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Teaching Languages off the Beaten Track


Michal B. Paradowski

The 21st-century global linguistic landscape has seen many changes for language learners. New assessments have been made in a host of areas, especially regarding learners’ needs, motives, the target of instruction, and methodologies. The new realities, locales and purposes of communication all necessitate a shift in attitude and a new set of competencies is required of the teacher. This volume comprises a multi-faceted and thoughtful response to these changes in both modern reality and teaching philosophy. It is a study of a few of the other ways to tackle situations outside of norms and routines. The authors of this volume possess many years of teaching experience, and have stepped off the roads most travelled to explore new avenues and find novel solutions in foreign language teaching. This volume familiarises readers with contemporary theoretical debate and new research, and demonstrates how to easily translate these into practical, everyday classroom applications.
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The Primacy of Lexis. In Search of an Alternative to the Analytic / Holistic Dichotomy



Abstract: The predominant view of language use (both production and comprehension of language) presupposes the existence of two, largely exclusive, mechanisms / strategies underlying the processing of messages: the analytic (rule-based) mode and the holistic (formula-based) mode. In this paper I intend to show that the dichotomy does not adequately handle L2 behaviour. Based on the analysis of examination essays produced by Polish B1+/B2 users of English and two sample B1 French texts I argue for the necessity of recognizing the third, middle-of-the-road option that I refer to as the contentive mode which relies on individual, meaning-bearing lexical items for the construction and interpretation of messages. For some L2 users, especially at the early and intermediate stages of language learning it is content words that drive an utterance forward, instead of – or in addition to – rules and formulae. The primacy of lexis then becomes a major factor to be reckoned with in any descriptively adequate account of L1 acquisition and L2 learning. Accordingly, I propose a modified taxonomy of formulaic expressions which takes into account the needs of the L2 learner. This may have far-reaching consequences for the methodology of L2 teaching.

What is the purpose of foreign language teaching?

Should this not be an absurd question to ask? Isn’t the purpose of foreign language teaching to teach foreign languages? That would imply, however, that a foreign language is teachable (in its entirety) and that it is learnable, in all of its complexity. It...

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