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Linguistic competence refers to the knowledge of a language system. The term first emerged in the work of Noam Chomsky, where it referred specifically to syntactic competence, and was specifically opposed to linguistic performance. The term was used more broadly by Dell Hymes in formulating the concept of communicative competence. Like communicative competence, language competence is often divided into various subcompetences, such as syntactic competence and lexical competence.

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