Question: What is communicative competence?
Communicative competence is a term in linguistics that refers to a language user’s grammatical knowledge of syntax, morphology, phonology, and the like, as well as social knowledge about how and when to use utterances appropriately. Communicative competence is made up of four competence areas: linguistic, sociolinguistic, discourse, and strategic.
Linguistic competence is knowing how to use the grammar, syntax, and vocabulary of a language. Linguistic competence asks: What words do I use? How do I put them into phrases and sentences?
Sociolinguistic competence is knowing how to use and respond to language appropriately, given the setting, the topic, and the relationships among the people communicating. Sociolinguistic competence asks: Which words and phrases fit this setting and this topic? How can one express a specific attitude?
Discourse competence is knowing how to interpret the larger context and how to construct longer stretches of language so that the parts make up a coherent whole. Discourse competence asks: How are words, phrases, and sentences put together to create conversations, speeches, email messages, newspaper articles?
Strategic competence is knowing how to recognize and repair communication breakdowns, how to work around gaps in one’s knowledge of the language, and how to learn more about using the language in specific contexts.