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REFLECTION PAPER ON LANGUAGE AND COMMUNICATION

This chapter generally focuses on how the attitude towards the meaning and
framework of the language phenomena changed after the emphasis on the effects of socio-
cultural domains on language and introduces communicative competence put on the stage by
Dell Hymes, who produced counter-arguments against the linguistic competence of Chomsky
in the sense that language is more than just knowing grammar and that there is no perfect
language users and societies in the real world. Therefore, he emphasizes how meaning is
negotiated by considering contextual and social differences which require more than just
having linguistic competence and he introduces communicative competence to the field.
There are four interrelated sub-knowledge categories under the term of communicative
competence which are possibility (if an utterance is grammatical or not), feasibility (if an
utterance is easy to process in mind or not), appropriateness (if an utterance is appropriate for
the social context or not) and attestedness (if an utterance is performative (Searle, 1967) or
not).
First of all, one of the most important points in this chapter could be the argument
against the linguistic competence of Chomsky which covers grammatical knowledge of the
language. The fact that grammar cannot be enough for internalizing a language and
communicating effectively can be clearly observed when looking at the interlanguage of the
learners. Most of the communication breakdowns and misunderstandings could be related to
the lack of producing appropriate utterances according to the different context and registers.
For instance, a guileless wish to get any news related to any topic can be easily misinterpreted
if the speaker says keep me posted to his/her colleague rather than saying please let me
know because of the clear-cut difference between these two utterances. While the former is
usually heard from a more authoritative person, the latter is more appropriate for the
conversation between colleagues. Even such a basic example is enough for accepting the need
for communicative competence covering the possible, feasible, appropriate and acceptable
use of language not necessarily at the same time. (A sentence does not have to be
performative all the time, it changes according to the different needs and contexts).
The fact that grammar is not enough for effective communication does not mean that
we should only focus on appropriateness while teaching the language. In my opinion, the
second most crucial point in the chapter focuses on how the implementation of
communicative competence in the pedagogical field is misinterpreted in that sense. When
looking at the communicative approach, the overemphasis on appropriateness while ignoring
other sectors and reducing this notion to some essentialist and culturally-bounded
communicative activities that do not provide local contextual variables could be the most
meaningful criticism against this kind of attitude towards communicative approach. As once
the problems are identified clearly, the possible solutions will be sought and offered with a
more local context-sensitive point of view. In that sense, while giving a balanced attention to
accuracy and fluency, more flexible CLT-based lesson plans could be conducted according to
students needs and interests rather than a top-down, pre-determined and western-focused
point of view.

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