Measurement of Sociolinguistic Competence of EFL Post Graduate Students

Abstract

Sociolinguistic competence (henceforth SC)refers to the understanding ,or organization of the principles of language use that are determined by the features of the specific language use context ; it enables us to present language functions in ways that are appropriate to that context. The ability to adjust one's speech to fit the situation in which it is said is called sociolinguistic competence, and without this ability, even the most perfectly grammatical utterances can convey a meaning entirely different from that which the speaker intended. Post-graduate students (henceforth PGSs) find it difficult to communicate freely in the target language. The ‘de-emphasized’ status of this competence in educational practice has to do with the fact that it is closely related to the sociocultural part of acquiring a foreign language sociolinguistic confusion can make learners seem so inappropriate as to cause misunderstanding . For nonnative speakers, the misunderstandings they are often faced within the cross-cultural realization of communicative acts usually arise from their failure in appropriate use of pragmalinguistic and sociopragmatic competence. Without attempting to identify and discuss the features of the language use circumstances that determine the principles of language use. Cross cultural differences , results in misunderstandings between the speech participants, and can cause serious breakdowns in communication. These rules of speaking can be slowly acquired by the language learner as he/she is immersed in the target language culture; however, learning these rules through immersion is a time consuming process, with many rules going unnoticed for years, or even worse, never being acquired at all. important area of difficulty that PGSs face is communication. This study will focus on SC because it seems to be the most neglected aspect among the four categories of communicative competence in foreign language curriculum. When engaged in authentic communicative situations, they often lack some of the vocabulary or language items they need to get their meaning across. The study also aims at measuring SC of EFL Post Graduate Students and finding out whether there is significant differences between male and female students′ performance which leads to the level of sociolinguistics competence . A test has been constructed and its validity and reliability have been ascertained to measure SC among PGSs. Bachman and Palmer (1990:328) scale used to measure SC. The sample of this study applied 60 PGSs in Tikrit, Babel , Baghdad and Salahaddin Universities. The results of this study indicate that it is due in the methods of language teaching and the learning environment, which are unsuitable for learning a foreign language. Find difficulties in using English for communication.