On the Cultures in Foreign Language Teaching and Learning/SUR LES CULTURES DANS L'ENSEIGNEMENT ET DE L'APPRENTISSAGE DES LANGUES ÉTRANGÈRES

By Yin, Yajuan | Canadian Social Science, March 1, 2009 | Go to article overview

On the Cultures in Foreign Language Teaching and Learning/SUR LES CULTURES DANS L'ENSEIGNEMENT ET DE L'APPRENTISSAGE DES LANGUES ÉTRANGÈRES


Yin, Yajuan, Canadian Social Science


Abstract: As we know that a particular language is associated with particular culture, the language provides the key to the understanding of the associated culture. The language itself cannot be really learned or fully understood without enough knowledge of the culture in which it is deeply embedded. So language and culture must be studied together and great effort must be made at the study of the culture in which the target language operates.

Key words: Culture; Foreign language; Teaching; Learning

Résumé: Comme nous le savons, une langue particulière est associée avec une culture particulière. La langue constitue une clé pour la compréhension de la culture associée. La langue elle-même ne peut être rééllement apprise ou complètement comprise sans assez de connaissance sur la culture dans laquelle elle est profondément ancrée. Ainsi, la langue et la culture devront être étudiées ensemble et nous devons faire un grand effort en études de la culture dans laquelle la langue cible est employée.

Mots-Clés: Culture; Langues étrangères; Enseignement; Apprentissage

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1. LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

Nowadays, more and more people in China have realized that when we learn a foreign language, say English, we are not just puzzled by the linguistic differences between the target language and our native language , but also often struck by various cultural features embodied by the two languages in relation to lexical meaning , usage of expressions and pragmatic rules for use of many linguistic forms . These cultural features may be regarded as cultural differences or variables which often constitute cultural barriers in learning a foreign language and using it in communication, particularly in communication with native speakers. Language meaning is closely related to culture, as it is the primary means by which a culture transmits its values, beliefs, concepts, customs and social norms and habits. So we may say that a language, to some extent, is the symbolic representation of a particular culture. Culture, on the other hand, imposes considerable influence on language and the use of language as well. So languages in the world vary from culture to culture not-only in the symbols (words or phonemes), the diversities of structure at various levels. And the grammatical rules they have formed? But also in the way how they are pragmatically used in communication in which they serve adaptive functions. The actual use of language communication is more concerned with such social cultural pragmatic rules as where, when, to whom, what is to say and in what way," .Then it is not a risk to say that nothing more clearly distinguishes one culture from another than its languages Since the knowledge, values and beliefs that constitute a people's culture are habitually encoded and transmitted in the language of the people , it is of great importance for a foreign language learner not only to learn the linguistic knowledge of the target language ,but also to pay much attention to developing his cultural awareness, cultural sensitivity and cultural competence in his study of the target language .

If a foreign language learner is to communicate with an individual from another cultural background, he will need not only to understand the cultural influence at work in the behavior of the foreigner, but also to recognize the profound influence the patterns of his own culture exert over his thought, activities, and forms of linguistic expressions. This means that in foreign language teaching and learning great efforts must be made at both the learner's own culture and the culture in which the target language operates. The learner's own culture may, on the one hand, promote his target language learning, and on the other hand, restrict his correct understanding and appropriate use of the target language. As reported in Developing Cultural Understanding through Foreign Language-Study.

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On the Cultures in Foreign Language Teaching and Learning/SUR LES CULTURES DANS L'ENSEIGNEMENT ET DE L'APPRENTISSAGE DES LANGUES ÉTRANGÈRES
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