EXTENDING BEYOND THE CLASSROOM: SEMIOTICS AND CULTURE IN EFL COURSES

Kucukalic, Lejla (2015) EXTENDING BEYOND THE CLASSROOM: SEMIOTICS AND CULTURE IN EFL COURSES. Journal of Foreign Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics, 2 (2). ISSN 2303-5528 (In Press)

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Abstract

This essay describes a semiotic analysis exercise designed to enhance students’ cultural and critical literacy, a skill necessary for language comprehension, pragmatics, and proficiency (Liton and Madanat). Rather than observing and comparing cultures as monolithic and unchangeable, students are encouraged to develop complex cultural understanding based on the reading of their surrounding semiosphere. Following Yuri Lotman’s concept of “semiosphere,” defined as a totality of signs in a certain system, students apply semiotic analysis on their local physical and media space in order to understand the signifying processes in their hybrid cultural environment. Rather than looking at the target culture as a separate Other, students observe the incursion of that culture into their own environment. The relevance of this approach is ensured by the system of signs in the Gulf – its semiosphere - being heavily influenced by mixing of Arabic and English, as well as Filipino/Tagalog, Bengali, and Hindi languages, by entertainment and media outlets of multiple cultures, and the logoed and branded presence of multinational companies. The semiosphere of the Gulf involves an array of signals that function both on the global and local scale, what Yuri Lotman describes as “a semiotic continuum filled with multi-variant semiotic models situated at a range of levels.” The exercise described in this paper invites students to use semiotics for analysis of culture and its objects, in turn increasing their integrated motivation, their agency, and their cultural literacy by getting them involved in “the processes of reflection and negotiation through which shared cultural understanding emerges” (Weninger and Kiss) while relying on standard practical techniques for teaching culture in the EFL classroom, “noticing,” “prediction,” and “research” (Cullen and Sato)

Item Type: Article
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: J-FLTAL
Depositing User: Mr. Eldin Milak
Date Deposited: 24 Aug 2015 12:56
Last Modified: 14 Dec 2016 01:45
URI: http://eprints.ibu.edu.ba/id/eprint/2914

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