Volume 2, Issue 1 April 2019, pp. 1–19
Revisiting communicative competence in the teaching and assessment of language for specific purposes
1 Universite Cote d’Azur, FRANCE
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.
© Shona Whyte
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
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
Intercultural education in times of restricted travel: Lessons from the Gaza Strip
Maria Grazia Imperiale
Intercultural Communication Education Published: 19 April, 2021, Volume 4(1), 22–38.
"I don't want to be stereotypical, but..."
Norwegian EFL learners' awareness of and willingness to challenge visual stereotypes
Cecilie Waallann Brown
Intercultural Communication Education Published: 20 December, 2019, Volume 2(3), 120–141.
"Writing like a health scientist": A translingual approach to teaching text structure in a diverse Australian classroom
Sue Ollerhead, Isobel Crealy, Rebecca Kirk
Australian Journal of Applied Linguistics Published: 30 April, 2020, Volume 3(1), 77–90.
(Mis)use of e-mail in student-faculty interaction: Implications for university instruction in Germany, Saudi Arabia and Japan
The JALT CALL Journal Published: 30 April, 2013, Volume 9(1), 23–57.
(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.
(Re)turning to contrastive rhetoric’s basic communication principles: A Common Ground theory perspective
Jonathan D. Brown
Australian Journal of Applied Linguistics Published: 22 August, 2022, Volume 5(2), 77–87.
3D digital games, virtual worlds, and language learning in higher education: Continuing challenges in Japan
Robert Swier, Mark Peterson
The JALT CALL Journal Published: 31 December, 2018, Volume 14(3), 225–238.
A Case for the Drupal Content Management System
The JALT CALL Journal Published: 30 April, 2010, Volume 6(1), 57–66.
A case study of using Facebook in an EFL English writing class: The perspective of a writing teacher
The JALT CALL Journal Published: 31 December, 2014, Volume 10(3), 189–202.
A comparative analysis of face to face instruction vs. Telegram mobile instruction in terms of narrative writing
Jamshid Heidari, Farzaneh Khodabandeh, Hassan Soleimani
The JALT CALL Journal Published: 31 August, 2018, Volume 14(2), 143–156.