An ELT Glossary : Pragmatic competence

  • Definition and example : A speaker's knowledge of how the language is used - eg that "Can you open the window?" is a request for action and not an enquiry about ability - or that Do you think we could possibly have a window open? would be a more appropriate request to use in eg the office of a new client than Open that window, can you

  • Hymes' definition of communicative competence argues that pragmatic competence is one of the things over and above grammatical competence which a speaker must have in order to be a proficient language user.