Teaching a Foreign Language: A Tentative Enterprise

Edda Weigand


The paper deals with the issue of teaching a foreign language from a dialogic perspective that focuses on the integration of different means of communication. Teaching how to interact in a foreign language does not aim at knowledge of a certain set of verbal devices but at competence-in-performance in dialogic interaction. After an overview of the state of the art in applied linguistics, the activity of teaching is described as a tentative enterprise insofar as it does not necessarily lead to learning. The concept of language as dialogue is explained as dialogic competence-in-performance. Having clarified the basic notions of language and teaching, a foreign language syllabus is proposed that starts from simple action games and proceeds to suggesting a set of utterance variants. Special attention is paid to principles of politeness, to lexical means for predicating and to grammatical means of referring. Finally, general guidelines are offered for more effective teaching that can improve the process of learning.


competence-in-performance; learning; language as dialogue; syllabus; action game; politeness


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Studies in Communication Sciences | ISSN: 1424-4896