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Keywords:

  • communicative competence;
  • cultures and comparisons;
  • language and culture;
  • learning strategies;
  • sociocultural competence

Abstract: This article suggests a set of strategies for developing the sociocultural competence of language learners. These strategies extend the notion of coping strategies, or strategic competence (Savignon, 1972, 1983, 1997), to include the intercultural dimension articulated in current goals for U.S. world language education. Adopting the integrative, communicative perspective of language development reflected in the Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century (National Standards, 1999), this article offers classroom strategies for teaching and learning with particular reference to the goal areas of “cultures” and “comparisons.” This proposal is grounded in a theory of language inseparable from culture—one that views ability in both a first language (L1) and subsequent languages as the result of socialization and the language classroom as a site of exploration in the development of communicative competence. Suggestions for classroom implementation of strategy training are supported by classroom research (Savignon & Sysoyev, 2002).