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Since its appearance in late 1960s, Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) has been widely applied in language teaching. This method’s goal is to aim at teaching ‘Communicative Competence’ including not only grammatical competence but also socio-linguistic, disclosure, and strategic competence.

As mentioned above, CLT’s goal is to help learners achieve communicative competence, which caught a lot of scholars’ attention.The concept of “communicative competence” was first introduced by Hymes in 1972 in response to Chomsky’s concept of grammatical competence and continued to be developed by Canale and Swain (1980),Canale (1983) etc.( cited in To, 2008, p29). Here are four components of communicative competence classified by Savignon 1972, 1983, 1987; Canale and Swain 1980; Canale 1983; Byram1997.

As can be seen from the figure above, communicative competence comprises grammatical competence, discourse competence, socio-cultural competence, and strategic competence.The main features of each aspect of communicative competence can be understood as follows, basing on the study of many famous scholars in the studied field.

Discourse Competence.

Socio-cultural Competence.

Strategic Competence.

Gramatical Competence.


Grammatical competence

refers to sentence-level grammatical forms, the ability to recognize the lexical, morphological, syntactical and phonological features of a language and to make use of those features to interpret and form words and sentences. One demonstrates grammatical competence not by stating a rule but by using a rule in the interpretation, expression, or negotiation of meaning.

Discourse competence

is concerned not with isolated words or phrases but with the interconnectedness of a series of utterances or written words or phrases to form a text, a meaningful whole. The text might be a poem, an e-mail message, a sportscast, a telephone conversation, or a novel. Discourse competence is also the knowledge of rules regarding the cohesion (grammatical links) and coherence (appropriate combination of communicative functions) of various types of discourse ( e.g., use of appropriate pronouns, synonyms, conjunctions, substitution, repetition,making of congruity and continuity, topic-comment sequence, etc.)

Socio-cultural competence

Is the mastery of socio-cultural rules of appropriate use of the second language; that is, how utterances are produced and understood in different socio-linguistic contexts (e.g., understanding of speech act conventions, awareness of norms of stylistic appropriateness, the use of a language to signal social relationships, etc.)

Strategic competence

Is the mastery of verbal and nonverbal communication strategies in second language used when attempting to compensate for deficiencies in the grammatical and socio-linguistic competence or to enhance the effectiveness of communication (e.g. paraphrasing how to address others when uncertain of their relative social status, slow speech for rhetorical effect, etc.) (as cited in Savignon, S.J, 2002, p 9-10)

Later on, Celce-Murcia et al (1995) added one more aspect of communicative competence, which is known as “Actional Competence”. Actional competence is defined as the ability to match actional intent with linguistic form based on the knowledge of language functions and knowledge of speech act sets.( To, 2009, p40)The chronological evolution of Celce- Murcia et al’s model can be seen in the following diagram:

Carnale & Swain


Grammatical Competence.

Grammatical Competence.

Linguistic Competence.

Strategic Competence.

Strategic Competence.

Strategic Competence.

Socio-cultural Competence.

Socio-cultural Competence.

Socio-cultural Competence.

Actional Competence.

Discourse Competence.

Discourse Competence.



Celce-Murcia, Dornyeiand Thurrell (1995)

Although there are some differences in the way different scholars classified communicative competence, all of them always consider discourse competence is the core of communicative competence.

For the sake of clarity and consistency, we will refer to Celce-Murcia et al's (1995) classification whenever the term ‘communicative competence’ is mentioned. In sum, only gaining linguistic competence can not fulfill the goal of CLT method. Therefore, teaching English in general, teaching Speaking in particular need to help students gain all of the five aspects of communicative competence under the light of the communicative approach.

In a recent survey, Forbes magazine reported that 94% of Global CEOs value Smartness even above Technical or Professional skills. And most CEOs believe, ‘Smartness’ is the combination of the following traits:

Easy-going Nature


Leadership Ability


Problem-solving Ability








However, the key question is, “Do you have the spoken English proficiency to to demonstrate it at a very short period of time like an interview or professional interaction, within the confinement of a room or office?

This calls for various competencies described below.

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