Co-learning of language and culture in foreign language lessons
The success of learning a foreign language depends on a number of factors. One of them is taking into account the national cultural specifics of the society in which the language being studied functions. Understanding a foreign language text is impossible without understanding the foreign cultural features that accompany its creation. In the conditions of modern global integration, it is necessary not only to know foreign words, but also to be familiar with the culture of other people because behind every word there is a part of the picture of another world, foreign language and culture. In the classroom, it becomes necessary not only to pay attention to the relationship between language and culture, but to teach a foreign language as a tool for intercultural communication.
Introduction. This article is devoted to some features of learning a foreign language as a means of intercultural communication. The connection between culture and language becomes most noticeable when students are faced with the peculiarities of translation, even at the very first foreign language lessons. Already in elementary school, children are happy to find out that the two personal pronouns “ты” and “вы” have one equivalent in English – “you”, which already reflects the cultural characteristics of English-speaking countries. In the future, students of a foreign language have the opportunity not only to compare different languages, but also different cultures, to find common and different things in them, to enrich their life experience. Not for nothing S.G. Ter-Minasova notes: “Each lesson of a foreign language is a crossroads of cultures, it is a practice of intercultural communication because each foreign word reflects a foreign world and a foreign culture: behind each word there is something conditioned by national consciousness (again, foreign, if the word is foreign) idea of the world” [1, p. 25]. Without taking into account national cultural characteristics in the study of a language, it is impossible to fully master the subject.
Main part. Any activity requires setting a goal. Why in the modern world, where there are gadgets with translator applications, to learn a foreign language? In the light of modern trends, a foreign language ceases to be an end in itself for learning. The purpose of foreign language lessons is to teach to fully communicate in another language, but “communication and culture are inseparable” [2, p. 55], as has been repeatedly noted. A foreign language teacher should not only introduce his wards to a set of lexical units and grammatical rules, but also show how to use them in a real communication situation. Learners of a foreign language should see the goal of their efforts to master another language, namely, to learn to use it as a tool for intercultural communication.
The methodology of teaching foreign languages is based not only on linguistic facts, but also on extralinguistic ones, which are necessary in the process of communication. Knowing the language, representatives of different cultural communities cannot always adequately understand each other. The problem often lies in the divergence of cultures. As noted, “even native speakers of the same language can be representatives of different cultures or subcultures. They also may not fully understand each other” [3, p. 90].
Further consideration of the relationship between language and culture requires clarification of the basic concepts. The term “culture” is quite difficult to define, it is characterized by ambiguity and versatility. Summarizing the various points of view, culture can be called a “social phenomenon”. This is a set of material and spiritual values accumulated and accumulated by a certain community of people. Culture is a product of the social activity of human groups, it has a historical genesis and plays a decisive role in the formation of a separate human personality .
The relationship between language and culture has occupied the minds of many researchers. H. Schweitzer and L.B. Nikolsky reduce all approaches to three points of view: 1) language is neither a form nor an element of culture; 2) language is part of culture; 3) language is a form of reflection of culture [5, p. 37]. It seems appropriate to adhere to the third approach and present language as a form of reflection of culture. At the same time, it is necessary to note the bilateral nature of the links between the language and other components of culture. It is known that the formation of the literary language is influenced by a number of economic, political and historical facts.
The interaction of representatives of different cultures and speakers of different languages is realized in the process of intercultural communication. Communication in the broadest sense of the word is the transmission of a message. “Communication is carried out in one or all of the following ways: action directed at others, interaction with other people, and reaction to the actions of other people” [2, p. 25]. If the addressee is familiar with the language but not culturally familiar with the message, it may be incomprehensible to him.
Thus, it is usually difficult for students of a medical university to convey into English the meaning of our “understandable” concepts - “clinic”, “hospital” and “polyclinic” due to the fact that English-speaking countries have their own realities.
“Infirmary” – a place where sick people stay and are cared for in a school, prison, summer camp, etc. (a first-aid post at a school, camp, etc., where patients can stay and receive treatment).
Clinic – a place where people get medical help; a facility (as of a hospital) for diagnosis and treatment of outpatients (a place where people receive medical care; a department for diagnosing and treating outpatients).
Medical center – a place where people go for medical treatment; an American expression meaning a very large building that contains a hospital, doctor's offices, and other medical services (a place where people go for medical care; an American expression for a very large building that houses a hospital, doctors' offices, and other medical services). Their offices and various medical services are provided for people who come for treatment or advice doctors lead reception and provided various medical services for people who come on consultation.
“Polyclinic” – a clinic or hospital treating diseases of many sorts treat various diseases.
As you can see, in the English language there are a large number of lexical units that may not be entirely clear to a Russian-speaking student who is unfamiliar with the national and cultural specifics of the medical sphere in English-speaking countries. However, even an impeccable choice of an analogue of the Russian word will not ensure understanding of speech as a whole. Of course, the relationship between language and culture is most clearly manifested in vocabulary: methods of nomination, words with a national-cultural component of meaning (for example, non-equivalent, background vocabulary), etc. Vocabulary “reflects reality, reacts to changes in the social, material and cultural life of the people” [7, p. 257]. At the lessons of a foreign language, it seems necessary to pay special attention of students to the discrepancy in the translation of lexical units from one language to another.
However, it is worth paying attention to other features of foreign language and foreign cultural communication. So, English speech stamps can cause problems for students. It is not for nothing that a speech stamp is defined as “a means of speech deposited in the collective consciousness of native speakers of a given language as stable, “ready to use” and therefore most “convenient” sign for expressing a certain linguistic content” [LES, 588]. For example, in oral speech “Look here" is not translated literally, but is used to attract the attention of the listener (“Listen”): used to call attention to what one is going to say: 'Look here, this is ridiculous'. Also, in conversation “I see” (informal used to say that someone has understood something) is used, that translated as “Understood”. In meaning “Enough” is used “That will do” (no more is needed or desirable). In Russian, such introductory expressions are used: “с одной стороны”, “с другой стороны”. Their English equivalents are “On the one hand”, “On the other hand”. Such speech stamps reflect the established language traditions, it is desirable for students to understand their meaning without a literal translation into their native language.
The relationship between culture and language is clearly manifested in phraseological units. Many proverbs and sayings convey specific national features, the imagery contained in them reflects the history of the people, their customs, traditions, unique character traits, etc. So, the English proverb “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Despite the fact that the tracing-paper “An apple a day – and a doctor is not needed” has passed into the Russian language, it will be more traditional “A bow from seven ailments”, which indicates the everyday differences of peoples.
In the English language there are a large number of phraseological units of literary origin. L. Carroll in the book “Alice in Wonderland” popularized the expression “mad as a hatter” (out of your mind, lit. crazy like a hatter), which has a historical justification – it was believed that the mercury used to process felt made the hatters lose their minds [8, p. 292].
At foreign language lessons, students not only learn the culture and traditions of other countries, but also learn to apply this knowledge in practice. A foreign language is a tool of intercultural communication, so it is important to give learners the opportunity to use it in action. Intercultural communication is “communication between speakers of different cultures and different languages” [1, p. 7]. It can be both direct (in personal communication) and indirect (media, books, Internet, etc.). It can be of an everyday nature (for example, during tourist trips) and a professional orientation (when communicating with colleagues, relying on foreign materials in scientific work, etc.). If earlier the emphasis was on the translation of highly specialized texts with a dictionary (and a specialist with a higher education usually wrote in the questionnaires “I translate with a dictionary”), now the emphasis has shifted to learning a foreign language as a means of communication between representatives of different countries. Currently, knowledge of a foreign language is required in completely different areas of society as a means of communication between people from different countries.
The task of practical language acquisition as a means of intercultural communication is achieved in foreign language lessons at a university through a variety of activities. So, students can be offered discussions in a foreign language, round tables, business games and brainstorming sessions, participation in international conferences, communication with their peers and future colleagues from other countries, etc. The main thing is to create a real communicative environment when teaching a foreign language situation, connect the study of the subject with real life, create the right motivation for learning with a practical bias.
Preparing an article in a foreign language and presenting a report at a youth conference is a great way for future specialists to find themselves in a real situation of intercultural communication. When writing a paper, students are faced with scientific text templates, the knowledge of which will be useful to them in the future: “абстракт” is translated as “abstract”, “ключевые слова” – “key words”, and “актуальность” is “topicality” (and not at all “actuality”, which actually means “reality”). Young scientists learn that a scientific presentation is replete with polite cliché phrases, and in English they are doubly polite. When addressing listeners, say “Dear colleagues” (literally – “уважаемые коллеги”), and when answering a question, thank you for your attention to your report, not just “Thank you for the question”, and, for example, “We are grateful for your kindest attention to the report". The emergence of a possible discussion in a foreign language is a great bonus for conference participants. Thus, everything that students previously studied in the lesson, worked out during the exercises, makes sense, there is a motivation for further improvement of the foreign language. A foreign language, indeed, appears as an instrument of intercultural communication.
Conclusion. This article allowed us to touch on only some aspects of the interaction of language and culture in foreign language lessons. It is necessary to approach language learning not as a faceless collection of rules and exceptions, but as a living means of communication with other people. Fluency in a foreign language is achieved not through knowledge of grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation skills or the ability to translate, but through knowledge of a foreign culture. Being an instrument of intercultural communication, language is closely and inextricably linked with the national and cultural characteristics of the society in which it functions.
Various techniques and methods for introducing students to the culture of other countries, the use of a foreign language in a real communication situation motivate students to successfully study the subject. In the process of teaching, the focus is on the need to practice the use of a foreign language as a means of intercultural communication.
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