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Ruth Koro

Abstract

Language and culture are interconnected and teaching a language should also be concerned with offering learners a wide range of opportunities to gain insights into other cultures. Content and language integrated learning (CLIL) approaches have an invaluable contribution to make towards developing learners’ intercultural understanding (ICU), by making the content culturally relevant to the language of instruction. Within this paradigm, this paper presents the findings of an action-based research project seeking to develop ICU among secondary learners of French in England, through the teaching of a series of lessons following a CLIL approach. Stemming from its findings, it is proposed here that a renewed understanding of CLIL be defined, in which CLIL would stand for Content and Language Intercultural Learning. Within this framework, the content would be conceptualised through the lens of culture, to offer learners opportunities to compare and contrast experiences and viewpoints, to develop their cultural knowledge, as well as their intercultural skills and attitudes – by means of exposure, independent exploration and collaborative work. The language, still driven by the content, would encompass both the language of learning, and the language required through the learning processes - and would be language that is both accessible and cognitively challenging. Learning would occur through cognitively demanding content that is real, relevant and engaging, yet accessible to all.

Open access

Maria A. Arapova

Abstract

Although the smile is a universal facial expression, the use of smiles in communication varies across cultures. This may lead to misunderstandings and miscommunication. Both Americans and Europeans experience the same frustration and communication failure when they do not find smiling faces in Russia. At the same time, it is common for Russian people to perceive the smiles of Westerners as artificial and insincere. What is the reason for such a difference in perception? Why don’t Russians smile in some situations?

The study of the use of the smile as a non-verbal sign in a few chosen communicative contexts across Russian, European and American cultures showed the difference in its meaning and distribution according to the cultural tradition. The reason could stem from the difference of Russia’s history when compared to that of Western Europe, as well as in the specific restrictions in Russian Orthodox Christianity and the traditions of laughter in Russia. All the meanings and specific cases of distribution are clearly retained and expressed in the languages. If we compare the Russian улыбка and улыбаться with the English smile, we can see both common and distinctive semantic elements and different connotations.

Open access

P. P. Khoroshikh and A. A. Sergievich

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