The purpose of the present study was to examine the relations between communicative competence and five dimensions of personality in 241 first and second language–learning children in The Netherlands. To determine the underlying communicative competence of the first and second language learners of Dutch, a broad array of linguistic measures and teacher judgments were collected. Observational scales referring to the Big Five personality factors were used to characterize the children's personalities. The results showed that three basic components underlie both the monolingual and bilingual children's communicative competence: organizational competence, involving lexical, syntactic, discourse, and functional abilities; pragmatic competence, involving sociocultural routines and illocutionary force; and strategic competence, involving the planning and monitoring of communicative behavior. The relations between the different dimensions of personality and the components of communicative competence revealed the following patterns to characterize first language learners: conscientiousness and emotional stability correlated with basic organizational skills; openness to experience correlated with pragmatic competence; and a broad range of personality characteristics with the acquisition of communicative strategies. In contrast, primarily openness to experience and, to a lesser extent, conscientiousness and extraversion were found to be related to the buildup of basic organizational skills, the acquisition of pragmatic skills, and the development of monitoring strategies in second language learners.
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