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Culture and complexity through English as a lingua franca: rethinking competences and pedagogy in ELT

Culture and complexity through English as a lingua franca: rethinking competences and pedagogy in ELT
Culture and complexity through English as a lingua franca: rethinking competences and pedagogy in ELT
English as a lingua franca (ELF) research highlights the complexity and fluidity of culture in intercultural communication through English. ELF users draw on, construct, and move between global, national, and local orientations towards cultural characterisations. Thus, the relationship between language and culture is best approached as situated and emergent. However, this has challenged previous representations of culture, particularly those centred predominantly on nation states, which are prevalent in English language teaching (ELT) practices and the associated conceptions of communicative and intercultural communicative competence. Two key questions which are then brought to the fore are: how are we to best understand such multifarious characterisations of culture in intercultural communication through ELF and what implications, if any, does this have for ELT and the teaching of culture in language teaching? In relation to the first question, this paper will discuss how complexity theory offers a framework for understanding culture as a constantly changing but nonetheless meaningful category in ELF research, whilst avoiding essentialism and reductionism. This underpins the response to the second question, whereby any formulations of intercultural competence offered as an aim in language pedagogy must also eschew these simplistic and essentialist cultural characterisations. Furthermore, the manner of simplification prevalent in approaches to culture in the ELT language classroom will be critically questioned. It will be argued that such simplification easily leads into essentialist representations of language and culture in ELT and an over representation of “Anglophone cultures.” The paper will conclude with a number of suggestions and examples for how such complex understandings of culture and language through ELF can be meaningfully incorporated into pedagogic practice
2191-9216
9-30
Baker, Will
9f1b758c-e6e0-43ca-b7bf-a0d5e1387d10
Baker, Will
9f1b758c-e6e0-43ca-b7bf-a0d5e1387d10

Baker, Will (2015) Culture and complexity through English as a lingua franca: rethinking competences and pedagogy in ELT. Journal of English as a Lingua Franca, 4 (1), 9-30. (doi:10.1515/jelf-2015-0005).

Record type: Article

Abstract

English as a lingua franca (ELF) research highlights the complexity and fluidity of culture in intercultural communication through English. ELF users draw on, construct, and move between global, national, and local orientations towards cultural characterisations. Thus, the relationship between language and culture is best approached as situated and emergent. However, this has challenged previous representations of culture, particularly those centred predominantly on nation states, which are prevalent in English language teaching (ELT) practices and the associated conceptions of communicative and intercultural communicative competence. Two key questions which are then brought to the fore are: how are we to best understand such multifarious characterisations of culture in intercultural communication through ELF and what implications, if any, does this have for ELT and the teaching of culture in language teaching? In relation to the first question, this paper will discuss how complexity theory offers a framework for understanding culture as a constantly changing but nonetheless meaningful category in ELF research, whilst avoiding essentialism and reductionism. This underpins the response to the second question, whereby any formulations of intercultural competence offered as an aim in language pedagogy must also eschew these simplistic and essentialist cultural characterisations. Furthermore, the manner of simplification prevalent in approaches to culture in the ELT language classroom will be critically questioned. It will be argued that such simplification easily leads into essentialist representations of language and culture in ELT and an over representation of “Anglophone cultures.” The paper will conclude with a number of suggestions and examples for how such complex understandings of culture and language through ELF can be meaningfully incorporated into pedagogic practice

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Published date: February 2015
Organisations: Modern Languages

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 375300
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/375300
ISSN: 2191-9216
PURE UUID: 41a7c2a9-4f99-446b-aad5-9eb2e044186f

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Date deposited: 23 Mar 2015 09:32
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 21:18

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Author: Will Baker

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