This article examines some of the more theoretical ideas underlying the Communicative Approach. These include the belief that we should teach use as well as meaning, and some attitudes regarding the teaching of skills and strategies. A second article will deal with more pedagogical aspects of the approach, especially the idea of a semantic syllabus and the question of authenticity in materials and methodology.
In both articles, it is argued that there is serious confusion in the communicative view of these matters. In particular, the Communicative Approach fails to take account of the knowledge and skills which language students bring with them from their mother tongue and their experience of the world.