A presentation by Carl Blyth at Columbia on Friday, October 30th.
Professor Blyth is Associate Professor of French Linguistics and Director of the Center of Open Educational Resources and Language Learning (COERLL) at the University of Texas at Austin (USA). His talk is entitled “Understanding Languaculture: From Language-and-Culture to Language-As-Culture”
Professor Blyth has shared the following summary of his talk:
In many approaches to formal instruction, a foreign language is routinely conceptualized as a fixed code of conventionalized form-meaning pairings resembling Saussure’s well known concept of “langue.” In addition, the “language” is represented as a related but separate object with respect to the foreign “culture.” As such, despite the recent ‘social turn’ in applied linguistics, language study largely ignores the complex relationship between language, culture and thought. In this talk, I will argue that language programs should seek to raise students’ understanding of language use as culturally influenced meaning-making. In keeping with the new complex object of study, I adopt the term ‘languaculture,’ defined as the “cultural aspects of language” (Risager 2006, 2007) or “linguistically mediated cultural meaning and behaviors in interaction” (Diaz 2013). I will exemplify how the concept of languaculture can be applied to classroom teaching with an example of an upper-division French course that employs concept-based instruction (Negueruela 2008, van Compernolle 2014), a pedagogy grounded in sociocultural theory. Finally, I will demonstrate instructional methods and classroom activities that promote languaculture awareness, e.g., metapragmatic discussion, interactional analysis, and student self-reflection.
Carl S. Blyth (PhD, Cornell University) is Associate Professor of French Linguistics and Director of the Center of Open Educational Resources and Language Learning (COERLL) at the University of Texas at Austin (USA). His research interests include computer-mediated discourse, cross-cultural and intercultural pragmatics, pedagogical grammar and open educational approaches to language learning. He has published on metalinguistic awareness, the affordances of social reading for L2 literacy development, native and non-native role models for language learning, L2 narrative discourse, online stance taking and interactive frames in L2 discourse. He has authored or co-authored several books and book chapters as well as journal articles in venues such as the Modern Language Journal, CALICO Journal, and Journal of Educational Computing Research. Most recently, he has published a co-edited book with Dale Koike called Dialogue in Multilingual and Multimodal Communities (2015, John Benjamins). He currently serves on the editorial board of Intercultural Pragmatics and Issues in Language Program Direction.