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Palestinian Faculty Development Program (PFDP) Academic Colloquium 2010 Building Partnership in Teaching Excellence Ramallah Cultural Palace Ramallah July.

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Presentation on theme: "Palestinian Faculty Development Program (PFDP) Academic Colloquium 2010 Building Partnership in Teaching Excellence Ramallah Cultural Palace Ramallah July."— Presentation transcript:

1 Palestinian Faculty Development Program (PFDP) Academic Colloquium 2010 Building Partnership in Teaching Excellence Ramallah Cultural Palace Ramallah July 31 st –August 1 st, 2010

2 Building Cultural Awareness through English Grammar Teaching: The Case of the English Modals Dr. Anwar Abdelrazeq Birzeit University

3 Focus of the Study Usage of English modals by Native Arabic Speakers (NAS) in terms of: 1) Use English modals in different contexts from those of Native English Speakers (NES). 2) Rely on Arabic presuppositions or English presuppositions. 3) Reflect the pragmatic frameworks and norms specific to the English or Arabic social environment.

4 Methodology Data collected from real-life situations The subjects are from a range of occupational and educational backgrounds. Data collected from graduate students and professional people, e.g., university and college instructors,... Taken only from spoken discourse. The result of a naturalistic inquiry approach to data collection and analysis.

5 The Subjects of The Study Varying levels of English linguistic proficiency. Levels range from low to advanced. Sociolinguistic competencies vary from poor to very good. Individuals with a high level of linguistic proficiency use the English modals of obligation and necessity inappropriately in some social situations.

6 Meaning of the Modals in English and Arabic WILL NES use will for making a request. Example: Will you teach me how to drive? ANS use will to indicate something that will occur in the future. On Saturday in shaa Allah (by Gods permission), June 24 we will have a party. Can you come? I will come to the party in sha Allah. Inappropriate according to NES social rules. The speaker will attend the party definitely.

7 Meaning of Modals Continued MUST Must instead of Will (NAS). A NAS addressing his close friend: You must see a doctor. (Urgent advice) NES would use will as part of a question to show the urgency of the advice. Will you see a doctor? (Question) You will see a doctor, wont you? (Command)

8 Meaning of Modals Continued NAS use must only not will in such situations because: 1) the pragmatic use is overlooked. 2) will as an auxiliary verb expressing a future tense. 3) L1 (Arabic) interference. Must in Arabic means yajibu an while will means sawafa which is a particle used before the Arabic simple present verb to indicate a future action.

9 Meaning of Modals Continued HAVE TO Have to indicates the existence of certain norm-based procedures. A dialogue between a husband and a wife: If you receive an invitation from someone, you have to go. He [his friend] invited me. I have to go. I have no choice. From an American and Arabic cultural perspective the use of have to in this context is appropriate because the speaker might feel an obligation to go.

10 Meaning of Modals Continued CAN Can / could used to ask for general or specific permission. NES use the historical past tense forms of the modal can to soften their requests. ANS employ the historical present tense in their requests. My wife took the car can you give me a ride to the airport? Yes, I can. Usage of can instead of could might make the NAS be perceived as aggressive.

11 Meaning of Modals Continued SHALL Shall is used where it is more appropriate to use should. Shall we go to the mosque? (An invitation) Shall we eat?(As in let us eat.) (In this context it does not pose a problem) The problem is in using shall for giving advice. Shall we pray? (An invitation to perform the 4 th prayer) A Native English speaker would say: Should we pray? (That is, it is advisable that we pray now.)

12 Pragmatic Presuppositions and Sociocultural Values A presupposition is a proposition whose truth is taken for granted... without which the utterance cannot be evaluated (Green, 1989, p. 71). Pragmatic assumptions profoundly affect the process of communication and may cause cross-cultural misunderstanding (Stalnaker, 1991; Ney, 1993). Presuppositions, values, and beliefs are found to be transferable from students native language to the target language (Gonzalez, 1987; Schachter, 1983; Strevens, 1987; Schmidt, 1993).

13 Summary, Conclusions and Implications There is no relationship between the period of time spent in the target culture and the level of sociolinguistic competence. Forms and structures + semantic and pragmatic aspects. Contrasting cultural norms, traditions, and sociocultural presuppositions of LI & L2.

14 Summary, Conclusions and Implications Continued Use of the English modals is determined by cultural presuppositions and cultural values. NAS used the English modals differently from NES on topics such as family relationships, duties towards others, and traditions. Fundamental differences in obligation, necessity, and adherence to sociocultural norms and codes between the western and the Islamic cultures.

15 Summary, Conclusions and Implications for Continued Analyzing the use of the English modals in native speakers spoken and written discourse. Documentary films and movies are rich sources of spoken discourse. Contrasting the modals in the target language and those in the students mother tongue.

16 Summary, Conclusions and Implications Continued Magazines and newspapers and other written documents may serve as real-life situations. Analyzing nonnative speakers anonymously recorded spoken and written discourse.

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