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Intercultural communication through English as a lingua franca: the role of intercultural awareness Applied Linguistics Research Seminar –Newcastle University.

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Presentation on theme: "Intercultural communication through English as a lingua franca: the role of intercultural awareness Applied Linguistics Research Seminar –Newcastle University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Intercultural communication through English as a lingua franca: the role of intercultural awareness Applied Linguistics Research Seminar –Newcastle University 13 th March Will Baker Centre for Global Englishes University of Southampton

2  How are we to make sense of culture in English as a lingua franca communication?  What does this mean for language pedagogy?  Theoretical background  ELF, intercultural communication and culture  Intercultural competence and intercultural awareness  The study – A course in global Englishes, intercultural communication and intercultural awareness  Syllabus and materials  Students’ and teachers’ evaluation  Attitudes towards global Englishes/ELF and intercultural communication Overview

3  "English as it is used as a contact language among speakers from different first languages."(Jenkins, 2009: 143)  A functional definition of ELF as “any use of English among speakers of different first languages for whom English is the communicative medium of choice” (Seidlhofer, 2011: 7)  Both definitions include NES but they are the minority and are “less likely to constitute the linguistic reference norm” (Seidlhofer, 2011: 7) English as a lingua franca

4 ELF communication and culture Language is the prime semiotic system for enacting and creating culture (Geertz, 1973; Halliday, 1979; Vygotsky, 1962) Problematic with global languages such as English – what is the culture that English creates or enacts? Is culture inevitably linked to a target culture (e.g. the UK or US)? (e.g. Whorf, 1939; Byram, 1997) ? Is English used as a lingua franca culturally and identity neutral? (Kirkpatrick 2007; House 2002; Meierkord 2002)?

5  “Languages and intercultural communication are never just neutral” – Phipps and Guilherme (2004: 1)  Languages and cultures are not inexorably linked at the level of ‘national’ conceptions.  While participants bring individual lingua-cultural histories, the relationship is situated; created in each instance of communication.  Culture in intercultural communication  Third places/ Symbolic competence (Kramsch, 1993; 2009)  The local and the global (Canagarajah, 2005; Pennycook, 2007)  Trans-cultural flows (Risager, 2007; Pennycook, 2007)  Communities of practice (Wenger, 1998; Seidlhofer, 2007; Ehrenreich, 2009) Intercultural communication and culture

6 ELF communication and culture ELF approaches reject simplistic correlation between language, culture and nation – we cannot speak of a culture and a language (English – UK/US) Cultures of ELF - Complex, emergent, situated relationship between cultural context and language “Cultural frames of reference [are] perceived of and made use of in a hybrid, mixed, and liminal manner, drawing on and moving between global, national, local, and individual orientations” (Baker, 2009: 567) National frames of reference are still present - constant tension between fluidity and fixity (Pennycook, 2007; Holliday, 2011)

7 Examples 1. PHILIPPE: no Marseilles is really nice really nice city south of France close you have Nice Cannes it’s really cool the food is amazing and they drink err Ricard 2. NAMI: Ricard 3. PHILIPPE: they play err petanque 4. NAMI: err 5. PHILIPPE: petanque 6. NAMI: petanque ahh petanque 7. PHILIPPE: yeah (?) 8. NAMI: there’s some there’s some people from my school that 9. PHILIPPE: you know that the French embassy they organise err a championship every year in Thailand 10. NAMI: yeah 11. PHILIPPE: I’ve been there a few times 12. NAMI: do you play 13. PHILIPPE: ah 14. NAMI: do you play 15. PHILIPPE: no. I’m shit 16. NAMI: ((laughs)) you’re really young ((laughs)) 17. PHILIPPE: I know you have to be really old to play that game 18. NAMI: NO ((laughs)) 19. PHILIPPE: maybe I’m not old enough 20. NAMI: no at school a lot of young students play petanque 21. PHILIPPE: maybe they think it’s cool (Baker, 2009:581-582)

8  How are such multifarious communicative practices undertaken?  “…it may turn out that what is distinctive about ELF lies in the communicative strategies that its speakers use rather than in their conformity to any changed set of language norms.” (Seidlhofer and Widdowson, 2009: 37- 38)  Need to go beyond a focus on grammar, lexis and phonology to understand intercultural communication through ELF  Communication skills of bilingual, multicultural communicators – e.g. accommodation, code-switching, negotiation, cooperation and linguistic and cultural awareness (Canagarajah, 2007; Cogo, 2009; Jenkins, 2007; Kramsch, 2009; Seidlhofer, 2011) ELF and communication

9  Examination of knowledge, skills and attitudes that are needed for intercultural communication  Intercultural communicative competence (e.g. Byram, 1997; 2008; Guilherme, 2002; Risager, 2007)  an understanding of the relative nature of cultural norms which leads to the ability to compare and mediate between different cultural norms present in intercultural communication  Critical cultural awareness – “an ability to evaluate, critically and on the basis of explicit criteria, perspectives, practices and products in one’s own and other cultures and countries” (1997:101) Intercultural competence

10  Fixed cultures (e.g. Nations) and languages – however complex  For English a focus on inner circle native speaker communities (UK/US) e.g. Byram (1997)  Distinctions between ‘native and foreign cultures’ (e.g. Guilherme, 2002: 219)  Where national cultures are transcended, still ‘target communities’ (Risager, 2007: 236)  Either ignored (Byram) or rejected (Risager, 2007:197) ELF communication Intercultural competence – problems for ELF

11  Intercultural awareness is a conscious understanding of the role culturally based forms, practices and frames of reference can have in intercultural communication, and an ability to put these conceptions into practice in a flexible and context specific manner in real time communication. Intercultural awareness

12  An awareness of: 1.culture as a set of shared behaviours, beliefs, and values; 2.the role culture and context play in any interpretation of meaning; 3.our own culturally induced behaviour, values, and beliefs and the ability to articulate this; 4.others’ culturally induced behaviour, values, and beliefs and the ability to compare this with our own culturally induced behaviour, values, and beliefs. Level 1: basic cultural awareness

13  An awareness of: 5.the relative nature of cultural norms; 6.cultural understanding as provisional and open to revision; 7.multiple voices or perspectives within any cultural grouping; 8.individuals as members of many social groupings including cultural ones; 9.common ground between specific cultures as well as an awareness of possibilities for mismatch and miscommunication between specific cultures. Level 2: advanced cultural awareness

14  An awareness of: 10.culturally based frames of reference, forms, and communicative practices as being related both to specific cultures and also as emergent and hybrid in intercultural communication; 11.initial interaction in intercultural communication as possibly based on cultural stereotypes or generalizations but an ability to move beyond these through: 12.a capacity to negotiate and mediate between different emergent socioculturally grounded communicative practices and frames of reference based on the above understanding of culture in intercultural communication. Level 3: intercultural awareness

15 The study Using online learning objects to develop intercultural awareness in ELT: a critical examination in a Thai higher education setting

16 The study - aims  To develop a short online course in intercultural communication for users of ELF in Thailand  To produce insights concerning the use of new technologies in online courses to help develop intercultural awareness among English language learners, equipping them for the demands of English as a global lingua franca  To survey participants’ attitudes towards and evaluations of such a course – in relation to mode of delivery (e- learning) and content (global Englishes, intercultural awareness)

17 Setting  Materials (online course) developed in e- languages at the University of Southampton, UK  Delivery of course at Silpakorn University, Thailand with tutor from University of Southampton and support from both institutions  Academic contexts have emerged as a fruitful site for ELF studies (for example VOICE, ELFA)  Thailand is a setting in which the role of English is often characterised as a lingua franca (Foley, 2007; Baker, 2009; Kirkpatrick, 2011)

18 Participants  30 undergraduate English major students  Average age 21, 25 female/5 male  All Thai L1 speakers  Average of around 15 years studying English – all reasonably proficient English users  6 English instructors – 4 Thai and 2 British  Researcher from outside institution but previously worked in this institution

19 Methodology  Case study of programme  Qualitative and quantitative data  Development of course and materials  Participants’ and teachers’ attitudes and evaluations of the course  Participation in the course  Questionnaires  Interviews

20 Course 1. Defining culture 2. Intercultural communication 3. Cultural stereotypes and generalisations in communication 4. The individual and culture 5. English as a global language 6. Exploring my own culture 7. Intercultural communication and the Internet 8. Comparing cultures: Politeness 9. Globalisation and transcultural global flows 10. Intercultural Awareness 10 week course in intercultural communication, intercultural awareness and Global Englishes - predominantly independent learning 10 topics with interactive learning tasks, discussion tasks, chat sessions

21  English as a global language English as a global language  Different varieties of Englishes Different varieties of Englishes  Explicit discussion of the manner in which English can be related to many different cultural contexts Explicit discussion of the manner in which English can be related to many different cultural contexts  Range of cultures represented in the materials as well as hybrid and transcultural communicative practices Range of cultures represented in the materials as well as hybrid and transcultural communicative practices  Viewing language learning as intercultural communication and the range of knowledge, skills and attitudes associated with this Viewing language learning as intercultural communication and the range of knowledge, skills and attitudes associated with this Course

22 Student response and evaluation

23 Interviews  Pai: good er it’s like I have travelled the world @ in er you know in an hour  Or: l like the chat se- session better because um we can er have a real intercultural communication. and I feel like we can share the opinions face to face  Anya: I think it’s useful…to do this course makes me to be aware of er the relation of culture and language especially er. the people who use English to communicate with other people But  Yam: I do think that err it will be better if we learn if we learn like about the British English or the American English I don’t really think that we we should learn something different than that Student response and evaluation

24 Teacher response and evaluation

25  Nun: learning about this is very useful especially when they go to study abroad or have a job in the future  Niti: I think we need to be more aware of the variety of English these days it’s there’s no such standard as you know it has to be Oxford accent British or American or Australia … so um I think there there is um an awareness it’s an awareness that we need to have  No: I think we should cover all kinds of English because we we cannot predict what English the student will face in the future so we have to prepare for all kinds of English But  James: It is always a good thing for the students to have access to knowledge in any form, but this is so far removed from my teaching methodology that I cannot see that it would become part of my teaching. Teacher response and evaluation

26 Attitudes towards Global Englishes and ELF – Reasons for studying English

27 Attitudes towards Global Englishes and ELF – Ranking factors that help in intercultural communication through English

28 Attitudes towards Global Englishes and ELF – Attitudes towards different types of English

29 Interview data:  Pan: because like peo- everybody use English now so it’s not just the British and the American’s anymore um and that will open up like a window for us for er business doing business in the future  Aim: Nowadays English becomes like the official language in many countries not only in the UK or the US and. each country have their own culture so even though they are using English they have some things that something that are different from in the US or in the UK so if if we got to learn all of them I think we will. I think we it can make us like open up our mind like better  Tip: Nowadays English is truly global language and people in many nationalities in the world use English to communicate and I think it’s interesting. to to learn about English much more than in English in the UK or in the United States  No: I think it’s ok. because English has plural now I mean World EnglishES is not- English has a plural Attitudes towards Global Englishes and ELF

30 But:  Nun: Singapore they have their own English and something I think it is ok it’s part of the way they communicate yeah... I don’t feel bad about them but sometime it just not quite nice or beautiful as beautiful as err the native speaker  Yam: English is from basically from the UK right and then to the US so are they are like the what to say the origins of English so if we basically talk about English in Asian countries then it might give a weird feeling to me Attitudes towards Global Englishes and ELF

31 Discussion board comments  Ann - We don't have to speak like the Native speaker because we are not them. We are born in our country so it is ok for us to have Thai accent in English  Jan- I agree with (Ann). They can choose any accent they like or remain their own.  But  Pat - In my opinion, I think it's good to sound like native speaker. However, it's the issue of prestige, we mostly think that if we have the native accent, we look more honourable.  Nit - Standard English isn't an important thing to be considered as a factor of speaking. Even in native speaker country, there are different accent, grammar and words as well. However, for academic writing or public speaking, it's needed to consider about grammatical correct. Attitudes towards Global Englishes and ELF

32 Attitudes towards intercultural communication

33  Chit: I think I can know the different perceptions of culture include in Thailand culture so you can see that there are many different things about peoples thoughts towards their cultures of our culture or foreign culture… your course made us to clarify about our culture first…about the language and about the culture that is something that concerned together…and we can compare our culture with others  More: I have never heard of er intercultural awareness … lead me to think about the stereotype of Thailand and the generalisation of cultures in the world and about the. about. um about our my country our Thai culture  Gai: I learn that people should be open minded when they communicate to each other because we will raise from um different background and it’s not like people from certain country will be the same because um family background are not the same they don’t go to the same school so um we must be really open when we communicate with people even people in my own er country er we use the Thai language but everybody’s different  Nit (teacher): I think by learning other cultures they then. sort of have to have to think and look at other cultures and then there it’s like when their comparing their starting to to look back at their culture as well I think Attitudes towards intercultural communication

34  In answer to research questions – materials based on Global Englishes/ELF perspective are possible  Generally positive attitudes to an English course that adopts an Global Englishes/ELF perspective  High level of awareness of varieties of English and use as a global language  Some evidence of increase in intercultural awareness – although positive attitudes towards intercultural communication existed before course Summary and conclusions

35  But some ambiguity  ‘native’ English is still regarded as standard and ‘native speaker ideology’ is still present  Not clear if students have understood hybridity and fluidity of ELF uses or interpreted it as one of many distinct varieties  Small scale study  Brief course – focus on knowledge and attitudes (i.e. little actual intercultural communication)

36  Ambiguity of attitudes to ELF and NES well documented (e.g. Jenkins, 2007)  Standard language ideology is part of L1 attitudes  Similar concerns in intercultural communication studies with tension between:  fluidity/fixity (Pennycook, 2007)  Individual/local/national/transnational (e.g. Holliday, 2011)  Nonetheless, study shows interest in and positive reception of ELT materials which have less emphasis on ‘inner circle’ cultures and adopt a local focus alongside a global Englishes/ELF perspective  Question why such materials form such a minor part of ELT

37 Contact: w.baker@soton.ac.uk www.soton.ac.uk/cge (Centre for Global Englishes, University of Southampton) Thank You!


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