COMPETENCE IN A LANGUAGE

The competence form is the beginning of any language learning before the literary form which is the enjoyment of poetry, literature, essays and reading. Without the competence form, a child will be groping in the dark to understand the substance of what is being imparted. It is just like teaching a child simple arithmetic without the prior knowledge of the four rules (addition, subtraction, multiplication & division). Try teaching a child a topic on the addition of simple fractions containing different denominators without the prior knowledge of the four rules together with HCF, LCM and you will know what I mean.

I taught my son “David Copperfield” by Charles Dickens when he was eleven years old. It is adapted from the original form. Even some words and phrases need explanation as they were used a long time ago and are currently not in use. His facility in reading and comprehending English passages has been very much enhanced as the competence form of the English language was taught to him three years earlier. Now, he can understand clearly the information pertaining to certain subjects on the internet. Without the competence form, can anyone read and understand the information on the internet? He was taught grammar, various sentence structures, syntax and comprehension before he embarked on the literary form of the English language.

Not many students will have a penchant for the literary form of a language in later life. At least with the competence form of the language, which teaches a learner to express himself clearly, he will be able to communicate his thoughts and feelings confidently. Hence, my contention that the competence form of a language plays a prior and wider role in the acquisition of the language proper.

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