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Mesut Deniz

Language is a system that associates sounds (or gestures) with meanings in a way that uses
words and sentences.
Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. It tries:
first, to observe languages and to describe them accurately,
then, to find generalizations within what has been described,
finally, to draw conclusions about the general nature of human language.

Linguistic competence is known how to use the grammar, syntax, and vocabulary of a language.
Linguistic competence asks: What words do I use? How do I put them into phrases and
sentences?
Linguistics overlaps and cooperates with: psychology, sociology, anthropology, philosophy,
logic, math, computer science, speech pathology, acoustics, music, crypto analysis

Sociolinguistic competence requires adjusting one's grammatical forms to be appropriate to the


setting in which the communication takes place. Attention is paid to such factors as the age,
status, and sex of the participants and the formality of the setting. When one travels to a different
culture, these situational factors may call for different speech reactions then they would in the
native culture.
Sociolinguistic competence is known how to use and respond to language appropriately, given
the setting, the topic, and the relationships among the people communicating. Sociolinguistic
competence asks: Which words and phrases fit this setting and this topic? How can I express a
specific attitude (courtesy, authority, friendliness, respect) when I need to? How do I know what
attitude another person is expressing?
Discourse competence is known how to interpret the larger context and how to construct longer
stretches of language so that the parts make up a coherent whole. Discourse competence asks:
How are words, phrases and sentences put together to create conversations, speeches, email
messages, newspaper articles?
Strategic competence is known how to recognize and repair communication breakdowns, how to
work around gaps in ones knowledge of the language, and how to learn more about the language
and in the context. Strategic competence asks: How do I know when Ive misunderstood or when

someone has misunderstood me? What do I say then? How can I express my ideas if I dont
know the name of something or the right verb form to use?"
Experts such as Jim Cummins differentiate between social and academic language acquisition.
Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS) are language skills needed in social situations.
It is the day-to day language needed to interact socially with other people. English language
learners (ELLs) employ BIC skills when they are in the cafeteria, at parties, playing sports and
talking on the telephone. Social interactions are usually context embedded. That is, they occur in
a meaningful social context. They are not very demanding cognitively. The language required is
not specialized. These language skills usually develop within six months to two years after
arrival in the U.S. Problems arise when teachers and administrators think that a student is
proficient in a language when they demonstrate good social English.
CALP refers to formal academic learning. This includes listening, speaking, reading, and writing
about subject area content material. This level of language learning is essential for students to
succeed in school. Students need time and support to become proficient in academic areas. This
usually takes from five to seven years. Many studies have been conducted in bilingual-speaking
regions of Canada. Academic language acquisition isnt just the understanding of content area
vocabulary. It includes skills such as comparing, classifying, synthesizing, evaluating, and
inferring. Academic language tasks are context reduced. Information is read from a textbook or
presented by the teacher. As a student gets older the context of academic tasks becomes more
and more reduced. The language also becomes more cognitively demanding. New ideas,
concepts and language are presented to the students at the same time.