THE LITERARY FORM AND THE COMPETENCE FORM OF A LANGUAGE

School is THE place where you instil good habits of learning English which will come in handy for one in his workplace. After all, we are preparing competent citizens who can contribute to the greater good of society. These same people will in turn contribute to the greater good of the nation later on. Isn’t that the reason for schools?

One of the chief ways that a person expresses his feelings and thoughts is through the medium called language. Without this medium, an individual cannot express himself to outsiders what he needs or wants. Therefore, it is basic common sense to prepare that individual in the medium called language. He needs to be guided as to how that said language works on the listening, reading, speaking and writing aspects.

Most languages in the world today possess the literary form and the competence form. The literary form is that which has been left for the future generations in terms of literature, poetry, essays, etc. The English language is rich in these forms. The competence form is that which enables one to express himself clearly and confidently to the people around him in the workplace and in his social life. It is this latter aspect (the competence form) that teachers in schools should strive to teach their charges. Some of these students will later on take the literary forms without much hassle since they are competent in the said language. They will enjoy these literary forms as the love for the language has already been sown.

The same goes for the English language. The competence form of the language involves grammar study, sentence structures, vocabulary building, syntax and a host of other things. The study of all these will equip the learner to ‘fortify’ himself in his self-expression. Without these tools, it is impossible for anyone to express himself although he has a lot to say to others. He becomes inhibited and fearful to express himself for fear of being ridiculed.

The competence form of a language needs years of study that incorporates right language habits. When the right language habits are sown, one will naturally reap ‘the harvest of plenty’ in the form of CLEARNESS OF EXPRESSION. It is this that each and every individual in the world should strive to seek. CLEARNESS OF EXPRESSION is only gained through painstaking effort and not through flimsy ‘communicative’ exercises or habits. You may have tonnes of WHAT to say but do you know the HOW to say it! The HOW to say it is only gained through careful study of the grammar of that language, the sentence structures of that language and the syntax of that language. Other means than these will definitely lead to failure in the CLEARNESS OF EXPRESSION. It won’t be a long-lasting solution to the problem. It only multiplies the problem. If you still don’t believe me, catch hold of anyone who has been taught the English language through the ‘communicative approach’ in Malaysia and you will know what I really mean. See if they can express themselves eloquently in the written language too.

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