1 COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE. A THEORETICAL FRAMEwORK.
In 1965, Noah Chomsky made a distinction similar to the one Ferdinand de Saussure had made in 1916 between LANGUE and PAROLE. COMPETENCE would be the speaker intuitive knowledge of the rules of his native language, and PERFORMANCE, what he actually produces by applying these rules.
For Chomsky, linguistic theory is concerned with the “perfect knowledge” of language, a knowledge by which an ideal speaker can produce any and all the well-formed sentences of his/her language. It would not be affected by “irrelevant conditions” such as memory limitations, distractions, shifts of attention and interest, etc. The criterion to judge competence is grammaticality, to judge performance, acceptability.
HYMES, JAKOBOVITS, CAMPBELL and WALES, WIDDOwSON, COOPER and others, think that many of those “irrelevant conditions” must be included in the term competence. DELL HYMES summarizes this saying that “there are rules of use within which the rules of grammar would be useless”.
HYMES thinks that sociocultural aspects are included in neither of Chomsky´s cathegories, since performance deals with psychological constraints like perception, memory, etc, not with sociocultural factors.
He puts forward the notion of COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE, opposed to Chomsky´s competence.
According to this view, there are 4 (and not two: grammaticality and acceptability) criteria to judge competence:
If something is formally possible (grammar).
If something can be done in the field of reality.
If something is appropriate in relation to its context.
If something is done, and what this doing involves.
JAKOBOVITS follows the thesis of HYMES, focusing in the selection of social context as a necessary part of competence.
CAMBELL and WALES accept Chomsky´s distinction between competence and performance, but they say that textual and social is as important as grammaticality of sentences.
HALLIDAY rejects Chomsky´s cathegories of compence and performance, as being of little use in a sociological context. He proposes a socio-semantic approach, proposing the notion of MEANING POTENTIAL to link behavioural potential with lexico-grammatical potential.
What the speaker can do (social)
What the speaker can mean (mental)
What the speaker can say (linguistic)
JURGEN HAABERMAS adopts a socio-philosophical view, rejecting Chomsky´s cathegories since they are not useful as a basis of the development of general semantics, and because it doesn´t explain the essential dimension of communication in a highly idealized sense.
2 COMPONENTS OF THE COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE
CANAL and SWAIN
Pronunciation in speech (weak, form)
idioms in context
word formation (-less)
Expression and understanding of appropiate social meanings (functions in different contexts)
It refers to the shared knowledge about social and cultural features conveyed through language. (use of usted, use of Mss or Mrs, etc)
Cohesion and coherence……
It refers to the coping strategies that speakers and hearers use to repair and maintain communication (paraphrasis, gestures, general, aid, …)