CLT 101: Talking to the clitoris

By Paige Knight

With exams fast approaching, I thought I’d make my column a bit more educational. Sex education first needs to start off with a language, so we can communicate. Whether this language will consist of sentences or grunts and moans, is up to you. Critical Language Teaching, better known to linguistic students as CLT, is a method for teaching language. There are four steps to gaining communicative competence, which is the central concept of CLT. A man called Dell Hymes said that linguistic competence was useless on its own. In order to communicate effectively, we must know the rules of the language to be able to use the language appropriately.

Step one. Grammatical Competence: This means understanding the literal meaning of utterances. For example, your girlfriend saying: “Baby, I want you now!” should be taken literally, as in, get on top or miss out! One could also phrase it as “Baby, I’m feeling adventurous!” However, before we start taking everything we hear literally, which could leave lecture halls a little sticky, let’s read on.

Step two. Sociolinguistic competence: This translates to understanding “utterances” in terms of the context in which they are uttered. So, you’re in Hogsback and your girlfriend is in her hiking kit and says “Baby, I’m feeling adventurous!” This should not be taken literally, as in, get on top or miss out, as the context of being in a mountainous area could mean that she is feeling excited about hiking to new places on the map. You pouncing on top of her could lead to a knee in the groin or worse.

Step three. Discourse competence: The ability to combine meanings with unified and acceptable spoken and written texts in different genres. This instruction is a little bit more complex than the previous ones, so let’s relate it to common ground such as the Internet and cell phones. Many fights occur over G-talk, Mxit, Facebook etc. because often we misread what a person has said in terms of tone and punctuation. So, before you change your Facebook status to an irritating broadcast of “Paige is upset with a certain someone” (Which, frankly, you should keep to yourself), reread what has been sent to you and see if you are taking what the message says out of context or tone.

Step Four. Strategic Competence: This relates to verbal and non-verbal strategies which may be needed to enhance effectiveness of communication or, rather, the effectiveness of sex or getting sex. You don’t have to talk all the time, unless it’s sexily provocative. A few directional phrases can be used, but body language usually works best. Now that you have the rules to guide your understanding of language, you can hone your sex chat. Clear communication is the best way of getting what you want. If your partner does not know what that is, you can’t expect to be satisfied. So get chatting with each other in this new language and enjoy a much more intense connection and satisfaction.


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