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OUTLINE 1. INTRODUCTION. 1.1. Aims of the unit. 1.2. Notes on bibliography. 2. A THEORY OF COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE: ORIGINS AND DEVELOPMENT. 2.1. The notion of communication: a basis for a theory of communicative competence. 2.1.1. Communication and language teaching. 2.1.2. Communicative competence: an issue in foreign language education. 2.1.3. A communicative approach to language teaching. 2.2. On defining communicative competence: a linguistic and pragmatic approach. 2.2.1. Fluency over accuracy. 2.2.2. The introduction of cultural studies: a basis for an etnography of communication. 2.3. A historical overview of the development in a model of communicative competence. 2.3.1. Earlier approaches: Hobbes (1651), Schweiter and Simonet (1921), and Lado (1957). 2.3.2. Chomsky (1965): competence and performance. 2.3.3. First reactions to Chomsky’s model: Campbell and Wales (1970), Halliday (1972), and Hymes (1972). 2.3.4. Sandra Savignon (1972, 1983) 2.3.5. Widdowson (1978) and Munby (1978). 2.3.6. Canale and Swain (1980) and Canale (1983). 2.3.7. On revising Hymes and Canale and Swain’s models: Wolfson (1989) and Bachman (1990). 2.3.8. Present-day approaches: B.O.E. (2002). 3. AN ANALYSIS OF COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE COMPONENTS. 3.1. On the analysis of communicative components: a model assessment. 3.1.1. Grammatical competence. 3.1.2. Discourse competence. 3.1.3. Sociolinguistic competence. 3.1.4. Strategic competence. 3.2. Related areas of study. 3.2.1. Discourse analysis. 3.2.2. A speech act theory. 3.2.3. Interactional competence. 3.2.4. Cross-cultural considerations. 4. PRESENT-DAY DIRECTIONS REGARDING COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE. 4.1. Multimedia and hypermedia contexts. 4.2. Implications into language teaching. 5. CONCLUSION. 6. BIBLIOGRAPHY.
1. INTRODUCTION. 1.1. Aims of the unit. The aim of this unit is to offer a broad account of the concept of communicative competence, and its importance in society, and especially, in the language teaching community, from its origins to present-day studies. This presentation will start by offering the most relevant bibliography in this field as a reference for the reader, and by presenting our study in three different sections. The first section will start by reviewing the origins and nature of the communication process in order to provide a link to the concept of communicative competence through, first, the notion of language, and then, through a theory o foreign language teaching. Within this framework, key f concepts related to communicative approaches will be under revision, such as proficiency, competence and performance. In a second section, this theoretical background accounts for a theory of communic ative competence from a linguistic and pragmatic point of view, and suggests the issues we will refer to in analyzing the development of communicative competence models. From this anthropological perspective we are also able to see that the concerns that h prompted ave modern theories of communication were similar to those that, at other times when language was not developed yet, have always been concerned with how to communicative successfully. Besides, an overview of the origins and nature of the term will lead us to provide a socio-cultural approach within the introduction of culture studies to foreign language teaching, known as the etnography of communication, in which a foreign language is approached from a pragmatic and linguistic point of view. Within the third section of our discussion, we shall provide an acccount of the development of the most influential models within a theory of communicative competence, the most relevant figures in this field and their contributions will be overviewed, together with an assessment model of communicative competence. Furthermore, we will give an account of related issues to this model theory. A fourth section will be devoted to present-day directions in the communication process within a classroom and natural setting, regarding the evolution of media use for the development of communicative competence among foreign language learners. Besides, we will offer some of the implications of this approach to language teaching. Finally, a conclusion will be offered in order to broadly overview our present study, and bibliographical references will be presented in a last section by means of sections on each issue. 1.2. Notes on bibliography. Several sources have contributed to provide a valuable introduction to the origins and nature of communication and to the concept of language. Thus, David Crystal, Linguistics (1985), Halliday, Spoken and Written Language (1985), Halliday, Explorations in the Functions of Language (1975) and Wilga M. Rivers, Teaching Foreign-Language Skills (1981). The theoretical background to the relationship between the communication process and language teaching is given by LarsenFreeman, An Introduction to Second Language Acquisition Research (1991); and Widdowson, Teaching Language as Communication (1978). Four generally excellent surveys of both a theory of communicative competence, and a communicative approach on language teaching are Ellis, Understanding Second Language Acquisition (1985); Canale and Swain, Theoretical bases of communicative appro aches to second language teaching and testing (1980); Canale, From Communicative Competence to Communicative Language Pedagogy (1983); Hymes, On communicative competence (1972); and Richards & Rodger Approaches and methods in language Teaching (2001). A precious background to the introduction and influence of cultural studies on
language towards an ethnography of communication, is provided by Hymes, Foundations in Sociolinguistics: An Ethnographic Approach (1974) and Canale and Swain, Theoretical bases of communicative approaches to second language teaching and testing (1980). Among the general works on communicative competence models and approaches, see the most relevant surveys on the issue. Thus, Canale and Swain, Theoretical bases of communicative approaches to second language teaching and testing (1980); Chomsky, Aspects of the Theory of Syntax (1965); Halliday, Linguistik, Phonetik und Sprachunterricht (1972), and An Introduction to Functional Grammar (1985); Hymes, On communicative competence (1972); Munby, Communicative Syllabus Design (1978); Savignon, Communicative Competence: Theory and Classroom Practice (1983); and Celce-Murcia, Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language (1979). Since the spread of multimedia use in a classroom setting is argely a matter of study, the question of techological developments is of l importance. For current statistics and bibliography, see Krashen and Terrell, The Natural Approach: Language Acquisition in the Classroom (1983). For applications of a communicative competence theory to both classroom and natural settings, see the studies and surveys on the journals of Asociación Española de Lingüística Aplicada (AESLA) published by the Universities of Alcalá, Barcelona and León, listed in the bibliography section. The advanced student may consult a compendium of information on both traditional and recent topics on Internet. For further references on specific projects offered by the Ministry of Education, see Revista CERCLE del Centro Europeo de Recursos Culturales Lingüísticos y Educativos (Servicio de Programas Educativos. Consejería de Educación y Cultura) and within a technological framework, see http://www.britishcouncil.org. 2. A THEORY OF COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE: ORIGINS AND DEVELOPMENT. This section, in briefly reviewing the origins of the communication process, provides a background for discussion of a theory of communicative competence, and suggests the issues we will refer to in analyzing the development of communicative competence models. From this anthropological perspective we are also able to see that the concerns that have prompted modern theories of communication were similar to those that, at other times when language was not developed yet, have always been concerned with how to communicative successfully. 2.1. The notion of communication: a basis for a theory of communicative competence. From an anthropological perspective, the origins of communication are to be found in the very early stages of life when there was a need for animals and humans to communicate basic structures of the world and everyday life. It is relevant to establish, then, a distinction between human and animal systems of communication as their features differ in the way they produce and express their intentions. Before language was developed, non-verbal codes were used by humans to convey information by means of symbols, body gestures, and sounds, as it is represented in pictorial art and burial sites. However, since prehistoric times the way of improving communication preoccupied human beings as they had a need to express their thoughts with words. This non-verbal code was to be developed into a highly elaborated signaling system, both spoken and written, which became an essential tool of communication for human beings (Crystal 1985). Historically speaking, various attempts have been made to conceptualize the nature of communication and to explore its relationship to human language regarding types, elements and purposes. For several millennia many linguists and philosophers have approached the concept of language from different domains of knowledge, such as philosophy, psychology, anthropology, and sociology among others, in order to offer an account of the prominent features of human language in opposition to other systems of communication.
Hence, regarding types (Halliday 1985), the field of semiotics distinguishes verbal and non -verbal communication as part of the analysis of both linguistic and non-linguistic signs as communicative devices in all modes and contexts. Thus, when the act of communication is verbal, the code is the language, which may result in oral or written form, as when we are watching a film, having a conversation, or reading a magazine. When we refer to non-verbal communication, visual and tactile modes are concerned, such as gestures, facial expressions, body language, or touch, and even some uses of the vocal tract are possible by means of paralanguage, such as whistling or musical effects. According to Halliday (1975), language may be defined as an instrument of social interaction with a clear communicative purpose. Among the most prominent design features of human language, an auditory-vocal channel is to be highlighted in opposition to tactile, visual or other means of communication. Human beings are also able to reproduce and produce an infinite number of messages in any context of space and time, thanks to the arbitrariness of language which allows humans to combine sounds with no intrinsic meaning so as to form elements with meaning. And finally, we may mention as the last feature, a traditional transmission, since language is transmitted from one generation to the next by a process of teaching and learning. This feature is the aim of our next section which links communication and language teaching in o rder to provide a meaningful framework to the notion of communicative competence.
2.1.1. Communication and language teaching. From a historical perspective, Howatt (1984) has demonstrated that many current issues in language teaching are not particularly new. For instance, in the seventeenth century, the theologian Jan Amos Komensky (1592-1670), Comenius, who was said to be the founder of didactics , that is, the art of teaching, already stated the reasons for learning a foreign language. He claims that t rough h language, we come to a closer understanding of the world since language refers to things in the world. Upon this basis, he claims that for men to retrieve something of their old collective wisdom, it is necessary for them to learn each other’s languages. Therefore, first, there is no point in learning another language if one has not mastered one's own, and secondly, that we also have to learn the language of our neighbours so as to be able to communicate with them. He states that only after that, should one take on the learning of one of the classic languages, such as Latin, Hebrew, Greek or Arabic. On the practice and use of communication, he adds that the grammar rules should aid and confirm usage, so that the learner, then, can have frequent opportunities to express him or herself, in different situations. In the words of Widdowson (1978), these opportunities Comenius mentions to communicate with others, have to do with the ability to communicate in a foreign language and the ability to interpret and produce meaning, which is an important goal for language learners, especially for those who need to fulfill roles as family members, community members, students, teachers, employers or employees in an foreign language speaking environment. While there are many influential factors in second language learning, as the learner characteristics such as age, personality, and intelligence, the critical dimension in language learning is interaction with other speakers. Similarly, in the words of Larsen-Freeman (1991), one learns to do by doing, since people learn to walk by walking and they learn to drive by driving. Therefore, it makes sense, then, that people learn to communicate by communicating, and similarly, those learners who engage in the regular use of their second language and receive the greater quantity of input will most likely demonstrate a greater ability to use their second language. Learners must actively work and practice extensively
on communicating to develop skills in communication. It follows, then, that learners should be provided with as much speaking time as possible, both in and out of the classroom. However, we should not forget that communicating successfully implies not only a correct use of structure and form, but also to communicate intelligibly and appropriately for students to achieve a successful interaction. This ability to communicate is the aim of our next section where we will provide an approach to the notion of communicative competence and its relationship to language teaching. 2.1.2. Communicative competence: an issue in foreign language education. In this section, it is relevant to conceptualize first some key issues related to the concept of communicative competence in order to fully understand the term and its relevance in foreign language teaching. Therefore, the concepts of proficiency, competence and performance will be under revision as follows. Within a language teaching theory, many approaches and theories stem from a fundamental question which addresses the way we, teachers, can help students who are learning a second language in a classroom setting, become proficient in that language. Another question arises, then, in relation to what it means to be proficient in a language, and to what a learner has to know in terms of grammar, vocabulary, sociolinguistic appropriateness, conventions of discourse, and cultural understanding in order to use a language well enough for real world purpose. Following Ellis (1985), we may define proficiency as the learner’s knowledge of the target language viewed as linguistic competence or communicative competence. Common synonyms for the term are expertise, ability, or competence within implications at a high level of skill, well-developed knowledge, and polished performance. As we have seen, the term proficiency brings about the notions of competence and performance which must be also reviewed. These two notions of competence and performance are one of the main tenets in Chomsky’s theory of transformational grammar (Richards & Rodgers 2001). This distinction addresses competence as the idealized native speaker’s underlying competence, referring to one’s implicit or explicit knowledge of the system of the language whereas performance addresses to an individual performance, referring to one’s actual production and comprehension of language in specific instances of language use. Chomsky believed that actual performace did not properly reflect the underlying knowledge, that is, competence, because of its many imperfections at the level of errors and hesitations. This fundamental distinction has been at the centre of discussions of many other researchers, and in fact, it has been reviewed and evaluated since then from various theoretical perspectives which will be examined in the section devoted t the development of a communicative competence model o (Canale & Swain 1980). However, we will highlight in this section one of the main rejections to Chomsky’s view of language, proposed by the American anthropologist Dell Hymes in his work On communicativ e competence (1972). Here he felt that there are rules of language use that are neglected in Chomsky’s approach, as native speakers know more than just grammatical competence. Hymes, with a tradition on sociolinguistics, had a broader view of the term which included not only grammatical competence, but also sociolinguistic and contextual competence. For Hymes, the notion of communicative competence is the underlying knowledge a speaker has of the rules of grammar including phonology, orthography, syntax, l xicon, and semantics, and the rules e for their use in socially appropriate circumstances. Therefore, we understand competence as the knowledge of rules of grammar, and performance, they way the rules are used. The verbal part of communicative competence comprises all the so-called four skills: listening, reading, speaking and writing. It is important to highlight this, since there is a very common misunderstanding that communicative competence only refers to the ability to speak. It is both
productive and receptive. All of us have developed communicative competence in our native language, oral proficiency and later, possibly, written proficiency. The acquisition of communicative competence in a foreign or second language therefore takes place on the basis of the fact that we already have a native language. So we are dealing with the development of two systems that interact. The question of how this occurs has been investigated in research on fields such as bilingualism (Canale 1983). Another issue under study is the importance of fluency over accuracy when developing communicative competence in a foreign language, to be discussed in our next section.
2.1.3. A communicative approach to language teaching. The period from the 1950s to the 1980s has often been referred to as The Age of Methods, during which a number of quite detailed prescriptions for language teaching were proposed (Canale & Swain 1980). Situational Language Teaching evolved in the United Kingdom while a parallel method, Audio-Lingualism, emerged in the United States. Both methods started to be questioned by applied linguists who saw the need to focus in language teaching on communicative proficiency rather than on mere mastery of structures. In the middle -methods period, a variety of methods were proclaimed as successors to the then prevailing Situational Language Teaching and Audio-Lingual methods. These alternatives were promoted under such titles as Silent Way, Suggestopedia, Community Language Learning, and Total Physical Response. It was in 1971 when a British linguist, D.A. Wilkins promoted a system in which learning tasks were broken down into units. This system attempted to demonstrate the systems of meanings that a language learner needs to understand and express within two types: notional categories (time, sequence, quantity or frequency) and categories of communicative function (requests, offers, complaints). In the 1980s, the rapid application of these ideas by textbook writers and its acceptance by teaching specialists gave prominence to more interactive views of language teaching, which became to be known as the Communicative Approach or simply Communicative Language Teaching. In the 1970s and 1980s, an approach to foreign and second language teaching emerged both in Europe and North America focusing on the work of anthropologists, sociologists, and sociolinguists. It concentrated on language as social behaviour, seeing the primary goal of language teaching as the development of the learner's communicative competence. Parallel to the influence of the Council of Europe Languages Projects, there was an increasing need to teach adults the major languages for a better educational cooperation within the expanding European Common Market. Learners were considered to need both rules of use to produce language appropriate to particular situations, and strategies for effective communication. The movement at first concentrated on notional-functional syllabuses, but in the 1980s, the approach was more concerned with the quality of interaction between learner and teacher rather than the specification of syllabuses, and concentrated on classroom methodology rather than on content. This promoted a view of language as creative and rule governed within the framework of communicative approaches. Scholars such as Hymes (1972), Halliday (1970), Canale and Swain (1980) or Chomsky (1957) leveled their contributions and criticisms at structural linguistic theories claiming for more communicative approaches on language teaching. Among the most relevant features that Communicative Language Teaching claimed for, we will highlight a set of principles that provide a broad overview of this method. The first principle claims for students to learn a language through using it to communicate. Secondly, there is an emphasis on authentic and meaningful communication which should be the goal of classroom activities. Thirdly,
fluency is seen as an important dimension of communication. Fourth, communication is intended to involve the integration of different language skills, and finally, the principle that claims for learning as a process of creative construction which involves trial and error. However, this communicative view is considered an approach rather than a method which provides a humanistic approach to teaching where interactive processes of communication receive priority. Its rapid adoption and implementation resulted in similar approaches among which we may mention The Natural Approach, Cooperative Language Learning, Content-Based Teaching, and Task-Based Teaching. It is difficult to describe these various methods briefly and yet fairly, and such a task is well beyond the scope of this paper. However, several up-to-date texts are available that do detail differences and similarities among the many different approaches and methods that have been proposed (see Richards & Rodgers, 2001). 2.2. On defining communicative competence: a linguistic and pragmatic approach. The aim of this section is to approach the notion of communicative competence from an emphasis on fluency rather than on linguistic accuracy, since learners need many different opportunities to communicate without having to concentrate on structure and form. Upon this basis, the introduction of cultural studies is under revision as an important aspect of communicative competence. As far as background knowledge and cultural expectations on the foreign language are concerned, communicating with people from other cultures involves not only linguistic appropriateness but also pragmatic appropriateness in the use of verbal and non-verbal behavior. This issue is examined within an ethnography of communication theory in order to approach a foreign language from a pragmatic and linguistic point of view.
2.2.1. Fluency over accuracy. Today, communicative competence is the central aim of foreign and second language teaching, providing a number of suggestions as to how teachers can give pupils optimum frameworks for acquiring a good communicative competence. This notion no longer describes just a particular proficiency or skill, but makes reference to more than listening and speaking, reading and writing. It is the ability to use appropriately all aspects of verbal and non-verbal language in a variety of contexts, as would a native speaker (Canale 1983). There are, then, two components to communicative competence under review. The first component is linguistic competence, which involves the mastery of several features. Thus, first, the sound system and the written system in order not to sound unusual to the cultural and linguistic ear although the grammar may be perfect. Secondly, the syntax, or word order of interactions where perhaps the word meaning is correct, but the word is out-of-date or awkward, or simply that a phrase is not appropriate in the context. Thirdly, the stress, pitch, volume, and juncture as a passage from one sound to another in the stream of speech. Finally, the semantics, or meanings of words and phrases, and the how, when, where, and why they are used in a language. This usually takes place when we think of children’s amusing or embarrassing comments as they learn to communicate, or we deal with a person whose writing or speaking is different to the native language. This feature is to be found culturally implied, not explicitly taught. The second component includes pragmatics competence which deals with knowing the appropriateness of communication formats, verbal and non-verbal responses and interactions in many contexts. Among an endless list of skills, we shall highlight first, the appropriateness of action and speech in view of the speakers’ roles, status, ages and perspectives. Secondly, the use of non-
verbal codes, such as frequency and pattern of eye contact and facial expressions, or personal space and body movement. Next, another feature is to establish rapport, taking turns, and not to talk excessively, as well as initiating, contributing relevance to, and ending a conversation. Fourthly, we may highlight the fact of being comprehensible, supplying all necessary information and requesting clarific ation when necessary. And finally, it is important a feature that involves creating smooth changes in topic, and responding to timing and pauses in dialogue. These pragmatics elements are so powerful that the message can become distorted if some of them are missing, making the speaker feel perplexed, uneasy or distrustful. In developing communicative competence, learners need many opportunities to communicate without having to concentrate on structure and form, as being understood is much more important than using correct vocabulary or grammar. Today’s classrooms often have a wide diversity of skills, abilities, experiences, cultures, lifestyles and languages that can provide a wonderful opportunity for students to expand and enhance their communicative competence by means of providing our students with fully–developed experiences concerning acceptable communication. In communicative language teaching, the emphasis is on fluency and comprehensibility as opposed to accuracy. Fluency in speaking can be thought of as the ability to generate and communicate one’s ideas intelligibly and with relative ease but not necessarily with accuracy (Canale & Swain 1980). Experiencing fluency also builds a sense of comfort, confidence, and control in those learners who lack strong pragmatics competence. We, teachers, can provide opportunities for students to develop context-sensitive behaviour in order to become more aware of, and more adept at responding appropriately to social contexts. Since pragmatics competence is a crucial survival skill in life and in the workplace, students need to develop this competence in an appropriate conversational context. Therefore, we shall examine some cultural implications within this issue in our next section.
2.2.2. The introduction of cultural studies: a basis for an etnography of communication. As we have mentioned in the preceding section, communicative competence also covers conditions that affect communication by means of socio-cultural competence in order to facilitate comprehensible interaction or to provide general knowledge of the world and of human nature. Yet, speakers draw on their competence in putting together grammatical sentences, but not all such sentences can be used in the same circumstances. Thus, ‘Give me the salt!’ and ‘Could you pass me the salt, please?’ are both grammatical, but they differ in their appropriateness for use in particular situations. Speakers use their communicative competence to choose what to say, as well as how and when to say it. It is fair, then, to highlight again the importance of being understood rather than using correct vocabulary or grammar. Hymes (1974) and others have stated that second language acquisition must be accompanied by a cultural knowledge acquisition in addition to communicative competence. Communicating with people from different cultures implies not only choosing the appropriate words but also using the appropriate verbal and non-verbal behaviors. So far, the more knowledge the learner has to facilitate understanding about a topic from a different culture, the easier it is for the learner to be an active participant, and to speak with ease and fluency. This often involves acquiring information about life experiences such as driving rules, etiquette, family life, business, or how justice works. Once the constraint of a lack of background knowledge and information is eliminated, the learner has an opportunity to work on developing fluency and building communicative competence. There are several important strategies that a student should learn about the underlying cultural rules that guide conversation in the environment where they are speaking, such as using gestures, taking
turns, or maintaining silence. By means of using these verbal and non-verbal communication strategies, the learner may enhance the effectiveness of communication (Canale and Swain 1980). These strategies vary from culture to culture, and they make relevant, therefore, the acquisition of a cultural knowledge in order to communicate effectively. This tradition on cultural studies was first introduced in a language teaching theory in the early 1920s and improved in the 1970s by the notion of the ethnography of communication, a concept coined by Dell Hymes. It refers to a methodology based in anthropology and lin guistics allowing people to study human interaction in context. Ethnographers adhering to Hymes' methodology attempt to analyze patterns of communication as part of cultural knowledge and behavior. Besides, cultural relativity sees communicative practices as an important part of what members of a particular culture know and do (Hymes 1972). They acknowledge speech situations, speech events, and speech acts as units of communicative practice and attempt to situate these events in context in order to analyze them. Hymes' (1972) well-known SPEAKING heuristic where capital letters acknowledge for different aspects in communicative competence, serves as a framework within which the ethnographer examines several components of speech events as follows. S stands for setting and scene (physical circumstances); P refers to participants including speaker, sender and addresser; E means end (purposes and goals); A stands for act sequence (message form and content); K deals with key (tone and manner); I stands for instrumentalities (verbal, non-verbal and physical channel); N refers to norms of interaction (specific proprieties attached to speaking), and interpretation (interpretation of norms within cultural belief system); and finally, genre referring to textual categories. This interpretation of communicative competence can serve as a useful guide to help second language learners to distinguish important elements of cultural communication as they learn to observe and analyze discourse practices of the target culture in context. As for actual ethnographers, second language learners must have the opportunity to access the viewpoints of natives of the culture being studied in order to interpret culturally defined behaviors. The issue of culture under study will be discussed in our next section where different interpretations of communicative competence are examined from early approaches to present-day studies.
2.3. A historical overview of the development in a model of communicative competence. The present section considers the relationship between culture and language as a constant concern of second and foreign language researchers and educators worldwide. These two terms, culture and language, are directly related to the notion of communicative competence as cultural and linguistic studies provide the basis for a communicative approach in language teaching. Therefore, upon this basis, this section is aimed to provide a historical account of the different approaches to the development of a communicative competence model by considering the contributions of the most prominent linguists within this field from the very beginnings to present-day studies,
2.3.1. Earlier approaches: Hobbes (1651), Schweiter and Simonet (1921), and Lado (1957). The notion of communicative competence and its development is linked to the dialectical relationship between language and culture which has preoccupied linguists, philosophers and researchers for many years. However, it was not until the early twentieth century that a systematic
introduction of cultural studies enters the second language teaching curriculum, and for the first time, traditional views on language system are challenged. One of the first references to language, as a system of signs, and the necessity of an appropriate context of communication was provided by the philosopher Thomas Hobbes in 1651. On revising the natural condition of mankind regarding counsel, Hobbes unconciously offered in his work The Leviathan (chapter XXV) an ethnographic approach to the nature of language. Thus, he explains how fallacious is is to judge of the nature of things, by the ordinary and inconstant use of words, appeareth in nothing more, than in the confusion of Counsels, and Commands, arising from the imperative manner of speaking in them both, a in many other occasions besides. For the words nd Doe this, are the words not onely of him that Commandeth; but also of him that giveth Counsell; and of him that Exhorteth; and yet there are but few, that see not, that these are very different things; or that cannot distinguish between them, when they perceive who it is that speaketh, and to whom the Speech is directed, and upon what occasion. This “occasion” makes reference to an emphasis on social action rather than on texts in order to achieve the effectiveness of communication. Some centuries later, in 1921, Shweiter and Simonet also challenged the view that language is only a system of signs and that language awareness included only the knowledge of grammar, lexicon, and phonetics (Bloomfield 1933). They argued about the necessity of including a system of basic information into second language teaching, which involved a wide range of general topics, among which we may find geography, history customs, traditions, holidays and rituals of a foreign language country. Though the range of the topics may seem very limited nowadays, the reader must bear in mind that this was the first challenged to the old traditional view of language system. Another approach traces back to the middle of the twentieth century, when the American linguist Robert Lado (1957) argued that knowledge of a foreign language culture is essential for foreign language learners to create the same atmosphere of native speakers’ interaction. This approach, proposed by Lado, emerges from a method on comparing first and second language cultures in order to help learners get a better understanding of the second language realities. However, Lado’s method was not to be applied to a classroom setting as audiolingual and grammar translation methods were the dominant approaches in second language teaching by that time. Therefore, his theoretical discoveries were not to be considered again until the 1970s, when social sciences started to emerge as a relevant issue within the field of language teaching. Parallel to these theoretical challenges, we find our next linguist under consideration, Noam Chomsky, who also challenged, but this time successfully, behaviourist models of language learning. 2.3.2. Chomsky (1965): competence and performance. As we have previously mentioned, there was a variety of theoretical challenges to the audio-lingual method in the 1960s, among which we may mention, apart from Lado’s, that of the linguist Noam Chomsky which became a turning point in the development of subsequent theories on language learning. Chomsky proposed in his work Aspects of the Theory of Syntax (1965), a theory called Transformational Generative Grammar, according to which learners do not acquire an endless list of rules, but limited set of transformations with which language users can form an unlimited number of sentences. Chomsky’s theory is concerned primarily with an ideal speaker-listener, in a completely homogeneous speech community, who knows its language perfectly and is unaffected by such grammatically irrelevant conditions as memory limitations, distractions, shifts of attention and interest, and errors (random or characteristic) in applying his knowledge of the language in actual
performance (1965 p.3). For him, then, there are two main concepts under revision, competence and performance. To him, competence refers to the innate knowledge of language an ideal speakerlistener has in an homogeneous speech community, and performance refers to the actual production and rules of language use. According to Chomsky, then, within his theory of linguistic competence and performance, being respectively, grammaticality and acceptability, linguistic knowledge is separated from sociocultural features. His distinction served as basis for work of many other researchers as it is stated in the following sections. 2.3.3. First reactions to Chomsky’s model: Campbell and Wales (1970), Halliday (1972) and Hymes (1972). In the 1970s, there was an increasing interest and, therefore development, in social sciences, particularly sociology and anthropology, which resulted in a considerable broadening in scholars’ understanding of the concept of culture. There were reactions to Chomsky’s notion of linguistic competence. Mainly three approaches showed a disagreement that went on in the early 1970s, and centered on whether communicative competence included grammatical competence or not. Thus, Campbell and Wales (1970), Halliday (1972), and Hymes (1972). They thought that there were rules of language use that were neglected in Chomsky’s view of language, and that linguistic competence represented only part of what one needs to know to be a competent language user. With respect to Campbell and Wales’ approach, we may say that they felt that appropriateness of language is even more important than grammaticality. They accepted the distinction proposed by Chomsky regarding competence and performance, but pointed out that Chomsky neglected the appropriateness of utterance to a particular context of situation or, in other words, its sociocultural significance. Therefore, they referred to Chomsky’s view as grammatical competence and to theirs as communicative competence. For them, the idea of communicative competence was the ability to produce utterances which are not so much grammatical but, more important, appropriate to the context in which they are made (1970). In relation to Halliday (1972), we shall mention that he rejected Chomsky’s dichotomy of competence and performance as he thought the potential of meaning was covered both by knowing and doing. To Halliday, language is a mode of human behavior, and therefore, a mode of social interaction. Besides, he proposed the notion of language functions by means of which the context of a situation provides a first approximation to the specification of the components of the communication situation (1985). Thus, three macro-functions, such as the ideational, interpersonal, and textual, were the basis for another set of seven micro-functions, listed as follows. Firstly, the instrumental to express desires and needs. Secondly, the regulatory where rules, instructions, orders, and suggestions are included. Thirdly, the interactional, where we may include patterns of greeting, leave-taking, thanking, good wishes, and excusing. Fourth, the person al function which encourages students to talk about themselves and express their feelings. Fifth, the heuristic function focuses on asking questions. Next, the imaginative function, which is used for supposing, hypothesizing, and creating for the love of s ound and image. Finally, we find the informative function which emphasizes affirmative and negative statements. Regarding Dell Hymes’ approach, he also pointed out that Chomsky’s competence-performance model did not provide an explicit place for sociocult ural features, adding that Chomsky’s notion of performance seemed confused between actual performance and underlying rules of performance. Hymes recasts the scope of the competence concept because there is a lack of empirical support in Chomsky’s model, and he feels that there are rules of use without which the rules of grammar would be useless. Hymes introduced the concept of communicative competence, paying special attention to the sociolinguistic component, which connected language and culture.
Hymes (1972) stated that native speakers know more than just grammatical competence. So far, he expands the Chomskyan notions of grammaticality (competence) and acceptability (performance) into four parameters subsumed under the heading of communicative competence as something which is first, formally possible; secondly, feasible in virtue of the available means; thirdly, appropriate , in relation to a context in which it is used and evaluated; and finally, something which is in fact done, and actually performed. A linguistic example of these parameters is provided by a sentence that may be grammatical, awkward, tactful and rare, representing the user’s knowledge and ability in communicating. Hymes’s model is, then, primarily sociolinguistic, but includes Chomsky’s psycholinguistic parameter of linguistic competence. It is also primarily concerned with explaining language use in social contexts, although it also addresses issues of language acquisition. As a result, Hymes’s model for communicative competence included grammatical, sociolinguistic and contextual competences. Hymes’s model inpired subsequent model developments on communicative competence, such as those of Canale and Swain (1980) and Bachman (1987), as we shall see in further sections.
2.3.4. Sandra Sa vignon (1972, 1983). Simultaneously to Hymes’s introduction of the concept of communicative competence as a reaction to Chomsky’s theory, the first well-recognized experiment of communicative language teaching was taking place at the University of Illinois at Urbana -Champaign. The American linguist, Sandra Savignon (1972), was conducting an experiment with foreign language learners, particularly adults, in a clasroom at a beginners level. It was an attempt towards an interactional approach where learners were encouraged to make use of their foreign language in a classroom setting, by means of equivalents of expressions such as ‘Excuse me...’, ‘Please, repeat...’, ‘How do you say this in Italian...?’ in order to communicate rather than feign native speakers. Regarding the scope of communicative competence, Savignon’s experiment is considered to be one of the best-known surveys as it shed light on the development of research in this field. She introduced the idea of communicative competence as the ability to function in a truly communicative setting - that is, in a dynamic exchange in which linguistic competence must adapt itself to the toal informational input, both linguistic and paralinguistic, of one or more interlocutors (1972). She included the use of gestures and facial expression in her interpretation and later refined her definition of communicative competence to comprise of the following six relevant aspects (1983). Thus, the first feature is the individuals’s willingness to take risks and express themselves in foreign language and to make themselves understood, that is, the notion of the negotiation of meaning. Secondly, the fact that communicative competence is not only oral, but written too. Thirdly, an approach to appropriateness as depending on context. Here we refer to the appropriate choices of register and style in terms of situation and other participants. Fourthly, she states that only performance is observable as it is only through performance that competence can be developed, maintained, a evaluated . In the fifth place, she claims for communicative competence to be nd relative, and not absolute, as it comes in degrees because it depends on the cooperation of all interlocutors. Finally, she talks about degrees of communicative competence which, for her, is difficult to measure.
Savignon’s model was not the only result of those theoretical and empirical investigations which were carried out in the early 1980s in the field of communicative language teaching. Among other models of communicative competence currently used worlwide, we shall mention those of Canale & Swain (1980), van Ek (1986), and Bachman (1990). Though not able to agree on operational definitions of the components of communicative competence, all scholars recognized the sociocultural component to be an inseparable part of foreign language communicative competence. 2.3.5. Widdowson (1978) and Munby (1978). In the 1980s, extensive research in Communicative Language Teaching served as a theoretical and methodological basis for the emergence of several approaches that aimed to co-teach language and culture. Since language is the means of expression of one’s identity, the sociocultural environment played, then, an important role in an individual’s cultural identity development. Parallel to this approach, cultural literacy, ethnographic, and sociocultural studies established a connection between language and culture, although they differed in the context of application. As a result, there was a need to examine a number of issues connected with identity, culture, and language teaching in order to prepare students for adequate intercultural communication, and to help them overcome and eliminate generalizations about a foreign language culture and society. Many researchers, among them, Widdowson (1978) and Munby (1978), claimed that, in communication, the way people use the language may affect the way they are most likely to be perceived by others. The issues linked to identity, culture, and language teaching were presented as multiple deviations from the norm within a cultural diversity of the modern world. Thus, approaches to discourse analysis, a speech act theory, interactional competence and cross-cultural considerations were examined as a sociocultural phenomena. These issues become especially important when we are talking about foreign languages, as they propose possible ways of increasing the effectiveness of foreign language communication. Within this theoretical background and from a discourse-based approach, Widdowson (1978) proposes a distinction between the concepts of use and usage. According to him, both concepts are to be linked to the aspects of performance, as usage refers to the manifestation of the knowledge of a language system whereas the notion of use means the realization of the language system as meaningful communicative behavior. This duality is based on the notion of effectiveness for communication, by means of which an utterance with a well-formed grammatical structure may or may not have a sufficient value for communication in a given context. Therefore, he claimed that whether an utterance has a sufficient communicative value or not is determined in discourse. Similarly, Munby (1978) contends that grammatical competence should be included in the notion of communicative competence under two main theoretical basis. First, he states that grammatical competence and communicative competence need to be developed separately and secondly, he goes further by saying that grammatical competence is not an essential component of communicative competence. The main tenets of his Communicative Competence model are presented under the basis of a linguistic encoding, a sociocultural orientation, a sociosemantic basis of linguistic knowledge, and a discourse level of operation. However, reactions to this approach soon emerged from linguists in this field, as for instance, the influential theorists Canale and Swain, among others. They claimed that both grammatical competence and sociolinguistic competence are important elements within this framework, and that teachers who agree that grammatical competence is part of communicative competence might still separate them in teaching (1980). However, they added that second language learning would
proceed more effectively when grammatical usage is not abstracted from a meaningful context. For a detailed account of this approach, we shall move on to our next section.
2.3.6. Canale and Swain (1980) and Canale (1983). As we have previously mentioned, the development of Hymes’ theory of communicative competence was one of the reactions to Chomsky's somewhat limiting definition of the scope of linguistic theory on communicative competence. Communicative competence, as Hymes proposed it, goes further than just grammatical knowledge and includes psychological and socio-linguistic factors that address the fact that communication takes place in a context. It seems a particularly relevant idea to those interested in second language learning, as the relevance of a theory of communicative competence to language by means of testing was first noted by Cooper (1968) and explored by Canale and Swain (1980) and Canale (1983). Language tests involve measuring a subject’s knowledge of, and proficiency in, the use of a language. Communicative competence, according to them, is then a theory of the nature of such knowledge and proficiency. Upon this basis, a preference model appears to be a useful way to characterize communicative competence, and at the same time, it has many advantages over competing models. The notion of communicative competence was examined by various groups of researchers, including those in second language learning like Canale and Swain (1980) and Canale (1983). They formulated a theoretical framework that, in the modified version of Canale (1983), consisted of four major components of communicative competence, thus grammatical, sociolinguistic, discourse, and strategic aspects. We shall mention first, the grammatical competence, which deals with the mastery of the linguistic code itself. This aspect is important for students to attain a higher level of proficiency where accuracy is important. Secondly, the sociolinguistic competence is concerned with the appropriate use of language in particular social situations to convey specific communicative functions such as describing, narrating, or eliciting among others, including the participants and the rules for interaction. This competence is particularly difficult to attain as the skilled use of appropriate registers requires sensitivity to cross-cultural differences. Thirdly, the discourse competence concerns the mastery of how to use language in order to achieve a unified spoken or written text in different genres, that is, cohesion and coherence of utterances in a discourse. This cohesion of thought is attained by means of cohesive devices, such as pronouns and grammatical connectors, together with a unity of thought and continuity in a text. Finally, the strategic competence makes reference to the mastery of verbal and non-verbal communication strategies by means of both the underlying knowledge about language and communicative language use or skill. The main goal to attain with this competence is first, to compensate for breakdowns in communication, and secondly, to enhance the effectiveness of communication. On this issue, further comments will be examined later in the section of the model assessment. 2.3.7. On revising Hymes and Canale and Swain’s models: Wolfson (1989) and Bachman (1990). As mentioned before, the notion of communicative competence intended by Hymes was further developed and revised by other linguists, among which we may mention Canale and Swain as their reinterpretation of Hymes’ model is considered to be one of the most improved and effective versions of the notion of communicative competence. However, both models have undergone further reinterpretations and developments when addressing communication oriented teaching in a classroom setting. Hymes’ sociolinguistic approach was, then, to be reinterpreted by a language teaching professional, Wolfson (1989) who worked on cross-cultural considerations. Besides,
Canale and Swain’s model also had its developments and contributions, such as that of Bachman (1990) among others. Both approaches are examined in this section. Regarding Wolfson’s model (1989), it is relevant to recall part of Hymes’ theory when he states that there is more in his term than the concept of communicative competence. Two further ideas are specially important, such as linguistic routines and sociolinguist interference. Hymes describes some texts as having sequential organisation beyond the sentence, either as activities of one person, or as the interaction of two or more (1972). Sociolinguistic interference, he notes, arises during contacts between cultures with differing systems of communicative competence, including differently structured linguistic routines. Our understanding of the mechanics of this interference has been developed by work in contrastive rhetoric and cross-cultural communication generally, but only recently have some of these insights found their way in to the classroom setting. So far, Wolfson’s model mainly focuses on communicative competence, and outlines a model of rules of speaking derived from Hymes’ with pedagogic purposes. Wolfson points out that grammatical competence is an intrinsic part of communicative competence, but stating that in many cases, the term communicative competence is misinterpreted by language teachers and curriculum developers as the separation of grammatical competence. His model presents an issue of crosscultural miscommunication within the framework of compliments. Wolfson was working on a survey for learners with different cultural background to understand certain rules of the interaction process regarding cultural communication patterns, in particular, on why Americans complimented so frequently. On revising Canale and Swain’s reinterpretations, we shall refer to Lyle Bachman (1990) whose model was similar to Canale and Swain’s, but differently arranged. Bachman proposed a tree model of communicative competence for a theoretical framework of communicative language ability, where we may distinguish three major components of communicative language proficiency. Thus, language competence, strategic competence, and psychophysiological mechanisms. The first component, language competence is related to the knowledge of language a learner has, which includes two major abilities used in communicating through language. Thus, firstly, the organizational competence which deals with the control of formal structure of language (grammatical competence) and the knowledge of how to construct discourse (textual competence). Secondly, the pragmatic competence , which is related to firstly, a functional use of language (illocutionary competence or how to perform speech acts) and secondly, the knowledge of appropriateness to context in which language is used (sociolinguistic competence). The second component is the strategic competence which refers to mental capacities underlying language use, pointing out that Canale and Swain’s model did not describe the mechanisms by which strategic competence operates. So far, he works within the framework of an interactional view as compensation for communication breakdowns, and a psycholinguistic view to enhance rhetorical effects of utterances. Therefore, he distinguishes three phases in his model: assessment, planning and execution. In relation to the third component, we shall refer to psychophysiological mechanisms as physical means of producing language through first, a visual or auditory channel, and secondly, through a productive or receptive mode. 2.3.8. Present-day approaches: B.O.E. (2002). According to the Ministry of Education, since Spain entered the European Community, there is a need for learning a foreign language in order to communicate with other European countries, and a need for emphasizing the role of a foreign language which gets relevance as a multilingual and
multicultural identity. Within this context, getting a proficie ncy level in a foreign language implies educational and professional reasons which justify the presence of foreign languages in the curricula at different educational levels. It means to have access to other cultures and customs as well as to foster interpersonal relationships which help individuals develop a due respect towards other countries, their native speakers and their culture. This sociocultural framework allows learners to better understand their own language, and therefore, their own culture. The European Council (B.O.E. 2002), and in particular the Spanish Educational System within the framework of the Educational Reform, establishes a common reference framework for the teaching of foreign languages, and claims for a progressive development of communicative competence in a specific language. Students, then, are intended to be able to carry out several communication tasks with specific communicative goals within specific contexts. In order to get these goals, several strategies as well as linguist ic and discursive skills come into force in a given context. Thus, foreign language activities are provided within the framework of social interaction, personal, professional or educational fields. Therefore, in order to develop the above mentioned communication tasks in our present educational system, a communicative competence theory includes the following subcompetences. Firstly, the linguistic competence (semantic, morphosyntactic and phonological). Secondly, the discourse competence (language functions , speech acts, and conversations). Thirdly, the sociolinguistic competence (social conventions, communicative intentions, and registers among others). Fourthly, the strategic competence will be included as a subcompetence of communicative competence within this educational framework. So far, students will make use of this competence in a natural and systematic way in order to achieve the effectiveness of communication through the different communication skills, thus, productive (oral and written communication), receptive (oral and written comprehension within verbal and non-verbal codes), and interactional. The foreign language learning process will help students improve their educational and professional life from a global perspective as it will help them develop their personality, social integration, interest topics and, in particular, to promote their intellectual knowledge. Furthermore, these aspects will allow learners to be in contact with the current scientific, humanistic and technological advances within other areas of knowledge. To sum up, the learning of a foreign language is intended to broaden the students’s intellectual knowledge as well as to broaden their knowledge on other ways of life and social organization different to their own. Furthermore, the aim is to get information on international issues, to broaden their professional interests and consolidate social values to promote the development of international communication.
3. AN ANALYSIS OF COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE COMPONENTS. This section is intended to provide an account of the analysis of communicative competence components according to one of the most relevant figures in this field, Dell Hymes, Canale and Swain, Widdowson, Savignon, and Tarone among others. In order to do so, this section will be divided into two main issues. The first part will present a brief background to the notion of communicative competence in order to link this term to Canale and Swain’s assessment model on communicative competence components. Besides, a model assessment based on Canale and Swain’s model on communicative competence will be depicted in order to mention the four main competences currently applied to educational systems. Finally, the second section will summarize the main related areas of study which take part in the communicative competence model.
3.1. On the analysis of communicative components: a model assessment. During the past 25 years, communicative language teaching has been the dominant approach to the teaching of foreign and second languages. Much of this ascendancy is due to the sociolinguist Dell Hymes (1967) who in a series of articles developed the notion of communicative competence. Hymes was convinced that Chomsky’s (1965) notion of competence defined as a speaker-hearer’s underlying mental representation of grammatical rules was far too narrow. Instead communicative competence takes us one step further than purely grammatical competence, into the area of pragmatics which deals with the use of language in everyday communicative situations. Communicative Competence is therefore concerned not only with what is grammatical but also what is appropriate in a given social situation. The most important study on developing the notion of Communicative Competence from Dell Hymes work has been done by Canale and Swain (1980). There is also a useful discussion of this in Swain (1980) which is especially useful for those approaching communicative competence from a second language acquisition point of view. Here the notion of Communicative Competence is divided up into four subcomponents which have been mentioned before, thus, grammatical, discourse, sociolinguistic, and strategic competence are glossed below. 3.1.1. Grammatical competence. This heading subsumes all knowledge of lexical items and of rules of morphology, syntax, sentencegrammar semantics and phonology (Canale and Swain 1980). It therefore refers to having control over the purely linguistic aspects of the language code itself, regarding verbal and non-verbal codes. This corresponds to Hymes’ grammatical aspect and includes knowledge of the lexicon, syntax, phonology and semantics. Thus, it involves rules of formulations and constraints for students to match sound and meaning; to form words and sentences using vocabulary; to use language through spelling and pronunciation; and to handle linguistic semantics. 3.1.2. Sociolinguistic competence. Sociolinguistic competence refers to the knowledge which the learner has to acquire of the sociocultural rules of language. This type of knowledge requires an understanding of the social context in which language is used: the roles of the participants, the information they share, and the function of the interaction (Savignon 1983). Other relevant figures in this field, such as Canale and Swain (1980) defined this competence in terms of sociocultural rules of use, and rules of discourse. Thus, regarding sociocultural rules of use, this competence is linked to the notion of the extent to which utterances are produced and understood appropriately in different sociolinguistic contexts depending on contextual factors such as status of participants, purposes of the interaction, and norms or conventions of interaction. Regarding the rules of discourse, it is defined in terms of the mastery of how to combine grammatical forms and meanings (1980). When we deal with appropriateness of form, we refer to the extent to which a given meaning is represented in both verbal and non-verbal form that is proper in a given sociolinguistic context. Thus, communicative functions , attitudes, propositions and ideas. In relation to meaning appropriateness, this competence is concerned with the extent to which particular communicative functions and ideas are judged to be proper in a given situation, as for instance, commanding, complaining and inviting. 3.1.3. Discourse competence. This is in many ways connected to the large body of research which has been accumulated over the last 25 years in the field of discourse analysis. Discourse analysis is primarily concerned with the
ways in which individual sentences connect together to form a communicative message. One of its main figures, Widdowson (1978) proposed a distinction between the concepts of use and usage, where usage refers to the manifestation of the knowledge of a language system and use means the realization of the language system as meaningful communicative behavior. This competence addresses directly to the mastery of how to combine grammatical forms and meanings to achieve a unified spoken or written text in different genres (Canale and Swain 1980). By genre is meant the type of text to be unified, thus, a scientific paper, an argumentative essay, and oral and written narrative among others. For them, the unity of a text is achieved through cohesion in form and coherence in meaning. Cohesion deals with how utterances are linked structurally and facilitates interpretation of a text by means of cohesion devices, such as pronouns, synonyms, ellipsis, conjunctions and parallel structures to relate individual utterances and to i dicate how a n group of utterances is to be understood as a text. Yet, coherence refers to the relatioships among the different meanings in a text, where these meanings may be literal meanings, communicative functions, and attitudes. 3.1.4. Strategic competence. Finally we come to the fourth area of Communicative Competence. In the words of Canale (1983), strategic competence is the verbal and nonverbal communication strategies that may be called into action to compensate for breakdowns in communication due to performance variables or due to insufficient competence.This is quite a complex area but in a simplified way we can describe it as the type of knowledge which we need to sustain communication with someone. This may be achieved by paraphrase, circumlocution, repetition, hesistation, avoidance, guessing as well as shifts in register and style. According to Canale and Swain (1980), strategic competence is useful in various circumstances as for instance, the early stages of second language learning where communicative competence can be present with just strategic and socio-linguistic competence. This approach has been supported by other researchers, such as Savignon and Tarone. Thus, Savignon (1983) notes that one can communicate non-verbally in the absence o grammatical or f discourse competence provided there is a cooperative interlocutor. Besides, she points out the necessity and the sufficiency for the inclusion of strategic competence as a component of communicative competence at all levels as it demonstrates that regardless of experience and level of proficiency one never knows all a language. This also illustrates the negotiation of meaning involved in the use of strategic competence as noted in Tarone (1981). Another criterion on strategic competence proposed by Tarone (1981) for the speaker to recognize a meta-linguistic problem is the use of the strategies to help getting the meaning across. Tarone includes a requierement for the use of strategic competence by which the speaker has to be aware that the linguistic structure needed to convey his meaning is not available to him or to the hearer. As will be seen later, strategic competence is essential in conversation and we argue for the necessity and sufficiency of this competence.
3.2. Related areas of study. The four components of communicative competence are linked to some studies and theories which do not fit into one component of Communicative Competence and overlap several components. Thus, research areas such as interactional competence, a speech act theory or the field of pragmatic transfer cannot be categorized as a part of only one competence. Thus, a speech act theory overlaps discourse, sociolinguistic and strategic competence. Therefore, we will offer a brief account of the
four main research areas which are related to communicative competence and that cannot be framed within only one competence of those mentioned above. 3.2.1. Discourse analysis. The term discourse traces back to Latin discursus which means a conversation. In general, it refers to a talk, conversation, dialogue, lecture, sermon, or treatise whereas in linguistics, it is related to a unit or piece of connected speech or writing that is longer than a conventional sentence In 1960s, the term discourse is related to the analysis of connected speech and writing, and their relationship to the contexts in which they are used. Discourse analysts studied, then, written texts, conversation, institutionalized forms of talk, and communicative events in general. Early researchers as Zellig Harris in the US in the 1950s, were interested in the distribution of elements in extended texts and the relationship between a text and its social situation. In the 1960s, the American linguistic anthropologist Dell Hymes studied speech in its social setting as a form of addres). The work of British linguistic philosophers such as J. L. Austin, J. R. Searle, and H. P. Grice was influential in the study of language as social action, through speech-act theory, conversational maxims, and pragmatics (the study of meaning in context) in general. In the 1970s, research in the United Kingdom was influenced by the functional approach to language of M. A. K. Halliday, in turn influenced by the Prague School. His systemic linguistics emphasizes the social functions of language and the thematic and informational structure of speech and writing. Halliday related grammar at the clause and sentence level to situational constraints, referred to as field (purpose of communication), tenor (relationships among participants), and mode (channels of communication). Parallel studies were taking place in America by relevant figures in this field, such as John Gumperz and Dell Hymes. Their research included the examination of forms of talk such as storytelling, greeting, and verbal duels in different cultural and social settings. Alongside the conversation analysts, in the sociolinguistic tradition, William Labov's studies of oral narrative have contributed to a more general knowledge of narrative structure. Such work has generated a variety of descriptions of discourse organization as well as studies of social constraints on politeness and face-preserving phenomena. These overlap with British work in pragmatics. 3.2.2. A speech act theory. This term was used in the 1960s by philos ophers of language such as J. L. Austin, in How to Do Things with Words (1962), to refer to acts performed by utterances which conveyed information. Thus, giving orders and making promises. Within a speech act theory, we may distinguish a conventional semantic theory by studying the effects of locutionary, illocutionary and perlocutory acts. They mean respectively, performative utterances on speakers and hearers that result through or as a result of speech, secondly, acts that occur in speech, and thirdly, responses which hearers called perlocutionary acts. There are a wide range of kinds of speech act. Among the most relevant surveys on speech act theories, we shall mention John R. Searle, who in his work Speech Acts in 1979, recognizes five types. Firstly , representative speech act, where speakers are committed in varying degrees to the truth of the propositions they have uttered, by means of swearing, believing, and reporting. Secondly, directives, where speakers try to get hearers to do something by commanding, requesting, or urging. Thirdly, commissives, which commit speakers in varying degrees to courses of action by means of promising, vowing, and undertaking. Fourthly, declarations, whereby speakers alter states of affairs by performing such speech acts as I now pronounce you man and wife. Fifth, expressives, where speakers express attitudes, such as congratulating and apologizing.
According to Austin (1962), in order to be successful, speech acts have to meet certain felicity conditions. Thus, a marriage ceremony can only be performed by someone with the authority to do so, and with the consent of the parties agreeing to the marriage. Speech acts may be direct or indirect. For instance, compare Shut the door, please and Hey, it's cold in here, both of which are directives. 3.2.3. Interactional competence. This area of study points out that inability of or insensitivity to foreign language discourse may lead to impede communication more than grammatical inaccuracy. With the weaking of confidence in the Chomskyan paradigm, there seems to be a multiplicity of analytical research investigating real rather than idealised language behavior, involving among many others, approaches all of which impact on the work carried out in language classrooms. One of those approaches is interactional competence. Linguists such as Schmidt (1983), Long and Porter (1985), and Pica and Doughty (1985) worked on the dynamics of spoken interaction and kinesics. They all shared the view of interactional competence as the main tenet of communicative competence. This area of study is related to the discourse and sociolinguistic competence, as the grammatical competence may mislead learners into thinking that certain rules of use may always be conveyed by using conventional forms. In order to make effective discourse productions, learners need to approach their speeches from a conscious sociolinguistic perspective, in order to get considerable cultural information about communicative settings and roles. Without overstressing the constraints on participants, it is clear that space-time loci, organisational context, conventional forms of messages, and preceding communications, in fact all components of communicative events, serve to increasingly restrict the range of available choices. The analysis of communicative events must include due consideration of rules for interaction and norms of interpretation which allow application of the techniques and insights developed by conversation and interaction analysis. It is clear that such rules operate at several levels of generality. For instance, we may specify rules for interaction operating globally over wide cultural systems, over social sub-groups, over specific professional communities, within specific communicative events, and even wit hin specific stages or acts of an event. Communicative behavior is not limited to the creation of texts. We also expect to find regular correspondences concerning paralinguistics, kinesics and proxemics in oral interaction, and also to norms relating to la yout and graphic design in writing. However, this kind of rules relate to more than the social acceptability of the forms of communication. 3.2.4. Cross-cultural considerations. Main researches on the field of cross-cultural rethorical considerations, such as Holmes and Brown (1987) and Wolfson (1981), point out that it is not the responsibility of the language teacher qua linguist to enforce foreign language standards of behavior, linguistic or otherwise. Rather, it is the teacher’s job to equip students to express themselves in exactly the ways they choose to do sorudely, tactfully, or in an elaborately polite manner. What we want to prevent them being unintentionally rude or subservient. Thus, Holmes and Brown (1987) address three types of failure. Firstly, a pragmatic failure which involves the inability to understand what is meant by what is said. Secondly, the pragmalinguistic failure which is caused by mistaken beliefs about pragmatic force of utterance. Finally, the sociopragmatic failure which is given by different beliefs about rights and mentionables. Another instance is brought about by Wolfson (1981) in developing sociocultural awareness. According to this model, this type of awareness will lead to a discussion of the differences between the cultural
and social values of a first language learner and the foreign language community. He goes further on studying cross-cultural miscommunication in the field of compliments, when learners from a different cultural background do not understand certain behavior rules from the foreign language target culture. The literature on cross-cultural communication breakdown is vast, as it is related to a number of aspects such as size of imposition; taboos; different judgement of power and social distance between different cultures; and different cultural values and priorities. Therefore, important pedagogic advantages may be expected from further developing this approach. These include more realistic learning activities, improved motivation, new types of achievable objectives, and mainly, a new sensitivity to cultural communication patterns, and the potential to transform a passive attitude to authentic texts into an active engagement in developing the effectiveness of communication practices in a classroom setting.
4. PRESENT-DAY DIRECTIONS REGARDING COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE. Although traditionally, foreign language teachers have used media, or devices we use to store, process, and communicate information, technological developments have altered the type of media foreing language students encounter. In the 1950's and 1960's, foreign language teachers who used the Audio Lingual Method departed from traditional textbooks and introduced audiotaped dialogues to the learning situation. With the emergence of video, foreign language students had access to more contextualized language use and greater opportunity for comprehensible input that facilitates second language acquisition (Krashen and Terrell 1983). More recently, researchers have begun investigating multimedia, and hypermedia contexts for foreign language and culture acquisition. This section first examines the use of video in the foreign language domain and then, explores multimedia and hypermedia contexts for the acquisition of communicative competence. In the second part, we will broadly overview the implications of a communicative approach into language teaching.
4.1. Multimedia and hypermedia contexts. From a practical perspective in education, providing experiences for contact with language in context may prove difficult for foreign language teachers. Constrained by lack of sufficient access to the target culture, teachers often rely on textbooks and classroom materials in teaching language. These materials, most of them linear in nature and lacking in interactivity may not necessarily provide the required environment for the acquisition of communicative competence. Although a lack of empirical evidence exists, proponents of video for use in the foreign language classroom suggest that this medium can inc rease the amount of comprehensible input accessible in the foreign language classroom. It is suggested that through the medium of video, students receive massive doses of comprehensible input, and that video can provide target language speech or texts that include challenging yet understandable portions. Furthermore, when the target language is presented in context, in the form of video, the meaning of specific words and utterances becomes clear to the learner. Furthermore, they may not necessarily provide all aspects of discourse activity, thus paralinguistic and extralinguistic behavior that accompany speech. Hypermedia and multimedia environments
may also provide a more appropriate context for students to experience the target culture (Warschauer 1996). Present-day approaches deal with a communicative competence model in which first, there is an emphasis on significance over form, and secondly, motivation and involvement are enhanced. This requires to create classrooms conditions which match those in real life and foster acquisition, encouring learning. The success partly lies in the way the language becomes real to the users, feeling themselves really in the language. Some of this motivational force is brought about by intervening in authentic communicative events. Otherwise, we have to recreate as much as possible the whole cultural environment in the classroom. Recent technological multimedia tools, which utilize audio-visual formats can provide many of the contextual cues that traditional textbook forma ts can not (Cummings, 1994). Second, the linear nature of textbooks affords students a rather restricted experience of the content and does not allow for navigational freedom or interactivity that modern technological tools such as CD ROM and hypertext provide learners. Contrary to multimedia formats, traditional textbooks, linear and non-interactive, may not provide the appropriate context for the acquisition of communicative competence.
This method relies on a notion of communicative competence which takes place first, in foreign language classrooms where the effectiveness of communication is to be acquired, and secondly, in multimedia and hypermedia environments which support the acquisition of communicative competence. Recent developments in foreign language education have indicated a trend towards the field of intercultural communication, where the Ministry of Education proposes several projects within the framework of the European Community. These projects consist of real students exchanges, such as first, Erasmus projects, for learners to acquire a foreign language in the target culture for three, six or twelve months; Comenius projects, for learners to travel to the target culture up to two weeks; and Plumier projects, for learners to use multimedia resources in a classroom setting where learners are expected to learn to interpret and produce meaning with members of the target culture. In essence, they all call for the contextualization of language (Cummings 1983).
4.2. Implications into language teaching. Some research has reported successful and meaningful cultural learning through the use of ethnographic methods (Robinson-Stuart & Nocon 1996). However, the practicality of implementing ethnographic approaches to foreign language and culture learning is questionable. For example, oftentimes, students do not have direct access to members of the target culture, or to a range of individuals representing much of the communicative repertoire of that culture. Furthermore, traditional means of contact with the target culture, such as textbooks do not provide a proper context for ethnographic investigation. In order to access another culture and understand its members practices and perspectives concerning these practices, second language learners must have the opportunity to experience them in context, as do true ethnographers. In order to understand communicative practices, second language learners must see members of the target culture use them in authentic situations and must have access to the ground of meaning attached to those practices. As previously noted, the main tenet of Foreign Language Learning is for foreign language learners to acquire language within its social context. Thus, since the nature of language demands interlocutors concurrently interpret and produce language in order to create meaning and effectively communicate, foreign language learners must exercise both receptive and productive skills simultaneously. The National Standards reflect these interdependent properties of communication
necessary for successful interactions, emphasizing both the productive and the receptive skills. Yet, as students increase their ability to produce in the target language, then they will most likely increase opportunities for meaningful input (Krashen & Terrell 1983). As an example of some standards, we shall mention some of them, such as standard number one where students are expected to understand and interpret written and spoken language on a variety of topics, and standard number two by means of which students demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the practices and perspectives of the relationship between the practices and perspectives of the culture studied. These are just some instances among many others. In essence, textbooks generally provide students prescriptive phrases with which to communicate without providing insights as to contextual influences on these utterances. They also often fail to represent the linguistic repertoire of speech communities as they typically depict a rather monolithic speech community, neglecting to portray the heterogeneous nature of the target cultures' speakers. Essentially, if the goal of foreign language teaching is to develop communicative competence among foreign language students, then we must address sociolinguistic aspects of language and provide students opportunities to access the meaning associated with language practices. By ignoring these aspects of communication in the foreign language classroom, we are not providing our students essential elements of human interaction, for spoken language must be presented in the full context of communication.
5. CONCLUSION. A review of the literature in this survey revealed that although recent developments in foreign language education have indicated a trend towards approaching the acquisition of a second language in terms of communicative competence, traditional resources have proven inadequate. Students are expected to learn to function properly in the target language and culture, both interpreting and producing meaning with members of the target culture. However, providing experiences for contact with language in context has been problematic. Limited access to the target culture has forced teachers to rely on textbooks and other classroom materials in teaching language, and these materials may not necessarily furnish a sufficiently rich environment for the acquisition of communicative competence, including many aspects of discourse activity, such as paralinguistic and extralinguistic behavior. Hypermedia and multimedia environments may provide a more appropriate setting for students to experience the target language in its cultural context. For over twenty years, many researchers have concentrated on the development of the notion of communicative competence, among which we may mention Savignon (1972, 1983); Hymes (1972); Canale and Swain (1980); and Bachman (1990) in an attempt to mention the most representative figures in this field. The theme of communicative competence emerges upon the basis that language and communication are at the heart of the human experience, and therefore the main aim is for students to be equipped linguistically and culturally in order to communicate successfully in a pluralistic society and abroad. Furthermore, it is said that foreign language teachers must focus on the sociolinguistic and cultural aspects of language for students to be familiar with and knowledgeable of the target language and culture or cultures. For generations, language teachers have attempted to overcome this obstacle with the use of realia, or authentic materials in the classroom. However, the use of these materials does not necessarily result in an interpretation of the intent of the message that matches those members of the target culture. Without an understanding of native viewpoints, second language and culture learners may be incapable of accessing and interpreting the meaning of communication in the target language as intended by members of that culture.
On the origins and nature of communication and the concept of language David Crystal, Linguistics (1985) Halliday, M.A.K. (1985), Spoken and Written Language. Victoria: Deakin University. Halliday, M.A.K. (1975), Explorations in the Functions of Language. London: Edward Arnold Rivers, W. 1981. Teaching Foreign-Language Skills. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. On communication process and language teaching Howatt, A.P.R.. 1984. A History of English Language Teaching. Oxfrod: Oxford University Press. Larsen-Freeman, D. And M Long. 1991. An Introduction to Second Language Acquisition .H. Research. London: Longman. Widdowson, H.G. 1978. Teaching Language as Communication. Oxford: Oxford University Press. A theory of communicative competence and communicative approaches to language teaching Canale, M., and M. Swain, 1980. Theoretical bases of communicative approaches to second language teaching and testing. Applied Linguistics 1 (1). Canale, M. 1983. From Communicative Competence to Communicative Language Pedagogy, in J. Richards and R. Schmidt (eds.). Language and Communication. London, Longman. Ellis, R. 1985. Understanding Second Language Acquisition . Oxford University Press Hymes, D. 1972. On communicative competence. In J. B. Pride and J. Holmes (eds.), Sociolinguistics, pp. 269-93. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Richards, J., & Rodgers, T. (2001). Approaches and methods in language Teaching (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Introductions to cultural approaches and the influence of sociolinguistic on language Canale, M., and M. Swain, 1980. Theoretical bases of communicative approaches to second language teaching and testing. Applied Linguistics 1 (1). Hymes, D. 1974. Foundations in Sociolinguistics: An Ethnographic Approach. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. On a development of communicative competence models Canale, M., and M. Swain, 1980. Theoretical bases of communicative approaches to second language teaching and testing. Applied Linguistics 1 (1). Celce-Murcia, M., and L. McIntosh, eds. 1979. Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language. Rowley, Mass.: Newbury House. Chomsky, N. 1965. Aspects of the Theory of Syntax. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. Halliday et al. 1972: Halliday, M.A.K., Angus McIntosh; Peter Strevens, Linguistik, Phonetik und Sprachunterricht (ubersetzt von Hans Dietmar Steffens), Heidelberg: Quelle & Meyer, 1972. Halliday, M.A.K. 1985. An Introduction to Functional Grammar. London: Edward Arnold.
Hymes, D. 1972. On communicative competence. In J. B. Pride and J. Holmes (eds.), Sociolinguistics, pp. 269-93. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Munby, J. 1978. Communicative Syllabus Design: A Sociolinguistic Model for Defining the Content of Purpose-Specific Language Programmes. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. Savignon, S. 1983. Communicative Competence: Theory and Classroom Practice. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley. Multimedia use in a classroom setting Cummings, L. et al. (1993). HyperNexus: Journal of Hypermedia and Multimedia Studies. Krashen, S., and T. Terrell. 1983. The Natural Approach: Language Acquisition in the Classroom (1983). Oxford: Pergamon. Warschauer, M. (1996).Computer Learning Networks and Student Empowerment. System, 24 , 1 p.1-14. Wyatt, D. (1984). Computer assisted teaching. Foreign Language Annals, 17 (4), 393-407. For applications of a communicative competence theory to both classroom and natural settings Revistas de laAsociación Española de Lingüística Aplicada (AESLA): De la Cruz, Isabel; Santamaría, Carmen; Tejedor, Cristina y Valero, Carmen. 2 001. La Lingüística Aplicada a finales del Siglo XX. Ensayos y propuestas. Universidad de Alcalá. Celaya, Mª Luz; Fernández-Villanueva, Marta; Naves, Teresa; Strunk, Oliver y Tragant, Elsa. 2001. Trabajos en Lingüística Aplicada . Universidad de Barcelona. Moreno, Ana I. & Colwell, Vera. 2001. Perspectivas Recientes sobre el Discurso. Universidad de León. Revista de CERCLE, Centro Europeo de Recursos Culturales Lingüísticos y Educativos. Web pages: http://www.britishcouncil.org/education/teachers/txeurope.htm
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