Friday, November 06, 2009

CFP: Linguistics for intercultural education in language learning and teaching

Call for chapters
(deadline for abstracts: 1st March 2010)
Linguistics for intercultural education in language learning and teaching


Fred Dervin
Adjunct Professor in sociology (University of Joensuu Finland)
Adjunct Professor in Language and Intercultural Education
(University of Turku Finland)

Anthony J. Liddicoat
Professor of Applied Linguistics (University of South Australia)

According to Daniel Coste (1989), the field of language education consists of a vast array of direct and indirect discourses on language teaching and learning as held by various actors (teachers, researchers, publishers, scientific and professional associations… ). As such, the field is complex and multifaceted. This volume is interested in one aspect of language learning and teaching, intercultural education, and the role that linguistics can play in its design and implementation. The relationship between linguistics and language education has varied over time and most recently, linguistics has played a more reduced role in developing theory and practice in language education, especially where views of the nature of language teaching and learning have moved beyond simple code based views. This means that while fields such as anthropology, sociology, psychology and philosophy have had a clear influence on theory, practices and research directions for intercultural education, there have been relatively few attempts at linking linguistics and intercultural education.

In language education, the learner has now become a real "subject" – a subject who is at the centre of learning and teaching; a subject who is taught to be responsible for his/her learning; a subject who interacts; a subject who is required to be both performer and analyser of language in use. The emergence of an intercultural perspective in language education has had a significant role to play in allowing these changes. Many researchers such as Abdallah-Pretceille, Byram, Kramsch, Zarate… have called for systematic integration of work on intercultural communication and the development of intercultural capabilities in language classrooms. Though their approaches and theoretical backgrounds often differ, their main message seems to be the same: language educationalists need to move away from an educational approach which consists in building up facts about a "target culture", comparing "cultures" and analysing the cultural routines and meanings of a particular group of people and overemphasizes national/ethnic identities and cultural differences in an objectivist perspective.

These scholars seem to agree that "culturalism" (or the use of culture in an uncritical and systematic way to explain intercultural encounters) tends to give a very objectivist-differentialist vision of "cultures"; it also corresponds to "analytical stereotyping" (Sarangi) and ignores the postmodern understanding that identities are multiple and co-constructed – even within the self. This is why methodologies which consist of "soft" content analysis, which merely paraphrase what the Other or the Self have to say to serve as evidence of "culture", need to be questioned. In attempting to move intercultural language education beyond superficial ways of understanding the intercultural, methods such as participant-observation, self-reflexive essays, roleplays, simulations, and even "stays abroad" have been used for allowing learners to develop what most authors call "intercultural competence" (Byram, 2008). Such activities are developed as opportunities for students to develop reflexive and critical skills yet, how the students build up these skills through such activities is often less well explored.

One of the main problems facing intercultural education is our heavy reliance on interpreting and understanding discourses and actions. Discourses are unstable and do not always correspond to actions. These problems call for different ways of understanding and analysing learners' relations to interculturality and their discourses on the self, the "same" and the other. The analysis of language can allow people to examine how they construct/co-construct themselves and others through the discourses they use and encounter. Faced with unstable and contradictory discourses and actions, learners need the resources to analyse both their construction and their (in)consistency. We believe that linguistics has a role in developing more sophisticated understandings of the nature of the intercultural in language education.

One of the reasons that linguistics has been seen as having little relevance to interculturally oriented language education is that it has often been perceived as being concerned with formal descriptions of autonomous linguistics systems, however, linguistics, just like language education, has evolved massively since the 1970s. In a very similar vein to other human sciences, new approaches in linguistics have emerged which give greater emphasis to language in use, to the culturally embedded nature of language, to the role of context, to interaction, and to analysing the ways discourses are (co)created and negotiated between interlocutors.

Some of the linguistic approaches that may serve as tools for understanding and researching intercultural language learning and teaching include, but are not limited to:
  • Conversation analysis
  • Critical discourse analysis
  • Dialogism
  • Discourse analysis
  • Ethnography of communication
  • Interactional sociolinguistics
  • Membership categorization analysis
  • Positioning theory
  • Pragmatics
  • Reconstruction method
  • Rhetoric
  • Semantics
  • Semiotics
  • Theories of enunciation
  • Theory of prediscourse.
The editors of this volume believe strongly that linguistics has a lot to offer to both language and intercultural educationalists and researchers. This volume aims to present a range of investigations of intercultural language teaching and learning which demonstrate how linguistics can contribute to understanding the field. Focusing on any field of language education (primary, secondary, higher education, lifelong learning, adult education… ), the contributors will examine how teachers and researchers use linguistics to promote and research interculturality in language education. Possible topics to be covered include the role and use of linguistics in:
  • language and intercultural education in the classroom;
  • in computer-mediated language learning and teaching;
  • in informal language learning contexts;
  • in teacher education (pre-service or in-service);
  • in preparation for study abroad;
  • in assessing intercultural capabilities;
  • in combination with other disciplinary approaches to develop interdisciplinary perspectives on intercultural language education.
CFP: November 2009
Deadline for submitting proposals: 1st March 2010
Decisions: 15th April 2010
Chapters to be handed in by 15th September 2010

Potential authors are invited to submit a 300-word proposal (including a few lines about the author(s)) in English to both editors by 1st March 2010 ( & The proposals should clearly explain the theoretical framework and concerns of the proposed chapter, and include a short description of a corpus (where applicable). A basic bibliography may also be added. Authors of accepted proposals will be notified by 15th April 2010. Full chapters are expected to be submitted by September 15th 2010. The book is scheduled to be published in autumn 2011 by an international publisher. All submitted chapters will be reviewed on a blind review basis.


Alex Case said...

Fabulous name for a blog? Really suffering from L2 interference, or just sounded cool??

Jonathan Benda said...

The short answer to your question is "yes"--both!

I've been meaning to write a post about the title for a long time, but never got around to it. Maybe I'll do it some time soon now that someone has expressed interest in it!