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Communicative Competence by Language Strand

1, Listening

Listening is the first way in which English language learners involve themselves in the language learning process. It involves hearing, processing and interpreting spoken words by distinguishing sound, rate, pitch, volume and tone as part of the communication process.

Linguistic Competence

Second language listeners must recognize the words they hear.  They need to know the basic sounds of letters and syllables, pronunciation of words, intonation and stress.  They also need to understand and apply the rules of word formation and sentence formation. The second language student, who can understand how words are segmented into various sounds, and how sentences are stressed in particular ways to convey meaning, finds it easy to understand the meaning of a message.  This too, enhances the students’ reading and writing skills.

Strategic Competence

Strategic Listening is guessing the meaning by employing the bottom-up skill with top-down processing. In the bottom-up skill the student gets meaning from discrete sounds, individual syllables and separate words.  In the top-down processing the student gets meaning from broad contextual clues and background knowledge. The ability to use linguistic and nonlinguistic clues is essential.  This combination of these skills and processes assist the learner to predict accurately and to make adjustments accordingly.

Socio-linguistic Competence

The listener adjusts responses to an utterance accordingly.  The skilled listener knows when it is appropriate to comment, ask questions or respond non-verbally.

The listener is aware of audience, purpose, genre, topic and degree of formality.

Discourse Competence

As students listen to oral text they are able to predict and to anticipate what will follow.

2, Speaking

Speaking is a vital component of language learning that incorporates verbal communication elements such as intonation, timing, inflection, speed, rhythm and pausing, as well as nonverbal elements to support verbal communication, such as gesturing and facial expressions.

Linguistic 

Competence

Knowing the basic sounds of letters and syllables, pronunciation of words, intonation and stress.  It is understanding and applying the rules of word formation and sentence formation. 

Strategic 

Competence

Strategic speakers master talk techniques using a range of speaking strategies such as paraphrasing, redirecting, clarifying, sustaining, stalling and avoiding..

Socio-linguistic Competence

A speaker uses appropriate language in order to apologize, compliment, (dis)agree, summarize, and persuade.  There is knowledge of context and speech is adjusted accordingly; e.g., formal, informal, neutral.

Discourse Competence

Student is able to demonstrate relationships of ideas such as time, cause and effect, contrast and emphasis


3, Reading

The process of reading involves decoding (recognizing and understanding letters, numbers and symbols and how they are used to form words and represent ideas) and comprehension (constructing meaning from words, numbers and symbols in different contexts).  

Linguistic Competence

It includes knowledge of vocabulary, punctuation, phonological awareness and decoding skills.  It involves the reader’s knowledge of linguistic structures to understand text. 

Strategic 

Competence

A strategic reader has a repertoire of strategies to compensate for missing knowledge.  Cueing systems such as graph-phonemic, syntactic, semantic and contextual cues are applied to regain meaning.

Socio-linguistic Competence

It involves the rules and principles that the reader applies to understand the author’s purpose, genre, and level of formality, format and topic.  This competence includes knowledge of allusion, metaphors, idioms and figurative language.

Discourse Competence

Readers identify various connectors such as reference, substitution, ellipsis, conjunction, repetition and lexical cohesion in order to understand the relationships between ideas to develop holistic comprehension.


4, Writing

The process of writing involves exploring, shaping and recording one’s thoughts and communicating them through various text forms to particular audiences using appropriate tone and voice. Conventions such as spelling, punctuation, grammar, as well as syntax (sentence structure) and word choice, are elements of the writing process.

Linguistic Competence

It includes grammar, vocabulary and the mechanics of the language.  These performance aspects of written language are highly valued in judging the quality of a piece of writing. 

Strategic 

Competence

A strategic writer creates text appropriate to purpose, voice, audience, form and occasion.

Socio-linguistic Competence

The student is able to vary the use of language in terms of audience, purpose, genre, topic and degree of formality.  It is through socio-linguistic competence that writers maintain their credibility with their audience.

Discourse Competence

Knowledge of transitional devices that connect one element in a text with another.  Transitional devices such as reference, substitution, ellipsis, conjunction and lexical cohesion.