Linguistic Competence

Linguistic competence is the inherent knowledge of a grammar possessed by a native speaker of that language.

It contrasts with linguistic performance, and was first introduced by Noam Chomsky. The two are generally accepted as a valid paradigm of linguistics and psycholinguistics.

Linguistic competence is tacitly acquired; knowledge of rules and meanings, pronunciation and ambiguity were never learned or taught, but rather picked up along the way.