Culture in Language Learning

Culture in Language Learning

Culture in Language Learning

Culture in Language Learning

Synopsis

Classical and modern foreign language studies no longer have a well-defined subject area, and language and culture can no longer be defined according to nations and national identities. New approaches are being developed with theoretical and methodological points of departure in new areas of research: for example, culture studies, anthropology, sociology, pragmatics and conversation analyses. The aim of modern language studies must therefore be redefined, and be more open for variation and diversity, both in culture and communication. The book discusses the relation between language and culture and is a direct result of the conference Culture in Language Learning, organised under the auspices of the Danish Language and Culture Network, which assembles researchers from language disciplines in Denmark. The aim is to examine how culture comes into the actual language code; into the use of language; and not least, into the learning and teaching of language. One of the book's main problematic areas thus concerns the learning and teaching of foreign and second languages in a globalised world where languages play a new roll, both for the individual person, by virtue of internationalisation of education and work-life, and for co-operation across national borders. The articles elucidate these problematic points in relation to the historic development of foreign language disciplines, the meeting of language and culture, teaching traditions and language appropriation theories.

Excerpt

Hanne Leth Andersen, Karen Lund and Karen Risager

This publication is the result of a conference held in Copenhagen on 18 May 2004 entitled ‘Culture in Language Learning’. It was organized within the framework of the Danish Language and Culture Network, which was founded in September 2002 with the aim of establishing and encouraging a discussion of the goals, visions and objects of foreign language studies in Denmark, and covers a whole range of interrelated disciplines and subdisciplines such as language, literature, culture, society, history and learning. The network has given rise to a series of conferences and conference publications including Hansen 2002 and Hansen 2004. A focal point in the discussions has been to develop a more integrated view of foreign language studies than has traditionally been the case.

This volume seeks to explore these disciplines and subdisciplines from a language perspective by asking questions such as: In what ways is culture a part of language and of language learning and teaching? What does it mean to learn and teach a foreign (or second) language in the world of today?

Classical and modern language studies have always focused on language and culture in a wider historical perspective. In the national philologies, literature and other texts written in the national language were considered to be the clear and well-defined object of study, and the national-historical framework was generally not questioned.

With the increased focus on internationalization, globalization and post-colonial studies, languages and cultures can no longer only be associated with nations and national identities. They should also be associated with transnational processes, networks and communities. Languages and cultures are variably related to specific subjectivities and historicities, in particular due to exchanges between countries for various purposes such as studying, international careers, or personal relations across borders. Consequently, new approaches to foreign language studies are being developed and must be developed, taking their theoretical and methodological points of departure in new research . . .

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