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Thomas Szende

This monograph offers an incisive analysis of how the second language learner can achieve cultural proficiency, which is more than a set of rules and facts to be memorized by rote. How can the cultural dimension be taken into account, among the many choices of instructional material and language assessment tools? Is it possible to distinguish levels of cultural competence? How can the degree of cultural proximity between the source language and the target language influence the acquisition process? What strategies should be implemented in order to decode any cultural pitfalls? This handy guide addresses these and many other frequently asked questions underpinning language teaching methodology.
Illustrated with a broad range of classroom-based examples, this book presents language as inextricably intertwined with social relations. The variety of languages involved (Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Hungarian, French and English) makes the volume especially attractive for language educators seeking effective teaching strategies in specific local contexts around the globe.
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The Foreign Language Appropriation Conundrum

Micro Realities and Macro Dynamics

Thomas Szende

This monograph’s title reflects the need to articulate the classroom actions and strategies of an increasingly efficient technological environment with symbolic, cultural, and political issues, namely the multi-dimensionality of affiliations, which today condition the practices of learners, teachers, tool designers, and the dissemination (or not) of languages throughout the world.

Reflective testimony of a teacher who is passionate about his work, this book is also the result of research conducted by a linguist wishing to raise the field of foreign language education to the level of a coherent and rigorous discipline capable of presenting teaching/learning options to all languages/cultures.

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Form, Use, Consciousness

Key topics in L2 grammar instruction With a Preface by Anthony J. Liddicoat (Professor of Applied Linguistics, University of Warwick)

Thomas Szende

Every language universe is both close to and far removed from our own. In a way, learning a foreign language is like not getting off at our usual stop and staying on the bus until we arrive at the terminal. The unfamiliar neighborhoods we discover are both similar to and different from what we know. Learners tackle an L2 using a variety of experiences acquired in their L1, and this new language system works as part of a network of previously existing grammar models and social categories.

The purpose of this book is not to revisit the pros and cons of teaching grammar. Learning an L2 appears as the gradual ability to realize which language features to select and prioritize to express a particular idea. Speaking in any L2 requires specific tools, and describing reality through new linguistic means involves a mental restructuring to which learners—particularly adults and older adolescents—are sometimes resistant. Indeed, not all information produced in an L2 and disclosed to the learners will necessarily be applied to language acquisition. If, by some miracle, this were the case, there would be no need for any reflection on the teaching and learning of grammar.

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Frontières et passages

Actes du colloque franco-hongrois sur la traduction – Publication du Centre de recherche "Lexiques – Cultures – Traductions (INALCO)"

Thomas Szende and Györgyi Máté

Ce volume contient le texte des communications présentées au cours du colloque franco-hongrois sur la traduction organisé par l’Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, à Paris, les 25, 26 et 27 octobre 2001.
Au cours de ces journées se sont exprimés des spécialistes de la linguistique contrastive et de la traductologie, des traducteurs littéraires et techniques, des interprètes, des spécialistes de l’histoire de la littérature et de la civilisation, des professeurs de hongrois en France et de français en Hongrie chargés de traduction. Cette manifestation a permis de confronter des travaux, de mettre en commun des expériences et d’offrir une riche illustration des approches possibles dans un domaine dont la pratique se révèle étonnamment disparate. En effet, l’exploration des langues, des littératures et des cultures conduit nécessairement à une réflexion sur la traduction.
L’activité traduisante qui constitue une composante essentielle de notre civilisation à tendance multiculturelle est envisagée, par les études ici réunies, dans toute sa complexité et selon des méthodologies complémentaires afin d’en établir les limites et de discerner ce qui a une portée commune dépassant le cadre restreint du domaine français-hongrois.
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Etudes contrastives / Contrastive Studies

Description, appropriation et traduction des langues et des cultures / Description, appropriation and translation of languages and cultures

Edited by Thomas Szende and Joseph Thach

The Contrastive Studies publishes academic works in French and English dealing with languages which are highly diverse in their usage, contributing new insights on phenomena such as equivalence, interference, and non-correspondence. Offering a window onto translation as a type of language contact, the book series also includes studies on the process of appropriation of both languages and cultures in a wide variety of contexts.

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Edited by Thomas Szende and George Alao

The L2 speaker is able to function in the target culture only when s/he is able to understand, anticipate and produce the choices that the said society makes. Being polite therefore means: knowing how to draw on the conventions of a society, taking into account the expectations of an interlocutor regarding social relations at any given point, and is based on the appropriate language register to the communication situation; being able to balance standard and non-standard features and to adjust one’s speech by moving it towards more or less familiarity, or formality. The learner therefore needs to be aware of the pragmatic flexibility of speakers – native and experts – who move from one register to another and juggle between respect and caution, first degree meaning and irony, exuberance and excess, with difference in levels, nature and degrees of politeness.


This volume contains contributions whose theoretical reflections, field work experiences and authentic data from diverse African, Asian and European languages, literatures and cultures as well as a variety of corpora shed new light on politeness as a central phenomenon in pragmatics, and on what is at stake when teaching or learning the subject. It also opens up a conceptual dialogue with a whole range of domains likely to enrich the debate: sociolinguistics, literature, translation studies, semiotics, cultural anthropology, social psychology, etc.

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Les mots du rire : comment les traduire ?

Essais de lexicologie contrastive – Publication du Centre de recherche «Lexiques – Cultures – Traductions» (INALCO)

Anne-Marie Laurian and Thomas Szende

Humour et traduction ont déjà inspiré bien des analyses. Il ne semble pas que ce soit le cas de la traduction de l’humour. Cet ouvrage réunit vingt-cinq études sur les différents aspects de ce thème et confronte les points de vue de linguistes, traducteurs et enseignants universitaires spécialistes des langues les plus diverses. Ils aident à comprendre en quoi certains textes humoristiques résistent à la traduction et comment il est possible d’éviter les échecs traductionnels. L’humour sollicite du traducteur un travail subtil de transposition, avec parfois de véritables acrobaties linguistiques qui mettent en œuvre des jeux et des situations analogues sinon identiques. Le traducteur doit être attentif aux références et connotations culturelles, sa connaissance de la civilisation étrangère étant pour cela essentielle. La reconstitution de l’humour dans une autre langue est une entreprise délicate qui doit garantir l’intelligibilité des formes et des sens afin que les mots du rire puissent être compris et savourés par un public plus large.