Name: María Isabel Knye
Email: [email protected]
Subject: Discourse Analysis
Unit 1: Assignment 1
Date: August 4th, 2012
Answer the following questions:
1- What is the purpose of Discourse Analysis? What does it take into account in
order to understand its object of study?
The purpose of Discourse Analysis is to put our knowledge of the language into
practice in order to be able to communicate successfully with others using all
the tools and strategies available. It takes into account the context in which
the utterance was stated, that includes the choice of words, the tone, the body
language and the appropriateness within the social and cultural environment.
What in some cultures would be acceptable might not be so in others.
2- Take a look at one or different course books do so, paying attention to the
way new items are introduced to students and analyze the invented examples
for language teaching. Are they too sentence-based? Do they consider the
I have been teaching for a while now and I think that new course books are not
too sentenced-based since they always approach new language items by using
a reading or listening activity which provides the necessary context for the
grammar point we want to teach and they also include speaking activities and
functions so that students can use both the vocabulary and the grammar
learned with a communicative purpose beyond grammar itself.
3- Do some research on communicative competence and answer the following
a- What does it mean to have communicative competence?
To have communicative competence means to be able to use language as
accurate as possible and with the appropriateness needed in order to
communicate successfully.
b- Why is it important for L2 learners to acquire this skill?
To acquire this skill is important because L2 learners need to be knowledgeable
not only in grammar, syntax and vocabulary but also be cohesive and coherent
when speaking as well as writing in order to get the message across although
they might use some other strategies to help them when knowledge fails.
c- What may be the consequences if L2 learners don’t acquire communicative
competence during the learning process?
Students may feel very disappointed and lose their interest in the L2 because
the reasonable consequence of the language learning process is, mainly, the
ability to communicate effectively
d- How can we foster communicative competence?
There are plenty of communicative tasks to be assigned in order to promote
communicative competence, TV programmes, famous people, music, or any
other popular topic. As teachers we can also ask students to suggest
alternatives if the interest drops so that they know that they have a say and
some control over their own learning process.
4- Explain in your own words what the Speech Act Theory is about.
To me, the Speech of Act theory is closely related to functions, but what are
functions? They are phrases, structures and vocabulary we use in order to
accomplish something such as apologizing, asking for permission, greet
someone, or any other act we want to carry out.
Do you think that is it important for language teachers to have an insight into
this theory? Justify your answer.
I think it is more than important. Teaching only grammar to our students is not
enough to prepare them to use L2 independently. We need to provide them
with communicative tools and that means teaching them language functions. I
have never met anybody going around and communicating using a fill in the
blanks with the correct form of the verb activities, have you? What is the point
of learning a second language if we cannot use it to communicate with others?
María Isabel,
I liked the way in which you’ve analysed the content and come up with your
own conclusions and ideas. Well done!