Non-Verbal Communication in Models of Communicative Competence and L2 Teachers’ Rating

Document Type : Research Paper


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Non-verbal communication (NVC) plays a major role in various aspects of human life (Andersen, 2004; Cameron, 2001; Johnstone, 2008). Children learning their first language come to realize non-verbal communication as their socialization process takes place (Fletcher & German, 1990; Ingram, 1996; Owens, 2001). However, most EFL learners may have little exposure to these non-verbal aspects of communication (Jungheim, 2001). This study attempts to make language teachers aware of this often neglected aspect of communicative competence by investigating how NVC has been conceptualized in existing models of communicative competence (e.g., Bachman, 1990; Bachman & Palmer, 1996; Canale, 1983; Canale & Swain, 1980) using a three dimensional framework proposed by the researchers. This paper also attempts to identify the effect of construct-irrelevant NVC features on teachers’ assessment of language learners’ speaking ability. The results indicate that some construct-irrelevant nonverbal features do in fact affect teachers’ ratings and these effects are surfaced differently depending on the gender of the raters.