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Communicative Approach in Language Teaching

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Communicative approach in language teaching comes from the theory that language is communication. The goal of language teaching is to develop what Hymes calls “communicative competence”. Hymes used it to compare Chomsky’s theory of power with that of a linguistic language. According to Chomsky, linguistic theory is concerned with an ideal speaker-listener in a totally homogeneous speech environment, this person is not affected by grammatical ideals such as forgetfulness, inhibitors, interest and attention deviations, and mistakes in putting his / her language knowledge into real productivity.

From Chomsky’s point of view, the focus of linguistic theory is to characterize the abstract abilities that the speaker has, which allows him to produce grammatically correct sentences. Hymes argued that this kind of linguistic theoretic view is far from natural, that linguistic theory should be seen as part of a more general theory that combines communication and culture. Hymes’ communicative competence was a definition of what a hypothetical speaker should know in order to have the capacity to communicate in a speaking environment. According to Hymes, a person who acquires communicative competence which:

  1. is something formally possible;
  2. can be achieved within existing means of implementation;
  3. is appropriate in terms of the context in which something is being used and;
  4. is something really done, really implemented in terms of concepts, both knowledge and ability to use language.

This theory, based on what the language contains, offers a far more comprehensive view than Chomsky’s ability to deal with abstract grammatical knowledge on the first-line. Another linguistic interest in Communicative Language Teaching is the view that Halliday’s functional use of language use is theorized. “Linguistics is related to the use of speech or the definition of texts, since all the functions of language and therefore all the components of meaning are significant only through the language used”. In a number of influential books and articles, Halliday developed a theory of strong language functions that support the view of Hymes’ communicative power for many writers on Communicative Language Teaching. Hymes identified seven basic functions of language for children who learn first language:

  1. vehicle type function: use to reach something tangible;
  2. regulatory function: use the language to control the behavior of others;
  3. mutual communication based function: to use the language to start mutual communication with others;
  4. personal function: use language to express personal feelings and meanings;
  5. developmental function: use for language learning and exploration;
  6. function based on creation: use the language to create a world based on imagination;
  7. Representative function: to use for communication of language information.

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