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Exploring Translation in Language Learning

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Malgorzata Smentek

This book explores the functions and potential of translation in language learning. It demonstrates that despite its changing fortunes in the history of foreign language teaching, translation has a prominent part to play both in the L2 classroom and beyond. As a cognitive process and a quintessential communicative activity, it not only boosts the learner’s bilingual and bicultural competence, but also promotes and accelerates the development of the skill of translation. Considering its diverse educational assets as well as the results of a research survey presented in this book, the author argues that translation practice should become an integral element of contemporary foreign language education.

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Chapter 2 The Advanced Learner

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Chapter Two The Advanced Learner

2.1 Introductory remarks

Over the last two decades, the field of European foreign language didactics has witnessed profound changes. While these have been most conspicuous in the member states of the European Union (EU) − which is primarily the result of EU language policy and new educational priorities, such as the “mother tongue + 2” objective set at the Barcelona Summit in March 2002 (European Council 2002: 19) − they were undeniably also inspired by a more global revolution in ELT resulting from the rapidly increasing role of English as the world’s lingua franca.

The study of at least one foreign language − predominantly English1 − is now considered an unquestionable norm.2 According to Key Data on Teaching Languages at School in Europe − 2012 (EACEA/Eurydice 2012: 11), “English is by far the most taught foreign language in nearly all [European] countries at all educational levels” (with French, Spanish, German and Russian following far behind), with the percentage of lower and general upper secondary learners of English exceeding 90%.

Equally importantly, English becomes entrenched as a compulsory subject not only in the upper or lower secondary curricula but in the primary curriculum as well.3 Following the 2012 EACEA/Eurydice report (2012: 10), in most European countries there is a marked tendency to accelerate the starting point of mandatory L2 education. As a result, European pupils start their L2 classes at ← 61 | 62 → an ever lowering age, often at the very...

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