Discourse competence is the ability of a user/learner to arrange sentences in sequence so as to produce coherent stretches of language. It includes knowledge of and ability to control the ordering of sentences in terms of:
•Topic/focus; given/new; ‘natural’ sequencing: e.g. temporal:
- He fell over and I hit him, as against
- I hit him and he fell over.
The ‘co-operative principle’ (Grice 1975): ‘make your contribution such as is required, at the stage at which it occurs, by the accepted purpose or direction of the talk exchange in which you are engaged, by observing the following maxims:
• quality (try to make your contribution one that is true);
• quantity (make your contribution as informative as necessary, but not more);
• relevance (do not say what is not relevant);
• manner (be brief and orderly, avoid obscurity and ambiguity)’.
ELEMENTS TO EVALUATE ACCORDING TO YOUR TASK:
COHERENCE AND COHESION:
B2: Can use a limited number of cohesive devices to link his/her utterances into clear, coherent discourse, though there may be some ‘jumpiness’ in a long contribution.
B1: Can link a series of shorter, discrete simple elements into a connected, linear sequence of points. Can use the most frequently occurring connectors to link simple sentences in order to tell a story or describe something as a simple list of points.
A2: Can link groups of words with simple connectors like ‘and’, ‘but’ and ‘because’.
A1: Can link words or groups of words with very basic linear connectors like ‘and’ or ‘then’.
B2: Has a good range of vocabulary for matters connected to his/her field and most general topics. Can vary formulation to avoid frequent repetition, but lexical gaps can still cause hesitation and circumlocution.
A1: Has a basic vocabulary repertoire of isolated words and phrases related to particular concrete situations.