Intercultural awareness: an approach to teaching language and culture in ELF
At The Third International Conference of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF3), Austria.
22 - 25 May 2010.
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Does culture have a role in teaching English as a lingua franca? This paper takes the position that cultural contexts are a significant element of all communication, whether through an L1 or lingua franca. Therefore, teaching a language for communication will inevitably involve teaching culture, whether consciously or subconsciously. However, the cultural contexts associated with ELF are diverse, fluid and hybrid. Thus, just as ELF has entailed a move away from the native speaker norms of grammar, phonology, vocabulary and pragmatics, it will also necessitate a move away from the notion of a target culture associated with the traditional native speaker countries such as the US and the UK. Instead, successful communicators in ELF must be equipped with the necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes to mediate between varieties of culturally based communicative practices and references. Intercultural awareness (ICA) is an attempt to model how speakers make use of this knowledge and these skills in a context specific way in the fluid settings of ELF communication. The paper will also offer a number of suggestions for developing ICA in classroom settings, focusing on ELT in an expanding circle environment.
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