Communicative Competence by Strand – Listening

Listening is the first way in which English language learners involve themselves in the language learning process. It involves hearing, processing and interpreting spoken words by distinguishing sound, rate, pitch, volume and tone as part of the communication process.

Linguistic Competence

Second language listeners must recognize the words they hear.  They need to know the basic sounds of letters and syllables, pronunciation of words, intonation and stress.  They also need to understand and apply the rules of word formation and sentence formation. The second language student, who can understand how words are segmented into various sounds, and how sentences are stressed in particular ways to convey meaning, finds it easy to understand the meaning of a message.  This too, enhances the students’ reading and writing skills.

Strategic Competence

Strategic Listening is guessing the meaning by employing the bottom-up skill with top-down processing. In the bottom-up skill the student gets meaning from discrete sounds, individual syllables and separate words.  In the top-down processing the student gets meaning from broad contextual clues and background knowledge. The ability to use linguistic and nonlinguistic clues is essential.  This combination of these skills and processes assist the learner to predict accurately and to make adjustments accordingly.

Socio-linguistic Competence

The listener adjusts responses to an utterance accordingly.  The skilled listener knows when it is appropriate to comment, ask questions or respond non-verbally.

The listener is aware of audience, purpose, genre, topic and degree of formality.

Discourse Competence

As students listen to oral text they are able to predict and to anticipate what will follow.

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