The “Communicative Competence” Controversy

| September 30, 2005
The “Communicative Competence” Controversy

Keywords: communicative competence, theory of language, communicative approach, competence for use, competence for grammar, acquisition of language

Ahmet Acar
Dokuz Eyli¼l University, Turkey

Bio Data
Ahmet Acar is a research assistant at Dokuz Eyli¼l University, Turkey, where he earned his M.A. degree and is currently a doctoral student. He has been to Syracuse University with a Fulbright scholarship, where he studied TESOL, theoretical linguistics, sociolinguistics, and taught Turkish as a foreign language to students at Syracuse University, Cornell University and Colgate University at the same time through multipoint videoconferencing, which was carried out the first time in the USA and was accepted as a successful pilot project. Acar’s research interests are the role of culture in language teaching, bilingualism, foreign and second language teaching methods, teaching languages from distance, ELT syllabus design and textbook evaluation.

The main aim of this article is to question Hymes` theory of communicative competence as developed in his paper “On Communicative Competence” (1971) and to critically examine the implications it had for the field of foreign and second language teaching. The article examines the model of language presented by the theory of communicative competence with the claim that the theory is based on highly unsound and unidealized evidence. The impact of such a theory of language in the foreign and second language teaching field will be critically discussed in broad terms at the level of goals and the specification of the language content to be taught and learned. In the treatment of this topic, no specific reference to Asia is made since the debate is relevant in all contexts.

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Category: Main Editions, Volume 7 Issue 3