Pragmatic Competence and English Learning

     Abstract: English learners in the absence of pragmatic competence contributed to the process of cross-cultural communication in one of the main obstacles to communication failures. Pragmatic Competence by exploring the theory of origin, set out a successful acquisition of English learners which should be pragmatic competence, and through examples, illustrates the Acquisition of Pragmatic Competence in cross-cultural communication process, to avoid the importance of pragmatic failure.

     Keywords:: communicative competence; Pragmatic Competence; English Learning


     For a long time, English language learners with the ability has never been the people's attention. Traditional teaching methods focus primarily on teaching students placed in the syntax of capabilities. Many Chinese English learners to spend a lot of energy to memorize words, memorizing grammar rules, or to meet a variety of writing practice exams. As a result, even though they have a sizeable English vocabulary and have mastered a large number of English grammar rules, the practical application of English language ability is very limited. Once applied to communication in practice, often pragmatic failures occur. The following scenarios in their native language and English is the national communication of people who often appears in:

     Scene 1: In the bus, a Chinese student to a British woman in your seat.

     Students: Please take my seat, granny.

     British women: Thank you.

     Student: Not at all.You 're old.

     British women (and apparently very angry): Really?

     Scene 2: On a cold afternoon, a foreign teachers into the classroom.

     Foreign teachers (looking at the open windows): It's cold here, isn't it?

     Students: Yes, it is. (No one up off the window)

     Scene 3: In the United States, a Chinese student in the play.

     Students driver said: Excuse me, would you mind taking me to the airport?

     In these scenarios, although these English language learners, fluency in English made it very clear, but there is no grammatical errors can be picky, but they would be perceived as inappropriate or unbecoming speech act, and sometimes misleading. The reason is that the lack of pragmatic competence (the lack of pragmatic competence). Due to the absence of pragmatic competence, an English learner spoken English may be accurate pronunciation, grammatical rules, in real life, sometimes they may not be able to with people in English-speaking countries for effective communication or considered impolite speech acts shall not be body. From this point of view, the Acquisition of Pragmatic Competence in the English learning process than the voice, grammar, vocabulary learning more should arouse people's attention.


     A theory of origin of Pragmatic Competence


      Pragmatic Competence term source of linguists on the communicative competence research. "Language is the human voice to any communication system of symbols" (HU Zhuang-lin, 1988:3). From this definition we can clearly see that with people the ultimate goal of communication is language, and we are also learning English and that is to be able to the success of English-speaking people exchanges. In other words, any English language learners, if said to have mastered the English language, which means / she has enough to successful use of English communicative ability, or be said to have learned the English language communication skills (communicative competence) - "People are passing each other in a particular context and interpretation of information and the ability to interact" (Brown, 2002:227).

     Chomsky (1977) the person's communicative competence is divided into grammatical competence (grammatical competence), and pragmatic competence (pragmatic competence). And to pragmatic competence is defined as "appropriate in a particular context in exactly the form of application of linguistic ability." (Chomsky, 1977:40)

     Dell Hymes (1972) that a person's communicative competence includes four aspects (HU Zhuang-lin, 1988:318):

     1) the possibility of formal (Possibility): generating consistent with the rules of sentence grammar ability;

     2) the feasibility of the implementation of the means (Feasibility): Health and adult brain capacity to be able to decode the sentence;

     3) in the Context of fitness exactly (Appropriation): in a particular social and cultural context of the language used in the correct form of capacity;

     4) The reality of the implementation of the act (Performance): the ability to complete the discourse.

     Bachman (1990:87) the person's communication ability is called Language Proficiency (Language Competence), and its divided into two major aspects: one, organizational capabilities (organizational competence), 2, pragmatic competence (pragmatic competence). Organizational skills, including language forms we use to deal with the syntax level and discourse (discourse) level, system of rules. Capacity to deal with the pragmatic function of language components (illocutionary capacity, or the sending and receiving information on the expected capacity), and social language skills (courtesy, good manners, metaphor, language and culture-related fields, as well as the language of composition) (see Figure 1 ).



     Second, English learners should be learned which of Pragmatic Competence


     Which language capability for English learners should be a successful acquisition of pragmatic competence, linguists are not the same expression, in general, summed up pragmatic competence should include the following three aspects:

     1) The distinction between linguistic form and grammatical function in the capacity;

     2) To understand the syntax exactly correct and pragmatic nature of the relationship between fitness capacity;

     3) Understanding the cultural differences between China and Britain in order to avoid cultural Pragmatic Failure capabilities.

     A distinction between linguistic forms and grammatical function of the ability to

     On language form and grammatical function in Brown (2002:231) made the following statement "(language) form is an outward manifestation of language, language function is the realization of these forms."

     A certain form of language-specific functionality can be achieved. "How much does that cost?" Is usually a form used to ask questions, and "He lost his purse." Is used as a statement of capabilities. "Communication can be seen as one with a definite purpose and intent of various behavior and combination of ingredients." (Brown, 2002:232). According to Austin and Searle's behavior theory (Speech Act Theory), language is not only used to transmit information and description of things, but also used to "work", is used to perform an action. Austin believes that a person saying a word, when in fact act in the implementation of three basic functions, but also the implementation of these three acts (HU Zhuang-lin, etc., 1988:272).

     1) made in behavior: speech itself constitutes a behavior;

     2) The illocutionary act: By saying this posed behavior;

     3) The perlocutionary act: discourse acts obey the consequences.

     For example the speaker said, "It's hot in here". His statements as conduct refers to the literal meaning of the phrase "Here the high temperature." His illocutionary act can be a request to open a window listener. His behavior can be made after the hearer to open the windows of the act or refuses to obey the speaker's request.

     Michael Halliday (1973) with the "function" (function) the term to express the communicative purpose of language, and lists seven functions of language (Brown, HD2002: 232):

     1) The device functions: as a manipulation of the environment, caused by the occurrence of certain events;

     2) control functions: to control events;

     3) represents the function: using language to represent the observed facts;

     4) interpersonal function: the language to maintain social relations;

     5) emotional function: used to express personal feelings, emotional, psychological reflection, etc.;

     6) heuristic function: as a learning environment, access to knowledge;

     7) The image features: the system used to generate images or ideas.

     In our research and analysis of language the relationship between form and function, consideration should be attention to a unique phenomenon, that is the language of form and function do not always correspond to the 11. For example: the language "apology" function can be expressed in the form of the following languages (Ho Naturally, 1997:204 / 5):

     1) The expression of apology in the form of direct use of

     I'm terribly sorry.

     2) through interpretation or description of the incident scenarios and processes to express regret

     I had to take my child to the hospital, she was ill.

     3) admit responsibility or make a mistake

     I am to blame.

     4) The promises or guarantees will no longer allow such things happen

     I won't be late again.

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     5) An offer of compensation

     I'm extremely sorry, but I'll make up for your loss.

     Similarly, the same forms of expression can be implemented in different speech acts, to perform different communicative functions. For example, It's hot in here this sentence, it can be in different contexts to express different speech acts:

     1) The statement of a fact (objective description of the cold conditions here);

     2) expression in a request (cold, while the doors are wide open);

     3) make a request (in this cold, it may change a place);

     4) issuing a warning (in this cold, beware of kids cold);

     5) that the blame (in this case the temperature should not people), and so on.

     Brown (2002) that because of language form and function of this does not correspond to the characteristics of the language acquisition of pragmatic competence is sometimes difficult. Therefore, learn the language, people must not only understand the literal meaning of language must also understand the communicative function of language, it is necessary to know the purpose of communication and how language forms to achieve their goals. People not only pay attention to the correctness of language form (grammatical competence), we also learned exactly how the proper use of these linguistic forms to realize a variety of communicative functions of language (pragmatic competence).

     2 understand the syntax exactly correct and pragmatic nature of the relationship between fitness ability

     (Language) grammatical correctness refers to the speaker how to correctly use of voice, vocabulary, grammar knowledge to words and sentences. Pragmatic relevance refers to the words exactly how people in a particular social and cultural context to use the correct form of language. Language is mainly used for communication, and "is used to pass in a specific context and interpretation of information, exchange of ideas among people" (Brown, 2002:227). English-speaking countries of the tribe in the English language learning with other countries, when this communication on their grammatical errors are generally tolerant attitude towards, and for language, pragmatic errors are hard to accept. Thus, in the actual process of communication, pragmatics of fitness appropriate for more than the grammatical correctness of the first and more important.

     For some historical reasons, the traditional teaching of English grammar to focus only on the students ability to ignore their pragmatic ability. The results are often, China's English learners able to fluently speak the exact and correct grammar in English sentences, they can not achieve the intended communicative purpose. Hymes (1972) that if people do not know how to speak in the actual context of fitness appropriate for the language being spoken, and sometimes he will be useless learning of grammatical rules. In reality, the communication process, grammatically correct sentences is not necessarily appropriate for the proper pragmatics.

     Summer Mei (1995:1) speak of such an example:

     (While welcoming an American teacher's meeting, the school management so description Road)

     Ladies and gentlemen. I'm delighted to introduce to you a very pretty girl, Miss Brown.She is a very good teacher from the USA ... ...

     China's law on the person in charge of discourse is nothing wrong, can Miss Brown made the remarks after hearing it was was very embarrassed and unhappy. Because in Western culture, a mature female was referred to as a girl is the means that she is still very naive. In addition, with the pretty and good to introduce the initial acquaintance who also appears to be too subjective.

     In contrast with this case, and sometimes despite some ungrammatical sentences, but in certain occasions, able to play the role of communication, such as:

     He don't speak English very good.

     Although this sentence is not grammatical, but the British and American people listened to, able to understand and correct understanding of the meaning expressed by this sentence.

     Sometimes, in a proper context exactly an expression of the form will appear in another context it is not appropriate for. For example: "Would you be kind enough to open the door for me?" Is often used by strangers seeking help, but if two close friends or family members will be looked very unwell exactly.

     Therefore, the English learners in the use of language to communicate the time, not only should consider the correctness of grammar, but also should pay attention to the relevance of pragmatic nature exactly. Pragmatic or not exactly fitness involves many factors, including occasions such as speech, the speaker and the hearer relationship between the shared knowledge and experience, as well as different cultural backgrounds and so forth. Among them, differences between different cultural backgrounds affect the pragmatics of the main obstacles to fitness exactly. Here we will discuss the following English language learners in the process of cross-cultural communication on how to avoid pragmatic failure of capacity.

     3 understand the cultural differences between China and Britain in order to avoid the capacity of cultural Pragmatic Failure

     From different cultural backgrounds will be people on the behavior there is a big difference. English learners in the absence of a Sino-British understanding of differences in cultural background, even learned the correct pronunciation and grammar knowledge, communication and English, when the tribe will continue to frequent pragmatic failures.

     Two Chinese people on the street meeting, "you eat it?" "Where are you?" This greeting is very common. The Anglo-American who has never met such a greeting, but said "Hello!" "How are you?" And so on. DENG Yan-chang, Liu Runqing (1991) to give an interesting example:

     One day, a foreign student studying in China, to his friend complained: "Why do you always ask me to eat yet? I was not poor, the rich pay for the cost of food." He does not understand, "you eat it?" This is words in Chinese Cultural Context greet function.

     American students in our school there are times also to his Chinese teacher reflected: "It's strange, every time people meet me, have to ask me where to go do. I go to the bank to collect the money, can you tell them? "

     Let us now compare the different aspects of the next Western polite. Anglo-American people hear their congratulations or thank usually take is to embrace the attitude. The Chinese people in this case, the Anglo-American people tend to praise the words of gratitude would feel embarrassed, and often tend to say "no, no" to indicate that they are not worthy of praise and gratitude.

     (1) foreign guests: It's really kind of you to show me around the campus.

     Chinese students: No, not at all.

     Foreign guests:???

     (2) foreign guests: The dishes you cooked for me are delicious.

     Chinese hosts: Not delicious at all.

     Foreign guests: You mean I'm not telling the truth?

     In this context, the English of this tribe will feel weird, because Anglo-American people are concerned, the direct denial of access to the praise and gratitude is very rude and dishonest performance.

     From different cultural backgrounds in the privacy of the different items are often caused by cross-cultural Pragmatic Failure of the main reasons.

     In Chinese culture, people tend to inquire about obedient person's family situation in order to show their concern. Therefore, the two met when the Chinese people, often very directly asked each other's age, marital status, working conditions so much revenue and so on. All of these, in the Anglo-American people are concerned, is purely a private matter, to the people are very rude to inquire about the behavior. English learners, such as do not understand these differences, in the communication process is very vulnerable to pragmatic failure. The following is taken from the first book in English secondary schools PEP has given us examples of how to learn to avoid the pragmatic failures in this area provides very good material.

     Liu Mei: What's your name, please?

     Mrs.Read: Sue Read.

     Liu Mei: Can you spell it, please?

     Mrs.Read: Yes.S-U-E, Sue.R-E-A-D, Read.

     Liu Mei: How old are you?

     Mrs.Read: Ah! It's a secret.


     3 Conclusion


     Acquisition of Pragmatic Competence in English learners and English to communicate in the course of this tribe plays a very important role. Many experts pointed out that in a lot of very good level of English learners among the lack of pragmatic competence continues to contribute to the process of cross-cultural communication pragmatic failure, one of the main obstacles. Acquisition of pragmatic competence has become increasingly wide-spread education and English learners attention.



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