Handbook of Foreign Language Communication and Learning by Karlfried Knapp and Barbara Seidlhofer

By Karlfried Knapp and Barbara Seidlhofer

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Extra info for Handbook of Foreign Language Communication and Learning (Handbooks of Applied Linguistics, Volume 6)

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The final chapter in this section, and in the volume, ‘Evaluating curricula, courses and textbooks’, by Pauline Rea-Dickens and Richard Kiely, is, as its title indicates, concerned with the evaluation of the design of foreign language 18 Karlfried Knapp, Barbara Seidlhofer and Henry Widdowson instruction, with what is taught rather than what is learned. They describe theory, policy and practice perspectives on language programme evaluation and explore current understandings of evaluation within language programmes, with particular reference to evaluation as a tool for learning.

It is argued that the foreign language subject is very different from the object language of linguistic description and can only be effectively designed by taking into account the contexts and conditions of the learning process, and that its objective should be to provide an investment in communicative capability for future use rather than to get learners to try to replicate native speaker behaviour. Communication is of course not only an exchange of linguistic tokens. A language, as Claire Kramsch points out in her chapter ‘The cultural perspective’, embodies the shared social conventions and values that constitute the culture of the community which speaks it.

Deictics are a very important class of relationed expressions, as they are highly relevant for any linguistic system. Their point of reference, the origo is the very speech action in which they are uttered. However, the class of relationed expressions is not just made up of spatio-temporal deictics. As we have seen, the semantics of ‘foreign’ and ‘foreignness’ rely on a mental point of reference, the proprium, the ‘self’, which results from categorisation and classification processes. This allows for the following conclusions as to the ‘foreignness’ of foreign languages: Foreignness does not apply to any language per se, but results from the distance of this language in relation to a group of speakers.

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