Communicative competence is concerned not only with howgrammar/lexis is managed but also with the socio-cultural rules ofappropriate language use. CommunicationGrammatical rules Sociolinguistic rules
Communicative competence was further defined in terms of four components:1. Linguistic competenceknowing how to use the grammar, syntax and vocabulary of a language.2. Sociolinguistic competenceknowing how to use and respond to language appropriately, given the setting, thetopic, and the relationships among the people communicating.3. Discourse competenceknowing how to interpret the larger context and how to construct longerstretches of language so that the parts make up a coherent whole.4. Strategic competenceknowing how to recognize and repair communication breakdowns, how towork around gaps in one’s knowledge of the language, and how to learn moreabout the language in the context.
1. Linguistic competenceknowing how to use the grammar, syntax and vocabulary of a language.Linguistic competence asks:What words do I use?How do I put them into phrases andsentences?
2. Sociolinguistic competenceknowing how to use and respond tolanguage appropriately, given the setting,the topic and the relationships among thepeople communicating.Sociolinguistic competence asks:Which words and phrases fit this setting andthis topic? How can I express a specific attitude(courtesy, authority, friendliness, respect) whenI need to?How do I know what attitude another person isexpressing?
3. Discourse competenceknowing how to interpret the largercontext and how to construct longerstretches of language so that the partsmake up a coherent whole.Discourse competence asks:How are words, phrases and sentences puttogether to create conversations,speeches, email messages, newspaperarticles?
4. Strategic competenceknowing how to recognize and repair communicationbreakdowns, how to work around gaps in one’sknowledge of the language, and how to learn moreabout the language in the context.Strategic competence asks:How do I know when I’ve misunderstood or whensomeone has misunderstood me? What do I saythen? How can I express my ideas if I don’t knowthe name of something or the right verb form touse?
This definition of communicative competence has becomecanonical in applied linguistics. However, not everyoneagrees with it. Some linguists see lexical and grammaticalcompetence as separate components whereas discourseand strategic competences are considered as subsectionsof sociolinguistic competence.
Others make further subdivisions of sociolinguisticcompetence; i.e. pragmatics where there is a strongerfocus on speech acts, i.e. requesting, complaining, advising,suggesting etcPragmatic competence: the ability to understandanother speakers intended meaning
Probably the most difficult competence to acquire is sociolinguistic. This is concerned with choosing the right words for the situation. It is sociolinguistic competence which differentiates between a good speaker and a native-like speaker. This aspect often differs greatly from culture to culture and errors can often make a speaker sound rude, arrogant or just strange.
So what is sociolinguistic competence?• Holmes : ‘the knowledge which underlies people’s ability to use language appropriately’. and further ‘how to use language for different functions […]. Learning to speak appropriately in a range of contexts is important if one wants to avoid giving offence, reducing everyone to hysterical laughter, or embarrassing others by a sociolinguistic faux pas’.
So what is sociolinguistic competence?2. Bayley and Regan: ‘knowledge of variation is part of speaker competence. […] in order to become fully proficient in the target language learners need to acquire native speaker patterns of variation’.
So what is sociolinguistic competence?Regionally / socially / culturally accepted language abilityFeatures of sociolinguistic competence:1. Dialect: regional OR social differences in Dialect language. (For example, RP is social and not regional). 2. Register: considering ones audience AND social Register context3. Naturalness: staying in the bounds of what is Naturalness "common" usage of the language.4. Cultural Aspects: adhering to cultural Aspects expectations when using the language, including figures of speech, proper time and place, etc.
Sociolinguistic competence is evident in many aspects of language:• Phonology• Grammar• Lexical• Pragmatics
PhonologyFrom a phonological point of view, the most studied point has been /in/ and /iŋ/ as in ‘I’m goin’ to the cinema’ and ‘I’m going to the cinema’Other points include:• Do you like ice-cream?/dju/ like ice-cream?• In an Irish context:/d/, /t/ and /ð/ /θ/
Grammar• I did my homework / *I done my homework• I should have gone there / *I should have went there• I’ll take those books / *I’ll take them books
LexicalIncluding:• informal/formal (e.g. pop in/visit)• Dialect (e.g. cops/police/guards)However, also consider these statements by non-native speakers:• ‘My daddy is a fireman’ - spoken by a 30 year old male• ‘We’re going to the seaside today’ - spoken by a secondary school teacher
Pragmaticsspeech acts such as greeting, requesting, advising, suggesting, complaining etc.This is the area where non-native speakers can have serious problems.Obvious examples include:• Hi, Jim!• Good morning, Mr SmithAnd• Give me a pen!• Could you pass me the pen?
PragmaticsBut it is important to stress that it is not just about register. Look at the following examples:• Excuse me; do you know where the post office is?• Sorry; you don’t happen to know where the post office is, do you? *• What is your name?• And, what is your name again?
PragmaticsEnglish pragmatics has been defined by:• Indirectness• Orientation towards other• Orientation towards addressees• Implicitness• Verbal routines (House 2002)
SoftenersAnother important feature of English is the use of softeners, particularly softening questions.E.g.A Can I ask you a question?’B Can I just ask you a question? – “just” softens the question to mean‘I want to ask you a question but I don’t want to inconvenience you and it’ll only take a short time’.