Communicative Competence

Communicative Competence
Harditya Perdana

Communicative competence is a term in linguistics which refers to a language user's grammatical knowledge of syntax, morphology, phonology and the like, as well as social knowledge about how and when to use utterances appropriately. The notion of communicative competence is one of the theories that underlies the communicative approach to foreign language teaching.
Pragmatic Competence refers to the ability to use language appropriately in different social situations. It is true to say that there is no correct way to use language; however, we can certainly define what is appropriate use of language in different circumstances. What do we mean by different circumstances? Below are some ways to differentiate circumstances:
Purposes for communicating, often referred to as functions, e.g., inviting, apologizing
Relative status of those communicating
Topic area about which participants are communicating, e.g. general, business, computing, medicine
Situation, which refers to a physical location, e.g., in a bank, at the airport, in a restaurant
To communicate appropriately in these circumstances, whether using spoken or written language, we use an appropriate register, which may refer to level of formality, e.g., ‘Give me the book!', ‘Would you mind giving me the book?' Register also refers to lexis in specific fields, e.g., jargon.
Canale and Swain (1980) defined communicative competence in terms of three components:
1. Grammatical competence: words and rules
2. Sociolinguistic competence: appropriateness
3. Strategic competence: appropriate use of communication strategies
Canale (1983) refined the above model, adding discourse competence: cohesion and coherence
A more recent survey of communicative competence by Bachman (1990) divides it into the broad headings of "organizational competence," which includes both grammatical and discourse (or textual) competence, and "pragmatic competence," which includes both

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