The article of Maria Celce Murcia, Zoltdn Domyei, and Sarah Thuirrel argues that the need for an updated and explicit description of language teaching areas generated with reference to a detailed model of communicative competence. They believe that an informed approach concerning the objectives of CLT will be conducive to the teaching of communicative language abilities regardless of whether one’s philosophy of language teaching/learning favours implicit, indirect language acquisition (e.g., Krashen, 1982) or more.

Linguistic and applied linguistic didn’t use the term competence in the same way. Taylor (1988) points out that among applied linguists, Stem (1983) equated “competence” with “proficiency” while Savignon (1983) viewed competence as dynamic.

Existing Models of Communicative Competence   

1. Grammatical competence – the knowledge of the language code (grammatical rules, vocabulary, pronunciation, spelling, etc.).

2. Sociolinguistic competence – the mastery of the sociocultural code of language use appropriate application of vocabulary, register, politeness and style in a given situation).

3. Discourse competence – the ability to combine language structures into different types of cohesive texts (e.g., political speech, poetry).

4. Strategic competence – the knowledge of verbal and non-verbal communication strategies which enhance the efficiency of communication and, where necessary, enable the learner to overcome difficulties what communication breakdowns occur.

They represent their model of communicative competence as a pyramid enclosing a circle and surrounded by another circle (see Figure 1).

Figure 1


There are five component of communicative competence. Those are (1) discourse competence, (2) linguistic competence, (3) actional competence, (4) sociocultural competence, and (5) strategic competence.

Discourse competence

Discourse competence concerns the selection, sequencing, and arrangement of words, structures, sentences and utterances to achieve a unified spoken or written text. There are many sub-areas that contribute to discourse competence: cohesion, deixis, coherence, generic structure, and the conversational structure inherent to the turn-taking system in conversation.

Linguistic competence

It comprises the basic elements of communication: the sentence patterns and types, the constituent structure, the morphological inflections, and the lexical resources, as well as the phonological and orthographic systems needed to realize communication as speech or writing (cf. Celce-Murcia & Larsen- Freeman, 1983; Celce-Murcia, Brinton & Goodwin, in press).

Communicative Competence is much more a matter of knowing a stock of partially one-assembled patterns, formulaic frameworks, and a kit of rules, so to speak, and being able to apply the rules to make whatever adjustments are necessary according to contextual standards.

Actional competence

Actional competence is defined as competence in conveying and understanding communicative intent that is, matching actional intent with linguistic form based on the knowledge of an inventory of verbal schemata that carry illocutionary force (speech acts and speech act sets). Thus, actional competence is closely related to “interlanguage pragmatics,” which has been defined by Kasper & Blum-Kulka (1993a) as “the study of non-native speakers’ use and acquisition of Linguistic action patterns in a second language” (p. 3). The contextualized is restricted to oral communication; a close parallel to actional competence in written communication would be “rhetorical competence,” which includes analysis of the “moves” and “lexical routines” typical of any given written genre (see Swales,1990; Hoey, 1991; Bachman, 1990; & Vande Kopple, 1989, 1991).

Sociocultural competence

Sociocultural competence refers to the speaker’s knowledge of how to express messages accurately within the overall social and cultural context of communication, in accordance with the pragmatic factors related to variation in language use.

Strategic competence

Celce Murcia conceptualizes strategic competence as knowledge of communication strategies and how to use them. This conceptualization follows that of Canale & Swain (1980); however, research in the 1980s has identified several other types of strategies relevant to language learning, language processing, and language production. Work on communication strategies has typically highlighted three functions of strategy use from three different perspectives: psycholinguistic perspective, interactional perspective, community/maintenance perspective.

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