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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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7. Social Action


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7.   Social Action

7.1    Native-Like Fluency

Do we buy a language the same way we buy any product, by prioritizing immediate profitability? All we have to do is listen, repeat, write, and translate, and later we can build a solid base to amplify and refine the acquired elements in real contexts. This is what certain ‘miracle’ methods on the market promise. Some offer “effortless learning”, others “give you everything you need to speak a new language” by ensuring that “everything you learn sticks in your memory.” The prospect of learning without the involvement of the teacher or student (or even the guarantee of bilingualism) quite often relies on commercial rather than scientific arguments, maintaining the myth that we can easily reach native-like fluency in a foreign language.

The appropriation of a language does not only involve its forms and rules. Perhaps even more so, knowing that competency must be understood as all of the knowledge and skills that allow us to act, it also includes developing the ability to conduct verbal and non-verbal exchanges between social players in an increasingly autonomous manner. How can we bring out a learner’s true ability to interact, a complex skill that involves knowing or adapting to unknown or diverted scripts, or anticipating blocked situations?

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