Moi Tarzan, Vous Jane? A Study of Communicative Competence



ABSTRACT  Two hundred twenty-three secondary students who were near the end of a second-year course in French conducted interviews with the researcher, who posed as a French girl who neither spoke nor understood English, and attempted to obtain fourteen bits of information from her. The transcribed interviews were the basis of an analysis of the structures used and the kinds of errors made. Many of the errors appeared to be due to interference, both from English and from French. A few, such as the confusion between definite and indefinite articles, were traced of pedagogical strategies. However, there were large groups of errors which seemed to be the result of reduction processes. The fact that is ductions seemed to be influenced by the need to communicate suggests that correcting student errors in terms of their comprehensibility to native speaker might result in a more advances grammar. At any rate, few students seem to be successful in mastering the syllabus of a two-year French course for active use.