Communicative Competence as the Aim of Foreign Language Learning

Topics: Linguistics, Language acquisition, Communicative competence Pages: 8 (1390 words) Published: February 2, 2008
Communicative Competence as the Aim of Foreign Language Learning

Contents

1. Introduction......................................................................................................................2

2. Communicative competence............................................................................................2

3. How to develop communicative competence..................................................................5

4. Conclusion.......................................................................................................................7

5. References........................................................................................................................8

1. Introduction

In this paper I will discuss communicative language teaching and its aim: communicative competence. I will also reflect on the aspects of communicative competence, criteria for its assessment and, finally, some ways communicative competence can be developed through classroom interaction.

2. Communicative competence

Communicative competence is the ability to use a language properly and suitably to achieve communication goals. The Communicative Approach in language learning is based on the idea that the goal of language acquisition is communicative competence.

This idea was introduced by Dell Hymes. Hymes says that being able to communicate

doesn't only require grammatical and linguistic competence but also communicative competence, in other words: knowing when and how to say what to whom.

To be able to speak in a foreign language the student needs to have knowledge of

linguistic forms, meanings and functions. Among numerous forms, the speaker has to choose the most appropriate one, depending on the social context in which the language is used and apply strategies to prevent communication from collapsing. However, sometimes students may know the rules of linguistic usage, but are unable to use the language. Therefore it is not enough to know the forms of language; the students must also be able to negotiate meaning.

Communicative Language teaching requires language learners to use the language in authentic conversations and to communicate in a broad variety of situations for various uses.

Researches confirm that language learners' interactions with native speakers and more skillful nonnative speakers have a positive effect on the development of language. During interaction, learners can become aware of something about their language use that does not resemble a native speaker's or more skillful nonnative speaker's use. Moreover, communication may break down and the listener may let the speaker know of the confusion by asking for explanation, affirmation, repetition, or by correcting the speaker. The speaker may reply by altering the message in a way in order to make it comprehensible. Both students who are taking part in the conversation are dynamically involved in the negotiation of meaning

The wanted result of the language learning process is the capability to communicate

competently and not just the capability to use the language precisely as a native speaker does.

There is a frequent misconception that communicative competence only refers to the ability to speak. That is why it's important to point out that communicative competence consists of

listening, reading, speaking and writing. It is equally productive and receptive.

According to Canale and Swain, communicative competence consists of four parts: linguistic competence, sociolinguistic competence, discourse competence, and strategic competence.

LINGUISTIC COMPETENCE - Knowledge of vocabulary, grammar, word formation, syntax, pronunciation, spelling and linguistic semantics.

SOCIOLINGUISTIC COMPETENCE - Using and responding to language properly, depending on the situation, the subject, and the relations between the people communicating.

DISCOURSE COMPETENCE - Combining grammatical forms...

References: Brumfit, Johnson; The Communicative Approach to Language Teaching; Oxford University Press; Oxford, 1991
www.sil.org/.../OtherResources/
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