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Module using a second language (classroom version) - WorldEnough

By Harry Bell,2014-01-29 02:31
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Module using a second language (classroom version) - WorldEnougha,A,using,Use,Using,use

    Using a second language

    - classroom version -

    Setting the scene

    The ability to speak a foreign language is very important in Europe. In fact there is an official European Union policy which states that "upon completing initial training, everyone should be proficient in two Community foreign languages" (European Commission‟s White Paper "Teaching and learning – Towards the learning

    society").

    Your point of view.

    Discuss the following questions.

What is your first language?

    What is your second language?

    What difficulties do you have using your second language? List them.

    Have you ever spoken to native speakers of your second language? How did those people react to you trying to speak their language?

    Differences in Europe: Something to talk about …

    Below you will find some questions about using your second language. Respond to these questions as honestly as you can and then compare your responses to those of the person sitting next to you.

    ; Are there similarities or differences in your responses?

    ; Why do you think that is the case? In your opinion, what determines people‟s attitudes in such matters?

    Q1: It is important for a citizen of the European Union to be proficient in at least two European languages other

    than his/her first language.

    1: I strongly agree 2: I agree 3: I neither agree 4: I disagree 5: I strongly

    nor disagree disagree

    Q2: Most people in my country can communicate in at least one European language other than their first

    language.

    1: I strongly agree 2: I agree 3: I neither agree 4: I disagree 5: I strongly

    nor disagree disagree

    Q3: It is common in my country to conduct an international meeting in a language other than the official

    language of my country.

    1: I strongly agree 2: I agree 3: I neither agree 4: I disagree 5: I strongly

    nor disagree disagree

Q4: In my country the government actively encourages foreign language learning.

    1: I strongly agree 2: I agree 3: I neither agree 4: I disagree 5: I strongly

    nor disagree disagree

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    Q5 I would expect visitors to my country to be able to get by in the local language.

    1: I strongly agree 2: I agree 3: I neither agree 4: I disagree 5: I strongly

    nor disagree disagree

Q6 There are special rules to observe when you change from family name to first names in my country.

    1: I strongly agree 2: I agree 3: I neither agree 4: I disagree 5: I strongly

    nor disagree disagree

Q7 In my country, people, irrespective of age, do not address other people with the informal pronoun (like in

    French “tu” or in German “du”) unless they are specifically invited, or both agree, to do so.

    1: I strongly agree 2: I agree 3: I neither agree 4: I disagree 5: I strongly

    nor disagree disagree

Q8 If I do not know the name of a person, I can address him/her with words like “dear” or “honey”.

    1: I strongly agree 2: I agree 3: I neither agree 4: I disagree 5: I strongly

    nor disagree disagree

Q9 It is offensive not to use titles or to use inappropriate titles (Dr, Prof, PhD, etc.) either in written or in spoken

    conversations.

    1: I strongly agree 2: I agree 3: I neither agree 4: I disagree 5: I strongly

    nor disagree disagree

Q10 It is easier to use swear words in your second language.

    1: I strongly agree 2: I agree 3: I neither agree 4: I disagree 5: I strongly

    nor disagree disagree

    Discuss the results with your fellow students. What conclusions can you draw?

You can also use the questions above to interview native speakers of your second language visiting your country.

    When you have finished with the interviews, compare the responses of your interviewees to your own responses

    and those of your classmates.

    Differences in Europe: Values through proverbs

    Consider the following English proverbs:

    Proverb 1. Actions speak louder than words.

     2. A penny saved is a penny earned. A short saying or statement in

    frequent and widespread use 3. A chain is no stronger than its weakest link.

    that expresses a basic truth or 4. A miss by an inch is a miss by a mile. practical precept.

     5. A rolling stone gathers no moss. http://www.apsu.edu/wet/whatis.6. As you make your bed, you must lie in it. html

    7. A man may work from sun to sun, but a woman‟s work is never done.

    8. Beggars can‟t be choosers.

    9. Behind every good man, is a woman.

    10. Good fences make good neighbours.

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    Your point of view. Answer the following questions.

    - What do you think each proverb means?

    - What societal values do you think these English proverbs reflect?

    - Do these values reinforce the expectations you have of ? English culture ? or do they challenge them?

    - Can you think of proverbs in your native language/culture that have a similar meaning to any of these

    English proverbs? Compile a list of them.

    - Can you think of proverbs in your native language/culture that have an opposite meaning to any of these

    English proverbs? Compile a list of them.

    - Look at the two lists of proverbs of your own language and culture. What social values do you think the

    proverbs in your native language/culture reflect?

    - Are these values a complete or fair representation of you own culture? Are any of them outdated?

    The following are real intercultural incidents experienced by second language speakers abroad.

    1. I took part in an international meeting lasting 3 days. We all used English. At the beginning we discussed our "rules of conduct", deciding among other things to use first names. Two German participants (male, age 55+) who had known each another for years said they were happy to comply (even though as it turned out later they were not on first-name terms with each other). So everyone called them Ulrich and Jürgen, but the two gentlemen themselves, when referring to one another, went to great lengths to avoid having to use those names. So instead of saying "Ulrich is right", Jürgen would say: "I agree", or "My neighbour is right". (Reported by a Dutch man)

    2. In Denmark most people address each other with “du” (you). In Germany most people address each other with “Sie” (the polite way to address people) and at the beginning of an acquaintance avoid saying “du”. This is quite a problem for young people, because a similar Danish expression “De” mostly is used when addressing royal people or business contacts. Therefore young Danes have a lot of problems in dealing with the German culture specifically on that topic, because many Germans regard that way of addressing people as rude and impolite and as an example of blatant disrespect. An amusing example of that specific German intercultural trend is allegedly chancellor Kohl in a situation, where he wanted to be on friendly terms with Margaret Thatcher, saying: You can say you to me (German: Sie können du zu mir sagen). (Reported by Danish man)

3. Something that happened to

    me when I was 18 years old and

    about to start my studies at

    University. One summer evening,

    about 8 p.m., I was walking

    home and I walked past a group

    of foreigners, obviously British.

     One of them, a man, had walked Bulgarian alphabet ahead of the group and was

    trying to figure out which street

    they were in. Because of the Cyrillic signs, he was obviously having difficulty deciphering the signs. As I approached him with a very friendly smile, I said: "Can I help you, Sir?" His reaction was shocking: He said "No, no, thank you!", with a very strong note of panic in his voice and virtually ran away, re-joining his friends. I was very upset about the incident and told my father about it. He had lived in England for a couple of years and he was able to provide some explanation: Because I addressed a stranger in the street as "Sir", he thought I was a hooker! (reported by a Bulgarian woman)

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4. I was surprised to be addressed by a middle-aged female bus conductor in Manchester as “love”. To me that

    sounded far too familiar/intimate, but it appeared to be normal in that area. (reported by Dutchman)

    Your view?

    Discuss these incidents in small groups, asking each other the following questions:

    ; Take each of the above incidents separately. What do you think was the reason for the

    misunderstanding or the communication break-down in each case?

    ; How would you have reacted if such an incident happened to you? Consider both sides in each incident.

    ; Can you think of ways in which the misunderstanding or the communication break-down could have

    been dealt with in each case?

    ; Can you think of similar incidents that happened to you while visiting a foreign country or speaking a

    foreign language?

    ; Can you think of similar incidents that happened to you while dealing with foreigners visiting your

    country or talking your language?

    Bridging strategies

    Consider the last two intercultural incidents which clearly ended with a break-down in

    communication, an „intercultural gap‟; in other words both parties were left with an uneasy feeling

    about the situation, caused by the cultural differences between them.

    Think about what you would do to solve the problem if you found yourself in such a situation. How would you „bridge‟ this intercultural gap? What should each party in this intercultural incident do, think or say to each other to fix the communication problem?

    Role play

    Role play the situations incorporating your bridging strategy‟. The conversation should now end on a positive note with both parties understanding each other's intentions.

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