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EIL, ELF, Global English: Teaching and Learning Issues

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Cesare Gagliardi and Alan Maley

How can you teach the English language to global English speakers? Can English be taught as an international language? Is it worth teaching? Isn’t it more proper and profitable to learn a standard variety of English? How realistic and useful is the identification of an EIL/ELF variety? Can an EIL/ELF standard be identified? These are some of the questions the present volume has addressed with the contribution of some of the most qualified scholars in the field of English linguistics. The book is divided into four sections. The first part deals with the definition of English as an international language and English as a lingua franca. Section two takes six different teaching issues into consideration. The third section examines some learning issues and the last part of the volume debates the relationship between teacher and student in an English as a lingua franca environment.

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PAOLA VETTOREL EIL / ELF and Representation of Culture in Textbooks: Only Food, Fairs, Folklore and Facts? 153

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PAOLA VETTOREL EIL / ELF and Representation of Culture in Textbooks: Only Food, Fairs, Folklore and Facts? Kostaki’s reading geography in the English lesson is a healthy sign. It is a sign that he is asserting himself over all that is trivial and dull. If Kostaki is not invited to speak as Kostaki but as one-dimensional Eng- lish schoolboy in a one-dimensional world, then he takes action: he channels his inventiveness into designing an aerodynamic paper aero- plane or does his geography homework. (Prodromou 1988: 80) Sitting in a class is like being in the car with your parents on a long road trip without your CD-player. (13-year-old learner, cited by Puchta, Helbling Seminar, Verona, 2nd February 2007) 1. Culture, language teaching and images of the English-speaking world Culture has played an important role in the language classroom, par- ticularly since the 70s when sociolinguistic competence has been iden- tified as one of the key aspects of successful communication. How- ever, teaching culture in the language classroom has often meant introducing an adjunctive point, a ‘fifth skill’ (Kramsch 1993) not directly connected to language itself and to the close connection of language and culture (Cf. also Kramsch 1991; Pulverness 2003). Aspects related to facts have often been limited to “food, fairs, folk- lore and statistical facts” (Kramsch 1991: 218), transforming and re- ducing culture to “mere information, conveyed by the language, not as a feature of language itself” (Kramsch 1993: 8). Culture has been 154 seen either with a ‘big...

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