Functional grammar and communicative competence

Societal influences[ edit ] Language teaching was originally considered a cognitive matter, mainly involving memorization. It was later thought, instead, to be socio-cognitive, meaning that language can be learned through the process of social interaction.

Functional grammar and communicative competence

Theoretical Orientations to L2 Methods & Approaches

Uses of Japanese L1 in the English Classroom: We are here to learn English. As of today, you are not to use any Japanese in this room.

This is an 'English-only' class. Where did we get this idea that "only English" should be spoken in the English classroom? Is it based on any cohesive theory or substantiated research? Or more likely, is it the result of blind acceptance of certain dogma which conveniently serves the best interests of native speaker teachers?

It is my purpose to show that, while our students are here to learn English the L2there are many possible means toward that end, that there is a time and a place for everything, and that one of those means is, without doubt, the timely use of the students' first language the L1 Functional grammar and communicative competence in our case -- Japanese.

I intend to show that whatever justification is claimed for the "English only" classroom is based on two fundamentally flawed arguments: Finally, I intend to show that by combining the best of the "grammar-translation" method with the best of "communicative" methods, a new, more powerful hybrid can emerge in which the focus is more on the negotiated meaning of the message than its sterile form.

I will call this method, "The Functional-Translation Method". Part I - The Problem But first a bit of historical backtracking is in order. Usually, whenever a new methodology appears, it is presented as the promised solution to a perceived problem. This would seem to be the case with "English- only" methods.

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What was the problem? Quite simply, Japanese college freshmen, after having studied English for six years in junior and senior high school, simply could not speak English!

The logic that followed was as straightforward as it was wrong. How were these students taught English? Through the "grammar-translation" method.

Therefore, the "grammar-translation" method doesn't work. The solution to the problem seemed equally transparent. Throw out the "grammar-translation" method completely on the unstated assumption that it was the act of translation itself which lay at the root of the problem.

From there, it seemed a simple step to conclude that to avoid the supposed evils of translation, one need only banish the mother tongue from the classroom and replace it with an "English-only" policy as the most direct means toward learning the target language.

If only it were that simple. I will now argue that this great leap of faith is based on some very dubious logic: In effect, a misdiagnosis of the initial problem has led to a prescription of untested medicine.

Part II -The Misdiagnosis So let us examine what presumably accounts for the failure of the "grammar-translation" method. Most arguments fall into one of the following four areas: Thinking in the mother tongue inhibits thinking directly in the target language where "directly" is the key word: The main objection to translation as a teaching device has been that it interposes an intermediate process between the concept and the way it is expressed in the foreign language, thus hindering the development of the ability to think directly in the new language.

Rivers and Temperly, This intermediate process, with its occasional misapplication of L1 rules to the L2, is sometimes referred to as interference. The Japanese language only serves as a crutch; the more quickly it is disposed of, the better.

Too much reliance on the first language will result in the fossilization of an interlanguage Selinker,with the result being some of the hilarious Japlish we have all come to love and cherish. The use of the first language wastes too much valuable class time that would be better spent on the target language.

This is sometimes referred to as the time on task argument Modica, All of these four arguments can also be used against my proposed Functional-Translation Method, and together they act as a huge wall of resistance against any attempt to re-instate the use of Japanese in the English classroom.

So each deserves a brief response, usually involving a reframing of the issue into a different, more positive metaphor.

Functional grammar and communicative competence

No matter how much a teacher may wish it weren't so, so-called "interference" will always plague any learner who has ever learned one language before another. The term itself has a negative connotation, but need not; better to think of the inevitable influence of the L1 on the L2 as a potential aid or tool.

For those who advocate teaching the student to "think directly" in the target language, an interesting philosophical question well beyond the scope of this paper would be, "Once having learned to think in one language, is it even possible to not think in that language?

If one accepts this view of the language learner, which I don't, what's wrong with crutches? But perhaps a better metaphor for the learning of a second language would be the construction of a glorious new edifice in the mind of the student, wherein the mother tongue acts as the necessary scaffolding to be gradually removed over time.

One of the few ways I know for a person to truly acquire a foreign language is through the constant, trial-and-error negotiation of meaning, usually with a native speaker or target language materials, and a so-called interlanguage is the unavoidable result.

So long as such language does not interfere with conveying the intended meaning, it should be considered acceptable. Those who fear the fossilization of such a transitory phase simply do not have enough faith in the analytic and self-corrective powers of the motivated student.In all of the tables in this document, both the pre NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown.

In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre levels unless specifically stated otherwise. Communicative language teaching (CLT), or the communicative approach, is an approach to language teaching that emphasizes interaction as both the means and the ultimate goal of study.

The introduction of the construct communicative competence in discussions of second/foreign language proficiency dates from the early s.

Although the term itself may have been new, the underlying concept it represented was in fact rather straightforward: if the purpose of language study is.

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Communicative language teaching (CLT), or the communicative approach, is an approach to language teaching that emphasizes interaction as both the means and the ultimate goal of study.

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