Arab World English Journal
AWEJ Vol.2 No. 4 .December 2011                                                                                                pp.171-193

Full Paper PDF

Raising Pragmatic Awareness of Students through Classroom Activities

Dr. S.Devaki Reddy
Indian Institute of Technology Madras

English Language curricula pay adequate attention to teaching and testing linguistic competence but often fail to give equal emphasis to pragmatic competence. Students with a high level of proficiency in English do not necessarily have the required level of communicative competence (Canale & Swain, 1980; Wiemann & Backlund, 1980; Bardovi-Harlig and Dörnyei, 1998). They are often unaware of the significance of politeness in verbal communication and the manner in which the choice of words, phrases and structure of sentences conveys politeness. Children acquiring their first language usually learn to communicate politely by observing their parents or caretakers using the language. Speakers of English as a second language, however, may not have adequate opportunities to learn about politeness norms in the language. It would be useful, therefore, to draw students‟ attention to polite ways of communicating in English. The paper describes some activities that were used in an English course, at a tertiary-level institute in India, to make students aware of the manner in which language can convey politeness or the lack of it, in communication.

Key words: politeness, pragmatic competence, face, requests, mitigating strategies