.’ Looking at the speech acts produced by students. Situation sixteen under requesting category was somehow different. somehow impolite though. ‘can you move your head a little bit’.In situation fifteen. I have eyes too’. ‘please I can’t see. that is the student‘s teacher. thanks’. Some examples will illustrate this point: ‘this game is enjoyable for me. so could you move a little bit.’ And conventionally indirect strategies like ‗Excuse me you are in my way. ‘Excuse me professor. we can tell that both prgmalinguistic and sociopragmatic transfer occur frequently. could you slow it a bit and start over’. Students‘ responses were rather very short and non-conventional indirectness was their main strategy. The American responses can be seen as having a pattern: an expression of interruption followed by an explanation then conventionally indirect request. a man blocking the view of a basketball match. please make a move’. ‘I am sorry I didn’t get all that. It is a request from low status to a higher status individual. They all used modal verbs. ‘don’t stand her.’ There is a big difference between the American way of requesting from a higher status person and that of Kurdish students.

’ These indirect and short forms of requesting can be understood as results of the culture surrounding Kurdish speakers and its community.or followed by requests. ‘thank you very much’. Being a highcontext and a collectivist society are behind such realizations of speech acts. facial expressions play a great role in Kurdish style of communications. There was a pattern in the Americans‘ responses. ‘Please speak slowly’ and ‘Sorry speak more slow. Some of the students‘ responses are ‘Thanks for your helping’ ‘thank you for your saying. Both Americans and Kurdish student were successful in thanking their friend for noticing. ‘please I couldn’t get you’. his friend rubs it and it gets off. we should do it again’ and ‘thank you for dinner.’ Situation eighteen was about a guest leaving a friend‘s house after having had dinner with the friend‘s family.Thanking Situations seventeen and eighteen were about expressing gratitude. it can be put in this way: thanking and then expressing pleasure. I didn’t understand’. 6. ‘I am very glad that share tonight’ 101 . Of course. But Americans look the interlocutors in the eye when asking for something and requesting. Some American responses illustrate this pattern. ‘pardon me. I had an awesome time. ‘sorry speak more slow’. ‘It was nice from you to invite me. thank you’. when a friend notices something on his friend‘s face. ‘it was great dish’. The situation at a restaurant. he tells him. Some excerpts from their answers shows this point: ‘Thank you’.’ The students‘ expressions of gratitude were rather short. Thanks for the great evening. ‘This was great. ‘Pardon’. Some of the students‘ answers for this situation are: ‘I beg your pardon’.’ Americans were satisfied with saying only ‘thank you’ or adding extra information like ‘that would have been embarrassing. it was great. ‘Please speak slowly’.

any correction attempted would have to be from the lower-status interlocutor (the student) to the higher-status interlocutor (the professor).Introduction There were three situations under the introduction category. During the lecture. 102 . . Therefore. In this situation." before a correction. the status of the participants was unequal.Correction Situation nineteen reads as follows: You are a student in a sociology class. but you made a mistake’ ‘ oo I think you made a small mistake’ ‘something wrong’ 8. The most striking difference between the two status situations was that no native speaking Americans or students used a positive remark to a higher-status person before a correction ("It was a very interesting lecture"). it was the professor who made the mistake. And the way students answered sounded slightly forthright and impolite. but its not the right one’ ‘something wrong’ ‘sorry. but I think it is wrong’ ‘sorry teacher. What was common in the students‘ answers was the use of ‗sorry‘ then followed by softeners at times. .7. teacher we have a mistake in here. the professor quotes a famous statement attributing it to the wrong scholar. Two questions were about non-verbal behaviors when one person is introduced to another one. These softeners were usually preceded by the phrase ‗excuse me‘. teacher I think it isn’t like that’ ‘sorry. for example these expressions were common in students‘ responses: sorry. The dominant pattern used by Americans in this situation (from the student to the professor) was to use a softener (or softeners) such as "I think/I believe that was .‘        ‘sorry.

The students. Situation twenty two was rather controversial. c. p. Marital status. what kind of eye contact would you use? a. all the American subjects chose and emphasized choice (a). While the Kurdish students had various answers: twelve chose (c). "What do you do?" which means "What is your job?" but it is uncommon and considered impolite to ask. Make direct eye contact. d.Situation twenty was about the way Americans‘ shake hands when first introduced to a person regardless of whether there is a third party or introducing yourself. According to Levine (1982. b. and unlike other multiple questions. one chose (d). make direct eye contact. called "small talk. Usually speakers initiate small talk with such questions as: "Do you live in this area?". The question was: Which topics are inappropriate to discuss immediately after an introduction? a. "How do you like living here?" or "What are you studying?" It is also common for people to ask. c. had differences in choosing their answers: three chose (b). The question reads: when you are being introduced. on the other hand. All the American subjects chose (b) as the correct behavior. Make eye contact and then quickly look away. Age. there is usually a period of time in which impersonal or trivial subjects are discussed. ten chose (a). Religion. Shake hands lightly. d. 5). b. Make eye contact and then look at the floor. Avoid eye contact. four chose (d). Shake hands until the introduction is completely finished. more than one choice was possible. immediately after introductions are made. c. Situation twenty one was about eye contact between interlocutors at introductions. Academic major/occupation. "How much money do you make?" or "How much does your house cost?" Other 103 . Shake hands and then bow. b. 12 chose (c). Shake hands firmly for a few seconds. This type of conversation. d." is important because it often helps to maintain conversations and it can lead to interesting discussions. The choices for this question were: a. Again.

American subjects thought that depending on the situation and the word choices any of these topics could be inappropriate. 104 . Asking about an interlocutor‘s job was the exception to them. Students had different choices. the majority of the students believed asking about marital status was inappropriate then religion and politics. especially asking about marital status. it was considered appropriate. politics and religion.questions such as: "Are you married?" or "How old are you?" (to an adult) are generally considered too personal for initial meetings.

who have learned English in an ESL setting or watched audio-visuals. 7.The speech acts produced by fourth year students deviate to a large extent from those produced by native speakers. 3. did better in the test than the rest of the students whose only source of input has been classroom instruction. they transfer the rules of Kurdish language to English language. 2. and language routines. 5.Students use too much inner or mental translation when speaking English. students produce a language different from both native and non-native language.As it is clear from their answers. yet students still have insufficient linguistic knowledge.After four years of college study.`several students. 6. 9. and inappropriacy. 4. fourth year students still have difficulty in expressing themselves verbally or non-verbally in English.Students‘ speech acts are characterized by being short.Some students still have difficulty in distinguishing formal and informal English.Chapter Six Conclusion 6. 105 . wrong semantic formulas. 8. incomplete speech acts. which is only one single component of communicative competence. that is. it has features of interlanguage. they depend on their instincts and native culture when speaking English 10Failure of the conversation courses is behind these mistakes. in other words. polite or impolite language.Although the college curriculum is rather grammar oriented than communicative oriented.1 Conclusions 1.Students do not have enough knowledge about the culture of the target language speakers.

or performative use of language. intonation.The speech act. It also helps the students acquire what Saville-Troike (1996) describes as interactional knowledge.2 pedagogical Recommendations The researcher proposes the following activities and steps for developing students‘ communicative competence in a foreign classroom setting. formulas and conventionalized expressions. especially the sociolinguistic and strategic competence discussed in Canale and Swain‘s (1980) framework. and because in many cases Kurdish students are not taught explicitly in the classroom how to signal their intent in performing an illocutionary act. So it is important that speech acts be taught explicitly in the early years of college study. and sociocultural difference between their native language and foreign.  listen to the segment (sound only) to focus on the language: rhythm. and imitate nonverbal behaviors.6.Role-play is an effective way to develop students‘ communicative competence.Teachers and learners need to have access to videotapes or film clips that realistically demonstrate interlocutors‘ total behavior (not just speech) during oral communication. beyond the semantic meanings of syntactic structures. 106 .  watch and listen to the intact segment several times in order to role-play the segment or to perform a similar interaction. is an area that many Kurdish students have trouble dealing with. Such videotapes or film clips can be used in many ways to make learners aware of the target language use:  watch the segment without sound to observe. Speech acts can be taught in conversation courses. 1. timing. It is because speech acts are generally difficult for foreign language learners to realize in terms of grammar and vocabulary. 2. and volume—as well as grammar and vocabulary. pitch. 3. describe.

which lead to further language development.Researches and studies should be conducted to point out cultural differences that lead misunderstandings and miscommunication. 1. 6. figurative thinking. 6. 5.2 Suggestions for Further Research Below are some suggestions the researcher finds important to be investigated by students and teachers in present time and future research works.4.Research is needed also in the areas of metaphorical.Interactive language instruction involves the teacher and learners engaging in activities that create conditions that foster language use. politeness principles between first language and target language. This kind of research is needed in order to make students think in English.A study of both Kurdish and English culture is important for understanding how the native speakers think. To do so. rituals. the teacher is the initiator of interaction. that is why research in the areas of routines. it is very crucial that they be exposed to authentic materials. researches and studies should be conducted in order to find the best authentic instructional input. Factors 107 . formal and informal uses of language. First and foremost. formulaic expressions and other culture specific areas of language is necessary. 2.There is a need for thorough studies of the each components of communicative competence because they all contribute to enabling learners communicate appropriately in the target language. 3. 4.Since Kurdish learners study in English in an EFL setting. This means that teachers should encourage and motivate students to come forward and participate in the classroom activities.Language is mostly made of predictable patterns that change from one culture to another culture.

such as verbal and non-verbal behaviors between Kurdish and the target must be studied deeply and systematically. 108 .

Complaints: 5-It is not the first time that loud rock music is heard from your neighbor's apartment quite late at night. An hour later you call him to apologize.Appendix 1-Apologies: 1. In the past. The driver gets out and comes over to you angrily. you helped him/her many times. You hurt her leg. as you had promised. you bump into the side of another car. and this is the second time that this has happened. too. She: "ow! My Goodness‖ You: 2. You dent the side door slightly. You pick up the phone and say: 6-A friend who takes the same course as you at the university refuses to share some important material for the next test. Driver:‘ Can‘t you look where you're going? See what you've done!" You: 4-You accidentally bump into a well-dressed elderly lady at an elegant department store causing her to spill her packages all over the floor. Your boss gets on the line and asks: Boss: "What happened to you?" You: 2-You call from work to find out how things are at home and your son reminds you that you forgot to take him shopping. Your son says over the phone: Son: "Oh. It was clearly your fault. you forgot again and you promised!" You: 3. You see him/her on campus and say: 109 . It's clearly your fault and you want to apologize profusely.Backing out of a parking place. which s/he managed to get hold of.You completely forget a crucial meeting at the office with your boss. The problem is that this is the second time you have forgotten such a meeting.

I really don't enjoy being with you. b. Say. but I'm really full. you might say: a. c. "I hate that." b. c. You need the car too. A couple about their child. I already have plans. d. 9. "I'm dieting so I mustn't go out to eat.3.If someone offers you some food that you really don't like. Say." d. A man about his wife.How would you compliment a baby? 4-Refusals: 10." 110 . "Sure." b." d. A doctor about his or her salary. "No. A woman about her husband." b. 11-Your friend Thomas asks you to lend him your car." c. "I'll have just a little bit. You might say: a.Compliments / Responses: 7. b. Give it to him. d. "I don't think so. How would you refuse to lend him your car? 12-You have just been asked out to dinner but you really don't want to go with the person who invited you. c. "Oh this cheap thing? It's not worth much. "Thanks. please. "Would you like to have it?" 8-It is not considered appropriate to give compliments to: a. I'd love some more. you would: a. "Thanks a lot but I'm busy tonight. Say. c.When someone compliments the watch you are wearing and says ―I like your watch‖. d. "Thanks" and smile.

but he doesn‘t like its color. 7-Correction 19-You are a student in a sociology class. what do you do in addition to speaking (e.. 8. and you really enjoyed the evening.At the table in a restaurant a friend says. So you want to ask your teacher to say it again. 16-You are discussing your assignment with your teacher. You have dinner with him and his wife and a few other friends of theirs. Your teacher speaks very fast. what do you do with your hands)?" a. What would you say? 14-You are a librarian. You want to ask the student not to block your view.' You ask where.Requests: 13-You have bought a shirt from a big store for your father. 6. As you leave. 111 . However. You decide to go to the clothes store and ask the manager of the store to allow you to exchange the shirt. attributing it to the wrong scholar. You do not follow what he is saying.Introduction 20. You don‘t know that student. The food was great. Shake hands lightly. A student you don‘t know comes and stands just in front of you. What would you say? 15-You are watching a basketball game. 18-You have been invited to the home of a rather new friend.Thanking 17. During the lecture. 'You have something on your face. Today a student is making a noise and disturbing other students. You rub your face and ask. blocking your view. your hosts accompany you to the door. 'Is it off?" Your friend says that it is.When you are being introduced.g. the professor quotes a famous statement.5. b. Shake hands firmly for a few seconds. you decide to ask the student to quiet down. Your friend tells you.

Make direct eye contact. c. b. Marital status. d. Avoid eye contact. Make eye contact and then look at the floor. d. 112 . 22. d. Age.Which topics are inappropriate to discuss immediately after an introduction? a. Academic major/occupation. Shake hands until the introduction is completely finished. 21. Religion.When you are being introduced. c. what kind of eye contact would you use? a.c. Make eye contact and then quickly look away. Shake hands and then bow. b.

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