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CLIL: Conceptual differences in teaching “realia” to philological and non-philological students

Abstract

In Slovakia, modern Cultural Studies of English-speaking countries have been integrated into university curricula since the 1990s. However, there is a fundamental difference in the role CLIL plays in teaching “realia” (alternatively: cultural studies, country studies and area studies) for philological students and for business students of non-philological faculties. While philological students study realia with primary linguistic and cultural goals (i.e. to learn new words, terminology, context and comparative cultural aspects), non-philological students’ goals are business oriented (i.e. allow a successful graduate to function effectively in a new business environment). That affects the methodology, teaching procedure and assessment of both disciplines in debate.

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Contents, communicational needs and learner expectations: a study of SSL in Haitian immigrants

Abstract

This research aims to prove the effectiveness of Spanish as a Second Language lessons for Haitians designed by volunteers in Santiago de Chile. The methodology used through the study was based on the application of two questionnaires to Haitian students in order to compare results, and finally obtain an average that reflects the achievement of the communicative functions expected. Results indicate that neither the lessons planned, material giver nor the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages fulfilled such expectations. Findings are discussed in relation to previous studies on methodologies for Spanish as a Second Language for Haitian immigrants in Chile (Toledo, 2016)

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The Cultural and Educational Dimension of the “New Silk Road:” The Re-invention of Mongolness at the Sino-Tibetan Borderlands

Abstract

In October 2013, Xí Jìnpíng presented not only an ambitious infrastructure project but a strategic initiative that promoted connections in many regards: the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). One intended strategic value of this initiative is the improvement of relations between China and its neigh-bours as well as the improvement of dialogue among different civilizations. Emphasis is placed on the importance of the shared historical cultural heritage of the involved ethnic groups, while the idea of a ‘harmonious society’ is promoted at the same time. The aim of this article is to shed light on how China expands its soft power through civilizational connections along the Sino-Mongolian-Russian Economic Corridor by referring to the Silk Road Academic Belt. This article is based on ethnographic field research in Hénán Mongol Autonomous County in the Sino-Tibetan borderlands of Qīnghǎi Province during an international conference titled “Historical and Cultural Links between Mongolia and Tibet,” held in July 2017.1

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Discourses of “Herbivore Masculinity” in Japanese Love Advice Books

Abstract

In the last decade, discourses of non-conforming masculinities have become increasingly prominent in Japanese mass media. In particular, the so-called “herbivore men” have been made infamous by Japanese newspapers and were accused of being responsible for sinking birth rates and economic stagnation in Japan (Schad-Seifert 2016). In this article, I explore the discourse on the “herbivore men” in Japanese love advice books which are meant to guide and inform the (female) reader’s assessment of potential romantic partners. Utilising Siegfried Jäger’s methodological approach (2015), this discursive analysis focuses on the line of discourse that implicitly criticises the “herbivore men” and rejects their turn away from hegemonic images of masculinity. The analysis yields that the “herbivore man” is constructed as an ‘unnatural’ form of masculinity in these publications, which allegedly causes women to become sexually active and career-driven “carnivores.” Japanese women’s empowerment from hegemonic gender ideals is thereby misrepresented as a symptom of psychological distress due to changing masculinities. By perpetuating ideas of biological determinism linked to the backlash against the “gender-free” movement in the early 2000s, this line of discourse propagates problematic relations of gender and power in Japanese society.

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East Asian Technical Cooperation Initiatives in Central America: A Comparative Analysis of Japan and South Korea in Guatemala

Abstract

This article describes the similarities and differences of Japanese and South Korean technical cooperation approaches in Guatemala. The literature review illustrates the transition from an initially donor-centric results chain approach towards one that is increasingly recipient-balanced due to new cooperation principles such as horizontality and demand-drivenness. Such approaches are mainly fostered by the rise of new emerging donors on the international development cooperation horizon, such as the advocates of South-South Development Cooperation (SSDC).

An analysis based on a framework by the Network of Southern Think Tanks (NeST) concludes that Japanese and Korean technical cooperation approaches are markedly similar, most notably in regard to officially proclaimed technical cooperation standards and commitments. Differences result from the degree of related implementation: Japan achieves higher results based on relative deficiencies in reporting by Korea as well as comparatively shorter bilateral Korean-Guatemalan relations. Similarities are fostered by analogous institutional and project related structures, stemming from an argued learning and simulation approach by Korea from the long-standing experiences of Japan. Lastly, it is argued that the growing assimilation of the traditional and the SSDC concept, as well as the increasing engagement of both countries in triangular cooperation contribute to the identified similarities.

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Facets of translation in foreign language education: a tentative classification of forms and uses

Abstract

The paper provides an overview of the forms in which translation is used in foreign language education. A tentative classification is suggested which differentiates between facilitative translation as a supporting process that helps to overcome learning constraints, deliberate translation as an independent task with a predetermined objective that targets learners’ foreign language competence and skills, and simulated translation as an activity from which additional pedagogical benefits regarding learners’ foreign language proficiency can be derived. From the side of the learner, facilitative translation constitutes a complex learning strategy that can be applied for a variety of strategic purposes (memory-related, cognitive, compensatory, metacognitive, affective, and social), while from the side of the teacher it represents a scaffolding tool that can be consolidated into a fully-fledged teaching technique. Deliberate translation can further be differentiated according to the specifics of pedagogical focus. Language-focused translation, targeting learners’ grammatical accuracy or vocabulary range and control, and skill-focused translation, targeting one of the four basic communicative language skills, can be used for both instruction-related and diagnostic purposes. The focus on the holistic use of the available linguistic repertoire results in the two complex uses of translation as an incentive for communication and as a communicative activity aimed at developing the skill of cross-language mediation. A particular type of simulated translation which appears to be particularly suited for the purposes of foreign language education is audiovisual translation.

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The importance of intra-linguistic diversity in teaching Slovenian as the first language

Abstract

In recent decades, Slovenian sociolinguistic situation and within the functions of different language varieties have dramatically changed. In spite of this process, the standard language remains a language variety that enables an individual to participate equally in educational and public life. As the Slovenian schools are not successful enough in developing of the discursive flexibility and mastering of the standard language, in the article, the functions of Standard language in modern Slovenian-speaking society is described; the specific groups of primary Slovenian language speakers are defined, and some solutions for improving the first language learning are suggested.

In 1990’s, in opposite to the prevailing traditional structural language-stratification theory, the new classification of the primary sociolects, based on the English functional linguistics, by A. E. Skubic was represented. According to his theory, the sociolects are defined as non-hierarchically ordered cultivated or marginal language varieties that are used and identified with by different social groups. Based on Skubic’s classification, two main groups of primary-Slovenian language speakers can be described. The speakers of the cultivated primary sociolects are mostly self-confident users of language, identifying themselves with the main culture. In opposite, the speakers of the marginal sociolects could be de-privileged due to their linguistic deficit in standard language and micro-cultural discursive patterns, used in educational or public contexts.

As it is suggested, to improve students’ linguistic competence and diminish deficits, the discursive flexibility should be understood as a complex awareness, consisting of cognitive, emotional-evaluative and active dimensions. Therefore, the basic principle of first language teaching should become the extended holistic principle, emphasizing the inclusion of standard and different non-standard language varieties, observation of their different functions in specific communicative situations and reflection about the complex context, that can be implemented to first language teaching in all basic phases of learning.

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An investigation into the effects of prompt selection on writing complexity, accuracy, and fluency: The case of Iranian learners at different proficiency levels

Abstract

Self-selecting of the material has been the arena of discussion by the researchers of L2 pedagogy. While some believe that it can be effective, others believe that it is detrimental to L2 learning. Hence, the purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of self-selected and teacher assigned writing prompts on the writing complexity, accuracy, and fluency of Iranian EFL learners at beginning, intermediate, and advanced proficiency levels. The theoretical aspects of the current research were founded based on Theory of Reasoned Action (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980) and Choice Theory (Glasser, 1998). Given that, 52 Iranian EFL learners (beginning N = 19, intermediate N = 16, advanced N = 17) participated in this study. Each student was asked to write about two writing prompts: one selected by the students and the other by the teacher. Using relevant indexes, we measured writing complexity, accuracy and fluency with regard to the two writing prompts. The results indicated that there was a statistically significant difference between the writing complexity, accuracy, and fluency of L2 learners when they wrote about their own self-selected prompts and when they wrote about the teacher assigned ones. The results also revealed that L2 learners’ writings were more complex, accurate, and fluent when they wrote about their self-selected prompts. The findings of this study can have some implications for L2 writing instructors and test designers.

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Lowland Slovak youth literature and its interpretational and educational aspects (within and outside the school)

Abstract

An integral part of the Slovak cultural context is also Lowland Slovak literature, which includes certain areas of Hungary, Romania and Serbia. The paper outlines the partial development of Slovak youth literature in these regions. It gradually characterizes the most important aspects of diachrony of this segment of writing (in a certain chronotope that is bound to selected prototexts). Based on objective-subjective interpretations of three emblematic works of this context, it highlights - as a certain typology - not only the general / universal, but also the specific / particular (that is particularly relevant to the context) in intra- and intercultural relations. It accentuates the literary tradition, which is still a useful source of realistic short stories and novels for child percipients in these diasporas. It also traditionally and innovatively points out the typical features of teaching in individual national-minority schools in the mentioned countries. Methodologically (but also practically) it is, of course, based, on thematic, motif related, etc. aspects of the analyzed (selected) works and their possible reflection in school education and learning environment. Finally, the use of language / features / motifs / aspects / procedures is concretized in specific conditions outside the physical boundaries of the homeland as a kind of perspective on the correlation of the difficult process of cultural education itself.

Open access
On the Origins of the Japanese Language

Abstract

In this article, I deal with the historical development of the Japanese language by applying a multi-disciplinary approach that uses data from a variety of fields. My research indicates that the home-land of the Japonic language family may have been in the lower Yangtze River Valley, from where its speakers moved to the Korean Peninsula and eventually to Japan during the Yayoi period. This spread is associated with the dispersal of wet rice agriculture from the area south of the Yangtze River via the northeastern Asian mainland, where it was in contact with cultures cultivating millet. Old Japanese mythology and genealogical data suggests that the earliest known ethnic group that spoke Japonic may have been the Hayato people of southern Kyūshū.1

Open access