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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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3. Multilingualism and Multiculturalism

Extract

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3.   Multilingualism and Multiculturalism

3.1    The Linguistic Landscape

To observe teaching/learning practices, we need to specify their social contexts. Beyond its informational functions, the linguistic landscape (and its prototypical manifestation of signage in one language rather than another) tangibly crystallizes the power relationships between languages on a given territory: the vitality, status, and power of the showcased language, and that of the ‘rejected’ or ‘forgotten’ language.

Similarly, a landscape may show resistance to linguistic dominance and convey the preservation logic of linguistic diversity. If the consistency of urban, administrative, and commercial or marketing signage can potentially strengthen the linguistic identity of citizens, the gaps between the actual use of languages and their urban presence may create feelings of frustration and exclusion.

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