Presenting the Competence Matrix language adquisition framework

All of language is based on an activity situation. Each situation has a central frame of reference. The Present frame of reference, for example, where you have things which are happening and things that are going to happen. You have a constellation of verbal tenses and other structures which form a network of cohesion, within an interconnected web of threads, a cohesive concatenation which binds the situation together as a whole; reflecting an accessible moment of concatenated reality.

The frame of reference constitutes an interlocking network of objects, activity and phenomena reflected in a web of linguistic tenses and structures (threads) existing only in relation to one another.

The traditional approach to language adquisition has been

  • to abstract and to isolate the threads from the active moment, or situation, they reflect and/or represent; and
  • to abstract and to isolate the threads from each other, from their natural interlocking nature, their inter-relating and reciprocal forms of existence.

The threads have this character because they reflect concatenated objects and phenomena historically accessible to us in reality, in the real world of work and activity. They do not function as language because of the structure. They have the structure because they function as language in their ongoing process of development.

As a result, traditional forms of language adquisition have demanded of learners that they perform in a manner for which they have not been trained. This gives rise to "the jerks", a particular form of "experimental neurosis" in every learner, a continuing spasmodic non-operative non-process of continual, harsh self-correction which paralyzes and blocks operative communication.

We would like to analyze why this happens and then to propose some concrete solutions that can be actively applied in class.

The point of departure may be to begin working on the basis of the Present frame of reference or matrix, that is, with the Present matrix, where all related tenses and structures mesh in contact with actual use and in the context of generated discourse; reflecting a given active moment of interconnected activity, objects and phenomena.

Note: The term Grid was originally used instead of Matrix prior to 2014, although competence was used as early as 1983 via critical readings of Chomsky. Replaced with Matrix for the sake of continuity with the current, less mechanical and more powerful terminology.