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TEMA 1.

La lengua como comunicación: lenguaje oral y lenguaje


escrito. Factores que definen una situación comunicativa: emisor,
receptor, funcionalidad y contexto.

TOPIC 1. LANGUAGE AS COMMUNICATION: ORAL AND WRITTEN LANGUAGE.


FACTORS DEFINNING A COMMUNICATIVE SITUATION: SENDER, RECEIVER,
FUNCTIONALITY AND CONTEXT.

INTRODUCTION
In this topic we will look at how language is used to communicate. Learning a language is not only a grammatical and
lexical process, but also a social process. Teachers have to help children to use English for real communication in the
classroom.

For this purpose, the topic is divided into two main sections. First, we will deal with the definitions of language and
communication, and the concept of communicative competence. Next, we will analyze the differences between
writing and speech. This will lead us to look at factors defining a communicative situation focusing on the sender and
the receiver. Two additional factors are functionality and how the process is affected by the context.

1. LANGUAGE AS COMMUNICATION

We will start by providing different definitions of language to defend that languages are means of communication.

1.1. LANGUAGE DEFINITIONS

The world language has prompted innumerable definitions.

Sapir (1921) said that “language is a purely human and non-instinctive method of communicating ideas, emotions
and desires by means of voluntarily produced symbols”

Hall (1964) defined language as “the institution whereby humans communicate and interact with each other by
means of habitually used oral-auditory arbitrary symbols.

Put at its simplest, a language is a set of signals by which we communicate.

Human beings are not the only creature which was capable of communicating, but only they have the capacity for
speech. However, animals are capable of communicating with other members of their species too. Charles Hockett
(1966) identified the main points of connection between language and other systems of communication, especially
those found in animals. I will concentrate on those properties which differentiate human language from all other
forms of signalling and which make it a unique type of communication system. Among the features pointed by
Hockett, I will focus on the following ones:

a) Arbitrariness: There is no natural connection between a linguistic form and its meaning.
b) Displacement: it is possible to talk about past and future time, and to other locations.
c) Productivity: new utterances are continually being created. The potential number of utterances in any
human language is infinite.
d) Cultural transmission: language is transmitted from one generation to the next primarily by a process of
teaching and learning.
1.2. COMMUNICATION DEFINITIONS

Communication can be defined as an exchange of meanings between individuals through a common system of
symbols. We use all the senses to communicate, so communication can be auditory-vocal, visual, tactile, olfactory
and gustatory.

Communication is an exchange and negotiation of information between at least two individuals, by means of verbal
and non-verbal symbols, oral and written or visual modes, and involves production and comprehension processes.
Communication involves language, but also gesture, position, non-verbal vocalization, use of visual aids and so on.

Savignon (1997) defines language and further emphasizes the contextual dimension of language use and that one’s
success in communicating may vary from situation to situation. Success in a particular role depends on one’s
understanding of the context and on prior experience of a similar kind. Success requires making appropriate choices
of register and style in terms of the situation and the other participants.

Human beings are not the only species to have an elaborate communication system. Bees communicate about
honey, chimpanzees use vocalisations to warn of danger, and dolphins can communicate information on food and
danger by means of whistles and clicks. But nothing in the animal kingdom even approximates to human language.

1.3. COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE

Communicative competence refers to individuals’ ability to use language for effective communication in a variety of
contexts.

The Communicative approach in Foreign Language Teaching starts from a theory of language as communication.

Since the 1960s, Noam Chomsky described an innate biological endowment (Universal Grammar) which enables
humans to acquire a language so rapidly and efficiently in the first year of life. Chomsky (1957) defined language as a
set of sentences, each finite in length and constructed out of a finite set of elements. We are born with an instinctive
sense of how language works, as a general thing, which allows us to make sentences in our language, by direct
exposure. Children do not repeat what adults say, but produce their own sentences and create phrases which they
have never heard before. Chomsky also differentiates between competence (the innate knowledge of grammar that
everyone has in their minds) and performance (language as it is produced in everyday situations), and he defends the
study of the knowledge of grammar that all speakers possess, turning away from real usage.

Dell Hymes thought that Chomsky had missed out some very important information: the rules of use. When a native
speaker speaks, he knows where and when to use the sentences and to whom. Linguistic competence is only a sub-
division of communicative competence, as language is one mode of communication among others. Communicative
competence involves not just language competence, but also knowledge of how language is used appropriately, and
how language is organised as a discourse. Hymes distinguished fours aspects of communicative competence:

 Systematic potential: the native speaker has a potential for creating a lot of language.
 Appropriacy: the native speaker knows what language is appropriate in a given situation.
 Occurrence: the native speaker knows how often something is said in the language and acts accordingly.
 Feasibility: the native speaker knows whether something is possible in the language.

Canale and Swain (1980) considered that communicative competence consisted of grammatical competence (the
knowledge of the rules of grammar) plus sociolinguistic competence (the knowledge of the rules of language use).
According to Canale (1983) communicative competence refers to “the underlying systems of knowledge and skill
required for communication”. He summarized the four components of communicative competence as follows:

 Grammatical competence: the ability to put into practice the linguistic units according to the rules of use.
 Sociolinguistic competence: the ability to adequate the utterances to the specific context.
 Discourse competence: the ability to use different types of discourse and organize them, using cohesion
(structural linking) and coherence (meaningful relationships in language).
 Strategic competence: the ability to make adjustments in the course of the communicative situation.

Savignon considered that communicative competence is a dynamic concept, depending on the negotiation of
meaning between two or more persons who share to some degree the same symbolic system. So communicative
competence depends on the cooperation of all the participants involved.

The concept of communicative competence is also present in the Spanish education system. The Organic Law of
Education 2/2006 highlights the importance of developing both oral and written skills in the three different cycles of
Primary Education. The Royal Decree 1513/2006 and later the Decree 22/2007divide the contents into four different
sections or blocks, aiming to help Primary students become communicative competent in the foreign language:

1) listening, speaking and conversing


2) reading and writing
3) knowledge of the language
4) socio-cultural aspects and intercultural awareness.

2. SPOKEN AND WRITTEN LANGUAGE


Once language has been analysed, we will discuss the differences between the two main modes of language: speech
and writing, starting by spoken language.

2.1. HISTORICAL ATTITUDES

Historically speaking, written language was considered to be superior to spoken language for many centuries, as it
was the medium of literature. But speech preceded writing historically, genetically and logically.

Historically, speech is older than writing. Genetically this can be demonstrated considering that speech develops
naturally in children. Blind children learn to speak with no difficulty whereas deaf children find it difficult to learn to
read. The logical primacy of speech is evident if we consider that all well-developed writing systems are based at
some point on spoken language.

Nowadays, there is no sense in the view that one medium of communication is intrinsically better. The functions of
speech and writing complement each other. We do not normally write to each other if we can speak, nor can we
speak to each other at a distance.

2.2. SPOKEN LANGUAGE

Speech is the universal material of human language. Man has almost certainly been a speaking animal from early in
the emergence of Homo sapiens. For many hundreds of thousands of years, human language was transmitted and
developed entirely as spoken means of communication and develops naturally in the children.

Phonetics covers the description and classification of all possible speech sounds. A native speaker of a language uses
a selection of these sounds in order to express meaning. Phonology is not interested in sounds but in phonemes, the
smallest phonological units which can produce a difference in meaning.

2.3. WRITTEN LANGUAGE

Writing evolved independently of each other at different times in several parts of the world. There are different
writing systems that can be classified into two types: non- phonological and phonological.

Non-phonological systems do not show a clear relationship between the symbols and the sounds of the language,
like the pictographic, ideographic, cuneiform and Egyptian hieroglyphic and logographic systems.
Phonological systems show a clear relationship between the symbols and the sounds of language. Syllabic systems
employ a set of symbols which represent spoken syllables, and alphabetic systems uses symbols to represent single
sounds, establishing a direct correspondence between graphemes and phonemes.

2.4. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN WRITING AND SPEECH

There are three main ways of looking at the differences between speaking and writing: situation, grammatical
choices and lexical density.

2.4.1. Situation
Situation is an important factor for speakers and writers. Any linguistic act takes place in a specific setting and the
nature of this setting has crucial impact on the language used. Some of the essential differences between speaking
and writing in relation to situation are summarised as follows:

SPEAKERS:

- Can refer to people, objects and so on in the shared environment.


- Can check whether they are being understood by looking at the listener’s expression or by asking or being
directly prompted.
- In conversations, speakers are encouraged by the “listener markers”, such mm, yes, gestures, etc.
- Precise sequence is not a prerequisite of effective communication.

WRITERS:

- Do not share an immediate environment with the readers.


- Have no means of knowing, when the text is finished, whether the readers will understand the message.
- Have to find ways of motivating themselves to continue creating a text.
- Have to plan in order to achieve both a sequence and a selection that will lead to effective communication.

2.4.2. Grammatical choices


Kress summarises the differences between the grammatical structure of speech and writing like this: “speech,
typically, consists of chains of co-ordinated, weakly subordinated and adjoined clauses; writing, by contrast, is
marked by full subordination and embedding”.

Speech has to be able to reflect the development of thinking, while the writing would reflect a tested idea.

Kress suggests that the syntactic unit called sentence is the fundamental basis of written texts, meanwhile the main
organising unit of the spoken text consists of clauses of equal status or near equal status chained together in a
sentence.

The relationships between sentences or utterances reveal another area of difference between speech and writing. In
writing, the relationships between sentences operate at several levels. There needs to be thematic unity, a logical
progression, often the use of conjunctions and a grammatical linkage between sentences.

2.4.3. Lexical density


Vocabulary is generally divided into two major classes: content words and structure words.

- Structure words include items such as articles, pronouns, conjunctions, modal and auxiliary verbs, most
prepositions and certain verbs. This class of words is finite and closed.
- Content words are an open class by which is meant that additions can be made, and here we can include
words with meaning.

By lexical density we refer to the proportion of content words to structure words in a text. Writing displays a greater
degree of lexical density.
We have to stress that, in discussing these differences; we are not suggesting that one mode is more complex or
better than the other. Both modes make different sorts of selections of grammatical structures to serve their
purposes.

3. FACTORS DEFINING A COMMUNICATIVE SITUATION


Language implies a means of communication and entails the transmission and reception of messages, which encode
meaning. This transmission and reception is possible by means of the factors which define a communicative situat.

SENDER RECEIVER
Mental representation of reality Mental representation of reality
Knowledge, beliefs, attitudes… Knowledge, beliefs, attitudes…

MESSAGE MESSAGE

ENCODES DECODES

SIGNAL NOISE CHANNEL SIGNAL


(transmitted) (received)

3.1. SENDER AND RECEIVER

Following Harmer (1983) we can say that when one person speaks or write (sender):

- He wants to speak or write, it is his decision to address someone


- He has a communicative purpose, e.g. he wants something to happen as a result of what he says
- He selects from his language store, he uses the language he feels appropriate for his purpose.

On the other hand, the listener or reader (receiver):

- He wants read or to listen to something


- He is interested in the communicative purpose of what is being said
- Process a variety of language.

The sender has a reason for speaking or writing, or a communicative purpose; he wants to communicate something
to the receiver and thus formulates a message. The sender selects the appropriate items from his language store to
express that purpose. With respect to the receiver, he is interested in the speaker’s communicative purpose and is
able to process a varied selection of language in order to understand

The message contains the information the sender wishes to transmit and is encoded in a specific choice of language
items. On receiving the message, the receiver decodes it.

The channel is the means by which the message is transmitted, for example: the phone, face to face speech, etc.

3.2. FUNCTIONALITY

Functionality talks about how communication works and the way we process language. The way we process language
contained in messages is ruled by something beyond sentence level, that is, by larger stretches of language. Austin
(1962, 1975) established that any utterance involves the simultaneous performance of different acts:

- Locutionary act: phonetic act (sounds) forming words and sentences (grammar and syntax) with meaning
(semantics).
- Illocutionary act: conventional force associate with the uttering of the words in a particular context (e.g. the
illocutionary force of a promise).
- Perlocutionary act: refers to the effects the utterance has on the hearer.
Searle (1969) systematized and extended speech act theory, including his taxonomy of speech acts. An utterance in
context will have a conventionally recognized illocutionary point, and according to Searle there are five basic,
primitive illocutionary points:

a) Directives. The speaker tries to get the hearer to do something, eg. Ask, challenge, command, etc. the speaker
tries to alter the word in some ways with words. (Run!)
b) Assertive. Represent an actual state of affairs. It includes asserting, concluding, informing, predicting and
reporting. Speaker tries to describe the nature of the word. (It’s raining)
c) Commisives. As with directives, the speaker tries to alter the word in some way, but here it is the speaker’s
actions that will alter the word. E.g. warning, promising, threatening and guaranteeing. (I promise…)
d) Declaratives. The speaker alters the external status or conditions of an object or situation only by making the
utterance. Eg. Declaring war, performing a marriage, etc. (Baptism)
e) Expressives. Express a psychological state. It includes thanking, complaining, greeting, and apologizing.

3.3. CONTEXT

People use language in context in different situations and a native speaker knows what language is appropriate in a
particular situation. It is our knowledge of these contexts and how to behave in them that determines our selection
of words and the way in which we express our intentions in the language we use. Context also refers to what is said
or written before and after. The most important contextual factors listed by Hymes are:

1. Form and content of text What is the linguistic description of the message? What are the words about?
2. Setting Where are we when we speak? What situation are we in? What environment?
3. Participants What is the relative status of the participant? Who is participating?
4. Ends (intent and effect) What is the purpose of the speaker (intent and effect)
5. Key Is the message informal, formal, serious, sarcastic?
6. Medium Are the words said face to face or on the phone, in a letter?
7. Genre Is the message casual speech or a poem?
8. Interactional norms What is the physical distance, voice loudness? essage conventions?

Halliday has a more abstract interpretation, describing how the context of situation determines the kinds of meaning
that are expressed, offering three headings for the analysis of discourse:

1. Field: refers to what is happening, to the nature of the social action that is taking place.
2. Mode: refers to the expectations of the participants about the language, what language can do for them in that
situation. Organisation of the text, its status, its function, including the channel or the function.
3. Tenor: refers to who is taking part, to the nature of the participants, their statuses and roles.

CONCLUSION
In conclusion, we began the topic with an explanation of language as communication, and exposing the
communicative competence theory. On the second section of the topic we went on to look at the two different
modes of spoken and written language and its main differences, focusing on situation, grammatical choices and
lexical density. Our third section focused on factors which define a communicative situation where we looked at
sender, receiver, functionality and context. Functionality dealt with how communication works and specifically with
the way we process language. Finally, context determines the way in which we encode and decode messages.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
- Austin, J.L. (1975). How to Do Things with Words (2nd edition). Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
- Crystal, D. (2010) The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Language (3rd edition). Cambridge: C. University Press.
- Finch, G. (2000). Linguistic terms and concepts. London: Macmillan Press.
- Richards, J.C. & Schmidt, R.W. (1983). Language and Communication. London: Longman.
TEMA 2. La comunicación en la clase de lengua extranjera:
comunicación verbal y no verbal. Estrategias extralingüísticas:
reacciones no verbales a mensajes en diferentes contextos.

TOPIC 2. COMMUNICATION IN THE FOREIG LANGUAGE CLASS. VERBAL AND NON-


VERBAL COMMUNICATION. EXTRALINGUISTIC STRATEGIES: NON-VERBAL
RESPONSES TO MESSAGES IN DIFFERENT CONTEXTS.

INTRODUCTION
The ability to communicate plays a decisive role in the Foreign Language Teaching, and modern approaches dictates
that this communication consists not only in an audio-visual experience, but in a total one which must include
gesture, behaviour, mime and other aspects occurring in native speakers and traditionally ignored in the classroom.

We start the topic with a reflection on communication in the foreign language and the explanation of Communicative
Competence. On the second part we will discuss not only the verbal forms of communication, but also the non-
verbal ones, involved in oral practice and activities in the classroom. Lastly we will speak about non-verbal
communication, and its different types and functions.

1. COMMUNICATION IN THE FOREIGN LANGUAGE CLASS

1.1. COMMUNICATION DEFINITIONS

Communication can be defined as an exchange of meanings between individuals through a common system of
symbols. We use all the senses to communicate, so communication can be auditory-vocal, visual, tactile, olfactory
and gustatory.

Communication is an exchange and negotiation of information between at least two individuals, by means of verbal
and non-verbal symbols, oral and written or visual modes, and involves production and comprehension processes.
Communication involves language, but also gesture, position, non-verbal vocalization, use of visual aids and so on.

Savignon (1997) defines language and further emphasizes the contextual dimension of language use and that one’s
success in communicating may vary from situation to situation. Success in a particular role depends on one’s
understanding of the context and on prior experience of a similar kind. Success requires making appropriate choices
of register and style in terms of the situation and the other participants.

Human beings are not the only species to have an elaborate communication system. Bees communicate about
honey, chimpanzees use vocalisations to warn of danger, and dolphins can communicate information on food and
danger by means of whistles and clicks. But nothing in the animal kingdom even approximates to human language.

1.2. COMMUNICATION IN THE CLASSROOM

During the 1970s, there was a reaction against grammatical ways of teaching that ignored the way language is used
in everyday situations. Some studies tried to make foreign language teaching “communicative”.

Richards and Rodgers (1986) describe Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) as an approach, or a philosophy of
teaching, based on communicative language use. Different linguists emphasise notional –functional concepts and
communicative competence rather than grammatical structures, as central to language teaching.
The Council of Europe established the objectives of make communicative competence the goal of language teaching,
and to develop procedures for the teaching of the four language skills that acknowledge the interdependence of
language and communication. The goal would be to produce students who are communicatively competent.
Communicative competence involves being able to use the language appropriate to a given social context.

1.3. COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE

Communicative competence refers to individuals’ ability to use language for effective communication in a variety of
contexts.

The Communicative approach in Foreign Language Teaching starts from a theory of language as communication.

Since the 1960s, Noam Chomsky described an innate biological endowment (Universal Grammar) which enables
humans to acquire a language so rapidly and efficiently in the first year of life. Chomsky (1957) defined language as a
set of sentences, each finite in length and constructed out of a finite set of elements. We are born with an instinctive
sense of how language works, as a general thing, which allows us to make sentences in our language, by direct
exposure. Children do not repeat what adults say, but produce their own sentences and create phrases which they
have never heard before. Chomsky also differentiates between competence (the innate knowledge of grammar that
everyone has in their minds) and performance (language as it is produced in everyday situations), and he defends the
study of the knowledge of grammar that all speakers possess, turning away from real usage.

Dell Hymes thought that Chomsky had missed out some very important information: the rules of use. When a native
speaker speaks, he knows where and when to use the sentences and to whom. Linguistic competence is only a sub-
division of communicative competence, as language is one mode of communication among others. Communicative
competence involves not just language competence, but also knowledge of how language is used appropriately, and
how language is organised as a discourse. Hymes distinguished fours aspects of communicative competence:

 Systematic potential: the native speaker has a potential for creating a lot of language.
 Appropriacy: the native speaker knows what language is appropriate in a given situation.
 Occurrence: the native speaker knows how often something is said in the language and acts accordingly.
 Feasibility: the native speaker knows whether something is possible in the language.

Canale and Swain (1980) considered that communicative competence consisted of grammatical competence (the
knowledge of the rules of grammar) plus sociolinguistic competence (the knowledge of the rules of language use).
According to Canale (1983) communicative competence refers to “the underlying systems of knowledge and skill
required for communication”. He summarized the four components of communicative competence as follows:

 Grammatical competence: the ability to put into practice the linguistic units according to the rules of use.
 Sociolinguistic competence: the ability to adequate the utterances to the specific context.
 Discourse competence: the ability to use different types of discourse and organize them, using cohesion
(structural linking) and coherence (meaningful relationships in language).
 Strategic competence: the ability to make adjustments in the course of the communicative situation.

Savignon considered that communicative competence is a dynamic concept, depending on the negotiation of
meaning between two or more persons who share to some degree the same symbolic system. So communicative
competence depends on the cooperation of all the participants involved.

The concept of communicative competence is also present in the Spanish education system. The Organic Law of
Education 2/2006 highlights the importance of developing both oral and written skills in the three different cycles of
Primary Education. The Royal Decree 1513/2006 and later the Decree 22/2007divide the contents into four different
sections or blocks, aiming to help Primary students become communicative competent in the foreign language:

1) listening, speaking and conversing


2) reading and writing
3) knowledge of the language
4) socio-cultural aspects and intercultural awareness.

2. VERBAL AND NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION


It is generally recognized that one requisite of the communicative competence is an ability to adapt to the cultural
norms of the target language group. This ability requires competence in three communicative channels:

- LINGUISTIC: grammar, vocabulary, etc.


- PARALINGUISTIC: voice quality, rate, pitch, volume, speaking style, prosody (rhythm, intonation, stress)…
- NON-VERBAL, or communication without words, by means of body language, gestures, etc.

Oral communication in the foreign language class involves the three channels of communication, and the teacher
should be able to take advantage of them in order to give effective oral practice to the students. The main concern of
a language teacher is to develop the ability of the students to use the language they are learning for the purpose of
communication, in the best possible way.

In order to develop the skills needed for this, we have many obstacles to contend with: the size of the class, the
arrangement of the classroom, the number of hours available to teach the language, and perhaps even the syllabus
itself.

It is not easy to give effective oral practice under these circumstances. This is why it is important to have a clear
understanding of the techniques and procedures through which the spoken language can be practiced.

2.1. ORAL COMMUNICATION

2.1.1. THE NATURE OF ORAL COMMUNICATION


Oral communication is a two-way process between speaker and listener involving the productive skill of speaking and
the receptive skill of understanding. Both speaker and listener have a positive function to perform: the speaker has
to encode the message to be transmitted in an appropriate language, while the listener has to decode the message.

At the same time, the listener is helped by prosodic features, and also by facial and body movements. In contrast to
written language, speech is characterized by frequent false starts and repetitions.

2.1.2. ITS PEDAGOGICAL IMPLICATIONS


In this section we will deal with different aspects of oral communication:

- Listening comprehension

Far from passively receiving and recording aural input, listeners actively involve themselves in the interpretation of
what they hears, bringing their own background and linguistic knowledge to deal with the information listened.

While a higher proportion of class time is needed to develop the ability of students to speak, we can not leave
understanding of the spoken language behind.

Poor understanding often causes nervousness, which may in turn inhibit the ability to speak. The students need
regular training through a program of listening comprehension which exposes them to varied models of speech from
the earliest stages of the language course.

In short, students have to learn to listen just as they have to learn to speak.

- Oral production
The main goal in teaching the productive skill of speaking will be oral fluency or the ability to express oneself
intelligibly, reasonable accurately and without undue hesitation.

To attain this goal, the students will have to be brought from the stage where they imitate a model to the point
where they can use the language to express their own ideas.

- Interdependence of oral skills in the classroom

Although in classroom practice it is often necessary to concentrate on developing one of the oral skills (listening and
speaking) more than the other, we should bear in mind the fact that oral communication is a two-way process
between speaker and listener.

Therefore, in the classroom, we have to make sure that the two oral skills are integrated through situations which
permit and encourage authentic communication.

The development of oral ability is a good source of motivation for most learners. Satisfaction at being able to say a
small number of sentences after a few lessons must be sustained by demonstrating to the students that they can say
progressively more and more through the language.

2.2. ORAL PRACTICE IN THE FOREIGN LANGUAGE CLASS

The criteria we must bear in mind when starting to teach a foreign language should be:

- Foster the development of the oral receptive and productive skills.


- Value the knowledge the students have already acquired on oral communication of their native tongue.
- Use previous experience in their native tongue in order to develop the use of the foreign language.
- Encourage the use of the foreign language in authentic communicative situations.
- Select specific communication strategies of the foreign language which favour the communicative exchange
in situations where the students do not know how to express what they mean.

We will concentrate on different communicative situations appropriate for Primary Education:

RECEPTIVE: descriptions, instructions related to class activities, instructions to carry out exercises, poems, rhymes,
songs, tongue twisters, instructions, congratulations, narrations, dramatizations, cartoons…

PRODUCTIVE: Poems, rhymes, songs, tongue twisters, games, cartoons, congratulations, invitations, descriptions,
narrations, instructions related to do something, instructions related to use something, dramatizations, role-plays…

The most usual oral communicative situations in the primary classroom have three different aims: instructive,
informative and ludic. We will now provide different activities for these oral communicative situations:

2.3. ORAL ACTIVITIES

A) INSTRUCTIVE COMMUNICATIVE SITUATIONS

We will include here from activities guided from the teacher to activities which imply debate and making decisions.

- Give or receive instructions to carry out daily tasks.


- Debate and decide which the best itinerary to visit a town is.
- Decide what to take for a trip to the countryside and what things could be done.
B) INFORMATIVE COMMUNICATIVE SITUATIONS

These are the situations which are usually related to making activities and they are the most formal oral receptive
and productive situations.

- Find out by means of simple questionnaires the birth dates of their class mates
- Gather information from their class mates (age, birthday, preferences…) which will be passed on to a mural
in order to make a “who is who” book.
- Record songs in order to play them for students who belong to a different class.
C) LUDIC COMMUNICATIVE SITUATIONS

These are used simply to have fun and learn at the same time.

- Use rhymes and songs which are used to accompany certain games, e.g. Simon says
- Play hide and seek, an object is hidden in the classroom and one of the student’ following the instructions
from his classmates has to find it.
- Role-play: students are asked to imagine they are the guests at a party.

3. EXTRALINGUISTIC STRATEGIES: NON-VERBAL RESPONSES TO MESSAGES IN


DIFFERENT CONTEXTS

It is generally recognized that one requisite of the communicative competence is an ability to adapt to the cultural
norms of the target language group. This ability requires competence in three communicative channels:

- LINGUISTIC: grammar, vocabulary, etc.


- PARALINGUISTIC: prosody, intonation, stress, pitch, etc.
- NON-VERBAL: body language, gestures, etc.

Non-verbal communication is often culture-specific and most aspects of non-verbal communication are acquired by
members of a culture through natural, contextualized exposure. To most speakers, non-verbal communication is
often an unconscious process in the messages they transmit and receive.

Communication is a two way process. It is not enough for the speakers merely to be able to perceive non-verbal
signs, it is important actively cooperating in the communication process.

Before looking at specific types of non-verbal communication and its pedagogical applications, brief reference will be
made to the general functions of non-verbal communication.

3.1. TYPES OF NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION

It is important for teachers to understand the distinctions between the various forms of non-verbal communication.
The following is a basic introduction to the most relevant areas to the classroom.

- GESTURE: their purpose is to consciously convey a specific message. In the classroom, brainstorming, mime
and the use of quizzes may serve to elicit many examples. Cultures may differ greatly in performance of
gestures.
- HEAD MOVEMENTS: while some head movements may be common to different cultures, we should be
careful since head movements do not always have the same meaning in different cultures.
- FACIAL EXPRESSIONS: eyebrow movement has been linked to the performance of a number of speech acts,
but perhaps their primary function is the expression of emotion.
- EYE CONTACT AND GAZE: both play an important role in enabling conversation management, providing vital
feedback when engaged in face to face communication, turn taking and in closing sequences. Parallel to this
function is the importance of eye contact and gaze in affect displays (jealousy, nervousness, fear), in
establishing status (dominance or deference), intimacy and so on.
- KINESICS (BODY LANGUAGE): “postural echo”, postural adjustments in pre-closing conversational sequences,
or watching for signs of recognition, status affirmation, deference or dominance may be of practical use to
learners of language.
- PROXEMICS: the study of one’s perception and use of space. Strategies may be used to diminish or increase
the physical space between people.
- HAPTICS: the use of touch, as handshakes, kisses, etc.

3.2. FUNCTIONS OF NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION

There are five main characteristics:

- REGULATORY FUNCTION: this function serves to provide vital clues for the listener’s interpretation of speech
acts, and enhances conversation management.
- INTERPERSONAL FUNCTION: non-verbal communication serves to express attitudes and emotions in
interpersonal relations.
- EMBLEMATIC FUNCTION: the use of gestures to convey a specific message.
- ILLUSTRATIVE FUNCTION: non-verbal communication used to indicate size, shape, distance, etc.
- ADAPTATIVE FUNCTION: used as a means of reassurance, self comforting, often involving unconscious acts.

3.3. SOME PEDAGOGIC CONSIDERATIONS

Learners should be encouraged to exploit materials holistically, if a role play calls for “delivery of bad news”, how
much more successful might it be if all three channels were considered:

- Linguistic: appropriate expressions. “Sorry to tell you this, but…” “I’m afraid…”
- Paralinguistic: hesitation devices, commiseratory tone, falling intonation…
- Non-verbal: conciliatory body posture, sympathetic facial expression, sight…

What is clear is that in face to face interaction, non-verbal communication plays an active and important role, one
deserving of a more prominent treatment in materials designed for language teaching.

One method which focuses on the aid of non-verbal communication is Total Physical Response, first developed by
Asher in the 60’s. Non-verbal resources are used to develop communication, beginning with the listening skills,
where imperatives are inferred by movements, actions, etc. TPR is based on the theory that the memory is enhanced
through association with physical movement. It is also closely associated with theories of mother tongue language
acquisition in very young children, where they respond physically to parental commands.

Though we may not wish to use a TPR methodology with all its implications, the contributions it makes to the
teaching-learning process as part of a methodological plan in an eclectic approach can be valuable.

CONCLUSION

In this topic we have discussed about communication in the foreign classroom, and we have seen a communication
theory about communicative competence. In the second part we have dealt with various aspects of oral
communication. First of all, we have mentioned the nature of oral communication and its implications. Secondly we
have pointed out some aspects of oral practice in the foreign language class and we provided some oral activities and
situations suitable for primary students. Thirdly we have spoken about non-verbal communication with its different
forms and functions, pointing some pedagogic considerations.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
- Argyle, M. (1988). Bodily Communication, 2nd edition. London: Routledge.
- Byrne, D. (1987). Teaching Oral English. New edition. London: Longman.
- Harmer, J. (2007). The Practice of English Language Teaching, 4th edition. London: Longman.
- Richards, J. C., & Rodgers, T. (2009). Approaches and methods in language teaching (2nd ed). Cambridge: CUP
TEMA 7. La lengua extranjera oral. La complejidad de la
comprensión del sentido global en la interacción oral: de la
audición a la escucha activa y selectiva. La toma de palabra: de la
reproducción imitativa a la producción autónoma.

TOPIC 7. ORAL FOREIGN LANGUAGE. THE COMPLEXITY OF COMPREHENDING


OVERALL MEANING IN ORAL INTERACTION: FROM HEARING TO ACTIVE AND
SELECTIVE LISTENING. SPEAKING: FROM IMITATION TO FREE PRODUCTION.

INTRODUCTION

Linguists have identified four major abilities needed to use a foreign language effectively, which they call linguistic
skills. They are usually used to define the aims of language teaching, which are listening, speaking, reading & writing.

There are two main ways to classify these skills: in relation to the medium and in relation to the activity of the
speaker. Listening and speaking are related to the oral medium, and reading and writing to the written one. On the
other hand, listening and reading are receptive skills as they provide input, while speaking and writing are productive
skills as they promote output from the student.

In this topic we will examine oral foreign language, comprising listening and speaking skills, starting with a brief
summary. In the second section, we will focus on the complexities of comprehending overall meaning in listening,
and analysing how to progress from simply hearing to selective listening. In the third section we will focus on the skill
of speaking in the foreign language and there we will look at the progression from imitation to free production.

1. ORAL FOREIGN LANGUAGE

As regards speech or spoken language, it is the most obvious aspect of language and can be defined as the universal
material of human language. Human being has almost certainly been a speaking animal from early in the emergence
of Homo sapiens, while the earliest known systems of writing go back only some 5.000 years. Therefore for many
hundreds of thousands of years human language was transmitted and developed entirely as spoken means of
communication.

At a very basic level, spoken language demands the physiological abilities to be able to use our speech and auditory
organs properly. On top of this we have the psychological level, where our linguistic skills are situated. Physical
activity is required to the transmission of the sound waves.

Widdowson has distinguished between the physiological skills of speaking and hearing and the communicative
abilities to talk and listen. We are going to study how our pupils evolve from hearing to active listening, and from
imitate speaking to autonomous talking.

Listening is the development of pupil’s ability to understand and respond to spoken language. Speaking can be
defined as the development of pupils’ ability to communicate through speech.

Although in classroom practice it is often necessary to concentrate on developing one of the oral skills more than the
other, we should bear in mind the fact that oral communication is a two-way process between speaker and listener.

Therefore, in the classroom, we have to make sure that the two oral skills are integrated through situations which
permit and encourage authentic communication.
2. THE COMPLEXITY OF COMPREHENDING OVERALL MEANING IN ORAL
INTERACTION: FROM HEARING OT ACTIVE AND SELECTIVE LISTENING
Listening is the development of pupil’s ability to understand and respond to spoken language. Far from passively
receiving and recording aural input, listeners actively involve themselves in the interpretation of what they hear;
bringing their own background and linguistic knowledge to deal with the information listened.

While a higher proportion of class time is needed to develop the ability of students to speak, we cannot leave
understanding of the spoken language behind. Poor understanding often causes nervousness, which may in turn
inhibit the ability to speak. The students need regular training through a program of listening comprehension which
exposes them to varied models of speech from the earliest stages of the language course. In short, students have to
learn to listen just as they have to learn to speak.

2.1. LISTENING PROCESS

When we are listening to what someone is saying in our own language our understanding involves the following
process:

1. The perception of sounds


2. Recognition of meaningful units and strings of units
3. The retention of chunks of information in our short term memory
4. The ability to relate this information to previously stored information
5. The ability to extract the meaning and retain it in long-term memory
6. Be able to recall the gist later on

It is therefore necessary to draw on those skills that our pupils process in their own language and help them to use
the same skills in the foreign language.

2.2. LISTENING SKILLS

As language users, we possess a number of skills for processing input, these can divide in two types.

TYPE I SKILLS:

- Predictive skills. The aim of these skills is to encourage interest in the topic and create expectations about
what they are about to hear. It gives our pupils a reason or purpose to listen, hopefully a desire to listen and
expectations. An efficient listener predicts what he is going to listen to.
- Skimming, or getting the general picture. We refer to listening in order to get the general idea and without
paying attention to details.
- Scanning, or extracting specific information. The ability to select what we want to listen to. The listener will
not take into account everything but the information he is interested in.

TYPE II SKILLS:

- Inferring opinion and attitude. We need to show our pupils how to infer people’s opinion and attitude. This
requires recognising linguistic styles, which means we must expose our pupils to more than one way of
saying something. A listener has to find out what the speaker’s opinion and attitudes are.
- Deducing meaning from context. Because language learners are coming into contact with unknown words all
the time it is important to deduce meaning from context as they do in their own language. Based on the
context in which a word occurs, guess the meaning of unknown words in the same way native speakers do.
- Recognising function and discourse patterns and markers. This is useful to be able to identify and understand
words and phrases that show how a text is constructed, and to recognise discourse markers, devices for
cohesion and understand how a text is organised coherently.
When teaching receptive skills, type 1 skills are the first activities that we ask our pupils to perform. Type 2 skills
require detailed comprehension so they must come after type 1 skills.

2.3. GENERAL PRINCIPLES IN TEACHING AND LEARNIN LISTENING COMPREHENSION

Most listening comprehension analysts have come to a set of common conclusions about what constitutes good
practice when teaching and learning listening comprehension. Following Harmer (2007), those principles are:

- Listening comprehension lessons must have definite goals, carefully stated, that fit into the curriculum.
- Listening comprehension lessons should be constructed with careful step by step planning
- Listening comprehension lessons structure should demand active pupil participation
- Listening comprehension lessons should stress conscious memory work
- Listening comprehension lessons should teach, not test

Learning activities must begin with an ear-training stage (if we cannot hear we will not understand). Later on, we
must help our pupils develop their aural understanding abilities.

2.4. INTENSIVE AND EXTENSIVE LISTENING

If we want our pupils to be efficient listeners in English, we must give them enough practice in:

- Intensive listening, which consist on aural lessons focused on one or two specific points, with short passages
played several times. It’s the most widely used form of listening practice in classrooms.
- Extensive listening, which are aural lessons focused on general features of the style of discourse. The
language level is within the student’s capacity, and they listen for pleasure and interest. It is used without
the direct control of the teacher. It can be used for two different purposes:
o The presentation of already-known material in a new environment
o Let our pupils hear new vocabulary items and structures mixed in the flow of language, providing
them a general overview.

2.5. A BASIC METODOLOGICAL MODEL FOR LISTENING TASKS

Harmer proposes a basic five-stage model for listening tasks consisting of:

1. Lead-in. The aim is to familiarize pupils with the topic of the listening exercise, create expectations and
arouse interest towards the subject matter.
2. Teacher directs the comprehension task. The aim is to explain the purpose of the task.
3. Pupils listen. Pupils listen to perform the tasks, type 1 skills are developed first and type 2 later.
4. Feedback. The teacher helps pupils to see if they have carried out the task successfully or not, and if not
discuss why not and try it again.
5. Follow-up. A task-related exercise or activity.

As we can see reception of input naturally leads to generating output.

2.6. A BASIC METODOLOGICAL MODEL FOR LISTENING SESSIONS

According to Alburquerque (1990), if we want to conduct listening sessions in a purposeful way, it is advisable to
follow a three-fold procedure:

1. Pre-listening activities have as a main aim to arouse pupil’s interest in what they are going to listen
2. While-listening activities aim at breaking the ice and help our students establish some basic facts. For a
second listening our pupils may be asked to extract much more detailed information about the contents and
form of the text.
3. Post-listening activities. Activities consolidate the previously introduced knowledge, they can be thought of
as follow-up work.

2.7. LISTENING ACTIVITIES

Some useful listening activities can be:

- Songs and rhymes AUTHENTIC MATERIALS:


- Listening comprehension activities - Radio and television programmes
- Pronunciation models - Advertisements
- Stories - Speeches and lectures
- Dialogues - Telephone customer service recordings
The following table compiles a list of activities suitable for each stage:

PRE- LISTENING WHILE-LISTENING POST-LISTENING

- Prediction exercises - Labelling - Extending lists


- Talking about pictures, maps, - True/false - Summarising
diagrams, graphs or lists - Gap filling - Jigsaw listening
- Vocabulary exercises - Marking items in pictures - Matching with a reading text
- Labelling - Putting pictures in order - Sequencing/grading
- Making lists - Carrying out actions - Identifying relationships
- Grammar exercises - Seeking specific items of between speakers
- Pre-view language information - Role play/simulation

3. SPEAKING: FROM IMITATION TO AUTONOMOUS PRODUCTION

Speaking can be defined as the development of pupils’ ability to communicate through speech.

The main goal in teaching the productive skill of speaking will be oral fluency or the ability to express oneself
intelligibly, reasonable accurately and without undue hesitation.

To attain this goal, the students will have to be brought from the stage where they imitate a model to the point
where they can use the language to express their own ideas.

3.1. AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE INVOLVED IN SPEAKING

As Stovall (1998) points out, many language learners regard speaking ability as the measure of knowing a language.
But speaking involves three areas of knowledge:

- Mechanics (pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary): using the right words in the right order with the
correct pronunciation.
- Functions (transaction and interaction): knowing when clarity of message is essential (transaction /
information exchange) and when precise understanding is not required (interaction / relationship building)
- Social and cultural rules and norms (turn taking, rate of speech, length of pauses between speakers, relative
roles of participants): understanding how to take into account who is speaking, to whom, in what
circumstances, about what, and for what reason.

In the communicative model of language teaching, instructors help their students develop this body of knowledge by
providing authentic practice that prepares students for real-life communication situations. They help their students
develop the ability to produce grammatically correct, logically connected sentences that are appropriate to specific
contexts, and to do so using comprehensible pronunciation.
3.2. SPEAKING STAGES

Speaking is usually developed in three stages: presentation, practice and production stages.

3.2.1. PRESENTATION STAGE (INPUT)


First we present new language, trying to achieve two aims: to show relevance and usefulness of new language and to
present meaning and form. To convey these aspects we must introduce the new language to our pupils within two
kinds of context:

- A situational context refers to the situation language occurs in


- A linguistic context consists of the language surrounding a particular piece of language.

The presentation stage is short and usually takes place at the beginning. The teacher’s role is that of informant and
correction is very important at this stage.

3.2.2. PRACTICE STAGE (ACCURACY)


On this stage accuracy will take place. The main objectives of this stage are to get a maximum controlled practice and
to build up our pupils’ confidence. This stage is divided into two:

- Controlled practice, where we are interested in accuracy of the structure, pronunciation, etc
- Intensive practice, where pupils’ production of the language is carefully controlled.

These points can be achieved through different activities such as drills, choral repetition, short dialogues, individual
repetition, information and opinion gap activities, etc.

The roles of the teacher at this stage are mainly those of conductor and corrector. The correction consists of showing
incorrectness (asking the pupil to repeat, echo what our pupil has just said with a questioning intonation, etc) and
using correction techniques if showing incorrectness is not enough (pupil corrects pupil, teacher corrects pupil)

3.2.3. FREE PRODUCTION STAGE (FLUENCY)


The main aims of the communication, or free production stage are to use language realistically, to provide
motivation, to provide teachers and pupils with feedback about the learning and teaching process and to integrate
listening.

Free production activities focus more on content of the message and not on the language itself. An important aspect
of free production activities is that they enable us to see what our pupils can communicate in the foreign language.
Our main goal in this type of activity is to get pupils to use the language, fluency is more important than accuracy.

There is a vast range of activities which promote aural communication in the class, such as reaching a consensus,
relaying instructions, communication gap games, simulation and role-play, card games, etc.

The role of the teacher is that of monitor: conductor, adviser, encourager, mistake hearer and consultant. Just as
having a reason to listen is crucial in listening activities, so having a reason to say something is crucial in speaking
activities.

All the activities proposed share the characteristics of communicative activities defined by Harmer:

- A desire to communicate
- A communicative purpose
- They are focused on content, not on form
- The use of a variety of language
- Limited teacher intervention
- Limited materials control
3.3. STRATEGIES FOR DEVELOPING SPEAKING SKILLS

Instructors have to teach students speaking strategies which they can use to help themselves expand their
knowledge of the language and their confidence in using it. These strategies are:

1. Using minimal responses.


One way to encourage learners who lack confidence in their speaking ability is to help them build up a stock
of minimal responses that they can use in different types of exchanges. Minimal responses are predictable
phrases used to indicate understanding, agreement, doubt, etc.
2. Recognising scripts.
A script is a predictable set of spoken exchanges, like greetings apologies, compliments, invitations, obtaining
information, making a purchase, etc. They are influenced by social and cultural norms. In this exchanges the
speaker’s turn can be anticipated.
3. Using language to talk about language
Misunderstanding can occur in any type of interaction, so students should learn strategies and phrases to
use for clarification and comprehension check. Increasing students’ confidence, instructors can create an
authentic practice environment within the classroom.

3.4. SPEAKING ACTIVITIES

An oral lesson which aims to teach new items is often divided into three stages, commonly known as the
presentation stage, the practice stage and the free production stage. This may be rounded with some warming-up or
introductory activities.

Following Hadley (2001), instructors need to combine structured output activities, which allow for error correction
and increased accuracy, with communicative output activities that give students opportunities to practise language
use more freely.

- Information gap activities in pairs: schedule or timetable with different complementary information,
incomplete pictures of different ones.
- Jigsaw activities: order different picture sequences without showing them, complete a story with different
partial listening.
- Role play: students are assigned roles and put into situations that they may eventually encounter outside
- Discussions: students need to get an agreement.

CONCLUSION

To conclude, we can affirm that the development of the four language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing)
is a must in order to achieve the goal of Foreign Language Learning: communicative competence. These language
skills should be developed in an integrated manner, following the natural sequence of acquisition of abilities in the
mother tongue (input before output, receptive skills before productive ones). So there is a need of starting with
listening before speaking, followed by reading and writing. In this topic, we have analysed how the oral skills must be
developed. As regards listening comprehension, we should start from, hearing and move on to active and selective
listening. As far as speaking is concerned, we should start from imitative reproduction to autonomous production.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
- Byrne, D. (1987). Teaching Oral English. New edition. London: Longman.
- Crystal, D. (2010). The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Language (3rd edition). Cambridge: C. University Press.
- Hadley, A.O. (2007). Teaching Language in Context (3rd edition). Boston, MA: Thomson.
- Harmer, J. (2007). The Practice of English Language Teaching, 4th edition. London: Longman.
TEMA 8. La lengua extranjera escrita. Aproximación, maduración
y perfeccionamiento del proceso lectoescritor. La comprensión
lectora: técnicas de comprensión global y específica de textos. La
expresión escrita: de la interpretación a la producción de textos.

TOPIC 8. WRITTEN FOREIGN LANGUAGE. DEVELOPMENT, MATURATION AND


PERFECTION IN THE READING-WRITING PROCESS. READING COMPREHENSION:
OVERALL AND SPECIFIC COMPREHENSION TECHNIQUES. WRITING: FROM
INTERPRETATION TO THE FREE PRODUCTION OF TEXTS

INTRODUCTION

Linguists have identified four major abilities needed to use a foreign language effectively, which they call linguistic
skills. They are usually used to define the aims of language teaching, which are listening, speaking, reading & writing.

There are two main ways to classify these skills: in relation to the medium and in relation to the activity of the
speaker. Listening and speaking are related to the oral medium, and reading and writing to the written one. On the
other hand, listening and reading are receptive skills as they provide input, while speaking and writing are productive
skills as they promote output from the student.

In this topic we will examine written foreign language, comprising reading and writing skills, starting with a brief
summary. In the second section, we will explain the reading-writing process. In the third one, we will focus on the
overall and specific reading techniques. In the fourth section we will focus on the skill of writing in the foreign
language and there we will look at the progression from interpretation to the free production of texts.

1. WRITTEN FOREIGN LANGUAGE


Reading is the development of pupil’s ability to understand and respond to written language. Writing can be defined
as the development of pupils’ ability to communicate through written language.

Learning to write is not just a natural extension of learning to speak a language. We learned to speak our first
language at home without systematic instruction, whereas most of us had to be taught in school how to write.

The two processes, speaking and writing, are not identical. Let us look at some differences between them:

1. Speech is universal, everyone acquires a native language in the 1st years of life, but not all learn to read and write.
2. The spoken language has dialect variations, but writing demands standard grammar, syntax and vocabulary.
3. Speakers use their voices and bodies to help convey their ideas. Writers use words on a page.
4. Speakers use pauses and intonation. Writers use punctuation.
5. Speakers pronounce. Writers spell. Speakers use phonic substance while writers use graphic substance.
6. Speaking is generally spontaneous and unplanned. Most writing is carefully planned and we can change it.
7. A speaker speaks to a present listener. For the writer, the reader’s response is either delayed or non-existent.
8. Speech is usually informal and repetitive. Writing is more formal and compact.
9. Speakers use simple sentences connected by ‘and’ and ‘but’. Writers use more complex sentences with
connection words such as ‘however’, ‘who’ and ‘in addition’.
2. DEVELOPMENT, MATURATION AND PEFECTION OF THE READING-WRITING
PROCESS

2.1. LANGUAGE ACQUISITION AND READING

Reading is the development of pupil’s ability to understand and respond to written language. When dealing with the
acquisition of reading it is very useful to make a distinction between two stages:

- A declarative stage of acquisition in which facts about the skill domain are interpreted. Children need to
grasp what the activity of reading consists of, and of what principles the writing system is constructed.
- A procedural stage in which the domain of previous stage knowledge is related to procedures for performing
the skill. Children need to exploit this knowledge to achieve a reading performance that becomes more
fluent and error-free and in which many of the components become automatic.

2.2. APPROACHES TO TEACHING READING IN THE FOREIGN LANGUAGE CLASS

Historically there have been two main approaches to the acquisition or reading: the phonetic approach and the
whole-word approach.

The phonetic approach is based on the principle of identifying the regular sound-letter relationships and teaching
the children to use these, to construct or to decode words.

- The synthetic approach: children learn the 44 basic sounds that can be produced in English, and vocabulary
words are introduced when all the letter sounds have been mastered.
- The analytic approach: students first acquire a basic vocabulary of words they know by sight and then study
the relationships of letters and sounds by analyzing how they operate within these words.

The whole-word approach consists on recognising individual words without breaking them up. Children are able to
pronounce a whole word as a single unit, associating word names with printed words.

In recent years, the whole-word approach has changed to the whole language philosophy. Language is a whole and it
is best learnt as a whole with meaningful text, incorporating both reading and writing as a whole.

Actually attention has also been drawn to the many different kind of sub-skills found under the heading of fluent
reading, from reading aloud to skimming and scanning techniques.

2.3. LANGUAGE ACQUISITION AND WRITING

Writing can be defined as the development of pupils’ ability to communicate through written language.

The acquisition of written language is an integral part of language development. In societies with a long tradition in
literacy, the ability to write is an important aspect of linguistic competence. It is also noticeable that the grammatical
structures of written language are different from those of speech.

For the great majority of children, learning to write does not begin until a firm foundation of oral language has been
established. The studies carried out by O’Donnell et al (1976) provide evidence that, initially, the structures children
use in their writing are very closely related to those they use in speech. But when handwriting and spelling reach the
automatic level, then children are free to use more complex linguistic structures. Kroll (1981) presented the
relationships between grammatical maturity in speech and writing as a series of four phases:

1. Preparatory stage, when basic motor skills develop and the principles of the spelling system are acquired.
2. Consolidation stage, when children begin to use the writing system to express what that can already say in
speech. Most children have reached this phase by the age of 7.
3. Differentiation stage, when writing begins to diverge from speech, and develops its own pattern and
organization. Children seem to reach this phase by the age of 9.
4. Integration stage, when writers have such a good command of language that they can vary their stylistic choices
at will and develop a personal voice. This phase is reached by a minority of writers in Primary School.

2.4. APPROACHES TO TEACHING WRITING IN THE FOREIGN LANGUAGE CLASS

Learning to write a second language is a complex task, because it involves the difficulties of both languages: Spanish
and English. Furthermore, approaches have varied according to the method used and to the age of the learners. We
will mention different approaches to teaching writing:

- The controlled to free approach. In the 50’s and 60’s the audio-lingual approach dominated second language
learning. Speech was primary and writing served to reinforce speech. This approach is sequential: students
work on given material and perform strictly operations on it. In this approach it is very easy for students to
avoid errors since it emphasizes accuracy rather than fluency and originality.
- The free-writing approach. The approach is made by assigning great amounts of free writing on given topics,
with only minimal correction of errors, looking for fluency rather than accuracy.
- The paragraph-pattern approach. Instead of accuracy of grammar or fluency of content, this approach
stresses organisation. Students copy paragraphs, analyse the form imitate them. This approach affirms that
in different cultures people construct and organise their communication with each other in different ways.
- The communicative approach. This approach stresses the purpose of a piece of writing and the audience for
it. Students are encouraged to behave like writers in real life and think about the reasons why they are
writing and who will read the piece of writing. Teachers using this approach have extended the readership.

3. READING COMPREHENSION: OVERALL AND SPECIFIC COMPREHENSION


TECHNIQUES
Reading is the development of pupil’s ability to understand and respond to written language. Reading texts provides
opportunities to study language: vocabulary, grammar, punctuation and the construction of sentences, paragraphs
and texts. Good reading texts introduce interesting topics, simulate discussions and excite imaginative responses.

3.1. READING SKILLS

The reader uses a number of specialist skills when reading and his success at understanding depends on his expertise
on this specialist skills. TYPE I SKILLS:

- Predictive skills. The aim of these skills is to encourage interest in the topic and create expectations about
what they are about to hear. It gives our pupils a reason or purpose to listen, hopefully a desire to listen and
expectations. An efficient listener predicts what he is going to listen to.
- Skimming, or getting the general picture. We refer to listening in order to get the general idea and without
paying attention to details.
- Scanning, or extracting specific information. The ability to select what we want to listen to. The listener will
not take into account everything but the information he is interested in.

TYPE II SKILLS:

- Inferring opinion and attitude. We need to show our pupils how to infer people’s opinion and attitude. This
requires recognising linguistic styles, which means we must expose our pupils to more than one way of
saying something. A listener has to find out what the speaker’s opinion and attitudes are.
- Deducing meaning from context. Because language learners are coming into contact with unknown words all
the time it is important to deduce meaning from context as they do in their own language. Based on the
context in which a word occurs, guess the meaning of unknown words in the same way native speakers do.
- Recognising function and discourse patterns and markers. This is useful to be able to identify and understand
words and phrases that show how a text is constructed, and to recognise discourse markers, devices for
cohesion and understand how a text is organised coherently.

When teaching receptive skills, type 1 skills are the first activities that we ask our pupils to perform. Type 2 skills
require detailed comprehension so they must come after type 1 skills.

3.2. GUIDELINES FOR READING COMPREHENSION PRACTICE

Reading is a complex process which involves two techniques:

- Decoding consists on the correct pronunciation of the word and it must be always done aloud and following
the teacher’s instructions.
- Comprehension takes place when the students read sentences and expressions that are able to understand
their meaning. Most of the time, the students will need to read the sentence more than once and they
should do it in silence for a better understanding.

The more practice children have in reading, the sooner they become able to read with fluency.

The principles of reading teaching are:

- Reading is not a passive skill


- Students need to be engaged with what they are reading
- Students should be encouraged to respond to the content of a reading text, not just to the language
- Prediction is a major factor in reading
- Match the task to the topic
- Good teachers exploit reading text to the full

3.3. READING ACTIVITIES

Different activities can be used to develop reading skills, and they are divided into three categories:

- Pre-reading activities, which have the main purpose of generating the interest to read
- While-reading activities, which imply the appropriate use of the reading skills of skimming and scanning.
- Post-reading activities, which activate students’ new knowledge by asking them to produce new messages.

The following table compiles a list of activities suitable for each stage:

PRE- READING WHILE-READING POST-READING

- Prediction exercises - Labelling - Comprehension questions


- Talking about pictures, maps, - True/false - Extending lists
diagrams, graphs or lists - Gap filling - Summarising
- Vocabulary exercises - Marking items in pictures - Sequencing/grading
- Skimming to find the topic - Putting pictures in order - Identifying relationships
- Grammar exercises - Seeking specific items of between characters
- read the follow-up questions information - Role play/simulation

Some useful reading activities can be:

- Read the story aloud AUTHENTIC MATERIALS:


- Talk about the pictures - Reading books or home-made books
- Talk about the text and use of words - Picture dictionaries
- Talk about the story - Reading cards (with questions)
- The book corner - Comics, newspapers, advertisements
3.4. CORRECTING READING MISTAKES

If a child is not making progress in reading, it is important to find out the reason as soon as possible and do
something about it.

In most cases, children manage to correct their own mistakes if given time. Self-correction is a way of allowing the
child to develop his own system of decoding and the responsibility and independence of a mature adult, so it is
important that the teacher does not intervene too soon.

4. WRITING: FROM INTERPRETATION TO THE FREE PRODUCTION OF TEXTS

Writing can be defined as the development of pupils’ ability to communicate through written language.

4.1. WRITING SKILLS

According to Matthews (1991), there are five headings to organise the skills related to writing:

- Graphical or visual skills include writing graphemes, spelling, punctuation and capitalization, and format.
- Grammatical skills refer to pupils’ ability to express precise meanings in a variety of styles or registers.
- Stylistic or expressive skills refer to our pupils’ ability to express precise meanings in a variety of styles.
- Rhetorical skills refer to the pupil’s ability to use cohesion devices in order to link parts of a text.
- Organisational skills involve the sequencing of ideas as well as the ability to reject irrelevant information and
summarise relevant points.

4.2. WRITING STAGES

The writing skill in the Primary Stage should be introduced gradually but we should not forget the communicative
aim writing activities have from the very beginning. Grading the activities involves the following stages:

- Familiarisation with written texts consists on reading out words and simple sentences as the first step.
- Controlled writing is carried out to practise the language and concentration is on the language itself.
- Guided writing. The students begin to produce written texts following the rules set out by the teacher, or by
the instructions of the activity, so the outcome is predictable.
- Free writing. Once the students have had enough practice in certain grammatical structures or functions we
may say that they are ready to produce texts with a purely communicative base.

4.3. WRITING ACTIVITIES

We will now provide activities for each of the stages mentioned before.

Familiarisation acts. At first words will be presented with the help of contextual backup, such as flashcards, they are
very useful as they give children the opportunity to work at their own speed, thinking about what they are doing.
Flashcards can be used to play games in groups, to build rhymes, as cards in games, to match with words, etc.

Controlled writing acts are divided into:

- Copying. This activity gives the teacher the opportunity to reinforce language which has already been
introduced orally or through reading.
- Matching. We may provide our students with a picture or a text and ask them to write a sentence about it.
- Organising and copying. Copying can also be a good introduction to structured writing, for example in an
exercise of completing a letter with missing words and the help of flashcards.
- Delayed copying. This kind of activity is fun to do in class for training short visual memory. The teacher
writes a short, familiar sentence on the board and gives the students a few seconds to look at it, then rubs it
out and sees if students can write it down.
- Dictation. Dictations should be short, made up of short sentences, have a purpose and be related to work
which has been dealt with before or comes after and be read at normal speed.

Guided written acts are:

- Dictation. We might try dictating only half a sentence and asking the pupils to complete it with their own
words.
- Fill-in exercises. They are useful activities, specially at the beginner stages. They require understanding, but
not much active production of the language. They can also be used for vocabulary work.

Free writing acts can be the following:

- Descriptions. Lots of free writing includes descriptions which are usually related to a picture the pupils have
to describe.
- Collages. A collage is a large piece of paper which is made into a poster or a picture by sticking on texts,
illustrations and other materials.
- Letters. The first free letters could be short notes to other pupils. When the pupils can write longer letters it
is very useful if we can make contact with an English speaking class in a foreign country (pen-pals)
- Stories. Writing group stories is a great idea since the actual writing can be shared, and rewriting is not so
problematic.

4.4. CORRECTING WRITTEN MISTAKES

There are several techniques to use when correcting written work.

- The teacher corrects all the mistakes. This is time-consuming, and discouraging for the students.
- The teacher corrects mistakes selectively. Attention is focused in some certain areas.
- Checking work in groups or pairs. This technique saves the teacher’s time and encourages communication
among the pupils. If possible, correction should be conducted in English.
- The teacher uses a correcting code. It is useful to concentrate on errors related to areas the class has been
working on, using a code with indications written on the margins (t:tense, wf:word form, wo:word order)
- Self-correction. Some textbooks include a key which may be used by the pupils to correct their own work.
This system seems the less appropriate since children find difficulty in spotting their own errors.

CONCLUSION
To conclude, we can affirm that the development of the four language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing)
is a must in order to achieve the goal of Foreign Language Learning: communicative competence. These language
skills should be developed in an integrated manner, following the natural sequence of acquisition of abilities in the
mother tongue (input before output, receptive skills before productive ones). So there is a need of starting with
listening before speaking, followed by reading and writing. In this topic, we have analysed how the written skills must
be developed. As regard reading, we have examined the acquisition of strategies and techniques to understand a
text. We have also discussed how to move from guided writing practice to free text production.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

- Byrne, D. (1998). Teaching Writing Skills. New edition. London: Longman.


- Crystal, D. (2010). The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Language (3rd edition). Cambridge: C. University Press.
- Hadley, A.O. (2007). Teaching Language in Context (3rd edition). Boston, MA: Thomson.
- Harmer, J. (2007). The Practice of English Language Teaching, 4th edition. London: Longman.
TEMA 3. Desarrollo de las destrezas lingüísticas: comprensión y
expresión oral, comprensión y expresión escrita. La competencia
comunicativa en inglés.

TOPIC 3. THE DEVELOPMENT OF LINGUISTIC SKILLS: ORAL COMPREHENSION


AND EXPRESSION, WRITTEN COMPREHENSION AND EXPRESSION.
COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE IN ENGLISH.

INTRODUCTION
Linguists have identified four major abilities needed to use a foreign language effectively, which they call linguistic
skills. They are usually used to define the aims of language teaching, which are listening, speaking, reading & writing.

There are two main ways to classify these skills: in relation to the medium and in relation to the activity of the
speaker. Listening and speaking are related to the oral medium, and reading and writing to the written one. On the
other hand, listening and reading are receptive skills as they provide input, while speaking and writing are productive
skills as they promote output from the student.

In this topic we will examine the four basic skills of language, comprising listening, speaking, reading and writing
skills. For doing so, we will first deal with the oral skills, underlining the development of listening and speaking. In the
second section, we will examine the written word, so that reading and writing skills will be analysed. Afterwards we
will argue the importance of integrating skills in order to develop, in third part, how to enable our pupils to learn
these skills for effective communication or what we called communicative competence.

1. ORAL COMPREHENSION AND EXPRESSION

In this first section, we will deal with the analysis of the spoken word by pointing out the listening and speaking skills.

1.1. ORAL COMPREHENSION: LISTENING

Listening is the development of pupil’s ability to understand and respond to spoken language

1.1.1. LISTENING STAGES


When we are listening to what someone is saying our understanding involves the following stages:

7. The perception of sounds


8. Recognition of meaningful units and strings of units
9. The retention of chunks of information in our short term memory
10. The ability to relate this information to previously stored information
11. The ability to extract the meaning and retain it in long-term memory
12. Be able to recall the gist later on

It is therefore necessary to draw on those skills that our pupils process in their own language and help them to use
the same skills in the foreign language.

1.1.2. GENERAL PRINCIPLES IN TEACHING AND LEARNIN LISTENING COMPREHENSION


Most listening comprehension analysts have come to a set of common conclusions about what constitutes good
practice when teaching and learning listening comprehension. Following Harmer (2007), those principles are:
- Listening comprehension lessons must have definite goals, carefully stated, that fit into the curriculum.
- Listening comprehension lessons should be constructed with careful step by step planning
- Listening comprehension lessons structure should demand active pupil participation
- Listening comprehension lessons should stress conscious memory work
- Listening comprehension lessons should teach, not test

Learning activities must begin with an ear-training stage (if we cannot hear we will not understand). Later on, we
must help our pupils develop their aural understanding abilities.

1.1.3. INTENSIVE AND EXTENSIVE LISTENING


If we want our pupils to be efficient listeners in English, we must give them enough practice in:

- Intensive listening, which consist on aural lessons focused on one or two specific points, with short passages
played several times. It’s the most widely used form of listening practice in classrooms.
- Extensive listening, which are aural lessons focused on general features of the style of discourse. The
language level is within the student’s capacity, and they listen for pleasure and interest. It is used without
the direct control of the teacher. It can be used for two different purposes:
o The presentation of already-known material in a new environment
o Let our pupils hear new vocabulary items and structures mixed in the flow of language, providing
them a general overview.

1.1.4. ACTIVITIES IN LISTENING SESSIONS


According to Alburquerque (1990), if we want to conduct listening sessions in a purposeful way, it is advisable to
follow a three-fold procedure:

1. Pre-listening activities have as a main aim to arouse pupil’s interest in what they are going to listen
2. While-listening activities aim at breaking the ice and help our students establish some basic facts. For a
second listening our pupils may be asked to extract much more detailed information about the contents and
form of the text.
3. Post-listening activities. Activities consolidate the previously introduced knowledge, they can be thought of
as follow-up work.

1.2. ORAL EXPRESSION: SPEAKING

Speaking can be defined as the development of pupils’ ability to communicate through speech.

1.2.1. AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE INVOLVED IN SPEAKING


As Stovall (1998) points out, many language learners regard speaking ability as the measure of knowing a language.
But speaking involves three areas of knowledge:

- Mechanics (pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary): using the right words in the right order with the
correct pronunciation.
- Functions (transaction and interaction): knowing when clarity of message is essential (transaction /
information exchange) and when precise understanding is not required (interaction / relationship building)
- Social and cultural rules and norms (turn taking, rate of speech, length of pauses between speakers, relative
roles of participants): understanding how to take into account who is speaking, to whom, in what
circumstances, about what, and for what reason.

In the communicative model of language teaching, instructors help their students develop this body of knowledge by
providing authentic practice that prepares students for real-life communication situations. They help their students
develop the ability to produce grammatically correct, logically connected sentences that are appropriate to specific
contexts, and to do so using comprehensible pronunciation.
1.2.2. SPEAKING STAGES AND ACTIVITIES
As Hadley (2001) argues, the goal for teaching speaking is to help students develop communicative efficiency in
speaking. For doing so, instructors can use a balanced activity approach that combines three stages: presentation,
practice and production stages.

PRESENTATION STAGE (INPUT)

First we present new language, trying to achieve two aims: to show relevance and usefulness of new language and to
present meaning and form. The presentation stage is short and usually takes place at the beginning. The teacher’s
role is that of informant and correction is very important at this stage.

PRACTICE STAGE (ACCURACY)

On this stage accuracy will take place. The main objectives of this stage are to get a maximum controlled practice and
to build up our pupils’ confidence. This stage is divided into two: controlled practice, where we are interested in
accuracy of the structure, pronunciation, etc; and intensive practice, where pupils’ production of the language is
carefully controlled.

These points can be achieved through different activities such as drills, choral repetition, short dialogues, individual
repetition, information and opinion gap activities, etc.

FREE PRODUCTION STAGE (FLUENCY)

The main aims of the communication, or free production stage are to use language realistically, to provide
motivation, to provide teachers and pupils with feedback about the learning and teaching process and to integrate
listening.

Free production activities focus more on content of the message and not on the language itself. An important aspect
of free production activities is that they enable us to see what our pupils can communicate in the foreign language.
Our main goal in this type of activity is to get pupils to use the language, fluency is more important than accuracy.

1.2.3. STRATEGIES FOR DEVELOPING SPEAKING SKILLS


Instructors have to teach students speaking strategies which they can use to help themselves expand their
knowledge of the language and their confidence in using it. These strategies are:

1. Using minimal responses. Minimal responses are predictable phrases used to indicate understanding,
agreement, doubt, etc. This is a way to encourage learners who lack confidence in their speaking ability.
2. Recognising scripts. A script is a predictable set of spoken exchanges, like greetings apologies, compliments,
invitations, obtaining information, making a purchase, etc. They are influenced by social and cultural norms.
3. Using language to talk about language. Misunderstanding can occur in any type of interaction, so students
should learn strategies and phrases to use for clarification and comprehension check.

2. WRITTEN COMPREHENSION AND EXPRESSION


Once having considered the spoken word, we will go on to develop the written word. For this purpose, reading and
writing skills will be analysed.

2.1. WRITTEN COMPREHENSION: READING

Reading is the development of pupil’s ability to understand and respond to written language.
2.1.1. READING STAGES
Reading is the development of pupil’s ability to understand and respond to written language. When dealing with the
acquisition of reading it is very useful to make a distinction between two stages:

- A declarative stage of acquisition in which facts about the skill domain are interpreted. Children need to
grasp what the activity of reading consists of, and of what principles the writing system is constructed.
- A procedural stage in which the domain of previous stage knowledge is related to procedures for performing
the skill. Children need to exploit this knowledge to achieve a reading performance that becomes more
fluent and error-free and in which many of the components become automatic.

Reading is a complex process which involves two stages:

- Decoding consists on the correct pronunciation of the word and it must be always done aloud and following
the teacher’s instructions.
- Comprehension takes place when the students read sentences and expressions that are able to understand
their meaning. Most of the time, the students will need to read the sentence more than once and they
should do it in silence for a better understanding.

The more practice children have in reading, the sooner they become able to read with fluency.

2.1.2. READING SKILLS


The reader uses a number of specialist skills when reading and his success at understanding depends on his expertise
on this specialist skills.

TYPE I SKILLS: Predictive skills. Skimming, or getting the general picture. Scanning, or extracting specific information.

TYPE II SKILLS: Inferring opinion and attitude. Deducing meaning from context. Recognising function and discourse
patterns and markers.

When teaching receptive skills, type 1 skills are the first activities that we ask our pupils to perform. Type 2 skills
require detailed comprehension so they must come after type 1 skills.

2.1.3. GUIDELINES FOR READING COMPREHENSION PRACTICE


The principles of reading teaching are:

- Reading is not a passive skill


- Students need to be engaged with what they are reading
- Students should be encouraged to respond to the content of a reading text, not just to the language
- Prediction is a major factor in reading
- Match the task to the topic
- Good teachers exploit reading text to the full

2.1.4. READING ACTIVITIES


Different activities can be used to develop reading skills, and they are divided into three categories:

- Pre-reading activities, which have the main purpose of generating the interest to read
- While-reading activities, which imply the appropriate use of the reading skills of skimming and scanning.
- Post-reading activities, which activate students’ new knowledge by asking them to produce new messages.

2.2. WRITTEN EXPRESSION: WRITING

Writing can be defined as the development of pupils’ ability to communicate through written language.
The acquisition of written language is an integral part of language development. In societies with a long tradition in
literacy, the ability to write is an important aspect of linguistic competence. It is also noticeable that the grammatical
structures of written language are different from those of speech.

1.1.1. WRITING STAGES


The writing skill in the Primary Stage should be introduced gradually but we should not forget the communicative
aim writing activities have from the very beginning. Grading the activities involves the following stages:

- Familiarisation with written texts consists on reading out words and simple sentences as the first step.
- Controlled writing is carried out to practise the language and concentration is on the language itself.
- Guided writing. The students begin to produce written texts following the rules set out by the teacher, or by
the instructions of the activity, so the outcome is predictable.
- Free writing. Once the students have had enough practice in certain grammatical structures or functions we
may say that they are ready to produce texts with a purely communicative base.

For the great majority of children, learning to write does not begin until a firm foundation of oral language has been
established. The studies carried out by O’Donnell et al (1976) provide evidence that, initially, the structures children
use in their writing are very closely related to those they use in speech. But when handwriting and spelling reach the
automatic level, then children are free to use more complex linguistic structures. Kroll (1981) presented the
relationships between grammatical maturity in speech and writing as a series of four phases:

1. Preparatory stage, when basic motor skills develop and the principles of the spelling system are acquired.
2. Consolidation stage, when children begin to use the writing system to express what that can already say in
speech. Most children have reached this phase by the age of 7.
3. Differentiation stage, when writing begins to diverge from speech, and develops its own pattern and
organization. Children seem to reach this phase by the age of 9.
4. Integration stage, when writers have such a good command of language that they can vary their stylistic
choices at will and develop a personal voice. This phase is reached by a minority of writers in Primary School.

1.1.2. WRITING SKILLS


According to Matthews (1991), there are five headings to organise the skills related to writing:

- Graphical or visual skills include writing graphemes, spelling, punctuation and capitalization, and format.
- Grammatical skills refer to pupils’ ability to express precise meanings in a variety of styles or registers.
- Stylistic or expressive skills refer to our pupils’ ability to express precise meanings in a variety of styles.
- Rhetorical skills refer to the pupil’s ability to use cohesion devices in order to link parts of a text.
- Organisational skills involve the sequencing of ideas as well as the ability to reject irrelevant information and
summarise relevant points.

2. COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE
Integrated skills can be defined as the process by means of which a series of activities of tasks use any combination
of the four linguistic skills.

The two main reasons for the integration of skills are:

- to practise and extend the pupils’ use of a particular language item


- to develop the pupils’ ability in two or more skills within a constant context.

There are important advantages in skill integration. Firstly, it provides continuity to the learning process because
activities are performed in a closely related way. Secondly, it is more realistic, because a real communicative
framework can not be based in isolated skill work. In addition, when language is given in a context, students learn
which language is appropriate to different context. The receptive skills give students the necessary language for the
productive skills, that is Input before Output. On the other hand, activities involving the four skills are more varied
and thus foster motivation, as well as they give confidence to the pupil because he can compensate his weaknesses
in one skill with his strengths in other. Finally, integration allows for recycling and revision of language.

Summing it up, we can say that skill integration will naturally lead to the acquisition of communicative competence.

Communicative competence refers to individuals’ ability to use language for effective communication in a variety of
contexts.

The Communicative approach in Foreign Language Teaching starts from a theory of language as communication.

Since the 1960s, Noam Chomsky described an innate biological endowment (Universal Grammar) which enables
humans to acquire a language so rapidly and efficiently in the first year of life. Chomsky (1957) defined language as a
set of sentences, each finite in length and constructed out of a finite set of elements. We are born with an instinctive
sense of how language works, as a general thing, which allows us to make sentences in our language, by direct
exposure. Children do not repeat what adults say, but produce their own sentences and create phrases which they
have never heard before. Chomsky also differentiates between competence (the innate knowledge of grammar that
everyone has in their minds) and performance (language as it is produced in everyday situations), and he defends the
study of the knowledge of grammar that all speakers possess, turning away from real usage.

Dell Hymes thought that Chomsky had missed out some very important information: the rules of use. When a native
speaker speaks, he knows where and when to use the sentences and to whom. Linguistic competence is only a sub-
division of communicative competence, as language is one mode of communication among others. Communicative
competence involves not just language competence, but also knowledge of how language is used appropriately, and
how language is organised as a discourse. Hymes distinguished fours aspects of communicative competence:

 Systematic potential: the native speaker has a potential for creating a lot of language.
 Appropriacy: the native speaker knows what language is appropriate in a given situation.
 Occurrence: the native speaker knows how often something is said in the language and acts accordingly.
 Feasibility: the native speaker knows whether something is possible in the language.

Canale and Swain (1980) considered that communicative competence consisted of grammatical competence (the
knowledge of the rules of grammar) plus sociolinguistic competence (the knowledge of the rules of language use).
According to Canale (1983) communicative competence refers to “the underlying systems of knowledge and skill
required for communication”. He summarized the four components of communicative competence as follows:

 Grammatical competence: the ability to put into practice the linguistic units according to the rules of use.
 Sociolinguistic competence: the ability to adequate the utterances to the specific context.
 Discourse competence: the ability to use different types of discourse and organize them, using cohesion
(structural linking) and coherence (meaningful relationships in language).
 Strategic competence: the ability to make adjustments in the course of the communicative situation.

Savignon considered that communicative competence is a dynamic concept, depending on the negotiation of
meaning between two or more persons who share to some degree the same symbolic system. So communicative
competence depends on the cooperation of all the participants involved.

The concept of communicative competence is also present in the Spanish education system. The Organic Law of
Education 2/2006 highlights the importance of developing both oral and written skills in the three different cycles of
Primary Education. The Royal Decree 1513/2006 and later the Decree 22/2007divide the contents into four different
sections or blocks, aiming to help Primary students become communicative competent in the foreign language:

5) listening, speaking and conversing


6) reading and writing
7) knowledge of the language
8) socio-cultural aspects and intercultural awareness.

CONCLUSION
To conclude, we can affirm that the development of the four language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing)
is a must in order to achieve the goal of Foreign Language Learning: communicative competence. These language
skills should be developed in an integrated manner, following the natural sequence of acquisition of abilities in the
mother tongue (input before output, receptive skills before productive ones). So there is a need of starting with
listening before speaking, followed by reading and writing. In this topic, we have analysed how the four linguistic
skills must be developed in order to acquire communicative competence.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

- Byrne, D. (1987). Teaching Oral English. New edition. London: Longman.


- Byrne, D. (1998). Teaching Writing Skills. New edition. London: Longman.
- Crystal, D. (2010). The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Language (3rd edition). Cambridge: C. University Press.
- Hadley, A.O. (2007). Teaching Language in Context (3rd edition). Boston, MA: Thomson.
- Harmer, J. (2007). The Practice of English Language Teaching, 4th edition. London: Longman.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

- Argyle, M. (1988). Bodily Communication, 2nd edition. London: Routledge.


- Austin, J.L. (1975). How to Do Things with Words (2nd edition). Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
- Byrne, D. (1987). Teaching Oral English. New edition. London: Longman.
- Byrne, D. (1998). Teaching Writing Skills. New edition. London: Longman.
- Crystal, D. (2010) The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Language (3rd edition). Cambridge: C. University Press.
- Finch, G. (2000). Linguistic terms and concepts. London: Macmillan Press.
- Hadley, A.O. (2007). Teaching Language in Context (3rd edition). Boston, MA: Thomson.
- Harmer, J. (2007). The Practice of English Language Teaching, 4th edition. London: Longman.
- Richards, J. C., & Rodgers, T. (2009). Approaches and methods in language teaching (2nd ed). Cambridge: CUP
- Richards, J.C. & Schmidt, R.W. (1983). Language and Communication. London: Longman.