The Role of Sociolinguistic Competence in Developing Second Language Learners’ Proficiency
Asian Journal of Language, Literature and Culture Studies,
The study investigates the role of Sociolinguistic Competence in developing second language (L2) learners’ proficiency. Some linguists argue that if sociolinguistic competence is incorporated in teaching L2, it would enhance learners’ spoken and written proficiency. Learners find it hard to establish fluent spoken and written communications because L2 learning is replete with teaching, learning and internalization of language rules. Learners are exposed to linguistic rules without explicit instruction on the culture of the language. The research aims at examining whether explicit knowledge of sociolinguistic competence enhances L2 learners’ fluency or not. The study is supported by the sociocultural theory, while Oral Reading Methodology was used for data collection where approximately thirty Senior Secondary school students were selected from each of seven schools to read two passages of almost the same length. The first passage which reflected the Hausa culture presented a story about a poor girl. The use of language (English) in the passage is purely Nigerian. The second passage reflected the English culture and was a story about a young girl; the use of language in the passage was native-speaker version. The subjects were timed to read the two passages with a short interval between the readings. The findings showed that in the first passage, the reading was fluent and the subjects comprehended the message. In reading the second passage, the subjects were less fluent. Their comprehension of the message contained in the passage was poor. The implication is that lack of exposure to the English culture makes it difficult for L2 learners to comprehend some ideas, thoughts, experiences or attitudes especially when expressed by a native speaker. In an attempt to comprehend and express certain phenomena, learners make frequent pragmatic transfers in their use of English to describe the context in question.
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