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Assessing Intercultural Language Learning

The Dependence of Receptive Sociopragmatic Competence and Discourse Competence on Learning Opportunities and Input

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Veronika Timpe

Although Intercultural Communicative Competence (ICC) has become a key objective in foreign language (FL) education, curricula offer little in how language teachers can promote ICC through language instruction. This book responds to the challenge of how intercultural language learning can be accounted for more profoundly in FL teaching. By means of innovative intercultural assessments, the author investigates the development of three language competences central to ICC in relation to learning opportunities as experienced by German learners of English. Audiovisual media were found to be a major input factor in the development of intercultural language abilities. The book ends with a discussion of how audiovisual media can be implemented in secondary and tertiary FL and teacher education.
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Chapter IV: Research Design and Methodology

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This chapter provides an overview of the study, including a description of the aims and objectives, the research questions, the participants and how they were selected, and a detailed description of the instruments and procedures used to elicit and score the data. Moreover, this chapter includes a description of the analytic and statistical procedures used to interpret the data.

In his Model of Intercultural Communicative Competence, Byram (1997) identified three language competences that are central to intercultural communication and at the same time highly dependent on knowledge: linguistic competence, sociolinguistic competence, and discourse competence (see Figure 6). He defined them as follows:

•linguistic competence, i.e. the “ability to apply knowledge of the rules of a standard version of the language to produce and interpret spoken and written language”

•sociolinguistic competence, i.e. the “ability to give to the language produced by an interlocutor – whether native speaker or not – meanings which are taken for granted by the interlocutor or which are negotiated and made explicit with the interlocutor”

•discourse competence, i.e. the “ability to use, discover and negotiate strategies for the production and interpretation of monologue or dialogue texts which follow the conventions of the culture of an interlocutor or are negotiated as intercultural texts for particular purposes.” (Byram, 1997, p.48)

If applied to the context of the English language, Byram’s competences differ with respect to culture-dependency. Linguistic competence, as the knowledge of the (grammatical) rules of English, is applicable to all...

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