Essay on communicative competence

It was also hoped that, through the study of the grammar of the target language, students would become more familiar with the grammar of their native language and that this familiarity would help them speak and write their native language better. Finally, it was thought that foreign language learning would help students grow intellectually; it was recognized that students would probably never use the target language, but the mental exercise of learning it would be beneficial anyway. Grammar Translation dominated European and foreign language teaching from the s to the s, and in modified form it continues to be widely used in some parts of the world today.

Communicative Competence As The Aim Of Foreign Language Learning

At its best, as Howatt points out, it was not necessarily the horror that its critics depicted it as. Its worst excesses were introduced by those who wanted to demonstrate that the study of French or German was no less rigorous than the study of classical languages.

This resulted in the type of Grammar-Translation courses remembered with distaste by thousands of school learners, for whom foreign language learning meant a tedious experience of memorizing endless lists of unusable grammar rules and vocabulary and attempting to produce perfect translations of stilted or literary prose.

Although the Grammar-Translation Method often creates frustration for students, it makes few demands on teachers. It is still used in situations where understanding literary texts is the primary focus of foreign language study and there is little need for a speaking knowledge of the language.

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Contemporary texts for the teaching of foreign languages at college level often reflect Grammar-Translation principles. These texts are frequently the products of people trained in literature rather than in language teaching or applied linguistics. Consequently, though it may be true to say that the Grammar-Translation Method is still widely practiced, it has no advocates. It is a method for which there is no theory. There is no literature that offers a rationale or justification for it or that attempts to relate it to issues in linguistics, psychology, or educational theory.

This reform movement laid the foundations for the development of new ways of teaching languages and raised controversies that have continued to the present day. Objectives of GTM? Reading of difficult classical texts is begun early. Choosing a method of teaching or learning English as a Second Language ESL mainly depends on the goals of the student. It is used for several years ago until now. The reading passage focuses on several classes: vocabulary and grammatical structures in the passage. The passage may be excerpted from some work from the target language literature, or a teacher may write a passage carefully designed to include particular grammar rules and vocabulary.

The translation may be written or spoken or both. Students should not translate idioms and the like literally, but rather in a way that shows that they understand their meaning. The questions are sequenced so that the first group of questions asks for information contained within the reading passage. Students could also be asked to find synonyms for a particular set of words.

Students might be asked to define a set of words based on their understanding of them as they occur in the reading passage. Students are also asked to memorize words that look like cognates but have meanings in the target language that are different from those in the native language. Exceptions to each rule are also noted. Once students understand a rule, they are asked to apply it to some different examples. They fill in the blanks with new vocabulary items or with items of a particular grammar type, such as prepositions or verbs with different tenses.

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Students are also required to memorize grammatical rules and grammatical paradigms such as verb conjugations. Use words in sentences In order to show that students understand the meaning and use of a new vocabulary item, they make up sentences in which they use the new words. The topic is based upon some aspect of the reading passage of the lesson. Sometimes, instead of creating a composition, students are asked to prepare a precis of the reading passage.

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Translation is the easiest way of explaining meanings or words and phrases from one language into another. Any other method of explaining vocabulary items in the second language is found time consuming. A lot of time is wasted if the meanings of lexical items are explained through definitions and illustrations in the second language. Further, learners acquire some short of accuracy in understanding synonyms in the source language and the target language.

Since the textbooks are taught through the medium of the mother tongue, the teacher may ask comprehension questions on the text taught in the mother tongue. Pupils will not have much difficulty in responding to questions on the mother tongue. So, the teacher can easily assess whether the students have learnt what he has taught them. Communication between the teacher and the learners does not cause linguistic problems. Even teachers who are not fluent in English can teach English through this method.

That is perhaps the reason why this method has been practiced so widely and has survived so long. The students easy to understand because of grammatical lessons. ESL students taught successfully under the grammar translation method will have the ability to translate even difficult texts from their native language into English. They possess a thorough knowledge of English grammar, including verb tenses.


These students will be familiar with several classical pieces of English literature, which are used for grammatical analysis and exercises. This method requires few specialized skills on the part of teachers. Grammar rules and Translation Tests are easy to construct and can be objectively scored. How do I know what attitude another person isexpressing? Discourse competence: Knowing how to interpret the largercontext and how to construct longerstretches of language so that the partsmake up a coherent whole.

Discourse competence asks:How are words, phrases and sentences puttogether to create conversations,speeches, email messages, newspaperarticles? What do I saythen?

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  6. John Searle and J. Austin: They believe that language is closely related with the Speech Act which includes such acts as promising, ordering, greeting, warning, inviting and congratulating. Conclusion:Through the influence of communicative language teaching, it has become widely accepted that communicative competence should be the goal of language education. This is in contrast to previous views in which grammatical competence was commonly given top priority. The understanding of communicative competence has been influenced by the field of pragmatics and the philosophy of language concerning speech acts as described in large part by John Searle and J.

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    Communicative Competence in SLA

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