Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 111


CONTEXT .................................................................................................................................6
COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE.......................................................................................7
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN WRITING AND SPEECH..........................................................8
FACTORS DEFINING A COMMUNICATIVE ACT.................................................................9
"WHAT DOES COMMUNICATION IN THE CLASSROOM IMPLY ?".................................10
RECEPTOR FUNCIONALIDAD Y CONTEXTO......................................................................11
1.1. Language Definitions.................................................................................................12
1.2. Language Functions..................................................................................................13
1.3. Communicative competence......................................................................................13
2. SPOKEN AND WRITTEN LANGUAGE...........................................................................14
2.1. Spoken Language......................................................................................................14
2.2. Written language........................................................................................................15
2.3. Historical attitudes......................................................................................................16
2.4. Differences between writing and speech...................................................................16
3. COMMUNICATION THEORY..........................................................................................17
3.1. Definition....................................................................................................................17
3.2. Models........................................................................................................................17
3.3. Key factors.................................................................................................................18
4. BIBLIOGRAPHY...............................................................................................................20
FUNCIONALIDAD Y CONTEXTO...........................................................................................21
1. INTRODUCTION..............................................................................................................21
2. ORAL LANGUAGE AND COMMUNICATION..................................................................21
2.1. ELEMENTS AND NORMS THAT RULE ORAL DISCOURSE..................................22
2.2. RULES.......................................................................................................................22
2.3. ROUTINES AND HABITUAL FORMULAE................................................................23
2.4. STRATEGIES SPECIFIC OF ORAL COMMUNICATION.........................................23
3.WRITTEN LANGUAGE AND COMMUNICATION............................................................23
4. THE COMMUNICATION PROCESS................................................................................26
7. CONCLUSION..................................................................................................................28
8. BIBLIOGRAPHY...............................................................................................................28
UNIT 2: COMMUNICATION IN THE LANGUAGE LESSON. LINGUISTIC AND NONLINGUISTIC COMMUNICATION.............................................................................................29
1. COMMUNICATION ..........................................................................................................29
2. COMMUNICATION IN THE CLASSROOM.....................................................................29
3. COMMUNICATIVE LEARNING AND TEACHING ACTIVITIES......................................29
4. NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION..................................................................................29
5. EXTRALINGUISTIC STRATEGIES..................................................................................29
REACTIONS TO MESSAGES IN DIFERENT CONTEXTS....................................................30

COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE.....................................................................................31
VERBAL COMMUNICATION:..............................................................................................31
NON VERBAL COMMUNICATION......................................................................................33
DIFFERENT CONTEXTS.-...................................................................................................33
0. INTRODUCTION..............................................................................................................35
SPEAKING, READING AND WRITING ...............................................................................35
1. Listening or learning to listen in order to hear and understand properly......................35
2. Speaking, or learning to speak in order to be understood............................................37
3. Learning to read and write............................................................................................38
2. THE COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE IN ENGLISH ..................................................39
3. CONCLUSION..................................................................................................................39
4. BIBLIOGRAPHY...............................................................................................................40
2. TEACHING LANGUAGE AND CULTURE.......................................................................41
3. CONTENTS......................................................................................................................41
ANOTHER LANGUAGE AND CULTURE ...............................................................................42
2.1. Language and communication......................................................................................42
2.2. Language and different cultures....................................................................................43
2.3. Language as an instrument of holistic learning.............................................................43
2.4. The importance of having materials in the resource room to achieve a good
intercultural atmosphere.......................................................................................................44
2.5. 'Immersion approach' to second language learning......................................................44
2.6. How to experience the culture of the English-speaking world in the classroom...........44
3. BIBLIOGRAPHY...............................................................................................................45
PART TWO: PRACTICAL DEVELOPMENT........................................................................45
GEOGRAPHIC, HISTORIC AND CULTURAL ASPECTS.......................................................47
1.- INTRODUCTION:............................................................................................................47
2.- GEOGRAPHIC, HISTORIC AND CULTURAL FRAMEWORK OF THE ENGLISHSPEAKING COUNTRIES.....................................................................................................47
2.2.- ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE............................47
2.3.- GEOGRAPHIC, HISTORIC AND CULTURAL FRAMEWORK OF THE ENGLISHSPEAKING COUNTRIES.................................................................................................47
B.- THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND....................................................................................48
C.- THE UNITED STATES................................................................................................48
D.- THE BRITISH EMPIRE...............................................................................................48
E.- THE COMMONWEALTH............................................................................................48
F.- PHILIPPINES...............................................................................................................48
G.- THE COMMON LAW..................................................................................................49
AND CULTURAL ASPECTS................................................................................................49
3.1.- HOW CAN WE TEACH ENGLICH CIVILIZATION?.................................................49


SCHOOL LANGUAGE AND THAT OF THE FOREIGN LANGUAGE"....................................50
STAGES OF LANGUAGE ACQUISITION IN CHILDREN...................................................50
THEORIES OF CHILD LANGUAGE ACQUISISTION.........................................................51
LEARNING AND ACQUISITION OF A SECOND LANGUAGE...........................................51
SECOND LANGUAJE ACQUISTION THEORY...................................................................52
AGE DIFFERENCES IN SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION.....................................52
IMPLICATIONS FOR SECOND LANGUAGE TEACHING...............................................53
ERROR ANALYSIS MOVEMENT........................................................................................53
SCHOOL LANGUAGE AND THAT OF THE FOREIGN LANGUAGE"....................................54
Influences of Linguistics on FLT...........................................................................................54
Acquisition of a mother tongue.............................................................................................55
Similarites and differences between the acquisition of the mother tongue and the learning
of a foreign L.........................................................................................................................56
FOREIGN LANGUAGE............................................................................................................58
THE MAIN LINGUISTIC SCIENCES....................................................................................60
THE PROCESS OF LINGUISTIC LEARNING.....................................................................61
THEORETICAL APPROACHES ON LANGUAGE LEARNING...........................................61
LANGUAGE AND THE FOREIGN LANGUAGE AT SCHOOL............................................63
MOTHER TONGUE ACQUISITION..................................................................................63
BILINGUALISM AND MULTILINGUALISM..........................................................................64
1.- CHILDREN'S LITERATURE IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE........................................65
1.1. LITERARY LANGUAGE............................................................................................65
1.2. CHILDREN'S LITERATURE IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE...................................66
POETIC FUNCTION OF LANGUAGE..................................................................................68
16. ENGLISH CHILDREN'S LITERATURE.............................................................................70
PHONETIC, LEXICAL AND CULTURAL LEARNING..............................................................72
1.1 The song as a poetic vehicle and as a literary creation in the English class.............72
1.2 The socialisation of songs...........................................................................................72
1.3 The song as a starting point........................................................................................72
2. AWARENESS OF ANOTHER CULTURE: THE IMMERSION.........................................73
2.1 Type of songs..............................................................................................................73

2.2 Acquisition of an oral and written competence...........................................................73

CULTURAL LEARNING.......................................................................................................74
3.1 Techniques in the use of phonetic learning................................................................74
3.2 Techniques for lexical and cultural learning...............................................................74
1. Introduction.......................................................................................................................75
2. Songs as Literary and Poetic creations............................................................................75
2.1. The importance of music in the language teaching...................................................75
2.2. Characteristics of songs and rhymes.........................................................................75
2.3. Reasons to use songs in the classroom....................................................................76
3. Types of songs.................................................................................................................76
3.1. Songs for occasions...................................................................................................76
3.2. Topic songs................................................................................................................76
3.3. Songs with actions.....................................................................................................76
3.4. Round songs..............................................................................................................76
3.5. Dialogues songs.........................................................................................................76
3.6. Traditional songs........................................................................................................76
3.7. Other songs................................................................................................................76
3.8. Traditional rhymes......................................................................................................77
4. Techniques: Types of activities........................................................................................77
5. Conclusion........................................................................................................................77
LENGUAS EXTRANJERAS.................................................................................................79
1.1. - Introduccin.............................................................................................................79
1.2. - El planteamiento del juego......................................................................................79
1.3. - El material................................................................................................................80
1.4. - El lenguaje...............................................................................................................80
PERFECCIONAMIENTO LINGSTICO.............................................................................81
2.1. - Juegos de vocabulario.............................................................................................81
2.2. - Juegos de estructuras gramaticales........................................................................83
2.3. - Juegos de creatividad..............................................................................................85
COMUNICATIVA DE LA LENGUA.......................................................................................86
3.1. - Dibuja la frase..........................................................................................................86
3.2. - Parejas de dibujos...................................................................................................87
3.3. - Historia desordenada...............................................................................................87
3.4. - Dar direcciones........................................................................................................87
ACTIVITIES. THE ROLE OF THE TEACHER.........................................................................88
1. INTRODUCTION..............................................................................................................88
2.1 Techniques of awakening and expression..................................................................88
2.2 From the game to dramatisation.................................................................................88

2.3 Drama techniques used in teaching a foreign language............................................89

OF TALES, JOKES. ETC.....................................................................................................89
3.1 Watching exercises.....................................................................................................89
3.2 Exercises of creation and interpretation.....................................................................90
4.1 Advantages for the teacher.........................................................................................91
4.2 Criteria for the classification of activities.....................................................................91
4.3 The role of the teacher................................................................................................91
1. INTRODUCTION:.............................................................................................................92
3.1.- The Educational Project:...........................................................................................96
3.2.- The Curricular Project:..............................................................................................97
0. INTRODUCTION............................................................................................................102
1. FOREIGN LANGUAGES AREA IN THE CURRICULUM...............................................102
1.1. GENERAL OBJECTIVES........................................................................................104
1.2. CONTENTS.............................................................................................................105
1.3. EVALUATION CRITERIA........................................................................................107
2.1. THE CURRICULAR PROJECT...............................................................................108
3. BIBLIOGRAPHY.............................................................................................................111



In this unit we are going to study language and its major functions:
* We will show how Communication is one of these Functions.
* We will show how learning a language is not only a grammatical process but also a Social Process.
* We will also analyse the differences between Writing and Speech.
* We will discuss some important Communicative Theory defining their key factors.
* Finally, we will show how important it is to create Real Communication Situations in our Classrooms in order to
improve language teaching.
A conclusion summing up what has been said throught the unit will follow, ending up with the bibliography used
for the elaboration of this discussion.

We must point out that language is not just a "subject" in the sense of a package of knowledge. It is not just a
set of information and insights. It is a fundamental part of being human. Traditional approaches used to treat a
language as if it were a free-standing package of knowledge by analysing and observing it. Many of us learnt a
language that way. But this process is a very abstract one and experience has shown that it does not appeal to
everyone. To learn to use a language at all well for ourselves rather than for textbook purposes, most of us have
to become involved in it as an experience. We have to make it a human event not just a set of information. We
do this by using it for real communication, for genuine giving and receiving of messages.
* Now that we have introduced this particular topic we are going to deal with the study of language as
Communication, its functions and the concept of communicative competence.

The word language has prompted many definitions. For example;
Sapir said that " language is a purely human and non instinctive method of commicating ideas, emotions and
desires by means of voluntarily produced symbols ".
Hall defined language as " the institution whereby humans communicate and interact with each other by means
of habitually used oral-auditory symbols "
As we can see with these two definitions it is difficult to make a precise and comprehensive statement about
formal and functional universal properties of language, so some linguists have tried to identify the various
properties that are thought to be its essential defining characteristics.
The most widely acknowledged comparative approach has been that proposed by Charles Hockett. This set of
13 design features of communication using spoken language are as follows:
1. Auditory-vocal channel: sound is used between mouth and ear.
2. Broadcast transmission and directional reception: a signal can be heard by any auditory system within
earshot and the source can be located using the ear's direction finding.
3. Rapid fading: auditory signals are transitory.
4. Interchangeability: speakers of a language can reproduce any linguistic message they can understand.
5. Total feedback: speakers hear and can reflect upon everything they say.
6. Specialization: the sound waves of speech have no other functions than to signal meaning.

7. Semanticity: the elements of the signal convey meaning through their stable association with real world
8. Arbitrariness: there is no depency between the element of the signal and the nature of the reality to which it
9. Discreetness: speech uses a small set of found elements that clearly contrast with each other.
10. Displacement: it is possible to talk about events remote in space or time from the situation of the speaker.
11. Productivity: there is an infinitive capacity to express and understand meaning, by using old sentence
elements to produce new elements.
12. Traditional transmission: language is transmitted from a generation to the next by a process of teaching and
13. Duality of patterning: the sounds of language have no intrinsic meaning, but combine in different ways to
form elements, such as words, that do convey meaning.

* After having studied the main properties of language, and communication, we will now see how the learning of
a language involves a Social Process.
The most usual answer to the question of "why we use language" is to communicate our ideas, and this ability
to communicate or communicative competence will be studied in the next part. But it would be wrong to think of
communicating our ideas as the only aim for which language is used. Several other functions may be identified
where the communications of ideas has a marginal or irrelevant consideration.
One of the most common uses of language, the expressive or emotional one, is a means of getting rid of our
nervous energy when we are under stress, when we are angry, afraid, etc. We do not try to communicate
because we can use language in this way whether we are alone or not.
Malinowski termed the third use of language we are studying Phatic Communication. He used it to refer to the
social function of language, that is, to signal friendship or lack of enemity. Also, to maintain a comfortable
relationship between people.
The fourth function we may find is based on Phonetic Properties. The persuasive cadences of political
speechmaking, or the chants used by prisoners or soldiers have only one apparent reason: people take delight
in them.
They can only be explained by a universal desire to exploit the sonic potential of language.
The fifth function is the Performative one. A performative is an utterance that performs an act. This use occurs
in the naming of a ship at a launching ceremony, or when a priest baptises a child.
We can also find other functions such as:
- recording facts
- instrument of thought
- expression of regional, social, educational, sexual or occupational identity.
The British linguist Halliday grouped all these functions into three Metafunctions, which are the manifestations in
the linguistic system of the two unique manifestation purposes which underline all uses of language, combined
with the third component (textual) which breathes relevance into the other two.
1) The Idealistic Funtion: is to organise the speaker's or writer's experience of the real or imaginary world.
2) The Interpersonal Function: is to indicate, establish or maintain social relationships between people.
3) The Textual Function: which serves to create written or spoken texts which cohere within themselves and
which fit the particular situation in which they are used.

Now we shall study the function of communication or what is named Communicative Competence.

Chomsky defined language as a set of sentences, each finite in length and constructed out of a finite set of
elements. An able speaker has a subconcious knowledge of the grammer rules of his language which allows
him to make sentences in that language. However, Dell Hymes thought that Chomsky had missed out some
very important information:
The Rules Of Use. When a native speaks, he does not only utter grammatically correct forms, he also knows
where and when to use the sentences and to whom.
For Hymes the Communicative Competence had four aspects:
1) Systematic Potential:
This means that a native speaker possesses a system that has a potential for creating a lot of language. This is
similar to Chomsky's competence.
2) Appropriacy:
This means that the native speaker knows what language is appropriate in a given situation, according to:
setting, participants, purposes, channel and topic.
3) Occurence:
This means that the native speaker knows how often something is said in the language and acts accordingly.
4) Feasibility:
This means that a native speaker knows whether something is possible in the language.
These four categories have been adapted for teaching purposes. Thus, Real Decreto 1006/1991 of 14th June,
which establishes the teaching requirements for Primary Education nation-wide, sees communicative
competence as comprising five subcompetences:
1) Grammar Competence.
The ability to put into practice the system of grammar rules by which a language operates.
2) Sociolinguistic Competence.
The ability to produce appropriate utterances in different sociolinguistic contexts depending on contextual
factors such as status of participants, purpose of the interaction....
3) Sociocultural Competence.
This is understood to be the knowledge of the social and cultural context in which the language is used.
4) Discourse Competence.
The ability to produce unified written or spoken discourse that shows coherence and cohesion in different types
of texts.
5) Strategic Competence.
The ability to use verbal and non-verbal strategies to compensate for breakdowns in communication, or to
improve the effectiveness of communication, as for example, the use of paraphrase, tone of voices or gestures.
On the other hand, Canale defined Discourse Competence as the aspect of communicative competence which
describes the ability to produce unified written or spoken discourse that shows coherence and cohesion and
which conforms to the norms of different genres.
* Up to this point we have studied the concept of language as means of communication, amongst other
Now, let us move onto another important aspect of this unit, which deals with the main differences between
writing and speech.


Before summarising the main differences between spoken and written language we will outline their main
features independantly.
On the one hand we have spoken language, which is the most obvious aspect of language. Speech is not
essential to the definition of an infinitely productive communication system, such as is constituted by language.
But, in fact, speech is the universal material of language. Man has almost certainly been a speaking animal. The
earliest known systems of writing go back perhaps some 5000 years. This means that for many hundreds of
thousands of years human languages have been transmitted and developed entirely as a spoken means of

The description and classification of speech sounds is the main aim of phonetics. Sounds may be identified with
reference to their production, their transmission and their reception. These three activities occur at the
physiological level, which implies the action of muscles and nerves. The motor nerves that link the speaker's
brain with his speech mechanism activate the corresponding muscles. The movements of the tongue, lips, vocal
chords, etc, constitute the articulatory stage of the speech chain, and the area of phonetics that deals with it is
articulatory phonetics.
The movement of the articulation produces disturbances in the air pressure called sound waves which are
physical manifestations. This is the acoustic stage of the chain, during which the sound waves travel towards
the listener's ear. These sound waves activate the listener's ear drum.
On the other hand we have written language which evolved independently at different times in several parts of
the world.
We can classify writing systems into two types:
1) Non-Phonological Systems.
These do not show a clear relationship between the symbols and the sounds of the language. They include the
pictographic, ideagraphic, uniform and Egyptian hieroglyphics and logographics.
2) Phonological Systems.
These do show a clear relationship between the symbols and the sounds of language. We can distinguish
between syllabic and alphabetic systems.
In a syllabic system each grapheme corresponds to a spoken syllable. Alphabetic writing establishes a direct
correspondance between graphemes and phonemes.
In a perfect regular system there is one grapheme for each morpheme. However, most alphabets in present day
use fail to meet this criteria. At one extreme we find such languages as Spanish, which has a very regular
system; at the other we find such cases as English and Gaelic where there is a marked tendency to irregularity.
Now let's study the main differences between writing and speech. The most obvious is the contrast in physical
Speech uses phonic substance typically in the form of air-pressure movements, whereas writing uses graphic
substance, typically in the form of marks on a surface. As writing can only occasionally be thought of as an
interaction, we can establish the following points of contrast:
1) The permanence of writing allows repeated reading and close analysis. The spontaneity and rapidity of
speech minimises the chance of complex pre-planning, and promotes features that assisst speakers to think
standing up.
2) The participants in written interaction cannot usually see each other, so they cannot make clear what they
mean. However, in speech interactions feedback is possible.
3) The majority of graphic features presents a system of contrasts that has no speech equivalent. Many genres
of written language, such as tables, graphs and complex formulae, cannot be conveyed by reading aloud.
4) Some contructions may only be found in writing, others only occur in speech, such as in slang and swear
5) Finally we can say that writing tends to be more formal and so it is more likely to provide the standard that
society values. Its performance provides it with a special status.
Despite these differences, the written and spoken language have mutually interacted in many respects. We
normally use the written language in order to improve our command of vocabulary, active or passive, spoken or
Loan words may come into a country in a written form, and sometimes everything we know about a language is
from its written form eg: Latin. It is true that writing has derived from speech in an historical sense, but
nowadays their independance is mutual.


* Now we have examined the differences between speech and written language we shall concentrate on the
theory of communication, and those factors defining a communicative act.

According to Ivor Armstrong Richards, "communication takes place when one mind so acts upon its
environment that another mind is influenced, and in that other mind an experience occurs which is like the
experience in the first mind, and is caused in part by that experience."
From this definition we can conclude that any communicative act necessarily happens among persons or
between a person who acts as a speaker and a listener or between various people who act as receivers.
Besides these people there are other elements in a communicative act:
* The Message
The content of information that the speaker sends to the listener.
* The Channel
The place through which the message flows.
* The Code
A limited and moderately wide group of signs which combine according to certain rules known by the speaker
and by the listener.
* The Context
The situation in which the speaker and the listener are in, which sometimes helps to interpret the message.
* As we have seen communication is the exchange of meanings through a common system of symbols. Now it
is time to ask ourselves:


Many studies of classroom language have shown that in most native speaker ? is used for function rather than
for direct teaching. These extra functions include: greetings, discussion, health, attendance,the weather and so
Barnes (1969), in his description of classroom language, labelled these functions "social". Social interaction also
takes placein foreign language and 2nd language classrooms, but in many such classrooms native language is
used for this purpose.
Fanselow (1977) attempted to set up a system for observing and recording different types of communication in
the language classroom. He established five headings in the form of questions:
1) Who communicates ?
2) What is the pedagological purpose of the communication ?
3) What mediums are used to communicate content ?
4) How are the mediums used ?
5) What areas of content are communicated ?
All of these questions are useful in thinking how language is used in the classroom.
The first of these areas, Language, concerns those times when a teacher is explaining or illustrating the
language, or when the pupils are asking questions about the language, or practising pronunciation or structures.
In most English language classes, this part of the lesson is conducted in English.
The second, Procedure, concerns those times when the teacher is managing the classroom, explaining what to
do next, how to do it and so on. Some teachers use English for classroom management, and others use the
children's mother tongue, at least during the early stages.
The third of Fanselow's categories, Subject Matter, concerns those times when the language is being used to
convey some specific topic as a part of a lesson. For example, if the teacher tells the story "The Frog Got Lost",
the subject matter is the frog and its adventures. In this case the teacher's aim might be to illustrate the use of
the past simple tense, but the content area of language used in that part of the lesson is not tense but the tale of
the frog. In the language classroom, this part of the lesson would be conducted in English.
The final content category identified by Fanselow, Life, concerns communication between teacher and pupils
about Real Life Matters, not directly about the lesson. This category embraces the type of questioning that
Barnes called "social" as well as any other type of communication about the real world.
Thus, for example, if the teacher directs a particular student to "open the window" or asks another who has
nothing to write on "Where is your notebook?", or genuinely asks another "Is your brother in the football match

on Saturday?", then he/she is using language about the real world that is part of the learner's direct experience.
This is a great opportunity for real communication in the English classroom through English. When speaking to
children in English, it is important, as it is when they are learning their first language, to support communication
through the use of gesture, facial expression and action because this gives children clues to the meaning of
what they hear and so draws their attention to and helps them to become familiar with the sounds, rhythm and
stress of the second language.
Strategies that parents use intuitively to draw children into the use of the first language must be used
deliberately by the teachers to draw children into using the second language. Research has shown that parents
generally speak more slowly, articulate more carefully, and use gesture, facial expression and tone when talking
to young children to aid their understanding and to encourage them to produce.

To conclude, we could bear in mind that an important aspect of interaction in the English classroom is that it
must be managed by the learners as well as by the teacher. That is to say that learners must be confident
enough to initiate communication in English, and not merely respond when they are addressed by the teacher.
A pupil that has something to say, an apology or a request to make, a question to ask, a greeting to give, should
be encouraged to express him/herself in English. If resources are not to be wanted and opportunities to be
missed, children must learn English in the same way they learnt their mother tongue, as a living language that
can be used for active communication as much as for establishing personal relationships.
The bibliography used for the elaboration of this topic is as follows:
* "Teaching the Spoken Language" by Gillian Brown and George Yule C.U.P. 1997.
* "Teaching English to Children" by Christopher Brumfit, Jayne Moon and Ray Tongue. Longman 1992.
* "Teaching English in the Primary Classroom" by Susan Halliwell. Longman 1992.


1.1. Language definitions.
1.2. Language functions.
1.3. Communicative competence.
2.1. Spoken language.
2.2. Written language.
2.3. Historical Attitudes.
2.4. Differences between writing and speech.
3.1. Communication definition.
3.2. Main Models.

3.3. Key factors.

Traditional foreign language teaching concentrated on getting students consciously to learn items of language in
insolation. These bits of information would be mainly used to read texts and only occasionally for oral
communication. The focus was not on communication but on a piece of language. Following Krashen's
distinction between acquisition and learning we can say that people got to know about the language (learning)
but could not use it in a real context (acquisition).
The British applied linguist Allwright tried to bridge this dichotomy when he theorised that if de language
teacher's management activities were directed exclusively at involving the learners in solving communication
problems in the target language, then language learning wil take care of itlself. We may or may not agree with
this extreme rendering of the Communicative approach, but we all agree nowadays on the importance of letting
ous pupils use English for real communication during at least, the production stage.
In this unit we are going to study language and its functions to see that communication is one of thes functions.
We wil then posit that learning a language is not only a grammatical and lexical process but also a social
process. We also analyze the differences between writing and speech; and finally we will discuss the most
important communication theory models, defining their key factors.
1.1. Language Definitions.
The word language has prompted innumerable definitions. Some focus on the general concept of language
(what we call lengua or lenguaje) and some focus on the more specific notion of a language (what we call
lengua or idioma).
SAPIR (1921) said that "language is a purely human non-instinctive method of communicating ideas, emotions
and desires by means of voluntarily produced symbols". HALL (1964) defined language as "the institution
whereby humans communicate and interact whith each other by means of habitually used oral-auditory arbitrary
symbols". As we can see in these two definitions it is diffi cult to make a precise and comprehensive statement
about formal adn functional universal properties of language so some linguists have trien to indentify the various
properties that are thought to be its essential defining characteristics.
The most widely acknowledged comparative approach has been the one proposed by Charles HOCKETT. His
set of 13 design features of communication using spoken language were as follows:
- Auditory-vocal channel: sound is used between mouth and ear.
- Broadcast transmission and directional reception: a signal can be heard by any auditory system within earshot,
and the source can be located using the ears' direction-finding ability.
- Rapid fading: auditory signals are transitory.
- Interchangeability: speakers of a language can reproduce any linguistic message they can understand.
- Total feedback: speakers hear and can reflect upon everything that they say.
- Specitalization: the sound waves of speech have no other function than to signal meaning.
- Semanticity: the elemens of the signal convey meaning through their stable association with real-world
- Arbitrariness: there is no dependence of the element of the signal on the nature of the reality to which it refers.
- Discreteness: speech uses a small set of sound elements tha clearly contrast whith each other.
- Displacement: it is possible to talk about events remote in space or time from the situation of the speaker.
- Productivity: ther is an infinite capacity to express and understand meaning, by using old setence elements to
produce new sentences.

- Traditional transmissin: language is transmitted from one generation to the next primarily by a process of
teaching and learning.
- Duality of pottering: the sound of language have no intrinsic meaning, but combine in diferents ways to form
elements, such as words, than do convey meaning.
After having studied thje main properties of language (what is language?) we will now see its function (whats
language for?).
1.2. Language Functions.
The most usual answer to the question "why do we use language?" is "to communicate our ideas" and this
ability to communicate or communicative competence is studied in the next part. But it would be wrong to think
of communicating our ideas as the only way in which we use language (referential, ideational or propositional
function). Several other functions may be indentified where the communication of ideas is a marginal or
irrelevant consideration.
One of the commonest uses of languages, the expressive or emotional one, is a means of getting rid of our
nervous energy when we are under stress. We do not try to communicate ideas because we can use language
in this way whether we are alone or not. Swear words and obscenities are problably the most usual signals to
be used in this way, especially when we are angry. But there are also many emotive utterances of positive kind,
such as expressions of fear, affection, astonishment...
MALINOWSKY (1844-1942) termed the third use of language we are studying "phatic communication". He used
it to refere to the social function of language, which arises out of the basic human need to signal friendship, or,
at least, lack of enmity. If someone does not say hello to you when hi is supposed to, you may think hi is hostile.
In these cases the sole function of language is to maintain a comfortable relationship between people, to
provide a means of avoiding an embarrassing situation. Phatic communication, however, is far from universal,
some cultures prefer silence, eg, the Aritama of Colombia.
The fourth function we may find is based on phonetic properties. The rhythmical litanies of religious groups, the
presuasive cadences of political speechmaking, the dialogue chants used by prisoner or soldiers have only one
apparent reason: people take delight in them. They can only be explained by a universal desire to exploit the
sonic potential of language.
The fith function is the performative one. A performative sentence ins an utterance that performs an act. This
use occurs in the naming of a ship at a launching ceremony, or when a priest baptizes a child.
We may also finde other functions such as:
- recording facts.
- Instrument of thought
- Expression of regional, social, educational, sexual or occupational identity.
The British linguist HALLIDAY grouped all these functions into three metafunctions, shich are the manifestation
in the linguistic system of the two veryu general purposes shich underlie all uses of language combine whith the
rhird component (textual) shich brethes relevance into the other two.
1.- The ideational function is to organize the speaker's or writer's experience of the real or imaginary world, i.e.
language refers to real or imagined persons, things, actions, events, states,etc.
2.- The interpersonal function is to indicate, establish or mantain social relationships between people. It includes
forms of address, speech function, modality ...
3.- The third component is the textual function which serves to create written or spoken texts which cohere
within themselves and which fit the particular situation in which they are used.
1.3. Communicative competence
CHOMSKY (1957) defined language as `a set of sentences, each finite in length and constructed out of a finite
set of elements. A capable speaker has a subconscious knowledge of the grammar rules of his language which
allows him to make sentences in that language'. However, Dell HYMES thought that Chomsky had missed out
some very important information: the rules of the use. When a native speaker speaks, he does not onlu utter
grammatically correct forms, he also knows where and when to use these sentences and to whom. Hymes,
then, said that competence by itself is not enough to explain a native speaker's knowledge, and he replaced it
with his own concept of communicative competence.

HYMES distinguishes 4 aspects of this competence:

- systematic potential
- appropriacy
- occurrence
- feasibility
Systematic potential means that the native speaker possesses a system that has a potential for creating a lot of
language. This is similar to Comsky's competence.
Appropriacy means that the native speaker knows what language is appropriate in a given situation. His choice
is based on the following variables, among others:
Occurrence means that the native speaker knows how often something is said in the language and acts
Feasibility means that the native speaker knows whether something is possible in the language. Even if there is
no grammatical rule to ban 20-adjective prehead construction, we know that these constructions are not
possible in the language.
These 4 categories have been adapted for teaching purposes. Thus, the Royal Decree 1006/1991 of 14 June
(BOE 25 June), which establishes the teaching requirements for Primary Education nationwide, sees
communicative competence as comprising five subcompetences:
- Grammar competence (competencia gramatical, o capacidad de poner en prctica las unidades y reglas de
funcionamiento del sistema de la lengua).
- Discourse competence (competencia discursiva o capacidad de utilizar diferentes tipos de discurso y
organizarlos en funcin de la situacin comunicativa y de los inetrlocutores).
- Sociolinguistic competence ( competencia sociolingstica o capacidad de adecuar los enunciados a un
contexto concreto, atendiendo a los usos aceptados en una comunidad lingstica determinada).
- Strategic competence ( competencia estratgica o capacidad para definir, corregir, matizar o en general,
realizar ajustes en el curso de la situacin comunicativa).
- Sociocultural competence ( competencia sociocultural, entendida como un cierto grado de familiaridad con el
contexto social y cultural en el que se utiliza una determinada lengua).
The terms grammar, sociolinguistic and sociocultural competence are quite self explanatory so we will only
analyze discourse and strategic competence.
CANALE (1980) defined discourse competence as an aspect of communicative competence which describes
the ability to produce unified written or spoken discourse that shows coherence and cohesion and which
conforms to the norms of different genres. Our pupils must be able to produce discourse in which successive
utterances are linked through ruoles of discourse competence.
Strategic competence may be defined as an aspect of communicative competence which describes the ability of
speakers to use verbal and non-verbal communication strategies to compensate for breakdowns in
communication or to improve the effectiveness of communication.


It is traditionl in language study to distinguish between spoken and written language. Before summarizing their
main differences we will outline their main features independently.
2.1. Spoken Language
The most obvious aspect of language is speech. Speech is not essential to the definition of an infinitely
productive communication system, such as it is constituted by language. But, in fact, speech is the universal
material of human language. Man has been a speaking animal from early in the emergence of Homo Sapiens
as a recognizable distinct species. The earliest known systems of writing go back perhaps 5.000 years. This
means that for many hundreds of thousands of years human language were transmitted and developed entirely
as spoken means of communication.

The description and clasification of sounds is the main aim of phonetics. Sounds may be identified with
reference to their production, transmission and reception. These three activities occur at a physiological level,
which implies the action of nerves and muscles. The motor nerves that link the speaker's brain with his speech
mechanism activate the corresponding muscle. The movements of the tongue, lips, vocal folds, etc. Constitute
the articulatory stage of the speech chain, and the area of phonetics that deals with it is articulatory
phonetics.The movement of the articulators produces disturbances in the air pressure called sound waves,
which are physical manifestations. This is the acoustic stage of the chain, during which the sound waves travel
towards the listener's ear-drum. The study of speech sound waves correspons to acoustic phonetics. The
hearing process is the domain of auditory phonetics. This can be seen in the following table:
Activity psychological physiological physical physiological psychologicals stage linguistic production
transmission perception linguistic
Phonetics articulatory acoustic auditory
phonetics phonetics phonetics
In this table we can see how phonetics is the study of all possible speech sounds.
This is not the most important task for linguist, however. A linguist must study the way in which a language's
speakers systematically use a selection of theses sounds in order to express meaning. In this activity he is
helped by phonology. Phonology is continually loking beneath th surface of speech to determine its underlying
regularities. It is not interested in sounds but in phonemes, ie. Smallest contrastive phonological units which can
produce a difference in meaning. The study of speech is therefore, the field of both Phonetics and Phonology.
2.2. Written language.
Myths and legends of the supernatural shroud the early history of writing. One point, at least, is fairly clear. It
now seems most likely that writing systems evolved independently of each other at different times in several
parts of the world -in Mesopotamia, China... There is nothing to support a theory of common origin.
We can classify writting systems into two types:
- Non-phonological.
- Phonological.
Non-phonological systems do not show a clear relationship between the symbols and the sounds of the
language. They include the pictographic, ideographic, cuneiform and egyptian hieroglyphic and logographic.
In the pictographic system, the graphemes or pictographs or pictograms provide a recognizable picture of
entities as they exist in the world.
Ideograms or ideographs have an abstract or conventional meaning, no longer displaying a clear pictorial link
whith external reality.
The cuneiform method of writing dates from the 4th. Millennium BC, and was used to express both nonphonological and phonological writing systems. The name derives from the Latin, meaning 'wedge-shaped' and
refers to the technique used to make the symbols.
Egyptian hieroglyphic developed about 3000 BC. It is a mixture of ideograms, phonograms and determinative
symbols. It was called hieroglyphic because of its prominent use in temples ad tombs (Greek, 'sacred carving").
Logographic writing systems are those where the graphemes represent words. The best known case is Chinese
and Japanese kanji. The symbols are variously referred to as logographs, logograms or characters.
Phonological systems do show a clear relationship between the symbols and the sounds of language. We can
distinguish syllabic and alphabetic systems.
In a system of syllabic writing, each grapheme corresponds to a spoken syllable, usually a consonant-vowel
pair. This system can be seen in Japanese Kataka.
Alphabetic writing establishes a direct correspondence between graphemes and morphemes. This makes it the
most economic and adaptable of all the writing systems. In a perfectly regular sustem there is one grapheme for
each morpheme. However, most alphabets in present day use fail to meet this criterion. At one extreme we find

such languages as Spanish, which has a very regular system; at the other, we find such cases as English and
Gaelic, where there is a marked tendency to irregularity.
2.3. Historical attitudes.
Historically speaking, written language was considered tobe superior to spoken language for many centuries. It
was the medium of literature, and literature was considered a source of standards of linguistic excellence.
Witten records provide language with permanence and authority and so the rules of grammar were illustrated
exclusively from written texts.
On the other hand, spoken language was ignored as an object unworthy of study. Spoken language
demostrates such a lack of care and organization that cannot be studied scientifically; it was said to have no
rules, and speakers have thought that, in order to speak properly, it was necessary to follow the correct norm.
As this norm was based on written standards, it is clear that the prescriptive tradition rested supremacy of
writing over speech.
This viewpiont became widely criticized at the turn of our century. Leonard Bloomfield insisted that "writing is not
language but merely a way of recording language by means of visible marks". This approach pointed out
several factors, some of which we have already mentioned:
- Speech is many centuries older than writing
- It developes naturally in children
- Writing systems are mostly derivative, ie, they are based on the sounds of speech.
If speech is the primary medium of communication, it was also argued that it should be the main object of
linguistic study. Actually, the majority of the world's cultures' languages have never been written down and this
has nothing to do with their evolutionary degree. It is a fallacy to suppose that the languages of illiterate or socalled primitive peoples are less structured, less rich in vocabulary, and less efficient than the languages of
literate civilization. E. Sapir was one of the first linguistics to attack the myth that primitive peoples spoke
primitive languages. In one study he compared the grammatical equivalents of the sentence "he will give it to
you" in six Amerindian languages. Among many fascinating features of these complex grammatical forms, note
the level of abstraction introduced by the following example:
Southern Paiute
Maya-vaania-aka-anga-'mi= guve will visible-thing visible-creature thee
Many linguistics and ethnographerstherefore stressed the urgency of providing techniques for the analysis of
spoken language and because of this emphasis on the spoken language, it was now the turn of writing to fall
into disrepute. Many linguistics came to think of written language as a tool of secundary inportance. Writing
came to be excluded from the primary subject matter of linguistic science. Many grammarians presented an
account of speech alone.
Nowadays, there is no sense in the view that one medium of communication is untrinsically better. Writing
cannot substitute for speech, nor speech for writing. The functions of speech and writing are usually said to
complement each other.
On the other hand, there are many functional para llels which seem to be increase in modern society. We
cannot use recording devices to keep facts and communicate ideas. On the other hand writing is also taken the
social of phatic function typically associated with the immediacy of speech.
Despite these parallels we can obviously find striking differences.
2.4. Differences between writing and speech
Research has begun to investigate the nature and extent of the differences between them. Most obviously, they
contrast in physical form:
- Specch uses phonic substance typically in the form of air-pressure movements
- Writing uses graphic substance typically in the form of marks on a surface.
Differences of structure and use are the product of radically different communicative situations. Crystal (1987)
pointed that `speech is tme-bound, dynamic, transient, part of an interaction in which, typically, both participants
are present, and the speaker has a specific addressee in mind. Writing is space-bound, static, permanent, the
result of a situation in which, typically, the producer is distant from the recipient and, often, may not even know
who the recipient is. As writing can only occasionally be thought of as an interaction it is just normal that we can
establish the following points of contrast:

1.- The permanence of writing allows repeated reading and close analysis. The spontaneity and rapidity of
speech minimizes the chance of complex preplanning, and promotes features that assist to think standing up.
2.- The participants in written interaction cannot usually see each other, and they thus cannot rely on the context
to help make clear what they mean as they would when speaking. As a consequence, deictic expressions are
normally avoided. On the other hand, feedback is available in most speech interactions.
3.- The majority of graphic features present a system of contrast that has no speech equivalent. Many genres of
written language, such as tables, graphs, and complex formulae, cannot be conveyed by reading aloud.
4.- Some constructions may be found onluy in writing, such as the French simple past, and others only occur in
speech, such as `whatchamacallit, or slang expressions.
5.- Finally we can say that written language tends to be more formal and so it is more likely to provide the
standard that society values.
Despite these differences, there are many respects in which the written and the spoken language have mutually
interacted. We normally use the written language in order to improve our command of vocabulary, active or
passive, spoken or written. Loan words may come into a country in a written form, and sometimes, everything
we know about language is its writing.

3.1. Definition
Communication, the exchange of meanings between individuals through a common system of symbols,
concerned scholars since the time of ancient Greece. In 1928 the English literary critic and author Ivor Armtrong
Richards offered one of the first definitions of communication.
Since about 1920 the growth and apparent influence of communication technology have attracted the attention
of many specialists who have attempted to isolate communication as a specific facet of their particular interest.
In the1960s, Marshall McLuhan, drew the threads of interest in the field of communication into a view that
associated many contemporary psychological and sociological phenomena with the media employed in modern
culture. McLuhan's idea, `the medium is the message, stimulated numerous filmmakers, photographers, and
others, who adopted McLuhans view that contemporary society had moved from a print culture to a visual one.
By the late 20th century the main focus of interest in communication seemed to be drifting away from
McLuhanism and to be centring upon:
1.- The mass communication industries
2.- Persuasive communication and the use of technology to influence dispositions
3.- Processes of interpersonal communication as mediators of information
4.- Dynamics of verbal and non-verbal (and perhaps extrasensory) communication
5.- Perception of different kinds of communication
6.- Uses of communication technology for social and artistic purposes, including education
7.- Development of relevant critism for artistic endeavours employing modern communication technology.
In short, a communication expert may be oriented to any number of disciplines in a field of inquiry that has, as
yet, neither drawn for itself a conclusive roster of subject matter nor agreed upon specific methodologies of
3.2. Models
Fragmentation and problems of interdisciplinarity outlook have generated a wide range of discussion concerning
the ways in which communication occurs and the processes it entails. Most communication theorists admit that
their main task is to answer the query originally posed by the U.S political scientist H. D. Lasswell, `Who says
what to whom with what effect?. Obviously all of the factors in this question may be interpreted differently by
scholars and writers in different disciplines. Scientists may make use of dynamic or linear models.
3.2.1. Dynamic models.
Dynamic models are used in describe cognitive, emotional, and artistic aspects of communication as they occur
in sociocultural contexts. These models do not try to be quantitative as linear ones. They often centre attention
upon different modes of communication and theorize that the messages they contain including messages of
emotional quality and artistic content, are communicated in various manners to and from different sorts of

Many analysts of communication such as McLuhan assert that the channel actually dictates, or severely
influences, the message, both as sent and received. For them, the stability and function of channel or medium
are more variable and less mechanistically related to the process than they are for followers of Shannon and
3.2.2. Linear models: Shannon and Weaver's.
Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver's Mathematical Model of Communication is one of the most productive
schematic models of a communication systems that has ever been proposed. The simplicity, clarity, and surface
generally of their model proved attractive to many students of communication in a number of disciplines. As
originally conceived, the model contained five elements arranged in linear order:
- An information source
- A transmiter
- A channel of transmission
- A receiver
- A destination
This model was originally intended for electronic messages so, in time, the five elements of the model were
renamed so as to specify components for other types of communication transmitted in various manners. The
information source was split into its components to provide a wider range of applicability:
- a source
- an encoder
- a message
- a channel
- a decoder
- a receiver
Another concept, first called a `noise source but later associated with the notion of entropy was imposed upon
the communication model. Entropy diminishes the integrity of the message and distorts the message for the
receiver. Negative entropy may also occur in instances where incomplete or blurred messages are nevertheless
received intact, either because of the ability of the receiver to fill in missing details or to recognize, despite
distortion or paucity of information, both the intent and the content of the communication.
But not only negative entropy counteracts entropy. Redundancy, the repetition of elements within a message
that prevents the failure of communication of information, is the greatest antidote to entropy. Redundancy is
apparently involved in most human activities, and, because it helps to overcome the various forms of entropy
that tends to turn intelligible messages into unintelligible ones, it is an indispensable element for effective
We can see that the model, despite the introduction of entropy and redundancy, is conceptually static. To
correct this flaw, Norbert Wiener, the father of cybernetics, added the principle of feedback, ie, sources tend to
be responsive to their own behaviour and to the context of communication. Interaction between human beings in
conversation cannot function without the ability of the message sender to weigh and calculate the apparent
effect of this words on his listener.
We will now analyze each of these key factors.
3.3. Key factors
This unit title mentions some of the key factors affecting any communicative interaction such as the sender and
the receiver. After putting them in the broader framework of the Mathematical Model of Communication we will
analyze the intended effects of our communicative interactions (speech acts) and the environment in which they
are exchanged (social context).
The information source selects a desired message out of a possible set of messages. The transmitter changes
the message into a signal which is sent over the communication channel where it is received by the receiver
and changed back into a message which is sent to the destination. In the process of transmission certain
unwanted additions to the signal may occur which are not part of the message and these are referred to as
noise or entropy; negative entropy and redundancy counteract entropy. For somo communication systems the
components are simple to specify as, for instance:
- information source: a man on the telephone
- transmitter: the mouthpiece
- message and signal: the words the man speaks
- channel: the electrical wires

- receiver: the earpiece

- destination: the listener
In face-to-face communication, the speaker can be both information source and transmitter, while the listener
can be both receiver and destination.
3.3.1. Speech acts.
J.L. Austin (1911-1960) was the first to draw attention to the many functions performed by utterances as part of
interpersonal communication. He distinguishes two main types of functional potential:
- performative
- contative
A performative is an utterance that perform an act: to say is to act, as we have already seen when studying
language functions. Performatives may be explicit and implicit performatives, which do not contain a
performative verb.
Constatives are utterances which assert something that is either true or false.
In speech act analysis the effect of utterances on the behaviour of speaker and hearer is studies using a
threefold distinction:
A locutionary act is the saying of something which is meaningful and can be understood. For example, saying
the sentence `shoot the snake is a locutionary act if hearers understand the words `shoot, `theand `snake
and can identify the particular snake referred to.
An illocutionary act is using a sentence to perform a function. For example `shoot the snakemay be intended as
an order or a piece of advice.
A perlocutionary act is the result or effect that is produced by means of saying something. For example,
shooting the snake would be a perlocutionary act.
Austins three-part distinction is less frequently used than a two part distinction between the propositional
content of a sentence and the illocutionary force or intended effects of speech acts. There are thousands of
possible illocutionary acts, and several attempts have been made to classify them into a small number of types:
- representatives
- directives
- commisives
- expressives
- declarations
In declaratives the speaker is committed in varying degrees, to the truth of a proposition.
In directives the speaker tries to get the hearer to do something.
In commissives the speaker is committed, in varying degrees, to a certain course of action.
In expressives the speaker expresses an attitude about a state of affairs.
In declarations the speaker alters the external status or conditions of an object or situation solely by making the
As we can infer from the examples there are some fuzzy areas and overlappings between different types of
illocutionary force. But an utterance may lose its illocutionary force if does not satisfy several criteria, known as
felicity conditions. For example the preparatory conditions have to be right: the person performing the speech
act has to have the authority to do so.
Ordinary people automatically accept these conditions when they communicate. If any of these conditions does
not obtain, then a special interpretation of the speech act has to apply. Both normal and special interpretations
of utterances have much to do with the context in which they are made.
3.3.2. Context.
Context is defined by the Collins English Dictionary as:

1. The parts of a piece of writing, speech, etc, that precede and follow a word or passage and contribute to its
full meaning.
2. The conditions and circumstances that are relevant to an event, fact, etc.
The first definition covers what we may call linguistic context, but as we can infer from the second definition,
linguistic context may not be enough to fully understand an utterance understood as a speech act. In fact,
linguistic elements in a text may refer not only to other parts of the text but also to the outside world, to the
context of situation.
The concept of context of situation was formulated by Malinowski in 1923. It has been worked over and
extended by a number of linguistics, specially Hymes and Halliday. Hymes categorizes the communicative
situation in terms of eight components while Halliday offers three headings for the analysis:
1. Form and content of text
2. Setting
3. Participants
4. Ends
5. Key
6. Medium
7. Genre
8. Interactional norms 1. field
2. mode
3. tenor
We will now analyze Hallidays more abstract interpretation as it practically subsumes Hymess one.
The field is the total event, in which the text is functioning, together with the purpose activity of the speaker or
writer; it thus includes the suject matter as one element in it.
The mode is the function of the text in the event, including therefore both the channel taken by the language,
and its genre or rethorical mode, as narrative, didactic, persuasive and so on.
The tenor refers to to the participants who are taking part in this communicative exchange, who they are and
what kind of relationship thay have to one another. It is clear that role relationships, ie, the relationship which
people have to each other in a act of communication, influences the way they speak to each other. One of the
speakers may have, for instance, a role which has a higher status than that of the other speaker or speakers.

- Collins English Dictionary. Collins. Glasgow, 1992.
- Crystal, D. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language. CUP. Cambridge, 1987.
- Encyclopaedia Britannica. Enc. Brit. Inc. Chicago, 1990.
- Halliday, M. A. K. Spoken and written Language. Geelong, Vic. Deakin University Press, 1976.
- Halliday, M. A. K. Language as social semiotics. Arnold. London, 1978.
- Halliday, M. A. K. Functional grammar. Arnold. London, 1982.
- Halliday, M. A. K and Hasan, R. Cohesion in English. Longman. London, 1976.
- Richards, J. C, Platt, J., and Platt, H. Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics.
Longman. London, 1992.
- Materiales para la Reforma. Primaria. MEC. Madrid, 1992.
- Steinberg, D. D. Psycholinguistics. Longman. London.1982
Tema 1


Traditionally, theories of language have concentrated on the study of its different components in isolation, such
as grammar, semantics, phonology, seeing language as a system that included all of them. However, when
language is first acquired in childhood, is merely by means of communicating with the people around. In this
sense, new approaches in the last third of the 20th C, paid attention to language as communication.
We, as human beings, need to communicate, and as most of us live in a literary society, we normally use oral
and written language to transmit or receive information. As far as oral communication is concerned, most human
beings speak using oral language in order to exchange information and interact with other people, but the use of
oral language entails the knowledge of certain particular elements, norms, routines, formulae and strategies that
are put into work when we are in conversations.
On the other hand, writing and reading require formal instruction, and children face a series of difficulties when
learning these skills, because they have to comfort oral to written discourse, adapting rules, learning spelling,
dividing speech chains into chunks called words, etc.
However, learning to write and read is probably the most fundamental step in education, because is the basis
for future instruction and access to many fields of knowledge. In this unit, we are going to review the main
characteristics of oral and written language, and then we will analyse the factors that define a communicative
situation, namely the sender and the receiver of the message, the functionality and the context.


Among all the communication codes which are used by human beings (music, kinesics, sign language), written
and oral language is the most efficient for the transmission and reception of information, thoughts, feelings and
opinions. In addition, these linguistic codes are exclusively human and make us distinct from animals. But
written and oral language are different processes: whereas we learn to write through a formal instruction,
speaking and listening come naturally along different stages of the childs evolution.
Therefore we can say that oral language comes first in our history as individuals. Therefore, speech and writing
are not alternative processes, but rather we must consider them counterparts: all oral language should have a
good representative system in a written form.
From a psychological point of view, oral communication is a two-way process in which both speaker (encoder)
and hearer (decoder) must be present in the same situational context at a particular time and place (unless we
talk about special cases of oral communication such as phone conversations). The functions of oral
communication are, as we said before, to communicate or exchange our ideas or to interact with other people.
Unlike written communication, in oral interaction we can monitor the reactions of the hearer through the
feedback so that we can our speech in the course of the communication, as well as use different linguistic and
non-linguistic features (gesturing, intonation...) to make our messages clearer. However, as it takes place in a
particular place and time, the interlocutors have to make their contributions at a high speed, without much time
to think, unlike writing.
Along history, the study of spoken language has not much tradition, unlike written language, due to several
- it was considered a secondary type of language as it was not reserved only to cultivate people.
- unlike written language, there was a lack of permanent records of oral language during our past history.
- it presents more mutability in the understanding and interpretation of what it is said than in written lg.
Halliday was among the first linguists to study oral language, saying that it was not a formless and featureless
variety of written language. Since then, there has been an increasing interest to which it has contributed the
inventions of audio, video and computer devices. In oral communication, we distinguish two different types:
Prepared speech The formal setting is organised as writing (syntax, lexis & discourse organisation) It is
memorised or written down before (lectures, speech, oral poetry)
Spontaneous speech Speaker has not thought or memorised the message beforehand. It may present
inaccuracies, hesitations, silences and mistakes

As spontaneous speech is the main form of oral communication, and directly reflects real communication
processes with different demands and situations, and prepared speech does not allow for feedback and
monitoring, the analysis and study of oral communication should concentrate on spontaneous speech, where
the negotiation of meaning plays an important role for the communication purpose to be correctly achieved.
But because of its pervasive and everyday nature, its scientific study has proved particularly complex. It has
been difficult to obtain acoustically clear, natural samples of spontaneous conversation, especially of its more
informal varieties. When samples have been obtained, the variety of topics, participants, and social situations
which characterise conversation have made it difficult to determine which aspects of the behaviour are
systematic and rule-governed.
Linguistic elements
STRESS When we talk we have to bare in mind there is a regular distribution of accents along words and
sentences. However, if we want to give special emphasis to a particular word or phrase, we change that regular
pattern of stress and accent in order to make more prominent what we want.
RHYTHM It is the relationship we make between accents (chunks of words) and silences. Rhythm can range
from very monotonous one (in quick or prepared speech) to rhythm with contrasts in order to give
expressiveness and sense to our speech. Pauses are also important, because sometimes are made to divide
grammatical units and other times are unpredictable and caused by hesitations.
INTONATION is the falling and rising of voice during speech. Any departure from what it is considered "normal"
intonation shows special effects and expresses emotions and attitudes. Normally, falling tones show conclusion
and certainty, whereas rising tones may show inconclusion or doubt (Ill do it / Ill do it... )
Paralinguistic elements
We cannot consider oral verbal communication without remembering that the whole body takes part. In fact,
many times, a person can express sympathy, hostility or incredulity by means of body and facial gestures. This
"body language" is normally culturally related & is learnt the same way as verbal behaviour is learnt, although it
allows for spontaneity and creativity: we use head, face, hands, arms, shoulders, fingers...
Other linguistic features that characterise conversational language are:
Speed of speech is relatively rapid; there are many assimilations & elisions of letters; compressions of auxiliary
sequences (gonna); it can be difficult to identify sentence boundaries in long loose passages; informal discourse
markers are common ( you know, I mean); great creativity in the vocabulary choice, ranging from unexpected
coinage (Be unsad) to use of vague words (thingummy).
2.2. RULES
When we use language, we do not only utter grammatically correct sentences, but we know where, when and to
whom we are addressing our utterances. This is the reason why a speaker needs to know not only the linguistic
and grammatical rules of a language (Chomskys linguistic competence) or rules of usage, but also how to put
into effect these rules in order to achieve effective communication, so that we also need to be familiar with rules
of use.
Rules of usage In order to produce and understand messages in a particular language we need to be familiar
PHONOLOGY We need to know the organisation, characteristics and patterns of sounds to communicate.
MORPHOLOGY We need to know the word formation rules and types of combinations of bases & affixes.
SYNTAX We need to know how words are put together to form sentences and which are their relationships.
SEMANTICS We need to know how words can be combined to produce the meaning we want or to understand
the meaning expressed by others, even if it is nonliteral, methaporical or anomalous.
Rules of use To be communicatively efficient, we need to show our linguistic competence in real speech
APPROPRIATENESS or knowledge of what type of language suits best in a given situation, taking into account
the context with its participants and their social relationships, the setting, the topic, the purpose..
COHERENCE or ability to organise our messages in a logical and comprehensible way to transmit meaning.
COHESION or capacity to organise and structure utterances to facilitate interpretation by means of endophoras
and exophoras ( references to linguistic & situational contexts), repetitions, ellipsis...


Mans ability to be creative with language is something obvious, but there are times when we choose how,
when and why not to be creative, to repeat what has been said or heard many times, often in exactly the same
form. Linguistic routines are fixed utterances which must be considered as single units to understand their
meaning, and they are of a learned character (Hi! familiar or empty How do you do?), the process through which
we acquire ritual competence being perhaps the most important socialisation we make of language.
Understanding routines & formulae require shared cultural knowledge because they are generally metaphorical
in nature and must be interpreted at a non-literal level. People are often quite opposed to routines, formulae and
rituals because they are meaningless and depersonalise our ideas, because literal semantic value is largely
irrelevant. Some typical routines and habitual formulae are used in funeral condolences, religious ceremonies,
weddings, graduation ceremonies...
Particular attention has been paid to the markers of conversational turns: how people know their turn to speak.
In formal dialogue, there are often explicit markers, showing that a speaker is about to talk; in debate, the
person in the chair more or less controls speakers turns. In conversation, however, the cues are more subtle,
involving variations in the melody, rhythm, and speed of speech, and in patterns of eye movement.
When people talk in a group, they look at and away from their listeners in about equal proportions, but when
approaching the end of what they have to say, they look at the listeners more steadily, and in particular maintain
closer eye contact with those they expect to continue the conversation. A listener who wishes to be the next
speaker may indicate a desire to do so by showing an increase in bodily tension, such as by leaning forward or
audibly drawing in breath. In addition, there are many explicit indications, verbal and non-verbal, that a speaker
is coming to an end (Last but not least...), wishes to pass the conversational ball (What do you think?, staring to
someone), wishes to join in (Could I just say that...), leave (Well, that is all...), change the topic (Speaking of
Mary...), or check on listeners attention or attitude (Are you with me?).
The subject-matter is an important variable, with some topics being "safe" in certain social groups (in Britain, the
weather, pets, children, and the locality), others more or less "unsafe" (religious and political beliefs, questions
of personal income such as How much do you earn). There are usually some arbitrary divisions: for example,
in Britain, it is polite to comment o the taste and presentation of a meal, but usually impolite to enquire after how
much it cost.
In Grices view, we cooperate in a conversation in order to produce a rational and efficient exchange of
information, so that to reach a good final result in a communicative process, we apply 4 cooperative principles
or maxims:
- Maxim of quality: Our contributions have to be sincere, believing what we say & avoiding things we lack
evidence of
- Maxim of quantity: We should make our contributions as briefly, orderly & informative as required for the
- Maxim of relevance: An utterance has to be relevant with respect to the stage the conversation has reached.
- Maxim of manner: Which concerns the manner of expression (avoiding obscurity, ambiguity...).


Written communication is a type of communication, and as such, its main purpose is to express ideas and
experiences or exchange meanings between individuals with a particular system of codes, which is different to
that used in oral communication. In written communication, the encoder of the message is the writer and the
decoder and interpreter of the message is the reader, and many times, this interpretation does not coincide with
the writers intended meaning.
When we write, we use graphic symbols, which relate to the sounds we make when we speak. But writing is
much more than the production of graphic symbols, just as speech is more than the production of sounds: these
symbols have to be arranged, according to certain conventions, to form words, and words to form sentences.
These sentences then have to be ordered and linked together in certain ways, forming a coherent whole called
Since classical times, there have been two contradictory approaches to speech and writing: firstly, the view that
writing is the primary and speech the secondary medium, because writing is more culturally significant and
lastingly valuable than speech; and secondly, the view that speech is primary and writing secondary because
speech is prior to writing both historically and in terms of a childs acquisition of language. But leaving aside this
dichotomy, the first thing we must notice is that speech and writing are not alternative processes: speech comes
first, but writing demands more skill and practice, and they have different formal patterns.

Most important of all, however, is that written and spoken language are counterparts: a writing system should be
capable of representing all the possible wordings of a persons thoughts. This implies that both systems could
be regarded as the two sides of the same coin.
From a psychological point of view, writing is a solitary activity, the interlocutor is not present, so we are
required to write on our own, without the interaction or the help of the feedback usually provided in oral
communication. That is why we have to compensate for the absence of some linguistic features which help to
keep communication going on in speech, such as prosody and paralinguisic devices such as gesturing,
intonation, etc. Our texts are interpreted by the reader alone, and we cannot monitor his or her reactions, unlike
the speaker: we have to sustain the whole process of communication and to stay in contact with our reader
through words alone, and this is why we must be very clear and explicit about our intentions when we write.
However, not all the acvantages are on the side of the oral communication: in writing, we normally have time to
think about what we are trying to express, so that we can revise it and re-write it, if need be, and the reader, to
understand a text, can also read and re-read it as many times as wanted.
There are some features characteristic of written language, but this should not be taken to imply that theres a
well-delimited dividing line between writing and speech. However, the extend to which each of them makes use
of different resources is directly related to the nature of the two channels: speech is the language of immediate
communication, and writing is a type of communication with a distance in between. This is the reason why
written texts present the following formal elements:
Linguistic features of written language A good writing system must be fixed, flexible, and adaptable at a time, so
- it must provide a codified expression for the elements expressed by oral language: each idea = a written form
- it must provide means for creating expressions for elements not codified yet: neologisms, borrowings...
Syntactic features of written language The syntactic elements which make writing different from speech are:
- markers and rhetorical organisers for clauses relationships and clarity (written texts are more permanent)
- use of heavily pre-modified NPs , SVO ordering and use of passive constructions and subordinate phrases
Lexical features of written language In order to compensate the absence of paralinguistic devices and feedback:
- more accuracy in the use of vocabulary, avoiding redundancy and ambiguity (due to its permanent nature)
- use of anaphoras and cataphoras, repetitions, synonyms... to signal relationships between sentences
- there is more lexical density in writing than in speech (more lexical items than grammatical ones)
Graphological implications Texts can be presented in different ways, as our culture value many times more the
form than the content. To compensate for the absence of feedback and paralinguistic devices, written texts
need to be accurate in spelling, punctuation, capital letters to mark sentence boundaries, indentation of
paragraphs, different fonts to call attention (italics, bold...) and in poetry or texts to draw attention, exploitation of
resources such as order and choice of words, variations in spelling (Biba la kurtura).
In any case, what is most characteristic of written communication is that we see it (the organisation, length...).
In writing, communication also takes place following system and ritual constraints: this is the reason why when
we look at a text we can distinguish and obtain information regarding different types of organisation, different
purposes and different lengths.
Traditionally, written texts were divided following the classification of genres. Then, linguists linked their
rhetorical mode to the syntactic structures, routines and formulae that characterised them, and established the
following classification:
Postcards Pieces of writing normally directed to friends or family when travelling ,and sometimes used for
congratulations and greetings. We just write on one side and the language used is colloquial.

Letters They can be formal (to enterprises or someone we are not closed to) and informal (to friends or family)
There are some routines to write letters: apart from the writers address on the top right-hand corner, the date,
the first line (dear + name/sir/madam/Mr/Mrs...), the closing (Yours...) and the signature, present in both types of
letters, each type of letter follows this structural organisation into paragraphs:
Formal: 1st = reason why writing, 2nd = what you want from addressee, 3rd = conclusion.
Informal: 1st = introduction, 2nd = reason, 3rd = additional info, 4th = conclusion.
There are also directive letters, to provoke some reaction on the reader, using imperatives & remarks.
Filling-in forms Consist of answering what you are asked, as briefly as possible, so no writing style is needed to
do so.
Curriculum vitae Consists of a clear summary to give the academic knowledge and experience someone has on
a certain matter, so it includes personal details, current occupation, academic qualification and professional
Summaries Brief rsums of articles, booklets and books that due to their special form of composition and
writing they allow the reader to gather the main information about the original work without reading it.
Reports They are used to present clearly and with details the summary of present and past facts or activities,
and sometimes of predictable future facts from checked data, sometimes containing the interpretation of the
writer but normally with the intention of stating the reality of an enterprise or institution without deformative
personal visions, and can be expositive, interpretative & demonstrative
Narrative texts The most universal of all the types of written texts, refer back to the story-telling traditions of
most cultures. In fact there seem to be some basic universal structure that governs this type of texts:
- Orientation (time, place and character identification to inform reader of the story world), Goal. Problem.
Resolution. Coda and sometimes a morale at the end.
For this characteristic structure, some of the routines and formulae used are presentatives (there is...), relatives,
adjuncts of place and time, flash-backs, different narrative p.o.v., narrative dialogues, etc...
Descriptive texts They are concerned with the location and characterisation of people and things in the space,
as well as providing background information which sets the stage for narration. This type of texts is very popular
in L2 teaching, and all types have the same pre-established organisation. Within descriptive texts we might find:
- External descriptions, presenting a holistic view of the object by an account of all its parts
- Functional descriptions, which deal with instruments and the tasks they may perform
- Psychological descriptions, which express the feelings that something produces in someone
Some of the most characteristic structures are presentatives (there...), adjuncts of location, stative verbs (look,
seem, be...), use of metaphors, comparisons, qualifying adjectives and relative sentences.
Expository texts They identify and characterise phenomena, including text forms such as definitions,
explanations, instructions, guidelines, summaries, etc...They may be subjective (an essay) and objective
(definitions, instructions), or even advice giving. They may be analytical, starting from a concept and then
characterising its parts, and ending with a conclusion.
Typical structures are stative verbs, "in order to", "so as to", imperatives, modals and verbs of quality.
Argumentative texts They are those whose purpose is to support or weaken another statement whose validity is
The structures we find are very flexible, being this the reason for the existence of several types:
Classical/Pros & cons zigzag/One-sided arg/Ecclectic appro/Oppositions arg first/Other side questioned
There are sometimes when we choose how, when and why not to be creative with language to repeat what is
normally used in a given situation: we use linguistic routines and formulae. These are defined as fixed
utterances or sequences of utterances which must be considered as single units, because their meaning cannot
be derived of them unless considered as a whole.
In written texts we find different types of routines and formulaic expressions, which vary depending on the type
of text, as we have been previously seeing. Understanding them usually requires sharing cultural knowledge,
because they are genarally metaphorical in nature and must be interpreted at a non-linguistic level (for instance,
Dear in a letter does not always carry affective meaning).
All those phrases and sentences that, to some extend, have a prescriptive character, can be considered as
routines and formulaic expressions: to consider all the different existing routines would take too long, but some
examples are, in letters & postcards (Yours sincerely) in C.Vs, the organisation of info in different blocks, in
narration (Once upon a time) in descriptions (on the left, high above),etc...

All in all, we can say that they are sometimes very useful but often meaningless & depersonalise our
expressions & ideas.


Generally speaking, communication is the exchange of meanings between individuals through a common
system of symbols, and this has been the concern of scholars since the Greeks. Communication refers to the
transmission of information (a message) between a source and a receiver, using a signalling system.
At the turn of the century, the English literary critic Ivor Armstrong Richards offered one of the first definitions,
saying that communication takes place when one mind so acts upon its environment that another mind is
influenced, and in that other mind an experience occurs which is like the experience in the first mind, and is
caused in part by that experience.
The study of human communication in all its modes is known as semiotics. There are several types of
communication, and although in principle any of the five senses can be used as a medium of communication, in
practice only three (tactile, visual and aural) are implemented in both active-expressive and passive-receptive
Tactile communication involves touch (e.g. shaking hands, grasping the arm) and the manipulation of physical
distance and body orientation in order to communicate indifference or disagreement, and is studied by
proxemics. Visual communication involves the use of facial expressions (smiling, winking..., which communicate
a wide range of emotions) and gestures and body postures of varying levels of formality (kneeling, bowing...).
Visual non-verbal communication is studied by kinesics. Often, visual and tactile effects interact closely with
verbal communication, sometimes even conveying particular nuances of meaning not easy to communicate in
speech (such as the drawing of inverted commas in the air to signal a special meaning), and most of the times
culturally related.
The chief branch of communication studies involves the oral-aural mode, in the form of speech, and its
systematic visual reflex in the form of writing. These are the verbal aspects of communication, distinguished
from the non-verbal (kinesics and proxemics) aspects, often popularly referred to as body language.
The term language, as we understand it, is usually restricted to speech and writing, because these mediums of
transmission display a highly sophisticated internal structure and creativity. Non-verbal communication, by
contrast, involves relatively little creativity. In language, it is commonplace to find new words being created, and
sentences varying in practically infinite complexity. In this respect, languages differ markedly from the very
limited set of facial expressions, gestures, and body movements.
According to Harmer, the characteristics apply to every communicative situation is that a speaker/writer wants to
communicate, has a communicative purpose, and selects language, and a listener/reader wants to listen to
something, is interested in a communicative purpose, and process a variety of language.
Models In order to study the process of communication several models have been offered; fragmentation and
problems of interdisciplinary outlook have generated a wide range of discussion concerning the ways in which
communication occurs. Most communication theorists admit that their main task is to answer the question Who
says what to whom with what effect? The most important models are:
Dynamic Used to describe cognitive, emotional and artistic aspects of the different modes (narrative, pictorial,
dramatic...) of communication as they occur in sociocultural contexts in their various manners and to and from
different sorts of people. For those using this model, the stability and function of the channel are more variable
and less mechanically related to the process than the linear models.
Linear Proposed by Shannon and Weaver, though very mathematical, its simplicity, clarity and surface
generality proved very attractive. Originally intended for electronic messages, it was then applied to all sorts of
communication. In its conception it contained five elements arranged in linear order: information source,
transmitter, channel, receiver, destination. Then, the five elements were renamed so as to specify components
for other types of communication, and the information source was split into its components to provide a wider
range of applicability: source, encoder, message, channel, decoder, receiver.
Key factors
In theory, communication is said to have taken place if the information received is the same as that sent. In
practice, we have to allow for all kinds of interfering factors, such as entropy (noise distorsion) which can be
counteracted by negative entropy (receivers ability to clear blurred messages), by redundancy (used by the

encoder), or by feedback (the sender calculates and weights the effects on the receiver and acts accordingly);
and then we have the context, which covers the references to the linguistic aspects of the message or
endophora (anaphora and cataphora) and the external aspects of situation or exophora (such as the field, or
total event and purpose of the communication, the mode, or function of the text in the event, including channel
and genre, and the tenor, which refers to the participants and their relationships).


The most usual answer to the question "why do we use language?" is "to communicate our ideas". But it would
be wrong to think that communicating our ideas is the only purpose for which we use language. Several other
functions may be identified where the communication of ideas is marginal or irrelevant. We hardly find verbal
messages that would fulfil only one function , although the verbal structure of a message depends primarily on
the predominant function;
Following Jakobson, we agree that language must be investigated in all the variety of its functions, but an
outline of these functions demands a concise survey of the constitutive factors in any act of verbal
communication: the ADDRESSER sends a MESSAGE to the ADDRESSEE that to be operative requires a
CONTEXT referred to and to be grasped by the addressee (either verbal and situational, a CODE, fully or
partially common to the addresser and addressee, and a CONTACT, a physical channel and psychological
connection enabling them to enter and stay in communication
If the main purpose of our use of language is to communicate our ideas, concentrating on the context to which
these ideas refer to, then we are dealing with the referential or ideational function.
If there is a direct expression of the addressers attitude toward what is being communicated, tending to
produce an impression of a certain emotion, that is the emotive or expressive function (also very common),
which differs from the referential one in the sound pattern, and it flavours to some extend all our utterances.
If we orientate our message towards the addressee because we want a certain reaction, we are dealing with the
conative function, syntactically and often phonetically deviate from other functions (vocatives and imperatives).
We talk about the phatic function when the language we use is for the purpose of establishing or maintaining
social relationships, to check if the channel or contact works, to attract or confirm the attention of the interlocutor
or to discontinue communication, rather than to communicate ideas, and is normally displayed by ritualised
formulas (Well..., How do you do?).
If we use the language to talk about the language, such as when checking if addressee is using the same code
as the addresser (Do you follow me? Do you know what I mean?), we talk of the metalingual function.
If, on the contrary, the focus is on the phonetic properties of the message, althogh not being the sole function of
the message, we say that we are using the poetic function of language.
To end up, we will say that Halliday grouped all the functions into three interrelated metafunctions: ideational, to
express ideas or experiences, the interpersonal to indicate, establish or maintain social relationships, and the
textual, to create written or spoken texts that fit in the particular situation in which they are used.


However, if communication were simply a matter of applying the adequate schema, we wouldnt have to worry
about the addressees response to the communication process. Therefore, we need procedures to integrate
these abstract schemata into the concrete process of discourse itself.
All communication depends on the alignment and adjustment of each interlocutors schemata, and the
procedures we use are the interactive negotiating activities that interpret the directions provided and enable us
to alter our expectations in the light of new evidence as the discourse proceeds, and this procedural ability
which traduces the schematic knowledge into communicative behaviour is called capacity (inference, practical
reasoning, negotiation of meaning, problem solving...).
This capacity apply to two different dimensions: one referred to the kind of schema that is being realised, and
the other to the kind of communicative situation that has to be negotiated, that is, to the way in which the
relationship between the schemata of the interlocutors is to be managed. We find that there are occasions in
which we use procedures to clear up and make more explicit and evident the frame of reference, or use
rhetorical routines to specify more accurately our illocutionary acts (the intended effects of our utterances) or
that felicity conditions are not satisfactory so that we must use those procedures.
Other procedures, this time on the part of the addressee, are interpretative (as in A-"I have two tickets for the
theatre" B- "Ive got an exam tomorrow"). In some occasions, however, negotiation is too long, too difficult or
even fails (as in interethnic interaction) because the schemata are very different, so that interlocutors may use

other signalling system (e.g. pictorial), or use (re)-formulation procedures (So what you say is... Now lets put it

Communication is , therefore, the main purpose of a language, and the use and function that fulfils depends
greatly on the characteristics of the information or the form of the message. In any case, for a communication
process to be complete, it is necessary that both addresser and addressee negotiate the meaning of what is
being transmitted, overcoming any possible obstacles difficulting that process.

Halliday, M. A. K. An Introduction to Functional Grammar Chapter 9 1985
Tannen, D. Conversational Style Chapter 8 1984
MacArthur, T. The Oxford Companion to the English Language OUP Oxford 1992
Hedge, T. Writing. OUP. Oxford. 1993


Communication abilities at a very early stage are one of the primary aims of foreign language teaching.
Modern approaches to communication do not include only linguistic production but gesture, behaviour, mime
and other aspects occurring in first language communication.
The communicative use of the visual and tactile modes in their non-linguistic aspects is referred as "non-verbal"
communication or "body language".
Communication means to say something to someone with a communicative purpose and in an appropriate way.


The main aims in language teaching are:
" Using oral and writing language in classroom actions.
" Using idioms and sentences (congratulations, greetings,)
" Using extralinguistic strategies (gesture, body language,)
And these are the contents:
" Conceptual (linguistic): identifying, greeting, describing, asking, expressing needs and emotions, quantify,
object location, requesting, denying, offering,
" Procedures (non-linguistic): acting, doing what they are commanded (total Physical Response)
" Socio-cultural: knowing games, sports and traditional songs in that language.
Communication goals:
The learner gets a social and linguistic development:
" Gets an internal linguistic consciousness
" Takes part in a social interaction
" Gets a cultural knowledge of that society and their habits, and also a way to science, technology and
international relations
" Gets practice in everyday activities
Learners can understand much more that they can speak, so current language ca be used in the classroom.


There is almost an unlimited range of activities within the communicative approach (information sharing,
negotiation of meaning and interaction)
Most communicative techniques operate by providing information and holding it from the others, creating an
information gap.
Every communicative activity has these characteristics:
" A desire to communicate
" A communicative form
" A variety of contents and language
The teacher's role must be to facilitate the communication process and be involved as a participant within the
group, analysing needs, counselling, managing the process and organising resources.
Learners must interact within the group. Successful communication can only be achieved through group

The communicative event is not based on the verbal component only. It also implies paralinguistic devices such
as gesture, facial expression, body language, sight. They are information and emotional sources.
These non-verbal acts are culturally related. Different cultures may use different gestures (hand using, head
movement, e.g.: nodding in Hungary is opposite to everywhere else)
There is also the silent language like the physical distance maintained between individuals, the sense of time
appropriate for communication under different conditions The sight directs very well communication. If we do
not like someone we put our eyes away, insecurity makes eyes go down or if we are very interested our eyes
are widely open to make the speaker go on.

The most common strategies of language learning are:
" Learning grammar rules and using them

" Imitating linguistic habits

" Learning vocabulary and structures by heart
" Finding out strategies, making hypotheses, contrasting them and getting the knowledge
Non verbal reactions to messages in different contexts:
" Games: guessing games, drawing games,
" Drama: acting, miming,
" Role play: using sentences as a native speaker, which is funny and vividly remembered.
" Total Physical Response: is a teaching method built around the co-ordination of speech and action. It attempts
to teach language through physical activity.
The more intensively a memory connection is traced the stronger the memory association will be and the more
likely it will be recalled.
It makes second language learning a process like first language acquisition. Comprehension abilities precede
productive skills but they transfer from one to others.
The speech directed to children consists mainly of commands. Most of the grammatical structures of the target
language and hundreds of lexical items can be learned from the skilful use of the imperative.
The lower the stress is the greater the learning is. Successful learning normally occurs in stress controlled
classrooms, in pleasurable experiences and low anxiety situations.
Grammatical features and lexical items are selected according to the classroom situations and the ease they
can be learnt. Total Physical Response is uses after language presentation and practice in order to consolidate
structures and vocabulary.
The teacher is the director of the stage play and pupils are the actors. The teacher decides what to teach, how
to present the new material, how to select materials.
Correction should be used only when our pupils will really benefit from it. in the beginning the learner cannot
attempt efficiently to the corrections because all attention is directed to producing utterances.
Learners listen attentively and respond physically to our commands. Teachers monitor and encourage to speak
when learners fell ready to speak.
" Warming up or introductory review
" Introduction of new language, new commands and new items
" Simple questions which can be answered with a gesture such as pointing
" Pupils utter commands. Manipulating teacher and pupils' behaviour.
" Reading and writing activities (blackboard, notebooks, ). Writing, reading and acting out the sentence.
It is very suitable for our primary lessons. It is only valid for beginners. When our pupils' knowledge is very
limited we do not expect them to talk: they have to watch, listen and act.
Our main objective is to provide children as much understable listening as we can while they are doing an
enjoyable activity.
The use of gesture allows them to talk when they cannot speak. Commands can be responded by physical
actions (e.g.: point)

Communication is a key word for us as English teachers. Not only is it the essence of human interaction, it is the
centre of language learning.
Chomsky was one of the first language investigators to try to explain why a child learns language; he says that
the enfant begins to produce language by a process of deduction using the input received and with natural
resources construct an internal grammar.
But later, linguists such as Hymes, noted that a child doesnt know just a set of rules. He/she learns how and
when to use them, and to whom.He says that when a native person speaks, he or she takes into account factors
such as:
1. Systemic potential. Whether something (word, structure...) works grammatically or not if it fits into the
grammatical system.
2. Appropriacy. Whether a word or structure is suitable in the context according factors such as the relative
social class of the speakers, regional variations, age and status differences, the topic being discussed and so
3. Feasability. Knowing whether a construction is possible or not. It may be possible grammatically but seem
ridiculous in real use such as the use of six adverbs together.

4. Occurence. A knowledge of how often something appears in the language (example: foreign learners of
English from latin countries often use more latin-sounding words than a typical native speakers).
Halliday considers that language is, indeed, learned in a functional context of use. To summarize all the above,
a communicative context governs language use, and language learning implies an acquisition of these rules of
Grammar is not enough, as we can be grammatically correct and socioculturally incorrect or with ill-designed
strategies. And so communication breaks down.
Canale and Swain developed the idea of communicative competence, a design taken on by the M.E.C. as the
basis for objectives in the curricular design and as a guide for teaching methodology.

This communicative competence consists of 5 subcompetences: grammatical, discourse, sociolinguistic,
strategic and sociocultural.
- GRAMMATICAL or the ability to use the rules of the language system. (example: the position of the adjective
in English).' systemic potential.
- DISCOURSE or the ability to use different types of speech o writing based on the situation and to do it
coherently and cohesively.
- SOCIOLINGUISTIC or the ability to adapt utterances to a particular social context (socialclass, regional
languages, registers).' appropiacy.
- STRATEGIC or the ability to influence the course of the communicative situation (body movement, intonation).
Related to redundancy. The aim is to mantein the channel of communication open or to improve the reception.
- SOCIOCULTURAL - being familiar with the social and cultural context, the background where the language is
spoken.(example:when we say "milkman" we understand all the contexts such as: Who is the milkman?, When
does the milkman deliver the milk? and so on).
This communicative competence and its subcompetences seeks to help children to provide opportunities for
gaining real language in real use.
Communication is the activity or process of giving information to other people or to other living things, usign
signals such as speech, body movements or radio signals.
Communication is then the basis of a foreign language class from the basic curricular design and aims to lesson
plans and methodology.
In the 20 th Century worl of international travel, commerce, culture, technology and news/information,
communication needs to be optimun and our pupils will want to, or need to have the four skills in language on
many occasions for communicative purposes.
We shall now look at what this means in terms of verbal and non verbal communication.
This is part of their preparation for life in general, and for their development as people.

This consists of two skills, namely listening and speaking.
LISTENING precedes speaking. It consists of the decoding of sound according to acquired rules.It can be
defined as the process of discriminating the sounds of the English language through a process of hearing and
understanding them. Listening is related to PHONOLOGY' This science studies the phonemes, the relationship
between units of sounds and differences in meaning.
We need to remember that there are differences between the Spanish sounds and the English sounds. We
must allow the children to be clear on these differences, using accent, rhythm and entonation.
All material used in teaching sounds and meaning should be based on its usefulness in real communicative
There are many ways of presenting material so that it can be a means of helping children in oralcomprehension. We may use flash-cards, real objects, pictures from magazines, gestures, mime, language
laboratory, radio, t.v., fims, tape-recorder and so on.
SPEAKING is the encoding of the acquired sounds, deduced by listening, into signals.The end of this is to
communicate something to someone and is related to PHONETICS ' The study of sounds: how they are
produced and how they are received.

Pupils need a lot of practise in comprehension (listening) in order to hold a conversation in English. Both skills
(listening and speaking) are linked in the learning process, since the people need to absorb the elements of a
message if they are going to contribute to a conversation.
This encoding and decoding is not only on a grammatical level, as Chomsky inferred at first, but as Guiraud
affirms a process which takes logic from phonology, semantics, etc, but also subjective experience and social
So, we will begin talking about oral-comprehension techniques. If we want to develop this ability in our children
we shall need to observe the processes used by the learner in listening comprehension.
At first, the pupil hears a series of noises and he/she cant tell what the difference is between them. After some
time, he/she begins to note that the sounds are in some sort of order, with regularity in the pauses and voice
As he/she learns some simple expresions, he or she begins to see that there are recurring sounds, and he/she
associates them with meaning. So, he or she is starting to recognise familiar elements, but doesnt see all the
relationship. He/she does not really understand.
As he or she becomes more familiar with the language, he/she recognizes the different elements, but doesnt
remember what he/she recognized. This is because he/she is recognizing single elements and not the whole
message. The mind is eliminating information which it cant take at first; only a certain amount can be taken into
short-term memory.
The receptive system in the brain then takes these selected elements into long-term storage. But only a small
part of the total message will be remembered, this is why pupils seem to be able to understand very little at first.
They have to concentrate very well to be able to take in not only the sounds, but their meaning, the brain is not
able to do this too fast, and we must remember this.
Thats why we help our pupils by giving them short sequences of sounds so that they can get the meaning
easily and store it automatically. So, REPETITION is essential for acquiring this process
The LOGSE, in its 9 objectives of the curricular design, reflects the importance of proficiency in these skills.
No child can ever really communicate in English without some ability to listen and speak. In traditional
"Grammar Translation" these skills were often neglected.
The reason for this neglect was that some people consider speaking and listening to be primitive skills. They
saw that children acquired these abilities naturally and so it was felt that verbal communication was less
sofisticated than the written form of the language.
So, more importance was given to a study of the written language and for many years verbal communication
was nor considered to be worthy of study.
This is reflected in the approaches to teaching of languages wich followed a classical methodology imitating
latin and greek approaches which by their very nature center on reading and writing.
In this century however, and thanks to the contributions on social anthropologists and linguistics we have come
to understand that the spoken form of a language is a valuable communication tool full of sophisticated rules of
use and which is a vehicle for social interaction.
We can think of Vigotsky studies on ethnic groups where he demonstrates how complex the verbal
communication is within societies which some people consider to be primitive.
So, speaking and listening are complex skills and even though they are acquired in an apparently natural way
there is a process involved which is intricate.
As an example of this we can look at some of the features which are unique to verbal communication.
Goffman highlited some of these.
We could mention that in verbal communication there are signals which the adresser and adressee recognize
as open-close signals such as the word "well" or a cough to open and there are other non-verbal signalssuch as
hand movemet to open or close a conversation. We could also think of the fact that in verbal communication
there is an inmediate and constant response from the adressee which we dont have in written communication.
This leads to the possibility of the speaker using strategies to ensure the message is being received.
These strategies include back signals such as the hearer nodding his/her head or expressions such as "really"
or "umhm".
These demonstrate to the hearer that the message is being received.
If he or she feels that the adressee is having difficulty in receiving the message because he/she notes a lack of
interests,comprehension, etc, he/she may choose to use strategies such as raising the voice, repetition or
gestures to improve attention or understanding.

We can not do this in written communication because the adressee is not usually present and we cant judge
the receivers response and then react.
Further to this in verbal communication speakers and listeners pay attention to the norms of what is acceptable
in a given context as regards quantity, for example.We could imagine that a British conversation consists of
shorter exchanges than in an anaerobic context.There are also, of course, complex rules of what is socially and
culturally acceptable in specific contexts depending on the relative age, social class and regional origin and so
on of speaker and hearer. For example, the speaker is aware of taboo words or topics and of conventions which
are appropiate in a given situation.It would be inappropiate, for example, to use some swearwords in polite
In written communication the writer does not always know who will read the message and cannot always select
suitable exppressions, topics and vocabulary.
Taking the above into account we can affirm that when a child begins to listen with understanding and to speak
with intelligibility he/she is acquiring very useful social skills for everyday use.
These skills are not primitive instruments but elaborate competences which society demands and values.
Within verbal communication we recognize that there are non verbal elements. We will now look at these
aspects of spoken communication.


In all verbal communication we are aware that the message is sent through a code that is made up of sounds
travelling trough the air, having been emitted trough the articulation of the speakers speech organs. But this
message is communicated by non verbal signals too real componets of normal communication.
The following are typical contextual non verbal elements.
Knapp clasifies the non verbal aspects as follows:
1. Body movements: includes gestures, movements of the body, limbs, hands, head, feet, facial expressions
(smiling), eye behaviour such as blinking, direction of sight and also posture.
2. Physical characteristics: includes physical appearance, general attraction, body scents, height, hair, skin ton
(these characteristics are constant).
3. Paralanguage: refers to how something is said and not what is said. It uses the non verbal vocal signs
surronding speech (tone, qualities of the voice, rythm).
4. Proxemics: is the manner in which man uses space as specific cultural product, the study of use and
perception of social and personal space. The individual determines his own space base on social and personal
rules (perception and use of personal and social space).
5. Tactile conduct: kissing, hitting, guiding ...
6. Artifacts: include the manipulation of objects, which can act as non-verbal stimuli, with interacting
persons.These artifacts can be: perfume, clothing, lipstick ...
7. Surroundig factors: this category includes those elements that intervine in human relations which are not a
direct part of it: furniture, interio decoration.
The purpose of non verbal communication is to be part of the functional aspect
of communication:
a) to communicate emotions
b) to regulate communication/conventions.
c) To interpret.
d) To identify social status, etc.
The cultural specificness of these elements should highlited (Spanish and English gestures are different).
Meaningful language includes a knowledge of these aspects for true communication.
The importance of drama, mime, action songs, role-plays, simulation of real life situations to include as many
non-verbal elements as possible cn not be underestimated.


CONTEXTS.In this part of the topic we will see how the use of extralinguistic elements is linked not only to achieving
grammatical and sociocultural competence but to strategic competence.
This is the ability to plan and adapt communication, so that the desired end is achieved.
In different contexts different strategies are required.

We should make some points here:

1) Strategies develop and are sought when a need is seen. Children look for extralinguistic help when they are
interested in, or enthusiastic about, or are seeing the advantage in communicating.
2) We shoul put children in different situations of verbal communication and help them to develop non verbal
aids with games and activities which link non-verbal elements with the context and communication need.
3) This acquisition of language skills and non-verbal strategies requires an atmosphere of relaxation, with no
tension, ridicule, pressure.
4) Children should see how language verbal and non verbal changes in different context, ruled by
situation,climate, social class, age, formality and informality and so on.
One method which focuses on the aid of non-verbal communication is Total Physical Response. Every
extralinguistic resource its use is developing communication beginning with the listening skills, where
imperatives are inferred by movements, actions, etc.
Though we may not wish to use a TPR methodology with all its implications, the contributions it makes to the
teaching-learning process as part of our methodological plan in an eclectic approach can be valuable.
As teachers we will be aware that elements such as furniture, space, decorations and so on can help or hinder
communication. There will be occassions when we will want to re-arange desks, chairs, decorations, posters or
other objects, so that they can help in a communicative process. For example, if we are perfoming a play we
can set up various objects as scenary so that the children fell contextualized. For instance, in a play about
Goldilock and the three bears we could put a table in the centre of the classroom with three different-size chairs
beside it.This extralinguistic elements help children, who can use them as aids in communication.
To give an example of a Total Physical Response methodology which uses extralinguistic strategies we can
consider for instance the game of "Simon says" where, in the context of a game, children learn to understand
simple imperatives along with associated parts of the body. They obey the orders of the teacher only when he or
she speaks on behalf of Simon. To help the children the teacher performs the action, which the children initate.
Eventually they do not need this extralinguistic back-up.
From the very first days of learning a foreign language, children become accostumed to deducing meaning from
the context, which is full of extralinguistic clues. When we say: - " close the door, please" pointing to the open
door and miming a closing movement. This is a very simple but effective T.P.R. activity.
Not only do children learn to understand spoken messages in this way. They begin to try to communicate using
non-verbal and stralinguistic strategies at their disposal, from gestures to mime and with the use of other

CONCLUSION.In this topic we have attempted to demonstrate the nature of verbal communication.
The spoken language in each productive and receptive forms depends not only on the understanding of sounds
or the creation of these sounds.
The context of this communication includes many elements which are aids in the process and we should be
aware of how we can maximized verbal and non-verbal items to encouraged children to infer meaning and to
use all sorts of extralinguistic strategies to improve communication.
By means of meaningful, motivating activities which use aspects such as body-movement, gestures, artifacts,
the five senses, we can motivate our young learners of English to believe that communicating in the English
language is within their reach.


I will start with a short introduction to let you know what this topic is about

In the society where we live, the possibilities of cultural interchanges studying abroad, watching TV, so on,
determines that, communication, at least one foreign language is a necessity.
- With our educational reform, according the GENERAL ORGANIC act 1/1990 of 3 of October of Educative
System, its are persuades THREE AIMS:
" A WIDER EDUCATION: compulsory and free education are extended up to the change of sixteen, which also
coincides with the labour ages.
" A BETTER EDUCATION: the number of teachers and school resources are increased; the teacher-in-service
training courses are promoted, school resources and vocational guidance programmes are improved.
" MORE USEFUL EDUCATION: a new model of vocational training with greater practice knowledge and with a
greater relation with the labour market are proposed, and the necessites of our present society.
In the General Organic Act 1/90 of 3rd of October of Educative System, we can find in the 2nd Chapter, article
13-b that, in Primary Education, among the capacities to develop in our pupils is " to understand and produce
easy messages in a foreign language".
" We also have in the RD 1344/91 of 6th of September about Teaching Requirements in the territory managed
by the old Ministry of Education and Culture, in the Art.4 that the objective a) is "understand and produce oral
and written messages in Spanish, language of the community and in a foreign language " and continuous "The
ability to communicate in a foreign language and the knowledge of this language give a good help for a better
comprehension and learning the own language".
So,for these reasons, compulsory education must attend to this social need and give pupils a communicative
competence in a foreign language.
Within this communicative competence, we as teachers have to develop the four main skills: listening, speaking,
reading and writing.
Thus, in this topic, I will talk about them in the following points:


In the RD 1344/ 91 of 6 of September about teaching Requirements in the territory managed by the old Ministry
of Education and Culture, we can read that" the development of the basic linguistic skills it has to be seen as a
process of integration. In the real life, communicative acts use different skills, so, it's not logic, to treat them in
an aisle form."
Now I am going to talk about these skills, and I will start with listening.
1. Listening or learning to listen in order to hear and understand properly.
-First of all, there are several general principles in teaching / learning listening comprehension, and these
principles are:
I. Listening comprehension lessons, it must have definite goals, carefully stated. These goals should fit into the
overall curriculum.
II. Listening comprehension lessons, it should be constructed, with a carefully step-by-step planning. This
implies that the listening tasks progress, from simple hearing based activities, to more complex understanding
based ones as our pupils gain in language competence.
III. Listening comprehension lessons should teach not test
IV. Listening comprehension lessons structure it should demand active pupil participation. And finally
V. These lessons should stress conscious memory work.
-We can use several STRATEGIES in order to develop listening comprehension such as: SCANNING,

1. SCANNING or looking for specific details. It's better to say questions before the listening practice.
2. SKIMMING or to identify the principal ideas. F. instance, we want that our pupils ask themselves, what is this
text about?. And to guess the type text (poem, folk tale), settings (place, street), characters (formal, informal,
neuter), and key words.
3. RECONSTRUCTION OF ORAL DISCOURSE: after we refer to the first listening, the teacher can make a
conceptual map on the blackboard, considering a word or sentence as the listening key.
4. PREDICTION, pupils can predict what will be the next one that they are going to listen.
5. RECOGNIZING INTERNAL STRUCTURES AND CONNECTORS: this strategy gives us clues about the
content. F. example:
" FALL/RISE INTONATION, and the particle BUT indicate contrast expression
" FIRST, THEN, FINALLY, help us to identify and arrange sequences in different parts.
6. GUESSING FORM CONTEXT: is to find out the meaning of unknown words. We can use gestures,
pictures and, the two last ones are
EXTENSIVE LISTENING will be a focused or general feature of the styles of discourse. The language level in
this kind of listening is, inside the student's capacity, and they listen for pleasure and interest. This strategy, can
be used for the representation of already known material in a new environment and it can also serve the
function of introducing new language.
INTENSIVE LISTENING is closer to ear training, and it's the most widely used for listening practice in
classroom. Students are asked to listen a passage, with the aim of collecting and organizing the information it
contains. This strategy, can be used for the focus of language items as part of language teaching programme,
and for general comprehension and understanding.
- And, finally, in this point, I will talk about PLANNING CONSIDERATIONS. First of all, these are a number of
steps that we have to bear in mind when planning the listening work for our class:
1. choose the listening text.
2. check that the activities are suitable
3. adjust the difficulty level of the activities, if we need to
4. consider, whether the listening work you are planning will fit the time available or not
5. think about visual aids
6. decide whether any special equipment will be needed
7. make up our mind about what procedure you will adopt for the listening session
8. if you are planning, to present the listening text "live" practice reading it aloud
-Once we have taken these steps, we must teach our children to develop skills, and according to Harmer, we
a. GENERAL UNDERSTANDING is concerned with the treatment of a text as a whole, and includes the
following microskills:
PREDICTION: because it is useful to encourage children to predict what they think might come next in a spoken
message. This means that they then listen to checks whether their expectation matches the reality of what they
b. SPECIFIC UNDERSTANDING, which involve a detailed comprehension of the text. They also include the
following microskills:
- INFERRING OPINION and ATTITUDE because an awareness of stress, intonation and body language, such
as facial expressions or gestures, will help the children work out meaning, specially in dialogues or story- telling.
- DEDUCING MEANING FROM CONTEXT because although the teacher might like to gloss new words before
the children listen to something, she also needs to encourage them to use pictures and their general knowledge
about a topic to work out the meaning of unfamiliar words.
-And RECONGNIZING DISCOURSE PATTERNS and MARKERS: words such as first, then, finally, or but, so,
give important signals about what is coming next in a spoken text. This is especially important when listening to
a sequence of events, such as in a story or a set of instructions.
-About LISTENING ACTIVITIES,, we make sure the children are clear about why they are listening. This means
spelling out which part of the message they need to focus on and what they are going to do before listening,
while listening or after listening. So, to develop these skills, are commonly divided into THREE CATEGORIES:
o PRE-LISTENING ACTIVITIES have as a main aim to arouse our pupils' interest and include MAKING LIST
An activity type could be for instance:
-Listen and perform actions/ follow instructions: this kind of activity is used with action songs, rhymes or games
such as " What's the time Mr. Wolf?"
-Purpose: listening for enjoyment and to improve memory and concentration span.
-Materials: instructions for games.

According the book "The Primary English Teacher's Guide " by Brewster, Ellis and Girard, existing methods and
materials for primary school English contain recorded phrases for use in the initial classes.
However, it is primarily the teacher who, by conducting the class in English, will provide the opportunity for the
pupils continually to improve their listening ability in as natural a manner as possible.
There are other simple ways of training pupils to listen effectively such as the teaching of numbers and letters
with dictations, or visuals aids, such as pictures of plants, animals or people, can also be used by the pupils to
respond to dictations involving the names of objects.
2. Speaking, or learning to speak in order to be understood
-First, I will say several GENERAL PRINCIPLES in SPEAKING SKILL:
1. The beginning of oral expression will start when the pupil can understand the meaning of language's first
2. Thus, we will use short dialogues and its will attack attention of them, both the topic and the attractive form to
present it.
3. In relation with the first syntactic structures (which we can present in first or second cycle), they are principally
GESTALTS or PREFABRICATED LANGUAGE, for instance a greeting like 'how are you'.
4. Before preparing our activities we have to consider several aspects as COMPETENCE level, if our pupils
- An oral lesson is often divided into STAGES commonly known as PRESENTATION STAGE, PRACTICE
" PRESENTATION STAGE has as a main aim to give our pupils the opportunities to realize the usefulness and
relevance of the new language and their need to learn it.
In the initial stages, first lessons often focus on teaching simple greetings and introductions, f.ex: "hello",
"What's your name?", "My name is".
In the early stages of learning, not much spontaneous speech can be expected from pupils.
Such speech (language) consists of:
-Simple greetings: hello, how are you
-Social English: have a nice weekend?
-Routines: what's the date?
-Classroom language: listen, repeat, sit down, good
-Asking permission: Can I go to the toilet?
We have to bear in mind that once we have chosen a context for the presentation, we must decide on a
procedure, which includes points in this order:
a) First, build up the situational context by means of pictures and tapes
b) Elicit the new language.
c) Focus our pupils' attention on the model sentence, and (to) get the repetition both chorally or individually.
d) And, check students' understanding.
The teacher's main role during this stage is as INFORMANT
" In PRACTICE STAGE our pupils assimilate and memorizes the new language by means of activities such as
The teacher's role is mainly those as CONDUCTOR and CORRECTOR and
" In PRODUCTION STAGE, the main aims are to give learners the opportunities to integrate the new learnt
language into previously learnt language in an unpredictable linguistic context, and to provide both, teachers
and pupils, with feedback about the learning and teaching process.
The teacher's role is as FACILITATOR.
According to Brewster the main thing is to be understood without the listener being obliged to go through a
series of mental gymnastics in order to discover what the pupil was most probably trying to say.
From a psychological point of view, it's a good idea not to force things and to let each pupil start to contribute
when they feel ready.
-Some speaking activities that we can use are REPETITION activities like "Chinese whispers (the teacher
whisper a word a sentence in the pupils' ear and this message will be transmitted in the same form to whole
class. The last pupils has to repeat aloud what he has just listened or ASKING AND GIVING INFORMATION it
can consists of the repetition of certain structures with minimums changes which have been practised previously
in class to complete a questionnaire, posters, etc
For instance, an activity type could be:
Look, listen and repeat: the teacher shows a picture, says the word and pupils repeat: look! An elephant.
When the teacher is satisfied with her pupil's pronunciation she can move another word.
Once several new items have been introduced, the teacher can check by showing a picture and asking, what's
this? And pupils reply.
Purpose: to introduce new vocabulary or structures.
Materials: picture cards, for example animals. Food, colours, actions

3. Learning to read and write

" Learning to read a foreign language is obviously not a primary aim of early learning of English. Nevertheless,
the two skills of reading and writing are learning tools, which it would be wrong to ignore, as they occupy a
position of fundamental importance in the objectives of primary school education and in the activities of the
" Learning to read in English will gradually give young beginners an ability to read autonomously as they acquire
both the necessary ability and the taste for reading. There are publishers specializing in English as a foreign
language that offers illustrated readers for children. The adventures of the animal and human heroes in these
books excite the interest of the children and encourage them to read on.
" We have TWO TYPES OF STRATEGIES to develop reading comprehension: ACCORDING TO THE SENSE
READING BY EAR: we can't read without the phonic element, that's to say, reading is a lineal process and we
advance identifying and reproducing the phonic elements of texts. This strategy is very important in the first
stage of learning a foreign language.
READING BY EYE: the relation between written word and signification is direct. Thus, the words are read as
units with meaning without the participation of an intermediate mechanism. This strategy is used with pupils who
have a certain reading fluency and.
1. SCANNING or looking for specific details such as a friends address. It's better to say questions before
2. SKIMMING or to identify the principal ideas. F. Instance, we want that our pupils ask themselves, what is this
text about?. And they can identify type text (poem, folk tale), settings (place, street), characters (formal,
informal, neuter), and key words.
3. FOLLOW A SEQUENCE: it's useful to understand instructions or identifying. F. Instance the life phases of
famous people.
4. SURVIVALS READING: it's referred to localization of text, which help us to find something that we are looking
for in an urban context. F. instance: traffic signals with sort text (ONE WAY), or informative signals (EXIT, MIND
5. PREDICTION, when we can use clues which show. What's going to the next f. instance, we say: 'there was
an Englishman, a Frenchman, and an Irishman.
6. INFORMATION TRANSFER: this strategy permits us to translate determined facts of a text to different ones.
F. Instance: a travel, or adventure story can be transformed in a comic or map.
" About READING SKILLS: and according to Harmer we can divide these skills into two types: GENERAL
-GENERAL UNDERSTANDING are concerned with the treatment of a text as a whole. They include the
-SPECIFIC UNDERSTANDING are subsequently and involve a detailed comprehension of the text. They
" We can also talk about READING ACTIVITIES, and are commonly divided into THREE TYPES: PREREADING, WHILE READING and POST- READING ACTIVITIES.
o PRE- READING ACTIVITIES have as a main aim to arouse our pupils' interest in what they are going to read.
o WHILE READING ACTIVITIES for general and specific understanding. They may include: SUGGESTING A
o POST- READING ACTIVITIES can be thought as a follow up work. They may include PREPARE A SIMILAR
" Finally to say that reading in English in the early stages will usually remain at the word level, where children
play simple games as dominoes, snap or bingo.
" For instance, an activity type could be:
Playing games such as odd- one out or spot the difference. Pupils identify similarities and differences between
letters or words.
Purpose: to develop phonic skills and sight recognition of words.
Material: flashcards or worksheets with words grouped in three or fours.
And about the last skill, writing, we can say that in the early stages of learning English, the pupils will generally
write very little. It is a good idea to use copying in a way, which encourages pupils to think, this means using
crosswords, and matching, sequencing or classifying activities.
We also have in this skill several stages:

1. First, FAMILIARIZATION AND CONTROLLED WRITING: at the beginning, words and expressions won't be
presented isolated, but with a lot of contextual aids, wallcharts, flashcards. We can use activities such as FILLIG
CROSSWORDS, PUTTING UNDER PICTURES the right sentences (with routines expressions)
2. The second stage is GUIDING WRITING and we use pre-communicative activities to reach out the free
composition of short texts. We have for instance, INFORMATION TRANSFER STRATEGY: with excursion
photographies which give us material to produce texts (they have to write about what they see) and
3. The third stage is FREE COMPOSITION that can be introduced when the previous ones have been filled and
with activities such as FILLING CHRISTMAS or BITHDAY CARDS
+ According to Matthew, writing skills can be divided on:
1. GRAPHIC SKILLS which include aspects such as PUNCTUATION or SPELLING
2. STYLISTIC SKILLS refer to our pupils' ability to express precise meaning in a variety of styles and
registers( to say "hello" sad or happy
3. ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS which involve the sequencing of ideas (by using connectors such as "first",
4. GRAMATICAL SKILLS refer to our pupils' ability to use successfully a variety of sentence patterns and
construction and (negatives or affirmative sentences)
5. RHETORICAL SKILLS refer to pupils' ability to use cohesion devices in order to link part of a text into
logically related sequences (more or less as organizational)
An activity type could be: Snap:
Materials: 24 playing cards with common words written on them. The words need to be grouped into families
which have two or three letters in common, for example: at, hat, mat, cat; the, other, mother, another.
Method: the cards are divided equally between two players. Each player places the card face down in the usual
way. When a player says "snap", she/ he has to say why the two cards are linked. No single letter matching is
allowed. The winner is the first player to collect all the cards.
And with that I finish the first main point in this topic.
Now, I will talk about the other main point.


Chomsky defined language as a set of sentences each finite in length and constructed out of a finite set of
He said that a native speaker has a subconscious knowledge of the grammatical rules of his language, which
allows him to make sentences in that language. This is what Chomsky called COMMUNICATIVE
However, DELL HYMES thought that Chomsky had forgotten some very important information about the rules of
use, because when a native speaks, he doesn't only utter grammatically corrects, he also knows WHERE,
WHEN, and to WHOM to use these.
He said that competence by itself is not enough to explain a speaker's knowledge, and, replace it with the
concept of communicative competence.
He distinguished FOUR ASPECTS of his CC: systematic potential, appropiacy, occurrence and feasibility
SYSTEMATIC POTENTIAL means that the native speaker possesses a system that has a potential for
creating a lot of language. This is similar to Chomsky competence.
APPROPIACY means the native speaker knows what language is appropriate in a given situation. His choice
is based on the following variables: SETTING, PARTICIPANT, PURPOSE, CHANNEL and TOPIC
OCURRENCE means that the native speaker knows how often something is said in a language and acts
FEASIBILITY means the native speaker knows whether something is possible in a language or not
+ These four categories have been adapted for teaching purposes
+ Thus, the Royal Decree 1006/91 of 14th of June which establishes the teaching requirements for Primary
Education nationwide sees Communicative Competence as comprising five subcompetences: GRAMMAR C,
" GRAMMAR C.: the ability to put into practice the linguistic units according to the rules of use established in the
linguistic system
" DISCOURSE C: the ability to use different types of discourse and organize them according to the
communicative situation and the speakers involved in it.
" SOCIOLINGUISTIC C: the ability to adequate the utterances to the specific context, in according with the
accepted usage of the determined linguistic community.
" STRATEGIC C: the ability to define, correct or in general, make adjustments, in the communicative situation.
" SOCIOCULTURAL C: which has to be understood as a certain awareness of the social and cultural context in
which the foreign language is used.

3. CONCLUSION of this topic, to say that the integrated education of the four main skills, beside to permit us
the use of material for practising different linguistics activities, it answer to natural phenomenon in our everyday

life: sometimes we talk (orally way) not only what we see, listen, but we also talk about something that we have
just read, or, we write about something that we have heard or read.
Any practice, thus, about a determined linguistic skills, must be completed and rested on the other ones.

" The royal decree 1006/91 of 14th of June about teaching requirements for Primary Education.
" "The Primary English Teacher's Guide" by Brewster. Ed. Penguin. English 1992
" "The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Language" by Crystal. Ed. Cambridge. University Press 1987
" "The Practice of English Language Teaching" by Harmer. Ed. Longman. London. 1983


Language can be a barrier to communication. The most usual way to go round is to find someone to interpret or
translate it. there are many problems because exact equivalence is impossible and there is always a loss of
information, even with an accurate translation.
On the other hand some people have created new artificial languages, neutral, standardised, easy to learn, with
a lot of functions, etc, but people cannot identify with a language nobody speaks.
There is another solution, using a natural language for communication between different groups of people. For
centuries Latin has been used but nowadays is English the one that is getting that position.
It is due to the political, economic and military power of the UK first and the USA later. Trading, industry, science
and literature have contributed to it.
English is a live language, changing and developing quickly. There are many linguistic loans from all languages
and the meaning of some words change quite easily. In addition to that, verbs system is simple and English has
not got genre.
Some people, most of them from countries with important languages, are reluctant to learn a second language.
But foreign language learning becomes a necessity nowadays:
" The European Community: meeting people from other countries on equal linguistic terms. And also the
possibility for workers to move from country to country.
" People travel a lot and languages help to cope with different situations and give the opportunity of interaction
with natives.
" There are more and more cultural exchanges. Science, technology and trading demand foreign languages.
" Languages promote understanding, tolerance and respect for the cultural identity, rights and values of others.
They broaden our minds, because we find other ways of thinking about things.
" Foreign language learning prepare students to cope with an ever-changing environment. They face up to
social and personal demands.
" Linguistic awareness is getting more and more accurate with foreign language studying. Mother tongue gets
also better.
So, teaching a language means also showing the linguistic aspects and knowing about the culture. The
language is a vehicle for it.


New materials include increasingly information about different aspects of the target language community
(geography, social values, sports,)
It can help the contrast between foreign community habits and pupils' own habits. They must be aware of the
different ways of behaviour and also reduce the risk of intolerance.
Meaning is not an isolated property of the text, it does not only appear in discourse, it is relational. Pupils must
know about the context where the text is shown.
Being English is a part of a person. We must also mind sex, age, social class, ethnic background,
The teaching of English culture is not only a matter of words. We must not reduce culture to stereotypes. We
are educating people for a more tolerant world and the civilised acceptance of difference.
Our task is to encourage people to take an interest and develop a positive attitude towards the foreign country
and its people.

Sociocultural expressions are shown mostly in traditional material (e.g.: songs: "I love sixpence", "Teapot")
Traditional games and sports also help.
Establishing differences and contrasts in:
" Some jobs (e.g.: milkman)
" Social politeness (Mr., Mrs., Miss, Excuse me, please)
" Everyday activities (meals, time, school timetable)
" Weather (clothes, seasons)
" Sociocultural distinctions (driving on the left)
" Celebrations (Halloween)


2.1. Language and communication
2.2. Language and different cultures
2.3. Language as an instrument of holistic learning
2.4. The importance of having materials in the resource room to achieve a good intercultural atmosphere
2.5. 'Immersion approach' to second language learning
2.6. How to experience the culture of the English-speaking world in the classroom
3.1. General
3.2. Specific
Modern textbooks take into account the linguistic aspects of a second language. In Fanfare, for example,
Barbara Wilkes cites the following as her aims and objectives: to create an initial interest and enjoyment in
foreign-language learning; to develop a positive attitude towards foreign cultures and people; to develop and
awareness of the link between language and culture; to develop an awareness of language as an instrument of
communication (Wilkes 1994: 8-9).
Thus, in addition to contributing "to the process of the development of the child's intellectual, social, emotional,
and physical skills," and fostering "improved learning skills", teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL)
should also include aspects related to intercultural appreciation and communication.

2.1. Language and communication

Louis Porcher has observed that one of the objects of teaching a foreign language "is to give the learner some
measure of communicative competence in that language. This competence may correspond to a future need of
the learner (1980: 18)." In effect, that the mastering a second language has become a need for most people
today is no longer a debatable issue. Schools not only have the responsibility of teaching a second language as
a linguistic system, but also as a social system to be used by the learner. Hence, communication should begin
in the school where the learning of a second language is taking place. Porcher maintains that since all teaching
is itself a message, "It must therefore be suitable for those for whom it is in fact intended (19)." For the author, a
language is a social practice, a part of a people's history. Thus, it becomes necessary to educate pupils in the
socio-cultural context which is characteristic of the countries in which the foreign language is the mother tongue.
It is evident that inter-culturism is fast becoming an essential dimension in all teaching.
The Modern Languages Programme of the Council for Cultural Co-Operation of the Council of Europe has
specifically defined the political objective which guides the programme in the following manner: "to facilitate
communication and interaction among Europeans of different mother tongues in the service of European
mobility, mutual understanding and cooperation, and in order to overcome prejudice and discrimination (Trim
1981: I)." The following members of the CDCC Project Group 4, D. Coste, C. Edelhoff, R. Bergenthoft, J. L M.
Trim, each other has something to say in this respect.

Daniel Coste writes, "As far as we are concerned, 'learning to communicate' does not involve learning
something totally new: all language learners are communicators already; what foreign language learning
involves is learning to communicate differently and to communicate with a different set of people." Coste holds
that different ways of communicating have to be learned (and not just linguistic ones). Furthermore, it is his
belief that in order to learn to communicate with a different set of people, one must also learn about them.
Hence, communication is inseparable from a cultural context. The learning process itself becomes one of
learning to communicate: "For adults, adolescents and children alike, learning is a process which, however
slightly, involves and changes the whole individual as a person and social agent; when it comes to learning a
different language to communicate differently with a different set of people, it is a fair assumption that the
changes and the involvement will be all marked (34)."

2.2. Language and different cultures

Christopher Edelhoff feels the attitude of learners is as important as their linguistic knowledge and skills.
"Teachers teaching a communication curriculum must be ready to accept that communication is free interaction
between people of all talents, views, races and socio-cultural backgrounds and that foreign language
communication, especially, is there for international understanding, human rights, democratic development and
individual enrichment." In order to achieve this end the learner needs to have an attitude which reflects openmindedness and respect for others; attitude must also include respect for the history, environment, and views of
other people (76)."
Rume Bergentoft reminds us, "In the final Act of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, signed
in Helsinki in 1975 by the heads of state of the participating nations, the latter expressed their conviction
regarding the role now played by a knowledge of languages in connection among other things with closer
international cooperation. It was decided that a wider knowledge of languages was needed to promote world
peace and cooperation (33).
Finally, J. L. Trim warns of the "classical paradigm" of language teaching and "elitism" in traditional language
teaching at school. "The 'classical paradigm' continued to dominate grammar schools until recently, and is till
strong in many member countries..." The author explains that the 'classical paradigm' tends to extend certain
values and attitudes, which reflect the classics to the languages and cultures of modern Europe. He points out
that from this perspective, the study of a foreign language is but an intellectual discipline, based on the
translation of passages from the classics which have little bearing on the real world in which learners actually
live. Trim further declares, "This 'classical paradigm' is avowedly elitist." He feels that it creates barriers to
communication which tend to reinforce and perpetuate divisions in society. However, Trim concludes that,
though the classical paradigm continues to be powerful, contemporary creative writing no longer employs the
criteria of clarity and refined taste "to which the classical paradigm attaches the greatest importance (p. XXXXI)."
Other authors have taken similar positions. Earl W. Stevick refers to a language class as being "one area in
which a number of private universes intersect one another (1980: 7)." He feels that each learner, though a total
individual, is in fact affected by what the others do. The teacher should be aware -and sympathize with the factthat there are times when a learner will resist learning something which violates certain peer norms. For
example, learners may at first reject the language simply because of its foreignness. Teachers should therefore
be aware that the fear of losing support from those closest to the learner (peers, parents, etc.) may be an
inhibiting factor. Stevick refers to a "world of meaningful action", which, he says, tends to draw peers, family
members, and life-goals during the language learning process. He concludes, "Foreignness, shallowness,
irrelevance, and the subordinate position of the student -all may be obstacles to a learner's feeling of 'primacy in
a world of meaningful action' (10)."

2.3. Language as an instrument of holistic learning

Paul G. La forge affirms, "Language learning is people: this is the basic social process in learning ( 1983: viii)."
By this he means that the acquisition of second language is the result of an interpersonal relationship which
includes the teacher and the group of students. For La Forge, the interactions are dynamic and contribute to a
personal growth for all involved. Their relationship becomes modified as a result of the learning of a new
language. Furthermore, he recognizes the significance of the social process in twentieth-century language
development: "A process view of language has opened the route to an understanding of mankind, social history,
and the laws of how a society functions (1)." This means that EFL learning involves social, historical, cultural,
and individual interconnections.
Gertrude Moskowitz defends a system of "Humanistic Education", which she describes as "combining the
subject matter to be learned with the feelings, emotions, experiences, and lives of the learners (1978: 11)." She
is concerned with educating the whole person, both intellectually and emotionally.

In the author's opinion, second language learning not only stimulates better human understanding, but it also
leads to greater independence and self-steem. By learning another language, learners care more both for
themselves and others.
Caleb Gattegno believed in "the spirit of language." He felt hat by learning another language one absorbs the
culture and history of the language users. Human beings incorporate into their languages conscious or
unconscious collective aims, passions, and vision, which are taken on by the learner. He suggested that
languages are reflections of the various modes of thought of a people: "The spirit of each language seems to act
as a container for the melody and the structure of the language and most users are unconscious of it (1978:

2.4. The importance of having materials in the resource room to achieve a good intercultural
Brumfit and Finocchiaro suggest that acquiring a language also implies acquiring "enough knowledge about the
culture of the target community to participate fully in a conversation at the beginning of a stay in a foreign
country". Additionally, they hold that EFL teaching should provide "the implicit and explicit learning of culture
and language varieties through a multi-media approach and an active methodology based on creative use of
language (1985: 26)". In order to achieve this they suggest using the following resources: radio broadcasts,
television, tapes, cassettes, documentary, recreational films, pictures, and short dialogs dealing with everyday
situations. Furthermore, paralinguistic features need to be considered as well as gestures and facial
expressions. The authors insist that learners cultural insights are a must in EFL learning.

2.5. 'Immersion approach' to second language learning

H. H. Stern alludes to an area of investigation, language teaching for younger children, which came to the fore
around 1960 when UNESCO organized meetings in Hamburg in 1962 and 1966 with the purpose of stimulating
comparative research in different countries. However, he sadly concludes that within ten years most of the
resulting enquiries had "not always produced the clear-cut finding that had perhaps been expected from them
when they were initiated (1984: 56)". The two UNESCO-sponsored international meetings were intended to
promote research on early language teaching and on the effectiveness of an early start. These meetings
centred on the feasibility of an early start in school systems and revealed that young children responded to
second language teaching in a positive way (364).
On a similar note, Stern asserts that two of the most interesting research endeavours in the seventies were the
Council of Europe Modern Languages Project and the Canadian French immersion experiments, of which he
was a participant. The Council of Europe Project, which was initiated in 1971, involves the co-operation of
school-ars in several countries.
The French immersion research programme in Canada, which began in 1965, "illustrates the effectiveness of an
'immersion' approach to second language learning (1984: 66)". In both studies, communication or
communicative competence was one of the prime objectives.
Stern further points out that the term "communicative competence", is a term which is used a great deal. Hymes
was the first to employ the term, in contrast to Chomsky's "linguistic competence". "Communicative
competence" reflects the social view of language. The concept of communicative competence is integral with
communicative language teaching. It has become a central focus for EFL teaching, which involves the study
and practice of functional, structural, lexical and sociocultural aspects. The learning experience itself should be
personal and engage in a direct use of the language and contact with the target language community (Stern
1984: 26).

2.6. How to experience the culture of the English-speaking world in the classroom
Finally, to develop cultural insights, Finocchiaro suggests the classroom should "reflect the culture of the
English-speaking world (1974: 94)". She submits that the following aspects be incorporated into EFL teaching:
maps and posters, a bulletin board with newspaper and magazine clipping, including comic strips, proverbs and
pictures; a table or shelf with objects such as stamps, money, artifacts, and a library corner. She also
recommends the carrying out of "projects related to English-speaking culture which will then serve for class
reporting and discussion (95)". Such projects might include the following: preparation of maps, travel itineraries,
floor plans, menus, calendars indicating holidays, scrapbook, flimstrips or pictures, play readings, a book fair.
Additionally, culture may be experienced through songs, festivals, poems, multimedia resource material. She
also suggests, "A pen pal project should be initiated very soon after the students learn to write (97)".

FINOCCHIARO, M.: (1974). English as a second language: from theory to practice. Reprint ed. New York:
FINOCCHIARO M. And BRUMFIT, C.: (1985). The functional-notional approach: from theory to practice. Reprint
ed. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.
GATTEGNO, C.: (1978). Teaching foreign languages in schools: the silent way. 2nd ed. New York: Educational
LA FORGE, P. G.: (1983). Counseling and Culture in Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Pergamon Press.
MOSKOWITZ, G.: (1978). Caring and sharing in the foreign language class: A sourcebook on humanistic
techniques. Rowley, Massachusetts: Newbury House.
PORCHER, L.: (1980). Reflections on language needs in the school. Strasbourg: Council for Cultural
Cooperation of the Council of Europe.
STERN, H. H.: (1984). Fundamental concepts of languge teaching. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.
STEVICK, E.W.:(1980). Teaching languages: a way and ways. Rowley, Massachusetts: Newbury House.
TRIM, J. L. M., project adviser: (1981). Modern languages programme 1971-1981. Strasbourg: Council for
Cultural Co-Operation of the Council of Europe.
VILKES, B.: (1994). Fanfare. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.


Third cycle (6 th grade)
Four periods of class, one week before Christmas.
3.1. General
- To recognize the communicative value of learning a foreign language, showing a positive attitude of
understanding and respect for other languages and cultures.
3.2. Specific
- Students will be able to increase their understanding of and compare Christmas customs in English speaking
- Learn the lyrics and music of popular Christmas Carol and sing it.
- Experience and extract information from the song in the past tense.
- Interact with other cultures.
The methodology used should be suitable to a communicative approach to teaching English as a foreign
language. That is, taking into consideration the age, ability and needs of the students, as well as the criteria
specified in the overall objectives of the course, the EFL teacher should apply leaning strategies which are
based on learning by doing, i.e., task oriented strategies. The tasks required elicit a participative attitude on the
part of the learners and a guiding role on the part of the teacher. Additionally, the teacher should help the
students to learn both to think and to do in the target language.
- vocabulary (Specifics words from the song and Christmas words)
- phonological aspects (practise the pronunciation of the consonant -r-).
- Christmas environment.
- warm-up activities
- listening tasks
- Productive activities
Sociological aspects:

- Curiosity for different customs.

- Respect for different cultures.
6.1. Brain-storming: The students (SS) say any English words they know which are related to Christmas.
6.2. The teacher (T) shows them how to make a calendar of events.
6.3. SS work in groups (four to five people) and make one calendar for each group.
6.4. Using a cassette recorder, T plays Christmas carols while SS work with the calendars.
6.5. SS hang their calendars on the walls and T uses them to go over the meaning of words.
6.6. T plays the song Rudolph the red-nose Reindeer and while SS listen carefully.
6.7. SS read the lyrics of the song with missing words (listening task).
6.8. By listening and discussing SS find the missing words and start memorizing the lyrics (day by day).
6.9. T gives SS a text from "Mary's Diary" which tells what Mary did last Christmas.
6.10 Using their own native language (L1), SS discuss in how the Christmas customs narrated in Mary's diary
compare with customs in Spain.
6.11 At the end of the short-term series, the classroom is decorated. SS give each other presents and they sing
together the song "Rudolph the red-nose reindeer".
- A cassette tape of the song "Rudolph..." and a cassette recorder.
- Wrapping paper, glue, scissors, coloured markers and optional material (tacks, staplers, etc.).
- A textof Mary's diary talking about Christmas customs in her country.
SS write about what they did last Christmas: The pages will go into a class diary that everyone can read.
(See thematic number 14)


English is spoken in all continents. English is the most widespread language on earth.
English speaking is established in the British Isles, North America, Australia and North Africa. The English
speaking is uncertain in Africa, Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. We will draw a geographical, historical
and cultural outline of the most important English-speaking countries.
We will study the importance of sociocultural competence to the acquisition of communicative, and list activities
to reach it.


English has spread all over the world. Currently English is spoken and understood in the whole continent. It is
the international language of commerce, science and research. It is easier to learn for Asiatics and Africans, but
France wants to avoid the use of English words. In Spain there have been campaigns against the American
"contamination" in papers, radio, TV or cinema.
We can say that in South America, English is widely spoken.
Many Caribbean countries are bilingual, they speak English and Spanish.
This demand of English, all over the world, has caused an economic phenomenon, a military expansion, the
scientific advances and the power of media.
The Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes, imported English from the continent when they invaded "Great Britain",
after the arrival of the Roman Empire in the 5th century.
The language of these three peoples was basically the same, and the know dialects of Old English developed
after their setting in the isles.
The Norman Conquest in 1066 caused tremendous linguistic changes from that moment on we will talk about
Middle English.
Characteristics of Middle English were:
" Reductions of inflections.
" Disappearance of the grammatical gender.
" Rigidity in sentence word order.
" Fight among dialects.
" French orthography.
The influence of French and Latin terms modify the structure of the English Language.
About 1250, when the Normans lost Normandy and French language took and important paper, it began to be
questioned whether English should be used as a representative national language.
Which dialled should become the standard language? Around 1350 the London dialect was about to become
the "winner".
The political predominance of London as a governing centre facilities the spreading of this dialect thought the
From 1400 onwards French is reduced to the aristocracy and as a vehicle of commercial transactions with the
From 1650 to 1850 there is a change in the attitude of English people towards their own language.
There have been some changes in the Standard English, they are a consequence of the diversification of the
"social dialects".
English is the most spoken language in the world after Chinese. We are going to talk about the general
characteristics of the English-speaking countries.

In full the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Is made up of England, Wales, Scotland and
Northern Ireland.
It's a member of the Commonwealth and European Community. The capital is London. The currency is sterling
It is a constitutional monarchy, with two houses: House of Lords and House of Commons. The chief of state is
the sovereign, and the head of government is the prime minister.
Its geographic situation has marked its history, characterized by its independence to the continent. Nowadays
this distance has disappeared with the building of the channel tunnel.
Industry has always been the main economic source, here the industrial revolution took place. Commerce has
also been the basic for their prosperity. The UK dominated the maritime routes. The British monarchy was
founded in 1066 by William the Conqueror, it has been a system, with a small break of ten years corresponding
to the republican government imposed by Oliver Cromwell.
At the present moment, the monarch is Elisabeth II; she is also the head of the Anglican Church.
There are two big political parties: the conservative party and the labour party.
The principal river is the Thames. The highest point in UK is Ben Nevis (1343) in Scotland. The population grew
in 1950 with the arrival of Commonwealth emigrants. They came from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
This nation occupies the largest part of an island situated west of Great Britain. The national language is Irish,
but the official one is English. The major religion is Catholicism. Its capital is Dublin.
Ireland is an unitary multiparty republic, with two houses: senate and the house of representative. The chief of
state is the president and the head of government is the prime minister. Currency is Irish pound. The highest
point is carrantuchill; the major river is the Shannon. Ireland belongs to the European Community. Ireland
obtains the independence from Great Britain in 1921.
The Irish economy is based on the agriculture. It has not got important mineral resources.
The religious conflict: Catholics and Protestants, The majority of the population in England is Anglican, the main
features of the Anglican Church are the subordination to the Queen and its positives rejection of the Pope
In Northern Ireland, most of the population is Catholic. In Belfast, the capital, Catholics and Protestants cause
almost daily victims. The IRA, Irish Republican Army, commits terrorist attacks. The IRA wants the Protestants
to abandon Northern Ireland. They want to get the self-government for the Ulster.
English language is an universal language because it has been established in many countries. This export
began in 17th century with the birth of the colonies in North America. The main reason of the status of English is
the great number or inhabitants in USA and the massive emigrations on the 19th and 20th century.
The USA is a federal republic formed by 50 states.
Two legislatives houses: senate and the house of representative. The head of state and government is the
Its capital is Washington. The first river is Mississippi river. The currency is American dollar.
Religion: there isn't a principal religion. Protestantism is, perhaps, the most practised.
It is a nation of groups, where the minorities try to get equal rights and opportunities. The language is English,
but there are minorities such as Spanish or Asians, trying to keep alive their language.
It is a very rich country, with important metallic and energy sources. The USA obtains the independence from
Great Britain in 1783. From more than half a century ago the USA is the 1st world power. Its history is a long
and constant territorial progress, with a great political and military development.
The Victorian Era (1837-1901) was a period of prestige for Great Britain.
In the 16th century Great Britain developed its commercial capacity, by conquering every strategic point along
the mercantile routes. During the 18th and 19th centuries, they became a great empire.
All these territories were controlled by generators who imposed their language, their culture and laws. Most of
these territories were colonies for the exploitation, which originated the British richness and splendour. The
population was formed by emigrant who wanted to start a new life.
The different territories got their independence, but some of them were not prepared for self-governing and have
became 3rd world countries ruled by dictators.
It was founded in 1931 to carry out the dissolution of the British Empire. It is formed by 32 independent nations,
they maintain the English crown as their Head of State.
The reason for this institution is the economic interest of the countries that belong to it.
States members: UK, Canada, Trinity and Tobago, Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia, Australia, New Zealand, etc.
The republic of Philippines is an independent state since 1946.

Language: Tagalo; English as a commercial language.

Religion: Catholic.
Capital: Manila.
Spain lost the colony in 1898, under the domain of USA in 1935, it was constituted as a sovereign state under
the North American supervision.
An amazing fact about the English legal system. There is not a penal or civil code. They have the common law.
The sentences are based on previous trials.
The juries are formed by citizens coming from different social classes, they consider if the accused is guilty or
In USA, there are federal jurisdictions, every state has its own laws, courts and police.


The teacher of a modern language must teach not only the foreign language but also the civilization of the
countries and people who speak that language.
Apart from history and geography, our pupils must get familiar politics, mass media, etc.
There are 3 different procedures:
1. Interpretative reading.
First we must know the level of the group before planning any activity.
There should be a correspondence between the level of the text and the level of the group.
Different types of texts. The important result is that they get the signification about the society or social aspects
reflected in the textExample: journey around the world in 80 days. The typical gentleman.
2. Practices of oral expression.
We can offer our pupils photographs showing different aspects of British life, they must say whatever they
suggest to them.
We can use a dramatization of a dialogue, eg. "An English breakfast" (foods, timetable, courtesy sentences), "a
tourist visit" (we can use postcards or photographs). We can mention Christmas, Thanksgiving Day, American
3. Didactic use of songs.
They are a pedagogic support for the teaching of civilization.
The songs must have certain characteristics:
- correspondence with the level of the pupils.
- Interesting for the pupils
They can learn some structures with the songs.


Every aspect of language is enormously complex. Yet, children learn most of the intricate system of their mother
tongue before the age of six. Before they can add 2+2, children are putting sentences together, asking
questions, negating sentences, using the syntactic, phonological, morphological, and semantic rules of the
language. Children are not taught language as they are taught arithmetic. They learn language in a different


We are far from completely understanding the language acquisition process. We are just beginning to grapple
with those aspects of the human neurological and biological make up which explain the child's ability to acquire
language. Certainly it is clear that the child is equipped from birth with the necessary neural prerequisites for
language and language use.
Our knowledge of the nature of human language tell us something about what the child does and does when
acquiring a language:
1) Children do not learn a language by storing all the words ant all the sentences in some giant mental
dictionary. The list of words is finite, but no dictionary can hold all the sentences, which are infinite in number.
2) Children learn to understand sentences they have never heard before, and to construct sentences, most of
which they have never produced before.
3) Children must therefore learn "rules" which permit them to use language creatively.
4) No one teaches them these rules. Their parents are no more aware of phonological, syntactic, morphological,
and semantic rules than the children are. Children, then, seem to act like very efficient linguists equipped with a
perfect theory of language, who use this theory to build up the grammar of the language they hear.
In addition to acquiring the complex rules of the grammar (that is, linguistic competence), children must also
learn the complex rules of the appropriate social use for language, what certain scholars have called
communicative competence. These include, for example, the greetings which are to be used, the "taboo" words,
the polite forms of address the various styles which are appropriate to different situations, and so forth.


Linguists divide the child's acquisition of a language into prelinguistic and linguistic stages. There continues to
be disagreement as to what should be included in these periods. But most scholars agree that the earliest cries
and whimpers of the newborn cannot be considered early language. Such noises are completely stimuluscontrolled; they are the child's involuntary responses to hunger, discomfort, the feeling of well-being, etc.
Usually around the sixth month period, the infant begins to babble. The sounds produced in this period seem to
include the sounds of human languages. The role of babbling is not clearly understood, but it is absolutely clear
that in order that the language develop finally, the child must receive some auditory input.
Sometime after children are one year old, they begin to use same string of sounds repeatedly to "mean" the
same thing. Most children seem to go through the "one word=one sentence" stage. The child uses just one word
to express concepts or predications which will later be expressed by complex phrases and sentences.
Around the time of their second birthday children begin to produce two-word utterances like: "allgone sock";
"bye-bye boat"; "it ball"; "hi mommy"; "dirty sock"; mummy sock".
During this stage there are no syntactic or morphological markers; that is, no inflections for number, tense, or
person. The two words a child utters can express a number of different grammatical relations which will later be
expressed by other syntactic devices.
There does not seem to be any "three-word sentence" stage. When a child starts stringing more than two words
together, the utterances may be two, three, four, or five words or longer. The words in a "sentence" are not
strung together randomly; from a very early stage, children's utterances reveal their grasp of the principles of
sentence formation.
These first utterances of children which are longer than two words have a special characteristic. Usually, the
small "function" words such as to, the, can, is, etc, are missing ; only the words which carry the main message
-the "content" words- occur. Children often sound as if they were reading telegrams, which is why such
utterances are called "telegraphic speech". For example: "Cathy build house"; "No sit here"; "Car stand up
As children acquire more and more language, or more closely approximate the adult grammar, they not only
begin to use function words but also acquire the inflectional and derivational morphemes of the language. There

seems to be a natural order of acquisition of morphemes. It seems that the suffix -ing is the earliest inflectional
morpheme acquired. Eventually all the other inflections are added, along with the syntactic rules, and finally the
child's utterances sound like those spoken by adults.


There are those who think that children merely imitate what they hear. Imitation is involved, of course, but the
sentences produced by children show that they are not imitating adult speech. Even when children are
deliberately trying to imitate what they hear, there are unable to produce sentences which cannot be generated
by their grammar.
Another theory suggest that children learn to produce "correct" sentences because they are positively reinforced
when they say something right and negatively reinforced when they say something wrong. This view does not
tell us how children construct the correct rules.
Whatever "correction" takes place is based more on the content of the message than on its form. That is, if a
child says "Nobody don't like me", the mother may say "Everybody likes you2. Besides, all attempts to "correct"
a child's language are doomed to failure. Children don't know what they are doing wrong and are even unable to
make the corrections when they are pointed to them.
The reinforcement theory fails along with the imitation theory. Neither of these views accounts for the fact that
children are constructing their own rules. Different rules govern the construction of sentences as the grammar is
The "imperfect" sentences children use are perfectly regular. They are not "mistakes" in the child's language;
they reflect his or her grammar at a certain stage of development. The child seems to form the simplest and
most general rule he can from the language input he receives, and is so "pleased" with his "theory" that he uses
the rule whenever he can.
The most obvious example of this "overgeneralization" is shown when children treat irregular verbs and nouns
as if they were regular. We have probably all heard children say "goed", "singed", or "foots", "childs". These
mistakes tell us more about how children learn language than the "correct" forms they use. The child couldn't be
imitating; children use such forms in families where parents would never utter such "bad English".
The child's ability to generalize patterns and construct rules is also shown in the development of the semantic
system. For example, the child learns the word "daddy" and later applies it to other men.
Thus, a third theory suggests that language acquisition is a creative construction process, and that children
have to "construct" all the rules of the grammar. According to the famous linguist Noam Chomsky., "it seems
plain that language acquisition is based on the child's discovery of what from a formal point of view is a deep
and abstract theory - a generative grammar of his language".
Children seem to be equipped with special abilities or with a "language acquisition device", residing principally in
the left side of the brain, to know just what they can ignore, to find all the regularities in the language.
The details of this "innate" device are far from understood. As we gain more information about brain functions
and the preconditions for language acquisition, we will learn more about the nature of human language.


As we compare a child's acquisition of his mother tongue with the learning and acquisition of a second or foreign
language, it becomes evident that the processes and theories involved seem to be, at least to a certain extent,
parallel. Other aspects, on the other hand, keep less similarity , as it the case with the stages that children go
The learning progression does not take place in a linear way, by successive appropriation of the different
subsystems implied, but rather by a global approximation which in the initial stages implies a considerable
simplification and an exclusion of peculiarities that are not perceived as essential. Progress consists then in a
continuous process of completing, polishing and enriching this global apprehension of the new communication
system. Thus, the teaching and learning of a foreign language should not be viewed so much in terms of a
series of elemental units of content which are perfectly apprehended before proceeding to the next, but in terms
of a communication system which is globally elaborated and whose complexity and communicative potential
increases in a progressive form.
It should be pointed out that the information processing mechanisms often work efficiently even when the
student is not producing utterances. During the first moments in the learning of a foreign language, there are
often silent periods during which the student does not produce at all. This silence, however, cannot
unmistakably be interpreted as a lack of learning; it often covers an intense activity that cannot be directly
observed and which sometime in the future, will let him produce utterances which reflect the internal
representation that he has built during those silent periods. If we accept that creative construction can take
place without generating an immediate production, we will have to admit that receptive activities specific
comprehension competencies can be developed, but also, what is not so evident, the general communicative
competence that is behind every linguistic system.
The above explained makes clear that the process of language learning is complex and that this process takes
place in a personal and distinct way for each individual since the strategies which let the subject receive and
transform the input he receives are always used in a particular way.


According to Krashen there are five hypotheses, which try to explain the process of acquisition of a second
Acquisition in a not conscious process in which the person is not aware of the grammar or the rules he uses. In
many ways acquisition can be compared to the process by which a child becomes proficient in his mother
tongue. In this way, fluency is progressively gained as the proficiency in consolidated. Errors are accepted as a
normal part of the process.
Learning occurs consciously, we have to study the rules which govern a given language. We are not
responsible for our fluency since we depend on the activities suggested by the teacher. Learning has only one
function: as editor or as monitor, that is, to make corrections and change our output.
This Hypothesis states the grammatical structures are acquired in a fairly predictable order in L1 native
language and L2 (second language). In other words, just as children learn their native language in a natural
order, so students of a foreign language learn structures in a predictable way.
Nevertheless two points can be made against this hypothesis:
a) We do not have information about the order of acquisition of every structure in every language. Besides,
there are individual variations.
b) The existence of a natural order of acquisition does not imply that we should teach second languages
following this order.
The monitor hypothesis states the relationship between acquisition and learning. Acquisition plays a far more
important role than learning because learning is used as editor or monitor only. The function of monitor is to
make self corrections and change the output before of after speaking or writing.
But in order to use the monitor, three conditions need be fulfilled:
a) Time: in order to make a self-correction we need time. Self correction can hardly be used without altering
b) Focus on form: we have to be aware of the grammar forms we are using and know that there is a choice of
c) Finally, once we have stopped and concentrated on the form, it is necessary to have a correct knowledge of
the rules so that the proper correction can be made.
Thus, it can be easily deducted that monitor "overusers" may have difficulty in acquiring fluency. Monitor,
however, can be a great help if used for grammar tests and writing.
We acquire language by understanding input that contains i + 1
"i + 1" means a step by step progression. In order to progress the input (i) should be only a bit beyond (1) the
acquirer's current level of competence.
We understand language that we do not "know" by using context, extra-linguistic information, and our
knowledge of the world. In the same fashion, language is made understandable to us through the use of devices
such as simplified, visual clues, key words and phrases, gestures or familiar topics.
We do not teach speaking directly
Speaking fluency emerges on its own over time, thus, the best way to "teach" speaking is to provide
comprehensible input. For the same reason, early speech is typically not accurate. Direct error correction should
be avoided.
The "best" input should not be "grammatically sequenced"
It is enough by providing genuinely interesting and comprehensible input. Teachers should organize content on
the basis of themes or topics which are relevant to the students' needs and interests (communication-based
syllabus or curriculum).
It deals with the effect of affective variables on L2 acquisition. They are variables like anxiety, motivation or selfconfidence.
The affective filter produces a mental block which prevents inputs to enter the "language acquisition device".
Krashen summarizes his five hypothesis with a single claim:
"Comprehensible input is the only causative variable in second language acquisition. People acquire second
languages when they obtain comprehensible input and when their affective filters are low enough to allow the
input in".
Older acquirers are faster in the early stages of second language acquisition because:
a) they are better at obtaining comprehensible input as they have good conversational management;
b) they have superior knowledge of the world, which helps to make input comprehensible;
c) they can participate in conversation earlier, via use of first language syntax.

Younger acquirers tend to attain higher levels of proficiency in second languages than adults in the long run due
to a lower affective filter.
The five hypothesis about L2 acquisition predict that any successful L2 teaching program must have the
following characteristics;
a) It must supply input in the L2 that is:
- Comprehensible.
- Interesting and relevant to students.
The goal is, thus, to transmit messages, not to practice grammar.
b) It must not force students to speak before they are ready and must be tolerant of errors in early speech. We
improve in grammatical accuracy by obtaining more input, not by error correction.
c) It must put grammar in its proper place. Some adults, and very few children, are able to use conscious
grammar rules to increase the grammatical accuracy of their output; and even for these people, very strict
conditions (time, focus on form, and knowledge of the rule) need to be fulfilled before the conscious knowledge
of grammar can be applied, given the monitor hypothesis presented above.
The first language has long been considered the major cause of a learner's problems with the new language. It
"interferes" with the learner's acquisition of his of her L2.
If a structure in L1 differs from that of L2, errors that reflect the structure on the L1 will be produced. This
process has been labelled interference or negative transfer.
Spanish structure: adj + noun: La casa grande
Interference with English: *The house big
If a structure in both languages is the same, there will be positive transfer or zero interference, and there will be
no errors in L2 performance.
Spanish plural marker "-s": libros
English plural marker "-s": books
The contrastive Analysis treatment of errors was popular up through the 1960's. A large part of the rationale for
the Contrastive Analysis hypothesis was drawn from principles of behaviourist psychology.
There are two central concepts in transfer:
a) the automatic and not conscious use of the old behaviour (habits) in new learning situations (behaviourist
b) the use of past knowledge and experience in new situations (other educational and psychological views).
In recent years there have been enough data accumulated to place the L2 learner's first language in a
"respectable" role. Present research results suggest that the major impact the L1 has on L2 acquisition may
have to do with accent, not with grammar.


Many teachers and researchers noticed that a great number of the errors that students make could not possibly
be traced to their native languages. The theoretical climate of the late fifties and early sixties provided the
ultimate rationale for the error analysis approach:
Noam Chomsky's, Review of B.F. Skinner's Verbal Behaviour (1959) questioned the very core of the
behaviourist habit theory which accounts for language learning. Chomsky's views, along with Piagetian
psychology, succeeded in highlighting the previously neglected mental make-up of learners as a central force in
the learning process, not a habit formation.
Interlingual and developmental errors
The term error is used to refer to any deviation from a selected norm of language performance, no mater what
the characteristics or causes of the deviation might be.
In the Error Analysis view, errors that reflect the learner's L1 structures are not called interference but
interlingual errors.
Development errors are errors similar to those made by children acquiring their native tongue. For example,
students of English as a foreign often say things such as:
He cans play football very well.
This error is also found in the speech of children acquiring English as their first language.
Researchers have consistently found that, contrary to widespread opinion, the great majority of errors made by
second language learners are not interlingual, but developmental. Although adults tend to exhibit more L1
influence in their errors then children do, adult interlingual errors also occur in small proportions.
Implications of error analysis for L2 learning
Error Analysis has yielded insights into the L2 acquisition process that have stimulated major changes in
teaching practices. Studying learner's errors serves two major purposes:
a) it provides data from which interferences about the nature of the language acquisition process can be made;

b) it indicates to teachers and curriculum developers, which part of the target language students have most
difficulty to produce correctly and which error types detract most from a learner's ability to communicate
Interlanguage is the linguistic system that a learner constructs on his way to the mastery of a target language.
Methodologically, interlanguage may be said to incorporate the assumption of both Contrastive Analysis and
Error Analysis. While Contrastive Analysis contrasts the learner's native language and the target language, and
conventional Error Analysis involves contrast between the learner's performance and the target language,
interlanguage take all three elements into account, explicitly incorporating the contrastive analysis of the
learner's interlanguage with both his native and the target language.


We will start our discussion with a sort of introduction and continue with the first point that deals with the
influences of Linguistic Language Teaching, as well as the influences of other sciences. At this point from a
definition of Linguistics, we then move onto Compared Linguistics. Two linguistic theories are also looked into:
Structuralism and Generative Grammar. Sociolinguistic is also defined. We will finish this block with the
contributions of other sciences such as Pedagogy and Psycology to the process of foreign language teaching.
Secondly, we will look into the language learning process and we shall try to find the differences between the
acquisition of the mother tongue and the learning of a foreign language. Within this block, we will also refer to
the Curriculum, and the Constructivist Model proposed by it; the difference between acquisition and learning is
established and different suggestions to avoid problems in the second language learning.
A conclusion summing up what has been discussed throughout the unit will be followed by the bibliography used for the elaboration of this topic.
As a sort INTRODUCTION we shall point out that in the last twenty years the need for change in language
didactics has been analysed along the following lines:
1-Change of the concept of Education, where a stronger a stonger focus on communication is given;
2- the need for the study of foreign languages through a better education;
3- how the technological progress and the development of audivisual aids have contributed to the modernisation
of teaching;
4- the students demand of an active learning of foreign languages.
Teachers have to take advantage of the large numbers of pedagological theories and approaches and choose
those that can be best applied in their students' specific situation.
Therefore, the teacher has to develop an eminentely creative task and learn how to incorporate into his
methodology the latest findings in the field of Linguistics, and the contributions of many other sciences.

Influences of Linguistics on FLT

Once having begun the unit we are going to deal with the first block of our discussion; which considers the
influences of Linguistics on FLT.
The teaching of any subject must be supported by a series of general disciplines that are common to the
teaching of any subject, such as Psychology, Sociology and so on.
In LT these disciplines assist in the teaching from any perspective. Linguistics are included here, or more
accurately Macrolinguistics, which includes Sociolinguistics and Microlinguistics. The findings from these
disciplines used on the teaching of L, help us to make decisions to overcome the problems involved in teaching.
The so called, Linguistic Science or Linguistics, that is, the study of language is a very recent science. For
centuries, the interest was only centred on the research of a universal grammar. In the 19th century Compared
Linguistics, appeared which established that the relationship among language can be explained in a scientific
way. Nowadays, however Applied Linguistics deal with collecting data from those disciplines whose objectives
are the study of language, its learning, its use, and to utilise those facts to clarify the factors related to LT.
Let's move on now to consider what Applied Linguistics is for. It collects data and interprets the results that may
achive its aim and uses its findings to carry out its own experimental research.

Applied Linguistics has to do with all those theories that analyse how they can be useful LT and then proceed
with their pedagological application.
This knowledge is use to build grammars, to do comparative analysis between two or more languages, to carry
out research on the illiteracy rates of the population and to study languages and their regional varieties.
The most interesting field of study deals with second L learning and acquisition. Applied Linguistics uses these
findings from other sciences and applies them to LL.
We are going to consider some sciences on which the concept of FLT is based. The most important theories are
Structuralism and Generative Grammar.These theories are example of how research in Applied Linguistics can
be helpful in explaining the process of mother tongue acquisition and second LL.
Structuralism first appeared with Saussure in the 19th century. This theory defends that language is a social
phenomenon which is useful because it works in a community. This approach implies a psychological
perspective, its study is centred on speech and not on grammatical structures. He made a distinction between
language ( the system ) and speech ( the individual of the system ). They begin with an active study of all
speeches, arriving at the general rules. All these structuralistic principles have in commonthe assumption that
grammar does not consist of a system of rules that govern the isolated elements of language, but of a set of
structures that have to be taught, especially those that are different in the learners' first language.
The application of structuralism in LT was developed after the 2nd World War. Linguistics examined and
classified the structure of the first L and the second L being studied. They analysed which structures were
similar to that language and which offered interference, they made drills.
Structuralism is based on "behaviourist psycology stimulus answer response", and its attitude towards teaching
is based on the premise that 2nd L acquisition is the result of habit and condidional reflexes, we learn by
imitation and repetition.
Against this theory appeared Chomsky with his "Generative Grammar" Theory. Chomsky observed that
structuralism did not explain how the child was able to produce sentences that he had never produced before.
Chomsky's generativist theory postulated the existence of a specific ability in the child, an ability that allowed
him to generate an infinitive number of rules. A creative person who can create an unlimited number of
sentences with just a few linguistic elements. The child hears his first L and is able to develop a series of
increasingly global and correct hypothesis about that language system.
Before Chomsky students were given correct grammatical examples, nowadays students can compare
sentences with and without errors, and they are allowed to make mistakes because that is understood as an
important step in an autonomous process of learning. This theory gives special importance to free expression
and creativity.
Chomsky establishes a distinction between competence (the knowledge that the person has about his mother
tongue) and performance, that is the effective use of this knowledge in his normal speech.
We should point out here an essential aspect of the research of applied linguistics, that is, to what extent can
the process of first L acquisition be equivalent to the process of 2nd L learning. Thus it can be seen that the
process is the same, 2nd Language learners draw hypothesis about the L system, apply the rules and modify
them according to the feedback they receive. A 2nd L learner learns from his effort to communicate. If what the
learner wants to communicate lies within the possibilities of his system, he will have no problems. The problem
arises when he wants to communicate something that is not in his system. Therefore, he can choose to follow
other paths, such as using gestures, or transfering the limits he knows, in other words, he will take a risk.
We could conclude from the above that errors that students make reveal the state of development of his system.
We must give him enough information on the success or failure of his communicative attempt. He requires input
to contrast his production. The student then learns through the process of communicating; he who takes a risk
will be the one who learns most.

Acquisition of a mother tongue

Up to this point we have shown some of the linguistic theories which help us to explain the acquisition of a
mother tongue and the learning of a FL.
Now let us move on to mention the importance of another science: Sociolinguistics. This science studies and
states the relationship between the possession of a L and the control of reality. The social level of the family
conditions the development of speech abilities and level of performance. The classroom can be a useful
substitute for a poor linguistic environment.

We should also mention the studies of some linguists, like Firth and Martinowsky. They spoke about the concept
of situational context, that is the meaning of an utterance is a consequence of the cultural and situational
context where it takes place.
In the Eighties many programs in ELT were developed. All of them were based on the consideration of a L as an
instrument of communication. The threshold level, for instance, whose author is Wilkins, established a program
model for a European adult student of foreign L in terms of his communicative needs. It was intended to
create a program based on the areas of his interests.
In Europe L teaching was slowly changing. Linguistics were mainly concerned with oral language as a means of
communication. Learners were taught to comprehend and then to speak. The interferance of the first L had to
be avoided. Conversation was the main focus of the class.
The process of LT goes parallel to the learning process. In the 70s special attention waspaid to this learning
process. The concept of interferance, introduced by Corder, refers to the problems of interferance caused by the
mother tongue on the learning of a foreign language.
Now, we shall study the contributions of other sciences to the process of foreign LT.
On the one hand, we find Pedagogy whose contribution to the teaching of foreign L and to the concept of
modern education is the following: that the educational principles are flexible, and should be adapted to every
social change. An individualised teaching is required, as well as the formation of an integral person with special
attention to his creative ability. Group work, collaboration and the participation of students in all the educational
process should also be considered.
On the other hand, we find he science of Psycology. Some important studies are the following: in the teaching of
foreign L motivation is very important. Apart from motivation a deep knowledge of the pupil's psychological
characteristics is required; we need to know the student's abilities and rhythm of learning to better adopt the
structure of the subject to his structure of knowledge. So the teacher will be able to allow pupils to learn more
depending on their own needs and rhythm.
Summarising, we could say that the most important contribution of Pedagogy and Pedagogy to foreign L
teaching is that the teaching must be centred on the pupils' needs and personality; creativity whilst imagination
should be developed through motivation.

Similarites and differences between the acquisition of the mother tongue and the learning of a
foreign L.
After having dealt with some of the contributions of Linguistics and other sciences to FLT, we shall analyse the
process of L learning and the similarites and differences between the acquisition of the mother tongue and the
learning of a foreign L.
The starting point of the theoretical basis of the conception of 2nd L learning is found in the Curriculum: " The
foreign L acquisition process can be characterised as a creative construction process during which the student,
relying on a set of natural strategies, based on the input received, formulates hypotheses in order to make up
the internal representation of the new L system."
Knowing a L implies knowing its sociolinguistic, discourse and strategic aspects. The sociolinguistic aspect
implies the knowlwdge of the rules related to a given sociolnguistic context; the discourse aspect organises
cohesion and coherence in different spoken and written statements; the strategic aspect is responsible for
completing the interaction when taking into account the objective of
The Contructive Model proposed by the Curriculum is based on the following aspects:
1- The student is considered the centred of the teaching process;
2- The student has a certain knowledge that adds to the new information
and combines them to produce significant learning.
Another important aspect of the contructive model is that of learning through discovery. L functions as regards
rules are learned by a process of discovery. The students generates hypotheses himself and check that they
match the established rules.
Before moving on to study some of the theories on the L learning process, let us focus on the differences
between the acquisition and learning.

Krashen in his book Language Acquisition Hypothesis makes a clear distinction between acquisition and
learning. According to him, the acquisition is a natural process whereas learning is conscious formal process.
Acquisition implies an implicit knowledge of rules in contrast with learning which implies the explicit knowledge
of rules.
Acquisition is the way a child acquires his mother tongue, whereas learning is the way students learn a foreign
After having looked into the differences between acquisition and learnig, we are going to study some of the
theories on the acquisition and learning of a second language.
Vigotsky establishes three main stages in language acquisition. The first one is when language is only a means
of external communication in a child, both in form and function. The third one is when language is interiorised
and becomes verbal thought and then guides cognitive development.
Today it is believed that the first statements of children are due to their individual system, independent from that
of adults; language is built or rebuilt by the child who gradually makea a system of rules, an implicit grammar
and a set of communication rules with which he interprets what he receives.Thus, the child produces statements
correctly but these are mere repetitive routine. The interesting aspect is that the child makes incorrect
statements which shows that he is trying to create a language using his own linguistic mechanism, according to
certain opearating rules that he himself has generated, it is an internal implicit grammar.
The second language acquisition process goes through three different phases:
1.- Cognitive elaboration: the learner centres his attention on types of models presented to him in the 2nd L. He
has an attitude towards comprehending or remembering the different aspects of the models presented.
2.- Associate phase: the child begins to form hypotheses about the input received, as well as its organisation
and arrangement, contrasting them with his knowledge and exemplifying them with the production of such
models in similar contexts.
3.- Autonomy phase: the child can use what he has learned spontaneously.In order for this phase to take place,
a great amount of previous practice is required.
Another important aspect of the constructive model is that the student has an active role in which he will have to
implement certain strategies similar to those used in first L acquisition to adapt, generalise, correct rules and so
Lastly an assumption in the previous model is that in any learning process there is a semantic motivation. There
is a natural predisposition for producing meaning, which is motivating when learning a 2nd L.
Moving on, another section of this topic concerns the basic differences and similarities between the acquisition
of a mother tongue and the learning of a foreign L.
Firstly, we will examine the similarities. They are three:
-the interlingual development,
-the subconcious mental process and
-the variation.
We are going to explain now what we undertand by the interlingual development process. When a language is
learned, the learner is not ready to use it for some years. Interlingual development is the process a learner must
go through before is able to speak fluently or as well as a native speaker.
The second similarity is the subconcious mental process; the brain organises the input received to allow the
mechanisms to speak.
The third similarity is the variation. Not all language learners follow the same path. There are individual
variations which make some students learn slower than others. Phychological personality and others also come
into play here.
Now, let us consider the differences. There are three important differences between the acquisition of the
mother tongue and the learning of a FL. These are:
-the age,
-the phenomenon of fossilitation and
-the transference.

According to many authors, age is a factor that determines the success or failure in 2nd LL. Today there is
absolute unanimity in the fact that is approximality in puberty
when the ability to acquire L under natural conditions is lost.
Another difference is the phenomenon of fossilitation. Many 2nd L learners never quite learn the L correctly.
Thie causes may be due to the type of teaching is given, the problems of motivation or the students personal
The third difference is the transference. When we speak a 2nd L, it is almost impossible not to make mistakes
influenced by our native L.
As we have explained, a basic difference between the acquisition of a mother tongue and the learning of a FL is
that the first one is a natural process which does not need a methodology, whereas the 2nd one does; the FLL
happens in a classroom and not in social life.
In mother tongue acquisition there is a continuos linguistic information, and a direct contact between the L and
its cultural envirinment; the correction of errors appears after training and effort. On the contrary, we find that
FLL involves planning with special objectives and a specific didactic method.
We should finally point out some suggestions to overcome problems in the 2nd LL process.
Firstly, we should not change the natural order of the interlingual process.
Secondly, pupils must receive a high input. We must respect a silent period and allow children to express
themselves in a spontaneous and natural way.
Finally, regarding how to overcome the fossilitation phenomenon, we find different opinions by different authors.
Some of then think that pupils should be push to produce, and grammar should be taught. Others state that
grammar should be taught in an inductive way, without forcing pupils to use it correctly.
Summarising, we can point out the following. In this unit we have presented some of the most important
contributions to FLT; especially the principles of Linguistics, Structuralism and Generative Grammar. After that,
we have looked into the most important differences and similarities between the acquisition of the mother
and the learning of a FL.
1- The Teaching of English as an International Language by Abbot, G and Wingard, P. Collins, 1981.
2- Approches and Methods in Second Language Learning by Garner, R.C. and Lambert.
Rowley Press Newbury.
3- Linguistics in Language Teaching by Wilking, D. Edward Arnold, 1972.


The teaching of foreign languages has always developed along with Linguistics,although it has been in this
century when the traditional conceptions of science of language has been transformed by a widening and
specializing of its knowledge. On the other hand, in the current situation of Linguistics, there is an intention to
overcome the contradictions of previous beliefs, in order to elaborate a new model, much more eclectic and
useful for the process of language teaching and learning.


The theoretical aspects upon which the main methods and approaches are based and studied in the field of
Applied Linguistics, and a first systematization of these theoretical principles at the beginning of the 19th

Before that, the methodology used in the language teaching processes in the 17th and 18th was GrammarTranslation Method whose techniques were based on the model of Latin teaching, when this was already a
dead language. This model was, in fact,unsuitable to teach living languages,as it was a mere adaptation of
techniques belonging to a prestigious discipline.
However, just from the second half of the 19th century the first applied linguists appeared, looking for some
theoretical basis on which they could support the language teaching processes. To do so, they observed the
childrens acquisition mechanisms of their first language, the importance of oral communication, and the first
steps done in the studies of Phonetics.
Although these first principles had less impact at the moment, they served as an influence on later works. Thus,
they are very related with the second researching line, the Reform Movement which supported, on the one
hand, the adoption of an inductive approach in which oral production was considered more important than
written production, and on the other hand, a deep study of Phonetics in order to introduce more efficient
exercises to improve pronunciation.
In the 19th century appeared the Direct Method, based on the model of the first language acquisition. According
to this approach, the best way to learn the second language was the practice of oral production just since the
beginning with the help of non-verbal strategies to explain the meaning of some of the words or phrases which
were likely to appear.
In the 20th century, the works of Applied Linguistics on the field of language teaching point out to their
application on academic contexts, and they require the adoption of teaching techniques which take into account
the classroom reality.
At the end of the World War II, the American Army had to organize intensive language courses in order to
prepare the military staff to work as translators or interpreters in the occupied countries because the Reading
Method which was most used, did not guarantee enough fluency in oral comprehension and production, they
appealed to the structuralist linguists experiences such as Bloomfield.
After the World War II, the Audiolingual Method appeared, partially based on the Army courses. In this method
there is a relationship between Structuralism (Bloomfield) and Psychological Behaviourism (Skinner), whose
stimulus-response-reinforcement theories would have a great influence on the layout of the mechanic exercises
which are characteristical of the Audiolingual Method. For this method, oral production is more important than
written and the order for practising the skill is: aural comprehension (listening), oral production (speaking),
written comprehension (reading), and written production (writing).
In Great Britain another linguistic school appeared, which worked independently from the Audiolingual. It
developed a very similar method of teaching foreign languages: The Situational Language Teaching. It is based
on Structuralism but much more formal in their linguistic references.It gives more importance to the situational
context and to a selection of vocabulary. Nevertheless, the exercises of both methods do not prepare the
students for real situations of communication.
In the Sixties, a new approach appeared in Great Britain: The Communicative Language Teaching in which the
situational component of the Situational Language Teaching is the frame for communicative interactions and not
only for the practice of structures. In this approach, the term communicative competence was coined by
American linguist D.Hymes to refer to the ability of using the linguistic system in an efficient way to
communicate in society.
From the decade of the 60s,other approaches have appeared which have contributed to development of Applied
Linguistics. These methods are interested in the cognitive processes and in the affective and contextual
conditions which must take place for the learning or acquisition of the foreign language.
The first one is the Total Physical Response, based on J.Ashers methodological criteria. One of the main
principles of this new approach is that pupils remember more easily those utterances which they can relate with
actions made by themselves. Thus the comprehension of meaning the orders that the teacher asks the pupils to
do lead them to produce no-verbal responses such as getting up,opening the door,drawing,etc.
Following the same line, the Natural Approach, based on S Krashen and T.Terrell works, propose the possibility
of acquiring a second language in an academic context if the conditions which are similar to those which can be
found in the process of acquiring the first language by young children are fulfilled. Language learning as a
conscient process lead children to acquire some knowledge which will help them to correct their mistakes, what
is called Monitor Theory.
Finally, it is important to quote some approaches, such as The Silent Way, which looks for the learners hard
concentration on the utterances; Suggestopaedia, which uses relaxation and suggestion as helpers for
language learning; and the Community Language Learning, based on group therapy and which uses the target
language as a means of expressing feeling.


Phonetics and Phonology.
These two sciences deal with sounds and how they can combine to make meanings.
Phonetics works the whole sound body of a language, studing its phonic elements in a systemic way. It gives
the representation of sounds which helps to pronounce the language in a correct way. The main parts of
Phonetics are: Articulatory Phonetics, which concentrates on how the sounds are emitted by speakers; Auditory
Phonetics, which studies those sounds in relation to the listeners; and Acoustic Phonetics, which deals with the
physical part of sounds by using different instruments to register them.
Phonology deals with the function of those sounds in the communicative process and gives an exhaustive
analysis of the rules of the sound system within the language.
Phonetics is ,together with Linguistics, one of the main sciences concerned with language and arose in the 16th
century as the science that studied the relationship between spelling and sound. In 1886 the International
Phonetic Association (IPA) was founded. This association devised a phonetic alphabet, or set of symbols that
would serve to represent the sound of any language. This alphabet is now widely used in textbooks and
pronouncing dictionaries.
As our present objective is the teaching of a foreign language, the most useful view for this purpose is to regard
Phonetics and Linguistics as the two Linguistic Sciences. Both of them study language, but from different angle.
Phonetics is interested in sounds and how they are organized and transmitted,whereas Linguistics is concerned
with how language is structured grammatically and semantically.
Within Grammar we can find two sciences: Morphology and Syntax.
Morphology studies the form of the words of a language, and deals with the word flexions of genre, number and
case, and with the problems which may arise in this area. It also studies among others, the changes which are
produced in meaning by the influence of affixes.
Syntax established the rules for sentence combination and analyses the different of the words within the
Grammar has two main objectives; it gives the rules necessary to generate the meaningful chains or strings
which are characteristical of a language. On the other hand, it gives rules useful for the speaker to verify that a
chain of meaning belongs to the language s/he speaks.
The most important ideas in the field, nowadays, are given by Chomskys Generative Grammar, which sets up
that a language is built upon a finite vocabulary corpus, this being a group of symbols which combine to make
Semantics studies the meaning and sense of words, and it applies its researches to three important fields:
" Structural Semantics, based on Saussures works. He claimed that the signification of a sign is not only limited
to the relationship between the signifier and signified parts of it, but also between this sign and the others.
" Distributional Semantics, in which the meanings of the linguistic units are in relation with the contexts in which
they appear.
" Generative Semantics, which does not take into account the different elements of the sentence but the
sentence itself as a model.
It is a modern science which considers speech an act by itself, because language is inserted in a productive
context. This context is the communicative situation and knowledge shared by the speaker and the listener.
The speech act is regarded as a cooperative process in which the participantsintentions must be interpreted.
H.P. Grice established in his book Logic and Conversation,that, in every speech act, there is a conventional
meaning given by speakersknowledge of the language rules, and an implicative meaning, given by the
speakersintention towards their message and towards the listeners, as well as by the context. In this sense,
Grices Cooperative Principle established that speakers cooperate in their engagement in conversation, their
engagement being on four maxims:

" The maxim of Quantity, which says: Make your contribution as informative as it is required.
" The maxim of Quality, which says: Make your contribution true; be sincere.
" The maxim of Relation, saying: Make your contribution relevant; do not be unconnected.
" The maxim of Manner: Avoid obscurity, ambiguity; give order to your speech.
Normally, speakers fulfill these four maxims in their speech acts. However, when one or more of them are
broken up intencionally, this fact gives place to what Grice calls a conversational implicature, that is, an
implication made by the speaker who intends to say something, in an indirect way, to the listener.


The experiments carried out about the learning of the first language lead to the conclusion that only before
puberty the childs brain has a great plasticity that allows him/her perfectly the languages that s/he hears
around, but when puberty comes, that plasticity seems to decrease gradually.
Nevertheless, this conclusion says nothing about what happens in the persons brain when learning a language,
nor does it explain how some people after puberty have achieved a mastering of one or several languages,
even with a great degree of perfection. Moreover, the methods and techniques of foreign language teaching are
exclusively based on the results of teaching experience, but never on a precise knowledge of how the individual
s internal mechanisms work, although, on the other hand, as the process of learning the mother tongue
coincides with the first years of life, when the child experiments the most spectacular physical and mental
development, it is natural to think that there exists a narrow relationship between these two processes: the first
and the second language learning.


Although, up to now, the several researches that have been undertaken on this matter have not been able to
explain appropiately how second language learning process works, they have shown that some methods and
techniques are more efficient than others. In order to establish a solid scientific basis, these researches have
leaned on learning processes in general, and on the process of first language acquisition.
There are essential differences between the learning of a second language and the acquisition of the first
language. When children acquire their native language, they are answering to their vital necessity of dominating
the environment in which they are inserted. When they have this tool, their purpose to learn another language is
very different. Indeed, the circumstances in which we acquire our L1 are very different from those in which we
learn a L2.
Three important theories can be applied both to the acquisition and the learning of languages:
" SKINNERS Behaviourism, which is based on experiments made with animals. According to behaviourist
researchers, the way how animals and human beings learn is similar. The theory on human speech says that
every speech act is produced as a response to a stimulus. This stimulus can have different origins, such as the
environment, the speaker needs and another speech act made by an interlocutor. Besides, if the appropiate
answer is to be produced, it is necessary some sort of reinforcement. In our case, this reinforcement can be the
speakers desire to be understood or simply to communicate.
The behaviourist researcher regards language learning as the acquisition of several habits which can only be
acquired by repeating the adequate answers in different situations. During this process of continuous repetition
the student of a second language adopts a participative role. What is important for Behaviourism is not the
meaning of the spoken chains, but the authomatic production of responses to the different stimula.
- CHOMSKYS Innatism appeared in the 60s as a contraposition to Behaviourism. For him, all human beings
have innate universal grammatical rules just from before they are born. These rules are valid for all languages.
When the child starts speaking s/he applied them to the language s/he listens to around him/her. At the same
time, s/he makes his/her own grammatical rules of his/her own language and during the whole process of
acquisition , these rules are adapted to the general concept s/he has.
" ASSOCIATIONISM, for its part, include these factors in its researches. This theory claim that communication
factors transmit aditional information which children associate with a concrete situation. In this sense, they make
relations between expressions that they may hear and the objects or actions which accompany those
expressions. Their need to fall back on these relationships decrease as they memorize the associations. Thus,
the end of this progression is in their use of the linguistic system without appealing to extralinguistic elements.
Associationism coincides with Behaviorism in making relations between words and object. However, in
Associationis, the process is not mechanical, but it result as a consequence of the individuals intelligence. In
this sense, s/he is active participant in the communication process and in the learning processes because s/he
is able to draw his/her own conclusions.

It is important to say that, to speak a language, we have to know both the vocabulary and grammar of that
language, and that children lean on their own intelligence to establish the rules which will help them to make
suitable speech acts. During the whole learning process these rules are continuously revised.
On the other hand, if we want to learn a second language, it is necessary to mention the importance of the
teaching process, which is of less relevance in the process of acquisition.
When learning a second language, people have different purposes and the achieve different result. This fact
make us suppose that there exist different factors which make influence on this process. Several studies have
given place to some conclusions and they set up three main factors which are of great importance in the second
language learning process.
1. Motivation.
Motivation seems to be the most interesting factors of all three, because it does not make any influence on the
L1 learning processes. The L1 acquisition allows children to get into relation with their environment and to
satisfy their needs. As they get to master the use of their first language, they discover the possibilities they have
to cover up other necessities and functions which may appear.
If the L2 is learnt when older, the concepts belonging to the L1 language are already settled up and they are
used by adults in their L2 learning process. If there is an interest in learning the L2, this teaching-learning
process will be followed in a very efficient way because knowing another language implies knowing another
At a glance, it seems that if the learner stays in the host country of the language s/he is studying. S/he will find it
easier to learn that language. However, this is only true if the learner is actually interested in participating in
social contacts with native speakers. His/her wishes to control the environment are more important here than
the teaching aspects.
When speaking about motivation, it is not only important to appeal reward, in the behaviouristic sense of the
word, but we must also include human psychological needs. Among them we can find essential ones, such as
hanger o fear; and some others dealing with personal security, feeling of belonging to a community, selfconfidence and relation with the other members of the community we belong to. Apart from the motivation in
satisfying these psychological needs, every individual is more encouraged as his/her objectives are more
important for him/her, as for example, those referring to cultural interest, family well-being, etc.
Researches have shown that there are two types of motivation:
" Integrative motivation, referring to the studentsfeeling of belonging to the community of native speakers of the
language they are learning and of participating in their cultural environment.
" Instrumental motivation, dealing with the learnersneed to learn the second language to apply for a job or to
study abroad.
This second type of motivation is very common in Primary Education, and as teachers, our role is to encourage
in our students the integrative motivation. To do so, there are a series of techniques: bringing to the classroom
material (pictures,brochures,leaflets,...) about the country; organizing competitions on sports characteristical of
the country; or accompanying the students to shows (films,plays,concerts,...) in the foreign language.
On the other hand, teachers must have in mind that children are better receivers of these kinds of activities than
adults, and that they are easily encouraged to participate in tasks where they can play an active role
(dramatizations,games,mural making,..).
Language aptitude.
It has been shown that there are some people who can learn a language more easily than other people,who, in
turn, find it rather difficult to get enough competence in that new language. A lot of research has been made in
this sense to find the relationship between our own aptitude or inner ability and the results achieved in our
learning process. Thus, it has been shown that there is no direct connection between our intelligence and our
aptitude for language learning. On the contrary, it seems to exist a dependence on series of factors, such as the
brain ability to record and memorize certain phonetical material; our own faculty to tackle grammatical
information; our capacity to remember new words; and our ability to discover or infer, without help, linguistic
forms and rules.
The Modern Language Aptitude Test (MLAT) is used to measure these abilities, although it is only based on
linguistic elements. Besides, it seems that this test only gives us 50 per cent of certainly, and that is the reason
why the Language Aptitude Battery (LAB) was also used to measure language aptitude, but including other
extralinguistic elements such as motivation. According to the results given by this test, the students who get

satisfactory results in the other subjects usually get good qualifications in foreign language. Indeed, this is
usually true, but there are other students as well who are very good at foreign language, but not at rest of the
subjects. In conclusion, there does not exist definitive criteria for us to base on when dealing with this matter.
However, the fact that intelligence does not make great influence over foreign language acquisition does not
mean that teacher leave it aside. On the contrary, it is important to take intelligence into consideration when
choose the appropiate methodology in class. Thus, for less intelligent students, the most useful method seems
to be that of repetition, whereas a methodology based on explanation of what they are learning seems to suit
better to cleverer pupils.
Here, the question is, "which is the appropiate age to start learning a second language?". According to some
studies the best age to foreign language learning is between four and eight years, because the child
experiments an intensive process of evolution characterised by his/her ability to learn through mere exposition
to data. Nevertheless, there some teachers who think that children should not start learning a second language
until they have enough fluency on their first language. They even say that an early start in L2 learning can
prevent children from acquiring their L1 efficiently.
All these opinions leads us to analyse the advantages and disadvantages of foreign language learning early
start. In order to do that, we can have a look at those cases of emigrantschildren who get competence in a L2.
As opposed to them, those children who learn a foreign language at school do not usually achieve that degree
of perfection.
For all this, one of the main reasons to introduce L2 learning in Primary Education is the better assimilation of
phonetical elements that children have at this age. Besides, children usually are less reticent to participate
actively in class, just as they do not have the adultssense of ridiculous, although adults normally have less
dificulty on getting concentrated. All these age factors, however, should not interfere on the teaching-learning
process, and we should think that, wether younger or older, the human being has mechanisms of every type to
acquire foreign languages if they are motivated to do so.
What, in fact, should worry us is the fact that the little success which the student may have in Primary School is,
unfortunately, due not to the factors of age, aptitude or motivation, but the teachers low level of preparation in
relation with how to let the students into a foreign language.


According to Chomsky, the difference between acquisition and learning is that acquisition can only take place
up to a certain age because when we have already got the mechanisms which allow us to register those cncept,
procedures, and pieces of information in order to use them in our daily lives for different purposes,all which we
can get afterwards is not tackled through our mechanisms of acquisition, but through our learning processes. It
is just during acquisition when children make their own grammar, by verifying which rules are correct and which
are wrong. This checking process is made through their analysis of input data which are contrasted with their
own innate rules.
Chomskys theories on this field are nowadays considered and followed when dealing with how children acquire
their first language, and they are very useful to study those processes which give place to foreign language
learning and to put them into practice when teaching that foreign language at school.
When they begin speaking, children produce certan utterances which they have not heard before. Thios fact
leads us to think that there must be an inner mechanism which, basing itself on the outer linguistic data, allow
the production of different grammatical structures. From this generative-transformational point of view (Chomsky
s) these phenomena can be explained through the Language Acquisition Device, which make childen know the
linguistic universals (word order,linguistic categories, etc), as well as the procedures which are necessary to
acquire a language.
Mother tongue acquisition begins in the very moment the child is given birth, when s/he hear the first
sounds,voices and even his/her own cry. When s/he is three or four years old, s/he has already got hold of the
way how his/her language works, and is able to communicate more or less effectively with the speakers of the
same language.
The innate ability to oral communication is characteristical of all human beings, except from those who suffer
from some sort of serious congenital illness or disability. As it has been said before, intelligence is not directly

related to language acquisition because those people who are not relatively clever have been succesful in
acquire their native language.
Within the whole process of mother tongue acquisition, there exist some steps followed by children:
" Prelinguistic stage: From birth to the age of eight months, children acquire spontaneously the use of auditory
mechanisms. It is the stage when they produce non-symbolic sounds.
" First word production: When they are 11 months old, children produce a voice sound which is somehow
symbolic for them. This is the stage in which they give names to people or objects placed around them.
" Second year: Childrens messy vocalic structures begin to get shape and they begin to participate into
communicative exchanges. Their parentsrole gets more and more important. However, it is not a matter of
repetition of what they say, but beyond that, children create by themselves sounds which they regard as correct
or wrong depending on the adultsreactions. These criteria of validation help the child to take or opt out the
different strings of language they are giving birth to. Those strings which s/he considers to be correct are the
same that the ones produced by adults and are reinforced by means of continuous repetition.
" Between 3 and 4 years old: The process of acquisition keeps on developing. This a period of great creativity
and less difficulty for auditory discrimination, and for imitation. The essential aspects of the process of
acquisition are developed in full. The following grammatical system children build on are very similar to those
which respond to the adultsgrammatical rules.
" Entering school: The school substitutes their parents in the acquisition process and provides them with written
code. It is just in this moment when the process of learning behings, and it will all their lives.


The fact that children start acquiring their mother tongue when they are babies suggests that it would be quite a
good idea to take advantage of this ability to make them acquire some others. Indeed, there are people in many
places who are bilingual since they were born, this ocurring in families where two or more languages are spoken
at the same time. Besides, we must take into account that, from a phonetical and auditory point of view, children
have all the biological characteristics to be able to acquire naturally more than one language just from their
In some cases children can acquire simultaneously their mother tongue and their father tongue. However,
"bilingualism" does not mean "same lingualism", that is, both languages being used with the same frequency of
time. On the contrary, their use depends on the circumstances around, and normally, one language is more
often used that another.
On the other hand, several researches have shown that it would be of great help for children to be bilingual
since the beginning, in terms of psychological development. However, this is only possible whenever the contact
with their parentslanguages is as more natural as possible; if not, there may exist a possible slowing down in
their acquiring process.
Bilingualism is essentially the result of family circumstances, or of other natural ways of contact with different
languages, such as those cases in which children live long periods of time in a foreign country, or in which two
languages coexist in the same country.
Nevertheless, those bilingual or multilingual countries, such as Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, or Spain, can not
always offer their citizens the possibility to take advantage of this situation when they are acquiring their first
language/s. The main reason for this is that those languages often compete among them, that is, they are rivals,
and people belonging to one of the linguistic communities often have a negative attitude towards the other/s, as
it is case of Canada.
It is in Canada where an inmersion program was put into practice in 1965. The experiment began in a little
village called Saint Lambert, and it was completed and assesed by the psychological department of the
University of Montreal. The program consisted in the alternation of French and English. Children spoke English
at home, but at school, they were taught French by using it in the different subjects they had to study. This
project had great relevance and has given place to a lot of research in that country.
With regard to Europe, only in bilingual countries can this program be put into practice. Luxemburg is a case
apart, because it is a trilingual country: Luxemburguese is spoken at home, German is taught from the first year
of Primary Education, and French, from the third year. This early trilingualism is completed in Secondary
Education with the teaching of English. The citizens of Luxemburg, where there are not universities, have the
possibility of choosing among those universities of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Canada
and the United States. This situation is very difficult to achieve in many other European countries.
However, something similar is what is called bilingual education, which implies the teaching in a foreign
language of one or more topics well kown by the pupils. The methodology is being carried at school in
Netherlands, Germany, France and Scandinavian countries.


1.- Children's literature in the English language.
1.1. Literacy language.
1.2. Children's literature in the English language.
1.3. Analysis of literary language through relevant works.
2.- Didactic application techniques for listening comprehension; introducing and encouraging reading habits and
appreciating the poetic function of language.

Children's literature has certain particular features which, apart from the author's inspiration, are what make it
more attractive and interesting for children, namely: it is a free and happy activity, contains imaginative
elements, reflects inner grievances suffered by the child, uses argumentative techniques and language suited to
children, has a most intuitive presentation, appeals to feelings, affectivity, transmits moral values, conveys
serenity and balance on the part of the author, has expository clarity and is interesting.
In children's literature, children's folklore can also be included, which is a form of literature that has been passed
on by word of mouth. Carmen BravoVillasante states that an aesthetic education using folklore enhances
sensitivity. Children who are not taught by means of songs, stories or poetry are children with poorness of spirit.
Children's literature is an inexhaustible fountain of resources for programming all sorts of language activities.


The language used in literature differs from the language we ordinarily speak. By and large, literature and
speech use the same language with identical sounds and grammatical procedures, and however, there is a
clear separation between them, a difference in level. In writing there is always an urge to improve which makes
the writer avoid words, sentences or turns of phrases that are used unscrupulously in informal speech.
The difference begins from the moment that literature acquires enough development and prestige to impose a
select taste for its language. In certain areas, the literary inflow raises the tone of average speech; in others,
while literary language barely changes, common speech quickly changes, as it occurred with vulgar Latin.
Literary language broadens and enriches vocabulary and refines subtleties of meaning with its incessant
creative process. It chooses between certain forms of expression and others, thus contributing to the
lastingness of a language; and it serves to halt tendencies that hasten the development of a language.
- Clarity is achieved by presenting an idea in such a way that it cannot be interpreted erroneously; it denotes
exactly what the author means to say. The opposite of clarity is ambiguity or amphibology, a sentence,
expression, etc., capable of double meaning. When amphibology is used intentionally, it is called an
- The quality of propriety occurs when the words that are used are those that are suitable for what is being
expressed. Words are not interchangeable, for there are no true synonyms.
- Language has expressive vigour when it expresses with representative force what the writer or speaker
means. If the expressive power is so great that what is stated appears in our imagination, with features of
sensitive reality, it is said that language contains plasticity.
- Decorum eliminates all that is deemed uncouth, impolite or indecent.
- Concreteness requires complying with the language rules in force. The violation of syntactic rules is called a
- Harmony is achieved by, when choosing words, attending to their sound quality and arranging sentences in
such a way that the musical elements of the language are enhanced. The opposite of euphony or pleasant
sound is cacophony.
- Abundance lies in the richness and variety of the vocabulary.
- Language is pure when words and constructions are used in accordance with the particular nature of that
language, without the use of unnecessary foreign elements.
- Barbarisms or superfluous foreignisms must be repudiated.
The reaction against foreign influences may lead to the extremes of purism and correction, which insist upon
absolute purity in language, based on the servile imitation of the classics and on strict correctness, which often
sacrifices naturalness and liveliness.


Children's literature is a branch of the science of books which has been so useful and charming as any other
type of literature.
Children's literature includes many books that adults enjoy reading even when they do not read them to or with
children. The most famous children's book is "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland", and it is read more by adults
than children. The same occurs with "Peter Rabbit", one of the books best-known for its humanity.
In the past years, the study of children's literature has regained popularity.
It is one of the most important divisions of children's literature. It contains a similar proportion of wishes and
fears, which creates a balance that keeps the attention of readers and listeners. It can tell lots of meaningful
stories in many different ways.
Elliot says that fairy tales are best as bedtime stories for young children, but they are also valuable for older
Bottelheim specifies that they are good for children between the ages of nine and ten, which is when children
are maturing in processes that they are afraid of.
They are the strongest bond between fairy tales and modern children's literature.
Animals are creatures that speak and act like human beings. They are present in most old and modern
children's stories and are the most important source of power in the best children's literature, a source which
other types of literature had abandoned before the 19th century.
Animals in fairy tales are enchanted and live in a world of human beings, and human beings play a minor role.
Any animal can be used as the enchanted beast in a fairy tale: a bird in "The Juniper Tree", a fox in "The
Golden Bird", a prince frog, a cat, a snake in "Countess d'Aulnoy". These animals do not wish to be animals and
while they are under a spell, they are the kindest, most patient and civilized of beings.
Modern children's literature contains animal fables and fairy tales. "The Three Little Pigs" and "The Little Red
Hen" are examples of stories that young children read.
English children's literature shows signs of persistence in writing and reading. In England, childhood was
considered the only stage in life in which it was good to believe in a world of magic and imagination and talking
animals. Children were seen as beings that were capable of enjoying instinctive sympathy for animals and of
establishing an alliance with them against adult human beings.
There are many famous English writers of children's stories, but the two most famous ones were Lewis Carroll
and Beatrix Potter.
Lewis Carroll, an English writer, was born in 1832 and died in 1898. He is the best-known author of story books,
which are read by children and adults.
His main works are "Alice's Books" (the most famous one), "There's Glory for you" and "It was the best butter".
Beatrix Potter wrote stories as popular as "Peter Rabbit", which everybody has heard of and which became a
film. Others are "Taylor of Gloucester" and "The little mice star: down to spin". In the latter, the mice were not
humanized, although they did weave men's coats. Another popular story is "Jemina Puddle".
Oscar Wilde was an Irish author who wrote all his works in English and became one of the best renowned
writers in English literature. He is famous for his plays and his popular theory of beauty. His best collection of
stories are "The Shellfish Giant" and "The Canterville Ghost", which is one of the short stories included in his
book "Lord Arthur Savile's Crime".
Kenneth Grahame understood children's tastes very well and invited them to the enchanted circus he created.
His books "The Golden Age" and "Dream Days" were immensely popular among children. The ideal world of
this writer seems more percectible and desirable than the world of Peter Pan.
Rudyard Kipling is known as the writer from India, although he never was an ardent apologist of the presence of
the English there. His main works are "The Jungle Book" (1894-95) and "Stories" (1902). "The Jungle Book" and
"Kim" are blithe books about the world of ideas. His most important book is "The Jungle Book": it is the most
accomplished expression of Kipling's quality of work.
B. Frank Baum, a German-North American novelist, was born in Vienna in 1896 and died in 1960. He wanted
American children's literature to be free of unpleasant incidents. He wrote many children's books: "A New
Wonderland", "The Book of the Hambergs", "His Book", etc.
The fantastic aspect lies within transcendence and imminence, in other word, between the truth of facts, the
correspondence between discourse and reality, and internal evidence, which makes a story appeals in its own
right to the receptive reader.
The term "fantastic" means more than reality; it means strangeness or admiration and it has replaced the terms
"formidable" and "sensational" in common speech. The "fantastic" aspect is not inferred by understanding, but
perceived with sensibility in the same way as what is funny or tragic and is more similar to the cerebral notion of
the supernatural, with affective notions of brightness and sacredness, and also appreciates what is rejected by
science, moral, religion or good taste.

In fantastic literature, any adventure story aims to plunge the reader into uncertainty; the most dramatic episode
is generally saved for the end, thus giving the enigma its own charm.
Fantastic works are usually stories: a ballad, novel, tale or short story. The short story is the literary form that is
best adapted to fantastic literature, chiefly due to its origins; it deals with extremely interesting "extraordinary
stories" and their episodes predispose the reader to sense that fatality that is inherent in every fantastic
adventure. These adventures do not occur at random and come to nothing, for the entire intrigue is conceived
on the basis of the denouement; the victim-hero of a fantastic adventure generally finds himself alone under
some kind of spell of which he is very well aware.
The classic fantastic story derives not from stories but from popular legends. The difference between a story
and a legend is owed to the Grimm brothers; in their opinion, a story is more poetic and a legend is more
historical. A story tells adventures that take place in an indefinite past, in an unspecified place; a legend relates
notable events that took place on a given date, in a given place, to a given person. A difference in function
determines these differences in structure: a story aims to amuse, a legend aims to express and transmit beliefs.
The title of a story is often the hero's name; the presence of this character alone guarantees the unity of an
account consisting of several episodes: the hero sets off on an adventure with an open mind and a light heart,
facing all sorts of dangers without fear.
Louis Vax states that "a fantastic story" generally deals with men who are faced with the inexplicable.
The story always begins with a stable situation and certain features remain intact throughout the development of
the action. Every story, therefore, contains two types of episodes:
- Those that describe a stage of balance or imbalance.
- Those that describe the passage from one to another.
The former are contrary to the latter. Sometimes the reader identifies with the character; then, in turn, he
withdraws from reality.
A misadventure of some kind is the main type of plot. These misadventures can be of different sorts; by and
large, towards the end, evil is transformed into good. The hero continually feels the contradiction between both
worlds: the world of reality and the world of fantasy; and he is overwhelmed by the extraordinary things that
surround him.
As a general rule, a new person is introduced and the action enters a new phase. Vladimir Propp sees it as an
operation of relative rationalization of a myth and the struggle against it, and its deep unity and great appeal lie
beyond its generalized use as children's stories.
Important writers, in the English language, of fantastic literature of travels and adventure:
In the Tudor era:
Sir Philip Sydney. He was born in 1554 and died in 1586. He wrote "The Arcadia", a long fantastic story about
aristocrats castaways on an island; it contains the grandest principles, the most chivalrous manners and the
most beautiful ladies.
Nashe, with his "The Unfortunate Traveller", tells a horrifying story full of dialogues, amazing descriptions and
the strangest adventures.
In the Elizabethan era:
Daniel Defoe. He is one of the most important authors of this era in English literature. His most famous book
("Robinson Crusoe") is known all around the world and has been translated into many languages. Many studies
have been done on it: man's isolation, self-sufficiency, utopia,...
Tobias Smollet was born in 1721 and died in 1771. His main adventure and fantastic stories are "Roderick
Random" and "Humphrey Clinker".
Laurence Steine is a contemporary of the aforementioned author. He was born in 1713 and died in 1768; his
most important adventure story is "Sentimental Journey".
All the works of this era are not about fantastic stories but about adventures, save for the work of Jonathan Swift
(with "Gulliver's Travels"). This book hides satire in such a deft manner that children still read it as a fairy tale.
The book starts off laughing about mankind; when Gulliver finds himself in Lilliput, he is a giant compared to
inhabitants there. In the second part of the book, he goes to a land inhabited by giants and the author criticizes
all men thinkers. He then goes to Laputa, which is a flying island, and Swift examines and criticizes human
institutions. At the end there are horses with rational minds. This book still today is a masterpiece, a children's
fairy tale and a serious book for adults, and it has never lost its attractive nor allusive value.
The work of Walter de la Mare is one of the best works of short fantastic stories. "Out of the Deep" is perhaps
his most original and exciting short story. Here is a passage from it:
"All that I have to say, he muttered, is just this: I have Mrs. Thripps. I haven't absolutely out of the wire. I wish to
be alone. But I'm not asking, do you see? In time I may able to know what I want. But what is important now is
that no more than that accused Pig were your primrose "real", my dear. You see, things must be real".
The title of the novel means a number of things: the depths of the house in which the servants live, the depths of
memory, from which remembrances ascend, and the depths of the misfortunes of the wretch who is seeking
The literary language of the above text is bright and eloquent, neither dull nor slow.

The protagonist is Jimmie, who is characterized by his desire to surprise and his liking for black humour. This
passage contains his regards for a girl. He is a timorous boy who shows Soame's cautious sadism and plays
bad jokes on the lackeys.
When he is talking to the girl, he realizes that he was forbidden to talk to the lackeys ("...you might pull real
bells: to pull dubiously genuine pigtails seemed now a feele jest"). The word "pigtail" here may infer "pig", which
corresponds to the beast that appears on the stairs. The gesture of pulling a rope is similar to that of pulling
from a pig.
The word "primrose" (spring) naturally suggests the line from a famous verse by Wordsworth: "A primrose by a
river's brimm". The thought of spring may have suggested Lord Beaconsfield, whom Jimmie refers to: "All of
which is only to say, dear madam, as Beaconsfield remarked to Old Vic, that I'm thanking you now".
In the text he refers to what the girl says, but then he gives it less importance and highlights what it is really
important. The style is loose and clear, with lots of imagination. The vocabulary is simple, although some words
have several meanings, like "primrose". The verb "to ask" means to call on someone; the author uses it to mean
"Do you understand?". The same occurs with "in time" which means sooner or later.
We will now look at some texts by the writer Beatrix Potter:
"Peter was dreadfully frightened; he rushed all over the garden, for he had forgotten the way back to the gate.
He lost one of his shoes among the cabbages, and the other shoes amongst the potatoes".
This text is from the book "Peter Rabbit".
"As there was no money, Ginger and Pickles were obliged to eat their own goods. Pickles ate biscuits and
Ginger ate a dried haddock. They ate them by candlelight after the shop was closed".
This other text is from "Ginger Pickles".
"Moppet and Pittens have found up into very good ratcatchers. They go out cat-catching in the village, and they
find plenty of employment. They charge so much a dozen and earn their living very comfortably".
This last text belongs to "The Poly-Poly Pudding".
The style is clear and bright. Repetition is avoided, which es why in the first text, in the last line, "amongst" is
used instead of "among", which was used in the previous line. The language is simple, easy to read, so the
words need not be explained. The author avoids allipsis, by writing "He had forgotten" instead of "He'd
forgotten", so that children can clearly understand the text. Another characteristic of this writer, which is more
clearly seen in the first two texts, is her use of many verbs in the past tense. She does not use description very


All of us need stories for our minds in the same way that we all need food for our bodies; we watch television,
go to the theatre and the cinema, read books and exchange stories with our friends.
Stories are especially important in the lives of our children; they help them to understand the world and to share
it with others. Their craving for stories is constant. Every time children enter a classroom, they have a yearning
for stories.
Stories that rely heavily on words are a constant and great source of experiences for the students.
Stories are motivating, rich in language experiences.
Stories should be the main part of the work of Primary teachers, when teaching a first and a second language.
Motivation. Children have a constant need for stories; that is why they are always willing to listen or read at the
right moment.
Meaning. Children want to find something in a story (meaning) and they listen for that purpose. If they find what
they are looking for, it will be thanks to their ability to understand the foreign language. If they do not find that
meaning, they are motivated to improve their listening comprehension ability and then find meaning.
Listening and fluency when reading. In a conversation with native speakers, the most important ability is
understanding a substantial flow of the foreign language which contains new words for the receiver. This ability
is only achieved by constant and ample practice. The child must develop a positive attitude to comprehending
everything and accomplish the ability to search for meaning, predict and "guess" (they are experts at this in their
native language).
Knowledge of the language. Stories help children to become aware of the general knowledge and sounds of the
foreign language. Stories also introduce students to several language models and sentence structures which
they have not yet used in oral or written production. This makes up their language stockpile. When the time
comes, those language models will flow within the productive language without any problems, because the
language is not new to them. An obvious example of this is the use of the simple past.

An incentive for speaking and writing. Experiencing a story can give rise to the production of written or spoken
answers. It is natural to express our likes and dislikes, exchange ideas and associations about the stories we
have just heard. In this manner, stories should be a part of a set related activities.
Communication. Reading, writing and aswering questions about stories through writing, speaking, acting and
making art develop certain feelings for listening, sharing and collaborating. Learning a language is useless if we
are not able to communicate, in other words, to use language skills. A story serves to share the construction of
a crucial sense of attention for others.
General curriculum. Most stories can be used to develop attention, analysis and expression, and to relate them
to other subjects in the curriculum, such as geography, history, social and cultural aspects, mathematics and
Helping children to predict the contents of a story by telling them beforehand in their native language, by
showing them pictures, or by introducing key vocabulary from that story.
While they are being told a story, show them pictures, draw on the board, act and mime, use words that are
similar in meaning in both the first and second languages.
Tell the story more than once. Interrupt the story often and repeat the idea in a differente manner to make sure
that the children do not get lost.
Study the story beforehand and simplify some of the vocabulary, if necessary: words, expressions, verb tenses,
word order and complex sentences.
First of all, the stories, in other words, the literary language at this level with children, must essentially be a
source of joy and must meet their interests. If the teacher uses stories or literary texts merely to teach, the
children may reject this and lose their good, natural disposition for stories, which is an enormous potential.
Reading habits can be developed and the poetic function of language can be taught by telling and reading the
children stories that are suitable for them. This implies a set of advantages:
Advantages of reading stories to the children:
1. If the teacher's language foreign language competence is low.
2. Showing the children pictures that go with the stories.
3. Letting the children read what the teachers have read to them previously.
4. Allowing the children to realize that books are a source of pleasure and interest.
Advantages of telling stories to the children:
1. It can help the children to understand by repeating the story, pointing out important features, miming, acting,
drawing pictures on the board.
2. By having the children in front of him, the teacher can make any special adaptations at any time.
3. Allowing the children to discover through their experience the magic sense of listening to a story being told by
When choosing them, we must ask ourselves the following:
1. Is the first impression about a book valid for us and for our pupils?
2. Does the book meet the pupil's interests and hold their attention?
3. Do we accept the values expressed in the book?
4. Can the children understand the story enough to gain something valuable outside of it?
5. Is the story easy to understand irrespective of their knowledge of its vocabulary?
6. The story should be the source of activities, such as drama, story writing, letter writing from one protagonist to
another, or activities relating to a theme.
There are many types of story books. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages.
1. Readers.
Advantages: the language has been simplified to make the reading easier. Easily obtainable.
Disadavantages: they are not authentic books, original works by their author. They do not introduce the
language used by present-day native English-speaking children.
2. Books published by native English-speaking children.
Advantages: the stories may be more interesting. The language is authentic.
Disadvantages: the children might find it difficult to understand most of the language on their own.
3. Books in the pupil's native language.
Advantages: within everybody's reach.
Disadvantages: it is up to the teacher to translate them.
4. Traditional and personal stories in the native language.
Advantages: the children are probably familiar with them and enjoy recognizing them when they are read to
them in English.
Disadvantages: the teacher may feel that his English is not good enough to translate them.
5. Stories invented by the teacher and the pupils.

Advantages: the pupils identify with one of them.

Disadvantages: incorrect English.
1. Activities prior to the story.
Prepare the students to focus the theme of the book and the language that they will need to understand it.
2. Activities during the story.
Above all, the children must enjoy the story. Ask them what they think is going to happen and how they feel
about what has happened. They can join the teacher in repeating, miming or drama exercises, among others.
They can be told to put sentences or pictures in the correct order.
3. Activities after the story.
Traditional comprehension exercises; careful not to spoil the experience that the story has caused in the child.
4. Other more creative activities.
Drawing a picture and writing a key sentence.
Making a mural or writing a book with other children with illustrations and key sentences.
Acting out the story.
Writing a letter from one protagonist to another.
Changing the end.
Changing the characters.

ELLIS AND BREWSTER: The Story telling handbook for Primary Teachers. Penguin.
GARVIE: Story as a vehicle. Multilingual matters.
PERRY: Into books: 101 literature activities for the classroom. Oxford University Press. Madrid.
MORGAN and RINVOLUCRI: Once upon a time. Cambridge University Press.
ROSEN: Shapers and Polishers. Teachers as Storytellers. Mary Glasgow.
WRIGHT: Why stories. Oxford University Press. Madrid.


1. Introduction.
There is literary work that has been created with the aim of being used by children and there are some works
that, although they were not created with that aim, they have been used for children for such a long time and
have become part of "children's literature".
Even if it is children's literature of not, we as teachers, should develop the interest in reading of our students.
Encourage them to read stories of any kind
To help students to conquer the written kingdom is one of the most important aims of all the educative systems.
The reading practice needs two requisites to be fully developed:
- To recognize many diverse forms within the text (paragraphs, letters)
- To understand the meaning these forms have.
2. Children's literature in the UK.
Children's literature in English has been the first literature of this kind studied and classified. It is a very
important type of literature and it is included in the Cambridge History of English Literature.
Some famous authors of this kind of literature are:
- Daniel Defoe (1660?-1731): "Robinson Crusoe"
- Jonathan Swift (1667-1745): "Guliver's Travel's"
- Charles Dickens (1812-1870): "David Copperfield"
- Lewis Carroll (1832-1898): "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"
- Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936): "The Jungle Book"
- Mary Norton: "The Borrowers"
- Pamela Travers: "Mary Poppins"
3. Children's literature in the USA.
Literature for children in America is the result of the culture, the life and the believes of this country.
Some famous authors of this kind of literature are:
- Peter Parley: "Tales of Peter Parley about America"
- J. Fennimore Cooper: "The last of the Mohicans"
- Herman Melville: "Moby dick"
- Louise M. Alcott: "Little women"
- Clement Moore: "Night before Christmas"
- Mark Twain: "The adventures of Tom Sawyer"
4. Children's literature in other English-speaking countries.
Both in New Zealand and in Australia, literature for children has been recently created. They usually used the
British and American work.
Some famous authors of this kind of literature are:

- Ethel Turner: "Seven Little Australians"

- Norman Lindsay: "The Magic Pudding"
- Nan Chauncy: "Tangara"
- Ivan Southhall: "Ash Road"
5. Reasons to use literature for children.
Children enjoy listening to stories in their mother tongue. For this reason books provide an ideal introduction to
the foreign language presented in a context that is familiar to the child.
It is not the same to use a story for adults than a story for children. Children need books with a suitable
language for them.
The reasons to use literature in class may be summarised as follows:
a) Motivation: Stories are motivating and fun and that develops positive attitudes towards the foreign language.
b) Imagination: Stories exercise the imagination. That involve children with the story, they try to interpret the
c) The meaning: They also wish to find a meaning. If they find it, they know they are able to understand the
foreign language.
d) Linking tool: stories are useful in linking fantasy and the imagination with the child's real world.
e) Vocabulary: Listening to stories allows the teacher to introduce or revise new vocabulary and sentence
f) Linguistic accuracy: Develop the ability of understanding new words from the context.
g) Linguistic knowledge: Contributes to introduce new linguistic structures.
h) One more time: Repetition allows certain language items to be acquired.
i) Communication: Listening, reading and giving an answer to the stories are good ways to develop
j) Cross-Curricular subjects: Reading stories help to teach them other aspects as social or cultural aspects.
6. Techniques to develop listening comprehension.
a) Use mother tongue with beginner pupils from time to time.
b) Provide a context for the story and introduce the main characters.
c) Prediction of the contents.
d) Use the help of pictures, draws, cards, etc, while we are telling the story.
e) Follow-up activities.
f) Repetitions of the story: we can tell the story more than once to avoid that the children get lost.
g) Simplification of the story.
h) Rhymes and songs to reinforce the language introduced.
6.1. Techniques to understand the poetic function of language.
First of all, we need to bear in mind that literature must be a source of amusement and pleasure for the children.
We can encourage the reading habit of our students at the same time they understand the poetic function of
One of the best methods to achieve these aims is to read and to tell stories in class.
7. Activities to do with a Literary text.
1. Pre-reading activities.
These are the tasks to do before telling the story that helps students to predict what is going to happen, to
predict the vocabulary, the characters, etc.
2. Activities to do while telling the story: while reading.
The most important objective is that children enjoy the story. Some activities we can do are:
- Ask them what they think is going to happen next or before.
- Use mime, performances, etc.
- Put some pictures we give them in the correct order.
- Repeat words or sentences.
- Sing a song, etc.
3. Post-reading activities: after telling the story.
These tasks are called "follow-up activities". They allow children to use what they have learned. Some activities
we could do are:
- Draw part of the story.
- Make mask, puppets
- Make a poster of the story.
- Invent a similar story.
- Perform the story, etc.
8. Conclusion.
There are many activities that we can do with the children in our classes. They just should be creative and they
should encourage comprehension and communication in the foreign language. If they fulfil all these requisites
they would be motivating for our students and in a step-by-step process they would love literature.

In the pedagogy of second language acquisition, the introduction of authentic documents, such as songs, was
introduced as a key to something alive, as the indication of a developing reality.
The great advantage of songs is the possibility of "being remembered".
But it is necessary the use of carefully selected songs or composed especially for the class, in order to avoid
those containing lexical mistakes that students would fix irremediably in their minds.
- Apart from being a very relaxing activity for the vast majority of students, singing a song contributes to
encourage their interest to study in depth that language.
- The activity of singing establishes a warm atmosphere and a sense of Cupertino among students. The feeling
of making a fool of themselves can be overcome easily if we succeed in enthusiasting them with the activity of
singing songs in that language. On the whole, what completely justifies the use of songs in the foreign language
classroom is the possibility of practices that language.
1.1 The song as a poetic vehicle and as a literary creation in the English class.
The song constitutes an element that belongs to the daily environment of the students.
Unlike the textbook or other resources means from which it is presumed that the student had a major
knowledge, the song, the video and the television allow the creation, in the class, of a different pedagogic
relation, egalitarian and constructive.
Sometimes the song is transformed into a vehicle to transmit knowledge from the teacher to the student.
1.2 The socialisation of songs.
Songs should respect these rules:
- Accurate grammatical contents, and without going beyond the limitation of the knowledge already acquired for
the students.
- Lexical contents useful and easily memorise, without excess of new elements for the student.
- Rhythmic guidelines, which need to be "normal" so the musical rhythm matches the natural one of the lyrics:
there should not be tonic stress on the syllables that would not normally have them.
There are songs already graded. Socialisation is, without any doubt, the main function of songs in the English
From a psychological point of view, the song is a resource that should be used in any moment where we
perceive a fall in the interest or attention of our students.
Before introducing a song in the classroom, the teacher should introduce a brief explanation about the song in
order to facilitate a better and general comprehension of what it will be heard.
It is a mistake to expect students to understand perfectly the meaning of all the words and expressions
appearing in the song. What it really appeals to them from a song is, not necessarily the lyrics, but the melody.
Above all, children enjoy immensely singing songs, although in many cases they do not have a clear idea of he
meaning of some words used in them.
1.3 The song as a starting point.
An activity considered highly enriching from the human and linguistic point of view is the exploitation of play
back, or the preparation of a show in which the students perform the vision of English music. This is an activity
where the students, on one hand, have the possibility to work harmoniously the oral and non oral aspects
(gestures) of communication and, therefore, the opportunity to choose singers or characters they want to
represent, as well as the way adopted by this recreation.
1.3.1 The material, a problem

The most serious problem in this field are, on one hand, the lack of information sources which could allow the
teacher to be up to date in the evolution of he music in the country whose language s/he teaches; and on the
other hand the need of sonorous and audio-visual materials such as cassettes, videos, etc.


In an "authentic" listening situation, the person leaves the music flow through him/her. However, usually, when a
song appeals to us, we feel the necessity to understand the message. Consequently, the access to the meaning
constitutes an objective that the student will attempt to reach. To this "learning objective" responds our
pedagogical objective to provide an easy approach.
2.1 Type of songs.
" From the point of view of the student's awareness, it is important to select:
a- Songs that represent, either a rhythm in harmony with the one to which he student feels attracted (Bob
Marley and his reggae music).
b- A lyric able to involve the student, to make him react ("Lucka", by Susan Vega).
" From the point of view of the approach to meaning, it is interesting:
a- To make good use of songs whose initial sound introduces elements capable of put the student in situation
("Back in he URSS", by The Beatles).
b- Another type of approachable songs is he one in which he narrative structure is lineal ("The River", by Bruce
2.2 Acquisition of an oral and written competence.
We can arrange a range of different activities conducted to develop the oral and written comprehension
competence. It is important to take into account a series of principles or basic strategies:
" Make the students to be aware of he importance of investing actively the linguistic elements stored so as to
facilitate their memorisation.
" Propose activities integrating the creativity and the sensibility of he students.
" Prepare, taking the linguistic baggage from he songs, a range of linguistic patterns that allow the student to
materialise what s/he wants to express through these activities.
A. Base strategy:
When the object is the acquisition of an oral comprehension competence, it is essential to consider a series of
elements that determine if a listening situation is suitable or not.
On one hand, the student. It is necessary that the song and the activities proposed raise a degree of motivation
able to become the purpose of learning.
On the other hand, the transmission. Material elements and psychological elements should be taking into
account the action of the teacher.
Another element to be considered is the assimilation. The treatment of the information is the following stage to
perception. We have to avoid the requirement of an oral production immediately after the hearing.
It is very important to diagnose the possible problems that impede the conclusion of the process in order to
stabilise the suitable therapy.
B. Specific strategies:
" Preparation of the listening. In case that he song presents elements that can interfere the approach to
meaning from the students, we must start by undertaking those problems. We must make a previous inventory
with the students about the subject of the song that will allow them recognise some elements at the time of
" First listening, first contacts. In order to guide he students in he first listening, they will be asked to fill a chart in
where there are places, characters and actions.
" Approximation to the text. Some activities allow us to help our students make a selective structure, guiding
them to the important part of the message.
- Propose a series of staments and ask them to answer if the assertions included are true or false.
- When the plot in the narration is linear and chronological, it will be used as a connecting theme. We can supply
them with an incomplete text, asking them to discover the elements that are not included.
In many of the current songs the author/singer proposes problems. The technique of brainstorming may be
applied to the solution of these problems.
Dramatising techniques such as the role-playing may also develop communicative situations elicited by the

3.1 Techniques in the use of phonetic learning.
The majority of teachers, when introduce a song in their English class, do it with he idea that students would try
to imitate as closely as possible the melody and he lyrics they heard. He attainment of this purpose is, without
any doubts, something very important for he learning of pronunciation (sound, stress and rhythm).
Pronunciation must be he aspect in which we should insist on when we teach a song. The first contact of
students with he song needs to be always oral, through he sense of hearing. In he first audition of a song he
teacher indicates he rhythm of each sentence so that he students realise, from he beginning, of which words or
syllables are bearing stress. It is only after this previous training that he class will be in condition to start singing
a song they have listened to before.
Nevertheless, it is clear that not all the songs are equally useful to practice pronunciation. The teacher should
be sure that the students would not have many difficulties to catch the sounds and the rhythm of the song.
There are songs composed to be accompanied with actions or movements of the body while they are sung.
They are called action songs.
These songs are particularly useful for small children as they allow practising orally different formal aspects of
the language and, at the same time, they teach the meaning of the words or the sentences of the text used in
the song through different gestures. (Head, and shoulders...).
3.2 Techniques for lexical and cultural learning.
a) Oral answer to questions about the text of the song.
This is one of the easiest ways to check he comprehensive capacity of the student before any text.
The teacher should prepare a number of questions about the text of the song. Before listening to the song, the
teacher delivers a list with he questions s/the has prepared. After the students have analysed those questions
during a couple of minutes, the teacher plays the cassette twice or three times. While they listen to he song,
they should try to find out the answer to the questions delivered before.
b) Arranging words.
Before listening to certain song, we should deliver a sheet of paper with a list of words situated in a different
order from where they appear in the song.
The students have to arrange the words according to the order in the song.
c) Complete the text of a song.
The teacher hands a copy of the song to each student; there are gaps in some places that correspond to certain
words or phrases. While the listening takes place, each student attempts to write the words or sentences that
were omitted in he copy. They also practice the written expression.
d) Reconstruction of a song.
The teacher cuts off all the lines from a song and places them in an envelope. Then the groups open their
envelopes with he corresponding lines from he song they are going to rebuild among the whole class. The
different groups should place the sentences in the same order they appear in he song. It could be repeated
twice or three times.
e) Finding stress in the sentence.
The teacher invites the students to listen carefully to certain song and pay attention to the words pronounced
with major intensity. After that, he gives a copy of the song that has already listened to.
While they listen to the song for he second time, they have to mark over the copy of the song those words or
syllable which stand out before the others.
f) Correction of an inaccurate version of a song.
The teacher hands to each student a copy of a song where some of the original words or sentences have been
changed for others that are not the ones appearing in the song but have some likeness.
As they listen to the song, the students will have to find out where are the mistakes and correct them in he
handed copy.
g) Identifying phrases.

The teacher delivers to each student from the class one, two or three lines that have been cut from the song.
Each student when hearing the text corresponding to the lines s/he has should rise his/her hand.
h) Classifications of words.
While listening to a song, the students should make a list in which collect a certain kind of grammatical elements
(verbs, prepositions, colours...) introduced in the song.
i) Words with opposite meaning.
Children have a list with some words; they will have to provide one or two antonyms for each word. After a few
minutes of discussion in the groups, the teacher will play the cassette and encourage the students to guess if in
the text of the song there are any of the antonym words they have found previously.
j) Searching words that rhyme.
In this case the attention of the students is focused mainly on the phonetic element.
Before listening to the song, a copy, with some blanks, is handed to the students. They have to fill them with
words that rhyme with the corresponding verse. After that, the teacher plays the cassette so they can check if
he words they have found are really in he song.
k) Translating a song.
Once the song is learned by heart, a song may be exploited through translation into the student's mother
tongue. Even though this is difficult task for the students, the effort requires its compensation in a deep study of
the meaning of the song.


Unit 17. Songs as Literary and Poetic creations.

1. Introduction.
As way of introduction we can say that children enjoy singing very much. Songs and rhymes provide an
enjoyable change of the routine in the classroom.
Songs and Rhymes provide relaxation and variety, but we have to be careful because an excessive use of them
can make children to get bored.
Taking this fact into account, we can say that songs are a good resource to teach vocabulary, practise the
language orally, improve pronunciation and intonation and also help children to know the culture of the foreign

2. Songs as Literary and Poetic creations.

2.1. The importance of music in the language teaching.
Many of us know how quick students are at learning songs. For a variety of reasons, songs stick in our minds
and become part of us.
1. It is easier to sing a language than to speak it.
2. Music is around us: radio, television, theatre, etc.
3. Songs work in our short and long-term memory.
4. Songs use simple, conversational language and repetitions.
5. Children enjoy hearing themselves (Piaget: egocentric language).
6. Songs are relaxing, fun, etc.
7. In practical terms, for language teachers, songs are short, repetitive, and easily to handle in a lesson.
2.2. Characteristics of songs and rhymes.
Their main characteristics are:
1. They provide a link with home and school life.
2. Help children to develop positive attitude towards language learning.
3. They provide an enjoyable alternative in presentation of the language.
4. They reinforce lexical items and structures.
5. They play an important role in pronunciation, intonation and rhythm.
6. They are used to reinforce listening that leads to speaking, reading and writing tasks.
7. They are used to reinforce other subjects.

8. They reflect customs and traditions associated with Anglo-Saxon culture.

2.3. Reasons to use songs in the classroom.
The main reasons to use songs are:
1. Motivation: songs easily motivate children to use the foreign language.
2. Change in the routine.
3. Cultural importance: they reflect the foreign culture.
4. Reinforcement: they provide a meaningful way to repeat different items in order to reinforce the learning
(pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, etc.).

3. Types of songs.
It is essential to select carefully the songs we are going to work with in class.
What we must bear in mind are the features of the students we are working with at that specific moment: their
age, interests, likes and dislikes, and of course, their knowledge of the foreign language.
We already know that the foreign language is introduced in the second cycle of Primary Education, that is,
children from 8 years to 12.
- 2nd Cycle of Primary (8 to 10).
It is the first time the foreign language is introduced in class. It is one of the best didactic moments because
children are very receptive and interested in everything.
- 3rd Cycle of Primary (10 to 12).
At this age their interests begin to change. So that, teachers have to take these changes into account and adjust
the teaching practice to the new needs and interests of the students.
The majority of the students think that songs are childish; they feel shy singing and so that, it is difficult to make
them sing aloud in class.
However, they enjoy music very much but their interests are different. So that, we have to find songs that they
enjoy and are suitable for our purposes too.
We as teachers must select the most suitable songs depending on the level of our students, on their interests
and their needs.
The following are some examples of types of songs we can use in class at these stages.
3.1. Songs for occasions.
Songs that make reference to anything that happens to them in daily life: "Happy birthday" or "Auld Lang Syne"
(New Year's Eve).
3.2. Topic songs.
Songs that deal with a specific topic. We must bear in mind that the topic the song deals with must be
interesting for the children. For example: Colours- "The colours" or animals- "Old Mc Donald"
3.3. Songs with actions.
Songs that are related to the old technique of representing what we are saying: "total physical response"
(James Asher): "If you're happy" or "These is the way".
3.4. Round songs.
A round is a circular song. One group begins singing, then the second group begins the song when the first
group gets to the end of the first line. The third group begins when the second group gets to the end of the first
line and so on. When the singers get to the end of the last line they continue singing from the beginning again,
so the song becomes circular. For example: "Three blind mice" or "I hear thunder".
3.5. Dialogues songs.
This type of songs is very useful. They are very easy to sing and at the same time they require more attention
on the part of the children. For example: "I spy" or "I am a music man".
3.6. Traditional songs.
These songs will not probably known by the students, but they must learn them because they belong to the new
culture they are studying. For example: "Oh, Susanna", "London Bridge" or "Yankee Doodle".
Furthermore, there are songs that we sing at a specific time of the year like Christmas Carols: "Merry
Christmas" or "Jingle Bells".
3.7. Other songs.
There are other songs for children which are more difficult but which are also good to work with them in class.
For example songs in all Walt Disney's films. A good idea to develop them is to watch the film at the same time
we sing the song. For example: "Hakuna Matata" or "Fly, fly" (Peter Pann).

3.8. Traditional rhymes.

Rhymes can be used in the same way as songs. This could be easier for those students that are a bit shy.
Some traditional rhymes to be mentioned are: "One Potato" or "Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter".

4. Techniques: Types of activities.

There are many different activities that we can do working with songs, depending on what we want the students
to practise and to learn. These can be summarized as follows:
- Activities to communicate new information.
- Activities to understand the social meaning of a song.
- Activities to learn the way language works without paying attention to the meaning.
As we have mentioned before, the activities with songs we can do in class are very varied. The following are
some examples of these activities, which may be done with different songs, according to the interests and
needs of our students:
a) Invention: the children invent a new song with some music they all know and with some vocabulary that we
may give to them.
b) Stories: the students tell the story of the song.
c) Discussions: use songs to introduced a topic that may be discussed afterwards.
d) Fill in the Gaps: fill in the gaps they find in the lyrics of a song with the words previously given.
e) Write in Order: write in the correct order the sentences of a song as they listen to it.
f) Singing Competitions: divide the class into groups. Each group chooses a song or rhyme from the songs
worked in previous lessons and perform it to the rest. After all the performances, the class votes their favourite.
g) What's the missing word: divide the class into groups. Each group chooses a song and performs it for the rest
of the class. However they miss out the last word in each line. The rest of the class has to call out the missing
h) Rounds: (point 3.4)
i) Videos: to watch musical videos. The images help the students to understand what the song is about.
j) Song dictation: to do what the song says. Colour, write, etc.
k) The Picture song: the children try to make up a new song, taking some pictures as the basis.
l) Fill and draw: two different sheets of paper. One has some draws explaining what is happening in the song;
the other has the lyrics. They must try to fill in.

5. Conclusion.
There are many activities that we can do in class with songs. However, it is going to depend on our students'
interests, needs and, of course, linguistic level. It is up to us to select the work and ht songs we are going to
work with.
The possibilities of the songs are directed to develop the four linguistic skills: oral and written comprehension
and oral and written expression. But, we may say that the most basic ability to use songs in class is oral


1.1. - Introduccin.
1.2. - El planteamiento del juego.
1.2.1. - Actividad individual. - Cada alumno con el profesor. - Cada alumno con el resto del grupo.
1.2.2. - Actividades por parejas.
1.2.3. - Actividad en grupos.
1.3. - El material.
1.4. - El lenguaje.
1.4.1. - Para empezar el juego.
1.4.2. - Para mantener el juego.
1.4.3. - Para terminar el juego.


2.1. - Juegos de vocabulario.
2.1.1. - El juego de los nmeros.
2.1.2. - El bingo.
2.1.3. - Cadena de palabras.
2.1.4. - El alfabeto viviente.
2.1.5. - Busca la palabra.
2.1.6. - Policas y ladrones.
2.1.7. - Encuentra la palabra que no corresponde.
2.1.8. - Falta una palabra, cul?
2.1.9. - Palabras y dibujos.
2.2. - Juegos de estructuras gramaticales.
2.2.1. - Juego de trotamundos.
2.2.2. - Adivina mi oficio.
2.2.3. - Juego del mimo.
2.2.4. - Juego de las asociaciones.
2.2.5. - Juego de las adivinanzas.
2.2.6. - La ruta de Ana.
2.3. - Juegos de creatividad.
2.3.1. - La historia tonta.
2.3.2. - Un poco de memoria.
2.3.3. - Quin debe sobrevivir?

3.1. - Dibuja la frase.

3.2. - Parejas de dibujos.
3.3. - Historia desordenada.
3.4. - Dar direcciones.


1.1. - Introduccin.
La preocupacin de todo profesor es poder dar una clase atractiva, que consiga captar la atencin y el inters
del alumno hacia su materia.
A los problemas que plantea la enseanza de cualquier asignatura viene a sumarse el desconocimiento de la
lengua en la clase de idioma moderno, cuya finalidad es conseguir que los alumnos alcancen un nivel de
comunicacin oral y escrita con personas de otros pases. Pero esta motivacin es prcticamente nula en
nuestros centros debido a las escasas posibilidades que existen de visitar el pas de origen para poner en
prctica lo aprendido en clase. Una manera de paliar esta ausencia de motivacin real y de interesar a los
alumnos en el uso de lo aprendido es, sin duda, la prctica de juegos.
El juego relaja, desinhibe y favorece la participacin creativa del alumno, ya que le presenta un contexto real y
una razn inmediata para utilizar el idioma, que se convierte en vehculo de comunicacin con un propsito
Pero para que este inters se mantenga a travs del curso, tenemos que presentar los juegos como autnticas
actividades dentro de la programacin de una lengua segunda. Si el alumno intuye que improvisamos, que
utilizamos el juego para rellenar huecos de cinco minutos o para mantenerlos dentro de la clase, en vsperas de
vacaciones, la funcin pedaggica de esta actividad quedar rota.
Para evitar su utilizacin indiscriminada de deben tener en cuenta los siguientes aspectos:
" El planteamiento del juego.
" El material.
" El lenguaje.
" Las clases de juegos, que describiremos en un epgrafe aparte y que agruparemos de acuerdo con la
finalidad a la que sirven:
a) Juegos de vocabulario.
b) Juegos de estructuras gramaticales.
c) Juegos de creatividad.
d) Juegos de comunicacin, que tambin veremos, por su importancia, en otro epgrafe aparte.
1.2. - El planteamiento del juego.
Cada profesor en su clase debe saber cmo agrupar a los alumnos para que stos se encuentren con
posibilidades reales de comunicacin y con un material autntico. As, los juegos pueden ser planteados como:
1.2.1. - Actividad individual. - Cada alumno con el profesor. Esto slo es aconsejable en grupos reducidos. El profesor dirige y
controla la actividad. Tiene sus ventajas, ya que ste puede asegurarse de que cada alumno escucha lo que se
dice, y recibe, en general, un buen modelo de lengua; pero en grupos numerosos, en los que la participacin
sera ms espaciada, la mayora se quedara sin intervenir por falta de tiempo y el aburrimiento hara acto de
presencia. - Cada alumno con el resto del grupo. Se necesita un gran espacio libre para que el grupo pueda
moverse con facilidad. El profesor acta como monitor y el peso de la actividad recaen en los alumnos. Pueden
ser actividades de comprensin y/o expresin oral. Por ejemplo, un alumno describe una situacin preparada
de antemano en lengua extranjera, y el resto tiene que expresar a travs de la pantomima lo que va diciendo.
Pueden ser historias inventadas por los propios alumnos o sacadas de cuentos, de libros de aventuras, etc.
1.2.2. - Actividades por parejas.

Los alumnos trabajan de dos en dos formando un tndem frente al resto de las otras parejas, o hacindose
preguntas uno a otro sobre su vida, trabajo, familia, actividad, descripcin de un documento visual, etc. La
finalidad de esta actividad es obtener la informacin ms completa en un tiempo fijado de antemano. El
profesor acta de monitor y supervisa la expresin, pronunciacin, etc., de las parejas.
1.2.3. - Actividad en grupos.
Se divide la clase en grupos de trabajo de cuatro o cinco alumnos. Suelen ser los juegos ms atractivos, pues,
al igual que en las parejas, se incrementa el nmero de alumnos hablando al mismo tiempo y dinamizan mucho
ms la clase, desarrollando el sentido de cooperacin entre ellos.
Se corre el riesgo de que hablen espaol, si el profesor no supervisa todos los grupos, pero una forma de
resolverlo es nombrar un moderador en cada grupo que se encargue de evitarlo.
Dentro de este apartado podemos incluir la divisin de la clase en dos o ms equipos contrincantes. Esto dara
ms emocin al juego o actividad, al introducir el sentido de competicin.
1.3. - El material.
Entramos en un campo interminable. Todo depende de la dedicacin, imaginacin o conocimiento prctico de
cada profesor.
Existen muchsimos juegos que no necesitan material especial para su puesta en prctica. No obstante, se
suele aconsejar, por ser muy socorrido, fabricarse juegos de cartas plastificadas, con dibujos alusivos a varios
temas, tales como: alimentos, bebidas, ropa, animales, plantas, objetos, mobiliario, medios de comunicacin,
das de la semana, meses del ao, estaciones, las grandes ciudades (Nueva York, Londres, Sydney,...), los
oficios y sus correspondientes herramientas, cartas con dibujos y otras con los nombres que corresponden a
cada dibujo, etc.
Pero no todos los profesores tienen la habilidad o el tiempo para hacerse sus propias cartas. Para esto
podemos recurrir a los alumnos, o solicitar la ayuda del profesor de dibujo. Las cartas sern hechas en
cartulina del mismo color y tendrn todas el mismo tamao.
Si se cuenta con un retroproyector en clase, el profesor puede llevar dibujos esquemticos, tarjetas postales,
fotografas, etc. Entonces la mitad de los alumnos se sientan mirando a la proyeccin y la otra mitad de
espaldas. Se juega por parejas: un alumno describe lo que ve, mientras el otro va dibujando a partir de la
informacin que recibe. Cuanto ms rico sea el vocabulario y las expresiones gramaticales del que describe,
ms completo ser el dibujo del compaero. En este caso un solo dibujo sirve para toda la clase.
Insistimos, sin embargo, en que es muy prctico contar con un buen nmero de cartas plastificadas, pues
sirven para muchos juegos. En la formacin de familias puede haber muchas variantes.
1.4. - El lenguaje.
Antes de lanzarse a organizar juegos, el profesor debe familiarizar a los alumnos con una serie de estructuras
bsicas que permiten agilizar el comienzo y el final de los juegos. Estas estructuras pueden ser:
1.4.1. - Para empezar el juego.
Listen! These are the rules.
Be quiet. Stay on your seat.
Form a circle / groups of four /pairs.
Sit down. Stand up.
Do the same as myself.
Give the cards, one each.
Ready? Go ahead!
Close your eyes.
Count up to four ...
You win.
You start.
Look at your partner.
1.4.2. - Para mantener el juego.

It's my/your turn.

Who's going on?
Look at your card. It's your card.
Take a card.
Here are your cards. Take them.
Show your cards. Tell them what to do.
1.4.3. - Para terminar el juego.
Stop. It's time to finish.
Have you finished?
Count your cards. How many have you got?
You're the winner. Here is the winner.
Who are the winners? We are.
A point for your team.
I'm sorry, You've lost a point. You can't go on playing.


Algunos de los juegos que vamos a presentar son una recopilacin de varios autores citados en la bibliografa.
Otros han sido recogidos de forma oral, entre los docentes, o son simples adaptaciones de juegos infantiles
tradicionales. Estos juegos se pueden dividir en cuatro categoras:
- Juegos de vocabulario.
- Juegos de estructuras gramaticales.
- Juegos de creatividad.
- Juegos de comunicacin, que estudiaremos en un epgrafe aparte.
2.1. - Juegos de vocabulario.
Para responder a estos juegos casi siempre hay que buscar y encontrar la palabra que falta o la palabra justa
de acuerdo con una consigna dada. El objetivo de estos juegos es desarrollar la escritura y la lectura, aunque
muchos de ellos pueden ser orales.
2.1.1. - El juego de los nmeros.
Objetivo: Prctica de los nmeros.
Destrezas: Desarrollar la comprensin y expresin orales.
Nivel: Elemental e intermedio.
Material: Una pelota, o una simple bola de papel, un cronmetro (opcional).
Agrupacin: Dos grandes equipos.
Organizacin: Se divide la clase en dos grandes grupos. El profesor tira la bola a un alumno del equipo 1
diciendo un nmero: "twelve". El alumno debe encontrar rpidamente un nmero que empiece por la ltima
cifra del nmero escuchado: "twenty-three". Este alumno pasa la bola al equipo contrario diciendo "twentythree". A su vez el que recibe la bola tendr que encontrar un nmero que empiece por 3 y devolver la bola de
papel al equipo 1, etc. Se trata de pasar la pelota lo ms rpidamente posible al equipo contrario, pues el que
tenga la pelota en la mano cuando suene el timbre del cronmetro pierde. Si un alumno elige un nmero que
termina en =, por ejemplo, "twenty", el que recibe dir "zero", y luego aadir otro cualquiera: "fifteen". Cuando
alguien se equivoca, su equipo pierde un punto. Puede jugarse en tres partidas de dos minutos cada una.
2.1.2. - El bingo.
Objetivo: Prctica de los nmeros.
Destreza: Comprensin oral.
Nivel: Elemental, intermedio y avanzado.
Material: Cartones de bingo.
Agrupacin: Individual o en parejas.
Organizacin: Se hacen cartones con nmeros que vayan del 1 al 100, del 100 al 500, del 500 al 1000
(dependiendo del nivel de los alumnos). Los nmeros pueden estar escritos en cifras o en letras. Puede jugarse
individualmente o en parejas. El profesor dice nmeros de forma aleatoria; se premia la lnea y el bingo.
2.1.3. - Cadena de palabras.
Objetivo: Prctica del vocabulario.
Destrezas: Comprensin y expresin orales.

Nivel: Elemental e intermedio.

Material: Bola de papel, cronmetro (opcional).
Agrupacin: Dos grandes equipos.
Organizacin: Se procede de la misma forma que en el juego de los nmeros. Se divide la clase en dos
equipos, el profesor dice una palabra y tira la bola a un alumno, que tendr que decir otra que empiece por la
ltima letra o sonido de la palabra escuchada, y as sucesivamente. Cualquier alumno que repita palabra ya
dicha o que no pueda seguir con la cadena, pierde un punto. El equipo que tenga la bola cuando suene el
timbre pierde un punto. Gana el que ms puntos tenga.
Alternativas: Se puede jugar con la ltima slaba de cada palabra. De esta forma resulta ms difcil. Otra
variante es jugar con el vocabulario especfico de un tema y no sobre la ltima letra. Por ejemplo, el profesor
dice "bread" y cada alumno tendr que decir nombres relacionados con la comida. El que repita, diga mal una
palabra o no siga, pierde. Esta variante es ms adecuada para los primeros niveles.
2.1.4. - El alfabeto viviente.
Objetivo: Prctica del alfabeto.
Destrezas: Desarrollo de la comprensin oral.
Nivel: Elemental e intermedio.
Material: Ninguno.
Agrupacin: Individual o dos grandes equipos.
Organizacin: Los alumnos deben conocer previamente el alfabeto del ingls (hacer varios ejercicios para
comprobarlo, hacindoles deletrear sus nombres, por ejemplo). El profesor asigna una letra a cada alumno. Si
son pequeos, debern pintarla bien grande en una hoja. El profesor dice una palabra. Rpidamente, los
alumnos debern levantarse por orden diciendo la letra correspondiente hasta formar la palabra. Si una letra se
repite, el representante de ella se levantar y dir dicha letra cada vez que sta aparezca en la palabra. Por
ejemplo, "window": el representante de la "w" se levantar en primer y ltimo lugar, pronunciando el nombre de
la letra. Puede jugarse en dos equipos. Se reparte la primera mitad del alfabeto a un equipo y la segunda mitad
al otro. Los equipos parten con 10 puntos. Los alumnos se levantarn a medida que aparezca su letra. Si
alguno se equivoca, resta un punto a su equipo, y as, el que menos puntos tenga al final, pierde.
2.1.5. - Busca la palabra.
Objetivo: Prctica escrita de vocabulario.
Destreza: Desarrollo de la escritura de palabras.
Nivel: Elemental e intermedio.
Material: Un dibujo.
Agrupacin: Individual, parejas o grupos.
Organizacin: El profesor reparte un mismo dibujo de una habitacin con algunas personas y animales a toda
la clase. Los alumnos deben escribir nombres de objetos, de animales o de personas que empiecen por la
misma letra. Al cabo de dos minutos el juego se para y ganan los alumnos que hayan encontrado ms
2.1.6. - Policas y ladrones.
Objetivos: Prctica del alfabeto y repaso de la ortografa de las palabras.
Destrezas: Comprensin y expresin orales.
Nivel: Elemental e intermedio.
Agrupacin: Grupos de cuatro o cinco alumnos.
Organizacin: Se forman grupos de cuatro o cinco alumnos, que se sentarn en crculos, bien separados unos
de otros. Cada grupo escribe una lista de diez palabras. Se echa a suertes para ver qu grupo empieza primero
y se seguir el orden de las agujas del reloj.
Un representante de un equipo, el "polica", visita cualquier otro grupo y pide a un alumno determinado que
deletree una palabra. Si ste no sabe o se equivoca, pasa a ser su prisionero.
2.1.7. - Encuentra la palabra que no corresponde.
Objetivo: Revisin de vocabulario.
Destrezas: Comprensin escrita, comprensin y expresin orales.
Nivel: Elemental.
Material: Fotocopias de series de palabras.
Agrupacin: Individual o en parejas.

Organizacin: Los alumnos, de forma individual o en parejas, leen la primera de las series de palabras que
aparecen en su hoja. El primero o la primera pareja que encuentra la palabra que no pertenece a la serie
levanta la mano, lee la palabra en voz alta y explica por qu ha elegido sa precisamente; si est bien, gana; si
no, se pasa el turno al otro.
2.1.8. - Falta una palabra, cul?
Objetivo: Revisin del vocabulario.
Destrezas: Comprensin y expresin escritas.
Nivel: Elemental e intermedio (dependiendo de la cadena de oposiciones).
Material: Encerado.
Agrupacin: Individual o en parejas.
Organizacin: El profesor escribe en la pizarra una lista de cinco o siete palabras en la que existe una cadena
de oposiciones. El alumno, individualmente o en parejas, debe adivinar la que falta y explicar por qu la ha
- black, white; true, false; big......
- father, mother; man, woman; brother......
- on, off; upstairs, downstairs; in......
Alternativa: Cada pareja puede hacer su propia lista y leerla en voz alta, para que otra pareja encuentre la
oposicin. Si la palabra es adivinada, el acertante gana un punto. Si la palabra no es adivinada, o se da una
respuesta incorrecta, el que ha hecho la lista, gana.
2.1.9. - Palabras y dibujos.
Objetivos: Revisin y fijacin de vocabulario.
Destrezas: Comprensin y expresin escritas.
Nivel: Elemental.
Agrupacin: Individual o en parejas.
Organizacin: el profesor reparte una fotocopia a cada alumno o pareja donde aparece un dibujo. En un tiempo
dado (tres minutos) los alumnos tienen que escribir los nombres de los dibujos que estn numerados. Por
Number 1: A hen.
Number 2: A knife.
Number 3: A fork.
As hasta que terminen. Luego tendrn que agruparlos por categoras, de tres en tres. Por ejemplo:
The dog, the cat, the hen are animals.
Podemos ayudar a los alumnos dndoles las siguientes frases:
- ............................................................... are things to eat.
- .............................................................. are used to travel.
- .............................................................. are clothes.
La pareja que termine antes y cuyas respuestas sean correctas, gana.
2.2. - Juegos de estructuras gramaticales.
Estos juegos pueden ser orales o escritos y ayudan a fijar unas estructuras gramaticales especficas, ya
conocidas por el alumno. Hay que tener la habilidad de presentrselos como una actividad recreativa, sin hacer
alusin a la estructura. Si el alumno se equivoca, debemos animarle a que encuentre la alternativa correcta, sin
corregirle formalmente, pues ya hemos indicado que lo ms importante del juego es la comunicacin.
2.2.1.- Juego de trotamundos.
Objetivo: Prctica del presente.
Destrezas: Comprensin y expresin orales.

Nivel: Elemental e intermedio.

Material: Tarjetas postales, recortes de revistas, banderas y un cronmetro.
Agrupacin: Grupos de cuatro o cinco alumnos.
Organizacin: Se divide la clase en grupos de cuatro o cinco alumnos. Un representante de cada grupo recibe
un documento visual (tarjeta, foto, recorte,...) de un pas, de una ciudad o de un lugar conocido por la mayora,
donde se supone se est realizando un viaje. Utilizando el presente, tiene que explicar a sus compaeros de
equipo dnde est, pero no puede emplear nombres propios. Los compaeros tienen que adivinar el lugar en
que se encuentra:
- I am in a beautiful town.
- It is the capital city of the country.
- I am visiting a big palace where a famous queen lives.
Se cronometra el tiempo, y el equipo que haya tardado menos en adivinar, gana.
Alternativa: Este mismo juego se puede utilizar para la prctica del futuro si en la tarjeta o la foto que se
entrega aparecen las caractersticas del pas de donde procede, y se pide a los alumnos que imaginen que se
es el lugar al que irn de vacaciones ese verano y lo que harn all.
2.2.2. - Adivina mi oficio.
Objetivo: Prctica de las estructuras interrogativas bsicas.
Destrezas: Comprensin y expresin orales.
Nivel: Elemental e intermedio.
Material: Cartas con dibujos que representen una profesin, ocupacin u oficio, y el nombre escrito debajo. En
su defecto, trozos de papel con el nombre de una profesin.
Agrupacin: Grupos de cuatro o cinco alumnos.
Organizacin: Se divide la clase en grupos (cuatro o cinco alumnos) que trabajarn independientemente. Se
entrega una carta de una profesin a un alumno de cada grupo, que se dirigir a sus compaeros diciendo:
"Guess my job". Los miembros del equipo le harn un mximo de diez preguntas hasta adivinar qu hace. Si
agotan las preguntas, el que presenta la profesin gana, y el profesor entrega otra carta a otro miembro del
grupo. El alumno responde siempre exclusivamente "Yes" o "No".
Alternativas: Se pide un voluntario y se le ordena salir de la clase. Los dems se ponen de acuerdo para elegir
el nombre de un personaje histrico o actual, de un animal, de una planta, de un objeto... Entra el voluntario y
se le coloca en la espalda un papel con el nombre elegido. Tendr que hacer a sus compaeros un mximo de
diez preguntas con el fin de adivinar su identidad. Cuando lo consigue o ha agotado el nmero de preguntas,
cede el puesto a otro compaero. Gana el que lo haya adivinado con menos preguntas.
2.2.3. - Juego del mimo.
Objetivos: Prctica del presente continuo.
Destrezas: Comprensin y expresin orales.
Nivel: Elemental e intermedio.
Material: Ninguno.
Agrupacin: Tres grandes grupos.
Organizacin: Se divide la clase en tres grupos: A, B y C. El profesor propone al equipo A que prepare cmo
representar mediante mmica una accin: comer un huevo, vender leche, .... A una seal del profesor, todo el
equipo A representa con mmica la accin, y los equipos B y C hacen preguntas a las que el equipo A slo
puede contestar "Yes/No". Si al cabo de cinco preguntas la accin no ha sido adivinada, el equipo A gana un
punto. En caso contrario, no gana nada. Coge el turno el equipo que ha acertado, o en su defecto el B, y as
sucesivamente. Gana el equipo que tenga ms puntos al final del juego.
2.2.4. - Juego de las asociaciones.
Objetivos: Prctica de "some, any, an, a" con nombres contables e incontables.
Destrezas: Comprensin y expresin orales.
Nivel: Elemental e intermedio.
Material: Cartas o recortes de revistas con dibujos de alimentos, objetos personales, ropas, etc. En su defecto,
trozos de papel con el nombre de estas cosas.
Agrupacin: Gran grupo.
Organizacin: Formar un crculo con todos los alumnos y colocar un pupitre en el centro. Si el grupo es muy
numeroso, puede jugarse en dos turnos. Distribuir dos cartas (o dos trozos de papel con los nombres) a cada

alumno. Mostrando una a los dems, el primer alumno dice: "I have got some flour, and you?". El alumno que
tenga un nombre o dibujo que pueda ser asociado con "harina" saldr corriendo del crculo y dir, por ejemplo:
"I haven't got any flour, but I have got some bread". Y coloca la carta al lado de "harina". Luego aade (dejando
la carta en el pupitre): "And I have got some cigarrettes too", parque otro alumno venga y diga: "I haven't got
any cigarrettes, but I have got a lighter, and some milk, too". Y as sucesivamente. Los alumnos debern
reaccionar muy deprisa, porque puede haber varias asociaciones. El jugador que se quede con las cartas en la
mano, pierde.
2.2.5. - Juego de las adivinanzas.
Objetivos: Prctica del presente simple, de la interrogacin y de los adjetivos.
Destrezas: Comprensin y expresin orales.
Nivel: Intermedio.
Material: Cartas con dibujos, o papel con el nombre de objetos fciles de describir.
Agrupacin: Dos grandes grupos.
Organizacin: Se divide la clase en dos equipos, y el profesor designa el mismo nmero de cartas para cada
uno. El tiempo de participacin de cada equipo es de dos minutos. Un alumno del equipo A sale a "escena". El
profesor le da una carta del montn que le corresponde y el alumno tiene que describir el objeto para que sus
compaeros lo adivinen. Tiene que haber una pausa entre frase y frase para que los compaeros tengan
tiempo de pensarlo. Si un grupo se "atasca" en un objeto, puede dejarlo y pasar a otro. Entonces el que
describe entrega la carta al profesor y otro compaero sale a intentar describir un objeto nuevo. Gana el equipo
que en los dos minutos haya conseguido adivinar ms objetos.
2.2.6. - La ruta de Ana.
Objetivos: Prctica de las instrucciones y la descripcin de lugares.
Destreza: Comprensin oral.
Nivel: Intermedio y avanzado.
Material: Un dibujo o plano.
Agrupacin: Individual o en parejas.
Organizacin: El profesor entrega un dibujo a cada alumno o pareja, representando un plano con una ruta que
va a coger Ana. Luego lee un texto y explica el vocabulario desconocido, hasta estar seguro de que los
alumnos lo han entendido. Los alumnos han de marcar en el dibujo el camino seguido por Ana y hacer una cruz
en los sitios donde se detiene.
Alternativa (sin dibujo): Para complicar el juego, en niveles avanzados, el profesor lee un texto descriptivo de
un lugar, y los alumnos tienen que imaginarlo y dibujarlo. Luego se comparan los dibujos y se discuten las
diferencias hasta conseguir e que parezca ms correcto a todos.
2.3. - Juegos de creatividad.
Son ms abiertos que los del apartado anterior. Los llamamos as porque el alumno puede crear un lenguaje
ms imaginativo, ms amplio. Son eminentemente comunicativos, por lo que el profesor deber vigilar un uso
"adecuado" de la lengua sin insistir demasiado en la perfeccin de la forma.
2.3.1. - La historia tonta.
Objetivo: Prctica del pasado.
Destrezas: Comprensin y expresin escritas.
Nivel: Elemental, intermedio y avanzado.
Material: Hojas de papel.
Agrupacin: Grupos de ocho alumnos.
Organizacin: El profesor explica que la finalidad del juego es encontrar las consecuencias de una serie de
acciones. Se divide la clase en grupos de ocho alumnos. Cada grupo empieza a escribir una historia
respondiendo a las siguientes preguntas:
- Who? : el nombre de un hombre o de una mujer clebres.
- Where?: se desarrolla la accin.
- When? : fecha, poca, estacin del ao.
- What are they wearing?
- What did they do?
- What did X say?
- What did Z say?

- What happened later?

El primer alumno de cada grupo escribe el nombre de un hombre famoso o clebre y dobla la hoja para que
sus compaeros no lo lean; el segundo alumno escribe el nombre de una mujer clebre y dobla la hoja; el
tercero escribe dnde se desarrolla la accin y dobla tambin la hoja. As hasta que hayan terminado todas las
preguntas. Siempre que la contestacin lo permita, se harn frases completas. Luego un alumno de cada grupo
lee en voz alta la historia completa. Gana la historia ms divertida y que tenga menos fallos gramaticales.
2.3.2. - Un poco de memoria.
Objetivos: Construccin de una frase muy larga y memorizacin.
Destrezas: Comprensin y expresin orales.
Nivel: Intermedio y avanzado.
Material. Ninguno.
Agrupacin: Dos grandes grupos.
Organizacin: El profesor explica que se trata de hacer correctamente una frase muy larga, escucharla dos
veces y repetirla. Se divide la clase en dos equipos. Cada uno se encarga de hacer un par de frases largas,
supervisadas por el profesor. Un alumno de un equipo lee una de las frases para que la repitan alumnos del
otro equipo. La lectura debe ser correcta y pausada. Si alguno duda o se equivoca, hace perder un punto a su
equipo. Gana el equipo que tenga menos puntos negativos.
2.3.3. - Quin debe sobrevivir?
Objetivo: Prctica de las oraciones condicionales.
Destrezas: Comprensin y expresin orales.
Nivel: Intermedio y avanzado.
Material: Ninguno.
Agrupacin: Grupos de ocho alumnos.
Organizacin: Los alumnos se dividen en grupos de ocho. El profesor explica la dramtica situacin: "Eight
people travel in a globe which is relieving air very quickly. The pilot says that at least one of them must jump out
to make the globe lighter, or otherwise the globe will crash and everybody will die". Los ocho personajes, que
son los mejores en sus profesiones, tienen que justificar su derecho a la vida. Pueden elegirse varias
profesiones: mdico, arquitecto, abogado, poeta, enfermero, polica, poltico, profesor,... Los alumnos tendrn
que utilizar las condicionales: If I die, "there won't be buildings any longer".


El cuarto tipo de juegos son aquellos conocidos como juegos de comunicacin. En ellos, el nfasis no se pone
en la correccin absoluta del lenguaje utilizado por el alumno, sino en el mensaje general que el alumno emite,
en la eficacia comunicativa del lenguaje. Ello no significa que esta clase de juegos no mejore la correccin y la
competencia lingstica, pues un lenguaje que est plagado de errores no podr servir de medio de
comunicacin efectivo y adems la gama lingstica que se usa en este tipo de juegos es limitada y los
alumnos repiten las mismas estructuras muchas veces.
3.1. - Dibuja la frase.
Objetivo: Prctica de formas interrogativas.
Destrezas: Expresin y comprensin orales.
Nivel: Elemental, intermedio y avanzado.
Material: El encerado y papeles en los que vaya escrito el ttulo de un libro, o de una pelcula, o de un programa
de TV o expresiones en la lengua extranjera, refranes, etc.
Agrupacin: Dos grandes grupos.
Organizacin: Se divide la clase en dos grupos. En sesiones anteriores se habr estudiado el vocabulario no
conocido, relativo a los ttulos o expresiones en ingls. Para iniciar el juego se barajan los papeles y el profesor
entrega uno, sin que lo vean los dems, a un alumno del grupo A, que deber salir al encerado. Este alumno
tiene que representar a travs de los dibujos en el encerado, o por medio de mmica, la frase o ttulo para que
sus compaeros adivinen de qu se trata. Los compaeros hacen preguntas a las que se contesta "Yes/No". El
tiempo para cada frase es de un minuto. Si lo adivinan, ganan un punto. A continuacin participa el equipo B. El
juego se repite varias veces, y gana el equipo que tenga ms puntos.

3.2. - Parejas de dibujos.

Objetivo: Prctica de la descripcin.
Destrezas. Comprensin y expresin orales.
Nivel: Elemental, intermedio y avanzado (dependiendo del dibujo).
Material: Parejas de dibujos, fotos, etc., con alguna diferencia.
Agrupacin: Parejas.
Organizacin: Se juega en parejas. Cada una recibe un par de dibujos similares, pero con alguna diferencia.
Cada alumno esconde su dibujo para que no lo vea su compaero. Luego lo describen y se hacen preguntas
para tratar de averiguar las diferencias.
3.3. - Historia desordenada.
Objetivo: Prctica de la narracin.
Destrezas: Comprensin y expresin orales.
Nivel: Elemental, intermedio y avanzado.
Material: Fotocopia de una historia contada en vietas y otra igual recortada en trozos.
Agrupacin: Parejas.
Organizacin: Los alumnos se sientan en parejas. El alumno A recibe la fotocopia entera y el alumno B la
versin recortada en trozos y en desorden. El alumno B tiene que rehacer la historia, colocando los trozos en
orden, a partir de las explicaciones del alumno A.
3.4. - Dar direcciones.
Objetivo: Prctica de las direcciones.
Destrezas: Comprensin y expresin orales.
Nivel: Elemental, intermedio y avanzado.
Material: Una fotocopia de un plano completo y otra con el esquema de las calles sin ningn nombre o dato.
Agrupacin: Parejas.
Organizacin: Se distribuye toda la clase por parejas. El alumno A recibe la fotocopia con toda la informacin.
El alumno B recibe el plano sin nombres. Es nuevo en la ciudad, acaba de llegar a la estacin y tiene que ir:
primero a, por ejemplo "the post office", despus a "the town hall", luego a "the Hotel Ritz", y finalmente a "the
Opera theatre". El alumno A tiene que dar las explicaciones suficientes para que el alumno B localice en su
plano los lugares a los cuales debe dirigirse, el nombre de las calles, etc. Este juego permite que los dos
alumnos intervengan activamente en la conversacin, pues deben preguntar, responder y clarificar


The characteristics of the language used in an act of communication in real life are different from the language
produced in the English class.
The limited field of real experiences in the use of the language that is offered by the small context of the
classroom obstructs to imprint on the language there produced the characteristics related to the natural and
spontaneous use in real life.
All those activities developed by the teacher in order to reproduce aspects that characterise the real use of the
language should be always positively valued. As regards this, one of the activities that helps best the student in
the practice of these characteristics peculiar to the communicative language is dramatisation.
In the foreign language class, dramatisation has got the objective of getting the student to develop a creative
production of the language.
We want that the language in the class would reproduce as accurately as is possible, the naturally and
spontaneity that characterise any normal act of communication.


2.1 Techniques of awakening and expression.
The dramatisation as a technique of awakening and expression can be carry out through any activity in that
artificial or imaginary situations are created to encourage the student to act representing his/her own role or the
one representing another person. The interaction established among the participants provokes a number of
reactions not only of linguistic nature, but also emotional, close to the ones typical in an act of communication in
real life.
Dramatisation in the sense dealt here is not far from the certain games of imitation so characteristic in
childhood. In both cases we deal with activities that consist on assuming or simulating certain roles in imaginary
situations. On the other hand, also the players, as they pursue the enjoyment and the individual entertainment
unconsciously. Also propose to experiment the communicative efficacy of the language.
Besides, these two activities are not radically different from the drama as genre or literary art. In the three cases
we deal with the expression of an inherent desire, to imitate behaviours that attract our attention by means of
artificial reproduction or events in human life that have developed in those.
2.2 From the game to dramatisation.
What is the difference between games and dramatisation?
Firstly, the practice of language games is usually characterised by the desire of competition and overcoming the
other players in the achievement of the objectives proposed for each game. This desire to compete
nevertheless, is not an essential characteristic of dramatisation, where what it really matters is "to participate".
Secondly, the language used in this kind of games is normally very organised and controlled by the teacher. In
dramatisation, on the contrary, the freedom of the student to choose the language to be used in each moment is
nearly complete. Finally, we should say that the role performed by the students in the games is not always the
living image of the behaviour of any individual in the different real life situations. In the dramatic activity,
however, the players, although they have to deal with imaginary or artificial situations, represent roles that
correspond to the ones from the real life. What is pursuing demonstrated is, precisely, the interpretative ability of
the individual.
It is easy to turn a game of language into dramatisation. The only thing needed for this is to give the student a
grater linguistic independence during the developing of the game itself, inviting him/her to exchange points of
view with his/her classmates freely, so that he/she can gather the specific information to achieve the objectives
of the game. This makes possible to stabilise an interaction between two or more students, in which each one
as well as using the language he/she thinks most appropriated he/she also takes similar roles to those in human
and social relationship. In this way, the students perform with the language many different functions such as
identifying, asking, enquiring, agreeing, disagreeing etc., by means of that the game becomes an authentic
communication act.

2.3 Drama techniques used in teaching a foreign language.

The communicative practice of a language will only be complete if we succeed in dealing with all the aspects,
linguistic and non-linguistic, that defines the real use of the target language. It is drama itself that set up as one
of the most effective activities to introduce the student to the communicative practice of a language.
2.3.1 Warming up activities
At the beginning of a foreign language lesson not all the students are motivated to the same extent, neither are
they in the same mood. That is why it is necessary to create an atmosphere of Cupertino previously and
estimulate in each the desire of working together.
There is a series of exercises whose main objective is to prepare the students psychologically, creating in them
a favourable disposition to participate in the following language activities.
" The imaginary ball: In pairs. The students are asked to pretend to be throwing an imaginary ball at each other.
It would be interesting that the teacher first tell the students what kind of ball they are going to throw: a tennis
ball, a balloon, a football...
" Physical representation of words: Groups of five or six students. The task of each group consists on finding a
word whose number of letters corresponds with the number of members forming the group. Once the word has
been chosen, each of the members from the different groups make, either with the hands or with the fingers,
one of the letters from the established word, the rest of the groups will try to guess the word.
" The talking blackboard: In pairs. A student is back to back with the other, and this draws with his/her finger the
letters of any word. The student who represents the blackboard has to guess the word.
" Introducing oneself and being introduced to others: Circles of six or seven pupils. A student starts saying
his/her name and an imaginary occupation. The student who is on his/her right repeats this information and,
then, says his/her own name and the imaginary occupation, and so on until all the members of the group have
taken part in the game. This practice is very useful when exercising the capacity of remembering.


3.1 Watching exercises.
With this we pretend to exploit the observation capacity of the student as a means to achieve the
communicative use of the language.
3.1.1 Exploring the classroom
The teacher invites the students to pay attention, during a couple of minutes, to the things in the classroom.
Once the time is up, the teacher asks the pupils to close the eyes and listen, without answering, to a series of
questions about the wall, the door, the blackboard... Made the questions, the teacher asks the students to open
the eyes and comment with the rest of the pupils the things that are able to remember. The most important thing
about this exercise is the interest the student has to discover his/her nearest environment and this is
transformed into a real production of language that is not always easy to reach in the classroom and it is also
important to get the students used to observe the details.
3.1.2 Discovering objects hidden on the hand
Standing up and with the hands behind their backs, the students make circles of four or five. The teacher,
covertly, places a small object on the hands of one pupil from each group, trying not to disclose it, not even to
the student who receives it. This, using the sense of touch, can easily know the name of the object.
The activity of the rest of the members from the team involves guessing, by questioning him/her, which the
object is. The only clues given are the questions made by the different members of the group.
This activity requires a great effort of concentration, in which intelligence and memory play an important role.
3.1.3 The invisible fruit
Groups of four or five students. Each group thinks about a fruit and decides which gestures are suitable to
imitate the action of eating the fruit.
At a signal given by the teacher, the groups disperse and each pupil goes to a classmate from another group
and interchanges the gestures agreed in their respective groups and makes some comments about their
What it is sought with this activity is the opportunity to exercise certain functions of language such as praising or
criticism other's people performance.

3.2 Exercises of creation and interpretation.

These exercises are created to bring in operation the fantasy of the student as a means to carry him/her from
the situation or immediate reality of the classroom to imaginary situations in the non-academic world.
Besides stimulating the creative and interpretative capacity of the students, we intend the pupils to achieve a
suitable production in accordance with new situations created by their imagination.
3.2.1 Unexpected use of the objects from the classroom.
In pairs. Each pair must find for certain object from the classroom a different use from the one it usually has. (A
chair may be used as an umbrella). After this, each pair must reach an agreement about the way of imitating the
action that may be performed with that object.
After a brief break, each pair shows the stabilised action before the other pairs or the whole class.
From this activity is easy to achieve a creative and spontaneous use of the language: "I think it is an umbrella".
3.2.2 Commentaries about a photograph.
In order to carry out this activity, it is essential to have a set of photographs of different characters. The pupils
are distributed into groups of three or four. Each group is given a photograph of a different character, along with
a sheet containing the following questions: How old is this person? What does s/he do?, Do you like this
person?, What is s/he doing now? ...
With the photograph in front of them, the members of each group answer the different questions and try to
agree in the most interesting interpretations. It is advisable that somebody from the group takes notes of the
conclusions. Once the task is finished, the groups interchange the photographs and make comments about the
new character.
What is expected with this activity is exploiting linguistically the first impression that instinctively has any human
being when pays attention to somebody.
3.2.3 Representation of a joke.
In pairs. Each pair decides to represent a joke in front of the rest of the English class. In this way we foster the
creative use of the language by all the students because they use it in a personal manner so as to represent a
comical situation in front of the other pupils.
By turns, all the pairs represent the jokes or funny situations previously chosen. The teacher undertakes the
responsibility for the jokes not being repeated. This activity may be carried out with the characters of a tale
known by all the students, although this kind of representation may require a previous rehearsal.
3.2.4 My favourite object.
The teacher asks the students to bring into the classroom any object from their house that feel particularly keen
on. At the same time, s/he will also indicate the necessity of wrapping the object so the rest of the pupils cannot
see it until the activity starts.
The teacher asks the students to distribute themselves into groups of four. Then, they are informed they have a
few minutes to, before opening their respective parcels in front of the classmates, guess the content.
Once the objects are exposed, each student explains to his/her group some details about the object (who gave
it to him/her, when, etc.). Meantime, the rest of the pupils can ask about any detail about the object.
They are very interested in the objects they bring into the classroom, so all the activities about them will be
accomplished with equal interest.


Advantages of working in groups:
" The students who work in-groups apparently experience less "fear" in class. As a result, they would rarely
confine into themselves and maintain a more receptive attitude towards study. Besides, the co-operation ingroup activities produces a sense of success that the student does not normally experience when working
" The students get used to learning applying the knowledge instead of memorising it. The skills acquired in this
way become easily part of the permanent linguistic competence.
" The students learn sharing and joining their efforts, checking their work reciprocally and helping one another in
natural, dynamic and communicative situations.
" The fact of joining their efforts, perceptions and knowledge helps the student to make up for the individual
" Working in-groups multiplies the opportunities for oral communication in the classroom.

4.1 Advantages for the teacher.

When the teacher has succeed in having each group of students working as a team, s/he also achieves they
pay more attention to the task undertaken.
It is necessary to emphasise that the responsibility of the teacher for dividing the class into groups changes,
and, at the same time the traditional relation teacher/student is transformed into a responsibility shared with the
students and developed in different modalities.
Keeping a lively rate in the activities usually helps to diminish the discipline problems, as it is unlikely that
students get bored.
Besides, the mischievous student cannot disrupt the class so often if everybody is busy. The traditional
opposition teacher/student is reduced when the students, instead of establishing an exclusive relation with the
teacher, relate to their classmates.
4.2 Criteria for the classification of activities.
Several criteria are useful when classifying group activities:
" The degree of the students`s familiarity with the task. The tasks accomplished in previous lessons are carried
out without difficulties due to the knowledge of their structure.
" The complexity of the task. Generally the more steps it has, the more capacity to follow the instructions and
co-ordinating the interaction is requested from the students.
" The degree of creativity required. The tasks based mainly in the manipulation of linguistic elements are
apparently easier than the ones that require the use of the language in a creative way.
Analysing an activity taking in consideration these three criteria helps to foresee the reaction of the group.
Provided that each activity normally requires more than a skill, the classification by skills (oral, written,
comprehension,etc.) indicates its main approach.
The activities must be selected depending on the objectives of the class, the level of knowledge in the target
language, the students and their interest. It is obvious the flexibility offered by working in-groups and the utility
within the language class.
4.3 The role of the teacher.
Perhaps, the role of the teacher is deciding when work group can improve the learning of a language by means
of creative activities.
While the work group takes place, the teacher performs several roles:
" Organiser: decides the size of the group and the way to select its members. Defines the activity and its result.
" Manager: observes the dynamic of the group and suggests improvements. Co-ordinates the different groups to
avoid unnecessary repetitions. Checks that the tasks are carried out according to the given specifications.
" Resource: gives information or materials when asked. Proposes several and variable alternatives.
" Assessor: gives explanations depending on the necessities of each group. Clarifies grammatical difficulties,
organises sessions to practice pronunciation. Provides positive feedback about the development of the activity.
" Evaluator: evaluates the work or performance of the group; propose criteria so the groups can evaluate
" Problem detector: observes the difficulties appeared in the performance of the group, clarifies the problems
and suggests solutions. While the group is working, the teacher can perceive a wide variety of problems.
During any session of group work, the teacher will have to move from a role to other, applying the techniques
required in each situation, and will adopt the role of pronunciation connector in a group, source of resources or
manager in others. In each case the teacher individualises his/her help depending on the group, offering his/her
presence in a diplomatic manner, and not imposing it to the group. Thanks to these roles, the teacher is able to
monitor the progression of the students, to follow closely the difficulties they encounter, the personal relations
and the dynamic of the group which help him to select successfully the activities in the future.


The Organic Act 1/1990 of General Organisation of the Educational System introduced some important
changes, aimed at improving the quality of education in Spain. Among these changes we can mention:
- The extension of compulsory education to the age of 16 years old
- The establishment of new educational stages such as: Infant Education, Primary Education, and Compulsory
Secondary Education.
- These stages are organised in cycles, which is the period that should be considered for teaching programs
and promotion.
- The establishment of a curriculum which, in spite of having certain aspects which are compulsory for all the
country, is also open and flexible, as the different autonomous educational services could adapt it to their real
context. Then, each school should adapt the official curriculum to their real environment by means of the design
and development of the Curricular Project.
- Besides, the Centres have the right to define their educational options, their objectives and their organisational
structure that will make possible the attainment of such objectives. These aspects must be included in a
document called the Educational Project.
Then, taking into account these basic aspects of the educational reform, we are going to deal with:
- The Foreign Language area, as it is reflected in the official curriculum.
- The criteria to be reflected in the Educational Project and the Curricular Project, in relation to this area.


The teaching of a foreign language is included among the areas of Primary education, as we can see in the
articles number 14 of the Organic Act 1/1990, and also in the article number 5 of the Royal Decree 1344/91,
which established the national curriculum for Primary Education.
According to these legal documents, the teaching of that foreign language starts in the second cycle. However,
in most autonomous regions of Spain, the teaching of a foreign language has been brought forward to the first
In Extremadura, this introduction came into force from the beginning of the last academic year, according to an
Order of the 30th of August, 2000.
The importance given to the learning of a foreign language in current society has to do with certain social,
educational and psychological demands, which Brewster, Ellis and Girard, in their book "The Primary English
teacher's guide' summarised as follows:
- Social demands: derive from the need of communicating with people from other countries in a world, which is
becoming a 'global village'. The success in business and international relations is closely linked to the learning
of foreign languages, especially in the context of the European Union, where goods and people can move freely
through the member states. Besides, the ability of communicating in a foreign language (especially in English) is
quite useful to travel abroad, and for the transmission of news and knowledge.
- The Educational demands have to do with the development of cognitive and social abilities by means of the
learning of a new language and its culture. This knowledge help children to overcome their natural egocentrism,
as they realise that there are other ways of living and seeing reality different from their own. At the same time,
this contact will help them to develop tolerance and respect as well as a better understanding and appreciation
of their own language and culture.
- Finally, the psychological demands refer to the need of introducing them to the learning of a foreign language,
as young as possible, because they are less distanced from the age in which they learn their first language than
teenagers or adults, and they are still good at understanding and imitating what they hear. Besides, they realise
that the same functions and notions they have just learn in their native language, can be expressed, equally
well, using a different language.
Once we have seen the importance of teaching a foreign language in Primary education, we are going to see
how the foreign language area is reflected in the official curriculum through the analysis of its different elements.
We are going to start with the analysis of the methodological principles:

1. First of all, we should consider that the foreign language area curricular purpose is not to teach a foreign
language but rather to teach how to communicate using it. Therefore Royal Decree 1006/1991 of the 14th June,
which establishes the teaching requirements for Primary education, sees communicative competence as
comprising five sub-competencies:
- Grammar competence: the ability to implement rules and lexical items from the language system.
- Discourse competence: which refers to the ability to produce different types of discourse organising them
according to the communicative situation and the interlocutors.
- Sociolinguistic competence: refers to the ability to adapt statements to different contexts observing the usage
of a given linguistic community.
- Strategic competence: implies being able to use verbal and non-verbal strategies to compensate for
breakdowns in communication.
- Sociocultural competence: refers to the student's knowledge of the cultural aspects of the countries where the
foreign language is spoken.
All these elements are part of the language, as language is not something abstract, but a tool for effective
2. Communicative competence acquisition is seen as a creative construction process. Our pupils using their
general cognitive strategies and linguistic input they receive establish hypothesis to form the new rules about
the foreign language system.
3. This new system is gradually contrasted and improved as new input is presented. Therefore error is seen as
an integral part of the learning process, as it is the manifestation of the effort our pupils are making to acquire
the new system.
4. This acquisition process may be fostered, especially at first, in ways that do not require a linguistic response
by using Total Physical Response techniques.
5. Receptive skills (listening and reading) are very important at this stage, specially listening, since oral
communication is the most direct form of communication among human beings.
6. We will try to familiarise the children not only with the target language from a functional point of view, but also
as a means of cultural and social transmission.
7. We should organise contents around topics connected to the students' interest.
8. The four linguistic skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) should be integrated through meaningful
communicative activities.
Then, the General objectives of the foreign language area are designed according to the principles we have just
mentioned. As we will see, these objectives refer to the development of the four linguistic skills (listening,
speaking, reading and writing), and also to the use of linguistic and extralinguistic strategies and the knowledge
of sociocultural aspects, in order to get communicative competence in the foreign language.
There are nine general objectives, expressed in form of interrelated abilities:
1. To understand simple and oral written texts about known objects, situations and events, using general and
specific information taken from those texts for specific purposes.
2. To use the foreign language orally to communicate with the teacher and students in common class activities
and in communicative situations created for this purpose, observing the basic rules of interpersonal
communication, and adopting a respectful attitude towards the contribution of others.
3. To produce short simple texts about topics that the students are familiar with observing the basic writing
4. To read and understand short simple texts related to class activities, to their knowledge of the world and to
their experiences and interests, with the purpose of obtaining general and specific information as desired.
5. To recognise and appreciate the communicative value of foreign languages and their ability to learn them,
showing understanding and respectful attitude towards other languages, their speakers and their culture.
6. To understand and use the linguistic and non-linguistic conventions used by the foreign language speakers in
common situations (greetings, farewells, introductions, congratulations...) in order to make communication

7. To use in foreign language learning, previous knowledge and experience with other languages, developing
autonomous learning strategies.
8. To establish relationships between meaning, pronunciation and graphic representation of simple words and
sentences in the foreign language, as well as recognising the characteristic aspects of sound, rhythm and
intonation in that foreign language.
9. To use non-linguistic expressive resources (gestures, body language, sounds, pictures) to understand and be
understood when using a foreign language.
In order to develop the abilities expressed in these objectives, we should work on CONTENTS that in our
curriculum are classified into:
- Concepts
- Procedures
- Attitudes
Conceptual contents refer to facts, events, rules and principles.
Procedural contents refer to the strategies, abilities, techniques and skills necessary in the learning process.
Attitudinal contents are concerned with behaviour and values.
These three kinds of contents are set in blocks:
- Oral communication uses and forms.
- Written communication uses and forms.
- Sociocultural aspects.
The CONTENTS OF THE FOREIGN LANGUAGE AREA are also designed around communicative needs and
situations. We have summarised the three blocks of contents, which appear in the RD 1344/91 of the 6th of
September, as follows:
a.1) Concepts:
Basic communicative needs and situations in the spoken form: greeting, identifying oneself, giving and asking
for information expressing needs and requests...
Characteristics of communicative situations:
" Number and type of interlocutors.
" Moment and place.
" Formal or informal communication.
Vocabulary and structures needed to express basic communicative needs in the spoken form.
Topics related to the interests of the students and wide notions:
" Colours, numbers, time, daily life, food, animals, time, sports
a.2) Procedures.:
Recognising sounds, rhythm and intonation patterns of the foreign language.
General comprehension of spoken messages (face to face or recorded) about familiar topics.
Specific comprehension of spoken messages (face to face or recorded) in contextualised situations.
Producing oral messages to satisfy common communicative needs.
Participating in linguistic exchanges for specific play purposes (simulations, role-play).
Recognising and using basic common strategies (linguistic and non-linguistic) to overcome communicative
Recognising grammatical forms to ask questions, state, deny, express possession, gender and number,
quantify, express facts in present, past, future and using them effectively for communication.
a.3) Attitudes:
Awareness of the importance of oral communication in a foreign languages
Willingness to speak a foreign language by participating in group activities (games, group work, role, play).
b.1) Concepts:
Basic communicative needs and situations in the written form.
Characteristics of communicative situations.
Topics of general use and wide notions
The names of the letters in the foreign language and their correspondence with their written form.
Relationship between meaning, of the vocabulary studied its pronunciation and its graphic representation.
b.2) Procedures:
General comprehension of written messages related to class activities, and common communicative needs.
Specific comprehension of simple authentic material.
Recognising in written texts grammatical structures used to request, state, deny, express possession, gender
and number, state, deny, using them effectively for communication.
Producing short simple written texts in response to oral or written stimulus aimed at different readers.

b.3) Attitudes:
Appreciating the importance of knowing how to read and write in the foreign language.
c.1) Concepts:
Social and cultural aspects of the countries where the foreign language is spoken which may be interesting for
our pupils such as:
" Expression and gestures that go with speaking, such as: polite gestures, tone of voice, symbols
" Aspects of every-day life: schedules, habits of children of this age, food.
" Games, popular songs, favourite meeting places and sports in the countries whose language is studied
" Presence in Spain of the foreign language studied by means of: products,
labels, songs, films, TV programs...
c.2) Procedures:
Using rules of behaviour and habits of the foreign language speakers in context.
Comparing the most relevant aspects of everyday life in those countries with the corresponding aspects of the
students' native country.
Using authentic materials from different sources close to the learners' in order to obtain specific information.
c.3) Attitudes:
Curiosity and respect for the most relevant aspects of everyday life in theses countries.
Appreciation of the sociolinguistic behaviour as a means to improve communication.
Interest in getting to know people from other countries.
After the contents which should be taken into account to develop the abilities expressed in the general
objectives, the Royal Decree 1344/1991, presents nine ASSESSMENT CRITERIA, which should be understood
as a tool to check if students have got the abilities expressed in the General Objectives. These assessment
criteria refer to abilities, but also make a little reference to contents as well as a brief explanation.
According to the R.D. 1344/91, the attainment of the general objectives of the foreign language area, will be
assessed in relation to the following criteria:
1.- To recognise and reproduce characteristic phonemes of the foreign language as well as rhythm and
intonation patterns in words and sentences used in real language situations.
This criterion tries to check if students are familiar with the sounds, rhythm and intonation of the foreign
language in listening and speaking. The texts they should listen to or produce must make sense and be in
2.- .-To grasp the overall meaning of oral texts emitted in face to face communicative situations supported by
gestures, and miming and any necessary repetitions in which combinations of previously studied elements
appears and which deal with topics that the learners are familiar with.
This criterion considers the ability of students to understand the global meaning of oral text in the best
conditions, which imply: direct communication, contextual support and topics related to their previous
3.- To extract specific information, which has been previously studied, from oral texts with a simple structure and
vocabulary, which deal with topics that, are interesting and familiar to the students.
This criterion checks the student's ability to understand, not only the global message, but also specific details
from simple oral texts, which deal with topics that are familiar to them.
4.- To participate in short oral exchanges related to common classroom activities, producing comprehensible
discourse adapted to the characteristics of the situation and to the communicative aim.
This criterion refers to the student's ability to express basic communicative needs in the context of the class
such as: asking something, asking for something, asking for permission to do something, asking for help,
greeting... These messages should be expressed correctly enough to be understood. (for example, they should
use the correct expression to ask for permission such as: "Can I go to the toilet, please?, or Can I open the
window/door?, Can I borrow your pen, please?
5.- To participate in simulated communicative situations, which have been previously studied in class using
common social formulas correctly in the foreign language.
This criterion checks the student's ability to communicate orally in the most basic situations of daily life using
social relation formulas, especially those which are typical of children of this age, such as: "How are you? Fine,
"Happy birthday!"

. "Many happy returns"...

5.- To grasp the general meaning and extract specific information from short written texts, with a linear layout,
and simple structures and vocabulary, which deal with topics that are interesting and familiar to the student
This criterion refers to the student's ability to understand short written texts from the teacher or other students,
such as: informal letters or instructions, public advertisements, charts and other written texts with visual support
such as simple comics for children.
6.- To read, with the help of the teacher or a dictionary simple books for children with redundant visual support
and written in foreign language, and showing the level of comprehension attained by performing specific tasks.
With this criterion, we assess if the student is able to read simple books written in the foreign language, but with
pictures that help them to understand. Then they have to show us what they have understood by means of
verbal on non verbal task, which could be done even in the student's native language, as we want to check
comprehension, not expression.
7.- To produce short comprehensible written texts that are adapted to the characteristics of the situation and to
the communicative aim and reflect to the subject matter studied in class.
This criterion means that students should be able to write short simple messages, related to their interests and
needs, such as: the list of things they need for an excursion, a short letter giving basic personal information
about themselves, or an invitation to a birthday party.
8.- To recognise some sociocultural features of the communities of foreign language speakers that are
contained in the language samples studied in class.
Finally, this criterion is designed to check if students are able to recognise some sociocultural elements of the
countries where the foreign language is spoken, especially those related to the daily life of children such as:
schedules, habits, subjects at school, games, greetings, favourite meeting places, popular songs, festivals,


Once we have analysed the elements of the official curriculum, which corresponds to the first level of
concretion, we must deal with the documents that each center should design in order to:
- Define their educational options and structure through the Educational Project.
- Adapt the different curricular elements to their context by means of the Curricular Project.
3.1.- The Educational Project:
First, we will deal with the Educational Project, which is a document that must be designed and approved by the
entire School Community, through their representatives in the School Board. According to the Royal Decree
82/1996 of the 26th January, which establishes the organic regulations of the Infant and Primary Schools, the
Educational Project consist of:
1.- The analysis of the sociocultural context of the center, which is the first step to establish the following
elements.(identity signs and educational objectives)
2.- The identity signs refer to those educational options that agree with the educational ideas of the school
3.- Taking into account these identity signs, the school community should establish the educational objectives
as well as reviewing the general objectives of every stage established in the official curriculum to adapt them to
their context, and to the identity signs of the centre.
4.- To get these aims, the school community has to define the organisational structure they are going to adopt
- A general guideline about the relations of collaboration among the different members of the school community,
and also the relations with other institutions.
-The organisational structure of the school, that should be reflected in a document about the distribution of tasks
among the different organs of the school community and also the internal rules of the center.
3.1.1.- Criteria to be reflected in the Educational Project in relation to

the foreign language area:

Now, we are going to see how the foreign language area could be reflected in the design of the Educational
Project, by means of a practical example.
1.- Regarding the school identity signs the teaching of a foreign language could be considered by the School
community as a means to promote:
- Respect for all the cultures
- Development of democratical habits.
- Autonomous learning.
2.- Taking into account the identity signs we have expressed, we could include the following educational
- Promote the learning of a foreign language as a tool for social development.
- Learning a foreign language as a tool for social development.
- Learning a foreign language and its culture to increase tolerance and being open-minded.
- Enlarging the psychological development of children learning a new language and its culture.
3.- After establishing the identity signs and the educational objectives, we have to take some practical decisions
about the organisational aspects that will make possible the attainment of our objectives. Following with our
example we can adopt the following decisions:
- Establishment of interchanges with an English speaking country
- Establishment of relations with different institutions, such as the British Council in order to obtain material.
- Contact with parents or relatives of students that have visited English-speaking countries.
- Participation in official programs related to Foreign language learning, such as the experimental teaching of
English in Primary Education.
3.2.- The Curricular Project:
According to the R.D. 82/1996, the Curricular Project should include the following elements:
- The general objectives of the stage adapted to the socio-cultural context of the school.
- The sequence of objectives, contents and evaluation criteria of the different areas per cycle.
- General methodological decisions that affect the following aspects: Methodological principles, groupings,
space, time and materials.
- General decisions about the attention to pupils with special needs.
3.2.1. - Criteria to be reflected in the Curricular Project in relation to the foreign language area:
Now, we are going to analyse how the foreign language area could be reflected in the Curricular Project of the
Stage. We are going to resort to an example, as we did when talking about the Educational Project.
Once the general objectives of the stage have been adapted to the socio-cultural context of the school, the
teaching staff should take decisions about the sequence of objectives, contents, and evaluation criteria of each
area along the different cycles. Since the establishment of this sequence is a difficult task, the Ministry of
Education published a Resolution of the 5th of March 1992, that offered some criteria to establish such
In relation to the foreign language area, this Resolution says that:
1. We must establish the sequence of objectives, contents and assessment criteria, according to the principles
of the communicative approach. This means, that we should develop the four linguistic skills in an interrelated
way as they are in real communication., and also connect the different skills with our student's interests and
2.- To establish the sequence of objectives for the second and third cycles, we should consider:
" The psychological stage of development of children
" Their previous knowledge
" Their communicative needs
" The degree in which the abilities expressed in the general objectives are going to be developed in each cycle,
For instance, starting from the objective number one of the foreign language area:
'To understand simple and oral written texts about known objects, situations and events, using general and
specific information taken from those texts for specific purposes.'
We can sequence the abilities expressed in this objective, for the second cycle of Primary education, as follows:

'At the end of the second cycle pupils will be able to understand the general meaning of simple oral texts
emitted by the teacher with a simple structure and vocabulary, in familiar contexts, and with the help of
gestures, mime and any necessary repetition'
1. Regarding the SEQUENCE OF CONTENTS, the best way to promote the development of communicative
abilities is organising them around procedures. If we decide to do it in this way, we should consider several
criteria, to follow a logical progression in the difficulty of such procedures. These criteria are defined according
- The type of oral or written texts
- The channel
- The type of comprehension
- The interlocutor
- The level of correction
Now, we are going to explain these criteria in detail.:
- The type of oral or written texts
Here we must consider the length, vocabulary, the linguistic structures, and organisation of the oral or written
texts that we are going to use in class. Obviously, we must go from short simple texts to more complex ones.
- The channel
As far as channel is concerned we should consider if the oral or written messages that our students should
understand or produce are going to be transmitted in a face to face communicative situation, or by means of a
cassette recording or a written text. In this sense, we should start from face to face communication, because
mime, gestures and expressions help pupils to understand.
- The type of comprehension
The type of comprehension refers to the information we ask them to extract from an oral or written message.
This comprehension may be global ( if they should get the general sense of the message) or specific (if they
have to extract specific details). The most logical progression goes from global to specific comprehension.
- The interlocutor
Regarding the interlocutor we should take into account if he/she is known or unknown for the student, if he/she
belongs to the school context or not. At the beginning we should work with close interlocutors such as the
teacher and the classmates.
- The level of correction
The level of correction deals with the demands about correction in the oral and written production of students.
Obviously such demands increase along the cycles. At the beginning, they should produce language correctly
enough to be understood.
3 .- Then, if we have decided to organise contents around procedures, we should not forget that the three types
of contents (concepts, procedures and attitudes) must be considered in an interrelated way. Then we should
relate them as in the following example:
"Recognising the characteristic sounds, rhythm and intonation patterns of the foreign language, realising the
importance of being able to communicate in a foreign language
To see this relation more clear, the Resolution of the 5th of March suggests that we can display them in a chart,
as follows


Concepts Attitudes
Recognising -Characteristic sounds
-Rhythm and intonation
patterns. - Realising the importance of oral communication in a foreign language.
Identifying -Words and sentences in texts related to the context of the classroom and daily life - Showing an
optimistic attitude towards their own ability to understand the foreign language
Global comprehension - of messages with the following communicative intentions:

*Greeting (hello!,good morning...)

*Identifying oneself (I am. ,My name is...)
*Giving and asking for basic personal information (using expressions such as: Whats your name, How old are
- These communicative functions should be related to topics of general use and wide notions, which are
interesting for children, such as:
*The school, family, friends, animals, body, home, numbers, colours...
- Showing a receptive attitude towards people who speak a different language.
Specific comprehension
- Of information previously required in contextualised situations*
- Showing a receptive attitude towards people who speak a foreign language.
*For instance, we ask children to fill a chart about the favourite sports of different characters from the textbook.
First, we tell them what they are going to listen to a conversation where the characters talk about things they like
and dislike and what information they should pay attention to. Then, we play the cassette or read the text aloud
and they should complete the chart, with the specific information we have asked them for (sports, in this case)
STEVIE yes yes no
LUCY yes no yes
ANNIE no yes no
As we can see this task ask them to extract specific information (about favourite sports), previously required by
the teacher, in a contextualised situation,( as they already recognise the characters voices, and know what they
are talking about).
If we do this with all the general objectives we will have a list of the contents of each cycle including concepts
procedures and attitudes.
These orientations are quite useful to establish the sequence of objectives, contents and assessment criteria, in
the second and third cycle, but we must not forget that English has been introduced in the 1st cycle in our
Autonomous Community. Then the Order of 30th of August published by the Department of Education, Science
and Technology of our Autonomous Government says in its article number 3 that:
"The centers must change and adapt their Curricular Project partially as the objectives, contents and evaluation
criteria of the foreign language area, should be sequenced for three cycles, instead of two"
Obviously, as we haven't got our own curriculum yet, we must take as reference the objectives, contents and
evaluation criteria of the R.D. 1344/91 of the 6th of September, which establishes the national curriculum for
primary Education.
However, the Department of Education, Science and Technology of our Autonomous Government, has
published a document, made by foreign language teachers co-ordinated by the Technical Inspection Service
called "English in the first cycle of Primary Education". This document is not a law, it has been published just to
help teachers. Regarding the abilities, skills and contents which should be worked in this cycle this document
says that:
- The most important skill in the first cycle should be listening.
- We must not force children to speak until they are ready to do it. Then at the beginning they can show what
they have understood by means of non-verbal actions such as movements, gestures, drawing, cutting, pointing,
- Total Physical Response ( TPR) activities and songs are a good way to help them link words and actions, and
express themselves in English in a funny and meaningful way.
- Written language should be avoided, especially in the first year of the cycle, because they are learning to read
and write in their native language and the complex English spelling could be confusing for them.
- Contents should be taught by means of didactic units, organised around meaningful topics as: Family, Friends,
Christmas, Things of the classroom, The house, Food, Toys, Clothes...
- Children must be already familiar with such topics in their native language. Then, the co-ordination with the
tutor-teacher is very important to establish the sequence of the different didactic units along the cycle.

According to the Resolution of the 5th of March, which establishes some principles for the sequence of
objectives, contents and evaluation criteria, during the 2nd cycle we must consider that:
Listening is still the most important skill, and we must help children to:
Understand the global meaning of simple oral messages and extract specific information previously required in
contextualised situations.
- The oral messages they have to understand should present a simple structure and vocabulary and deal with
topics related to children's interests and needs (such as school, home, family, games, sports...)
As far as the development of speaking is concerned, pupils in the 2nd cycle must learn simple linguistic
structures, which can be applied to a great number of communicative situations. These situations could be:
*Habitual communicative situations in the classroom such as: greeting, identifying oneself, asking for
permission, and asking for help.
* Situations created by the teacher to promote learning, such as: Identifying and placing objects, people or
places, expressing quantity, expressing likes and dislikes, giving simple instructions... In these situations
teachers should promote pupils interest in oral communication by means of group activities (simulations, games,
and role-plays) where language is used with a communicative aim
In spite of the importance given to oral language, the written code is also present in the 2nd cycle from the first
day. As far as reading is concerned, we should help students to develop their reading abilities in the foreign
language, working on words, short sentences, class instructions, simple descriptions and very short stories,
supported by pictures.
Children must start just identifying the written form of words and sentences that they already know in the oral
form. Then, matching written words and sentences with pictures is the typical reading activity at the beginning of
the second cycle.
As far as writing is concerned, we must consider that at this age ( 8 to 10 years old) the communicative needs
related to writing are still very limited, even in their native language. This implies that written texts in this cycle
should consist of:
" Very short descriptions
" Lists to perform tasks ( such as the list of things they need for a party, or a shopping list)
" Short messages between classmates (for example short orders in games: go to the door, dance, stand on your
chair, go to the left/right...)
" Birthday cards, and invitations, Christmas cards...
Finally, socio-cultural contents in the 2nd cycle should refer to the daily life of children in the English-speaking
countries, including aspects such as: schedules, celebrations and festivals, shops, traditional tales and songs.
We must help students to go from comprehension to production. The development of oral language is still the
main objective. The oral texts they must understand in this cycle will be more complex and longer than in the
previous one, as children are already familiar with the sounds of the foreign language, and they are able to use
communicative strategies to understand such as: listening for specific information or just to get the general
meaning of an oral text, predicting what they think may come next, inferring opinion and attitude from the
intonation of the speakers or deducing the meaning of new words from context
The oral texts we must offer them must be also related to their interests and needs. For example:
" Descriptions of places or people.
" Conversations between children about their daily life, hobbies, or opinions.
" Fantastic situations based on traditional tales.
Regarding the oral productive skill (speaking) pupils in the third cycle are able to:

" Use verbal and non verbal strategies to be understood (Verbal strategies could be: using a word instead of
another, replacing an specific word they dont know for a more general one or explaining the meaning of a word
they dont know;
Non verbal strategies are: making gestures or sounds, drawing, or pointing to objects, to solve communicative
" Use social relation formulas and expressions, which are used to satisfy basic communicative needs such as
greeting, congratulating, thanking, apologising, introducing oneself.... In this cycle most children know what
expression they should use according to the communicative situation.
Then, by means to these abilities, they are able to participate in oral exchanges to express their basic
communicative needs in the context of the classroom or in real or simulated contexts related to their daily life
(dealing with topics such as: home, food, animals, sports, holidays...) correctly enough to be understood.
Regarding WRITTEN COMMUNICATION, in the third cycle we must consider:
" The development of intensive and extensive reading:
Intensive reading refers to understand every word of short texts (short descriptions or stories, personal letters,
advertisements or labels). Extensive reading refers to get the global sense of longer texts, such as: tales,
comics or simple books for children with redundant visual support. To read this kind of texts children can resort
to the help of the teacher or the dictionary. The most important thing in extensive reading is enjoying the texts.
" Writing in this cycle will focus on the production of short simple texts in response to oral or written stimulus,
aimed at different readers and adapted to the different communicative situations. These written texts will
include: short personal letters, descriptions and stories.
Finally socio- cultural contents in this cycle will deal with aspects related to daily life in the English-speaking
countries and also with other socio-cultural aspects of those countries related to the students interests, for
instance: cars, sport, famous people on pop stars, cinema, environment, cities, famous buildings, sports...
Now, we are going to deal with the last decisions we must take in the curricular project: the sequence of
assessment criteria and the methodological options.
2. - The sequence of assessment criteria, depends on the sequence of objectives and contents, since they
establish the abilities that children should acquire at the end of the Primary stage related to the contents they
need to develop such abilities. Then, according to the principles established for the sequence of objectives and
contents, an example of sequence of an evaluation criterion, taken from the curricular materials known as Red
Boxes ( Lenguas Extranjeras. Mec. 1992)
3.- To identify simple details, previously required from oral texts related to topics which have been studied in
class, and perform simple instructions given by the teacher in the context of the classroom. 3.-- To extract
specific information previously required from oral texts, with a simple structure and vocabulary, which deal with
topics which are interesting and familiar for students ( daily life, likes and dislikes, opinions and personal
Finally, THE LAST ELEMENT OF THE CURRICULAR PROJECT, that we are going to consider, is the definition
of the General Methodological Options we are going to take into account . To define such options we must
follow the recommendations of the Royal decree 1344/1991, 6th September, which establishes the basic
requirements for Primary Education, and also the methodological principles established for the Primary Stage in
general, and particularly those principles established for the foreign language area . As we have seen when
talking about the different curricular elements, the main aim of teaching a foreign language in Primary Education
will be getting students to communicate in such foreign language.
" Then, grouping, space and time must be understood in a flexible way to allow students to participate in real
communicative interactions.
" As far as materials is concerned, they should promote activity on the part of students as well as being visual,
attractive and as authentic as possible.
" We also should pay attention to diversity, designing activities in which everyone could participate according to
his/her abilities.
" And finally, according to this kind of methodology, assessment should be used as a tool to improve the
learning-teaching process.

- Ley Orgnica 1/1990, de 3 de octubre de Ordenacin General del Sistema Educativo.
- RD 1344/1991 de 6 de septiembre, por el que se establece el currculo de la Educacin Primaria.
- RD 82/1996, de 26 de enero que establece el Reglamento Orgnico de las Escuelas de Educacin infantil y
colegios de Educacin primaria.
- Resolucin de 5 de marzo de 1992, de la Secretaria de Estado para la Educacin, que regula la elaboracin
de proyectos curriculares y establece orientaciones para la distribucin de objetivos, contenidos y criterios de
- Orden del 30 de agosto de 2000, por la que se establece y regula la imparticin de la lengua extranjera en el
primer ciclo de Educacin primaria, en el mbito de la Comunidad Autnoma de Extremadura.
- MEC: Materiales para la Reforma, area de lengua extranjera. Madrid. Servicio de publicaciones del MEC.
- MEC. Proyecto Curricular. Materiales para la reforma. Madrid. Servicio de publicaciones del MEC, 1991.
- Brewster, Ellis and Girard. The primary English Teacher's Guide. London. Penguin. 1992.



+Language is a complex human activity that fulfils many functions,among them we can name two basic
functions: communication and representation. These functions do not exclude each other, but they are
interrelated within the linguistic activity. Representing, either linguistically or not, is the most important aim of
communication. Communication at the same time contributes to represent the physical and social reality.
Learning and education must serve this double function of communicating and representing.
Human beings communicate through different means and systems: gestures, music, symbols, numbers, etc.
Verbal language, the most universal means of communication, Iet us receive and transmit different types of
information and influence other people, as welI as they may exert their influence on us. Therefore,
communication plays an essential role within society.
+But language is not only an instrument of communication amongst persons. It is also a means to represent the
world, although the representation of the world around us may be done through other non-linguistic means.
+In this topic, we will analize the general objectives of the foreign language area, the contents and the
evaluation criteria. Finally, we will analyze the School Educational Project and the School Curricular Project.


+The ability to communicate in a foreign language is an actual need nowadays. It is something fundamental
wtthin the frame of the European Union not only because of the comings and goings of people throughout
Europe, either to work abroad or to visit different countries, but also because of the world of telecommunications
and technique etc.
+However, the aims and functions of this area in compulsory education are not exclusvely determined by these
social expectancies. There are also deeply educative reasons, derived from the importance of this area in the
general educative objectives. +The ability to communicate in a foreign language and the knowledge of the same
provide a great help to understand and control our own language and behaviour. To contact other cultures
through the channel of the language favours comprehension and respect towards other ways of thinking and
acting. In a multilingual country as Spain is, learning a foreign language is highly interesting since languages are
not competitive amongst them, but they fulfil the same functions and contribute to the same cognitive
Communicating and representing through language are simoultaneous and interrelated functions within the
linguistic activity. In the social exchange, language helps us to transmit and receive information of very diverse
nature, and therefore, to influence other people, controlling and directing their activity, at the same time they are
influencing ours.
+But, language is a priviledged instrument of communication, thanks to its capacity to represent reality in a way
that is shared by all the members of the community. Hence, when we learn a language we are learning a
system of signs, but also the cultural meaning these signs have, that is, dlfferent ways to interpret reality.
Together with these functional considerations, we must take into account the structural features of language.
From this point of view, language is defined as a system of interrelated signs. When we describe the units of
language we say that all of them have a meaning, because they are in relation to the whole system. For that
reason, we must forget that the discourse is the concretion of language, since the use of the rules in the three
levels (phonetic-phonological, morphosyntactic and semantic) depends on the communicative function we want
to fulfill, and on the concrete situation of production and reception of the message. Therefore, a study of the
language must comprise not only the sentence but the whole text and the context as well.
+It is important to say tnat the aim of this curricular area is not to teach a language, but to teach how to
communicate through the use of it. This requires an approach based upon communication and aimed to acquire
communicative competence. At the same time, communicative competence comprises:
-Grammatical competence or ability to put into practice the units and rules of the system of the language.
-Discursive competence, or ability to use different types of discourse and to organize them according to the
communicative functions.
-Sociolinguistic competence or ability to make language suitable in a concrete context.
-Strategic competence or ability to define, correct, or make adjustments according to the communicative
-Socio-cultural competence or the ability to attain a certain degree of familiarity with the social and cultural
context in which language is used.
+Summarizing, the development of the communicative competence implies to be able to use a certain amount
of "subcompetences" of different nature. "To say something" and "To use language for something" are key
elements in the teaching of foreign languages. That is, communicative competence is taught through practice.
+The process of acquisition of a foreign language may be considered as a creative construction in which the
student makes hypotheses to conform the rules, which constitute the new system. This process Iet him organize
language comprehensively, with the aim of producing messages in the different communicative situations.
Although this process is common to all languages, we must underline some special features in the case of a
foreign language.
+The learning of a foreign language is not linear, but global. The chiId progressively enriches the global idea of
the new system. Therefore, the mistakes he does, cannot be treated as mistakes, but as the evidence of the
progressive control over this new communicative system that he is acquiring.
We must say that the ways to process information also work when the student is not buiIding messages. The
usual periods of silence that exist, when the student is beginning to Iearn a foreign Ianguage, must not be
understood as "siIence", but as
periods in which an intense activity that cannot be observed is being carried out. Through the receptive activities
we may contribute to develop the concrete competences of comprehension, but also the general communicative

+The development of the linguistic skiIls (reading, writing, Iistening and speaking) must be understood as, a
process of integration. In real life, the majority of activities contribute to develop different skiIIs. Threfore, they
must not be studied separately. However, students must be taught to create and consolidate these skiIIs in
order to be able to produce written and spoken messages.
+But, the Iearning of a foreign language, must go beyond a functional approach. The members of a linguistic
community share, by means of the language, some specific cultural meanings. Therefore, the teaching of a
language must introduce, the students into the most relevant features of the social and cultural context.
In this way, the educative function of the foreign language becomes meaningful, because it allows students to
understand reality, to enrich their cultural world and to favour the development of tolerant attitudes.
+AIthough the idea that children learn languages faster than adults cannot be proved, there is enough evidence
to show that Iearning must be done as soon as possible, because, in no way this Iearning interferes the Iearning
of the own mother tongue, but it consolidates it.
Learning a foreign language in primary school contributes to overcome the typical egocentrism and localism of
the children.
+We must take into account that this stage is a period in which we make the student "feel" this foreign language.
The first contact must be carefully done, because it is the warranty for a positive Iearning. It is important to use
the most interesting fields for these children, as well as the games as the maximum expression of what they
already control in their own mother tongue.
In the second cycle of primary education the students already have a fundamental basis: the knowledge of their
own language and of many expressions and words of the foreign one, especiaIly learnt from the mass media.
Besides, they have a vague idea of the country where this language is spoken.
+If, as we have already said, the Iearning of a foreign language is a process of creative construction from the
received language, the receptive activities become considerably important in this stage. Messages will
fundamentally refer to contents that are very close to the students to stimulate them. Besides, they must include
the aspects of the new language that are subject to be used in a wide variety of situations. However, we must
not forget written language. Students already know the importance of the written code and its graphic
representation. The fact that they are Iearning to read and write at the same time is a good way of integrating
the written and oral skills in primary education.
+The teaching of the English language in Primary Education wiII have as main objectives the following ones:
1. To understand oral and written texts. To understand simple oral and written texts related to known objects,
situations and events close to the students, using the general and specific information transmitted by these texts
with specific purposes.
2. To use the foreign language oralIy. To use the foreign language orally to communicate with the teacher and
the other students in the usual classroom activities and in the communication situations created to lead to that
aim, paying attention to the basic rules of interpersonal communication and adopting a respectful attitude
towards the others' views.
3. To produce short and simple written texts. To produce short and simple written texts about topics which are
familiar to the students, respecting the basic rules of the written code.
4. To read in a comprehensive way short and simple texts. Read in a comprehensive way short and simple text
related to classroom activities, using their knowledge of the world, and their experiences and interests with the
aim of obtaining the necessary and specific information.
5. To recognize the value of foreign languages. To recognize and to appreciate the communicative value of
foreign languages and the ability to learn to use them, showing an understanding and respectful attitude
towards other languages, their speakers, and their culture.
6. To understand and to use linguistic and non-linguistic conventions. To understand and to use the linguistic
and non-linguistic conventions used by the foreign language speakers in everyday situations (greetings,
farewells, introductions, congratulations, etc.) with the aim of making conversation easier and more fluent.

7. To use the previous knowledge and experiences with other languages. To use, in the foreign language
learning process, the previous knowledge and experiences with other languages and to develop progressively
learning strategies.
8. To establish relations among the meaning, the pronunciation, and the graphic representation of words and
sentences. To establish relations among the meaning, the pronunciation and the graphic representation of some
words and simple sentences in the foreign language, apart from recognizing phonetic, rhythm and intonation
aspects of the foreign language.
9. To use non-linguistic and expressive devices. To use the non-linguistic expressive devices (gestures, body
position, diverse sounds, drawings, etc) to try to understand and be understood by using the foreign language.

- Most habitual needs and situations to use the spoken language. Communicative functions and characteristics
of these situations:
*Communicative intentions: Greetings, identifications, asking and giving information, identification and location
of objects, descriptions, narrations, expressing needs and wishes, etc.
*Characteristics of the communicative situation: number and type of listeners, moment and place of
communication, more or less formal situation, etc.
- Vocabulary and linguistic structures required to express, orally, the basic needs of
*Communicative intentions: greetings, identification, giving and asking for information, identification and location
of objects, descriptions, narrations, needs and wishes, etc.
*General topics: Colours, numbers, weather, time, house, family, friends, class, food, likes and dislikes, daily
routine, animals, human body, sports, spare time, holidays, health, etc.
- To recognize and make familiar the sounds of the foreign language and its rythm and intonation.
- To understand oral messages of different nature and from different sources (teacher, other students, video,
*Global comprehension of oral messages about familiar topics.
*Specific comprehension of concrete simple messages in contextualized situations.
-To react either linguistically and non-linguistically to different oral messages and communicative situations:
*Production of common expressions aimed to satisfy simple needs of communication (greetings, identification,
asking and giving information, identification of objects, decriptions, etc).
*Use of basic messages previously learnt (polite expressions, etc.) adjusting them to the specific features of the
*Active participation in oral exchanges in order to express the most immediate communicative needs within the
class and in contexts closer to the student.
*Participation in the linguistic exchanges with the aim of having fun (simulations, performances, etc.).
*Non-linguistic answers to oral messages (follow instructions, etc.).
-To recognize the grammatical formulas that help them to make questions, to assert, to reject, to express
possession, to quantify, to describe, to narrate, etc... and to use them in order to achieve efficient
-To recognize and use the basic strategies of communication, both linguistic (use one word instead of another,
etc.) or extralinguistic (gestures, drawings, etc.) which help to overcome communicative problems.
- To use the native language's strategies of communication, which let us take advantage of the limited
knowledge of the foreign language.

-Awareness of the importance of oral communication in a foreign language.
-Awareness of the reality of a different culture, reflected in the language.
-Receptive and respectful attitude towards the persons who speak a foreign language
- Wish to express themselves in a foreign language, participating in the activities (games, songs, etc.).
-Awareness of the corrections done when they interprete or produce a text.
- Positive and optimist attitude towards their own ability to speak in a foreign
-Tendency to use imaginatively and creatively, oral messages previously learnt, in different communicative
- Most habitual needs and communicative situations to use the written language. Communicative intentions and
characteristics of these situations.
*Communicative intentions: greetings, identification and location of objects, expressing needs and wishes, etc.
*Characteristics of the communicative situation: type of Iisteners, more or less formal situation, etc.
- Vocabulary and Iinguistic structures required to express the basic communicative needs by writing.
*Communicative intentions: greetings, identification, giving and asking for information, identification and location
of objects, descriptions, narrations, etc.
*General topics: colours, numbers, time, house, family, class, food, likes and dislikes, sports, etc.
- Names of the letters in a foreign language and their correspondence within the writing system.
- Relations between the meaning of the words, their pronunciation and graphical representation.
- Production of written texts adjusted to the features of the reader and of the communicative situation.
- Understanding of the written messages of different nature.
*Global comprehension of written messages related the activities done in class.
*Global comprehension of brief written messages related to the most immediate needs of communication and to
the interests of the speakers.
*Global comprehension of easy authentic materials, with visual backing about daily-life topics.
*Awareness of the specific elements, previously learnt, in texts which have unkown words and expressions,
such as invitations for a birthday party, cards, magazines, etc.
- Use of the grapho-phonic correspondences to spell, for instance, the name and the surname, etc.
- Production of written texts directed to different readers, answering oral and written stimuli.
- Solution of games which require the knowledge of the vocabulary and the ortography used in class.
- Awareness of grammatical structures in written texts.
- Awareness of some sociocultural aspects which differentiate the foreign language from the mother tongue.
- lnterest and curiosity towards the written texts and appraisal of the role they play in order to satisfy
communicatlve needs.
-Awareness and appraisal of the importance of reading and writing in a foreign language.
- Appraisal for the correct interpretation of easy written texts.
- Interest to know the vocabulary and the basic linguistic structures required to express the essential
communicative needs in different situations.
- Disposition to overcome the difficulties that the use of a foreign language creates, by paying attention to the
communicative strategies of the mother tongue.
- Social and cultural aspects of the countries where the foreign language studied is spoken.
*Expressions and gestures which go together with the oral expressions: tone, gestures, etc.
*Daily-life aspects: Timetables, habits, images of that culture, etc.
*Spare time: games, songs, sports, places, etc.
d) Presence in Spain of the foreign language learnt: labels, songs, films, etc.

-Awareness of some aspects of the countries where the foreign language is spoken.
- Contextualized use in habitual situations of some rules and habits of the countries where this language is
- Comparison of the most relevant aspects of daily life in the countries where the foreign language is spoken,
and our own country.
- Use of authentic materials with the aim of getting the desired information.
- Curiosity and respect for the most relevant aspects of daily life and for other sociocultural aspects of the
countries where this language is spoken.
- Appraisal of the sociolinguistic behaviours which help cohabitation.
- Interest to know people from other countries.
1. To recognize and reproduce the characteristic phonemes of the foreign language. To recognize and
reproduce the characteristic phonemes of the foreign language as well as the basic models of rhythm and
intonation, in words and sentences which appear in the context of real use of the language.
2. To grasp the general meaning of oral texts. To grasp the general meaning of oral texts uttered in face to face
communication situations, with the help of gestures and mime and the necessary repetitions, in which there will
appear combinations of elements previously learnt and which deal with familiar topics, known by the student.
3. To extract specific information. To extract specific information, previous required, from oral texts with a simple
structure and vocabulary which deal with familiar topics that interest the student (daily life, likes, preferences,
opinions and personal experiences).
4. To participate in short oral exchanges. To participate in short oral exchanges related to usual classroom
activities producing an understandable discourse adapted to the characteristics of the situation and the
communicative purpose.
5.To participate in simulated communication situations. To participate in simulated communication situations
which have been previously practised in the classroom, using properly the most usual social interaction
formulae in the foreign language.
6.To extract the general meaning and some specific information. To extract the general meaning and some
specific information from short written texts with a lineal development, simple structures and vocabulary, which
deal with familiar topics that interest the student.
7.To read simple children's books. To read with the help of the teacher or, the dictionary simple children's books
written in the foreign language with visual backup and show comprehension by means of a specific task.
8.To produce short written texts. To produce short written texts, comprehensible and adapted to the
characteristics of the situation and the communicative purpose, in which those contents that have been worked
in the class can be seen.
9.To recognize, some sociocultural aspects. To recognize, some sociocultural aspects typical of the foreign
language speaking community which are implicit in the linguistic samples worked on in the classroom.


+One of the aspects that the Educative Reform has put more emphasis on, is the need to give more
independence to the centres, since they are the key of the educative system. This autonomy is extremely
necessary, because the educative process cannot be the same in all the centres, since it has to answer the
cultural and socioeconomic context in which centres are placed, as well as students and their families.
The reflection about all these specific needs must give the lines to establish the specific features that make the
centre have its own educative style. It is good that all the centres have their own choices.
+The LODE ("Ley Orgnica del Derecho a Ia Educacin") provides that the centres will have autonomy to
establish the optional subjects, to adapt the programmes and to adopt the teaching methods they wish,
whenever they do not discriminate any member of the educative community, and always under the law.
+The Educative Project of a Centre is the document that comprises the decisions or ideas taken by the whole
educative community with respect to the basic educative options and to the general organization of the centre.
In the Educative Project of a Centre and according to the sociocultural and economic context of the same, we
must establish the decisions taken regarding questions such as who we are, what we want, etc., for instance:
- The signs of identity.
- The objectives or aims of the centre in which these signs are concreted.
- The revision of the general objectives of the Curriculum.
- The relations of cooperation amongst all the persons in charge of putting the objectives into practice.
- The organization that will make these objectives possible, which is specified in the "Reglamento de Rgimen


+The decisions established in the Educative Project must be specified in the Curricular Project where these
principles are explained in order to answer questions like what, when and how to evaluate and teach.
+The most important idea of the Curricular project is that is a process and therefore, it is never ended and it has
to be revised very often, because the quality of the teaching can always be improved.
+There are some steps that must be followed to elaborate the Curricular Project:
- Elaboration: Body of teachers of the Staqe
- Coordination: Committee of Pedagogic Coordination
- Approval: Teaching Staff of the centre
- Report: Educative Council
- Supervision: Technical inspection
+The aims of the curricular project are:
1. To increase the coherence of the educative practice through the decisions taken by the whole body of
teachers of a stage.
2. To increase the competence of the teachers through the evaluation of their work.
3. To adjust the ideas of the M.E.C. to the context.
+In order to achieve these aims, the Reform has created a more opened curricular model. This model is
characterized by the fact that the educative administrators, that is, the M.E.C., establish a lower level of
prescription, and therefore they favour the autonomy of the teaching bodies.
+In the curricular project the prescriptions of the M.E.C. are specified according to the peculiarities of the
Comunidades Autnomas and , then, of every centre. The objectives that the educative process tries to achieve
in every stage, are explained in the "Reales Decretos de Currculo". The internal decisions taken for every stage
are specified in the Curricular Project. Therefore, a centre in which there are students from 3 to 12 years old, will
have a single educative project, but two curricular projects: one for the first stage (Infantil) and another for the
second (Primaria).
+Once the curricular project has been established, the Programmes of Class will be made. This third level of
concretion will comprise the decisions taken for every specific group of students.
+We have four great sources to elaborate the Curricular project:
- The educative project.
- The analysis of the background.
- The basic curriculum that the M.E.C. and the Comunidades Autnomas have established.
- The experience derived from the teaching practice of the centre.
+The Educative Project will be a guide as long as the identity signs of the centre and its aims are specified in it.
+The analysis of the context is fundamental, since the aim of the curricular project is to concrete and adapt the
decisions that the M.E.C. has taken regarding education in all schools, to the specific needs of every centre.
+In the curricular project, the context is analyzed according to the students of every stage, which usually have
very difterent features. It also comprises the methodological options, the evaluation or the best way to organize
the sequence of the abilities and contents in the cycle.
+Another source from which the curricular project is specified, and one of the most important, is the previous
experience of the centre that will be more or Iess explicitly explained in its programmes.
+ As we have seen in the first section, the general objectives of stage have the following characteristics:
- They are defined in terms of abilities and not of behaviours.
- These abilities must regard all the fields of development (motility, intellectuality, personal balance,
interpersonal relations, social attitude and relations).
- They must try to comprise the abilities within the different fields, with the aim of underlining the relations that
they have amongst them.
+ But apart from these objectives, The Real Decreto de Curriculo provides that:

"The cycle is the temporal curricular unit of programme and evaluation in the Primary Education(...)."According
to what has been previously established, the same teachers wiII work with the same group of students
throughout the whole cycle, if they are working in the same centre"(...)."The projects wilI comprise at least, the
contents provided for an educative cycle, and they wilI have to be related to the general plan of the
corresponding stage".
+It is necessary to establish some previsions about the internal sequences of the cycle, according to the
following criteria:
- Coherence of the evolutive development and the previous learning of the student.
- Coherence of the learning.
- Contents as the basis of the sequence.
- Limited basic ideas.
- Continuity and proggression.
- Balance (the abilities developed in the objectives must be balanced).
- Interrelation (the different types of contents, concepts, procedures and attitudes must be conveniently related
amongst them).
- Cross-curricular/Transversal themes (very important in Primary education).
- Didactic strategies that will be used throughout the stage
+We wiII evaluate.
- The students' Iearning,
- The process of teaching and our own teaching practice, with relation to the achievement of the educative
objectives of the curriculum.
- We will also evaluate the curricular project itself, the teaching programme and the actual development of the
+In order to evaluate the Iearning process we have to take some decisions regarding the situations, strategies
and instruments of evaluation. The requisites that the procedures of evaluation must fulfill are:
- To be varied.
- To give concrete information.
- To use different codes.
- To be applicable to more or Iess structured situations of the learning activity.
- To evaluale the transference of the Iearning to different contexts.
+The evaluation is determined in the Curricular Project and, therefore, it must also be decided how to
communicate its contents to parents, students, and the rest of the teachers.
+In conclusion ,in the Curricular Project we must also concrete when, how and what we have to evaluate.These
aspects must follow three basic lines:
-Initial evaluation: Through this, the teacher knows the actual and previous knowledge his students have in
order to develop the didactic unit with the best results. Previous knowledge is what the students already know
both regarding the conceptual aspects, and the procedures and the attitudes that are going to be involved in the
development of the unit. However, through the activities, the knowledge of the students in these three aspects
must be checked. This helps the teacher to readjust his teaching to the reality of his students in order to make
them capable to relate the new information with that they already have and therefore, to achieve a significant
-Formative evaluation: The different activities the unit has, constitute by themselves a procedure of formative
evaluation. Throughout the whole didactic unit the students have the chance of analyzing their own progress,
since every activity includes a moment to reflect, comment or contrast, their achievements and learning
problems. The teacher also readjusts the following settings depending on the results they get.
-Summative evaluation: It is the evaluation of the learning that the students have achieved throughout the unit.
The activities designed to evaluate, follow the same patterns of the activities done throughout the whole unit.
This make possible that the teacher judges their work according to the same criteria established to achieve the
objectives proposed in the development of the unit.
+In the Curricular Project, we must as weIl include the criteria to promote the students to the next cycle:
"In the context of the process of continuous evaluation when the progress of a student does not globally
respond to the programmed objectives, the teachers wiIl adopt the suitable measures of educative
reinforcement and of curricular adjustment".

+In addition we have to take many other decisions:

1. Groups:
- Level of learning.
- Groups which favour a better interaction.
-Groups with different or special needs
2. Time and spaces:
- Use of the common spaces.
- Distribution of the space within the class.
- General timetable of the centre.
- Excursions and common activities of the whole centre or of the groups.
+That is to say, the distribution of time within the class must be organized according to the Project. There must
be enough time to develop global units, to make some activities that require a specific sequence of time to be
done, time to make activities with other groups outside the class, etc.
3. Materials and didactic recourses
+The materials and didactic recourses are another fundamental factor of the educative practice. For that reason,
it is important to select those that are going to be used and to establish the criteria for their use in the curricular
project since they are decisions that the whole teaching body must share.
+Regarding the latter, that is, the materials directed to the students, we must identify the kind of materials we
need: texts, workbooks, exercises, tapes, plastic materials, etc. We must also differentiate which materials will
be used in every cycle.
+The selection of materials the centres do, must take into account the following criteria:
- They must not be discriminatory.
- They must be used by all the students.
- They must not spoil the environment.
- They must not be excesively sophisticated.
- They must be suitable for the age of the students, whom they are directed to.
- They must include the norms for the security that their use requires, as well as their components and other
features (size, weight, etc.).
+In the case of printed curricular materials, we must take into account the following criteria for their selection:
1) To know the educative objectives that these texts have and to check to what extent they are corresponding to
those established in the centre for a certain group.
2) To analyze the contents worked in order to check if there is a correspondence between the objectives and
the contents. We must develop the different types of contents (concepts, procedures and attitudes), as well as
the transversal themes.
3) To revise the sequences of learning that are proposed for the different contents. It is important to analyze the
progression that the objectives and the contents follow, both in their distribution throughout the different cycles
and in their internal organization.
4) To analyze the suitability of the criteria of evaluation proposed by the curricular project of stage.
5) To analyze the activities proposed in order to see if they fulfil the conditions for a significant learning. In this
point, it is specially important to pay attention to the activities that must be done in the different moments of the
process of learning and teaching.
6) To adapt these materials and didactic recourses to the educative context in which they are used.
+From a communicative point of view, in our area, language teaching sees materials as a way of influencing the
quality of classroom interaction. The primary role of materials is therefore to promote communicative language
4. Methodological principles:
+In the case of our area, as explained in the first part of this theme we will have to take into account the
guidelines given in the introduction of our Primary Curriculum, Royal Decree 14/9/ 91, which establishes the
minimum teaching requirements in Primary Education.
1.English teaching does not involve teaching a language, but teaching to communicate in English. This means
that we will adopt a communicative approach which aims at the acquisition of a communicative competence.

2.We should favour functional learning. This means that the students should be able to use the language in
communicative situations.
3.We should promote meaningful learning. This entails that the learners will build up their own linguistic
competence by using learning strategies and by making hypotheses about me way in which language works
starting from the linguistic input.
4.English teaching should provide students with both a new linguistic experience and a human/social
experience. In this light, we will develop attitudes such as cooperation and respect to the others and contribute
to develop the learners' socialization skills by promoting social relations through pair work and group work.
5.The four linguistic skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) must be developed in an interrelated way,,
since in real life we cope with communicative situations which require different skills.
However, at this stage receptive skills (especially listening) are more important than productive skills.
6.Variety.Variety involves using a wide range of materials and activities In the classroom.
We should introduce variety for three reasons:
"The students motivation will be better.
"Our pupils' attention span is short and they thus need to do different things.
"Lessons will be more enjoyable.
7.The language items should be presented in context. Give that any language is a system of interrelated signs,
the linguistic elements should appear in discourse where their meaning depends on the communicative function
and communicative situation.
Besides, the new language must be sensitive to being used in a wide range of communicative situations.
8.Foreign language teaching must introduce the most relevant sociocultural features of the foreign culture, since
any language reflects a way of understanding and constructing reality.
9.It is important to teach contents and plan activities which meet the students' interests and needs in order to
develop a positive attitude towards English learning. In this way the pupils will be more likely to succeed.
10.We should take into account the students' previous knowledge about the foreign language (foreign sounds
and words) and the foreign culture (famous people, films, songs,...).This will reinforce the meaningful character
of learning contents, since the pupils will be able to link what they already know with what they are learning,
thus increasing their motivation to learn English.

Materiales para la Reforma. Primaria. MEC. Madrid, 1992.
M.E.C. : L.O.G.S.E. Madrid. 1991.
Pozuelo, M.L. & Rodriguez, M.A. Proyecto curricular del rea de ingles. Escuela
Espaola. Madrid. 1994.
Propuesta de Secuencia. Lenguas Extranjeras. MEC-Escuela Espaola. Madrid, 1992.