Language and Communication: A Matter of Intercultural Competence?


  • Maria Rosaria Nava


Nowadays, language competences have a strategic role both to establish social relations and favour mental processes and logical/cognitive capacities. So, only language competences are not sufficient to determine the complete acquisition of a language because other dimensions need to be considered, such as the socio-cultural context, so that a specific communicative competence is necessary. Communication is what members of a culture use to share certain perspectives and visions, to follow beliefs, values, behaviours and make them known. Misunderstandings and communicative issues are often due to culture. Hymes (1988), introducing the concept of communicative competence, argued that we need to use our language appropriately with regard to the communicative context. Hymes (1972b) also affirmed that a person "acquires competence as to when to speak, when not, and as to what to talk about with whom, when, where, in what manner.". In other words, it is about showing our own linguistic competence off in a variety of communicative situations considering the socio-cultural context at first. Being "variously competent" allows us to give clear and effective communication, mediating our social interactions. It becomes clear the relevant role of communicative and cultural elements in learning or speaking a language and that linguistic competence is strictly linked to intercultural communicative competence. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to a greater consideration of the concept of intercultural competence not only with regard to our ability to communicate appropriately but also to our cultural appropriateness.

DOI: 10.5901/ajis.2015.v4n3s1p217


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How to Cite

Nava, M. R. (2015). Language and Communication: A Matter of Intercultural Competence?. Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, 4(3 S1), 217. Retrieved from