On Verbal Competence


  • Zhongxin Dai North China Electric Power University
  • Haiyan Li North China Electric Power University




verbal competence, intentional notion, meaning image, verbal expression


This paper explored a new concept, verbal competence, to present a challenge to Chomsky’s linguistic competence and Hymes’ communicative competence. It is generally acknowledged that Chomsky concerned himself only with the syntactic/grammatical structures, and viewed the speaker’s generation and transformation of syntactic structures as the production of language. Hymes challenged Chomsky’s conception of linguistic competence and argued for an ethnographic or sociolinguistic concept, communicative competence, but his concept is too broad to be adequately grasped and followed in such fields as linguistics and second language acquisition. Communicative competence can include abilities to communicate with nonverbal behaviors, e.g. gestures, postures or even silence. The concept of verbal competence concerns itself with the mental and psychological processes of verbal production in communication. These processes originate from the speaker’s personal experience, in a certain situation of human communication, and with the sudden appearance of the intentional notion, shape up as the meaning images and end up in the verbal expression.

Author Biography

  • Zhongxin Dai, North China Electric Power University
    English Department, School of Foreign Languages


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Hymes, D. H. (1972). On communicative competence. In J. B. Pride, and J. Holmes (eds.), Sociolinguistics, 269-293. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

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