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The “cultural” and “intercultural” in English as a lingua franca? ELF7 Pre-conference event Athens Prue Holmes Durham University 8 th May 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "The “cultural” and “intercultural” in English as a lingua franca? ELF7 Pre-conference event Athens Prue Holmes Durham University 8 th May 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 The “cultural” and “intercultural” in English as a lingua franca? ELF7 Pre-conference event Athens Prue Holmes Durham University 8 th May 2014

2 ∂ Getting started Prue (from NZ), Richard (Irish/English??, from the UK), Natasha (from Athens??, Greek), Yasemin (from Istanbul?? Turkey) are having a coffee in the student canteen at Deree College. Richard described how, in Spain, a pig is fed, then killed, and prepared for eating. Natasha agrees, making reference to the Greek context. Prue remains quiet, thinking about her experience of helping her (male) neighbour carve up a lamb after it had been hung to bleed for 24 hours (from Prue’s farmlet). Then the talk shifts back to language education and ELF. Are they speaking ELF? How do their identities inform their communication? Is their communication intercultural?

3 ∂ Identity, culture, power Who we are informs how we use language to relate to and understand others – our intercultural communication Identity – professional, social, class, gender, family, educational, group, language, religion, locality, memory/history, nationality, ethnicity, etc Culture – (re)constructed, (re) negotiated, (re)contested in communication with others, through lived and creative experience, Power –who speaks for whom, when, how, and why? When is silence permissible?

4 ∂ Some exploratory questions In the ways that we understand the “cultural” and “intercultural” in foreign languages education, is it meaningful to speak of the “cultural” and “intercultural” when using a lingua franca? What might this entail? What are the possibilities for a lingua franca pedagogy that includes interculturality (the cultural and intercultural dimensions of communication)? (exploratory Qs considered vis-à-vis English),

5 ∂ The situation: (E)LF & IC Lingua francas “have always existed and have enabled interaction and communication, business negotiation, agreement, debate, love and hate” (Dervin, 2010, p. 3, translated from French). Research on English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) has tended to focus on the linguistic aspects of an emergent variety of English, and less on the cultural and intercultural aspects of ELF. Research into ELF has not ventured into the applied linguistics territory of, for example, the methodological implications of ELF for teaching English globally.

6 ∂ The ELF literature The use of ELF is generally characterised by a high degree of fluidity and hybridity => shift in focus from linguistic forms (phonology, lexis, grammar, pragmatics) to communicative processes (Jenkins, Cogo & Dewey, 2011) => maximising mutual “intelligibility” ELF users have been shown to “skilfully negotiate and co-construct English for their own purposes, treating the language as a shared communicative resource within which they innovate, accommodate and code-switch, all the while enjoying the freedom to produce forms that NSEs do not necessarily use” (Jenkins et al., p. 297). => “language is culture-free” (or free of specific national anchors) =>”’cultured’ within the context” (The WEAK form)

7 ∂ The IC literature ICC in (foreign) language learning and teaching (Byram, Kramsch, Risager, etc.) The cultures communicators inhabit, and the cultural practices they manifest within them, are both contested and (re)claimed (especially where political, ideological and religious positions are at stake) through attempts at intercultural dialogue (Ganesh & Holmes, 2011). There has been a shift in how the “intercultural” is conceptualized and researched by questioning the meaning of the “cultural” in the notion and by emphasizing its processual, constructionist and intersubjective dimensions (Dervin, Holliday, Piller). => ELF + ICC (The STRONG form)

8 ∂ Some exploratory questions (about this situation) Is it possible to imagine communication/dialogue without thinking about language? about culture? What is the relationship among language, culture, identity, power (etc.) in multilingual and intercultural contexts of communication? Where (English as) a lingua franca is concerned, how are the cultural and intercultural imagined/understood/constructed/negotiated in intercultural communication?,

9 ∂ Aims of the book (co-edited by Prue Holmes & Fred Dervin) To investigate the cultural and intercultural dimensions in the use of English as a lingua franca, and if possible, in relation to recent changes in the way these notions are used; and to consider possible pedagogical implications with regard to these dimensions To discuss how ‘culture’ and the ‘intercultural’ can be understood, theorised and researched in ELF; To explore how the concepts of ‘culture’ and the ‘intercultural’ are dealt with and can be integrated into formats of ELF-oriented learning and teaching; To challenge whether it is possible to use and/or teach a lingua franca as if it were culturally neutral, or with no cultural connotations (e.g., ideological, political, religious, historical, etc).

10 ∂ Conclusion If we don’t teach the cultural and intercultural in ELF, are we doing a disservice to our students? Are we denying the complexity of language and its cultural influences? Through language we come to (critically) understand the other, all the while interpreting and negotiating (positions of) identity, power, and interculturality. - e.g., linguacultures - e.g., immigration - e.g., political movements in response to positions of power and access to resources (UKIP, Golden Dawn)

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