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CULTURALLY DIFFERENT LEARNERS from the paper "Factors Predicting Success in EFL Among Culturally Different Learners" by Elite Olshtain& Elana Shohamy


Linguistic disadvantage is often said to be a major cause
for lack of success in school (Bereiter & Englemann, 1966;
Stahl, 1977). The nature of such a disadvantage is not entirely
clear, although considerable work has been carried out in this
area. Most investigators will agree that both the formal organization
of language (the speaker’s linguistic competence) and
the appropriateness rules related to language use are acquired
mainly through social interaction, and because this interaction
differs from one social group to another, child language will
vary according to group membership (Wells, 1979a, 1979b).
From this common point of departure, studies diverge into two
main schools of thought. One group of scholars (mostly psychologists
and educators) have tended to view the language of
lower-class, culturally disadvantaged children as deficient or
restricted in some way (Bereiter & Engelmann, 1966; Stahl,
1977). The second group (mostly sociolinguists) have viewed
the language of disadvantaged children as systematically different
but highly structured and developed in its own right
(Labov, 1970; Baratz, 1972).
The advocates of the deficit theory claim that the deficient
language ability affects cognitive ability, and they usually base
their claims on Bernstein’s (1960) distinction between elaborated
and restricted code. The elaborated code is relatively
explicit, makes fewer assumptions about the hearer’s knowledge, requires paraphrasing and contextualization, and is
said to be the kind of language that is required in school and in
academic or scholastic enterprises in general. The restricted
code, on the other hand, is less explicit, and therefore makes
greater assumptions about knowledge shared by speaker and
hearer. Such a restricted code has many more in-group markers
and although it is fully adequate for intragroup communication,
it may not be appropriate for intergroup interaction,
thus creating difficulty for the child in the school environment.
The variation in language proficiency and language use
that differentiates between social classes might also be explained
by Cummins’ (1979a, 1979b) distinction between the
academic type of language proficiency originally termed as
Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP) and interpersonal
communication skills, Basic Interpersonal Communicative
Skills (BICS). Within the framework of the CALP-BICS
distinction, the interdependence hypothesis was reformulated
by Cummins (1980,1981,1984) mostly for bilingual language
situations in which CALP in the first language and CALP in the
second language were regarded as manifestations of one underlying
dimension. According to Cummins, language
proficiency can be conceptualized along two continua: the first
relating to the contextual support available for expressing and
receiving meaning and the second relating to the cognitive
involvement in the task or activity. Context-reduced and
cognitively demanding situations exert the use of CALP and
are typical of language used for academic, school activities.
Because in the present study we are concerned with the school
context, we felt the need to examine the possibility that culturally
and linguistically different students exhibit different types
of CALP, which in turn might explain their disadvantage with
respect toschool language. If such students are disadvantaged
in language use in their firstlprimary language, might this
affect their chances to be successful in foreign-language learning?
How do affective variables intereact with these CALP
variables for such students?

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Chinese students are in a course in which teacher explains English Culture















Gestures, which can be shown with using hand.

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How Culture Influences Language by Rebecca Scudder


The relationship between language and culture is as old as mankind. Through the centuries, people and their living practices have evolved, resulting in wide-reaching changes in societal culture. This in turn, has influenced language to be what it is today.
Language is a form of expression or communication between humans. Simply putting it, spoken and written communication with pre-set meanings for each word written or uttered is what we refer to as language. Culture, on the other hand, is defined by the activities of people, sometimes governed by a geographical boundary. Every culture is unique in itself. It includes language, art, music, mannerisms, religion, games, dress, rituals, law and belief. Having two such expansively defined fields, how far would one have to go to observe the effect that culture has on language? Answer: As far back as man himself.
Man started to communicate with his few kinsmen through symbols. Mutually understood grunts became spoken communication. Population started to thrive. Groups of people separated and changed. The concept of race was established and thus began the rich diversity of cultures. Large groups were classified into families and each family was then broken down to sub-families and the world as it stands today, is an amalgam of all of them.
Comparative linguists try to pin the origin of a language to its common ancestor. Since cultures themselves have undergone centuries of transition, it’s only natural that languages too would have evolved and changed the same way. Researchers have broadly classified the world of language into three families; European and Asian, Pacific and African, and American Indian.
Each of the above families has had its own cultural traits. The peculiarity of each family shaped the way the language was spoken and understood amongst them. Every miniscule tribe had their own phonetic. Grammar, the order of words, the use of vowels, consonants and the tonal accent too varied between tribes and groups. Thus, different languages from the same region had a lot of similarities, but when examined closely, had an identity of their own. These distinctions helped evolve the respective language over centuries.
Social traits, which are culture dependent, also influenced language in the way different genders or classes within the same tribe or race spoke to one another. Trade jargons were established in multilingual regions.
Over time, languages borrowed sounds, grammar and vocabulary from one another. This doesn’t necessarily mean they originated from the same region. Point in case, the striking derivatives in English taken from Sanskrit and European languages that made use of American Indians'. Independently, languages like English were standardized, but the way the language is spoken in different parts of the world is a reflection of the effect culture has on it. Trousers in Britain and pants in America mean the same but sound nowhere near alike, courtesy the respective cultures.
Having evolved from a common protolanguage, it’s only fair to say that there are more similarities between languages today than differences. Culture enriches language, affecting dialect, grammar and literature, to name a few. As more and more people mingle, the world is literally becoming one. As a result, different languages from their respective cultures help to understand and appreciate the evolution of the world and its people as it is today, for when man started out, language was solely meant to be the means that bridged the gap between him and his fellowmen.

Read more: http://www.brighthub.com/education/languages/articles/15463.aspx#ixzz0qGmmJ2xI

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The man with blue jacket tells the meaning of his new invented gesture.

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Sociocultural Factors from the book "Methodology in Language Teaching Edited by Jack C. Richards&Willy A. Renandya


Many cultural characteristics of a language also affect L2 or foreign language learning. From a pragmatic perspective, language is a form of social action because linguistics communication occurs in the context of structured interpersonal exchange, and meaning is thus socially regulated (Dimitracopoulou, 1990). In other words, “shared values and beliefs create the traditions and social structures that bind a community together and are expressed in their language (Carrasquillo, 1994, p. 55). Thus, to speak a language, one must know how the language is used in a social context. It is well known that each language has its own behavior on his or her conversational partner (Berns, 1990). Because of the influence or interference of their own cultural norms, it is hard for nonnative speakers to choose the forms appropriate to certain situations. For instance, in Chinese culture, paying a compliment to someone obligates that person to give a negative answer (such as “No. It is not so good.”) in order to show “modesty,” whereas in North American culture such a response might be both inappropriate and embarrassing. In addition, oral communication, as mentioned involves a very powerful nonverbal communication system, which sometimes contradicts the messages provided through the verbal listening channel. Because of a lack of familiarity with the nonverbal communication system of the target language, EFL learners usually do not know how to pick up nonverbal cues. As a result, ignorance of the nonverbal message often leads to misunderstanding. The following example is a case in point. One day, when a Chinese student heard “Let’s get together for lunch sometime.” He immediately responded by proposing to fix a specific date without noticing the native speaker’s indifferent facial expression. Undoubtedly, he was puzzled when his interlocutor left without giving him an expected answer. It is evident that the student hand not understood the nonverbal message, which illustrates that the sociocultural factor is another aspect that greatly affects oral communication.

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Emotion, culture and language

video

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Some gestures from an English man. First one means ok. Second means bad or negative. Third means “come”. Fourth means attention. This gesture is used when a person behaving in the way you do not like. Fifth is a gesture to show a bit surprise. The last one is used when a person do not have an idea about something.

Various hand gestures. These have different meanings in different cultures. For example, second one may be interpreted as being gay in Turkey, while it has an “ok” meaning in USA.


This gesture means victory, ok or all right. It is generally interpreted as positive response or reaction in many cultures.

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Composing and result of questionnaire


Survey Design:
A survey of word associations was designed for native Chinese speakers
(NCE) and native English speakers (NES) (see Appendix). The survey
for NCS is in Chinese, and that for NES in English. In the survey, ten
words (food, clothes, family, friend, job, money, culture, success,
happiness, love), which are related most closely to people's lives, and
cover both material and spiritual aspects of life, were chosen as prompts.
The subjects were asked to write down six additional words or
expressions that they associated with each of the ten words. That is to
say, the subjects were asked to add six words or expressions after each of
the ten chosen words, making 60 words in all.
Data Collection:
Between 28 March and 8 June 1998, 40 copies of the survey were
distributed to NES by Joni Strohm, an American expert in Qufu Normal
University, Qufu, China, who was also the personnel officer of the
English Language Institute in China. All of the NES subjects were EFL
teachers working in China. In all, 28 valid surveys were collected.
A further 30 copies of the survey distributed to NCS were collected
between 12 November and 16 December 1998. Some of the NCS
subjects were Chinese English teachers, and others were postgraduates
in English Linguistics from Qufu Normal University. Once again, 28 of
the surveys collected were considered to be valid.

Population:


Among the 28 NCS subjects, 11 were male and 17 female; 12 were teachers,
and 16 were postgraduates of English linguistics; their ages ranged from 22
to 59. Among the 28 NES subjects, 10 were male and 18 female; 26 were
Americans, and 2 were Canadians; their ages ranged from 20 to 64.

Data analysis:
Among the ten initiating words, only one word—food—was chosen to
show the associations. The Chinese words and phrases associated by the
NCS subjects were translated into English by the author before
categorization. Then all the items listed by the subjects were classified
into different categories. The number that followed each item (see Table
1) indicates the times the word or phrase appeared, or the number of
people who listed that word or phrase. If the item appeared only once,
number (1) was omitted. Table 1 showing the analyses is in next blog.

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Questionaire

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DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1.)“Language is learned where it is spoken.” What do you think about this statement?
2.)Does a person who has never studied the culture of foreign language he is learning express him or herself easily in the target language?
3.)Do you think learning a language which has a different alphabet from learner’s native language’s pushes learner?

Briefly comment on these questions.

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Culture integrated into lesson or not ?


Culture integrated into lesson or not?
Do you agree with the idea that teachers should integrate English Culture into their lesson?
I totally agree
I partially agree
I totally disagree







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