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Languaging in and across Communities: New Voices, New Identities

Studies in Honour of Giuseppina Cortese

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Edited By Sandra Campagna, Elana Ochse, Virginia Pulcini and Martin Solly

The title of this volume intentionally echoes that of a landmark issue of Textus on «Languaging» in and across Human Groups, edited by Giuseppina Cortese and Dell Hymes in 2001, since the notion of ‘languaging’ seems to capture most effectively the essence and the continuity in the life and work of Giuseppina Cortese, to whom the book is dedicated. It brings together contributions by a number of distinguished scholars that shed new light on current developments in this dynamic area of discourse analysis, especially taking into account recent research and emerging insights on speech communities and communities of practice.
The sections in the volume are designed as main threads of a new investigation into ‘languaging’. The first, entitled Languaging Awareness, deals with recent findings in applied linguistics, exploring key topics in language acquisition, language learning and teaching and the changing role of the media. The second section, Languaging Identity, prioritizes the theme of the construction of identity in text and talk within a linguistic and languaging framework. The third section, Languaging Community, explores the notion of community, of the lifeworld and the textworld emanating from a variety of domains, closely inspecting contemporary events and showing, on a continuum with Cortese’s approach, how memory of the past gives depth of meaning to a discourse analysis that is geared to linguistic and textual awareness.
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Learning through Languaging in ELF Service Encounters

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1.   Introduction

From an evolutionary perspective, the term languaging is used to describe “routine face-to-face activity in which wordings play a part” (Cowley 2012: 28), i.e. it is a form of coordinated behaviour that involves language but is not defined by it. Within applied linguistics, languaging primarily refers to a specific language acquisition process that involves a particular relationship between speech and cognition, defined by Swain as “a vehicle through which thinking is articulated” (2006: 97). In this process the very act of speaking provides language learners with awareness of their own and others’ speaking difficulties, which they will then test in future interactions (Swain 2000, 2005); the languaging process is thus a mutually reinforcing cycle of learning, which develops cognitive awareness through speech production and vice-versa. Swain also claims that there is a strong connection between the production of spoken language and agency, arguing that languaging is “producing language in an attempt to understand” (Swain 2006: 96), and focuses on “languaging about language”, i.e. metalinguistic reflection and talk, as key to the language learning process (see also Seidlhofer 2011: 189–90 for an ELF perspective). From a more intercultural position, Cortese (2001: 210) has described languaging as “the discursive negotiation of cultural difference”, involving a realignment of speakers’ cognitive perspectives. According to this view, languaging involves speakers’ negotiating the extent to which their cognitive domains are shared. Overall, then, combining these applied linguistic and intercultural views, the languaging process can be seen as a vehicle...

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