Volume 2, Issue 1 April 2019, pp. 1–19 Download PDF

Articles

Revisiting communicative competence in the teaching and assessment of language for specific purposes

Shona Whyte https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6739-15821

1 Universite Cote d’Azur, FRANCE whyte@unice.fr

DOI: https://doi.org/10.29140/lea.v2n1.33


Abstract

The term communicative competence captures the notion that the ability to use language in interaction requires not just control of linguistic form but also awareness of rules of use in different contexts (Hymes 1972). Communicative competence is a slippery term: different actors in second language (L2) research, education, and assessment interpret the term in a variety of ways and use it for a range of purposes, perhaps particularly in the field of languages for specific purposes (LSP). This is unfortunate because it is a key concept in LSP, as in applied linguistics more generally. Communicative competence can be considered to be the target of second language acquisition, a main goal of second or foreign language teaching and learning, or the object language testers seek to measure via performance tests. In addition, current interpretations of communicative competence may be somewhat questionable adaptations of Hymes' concept, modified and often simplified to reflect current approaches in both formal and functional linguistics, and to respond to practical concerns in language teaching and testing. This paper seeks to re-examine communicative competence from three perspectives - L2 research, teaching, and testing - highlighting problems in terms of theory and practice with respect to LSP. Drawing on recent research on indigenous assessment criteria, the paper concludes with a revised model of communicative competence for LSP offering a richer interpretation closer to the original concept and to current concerns in the field.



Copyright

© Shona Whyte

CC  4.0
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.


Suggested citation

Whyte, S. (2019). Revisiting communicative competence in the teaching and assessment of language for specific purposes. Language Education and Assessment, 2(1), 1–19. https://doi.org/10.29140/lea.v2n1.33


Related Articles:

Beginning again
Glenn Stockwell
Australian Journal of Applied Linguistics Published: 1 April, 2018, Volume 1(1), 1–2. Download PDF


Insights from replication on the factors affecting task engagement in mobile-based learning activities
Glenn Stockwell
Technology in Language Teaching and Learning Published: 28 June, 2019, Volume 1(1), 33–51. Download PDF


Syntactical and lexical development in NNS-NNS Asynchronous CMC
Glenn Stockwell
The JALT CALL Journal Published: 31 December, 2005, Volume 1(3), 33–49. Download PDF


Investigating an intelligent system for vocabulary learning through reading
Glenn Stockwell
The JALT CALL Journal Published: 31 December, 2013, Volume 9(3), 259–274. Download PDF


Review of Developing writing skills for IELTS: A research-based approach
Hassan Mohebbi
Australian Journal of Applied Linguistics Published: 28 April, 2021, Volume 4(1), 34–36. Download PDF


Making global knowledge accessible to EFL speakers of an undergraduate leadership program through a flipped and ubiquitous learning environment
Nobue Tanaka-Ellis, Sachiyo Sekiguchi
Technology in Language Teaching and Learning Published: 28 June, 2019, Volume 1(1), 3–20. Download PDF


Encouraging autonomy through the use of a social networking system
Adrian Leis
The JALT CALL Journal Published: 30 April, 2014, Volume 10(1), 69–80. Download PDF


Exploring EFL teachers’ professional identity development in a CALL teacher preparation program
Hussein Meihami, Rajab Esfandiari
The JALT CALL Journal Published: 25 August, 2021, Volume 17(2), 135–157. Download PDF


(Re)imagining a course in language and intercultural communication for the 21st century
Adriana Raquel Díaz, Paul J. Moore
Intercultural Communication Education Published: 29 December, 2018, Volume 1(3), 83–99. Download PDF


Reframing and hospicing mobility in higher education: Challenges and possibilities
Adriana Raquel Díaz, Marisa Cordella, Samantha Dispray, Barbara E. Hanna, Anna Mikhaylova
Intercultural Communication Education Published: 19 April, 2021, Volume 4(1), 106–121. Download PDF