Difficulties in Teaching English Modal Auxiliaries to Turkish Students: A Cognitive Pragmatic Approach

Ismail Erton
<span title="2018-12-15">2018</span> <i title="AWEJ Group"> <a target="_blank" rel="noopener" href="https://fatcat.wiki/container/3gb3mwoitvgp5hbqsfdzezccau" style="color: black;">Arab World English Journal</a> </i> &nbsp;
Recently, attention in modern linguistic theory has been shifted to facilitating a broader understanding of the world, in which language is a tool to establish a bridge between the interlocutor and the recipient. To do so, the development of linguistic, communicative and sociopragmatic competences enriched with socio-cultural inputs in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) or Second Language (L2) teaching and learning contexts have a significant impact on language learners both to develop their
more &raquo; ... rception as native speakers of English and to facilitate the progress of cognitive skills and capabilities. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate a case study to show some of the difficulties in teaching English modal auxiliaries to Turkish students in EFL/L2 contexts which arise not only from structural characteristics, but also from insufficiently developed linguistic, communicative and socio-pragmatic competencies. It is also asserted that only teaching the lexical properties of modal auxiliaries in isolation from their socio-pragmatic and semiotic contexts alone cannot help learners to become successful communicators in the target language as it ends in communication failures, hesitation, a slower L2 progress, fear and misunderstandings. Therefore, role-play activities, cloze tests, research assignments, writing tasks and songs can also be integrated into the teaching-learning process to assist learners to become more aware of their actual authentic usages in a wide range of contexts through different activities. On the whole, this would also free language learners to refer to their First Language (L1) input and shape a broader understanding of the Foreign Language (FL) framed with its actual authentic usage. 57 In order to adapt grammatical rules into verbal language production, becoming aware of contextual requirements, discourse and the strategic language usage appear as some of the key issues to frame communicative competence. In this respect, Canale (1983) studies the notion of communicative competence in four parts, namely grammatical competence, socio-linguistic competence, discourse competence and strategic competence which not only incorporate the features of sociocultural demands with discourse analysis, but also emphasize the significance of the critical, creative and the reflective processing and the usage of strategies in non-verbal and verbal communication (pp. 2-206). Relatedly, recent research over the last 30 years in linguistics seems to reflect its outcomes on language learning and teaching methods. Methods and techniques in the classroom not only provide structural input at first sight, but also provide both teachers and the students with the opportunity to increase their awareness and practice extra-linguistic elements in language production, such as socio-cultural and ethical issues, signs and symbols, culture-oriented figures, learning styles and strategies, etc. Here, perhaps the most significant goal is to form an 58 intercultural competence in the classroom, which would enable the students to perceive the features in a foreign language as much as its native speakers do. The development of the pragmatic aspects of language is vital in order to avoid communication breakdowns, structure and frame a wider worldview independent of the user's native language for more intellectuality and creative and critical thinking. According to Li et.al. (2015) "Compared with grammatical mistakes pragmatic errors may cause more serious problems in communication because they are typically interpreted by native speakers as arrogance, impatience and rudeness, and thus they are less likely to be forgiven by the native speakers" (p. 41). Likewise, Mey (1993) defines linguistic behaviour as a social behaviour. For him, a communicative act takes place in a communicative discourse which represents the nature of the linguistic actiondetermined by economic and social rules, political ideas, ideas and perspectives, etc... (pp. 186-7). The language teacher who has already raised her consciousness enough to develop students' communicative and pragmatic competences will open doors for the cognitive development of the individuals. This not only provides language proficiency, but also helps the person to become a better version of the self who acknowledges her environment and the world through the language she has learned.
<span class="external-identifiers"> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener noreferrer" href="https://doi.org/10.24093/awej/vol9no4.4">doi:10.24093/awej/vol9no4.4</a> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener" href="https://fatcat.wiki/release/m3b2okmmyvcrth6mfzzljhfm7u">fatcat:m3b2okmmyvcrth6mfzzljhfm7u</a> </span>
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