Plurilingual competence, styles and variation

  • Jyrki Kalliokoski

Abstract

The paper explores plurilingual competence in respect to language proficiency, language education and pluri- and multilingualism. The notion of communicative competence was introduced by Hymes (1972) as a reaction to chomskyan view of language as an autonomous system. Hymes’ notion of communicative competence originally included plurilingualism. The concept of communicative competence was quickly adopted to applied linguistics but the idea of a linguistic repertoire consist-ing of the competencies of linguistic varieties was not imported to SLA or language testing. The Hymesian perspective to plurilingualism as an essential dimension of communicative competence was revived in the Common European Framework (CEFR). However, the practice of applying the CEFR has mostly neglected the dimension on plurilingualism and plurilingual competence. The focus in the use of the CEFR has been on the different areas of language skills within one single language at a time, while the application of plurilingual practices has gained very little attention. The Hymesian notion of communicative competence has lived on in the sociolinguistic research tradition, especially within interactional sociolinguistics. The present paper relates the notion of plurilingual competence to its hymesian origin, to recent trends in plurilingual and pluricultural education, and to the sociolinguistic study of style and linguistic variation in multilingual communities. The article uses Finnish L2 data to show how plurilingual competence is used as an interactional resource. From the perspective of language learning, plurilingual compe-tence enables speakers with different linguistic backgrounds to use their shared linguistic repertoire in order to ensure smooth interaction and achieve mutual understanding

Published
2019-06-17
Section
Articles