Intercultural Communicative Competence

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The term ‘intercultural communicative competence’ (ICC) is considered as an extension of communicative competence (CC) (Byram, 1997). In this section, the historical development of communicative competence is presented. Next, the shortcomings and utopian nature of the CC and the need to introduce a new approach that can fulfill the demands of the present intercultural world are highlighted.
2.4.1 Historical development of communicative competence
The term "communicative competence" has originated from Hymes’ (1972) reaction to Chomsky's (1965) notion of "linguistic competence. In 1965, Chomsky distinguished between “linguistic competence”, the unconscious knowledge of possible grammatical structures in an idealized speaker, and “linguistic
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Byram, 1997; Alptekin, 2012; Liddicoat et. al., 3013). Alptekin (2012) argues that communicative competence with its native speaker standards is utopian, unrealistic, and constraining in relation to English as an International Language. The approach is considered as misleading since its objective is to help learners achieve a native-speaker-like language proficiency, which Byram (1997) believes to be an impossible goal and results in “inevitable failure” (p. 11), and which Alptekin (2012) considers as a “linguistic myth”. Further, Alptekin (2002, as cited in Alyan, 2011, p. 43) maintains that the cultural aspect of the communicative competence focuses on native speaker and leaves “the learners own culture in a peripheral position or even completely ignored” (p.62). Studying an American student who had recently returned from a study abroad program in Japan, Thompson (2007), for example, finds that the student’s body language and manners were all American – no bow, hands in pockets – and the word choices and phrasing matched the American informal speech style used with peers as well as superiors. As Thompson (2007) reflects, the student’s language production was more fluent but it just wasn’t “native-like” (p. 318). The lack of cultural development after the study abroad surprised him. Thompson (2007) identifies the same lack of focus on culture
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