Grammatical Competence

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Kasper then refers to Schmidt’s (1983) three-year observation study of Wes, a case where during that time the subject’s grammatical knowledge developed only minimally, yet pragmatic and discourse competence drastically improved, suggesting that grammatical interlanguage does not impose constraints on pragmatic and interactional competence. High acculturation, it is suggested, does not show a relation to target-like grammar, whereas it seems to be strongly related to pragmatic and interactional competence. Another study which investigates this relationship between pragmatic competence and grammatical competence is that of Walters (1980) who found that in requests given by ESL children between the ages of 7 and 15, although the forms were ungrammatical,…show more content…
Integral in this theory is the interactionist hypothesis of SLA, and task-based language learning (Long 1996; Skehan 1998; Ellis 2003), which bridges the gap between L2 acquisition and language methodology. In this theory, it is typically grammar that has been under investigation, as it is focused upon under the combination of interaction and the cognitive processes of the learners. However, sociocultural studies do not consider the purposes of interaction to just be that of grammar acquisition, and thus is additionally well suited for the study of pragmatic development. The assumption here is that language has the double function of a means for communication and as a tool for thinking. Kasper cites three theoretical sources that have been adopted to examine pragmatic development under the sociocultural perspective, which are 1) the activity as the structuring force of L2 use and development, 2) the Zone of Proximal Development, and 3) Neo-Vygotskyan views of different types of participation and apprenticeship (p. 516). Kasper refers to Shea’s (1994) study investigating advanced nonnative Japanese ESL speakers and their North-American native English speaking interlocutors under two dimensions: perspective and production. Perspective can be defined as the negotiated degree of intersubjectivity, which is the extent to which participants establish a shared referential focus, while production refers to the “interactional authority”, their control over the floor and patterns of solicitation and uptake (p. 364). Shea explains that these two dimensions interrelate into interactional patterns that provide various opportunities for learners’ development of conversational ability, stressing that “the quality of conversational participation can be seen as a critical locus for the development of second language proficiency (even for advanced speakers) because the native speaker’s

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