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The Cultural Context in Foreign Language Teaching

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Edited By Martin Pütz

The present book is a collection of selected papers held at the 23rd International LAUD Symposium on «The Cultural Context in Communication Across Languages» (26-31 March 1997) in Duisburg, Germany. The papers included in this volume highlight several aspects pertaining to the cultural dimension of foreign language teaching and learning. The topics covered range from theoretical accounts on text, language, and culture through to empirically-based aspects of non-native discourse as well as sociolinguistic and cultural awareness in foreign language teaching. Finally, the volume brings together contributions from a wide variety of languages and cultural settings.
The Cultural Context in Foreign Language Teaching will interest students of educational linguistics and language pedagogy, intercultural communication and discourse analysis.

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Section 1: Theoretical orientation: Perspectives on text, language, and culture 1

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Section 1: Theoretical orientation: Perspectives on text, language, and culture This page intentionally left blank Literary texts and intercultural understanding Lothar Bredella 0. Introduction What are the goals of intercultural understanding? One could conceive of under- standing a foreign culture in analogy to learning a foreign language. As we must learn the vocabulary and the syntactic rules of the foreign language we must learn the social rules of the foreign culture. Yet such a concept of intercultural under- standing does not take into account that we already possess certain stereotypical views and images about the foreign culture and that we often regard others as inferior. Therefore intercultural understanding cannot merely mean that we learn something new about foreign cultures but also implies that we must change our images of them and since hetero- and auto stereotypes are closely connected, that we must change ourselves. In the essay "The Politics of Recognition" the Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor argues that our time is characterized by the protest of those groups that have been regarded as inferior. The demand for recognition, Taylor says, "comes to the fore in a number of ways in today's politics, on behalf of minority or 'subaltern' groups, in some forms of feminism and in what is today called the politics of 'multiculturalism'" (Taylor 1994: 25). For Taylor the politics of rec- ognition is based on the insight that our self-esteem or lack of self-esteem is de- pendent on how others see us (1994: 25): The thesis is that...

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