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Basic Interpersonal Communicative Skills (BICS) are language skills needed to interact in social situations, for example, when speaking to a friend on the telephone.
We use this language skill in face-to-face interactions, rather than in dealing with academic tasks.
This term is often credited to Jim Cummins research related to language acquisition and learning. The other term that is often used in conjunction with this term is Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP). Students typically are thought to acquire BICS in 2-3 years but take 5-7 years to develop the CALP needed to be on the same level with their native speaking counterparts in the classroom.