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Overview of the lecture

Communicative competence
There are rules of language use without
which the rules of grammar are useless.
(Widdowson, 1978)

The father of communicative competence

Dell Hymes

The communicative competence of

a native speaker (Hulstijn, 2006)

What is communicative competence

Components of communicative
Communicative competence and language
Communication strategies: Definitions,
characteristics, taxonomies, teachability

Communicative competence also involves

knowing what to say to whom in what
circumstances and how to say it. (Hymes)
linguistic competence

linguistic performance

innately-derived power in the

Garden of Eden

eating the apple thrusting the

perfect speaker-hearer into a
fallen world

intuition and linguistic

knowledge of an abstract,
isolated, ideal speaker-hearer

real speech of interlocutors in a

social world

internal to linguistic structure

external to linguistic structure

language form

language function & use

grammaticality as a criterion

acceptability as a criterion

Core competence Hulstijn, 2006

2. Components of communicative
competence. A) Canale & Swain (1980)

2. Components of communicative
competence cont.

1. Linguistic competence the knowledge

of the language code (grammatical rules,
vocabulary, pronunciation, spelling, etc.);
2. Sociolinguistic competence the
mastery of the socio-cultural code of
language use (appropriate application of
vocabulary, register, politeness, and style
in a given situation);

3. Discourse competence the ability to

combine language structures into different types
of cohesive and coherent texts (e.g. letter,
political speech, poetry, academic essay,
cooking recipe);
4. Strategic competence the knowledge of
verbal and non-verbal communication strategies
which can enable us to overcome difficulties
when communication breakdowns occur and
enhance the efficiency of communication.

B) Bachman (1990)

B) Bachman (1990)
I. Language competence

I.1. Organizational competence

A. Grammatical competence
B. Textual competence
I.2 Pragmatic competence
A. Illocutionary (functional competence) knowledge of functions
e.g. ideational, manipulative, heuristic, imaginative
B. Sociolinguistic competence dialects, varieties, register, cultural
references etc.
2. Strategic competence: It helps determine communicative goals,
assess one's resources to communicate one's message, plan
communication and execute the communicative intention.
3. Psycho-physiological mechanisms: neurological and psychological
processes involved in producing and understanding language (e.g.
auditory, visual and neuromuscular skills).

Communicative competence and

language teaching
Traditional language teaching:
grammatical competence
Modern language teaching: the whole of
communicative competence
Neglected area: strategic competence

Read the following paragraph and answer the question at the

The leading causes of amnesia are either physical or
psychological. In antergrade amnesia, the subject is unable to
recall the events that occur after a shock or an injury to the
brain; however, past memories will not be lost. In retrograde
amnesia, the patient is capable of recalling events that occur
after the trauma; interestingly enough, information stored
before the shock, is lost and cannot be retrieved. In
paraamnesia, established memories are contorted. In
psychogenic fugue, the subject may venture into a new
lifestyle, trying to .repress memories which lead to
trepidation.The eventshappening during psychogenic fugue
are non retrievable. Nonetheless, the experiences that
happened before the onset can be recovered. Among the most
popular treatments for psychologically related amnesia are
psychotherapy, the use of drugs, and hypnosis.

In line 8, the word "trepidation" could best be replaced by

Anxiety /restrain / intimidation / self-denial

1) When did Mary _____ college?

graduate from
graduating from
2.) The American Good Samaritan Charity
Organisation has established a shelter for the
homeless next to your house. This has met with
the disapproval of the neighbourhood. Since you
are the most proficient speaker of English in the
neighbourhood, you have been selected to write
a letter of complaint of approximately 150-200
words to the head of the charity organisation in
which you outline the situation and ask for
immediate action.

Communication strategies - Definitions


devices used to compensate for lack of L2 knowledge:

"CSs are potentially conscious plans for solving what
to an individual presents itself as a problem in reaching
a particular communicative goal" (Faerch & Kasper,
1983, p. 23).
2. meaning negotiation mechanisms: "CS relate to a mutual
attempt of interlocutors to agree on a meaning in
situations where requisite meaning structures do not
seem to be shared" (Tarone, 1980, p. 420).
3. general problem-solving mechanisms in L2
communication: "every potentially intentional attempt
to cope with any language related problems of which
the speaker is aware during the course of
communication" (Drnyei & Scott, 1997, p. 179).

Characteristics of CS

Types of CS

Resource deficit gap in the L2 learner's knowledge
Own-performance problems uncertainty in the
correctness of the message

Other-performance problems problems processing

the interlocutor's speech

Processing time pressure problems in conveying the

message fluently
2. Consciousness

Consciousness as awareness of a problem: the L2

learner is aware of the fact that he/she is having a
problem. This distinguishes CS from mistakes.

Consciousness as intentionality: the speaker uses the

CS intentionally to solve a problem.

1. Message adjustment strategies

Message abandonment: giving up the message
Message reduction: reducing the message to avoid
certain structures or topics
Message replacement: substituting the original message
with a different one
2. Achievement strategies
Paraphrase or circumlocution describing or
exemplifying the target object or action whose name the
learners do not know (e.g. the thing you open wine
bottles with for corkscrew)
Approximation using an alternative term which
expresses the meaning of the target word as closely as
possible: (e.g. ship for sailing boat)
Use of all purpose words (e.g. thing, stuff)
Restructuring (e.g. He looks he does not look


Literal translation (e.g. cuckoo clock for

pendulum clock)
Word coinage: creating a non-existing L2 word
(e.g. unrelevant for irrelevant)
Non-linguistic means: mime, gestures, imitation,
Appeal for help eliciting the word you are
looking for from your communication partner by
asking questions like Whats the word for
3. Time gaining strategies
Fillers and hesitation devices to gain time (e.g.
well, I mean, actually, as a matter of fact, what
Im trying to say is that, now let me think, I see
what you mean, to be quite honest)

Teachability of CS
Drnyei (1995): CS are teachable and should be taught
The teaching of certain types of CS was successful as
students used these strategies more frequently after
instruction, and the participants' fluency also increased.
Counter-arguments against the teaching of CS: CS can
help fossilization

What are the components of communicative
What are communication strategies?
How can they be characterised?
List some CS.