Competence, Linguistic (2104 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

  • John Phillips (National University of Singapore)
  • Chrissie Tan (National University of Singapore)
  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume : WORLD HISTORY AND IDEAS: A CROSS-CULTURAL VOLUME.


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 the u…

Phillips, John, Chrissie Tan. "Competence, Linguistic". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 19 July 2005
[, accessed 24 October 2016.]