menyusuri lautan makna

April 18, 2007

Competence versus Performance in language

Filed under: ilmu — eka1 @ 10:10 am


When we communicate with each other, we use a language. We have already known that language is a means of our communication. So, language has a main role in our daily communication and using language, it is easy for us to be understood in communication, that is why we should have a good communicative competence.

It means that how we can apply the grammatical aspect, and the most important is how we can use the language in certain contexts. Communicative competence includes the knowledge about the grammatical aspect, linguistics competence, as well as how we use this knowledge of grammar in our actual speech comprehension (linguistics performance).

There are things to be remained related with the definition and the relationship between competence and performance in our communicative competence.

Competence means the knowledge of a language system. It refers to our ability to make sentences and to understand it. It also includes our knowledge of  what belongs to sentences and what does not in a language. For example, an English native speaker might know the concept and the meaning oh sentence: “I go to school every day” but they would not accept if the sentence becomes “ I go to school yesterday”, even it is still in English sentence but is unacceptable.

Performance means what we do with our knowledge of certain language. It is about how we, as a language user, can apply the language in actual use. Performance also means our actual use of language.

Linguistic performance may indicate our competence. It means we can see the difference between linguistic competence and linguistic performance. For example, we may have the competence to create long sentence in our competence, but when we use our performance, sometimes we elicit some words to pronounce, may be because we forget, or we know consciously if we delete the word. Perhaps we forget what we are going to say or even we have the slip of tounge.

Communicative competence is really related to our linguistic competence and performance. Briefly, communicative competence will depend on our competence and performance. Competence can give good effect to us in creating our linguistic performance. About, performance does not guarantee whether our  competence good or bad. Sometimes we make errors or even mistake to do our competence and performance.



arbitrariness of language

Filed under: ilmu — eka1 @ 10:07 am

1. The Arbitrariness of Language


Knowing a language means being able to speak and to be understood by other people who know that language. Language distinguishes us from other animals in what ways. It means knowing a language makes one a human. According to our definition that language is an arbitrary system of vocal symbols by means of which people of e certain community can cooperate an interact. In this case, knowing a language also means knowing what sounds are in that language and what sound are not.

Knowing the sounds and sounds patterns in one’s language constitutes just part of our linguistic knowledge. It means that knowing a language is knowing the certain sound or sound sequences signify or represent different concepts or meaning. When we do not know a language, the sounds spoken to us in this foreign tongue mean nothing. This happens because the relationship between speech sounds and the meanings represented is an arbitrary relationship (there is no relationship between the sounds and the meaning or in other words, we know that there is no logical and rational relationship between the two).


For example:    Ball (in English) and bola (Bahasa)          

For people who have already seen what a ball looks like, the icon of a ball does not have an arbitrary relation with its meaning ‘ball’. On the contrary, for people who have never seen what a ball looks like, the icon of a ball would have an arbitrary relation with its meaning ‘ball’. So, the basic principle of the arbitrariness of the sign in the example is there is no specific reason why a particular sign should be attached to a particular concept..

Linguists say that language is arbitrary in the sense that meaning emerges, not from anything logically inherent in words or their arrangement, but from the specific conventions and expectations shared by members of a given speech community, conventions and expectations that can and do change dramatically from time to time and place to place (Streeter, 2007:1).

Actually, every languages are arbitrary but it does not mean that the language is unpredictable, but it means that we cannot predict exactly which specific features that we can find in a language. There is impossible to predict exactly which sounds will occur. Each language has its own system that differentiates the sounds and the meaning.


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