Linguistic competence

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Linguistic competence is the system of linguistic knowledge possessed by native speakers of a language, it is in contrast to the concept of Linguistic performance, the way the language system is used in communication. The concept was first introduced by Noam Chomsky [1] as part of the foundations for his Generative grammar, but it has since been adopted and developed by other linguists, particularly those working in the generativist tradition. In the generativist tradition competence is the only level of language that is studied, because this level gives insights into the Universal Grammar, that generativists see as underlying all human language systems. Functional theories of grammar tend to dismiss the sharp distinction between competence and performance, and particularly the primacy given to the study of competence. According to Chomsky, competence is the 'ideal' language system that makes it possible for speakers to produce and understand an infinite number [nb 1] of sentences in their language, and to distinguish grammatical sentences from ungrammatical sentences. This is unaffected by "grammatically irrelevant conditions" such as speech errors.[1] Competence versus performance Further information: Linguistic performance "Linguistic theory is concerned primarily with an ideal speaker-listener, in a completely homogeneous speech-communication, who know its (the speech community's) language perfectly and that it 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 this language in actual performance." ~Chomsky,1965[1] Chomsky differentiates competence, which is an idealized capacity, from performance being the production of actual utterances. According to him, competence is the ideal speaker-hearer's knowledge of his or her language and it is the 'mental reality' which is responsible for all those aspects of language use which can be characterized as 'linguistic'.[2] Chomsky argues that only under an idealized situation whereby the speaker-hearer is unaffected by grammatically irrelevant conditions such as memory limitations and distractions will performance be a direct reflection of competence. A sample of natural speech consisting of numerous false starts and other deviations will not provide such data. Therefore, he claims that a fundamental distinction has to be made between the competence and performance.[1] Chomsky dismissed criticisms of delimiting the study of performance in favor of the study of underlying competence, as unwarranted and completely misdirected. He claims that the descriptivist limitation-inprinciple to classification and organization of data, the "extracting patterns" from a corpus of observed speech and the describing "speech habits" etc. are the core factors that precludes the development of a theory of actual performance.[1] [edit] Competence and components of grammar Further information: Theoretical Linguistics One's competence is defined by the grammar,[nb 2][3] or set of language rules, that is represented mentally and manifested based on his or her own understanding of acceptable usage in a given linguistic idiom. Therefore, grammatical competence defines an innate knowledge of rules rather than knowledge of items or relations. According to Chomsky, it is regarded to be innate because one does not have to be trained to develop it and will still be able to apply it in an infinite number of unheard examples. [4]

E. E.: The police examined the bullet.The core components of the grammar are included in the speaker's linguistic competence and these components corresponds to five of the major subfields of linguistics: • • Phonetics: The physical production and perception of the inventory of sounds used in producing language. One will know the inflectional and derivational morphology present in the language. Phonology: The mental organization of physical sounds and the patterns formed by the way sounds are combined in a language.: My hair needs washing is acceptable but not *My hair needs wash • Semantics: Understanding the meaning of sentences.g.[4] A generative grammar is a finite set of rules that could hypothetically produce an infinitive number of utterances.: The cow was found by the stream but not *The cow was found by the farmer (iii) Different structures and still be able to relate the meanings E. Schools of thought [edit] Chomsky and Generative Grammar Chomsky's perspective of language learning basically revolves around the idea that all humans have an internal capacity to acquire language.[5] One of the key figures quoted by Chomsky as a spark for his ideas included Wilhelm von Humboldt who advocated the "creative" aspect of language and that a grammar must be existent to describe the process that makes a language possible to "make infinite use of finite means". This is also how a user of the language is able to understand and interpret the non-literal meaning in a given utterance. In other words.g.[4] Another major influence is René Descartes whose concern with the creative powers of the mind leads him to regard human language as an instrument of thought.: re-cuddle can be derived but not *re-rich • Syntax: The structure and formation of sentences. E. Chomsky rejects Saussure's notion of langue as "merely a systematic inventory of items" but rather chooses to conceptualize a model of underlying competence regarded as "a system of generative processess". It enables humans to generate all kinds of sentences and never to produce an ungrammatical sentence.g. One can distinguish between grammatical sentences and ungrammatical sentences. such as the affixes of words. The bullet was examined by the police.: slip vs *slib and *sbill • Morphology: The identification.g. [5] In Chomsky's own words: .: The accident was seen by thousands is meaningful but not *The accident was looked by thousands (ii) Same structure but different meanings E. it implies that this ability to learn and analyze linguistic information is universal and innate. [1] Another key figure is Ferdinand de Saussure and his idea of langue and parole but however. and the restrictions on permissible sound combinations.g.g. and Chomsky likened it to a language acquisition device. being a result of human evolution. They are three distinctions drawn here: (i) Meaningful and non-meaningful sentences E. analysis and description of units of meaning in a language.

a generative grammar consists of five major components: the lexicon.[8] [edit] Ray S. [nb 3] [9] Againsting the syntax-centered view of generative grammar(syntactocentrism). Their theory can be reflected by their slogan "linguistic description minus grammar equals semantics". They hope that by making semantics an explicit part of generative grammar. According to him. [9][11] Functionalist critiques of the generativist concept of Competence Functionalist linguists forward a usage-based perspective on linguistic competence.by a generative grammar I mean simply a system of rules that in some explicit and well-defined way assigns structural descriptions to sentences... Pustejovsky proposes that the lexicon becomes an active and central component in the linguistic description. by formalizing a set of mechanisms for specialized composition of aspects of such descriptions of words. to relate meanings to syntactic and/or phonological structure. a set of lexical entries containing semantic. first by providing a rich and expressive vocabulary for characterizing lexical information. syntactic and phonological information deemed necessary to parse a sentence. Jackendoff Ray S. just as sounds are expressed in a universal semantic representation. syntax and semantics as three parallel generative processes. modularity and autonomy of syntax. Nevertheless. then. performance. They assume a modular lexicon. [edit] Other generativists Linguistic competence is treated as more comprehensive term for lexicalists. he specifically treats phonology. coordinated through interface processes. themselves coordinated by interfaces. taking the directly . He further subdivides each of those three processes into various "tiers". Yet. the transformational component. by developing a framework for manipulating fine-grained distinctions in word descriptions.[10] [edit] Katz & Fodor Katz and Fodor suggests that a grammar should be thought of as a system of rules relating the externalized form of the sentences of a language to their meanings that are to be expressed in a universal semantic representation. he clarifies that those interfaces are not sensitive to every aspect of the processes they coordinate. and finally. They argue that linguistic competence is derived from and informed by language use. the phonological component and the semantic component. more incisive studies of meaning would be possible.". phonology is affected by some aspects of syntax. the base component. their models are still in line with the mainstream generative research in adhering to strong innateness. but not vice versa. extended and novel sense are generated. as they occur in context. within the generative school of thought. Jackendoff's model deviates from the traditional generative grammar in that it does not treat syntax as the main generative component from which meaning and phonology is developed unlike Chomsky. Since they assume that semantic representations are not formally similar to syntactic structure. [6] [7] In the generative lexicalist view this information is intimately tied up with linguistic competence. [edit] James Pustejovsky In contrast to the static view of word meaning (where each word is characterized by a predetermined number of word senses) which imposes a tremendous bottleneck on the performance capability of any natural language processing system. they suggest a complete linguistic description must therefore include a new set of rules."[1] Chomsky's notion of linguistic competence is purely syntactic. For instance. The essence of his theory is that the lexicon functions generatively. such as Jackendoff and Pustejovsky. a semantic component.

general knowledge etc. but tend to prefer usage based theories. An argument used by functionalist linguists against the strict division between competence and performance and the primacy of competence. one of several functionalist theoretical frameworks. It is by doing experiments. into how we store and use vocabulary. is that a language theory based on an autonomous level of competence encounters difficulties when trying to explain language change and grammaticalization. For both speech and writing. gaps are closed. . However.[3] Within this school of thought. into how we manage to acquire language in the first place.[18] (ii) Operations of our neuropsychological system The operations of our neuropsychological systems determine how language signals are perceived and generated.opposite view to the generative model. was developed by Ronald Langacker to understand language as a result of cognitive mechanisms and processes and not from the grammar of the language.[14] Another common critique of the generativist concept of competence is that the underlying presupposition that the felicity of grammatical constructions is judged based only on its relation to competence is incorrect and does not fit the data from actual usage where the felicity of an utterance often depends largely on the communicative context. the task of psycholinguistics is not to confirm Chomsky's account of linguistic competence by undertaking experiments. in functionalist theories emphasis is placed on experimental methods to understand the linguistic competence of individuals.S. [8] [edit] Competence in Psycholinguistics Psycholinguistics is primarily concerned with language as a psychological phonomenon. such as writing and speech. It also includes our knowledge to make abstractions. which can only be explained as changes in performance directly causing changes in the competence level. In our perception of such forms. The most striking characteristic of the language signal is its perceptual invariance.[19] According to experimental linguist N.[17] Cognitive grammar. which are generated and perceived by language users. there are two very different sorts of biological system involved. [18] It provides insights into how we assemble our own speech and writing and how we understand that of others. Sutherland.[21] There are 3 important elements of psycholinguistics that are used to describe the mechanisms underlying our language understanding and production. as there is always a salient and stable form that stands out against its physical environment. (i) The language signal This refers to all forms of language expression. Speech involves auditory pathways from sensory organs to the brain then the vocal tract whilst writing involves motor pathways from sensory organs to the brain followed by the hand-arm system.[15][16] Functionalist theorists have also argued that the competence/performance distinction basically serves to privilege data from certain linguistic genres and socio-linguistic registers that are judged by speakers to be more prestigious. while discounting evidence from low-prestige genres and registers as being simply misperformance. which allows us to conceive of words in isolation. both in writing and in speech. and irregularities are overlooked. to find out what are the mechanisms that underlie linguistic competence. linguistic competence involves the ability to adequately construct and fully understand expressions by means of language itself and additional resources such as memory.[20] Psycholinguistics generally do not see the distinction between performance and competence to accurately reflect the empirical data.[12][13] As a result. intentionality.

which focuses on sociallysituated performance.[18] (iii) Language System This is more abstract than the first two since it may be implemented even when we are not using palpable language signals at all. contemplation of our language and general language knowledge . Furthermore. he commented that it is unreal and that no significant progress in linguistics is possible without studying forms along with the ways in which they are used.[18] [edit] Communicative competence Main article: Communicative competence Another functionalist theory advances the notion of communicative competence. was developed by Dell Hymes in response to the abstract nature of linguistic competence. especially when the emphasis is on how to interpret the speaker's intended meaning in a particular utterance. regarded as the central language area.[25] ----------------------------------- . sociolinguistic. as in silent verbal reasoning. apart from the literal meaning. As such. discourse and strategic. linguistic. linguistic competence should fall under the domain of communicative competence since it comprises four competence areas. namely.[24] The major criticism towards Chomsky's notion of linguistic competence by Hymes is the inadequate distinction of competence and performance.they do have a similarity in that both involve short pathways to the central processing areas in the brain. [22][23] Communicative competence is also sometimes referred to as pragmatic or sociolinguistic competence.

Communicative competence refers to the rules that govern the kinds of speech allowed within the cultural context. It is a subject touched on by linguistics courses within the English curriculum and is dealt with in depth in linguistic and cultural anthropology. syntax and semantics known as the grammar of a language.Article Details • • • • Written By: David Bishop Edited By: Angela B. Other researchers ignore Chomsky’s separate definitions of competence and performance and study language as a practical function of human behavior. which explains language as a natural ability with which children are born and which becomes refined as they develop. Linguistic performance and communicative competence are concepts related to linguistic competence but are applied to language as it is actually used rather than as an ideal construct. People with such competence have learned to utilize the grammar of their spoken language to generate an unlimited amount of statements. Some linguistic theorists see linguistic competence as a learned behavior rather than an innate function of the human brain. The concept of linguistic competence remains an important aspect of linguistic theory and education. Chomsky’s theory of generative grammar contained several key concepts about language. Linguistic researchers and theorists continue to study and refine this concept through fieldwork and clinical investigation. This allows speakers to understand each other despite grammatical flaws and differences in dialect. Once a speaker masters this set of rules. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- . This includes the distinct sounds used in the language. Chomsky’s theories sparked debate among linguists and have continued to influence debate around the acquisition and use of language. linguistic performance and communicative competence. the creation of sentences and the interpretation of a sentence. the combination of these sounds. Linguistic performance is the practical application of speech with the grammatical flaws and mistakes that exist among real-world speakers. including linguistic competence. Chomsky developed several theories aimed at describing how language was acquired and functioned within a culture. Last Modified Date: 15 March 2012 Copyright Protected: 2003-2012 Conjecture Corporation What Is Linguistic Competence? Linguistic competence is a term used by speech experts and anthropologists to describe how language is defined within a community of speakers. Chomsky defined linguistic competence as an idealized understanding of the rules and construction of a given language. This term is distinct from the concept of communicative competence. which determines what is socially appropriate speech. he or she can use this grammar to produce new phrases that will be understood by all speakers of the same language. The idea of linguistic competence was first developed by linguist Noam Chomsky in the mid-1960s. This theory lies in contrast with the idea that speech is strictly a learned behavior. Linguistic competence is part of a larger theory of linguistic behavior known as universal grammar. This term applies to mastering the combination of sounds.

'Competence' implies having the capacity to function effectively as an individual and an organization within the context of the cultural beliefs. beliefs. religious. Policies and Practices. strategies for identifying and bridging different styles of communication. tools for recognizing sexual and gender issues. 'Culture' refers to integrated patterns of human behavior that include the language.S. thoughts.HWIC. the importance of being aware of issues of mistrust. behaviors. techniques to determine the patient’s perception of biomedicine and use of complementary and alternative medicine. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health (HHS OMH) in their guide. Cross et al. particularly patient-centered care The National Standards on Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) offers federal guidance on providing culturally and linguistically competent care. beliefs. Teaching Cultural Competence in Health Care: A Review of Current Concepts.. According to a 2002 report from the HHS OMH. Transforming the Face of Health Professions through Cultural and Linguistic Competence Education: The Role of the HRSA Centers of Excellence. Chapter 5: Curriculum Content for Cultural and Linguistic Competence. customs.S. provides recommendations for concepts to include in a cultural and linguistic competency curriculum and includes an overview of several curricula models. or social groups. communications.HEALTH WORKFORCE INFORMATION CENTRE What is cultural and linguistic competence and why is it important? One of the most widely used definitions of cultural competence comes from a 1989 Georgetown University National Center for Cultural Competence (NCCC) monograph by Terry L. Dr. and needs presented by consumers and their communities. actions. What is Cultural Competency?: “Cultural and linguistic competence is a set of congruent behaviors. Joseph Betancourt of Harvard Medical School outlines these areas which the guide addresses: • • • • • • • “methods for eliciting patients’ understanding of illness. and policies that come together in a system. the provision of culturally and linguistically competent care can help address and improve: • • • Health disparities Health care access. with the adaptation here from the U. health care providers are serving more patients with backgrounds. population becomes more diverse. attitudes. and the effect of race and ethnicity on clinical decision-making” In the same publication.” As the U. and language skills that are different from their own. agency. ethnic. . skills for assessing decision-making preferences and the role of family. and institutions of racial. mechanisms for negotiation. What skills are needed by the workforce to provide culturally competent care? In an opening commentary for the 2005 curriculum development project. prejudice. or among professionals that enables effective work in cross-cultural situations. and Quality of care. values.

Sources: • • • • • • • • HHS Office of Minority Health National Center for Cultural Competence National Standards on Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS).those who speak English less than “very well”. 3/2002 Transforming the Face of Health Professions through Cultural and Linguistic Competence Education: The Role of the HRSA Centers of Excellence. 2007 Office Guide to Communicating with Limited English Proficient Patients A Patient-Centered Guide to Implementing Language Access Services in Healthcare Organizations. 2005 Page last updated January 11. cultural competence and Limited English Proficiency.org lists a variety of additional training options on cultural competence. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) offers a free online course. What types of training are available? • • • • • The HHS OMH lists continuing education options through its Think Cultural Health web site. The Public Health Foundation’s TRAIN. 2005 What Is Cultural Competency?. Unified Health Communications. 2012 ------------------------------------------------------------------------ . including train-the-trainer events. including the Cultural Competence Health Practitioner Assessment.What are some ways that the workforce can help meet the linguistic needs of patients? To ensure access to care for patients with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) . Policies and Practices. 9/2005 Teaching Cultural Competence in Health Care: A Review of Current Concepts. The Cross Cultural Health Care Program offers training and assessment. The NCCC has variety of distance learning opportunities and self-assessments. that addresses health literacy. the 2005 HHS OMH report A Patient-Centered Guide to Implementing Language Access Services in Healthcare Organizations offers these options: • • • • bilingual staff and clinicians dedicated staff interpreters telephone interpretation community volunteers The American Medical Association’s Office Guide to Communicating with Limited English Proficient Patients reviews the pros and cons of each staffing option.

• • Published Jan 20. We also aim (c) to assess the advantages and disadvantages of analysing word meanings as full-fledged concepts.and its nature. Another aspect of linguistic competence relates to the nature of linguistic structure. we plan to investigate (a) how the semantics-pragmatics distinction applies at the level of the word. The object of inquiry is the linguistic competence of individual speakers . semantics and pragmatics. acquisition and evolution of our competence with and knowledge of word meanings.g. The first centres around the question of whether linguistic agency exhibits a kind of knowing-how. A preliminary workshop on this topic was held at CSMN in September 2010.g. Cappelen & Lepore) posit a gap between semantic content and communicated content. as opposed to the whole sentence.g. especially related to the question of linguistic and cultural complexity. Is that gap bridged by a kind of knowhow? Some theorists (e.Last modified Feb 1. Grice and Sperber & Wilson) and for such theories it is important to clarify whether assessments of relevance involve a form of knowledge-how or are better construed as a form of knowing-that. 2012 03:07 PM . Soames. schematic concepts (‘pro-concepts’). or procedures (rules or instructions for use). 2012 08:50 AM . in particular syntax. Are syntactic well-formedness judgements based on a kind of knowledge-how? Can semantic competences be so grounded? Within pragmatics. The second addresses issues having to do with knowledge of word meaning. and (b) what are the implications for lexical semantics of the ongoing debate on semantic minimalism vs. Bach.the I-language . This competence is acquired through an interplay of the innate language faculty and the social norms of the learning environment. there are a number of related questions: Appeals to relevance play an important role in many pragmatic theories (e. pragmatics and philosophy of language raises a series of questions about the nature. and acquisition. The third addresses questions about syntactic competence and its acquisition. Fodor. Professor Jan Terje Faarlund. building on his work in the first phase of CSMN. plans to focus his research on two specific issues: (a) the transfer of structural knowledge from one generation to the next and thus through time (diachronic syntax). Taking as our starting point Grice’s proposed division of labour between lexical semantics and pragmatics. and (d) to consider the implications for the analysis of word meaning of the ‘massive modularity’ thesis in cognitive science. Recent work in semantics.CSMN---CENTRE FOR THE STUDY OF MIND IN NATURE Linguistic Competence This project addresses three interconnected sets of issues about the kinds of competence that underlie linguistic agency. Many philosophers of language (e. The second set of issues engages more directly with a specific domain of competence: knowledge of word meaning. use. Can the distinction between knowing-how and knowing-that be of help in articulating such theories? These issues will be discussed in the context of the larger contemporary debate about the distinction between knowing-how and knowing that (which is addressed from a complementary perspective in subproject A above). Cappelen & Lepore) have argued for a kind of ‘no-theory theory’ about the transition from semantic content to communicated content. Objectives • Questions about the putative role of knowledge-how in linguistic competence arise at all three levels of syntax. and (b) the role of the sociocultural environment in the evolution of language. contextualism. and its acquisition.

Translation competence: A pedagogic approach Popescu. Translation competence: A pedagogic approach. I will also attempt at providing a basic teaching methodology involving the use of translation in EFL/ESL classes. I will start by reviewing the well-known distinction between competence and performance and their interrelatedness. Some elements of translation competence. so as to increase students‘ both competences. however. Abstract The aim of this paper is to address the issue of linguistic competence versus translation competence seen from a pedagogical perspective. Sarajevo. which together contribute to the process of language learning (either foreign or second): sociolingistic competence. Teodora (2011) Linguistic competence vs. in order for the students to attain a certain degree of translation competence. From a pedagogic viewpoint. 5-7 May 2011. In: 1st International Conference on Foreign Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics (FLTAL’11). pragmatic competence and intercultural competence. ICT competence and contentknowledge competence. apart from those that are also inherent to linguistic competence will be analysed and exemplified: monitoring competence. when learning how to translate. . or B2 according to the Common European Framework of reference for languages). by outlining similarities and differences between the two processes. In close connection with linguistic competence I will try to delineate the components of translation competence. students have to be able to further enhance their linguistic competence. Therefore. their level of linguistic competence must be fairly well-developed (at least upper-intermediate.Linguistic competence vs. Other dimensions will be added to linguistic competence.

pragmatic competence. translation competence. Linguistics Subjects: Depositing Mr. sociolinguistic Uncontrolled competence. P Language and Literature > P Philology. Durmus Ali Avci User: Date 08 Feb 2012 12:36 Deposited: Last 05 Mar 2012 08:24 Modified: URI: http://eprints. Keywords: intercultural competence.Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper) linguistic competence.ba/id/eprint/560 .ibu.edu.

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