Interlanguage Pragmatics, Communicative Competence, Nigeria’s L2 Classrooms

Amaechi Uneke Enyi, Chiekpezie Edwin Orji


In Nigeria, much attention has been given to the teaching and learning of grammatical forms and sound sequences with emphasis on their accuracy and correctness (linguistic competence). This has reflected in the selection of course syllabi, curriculum, instructional materials and methods in our classrooms. A lot studies have been carried out by scholars on the non-native speakers’ use and acquisition of linguistic action patterns in a second language. Though such studies, dubbed interlanguage pragmatics, have all been carried out in Europe and America with focus on speakers of English as a Foreign language (EFL). This area of enquiry has not been adequately explored in Africa in general or Nigerian L2 learners of English as the focus. Thus, little or seldom attention has been given to pragmatics and appropriateness in language use (Communicative competence). This study is therefore, a consciousness - raising effort to highlight the relevance and advantages of teaching pragmatics and the development of pragmatics awareness in our classrooms. This is against the backdrop of the fact that the linguistic competence of most learners of English as a second language is not usually at par with their pragmatic competence. This study foregrounds the need for L2 learners of English to develop a concomitant degree of pragmatic awareness in the use of the language. They must learn how to combine form, meaning, force and context. They need, for example, to learn how to say what they want to say with the required formality or politeness, directness or indirectness, e t c, as required by a given situation or sometimes, to even keep quiet and still communicate intention. The study, domesticating the findings of some current researches in instructed pragmatics, discussed and suggested some classroom activities that could be adopted as part of the methods of teaching pragmatics, and by so doing, highlighted the enormous advantages and usefulness of teaching pragmatics and acquiring pragmatic competence in Nigeria’s L2 classrooms.


Interlanguage Pragmatics, Communicative Competence, Nigeria’s L2 Classrooms

Full Text:



Backlund, L.G. (1977) Issues in Communicative Competence Theory. Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the Speech Communication Association. Washington D.C.

Bardovi-Harlig, K. (1996). Pragmatics and language teaching: Bringing pragmatics and pedagogy together. In L.F. Bouton (Ed). Pragmatics and Language Learning. Monograph series, Illinois University, 7, 31-49.

Bouton, L.F. (1996). Pragmatics and language learning. Monograph series, 7, 1-30. Illinois University.

Canale M. and Swain, L. (1980). Theoretical aspects of communicative approaches to second language teaching and testing. Applied Linguistics, 1, 1-47.

Carroll, J.B. (1962). The prediction of success in intensive language training. In R. Cilaser. R. Ed. Training Research and Education. Pittsburg. University of Pittsburg Press.

Celce-Mulcia, M. Dornyel, Z. and Thurell, S. (1995). Communicative competence: A pedagogically motivated model with content specifications. Issues in Applied Linguistics. 6. 5-35.

Chomsky, N. (1965). Aspects of the theory of syntax. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Chomsky, N. (1981). Rules and representations. Oxford. Basil Stockwell

Crystal, D. (1997). The Cambridge Encyclopedia of anguage. (2nd ed). New York: CUP.

Farachian, M. (2012). Does instruction develop pragmatic competence: Teaching refusals to EFL learners of English. Journal of language Teaching Research, 3(4), 814-821.doi.10.4304/jltr.3.4.

Fisher, R.A. (1984). Testing written communicative competence in French. Modern Language Journal, 68. 1.13-19.

Fraser, B and Rintell, E. (1980). An approach to conducting research on the acquisition of pragmatic competence in a second language. In R. Larsen and Freeman( Eds.) Discourse Analysis in Second Language . Massachusetts: Newbury house publishing

Habermas, J. (1970). Towards a theory of communicative competence. In J. B. Pride and H. Holmes. Sociolinguistics. New York: Penguin.

Hymes, D. (1972). On communicative competence. J. In B. Pride and H. Holmes, Sociolinguistics. New York: Penguin.

Kasper, G. (1997). The role of pragmatics in language teacher education. In K. Bardovi-Harlig and B.S. Hartford. (Eds.) Beyond methods: components of language teacher education. New York: Mcgraw-Hill.113-136

Kasper, G. and Schmidt, R. (1996). Developmental issues in interlanguage pragmatics. Studies in Second Language Association, 18, 149-169.

Katz, J.J., and Fodor, J.A. (1963). The structure of semantic theory. Language, 39-170.

Lenchuk, I. and Ahmed. A. (2013). Teaching pragmatic competence: A journey from teaching cultural facts to teaching cultural awareness. TESCL Canada: Journal. 30, 7, Finland: Academy Publishers. 82-97

Levinson, S.C. (1983). Pragmatics., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Oller, Jr, (1970). Transformational theory and pragmatics. The Modern Language Journal, 54, 504-507.

Paulson, C. (1974). Linguistic and communicative competence. TESOL Quarterly, 8, 347-362.

Paultson, C. B. (1980). The sequencing of structure, pattern drills. In K. Croft. Ed. Readings in English as a Second Language. Bouston: Little, Brown & co. 300-16.

Rose, K., & Kasper, G. (2001). Pragmatics in language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Savignon, S. (1972). Communicative competence: An experiment in foreign language teaching. Philadelphia P.A Centre for curriculum Development.

Taguchi, N. (2015). Instructed pragmatics at a glance: Where instructed studies were, are, and should be. Laguage Teaching, 48(1), 1-150. doi:10.1017/50261444814000263.

Tasuki, D. H., & Houck, N. R. (2010). Pragmatics: Teaching speech acts. In Whitney, M. D, Rilling, S. & L. Savava ( Eds). TESOL Classroom Practice Series, 67-86.

Thomas, J. (1983). Cross-cultural pragmatic failure. Applied Linguistics, 4, 91-112.

Thornbury, S. (1999). How to teach grammar. London: Longman.

Trappe, T. and Tullis, G. (2006) .Intelligent business coursework: Upper intermediate business English. .London: Longman, Pearson.

Widdowson, R.G. (1978). Teaching language as communication. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Yule, G. (1996). Pragmatics. Oxford: Oxford University Press



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2023 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.