Competence (linguistics)

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The linguistic competence , also linguistic knowledge as opposed to the language ability ( performance ), is on the one hand

“The ability to speak is a central component of the human cognitive system. Your research provides insights into the nature of cognitive representations and the processing of extra-linguistic reality. "

Competence and performance

Noam Chomsky's distinction between competence as a general language ability and performance as an individual use of language is linked to the Saussure dichotomy of langue and parole .

In this context, linguistic competence includes the following skills:

  • With a finite inventory of elements (sounds, words) and linkage rules, a speaker can produce a basically infinite number of different utterances in the context of performance.
  • With the linguistic knowledge acquired, a listener can understand utterances that he has never heard before and, despite certain differences (e.g. in pronunciation), identify utterances that are equivalent as such.
  • Speakers / listeners can evaluate linguistic utterances with regard to their grammaticality , ambiguity and paraphrase relationships.

communicative competence

In a broader sense, linguistic competence also includes expressing oneself appropriately according to the respective frame of reference and that is, choosing a form that is reasonable or understandable for the respective participants in the verbal communication (e.g. not in jargon or on a high-level utterance Dialect ) and also: to take into account the meta-communicative context (e.g. to react accordingly to an apparently humorous or satirical utterance).

See also


  • Rüdiger Ahrens : Language skills as part of education. In: Winfried Böhm , Martin Lindauer (ed.): “Not much knowledge saturates the soul”. Knowledge, recognition, education, training today. (= Third Symposium of the University of Würzburg. ) Ernst Klett, Stuttgart 1988, ISBN 3-12-984580-1 , pp. 147-182.
  • Hadumod Bußmann : Lexicon of Linguistics (= Kröner's pocket edition . Volume 452). 2nd completely revised edition. Kröner, Stuttgart 1990, ISBN 3-520-45202-2 .
  • Günter Grewendorf, Fritz Hamm, Wolfgang Sternefeld (1998): Linguistic knowledge. An introduction to modern theories of grammatical description . 10th edition. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt a. M.
  • Heidrun Pelz (1996): Linguistics. An introduction . Hoffmann and Campe, Hamburg.

Individual evidence

  1. Language development . ( Memento of the original from August 8, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /