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ВдовинаЕ.В. Поздравление и пожелание в речевом этикете: концептуальный
и коммуникативный анализ. Афтореф.дисс..к.филол.н. – М., 2007. – 24 c.
Трофимова Н.А. Экспрессивные речевые акты. Семантический,
прагматический, грамматический анализ. – Санкт-Петербург 2008. – 376 с.
Еликбаев Б.К., Меирбеков А.К. Важность прагматической компетенций в процессе преподавания экспрессивных речевых актов английского языка в казахскоязычной группе В статье рассматривается важность прагматической компетенции в процессе
преподавания экспрессивных речевых актов английского языка. А также здесь приводится
сравнительно-сопоставительный анализ экспрессивных речевых актов английского и
казахских языков. И подчеркивается роль прагматических заданий в процессе
совершенствования прагматических компетенций.
Ключевые слова: экспрессивные речевые акты, прагматические компетенций,
Elikbaev B.K., Meirbekov A.K. The importance of pragmatic competence in the teaching process of expressive speech acts of English language to Kazakh groups The article describes the importance of pragmatic competence in the learning process of
expressive speech acts of English language. And here were given results of relatively comparative
analysis of expressive speech acts in English and Kazakh languages. We also highlighted the role of
pragmatic tasks in developing pragmatic competence.
Keywords: expressive speech acts, pragmatic competence, pragmatic tasks.
Amanbayeva Z.Zh. – Candidate of Philological Studies, WKSU after
Bigaliyeva S.B. – Undergraduate, WKSU after M.Utemisov
(Uralsk city, Kazakhstan)
ANALYSIS OF MAIN APPROACHES TO DEFINING THE CONCEPT OF COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE Abstract. Despite a lot of different meanings of “communicative competence”, which have
been still appeared in journals, conferences and dissertations every year, there is still no clear
consensus about what the exact meaning conveyed by these words. There are a plenty of definitions
and discussions on communicative competence, but in this paper we will look at most important of
them. Likewise, we will present how the notion of communicative competence has come to play an
important role in the fields of sociolinguistics and SLA (second language acquisition) over the years.
Keywords: communicative competence, concept of communicative competence,
sociolinguistics, communicative language ability, second language acquisition.
It has been over half of a century since the term “communicative competence”
first appeared in the fields of linguistics and related disciplines. The term
“communicative competence” is comprised of two words, the combination of which
means “competence to communicate”. This simple lexico-semantical analysis uncovers
the fact that the central word in the syntagm “communicative competence” is the word
Chomsky’s Perspective on Competence. “Competence” is one of the most controversial terms in the field of general and
applied linguistics. Its introduction to linguistic discourse has been generally associated
with Noam Chomsky. In the 1960s, Chomsky challenged the principles of structural
linguistics and behavioral psychology with his generative-transformational theory of
grammar, which has heavily influenced the subsequent development of linguistics and
related disciplines. One of the basic assumptions made by Chomsky in the construction
of his theory was the characterization of language as being composed of competence and performance. The conception of communicative competence was actually
introduced in the following well-known and commonly quoted paragraph:
“Linguistic theory is primarily concerned with an ideal speaker-listener, in a
completely homogeneous speech community, who knows its language perfectly and is
unaffected by such grammatically irrelevant conditions as memory limitations,
distractions, shifts of attention and interest, and errors (random or characteristic) in
applying his knowledge of the language in actual performance” [5, p. 3].
The above statement was used by Chomsky to present the concept of competence, as
opposed to performance. In making a distinction, he considered language as rule-governed
systems which are unaffected by social and situational variation. This concept of competence
as the knowledge of an ideal speaker-hearer was soon criticized by researchers who took a
rather more situational and sociolinguistic approach. Those researchers thought of Chomsky’s
definition as being reductionist in that it confined all cases of variation to “performance”, and
they argued for the inclusion of the notion of “ability for use” in the definition of competence,
to which Chomsky responded by making an explicit statement of exclusion of “ability for
use” from the definition [5, p. 59]. This divergence over the inclusion and exclusion of
“ability for use” within the concept of “competence” marked the turning point in the
controversy about the “real” meaning of the term. On the other hand, linguists in the
Chomskyan tradition rejected as performance any applied or visible aspect of language
behavior. On the other, many other linguists claimed that the term “competence” did not
belong exclusively to Chomsky, who, in spite of being probably the first linguist to use it and
define what he meant by it, was not the creator of a term that already had its own meaning and
which is still commonly used in everyday language. Chomsky was probably aware of the
ambiguity of the term, because in his 1986 book, the term “competence” did not appear at all,
was substituted by “I-language”, defined as “the system of knowledge attained” in “the
transition from the initial to the mature state of the language faculty” [5, p. 26]. He
distinguished between I-language and E-language, the latter referring to a construct which is
valid for human communication but is independent of the mind.
Perspectives from Sociolinguistics. Communicative competence: Hymes.
Looking back to the controversy about the scope of competence, Chomsky’s
(1965) definition must be given credit for being the starting point for many other
approaches, including several aspects present in real-life communication. However, the
most relevant contribution for the development of applied linguistics was Hymes’, who
– in another frequently quoted piece of writing – objected to the ascription of all
sociocultural and situational factors to performance, and he deplored “the distorting
effect of using the one term ‘performance’ for two distinct things: a theory of
performance and a theory of language use”. This objection was responded to by
Chomsky [5, p. 224] with the acknowledgement to the existence of ‘pragmatic
competence’ as a complement to ‘grammatical competence’.
It was not long before Chomsky’s notion of idealized linguistic competence
came under attack. Dell Hymes, a sociolinguist as well as ethnographerof
communication, was the first, among many distinguished language scholars, to
introduce the idea of communicative competence in terms of the “appropriateness of
sociocultural significance of an utterance” [2, p. 44]. Hymes (1974), retaining the idea
of Chomsky’s underlying grammatical competence, looks at contextual relevance as
one of the crucial aspects of one’s knowledge of language and claims that meaning in
communication is determined by its speech community and actual communicative
event in question, which consists of the following components he calls SPEAKING (a
Instrumentalities, Norms of interaction and interpretation, and Genre. These are
broadly considered speech contexts in which real verbal interaction takes place. For a
person to say he or she knows a language, therefore, he or she must know “when to
speak, when not, … what to talk about with whom, when, where, in what manner” [10,
p. 277] in addition to how to make a sentence grammatical. In other words, he
maintains that the knowledge of language that Chomsky associated with competence
should be taken more comprehensively to include knowledge about the above-
mentioned components, namely the rules of language use.
Furthermore, in addition to the knowledge of appropriateness a speaker is
presumed to have in using his or her language, Hymes brings into discussion the issue
of occurrence (whether and to what extent something is done) and feasibility (whether
and to what extent something is possible under any given circumstance), which makes
not only one’s knowledge but also expectation part of his or her competence. This
more elaborated concept of communicative competence has broadened the definition
and treatment of language competencefor linguistic inquiry. The Ethnographical point of view: Saville-Troike Saville-Troike, another ethnographer who is fundamentally in line with Hymes’
notion of communicative competence, considers the issue from the viewpoint of second or
foreign language contexts. She distinctly divided a central construct of communicative
competence into three types of knowledge: linguistic, interactional, and cultural knowledge
. The first one roughly corresponds to what Chomsky formulated as competence, with
one lucid difference: the inclusion of linguistic description. Citing her own experience with a
Japanese leaner of English who used the phrase on her term paper “and all that clap” to mean
“etc.”, Saville-Troike argues that recognizing linguistic variations that carry certain social
meanings sometimes pose serious problems even for advances students of English. Therefore,
knowledge of the full range of the linguistic code, including those features that transmit social
information, she concludes, needs to be viewed as part of one’s communicative competence.
The second property she considers necessary for communicative competence is
interactional skills, namely the knowledge and expectation of social norms and
conventions. Native speakers of English know how to execute their talk appropriately
in a given communicative setting, such as how to do turn-taking naturally when talking
to a friend or how to ask someone of a higher status to do something for them. These
interactional skills are difficult for students to learn because in many cases they are not
taught explicitly in the classroom. Besides the pronunciation of words, grammatical
construction of sentences, and the use of vocabulary that learners are presented and
learn, according to Saville-Troike, the interaction patterns are an essential part of
communicative competence they need to acquire.
Cultural knowledge, especially the social structure of the speech community and
values and attitudes attached to language use, is the third component for Saville-
Troike’s communicative competence. For example, a native speaker of English can
readily identify ways of speaking that are appropriate for men and women, for children
and adults, and for the educated and uneducated. For English learners, however, it may
not be so easy, and if they are not able to recognize how a group of people “speaks
well” in a conversational exchange, and hence fail to act accordingly, they might make
themselves a target of ridicule or imputation or simply offend their conversation
partner. As we can see, these three areas of knowledge Saville-Troike proposes as basic
constituents of one’s communicative competence are all related to Hymes’
appropriateness in communicative events in which interlocutors conduct verbal acts.
Interactional aspects: Gumperz Perhaps more anthropologically inclined, Gumperz, citing Goffman’s (1981)
“Interactional Order”, which is the organization of discourse functioning to bridge the
linguistic and social elements, argues that one should look at talk in context as one
form of communicative practice. Talk is not “just a matter of individuals’ encoding and
decoding messages” [9, p. 218], but also something by which conversationalists
attempt to attain their communicative goals in real-life communicative exchange.
Gumperz questions whether theoretical linguists should use judgment of grammatically
as the basis for syntactic analysis. He points out that whether a sentence is grammatical
or not cannot be determined without a speaker’s ability to imagine a context in which
the sentence in interpreted. He is also aware that the scope of sociolinguistic research
on an interlocutor’s communicative competence has become somewhat narrower, as
many sociolinguists simply preoccupy themselves with finding the occurrence and
distribution of uttered items or verbal strategies in speech situations based on such
external variables as speakers and hearers, audience, settings, and so on. According to
Gumperz, this approach runs the risk of making sociolinguistics research on
competence “highly particularistic” [8, p. 40].
Discussing meaning creation and interpretation at a more general level than the
mere sentence level, Gumperz emphasizes the importance of how interlocutors share
signaling conventions necessary to carry on their conversations. One aspect of the
productive and interpretive processes he calls contextualization cues has been of
special interest to him. Contextualization cues, defined as linguistic, paralinguistic, or
interactive features habitually used and perceived by interlocutors in order to realize
this signaling effect, take many different forms such as the selection of a certain style
or code, the use of certain syntactic or lexical forms, and strategies involving
conversation openings and closings, just to name a few [7, p. 85]. The following brief
dialog has a number of contextualization cues and other discoursive structures
contributing to the establishment of a shared understanding of what is actually
happening between the two interlocutors:
A: Are you going to be here for ten minutes?
B: Go ahead and take your break. Take longer, if you want.
A: I’ll just be outside on the porch. Call me if you need me.
B: OK. Don’t worry.[8, p. 41].
Gumperz argues that if these two interlocutors’ knowledge about their language is
limited to a sentence-level, grammatical correctness, such a simple message as a request and its
acceptance cannot be interpreted and therefore not successfully exchanged. For example, B’s
understanding of A’s first utterance as a request was possible because B was aware of the
illocutionary force of A’s question and used conversational inference to arrives at a correct
interpretation of A’s intention. Conversational inferences such as this are cued contextually,
according to Gumperz (1997), by rhythmic organization, utterance prominence to highlight
some elements, the signaling of turn-taking, the choice of discourse strategies that influence their
interpretation, and so on. In summary, Gumperz’s view of a person’s language competence is
that it is a matter that always has to be discussed in relation to interaction, and the appropriate
contextualization to mark communicative conventions is an indispensable factor for the success
in conversational exchange. This runs parallel to the notion of competence developed by Hymes
and Saville-Troike, although the focus is different.
Perspectives from Second Language Acquisition Four Areas of Communicative Competence: Canale and Swain In their often-cited article on communicative competence in relation to second
language pedagogy, Canale and Swain (1980) proposed a theoretical framework in
which they outline the contents and boundaries of three areas of communicative
competence: grammatical, sociolinguistic, and strategic competence. Sociolinguistic
competence was further divided by Canale (1983) into two separate components:
sociolinguistic and discourse competence. He defines communicative competence as
“the underlying systems of knowledge and skill required for communication” [3, p. 5].
What is intriguing about their framework of communicative competence is that even
the aspects of skills that are needed to employ the knowledge are now assumed to be
part of one’s competence. The communicative competence is, then, distinguished from
what Canale calls “actual communication,” which is defined as “the realization of such
knowledge and skill under limiting psychological and environmental conditions such
as memory and perceptual constraints, fatigue, nervousness, distractions, and
interfering background noises” [3, p. 5]. If we are to compare Canale and Swain’s
construct of communicative competence with that of Chomsky’s in a broad sense,
Chomsky’s “competence” is equivalent to the “grammatical competence” mentioned
by Canale and Swain, and all other areas of their framework are lacking in Chomsky’s
definition. As far as performance is concerned, Chomsky’s performance and Canale
and Swain’s actual communication point to roughly the same phenomenan of uttering
sentences in real communicative situations. The four areas of communicative
competence they identified are briefly outlined below:
Grammatical competence.The mastery of L2 phonological and lexicogrammatical
rules and rules of sentence formation; that is, to be able to express and interpret literal
meaning of utterances (e.g., acquisition of pronunciation, vocabulary, word and sentence
meaning, construction of grammatical sentences, correct spelling, etc.)
Sociolinguistic competence.The mastery of sociocultural rules of appropriate use
of L2; that is, how utterances are produced and understood in different sociolinguistic
contexts (e.g., understanding of speech act conventions, awareness of norms of
stylistic appropriateness, the use of a language to signal social relationship, etc.)
Discourse competence. The mastery of rules concerning cohesion and coherence of
various kinds of discourse in L2 (e.g., use of appropriate pronouns, synonyms, conjunctions,
substitution, repetition, marking of congruity and continuity, topic-comment sequence, etc.)
Strategic competence. The mastery of verbal and non-verbal communication
strategies in L2 used when attempting to compensate for deficiencies in the
grammatical and sociolinguistic competence or to enhance the effectiveness of
communication (e.g., paraphrasing, how to address others when uncertain of their
relative social status, slow speech for rhetorical effect, etc.)
As it is clear from the way their framework is described, their intention was to discover
the kinds of knowledge and skills that an L2 leaner needs to be taught and to develop the
theoretical basis for a communicative approach in the second language teaching based on an
understanding of the nature of human communication . In addition, their framework
indicates that it is the rules that an L2 learner must learn for accumulation of their knowledge
and skills to be communicatively competent in the use of their target language and that these
rules are not confined to systematic rules of grammar only but are also applied to all aspects
of a language. Since they put forward their first framework of communicative competence in
detail, there have been numerous studies that have analyzed it more comprehensively or
employ it in SLA research.
Communicative Language ability: Bachman Ten years after Canale and Swain had introduce the influential framework of
communicative competence, a more comprehensive, stratified model was proposed by
Bachamn, who stressed the importance of describing “the processes by which [the]
various components interact with each other and with the context in which language
use occurs” [1, p. 81]. He pointed out the fact that earlier theories on language
proficiency, particularly the frameworks constructed by Lado (1961) and Carroll
(1961, 1968), apparently failed to take into account the distinction between linguistic
knowledge and the four basic language skills (speaking, listening, writing, and
reading), arguing that it was difficult to see whether the knowledge components were
understood in their theories as simply manifested in the language skills in different
modalities and channels, or whether they are fundamentally different in quality 
Using a different terminology for the object of description (Bachman calls it
“communicative language ability,” which is abbreviated as CLA), he developed three
central components for CLA that are essential to define one’s competence in
communicative language use: language competence, strategic competence, and psycho-
physiological mechanisms. Of the three, though, only language competence is dealt
with here. The first component he termed as language competence consists of two
parts: organizational competence and pragmatic competence. The organizational
competence is further divided into grammatical competence and textual competence.
Bachman’s grammatical competence is consonant with Canal and Swain’s grammatical
competence, in that it comprises abilities to control the formal structure of language.
The second one, textual competence, pertains to the knowledge of conventions for
cohesion and coherence and rhetorical organization. It also includes conventions for
language use in conversations, involving starting, maintaining and closing
conversations. Bachman’s textual competence can, thus, be said to both the part of
Canale and Swain’s discourse competence and the part of their strategic competence.
Bachman’s pragmatic competence, the other element in language competence,
mainly focuses on the relationship between what one says in his or her communicative
acts and what functions he or she intends to perform through his or her utterances. This
concerns illocutionary force of utterance, or “the knowledge of pragmatic conventions
for performing acceptable language function” (Bachman 1990: 90), which he embodies
all illocutionary competence under the pragmatic competence. Illocutionary
competence enables a speaker to use his or her language to serve a variety of functions
and a hearer to interpret the illocutionary force of and utterance or discourse required
of him or her. One needs, however, more than illocutionary competence to successfully
execute an act to intend a certain communicative function; he or she must have
knowledge of appropriateness based on the language use context in which he or she
finds themselves when engaging in a communicative exchange. Bachman calls it
sociolinguist competence and this is the other component for his pragmatic
competence. To be more precise, Bachman discusses four abilities pertaining to
sociolinguistic competence: ability to be sensitive to regional and social language
varieties, ability to be sensitive to differences in register, ability to produce and
interpret utterances based on naturalness of language use , or what Pawley and Syder
(1983) refer to as a native-like way of communication and ability to understand cultural
reference and figures of speech (Bachman, 1990: 95-98). In his framework,
sociolinguistic competence and illuctionary competence are put together to form a
speaker’s pragmatic competence, which in turn, composes, along with grammatical
competence, his or her language competence.
Conclusion Communicative competence have been defined and discussed in many different
ways by language scholars of different fields. There is, however, one thing in common
that is seen in the writings of all these scholars: linguistic, or grammatical competence,
should be considered just one aspect of overall competence an individual has with
language. With the change f focus from grammar to communication within linguistic
theories (as the field of sociolinguistics developed), language teachers and researchers,
too, have shifted the object of their linguistic analysis accordingly. Although teachers
and researchers are aware o the need to improve students’ communicative competence
and try out new ideas to contribute to meeting that need, there seems to be still a long
way to go. They are not new ideas for teaching, but each one of them has a place in
CLT and will help language learners acquire the knowledge of appropriateness in all
facets of their target language.