The starting point for this study is the importance of linguistic competence in deaf students as part of their process of socialization and the formation of their self-concept. With the 56 deaf students who participated in the research, we consider the following sociodemographic variables: age, sex and degree of hearing loss, and the educational factor with respect to the mode of mainstream schooling. Self-concept was explored using the Spanish version of the Self Development Questionnaire (SDQ; I. Elexpuru, 1992) and the TST-Who Am I? test, adapted from M. H. Kuhn and T. S. McPartland (1954). To obtain the data for conversational competence, a conversation was held with a hearing adult. An explanation is given of the criteria for pragmatic analysis. The main results highlight the relationship between positive self-concept and most aspects of conversational competence. The study concludes with pedagogical procedures for integration, including specific strategies for teaching conversational skills to deaf pupils through nondeaf pupils and vice versa. © 2007 Oxford University Press.