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TEACHING ENGLISH AS THE WAY TO BRING UP AN INTERCULTURALLY EFFECTIVE PERSON




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 “Global English” in a sociolinguistic context refers almost literally to the use of English as a global language. It means a common language for the world.

A language achieves a genuinely global status when it develops a special role that is recognized in every country. Having such a status, the global language has to be of a great importance, influencing all the domains of the human activity in the world.

Today, we will acknowledge that English is sweeping the planet’s physical, economic, cultural and cyber space. Hollywood, Microsoft, Coca- Cola, the hegemony of the American empire in the world battered by two global wars- English is the language of pop-culture, of tourism, of markets and trade, of the Internet.

And yet, of course, English is not sweeping all before it, not even in the United States. According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, ten years ago about one in seven people in this country spoke a language other than English at home- and since then the proportion of immigrants in the population has grown and grown. Ever-wider swaths of Florida, California, and the Southwest are heavily Spanish-speaking. Hispanic people make up 30 percent of the population of New York City, and a television station there that is affiliated with a Spanish-language network has been known to draw a larger daily audience than at least one of the city’s English-language network affiliates. Even Sioux City, Iowa, now has a Spanish-language newspaper.

According to the census, from 1980 to 1990 the number of Spanish-speakers in the United States grew by 50 percent.

Over the same decade the number of speakers of Chinese in the United States grew by 98 percent. Today approximately 2.4 million Chinese-speakers live in America, and more than four out of five of them prefer to speak Chinese at home. The rate of growth of certain other languages in the United States has been higher still. From 1980 to 1990 the number of speakers of Korean increased by 127 percent and of speakers of Vietnamese by 150 percent. Small American towns from Huntsville, Alabama, to Meriden, Connecticut, to Wausau, Wisconsin, to El Cenizo, Texas- all sites of linguistic controversy in recent years- have been alarmed to find that many not even see the point of going to the trouble of learning it.

How can all of this, simultaneously, be true? How can it be that English is conquering the globe if it can’t even hold its own in parts of this traditionally English-speaking country?

A typical English-speaker’s experience of the language is becoming increasingly simplified.

One has noticed the following unfortunate changes in English in the past few years: the use of MAY for MIGHT (few examples: He is recovering from a heart attack he had last month- a heart attack that MAY have been prevented. (well, was it or wasn’t it?) ); the almost complete U.S. substitution of adjectival for adverbial forms (for example: You done good rather than You did well (“Good” is of course an awkward word in English because it can act as noun, adjective and (strangely) as an adverb.)).

We are witnessing the emergence of the new internationally acceptable norms like: 1. If I would have instead If I had; 2. You are studying English, right?; 3. She just left instead She has just left; 4. We are waiting for an hour instead We have been waiting for an hour; 5. Do you have ?instead Have you got?. Some of them (3 and 5) are traditional American form and their international use can be explained by that constant competition between the two main variants of English. The others (1,2,3) are obviously the examples of other languages’ interference in the grammatical structure of the English language when it is being used by those whose mentality is far from that of the Anglo-Saxon speaking world [2, P. 271].

The appearance of some innovations is due to the language being used in a completely new domain: e-mails, blogs, chats, SMS, etc. We see the results of the save-a-keystroke principle working: 1. abbreviated telegram-like sentences of the meeting tomorrow, right? type; 2. elimination of capitals (I hope … to London); 3. unexpected abbreviations like cwot – complete waste of time. All above mentioned features penetrate the domains of conventional English grammar and affects the process of its learning.

But nevertheless English is the working language of the Asian trade group ASEAN. It is the de facto working language of 98 percent of German research physicists and 83 percent of German research chemists. It is the official language of the European Central Bank, even though the bank is in Frankfurt and neither Britain nor any other predominantly English-speaking country is a member of the European Monetary Union. It is the language in which black parents in South Africa overwhelmingly wish their children to be educated. This little list of facts comes from British sources: a report, The Future of English?, and a follow-up newsletter that David Graddol, a language researcher at The Open University, and his consulting firm, The English Company U.K., wrote in 1997 and 1998 for the British Council, whose mission is to promote British culture worldwide; and English as a Global Language (1997), a book by David Crystal, professor at the University of Wales.

The linguistic legacy of the British Empire and the indisputable excellence of the United States in many technological areas has led to the use of English as a lingua franca in many commercial and industrial situations, with the consequence that the need for foreign language competence has not always been perceived or rewarded in British commerce and industry.

 Job offers for a number of branches will expect applicants to speak English without even mentioning this fact, so an even greater need of English in business is to be expected.

And here comes the most important question for teachers: what kind of English to teach and what kind of English will help our present students and future specialists to become competitive on the agenda of this Global village we live in nowadays.

The English language has several levels of usage that differ from each other in the degree of formality or informality. There are different opinions on what to include in these levels, and the boundaries between them are not always clear. And as for new grammar and lexical formations in English – the discussions are really hot.

    Which of these language levels should we choose as our goal and field of study? Standard English, of course, with the right share of informal English for everyday life and a little of formal English for business correspondence (keep in mind that academic English, that is, the language that is studied in educational institutions, is usually more formal than the language in real life).

We understand that our students might find themselves in different situations. A little formality in speech won’t hurt a foreign speaker of English, while an inappropriate informal phrase or a tricky slang expression could produce a bad impression of them or even get them into trouble.

At the same time the desire if international companies to attract best talents is the natural outcome of a growing competition in the business world. It leads to many intercultural problems and it is the intercultural leader with his situational competence and his ability to create his own culture that is most required in this situation. It can be a real solution to the problem of language globalization where native speakers have so far a certain linguistic advantage dominating decision-making up to 75%. Thus, teaching English as a global language is raised to another level — the level of bringing up the Interculturally Effective Person through linguistic means [1]. A profile of the Interculturally Effective Person who can cope with any intercultural problem should include the following essential features:

  • behavioral (the ability to control situation and suspend your judgments);
  • affective (the ability to be engaged with people you don’t agree with);
  • understanding of the concept of culture including its visible and invisible components;
  • good knowledge of the host country (including different cultural codes of showing respect, attitude of modesty and respect);
  • professional and personal commitment;
  • good adaptation skills;
  • relationship-building skills (to be able to build trust);
  • acquisition of intercultural communication skills.

References:

  1. Bob Dignen. 50 Ways to Improve your Presentation Skills in English. Cambridge University Press. 2007. – P. 160.
  2. Penny Ur. Teaching Grammar: Research and Practice, Proceedings of the 9th LATEUM conference. M., 2008.
  3. Penny Ur. A Course in Language Teaching: Practice and Theory. Cambridge University Press. 1996. – P.389.
    TEACHING ENGLISH AS THE WAY TO BRING UP AN INTERCULTURALLY EFFECTIVE PERSON
    The article deals with the problem of teaching English as a global language in retrospect of its becoming more simplified, it gives the analysis of some new internationally acceptable grammar norms.
    Written by: Gamaeva Ludmila Anatoljevna, Tiymchuk Elena Viktorovna
    Published by: БАСАРАНОВИЧ ЕКАТЕРИНА
    Date Published: 04/11/2017
    Edition: ЕВРАЗИЙСКИЙ СОЮЗ УЧЕНЫХ_30.04.2015_04(13)
    Available in: Ebook