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Second Culture Teaching and Learning

An Introduction

Thomas Szende

This monograph offers an incisive analysis of how the second language learner can achieve cultural proficiency, which is more than a set of rules and facts to be memorized by rote. How can the cultural dimension be taken into account, among the many choices of instructional material and language assessment tools? Is it possible to distinguish levels of cultural competence? How can the degree of cultural proximity between the source language and the target language influence the acquisition process? What strategies should be implemented in order to decode any cultural pitfalls? This handy guide addresses these and many other frequently asked questions underpinning language teaching methodology.
Illustrated with a broad range of classroom-based examples, this book presents language as inextricably intertwined with social relations. The variety of languages involved (Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Hungarian, French and English) makes the volume especially attractive for language educators seeking effective teaching strategies in specific local contexts around the globe.
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5. Discourse and Interaction


5.  Discourse and Interaction

5.1  Transphrastic Organization

5.1.1  Text – Discourse

A linguistic unit is defined by its relationship of integration to units of superior ranking. If the words of the language most often contain an informational meaning, they can only reflect reality at a level beyond the sentence. Two concepts seem to merge: “text” and “discourse”. The two raise the issue of the organization of sentences in units that are more extensive than the sentence itself. The text is considered more as an object locked within itself, rather than as an organized linguistic message which is part of transphrastic grammar (Adam, 2005: 28).

Bronckart (1996: 120–136) considers the organization of a text as a “layer cake” made up of three superimposed layers: the general infrastructure of the text (structure, sequences), the textualization mechanisms (marking articulations, thematic progression), the mechanisms of utterance realization (pragmatic coherence; the voices expressed within it, modalization). In fact, the notion of discourse signifies language manifestations in social practice; it should be perceived more as a historically and socially situated object. Evoking discourse means considering the singularity of the utterance-interaction situation which every text is subject to (Adam, 2005: 28).

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