Competence, Linguistic

(2110 words)
  • John Phillips (National University of Singapore)
  • Chrissie Tan (National University of Singapore)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume 12: Global Voices, Global Histories: World Literatures and Cultures.

Linguistic Competence defines the system of rules that governs an individual’s tacit understanding of what is acceptable and what is not in the language they speak. The concept, introduced by the linguist Noam Chomsky in 1965, was intended to address certain assumptions about language, especially in structuralist linguistics, where the idea of an unconscious system had been extensively elaborated and schematized. Competence can be regarded as a revision of the idea of the language system. The empirical and formal realization of competence would be performance, which thus corresponds to diverse structuralist notions of parole, utterance, event, process, etc. Chomsky argues that …

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Phillips, John, Chrissie Tan. "Competence, Linguistic". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 19 July 2005
[, accessed 29 November 2015.]