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Title:The Relationship of Conceptual Level to The Development of Communicative Competence in French
Author(s):Horwitz, Elaine Kolker
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Language and Literature
Abstract:This study explored the relationship between Conceptual Level a social cognitive variable and second language communicative competence. Conceptual Level indexes both cognitive complexity and interpersonal maturity and has been shown to be related to first language communicative abilities. Second language communicative competence was defined as constructive language use. The research hypotheses stated that Conceptual Level was related to the development of communicative competence while foreign language aptitude was related to linguistic competence (mastery of the structural components of a second language).
Sixty-one female high school students in second year French classes served as research subjects. Conceptual Level, foreign language aptitude, and linguistic competence were operationalized by the Paragraph Completion Method, the Modern Language Aptitude Test, and the Pimsleur French Writing Test, Level A, respectively. Communicative competence was measured by a rating of the subject's performance on three oral communicative tasks: retelling information, talking about a picture, and being interviewed.
Conceptual Level was found to be related to both communicative and linguistic competence (r = .54, p < .001; r = .48, p < .001) as was foreign language aptitude (r = .40, p < .01; r = .41, p < .01). However, foreign language aptitude was not found to be related to linguistic competence when Conceptual Level was statistically controlled (r = .20, p < .135). Conceptual Level, on the other hand, was found to be related to communicative competence when foreign language aptitude was statistically controlled (r = .42, p < .01). These results indicate that Conceptual Level is directly related to second language competence. However, the findings were interpreted within the context of the collinearity of the predictor and criterion measures.
It is argued that the present findings call for a reexamination of the concept of aptitude for foreign language learning. Increasing levels of cognitive complexity and interpersonal maturity are seen to be particularly suited to the demands of the communication-centered foreign language classroom. Finally, implications of the present findings for instructional practices to encourage the development of communicative competence are discussed.
Issue Date:1980
Description:118 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1980.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8108545
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-12
Date Deposited:1980

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