Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Applied Linguistics

Committee Chair

Teresa S Dalle

Committee Member

Emily Thrush

Committee Member

Verner D Mitchell

Committee Member

Charles E Hall


Since its advent in the 1970s, the notion of communicative competence (CC) has a tremendous influence on English language teaching, trends, theories, models, and paradigms. Since the 1970s, applied linguists, second language acquisition (SLA) researchers and educationalists have accepted the notion of communicative competence (CC) as the underpinning theory of second language acquisition, the objective of communicative language teaching approach (CLT), and as a measurement of language learner’s proficiency. The purpose of this study was to investigate the inclusion, teaching and testing of the features of the notion of communicative competence (CC) in teaching the oral skills to the English majors. In addition, this study investigated the instructors and the students’ perceptions of the notion of CC features when teaching and learning the oral skills. The study investigated the teaching and learning of four characteristics of CC, namely, linguistic, sociolinguistic, strategic and pragmatic. These four characteristics were clearly identified using pedagogical criteria extracted from the prominent CC frameworks of Bachman (1990), Bachman and Palmer (1996), Canale (1983) Canale and Swain (1980) , Celce-Murcia, (1995, 2007), and Hymens, (1972). This study also used CC pedagogical specifications recognized by the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). The informants were head of the English department (N = 1), instructors (N = 5), and students (N = 54). The tools of data collection were questionnaires, textbook evaluation, and student self-evaluation competence descriptors. The analysis involved quantitative / qualitative approach using Atlis.ti, SPSS and Excel. The results showed that though both the instructors and students perceived the high importance of teaching the different characteristics of CC ( linguistic, pragmatic, sociolinguistic , strategic) in the oral skills course, the focus of the teaching material, teaching practice and test content was on the linguistic competence and very little was done to promote the other CC components. The results also evidenced. Moreover, the student competence self-descriptive can- do-statements results showed that the students have high control over linguistic competence descriptors and low control on the pragmatic, sociolinguistic and strategic competence descriptors. The results suggest that there is a discrepancy between the learners’ expectations and perceptions of their language learning and the reality of teaching and learning the notion of communicative competence.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.