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An analysis of communicative competence features in English language texts

in Yemen Arab Republic


Aziza Taleb Abbad
PhD Dissertation University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 184 (1988)
Three English for Yemen, Teacher Editions, used in the preparatory schools in Yemen Arab
Republic, were analyzed. The purpose of the investigation was to determine the features of
communicative competence that exist in the types of activities and behaviors suggested in the
three books. Furthermore, the books were examined to determine the relative degree of
emphasis given to every activity and behavior. Seven units in each of the three teacher
editions were randomly selected and analyzed for activity types, classroom organization,
content, language skills and materials used. Teacher and student verbal interactions were
coded separately for the following communicative features: use of target language,
information gap, sustained speech, reaction to code or message, incorporation of preceding
utterances, discourse initiation and form restriction. The findings revealed that the majority of
all activities advocated in the three books focused on form and very few on communicative
activities. Classrooms were organized mainly for whole class and individual work activities.
Group and dyadic activities were suggested rarely or not at all. Language form, rather than
function or discourse, received major emphasis; and, there was no attention at all given to
sociolinguistics. About equal emphasis was given to listening, speaking and reading skills;
however, writing had the least emphasis. The material suggested to be used mostly was the
textbook. The use of visuals was advocated less often. All materials were prescribed and there
was no suggestion that teachers find and use other materials. For teacher/student interaction,
the use of the target language was suggested at all times except for certain occasions where
the native language could be used. Information gap in the utterances were mainly the
pseudo/predictable type. Genuine and unpredictable information were very rare. Sustained
turns were very scarce as, and minimal turns predominated. There were few instances of
incorporation of preceding utterances. Discourse was primarily teacher initiated. The findings
showed no significant differences existing among the three teacher editions in the frequencies
of the use of the activities and behaviors except for the categories Activity types and
Information Gap in Student Verbal Interaction (x$\sp2$ = 21.78, df = 2, p $<$.05) and
(x$\sp2$ = 14.67, df = 2, p $<$.05) respectively.
Keywords: Bilingual education, Education, Multicultural Education

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