The “Communicative Competence” Controversy


The main aim of this article is to question Hymes` theory of communicative competence as developed in his paper “On Communicative Competence” (1971) and to critically examine the implications it had for the field of foreign and second language teaching. The article examines the model of language presented by the theory of communicative competence with the claim that the theory is based on highly unsound and unidealized evidence. The impact of such a theory of language in the foreign and second language teaching field will be critically discussed in broad terms at the level of goals and the specification of the language content to be taught and learned. In the treatment of this topic, no specific reference to Asia is made since the debate is relevant in all contexts.



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