Dialect Integration into L2 Classrooms

Mansour Ahmed:

Hi folks,

As we delve deeper into the area of educational sociolinguistics, I hope everyone is enjoying the variety of topics that we have surveyed thus far. Today, I am going to write about dialect incorporation in L2 learning settings/curriculum. I am sure most of you, if not all, have been in L2 (or L3) teaching-learning settings one way or another, i.e. as language learner (L2ers) or as language teachers. Typically, the goal of most L2ers is to become proficient in the target language (and culture) such that they actively and appropriately can participate in a range of communicative contexts and situations. Put differently, while it is vital that L2ers achieve a superb mastery of the grammar and phonology of the TL, it is pivotal that they be Sociolinguistically/interactionally competent. Part of this sociolinguistic competency, I argue, is to have a strong command of the TL dialect(s) and/or varieties; therefore, we as teachers should give them access to informal registers and dialects that are geographically and ethnically different, particularly in foreign language contexts. While textbooks and teaching materials should be designed with this goal in mind, almost all, unfortunately, however, lack this linguistic feature for a range of political and pedagogical reasons. What’s more, most language educators adhere to the prescribed curriculum. As L2 instructors, would you supplement the curriculum and consider integrating common dialectal expressions and use into your L2 activities/teaching? I know that this may be sensitive as some languages have multiple dialects, I am curious which dialect would you choose? Would you be eclectic? Or would you choose one or two dialects over others? Ultimately, we all want our students to use the language effectively and fittingly. For instance, L2ers of Arabic should be able to use and comprehend the language well whether they are in the streets of Sana’a, Damascus, or Cairo. Similarly, L2ers of French should be able to use it suitably whether they are in Quebec City or Paris, and the list goes on.

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Teaching Mandarin in a small corner of Canada

Hsinhua Wu: The 2nd Post.

         The reasons we call our son « Coco » is not because it is a term of endearment used by francophones for babies, it is because of his mixed race identity; he is white and yellow. He doesn’t need to choose a side. Although some research studies show that racial identity is influenced by a number of factors, I believe language is the central component in the development of self-identity. This is why I have spoken Mandarin at home since my son was born.

         It is undeniably challenging to teach a heritage language alone in a foreign country. Challenge accepted. I switched my role from mother to teacher, and home became a classroom. My children’s environment is set up to promote the learning of Mandarin and Chinese culture. On this journey of formation of their personal and cultural identity, my children focus on learning to communicate with my family and other Taiwanese people, and I now realize that it is also the goal of most foreign language classes, to help students use the target language in any settings appropriately. Therefore, in this post, I am going to share with you some of the methods I use at home, which I could also use in class to develop students’ sociolinguistic competence which refers to the ability to use language linguistically and socially appropriately.

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