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Culture and Language Discussion Is learning a second language more comparable to acquiring a skill (like riding a bike or playing tennis) or is it more comparable to gaining knowledge (such as learning about math, science, history, or social studies)? It Can Be Either or Both
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Discussion • Is learning a second language more comparable to acquiring a skill (like riding a bike or playing tennis) or is it more comparable to gaining knowledge (such as learning about math, science, history, or social studies)?
It Can Be Either or Both • Language learners can study the language as a school subject, consciously learning and memorizing facts about the language. This results in conscious knowledge about the language that is referred to as declarative knowledge or explicit knowledge. • Stephen Krashen calls this language learning.
It Can Be Either or Both • Language learners can also gradually gain unconscious control over the language by using it actively for functional and communicative purposes. This results in unconscious knowledge that is referred to as procedural knowledge or implicit knowledge. • Stephen Krashen calls this language acquisition.
Successful Communication Knowing how, when, and why to say what to whom.
Discussion • Is it important to learn the language of a country you will be visiting or working in?
Language Doesn’t Matter • English is the universal business language • Using translators is more efficient • Cannot learn a new language in a short appointment abroad • Long periods abroad can harm promotion
Language is Important • Interest breeds respect and trust • Proficiency creates understanding of cultural context • Second language facilitates learning a third and fourth language • Second language promotes understanding of one’s own language • Language aids global vision
Language Structure • Two components of language • Use of words • Non-verbal communication • What gestures should a foreign student learn before going to Canada?
Discussion • Does language influence the form a culture takes or simply reflect the culture that exists?
Culture Influences Language • Language is a reflection of the concepts that a culture values. • Koga (India) have 7 words for bamboo • Inuit have many words for snow • Some nations legislate language to conserve their culture.
Language Influences Culture • Language establishes criteria for the perception of the world • Language shapes ideas (Sapir-Whorf hypothesis) • Selective perception • We see what we understand • We understand what we have experienced
Language Reflects Values • Canada/USA value individualism • 150 words with self • Power Distance in Spanish • tu and usted in Spain • tu and usted in America • Communication in Japan is to achieve consensus and promote harmony
REMEMBER... • Linguistic fluency alone does not guarantee successful cultural interaction. • Cultural perspectives are critical for developing communication skills that allow students to exchange information effectively, accurately, and appropriately with native speakers.
The true content of the foreign language course is not the grammar and the vocabulary of the language, but the cultures expressed through the language.