Plurilingual discourse competence

Assessing genres at the Threshold Level


  • Ernesto Martín-Peris Universitat Pompeu Fabra
  • Carmen López-Ferrero Universitat Pompeu Fabra
  • Carme Bach Universitat Pompeu Fabra



additional language (AL), assessment, critical attitude, discourse genres, multidimensional analysis, plurilingual discourse competence (PDC)


We present a didactic model for the multidimensional analysis of discourse genres as situated practices, illustrated through the study of a transactional conversation in Spanish. This model represents a basis for developing and assessing the discourse competence of plurilingual adult language learners (Spanish-, Catalan-, French- or English-learning university students) acquiring a minimal competence to participate in academic events (lectures, seminars and workshops), as well as to cope with everyday needs in a foreign city. For proficiency in the use of language in context, students must be aware of the three dimensions which define a discourse genre: the sociocultural, the pragmatic and the textual, each entailing specific criteria and indicators of achievement. Special focus is placed on the sociocultural dimension because of its underlying importance for the teaching and learning of discourse genres. One factor especially relevant in this dimension is the community of practice to which the learners belong as autonomous social agents and in which they critically and consciously engage in learning activities.

Author Biographies

Ernesto Martín-Peris, Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Ernesto Martín-Peris received his PhD in Philosophy and Education Sciences from the University of Barcelona and has retired as a professor at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona, Spain). His research interests include foreign languages teaching materials, classroom interaction and learner autonomy. He is the author of several works in these areas. Formerly, he was Professor of Spanish as a Foreign Language, Director at Barcelona’s ‘Escola Oficial d’Idiomes’ and Academic Director at Instituto Cervantes, ‘1st. Academic Career Award International House – Difusión S.L.’

Carmen López-Ferrero, Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Carmen López-Ferrero received her PhD in Philosophy and Sciences of Education from the University of Barcelona. She is Associate Professor of Spanish Language and Discourse Studies at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF-Barcelona, Spain) and a member of the consolidated research group [email protected] She has published works on text linguistics, discourse studies and didactics of language.

Carme Bach, Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Carme Bach received her PhD in Linguistics at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF-Barcelona, Spain). She is Professor of Catalan Linguistics at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF-Barcelona, Spain) and a member of the consolidated research group [email protected] Her research focuses on discourse analysis, language learning and teaching and applied linguistics, and she has published works in these areas.


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How to Cite

Martín-Peris, E. ., López-Ferrero, C. ., & Bach, C. . (2021). Plurilingual discourse competence: Assessing genres at the Threshold Level. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, 15(3), 265–287.