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Durham e-Theses
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Textbook vocabulary and cultural competence: a case study in efl in the republic of Macedonia

Georgievska, Emilija (2000) Textbook vocabulary and cultural competence: a case study in efl in the republic of Macedonia. Masters thesis, Durham University.



The issues of cultural content of textbooks for learning English as a foreign language and the sociocultral content of vocabulary in these same textbooks are the main focus of this thesis. The key point is that cultural learning is integral to language learning, and that while improving their linguistic ability learners should have an understanding of what the language they are learning represents. In the Republic of Macedonia the importance of cultural learning has been recognized but the theory and methods of teaching culture have been to a certain degree neglected. Issues such as ELT in Macedonia and the problems it faces, serves as a point of departure for this thesis, whereas the theoretical framework is based on issues such as the specific case of English as the lingua franca, the inseparability of language and culture, the six competencies according to Van Ek and the intercultural perspective to language learning. The survey of the studies shows that the aims of language learning involve intercultural competence rather than merely acquiring language skills which is not enough for cross-cultural communication and for real understanding of the target culture(s). On the basis of this framework criteria for the general cultural content of textbooks are looked at. Apart from these issues dealing with language and culture and language learning, a whole chapter is devoted to a survey of the latest research on vocabulary teaching and learning: corpus based vocabulary studies, in what way culture is encoded in vocabulary whereby the sociocultural dimension of vocabulary is specified, vocabulary acquisition, selection and incorporating vocabulary in the syllabus. Having in mind the above studies, criteria for the analysis of the sociocultural content of vocabulary are put forward. Investigation is carried out on two textbooks for learning English, both from the point of view of general cultural content and more specifically, sociocultural content of vocabulary, The results of the analyses showed that both textbooks have to a certain extent a potential for generating cultural knowledge. However, there does not seem to be an awareness on the part of the textbook authors of how such knowledge is to be conveyed to the learners. It seems that the role of culture has not been fully appreciated in that the learners should be taught to observe the world from the natives' perspective and appreciate the differences between their own culture and the target culture(s).

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:2000
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:13 Sep 2012 15:46

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