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A Reflection Ramona Tang http: Re-examining the notions of integrative and instrumental motivations to language learning, I suggest that language and culture are inextricably linked, and as such we might think about moving away from questions about the inclusion or exclusion of culture in a foreign language curriculum, to issues of deliberate immersion versus non-deliberate exposure to it.
In the field of foreign language teaching, one aspect that occasionally emerges as a topic of discussion is the relationship between knowledge of a foreign language, and knowledge of the culture from which that language "originated".
From my admittedly limited experience with foreign language education, it would appear that the question of "culture" is often relegated to the end of a language teaching plan.
It seems as if it is always something of a bonus if the teacher manages to find time to introduce a bit of the culture of the foreign language into the classroom - some music perhaps, or a traditional dance, in the final lesson of the course.
If learners are particularly lucky, they get a chance to spend a month in the foreign country to "immerse" themselves in the "culture" of the country.
But is that one class session enough? Is one month enough? According to Pica Numerous other researchers have tried to address issues along similar lines, including Gardner and Lambert who postulate that learners may have two basic kinds of motivation.
The first is integrative motivation, which refers to the desire of language learners to acquire the language while immersing themselves into the whole culture of the language, in order to "identify themselves with and become part of that society" Brown The second is instrumental motivation, which refers to the functional need for learners to acquire the language in order to serve some utilitarian purpose, such as securing a job, or a place at a university.
The argument is that such instrumentally motivated learners are neither concerned with the culture from which their target language emerged, nor interested in developing any feelings of affinity with the native speakers of that language.
But questions of this sort and research of this sort appear to me to presuppose that culture can be separated from language, that culture is something that needs to be introduced into the language classroom and to the learner, and that learner and teacher have some sort of a choice as to whether "cultural integration" is to be included in the "syllabus" or not.
I would like to suggest that language and culture are inextricably linked, and therefore it may be pointless, and perhaps even impossible, to ask ourselves: When a person decides to learn French, for example, he or she is not merely absorbing the linguistics of the language, but everything to do with French and France.
What he or she is taking in includes all the preconceptions about the French language, that it is beautiful, that it is romantic, that it is spoken along the Seine, and so on.
I may be accused of stereotyping here, and perhaps I am, but this does not discount my underlying point, which is that most, if not all, languages come with some cultural associations attached. By speaking the language, therefore, one automatically to a greater or lesser extent aligns oneself with the culture of the language.
To speak a language well, one has to be able to think in that language, and thought is extremely powerful. A person's mind is in a sense the centre of his identity, so if a person thinks in French in order to speak French, one might say that he has, in a way, almost taken on a French identity see for example Brownand Littlewood That is the power and the essence of a language.
Language is the soul of the country and people who speak it. Does this then mean that the "integrative" and "instrumental" motivation which have been discussed for years do not exist? Is that what I am saying? I think the person who has "integrative" motivation simply acknowledges that he or she is actively seeking to know about the culture, whereas the person with "instrumental" motivation does not want to add anything on to his or her knowledge of the language.
He or she may not want to sample the food, or get to know the night-life, or visit places that have nothing to do with work, or read about the history of the country, or chat with shopkeepers behind the counter of a grocery store to find out whether that high-rise across the road was once a park where children played.
But those are frills; those are extras. Language itself is already culture, and therefore it is something of a moot point to talk about the inclusion or exclusion of culture in a foreign language curriculum.
We might perhaps want to re-envisage the situation as a contrast between an active and deliberate immersion in culture, and a non-deliberate exposure to it.
To conclude, I expect that some may disagree with my rather "deterministic" view that language is culture. A counterargument could well be that some people who decide to learn French, for instance, have no inkling at all of French culture. Indeed, they may not even know where France is on the map.
How then can language be culture for them? To such a counterargument, I would say that while there may in theory be cases of such isolated individuals, I believe that in reality this is rather unlikely. But more than that, even if the learners themselves are not initially aware of the cultural associations attached to the language they are learning, others are, and will perceive them as being aligned with that culture.
And if social theories of identity formation are to be believed e. Brookea person's identity is a social construct, and is in part or in whole the product of societal perception.German (language) Essays. Writing Advice.
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