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What are some strategies for learning and performing communicative acts?

Below you will find a list of numerous strategies for learning and performing communicative acts. They can be divided into three primary categories: Communicative Act Learning Strategies, Communicative Act Use Strategies, and Metapragmatic Considerations. Use them as a guide as you move through the various modules on this website. We know it would be impossible to use each strategy every time you perform a communicative act, but by practicing all of them you will be better equipped to access the strategies that are most helpful in each context. We will focus on different strategies in each module.

Communicative Act Learning Strategies

  1. Identify the second language communicative acts you want/need to focus on.
  2. Gather information (through observation, interviews, written materials, movies, radio) on how the communicative acts are performed.
  3. Conduct your own "cross-cultural" analysis (e.g., identify norms & semantic formulae, determine similarities and differences).
  4. Observe what native speakers do by noting what they say, how they say it, and their non-verbal behavior.
  5. Ask native speakers to model performance of the communicative act.
  6. Access published material dealing with communicative acts. (This website is a good start!) Click here for an extensive annotated bibliography on pragmatics.

Communicative Act Use Strategies

  1. Devise and utilize a memory aid for retrieving the communicative act material that has already been learned.
  2. Practice! (role plays, imaginary situations, conversations with native speakers)
  3. Ask native speakers for feedback.
  4. Determine your learning style preferences and try approaches that are consistent with your individual style.
  5. Use communication strategies to get the message across (e.g., "I'm not sure how to say this right", repair when necessary, attempt to follow native speaker examples).
  6. Remain true to your own identity and subjectivity while still being aware of appropriate performance of the communicative act.

Metapragmatic Considerations

  1. Decide what your focus is. Performance? Comprehension? Both?
  2. Be conscious of the necessity for pre-planning.
  3. Monitor various elements of the communicative act (e.g., level of directness, terms of address, timing, organization, sociocultural factors).


Which three strategies do you think will be most helpful for you?




Why did you select those strategies?



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