Conduits of Communication,
Conduits to Understanding
Part I
My Second Language
Journey
1.
French
-Michelle, Anne vous travaillez
-Ou est Sylvie?
-Paul Verlaine
-literal,
-dialogue, grammar, vocab
-no understanding
Chanson d’automne, Paul Verlaine
Les sanglots longs
Des violons
De l'automne
Blessent mon cœur
D'une langueur
monotone.
Tout suffocant
Et blême, quand
Sonne l'heure,
Je me souviens
Des jours anciens
Et je pleure
Et je m'en vais
Au vent mauvais
Qui m'emporte
Deçà, delà,
Pareil à la
Feuille morte.
Chinese
-Zhongguo, Meiguo, dong
-beginnings of insight into a
culture
-pronunciation horrid
中国
美国
東
British English
-typical dialect vocab
bumbershoot, lorry, WC, loo etc.
-Quite…
-Right…
-tone
-communication gaps and gaffes
…Japanese
ah so desnei
Part II
ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE
…NOT A FOREIGN LANGUAGE
…Naturalistic language learning
…du tal svenska?
-limitations of naturalism
-Protocol to study language in the target
language (immersion)
Essential Elements
-time
-cultural assimilation
TRADITIONAL TEACHING
a. Vocabulary
b. Structure (grammar)
c. Pronunciation
d. culture/context
NATURAL ACQUISITION
a. communicate
-imitate (pro+vocabulary)
b. assimilate
-culture/context
c. Structures (grammar)
WE IN SCHOOLS GENERALLY DO A GREAT
JOB ON VOCABULARY AND GRAMMAR.
VARIED ON PRONUNCIATION.
…AND ARE GENERALLY THE WEAKEST IN
CONTEXTUALIZATION AND CULTURAL
UNDERSTANDING.
-The second language approach is an
attempt to merge the strengths of the
traditional with the understanding and
lasting value that comes with natural
acquisition.
Part III
EAI-Hefei Summer Language Teacher
Training 2004-2008
The goals of the course:
-developing skill, proficiency, and
excellence in authentic pronunciation,
vocabulary, idioms, word usage, and
culture.
Authentic Pronunciation:
-tone
-cadence
-dialect and regional differences
(American Standard versus
accent based language)
Vocabulary
-idioms
-slang
-age-based language
-vocabulary in context
(contextual clues)
Cultural Competency
-language as a window
-to authentically communicate
-to authentically understand
(not only to interpret but
also to infer)
Challenges and triumphs
-difficulty finding appropriate texts and
resources (text that was initially used
was “canned” and inauthentic.)
…the solution???
-Create an authentic American English
reader.
An American Quilt: Readings in
American Language and Culture
…CHALLENGE
How to create an environment
conducive to cultural assimilation and
learning???
…SOLUTION
Base the course pedagogically around
American educational principles.
(class size, interactions, and
methodologies which provides for a
more immersive environment)
…Challenge
Keeping the language as a
communication tool and making it
important and relevant.
…Solution
Having the course have a content theme.
(2008 The Environment… energy, habitat,
sustainability, climate change, and community
action.)
Making it relevant to bridge cultural gaps and
provide authentic understandings
Part IV
Why Authentic Language Learning is
Important and Essential
-Two of the most important communication
tools of the 21st Century are used in this
room.
-English and Chinese
[others arguably are Spanish, Arabic, and Urdu
(Hindi language group)]
To review…what is authentic???
…that which can be communicated and
understood in all its levels. (from cursory
surface level to most subtle)
-Americans use stories and metaphor to
communicate。
-American English is a MUTT…we come from a
myriad of languages and cultures…our language is
constructed by the melding of our
COLLECTIVE experience (unlike most other
languages which are a representation of a
COMMON experience) and the bridges
(metaphor again) are illustrative stories, parables,
verse, and song.
• So to truly become fluent in American
English…one must attempt to understand
America.
• The same is true of Chinese and China.
The world has great problems and issues that can
only be solved together.
We can only make progress in these areas by
gaining (cultural/intercultural) understanding.
As we inch towards authentic language fluency
we will make massive strides towards
understanding and solutions.
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