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Identities in and across Cultures

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Paola Evangelisti Allori

This volume is a collection of empirical studies investigating the ways and means through which culturally-shaped identities are manifested in and through discourse in documents and texts from multiple spheres of social action. It also looks at possible ways in which understanding and acceptance of diverse cultural identities can be moulded and developed through appropriate education.
Language being one of the most evident and powerful ‘markers’ of cultural identity, discourse and text are sites where cultures are both constructed and displayed and where identities are negotiated. The approaches to the analysis of culture and identity adopted here to account for the multifaceted realisations of cultural identities in the texts and documents taken into consideration span from multimodality, to discourse and genre analysis, to corpus linguistics and text analysis. The volume then offers a varied picture of approaches to the scientific enquiry into the multifaceted manifestations of identity in and across national, professional, and disciplinary cultures.
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Identity and Culture in Teaching English as an International Language: A Possible Model for a ‘Third Place’: Paola Vettorel

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PAOLA VETTOREL

Identity and Culture in Teaching English as an International Language: A Possible Model for a ‘Third Place’

1. Introduction

This paper aims to explore the relationship between the teaching of culture in the language classroom and the development of learners’ spaces of identity and personal meaning. Most often in the learning process aspects related to ‘culture’ and ‘civilisation’ consist of fixed representations connected to the target culture, where the learners’ experiences and voices are not taken into account. In learning a foreign language, our sense of identity is continuously negotiated in the encounter with otherness. Particularly in the case of students’ international mobility, encounters with ‘foreignness’ become part of a holistic experience where aspects of language and culture mingle and develop in social practice and continuous interaction. In this process, learners look for and create their own meaning (Kramsch 1993), continuously redefining the boundaries of their social and personal identity.

In the case of English, the fact that it has become an international language and is increasingly employed as a lingua franca of communication (ELF) amongst speakers of different languacultures implies that cultural aspects involved in teaching can no longer refer only to a ‘target’ culture, but ought to take into account actual or potential experiences learners make of the language in multilingual and multicultural settings.

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