Teaching pragmatic competence

compliments and compliment responses in the ESL classroom

Vittoria Grossi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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It is widely acknowledged that teaching and learning languages involves far more than targeting surface grammatical or lexical systems. The other aspects of language have been referred to as invisible, as they are often the most difficult to teach and acquire, given their subtlety and complexity. This paper discusses how teaching compliments and compliment responses could be approached in the adult English as a Second Language (ESL) classroom. A review of the literature suggests that explicit instruction has some positive effects on the acquisition of these speech acts. Naturally occurring oral examples of compliments and compliment responses by speakers of different ages and types of relationships were collected in different settings, including the workplace and the home. These examples formed the basis of a teaching resource, which was used in an intermediate/advanced immigrant English class in Australia. It is suggested that using naturally occurring data as examples to explain the workings of these speech acts could be used to teach at all levels in the adult ESL setting.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-62
Number of pages10
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher version archived with the permission of the Editor, Prospect, Macquarie University, NSW, Australia. This copy is available for individual, non-commercial use. Permission to reprint/republish this version for other uses must be obtained from the publisher.

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