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Titolo: Looking Beyond Interlanguage: Realizable Targets for L2 Learners
Data di pubblicazione: 2012
Abstract: Selinker coined the term interlanguage (1972) to embody the idea that the L2 learner has an emerging system of linguistic competence that varies over time according to his/her evolving system of rules. Crucial to the theory is the belief that the learner’s interlanguage is neither wild nor deviant, but indicates his/her level of competence on a continuum that leads towards the ultimate goal of native-speaker competence in the target language. In its application to language teaching methodology, interlanguage theory has had the positive consequence of removing the stigma from learners’ non-native-like production as “errors” are seen, not as deviant forms to be avoided at all costs, but as evidence of an evolving interlanguage grammar. However, taking native-speaker competence as the ultimate target for the L2 learner is perhaps less helpful since it is for most people an unattainable goal (Selinker himself acknowledges that in the vast majority of cases, the learner’s interlanguage will fossilize some way short of native-speaker competence). This approach leads Kachru (1991) to write of deficit linguistics, since the practice of measuring learners’ L2 performance by the yardstick of their adherence to native-speaker norms means that they are being seen, to a greater or lesser extent, as deficient native speakers of the language. This paper focuses on: (i) an alternative way of viewing the L2 learner, i.e. Vivian Cook’s Multi-Competence model of second language acquisition (1992, 1999, 2000), and (ii) for the specific case of L2 English, an alternative way of viewing the appropriate target(s) for learners as a consequence of the emergence of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) as a variety that non-native speakers have developed independently of any input from native speakers (Jenkins 2000, 2007; Mauranen 2003; Seidlhofer 2003, 2006). What the two lines of investigation have in common is a questioning of the role of the native speaker as model or arbitrator: Cook’s work underlines the essential irrationality of trying to assess the competent bilingual by the standards of a monolingual, while ELF researchers argue that the non-native-like forms used by ELF speakers represent legitimate innovations which in many cases serve to improve communicative efficiency. The implications for both language teaching and assessment are considered (Tomlinson 2006), endeavouring to distinguish between genuine concerns about the potential risks involved in discarding the native-speaker standard (Maley 2010) and more venal motives for wishing to maintain the status quo.
ISBN: 978-88-207-5726-7
Tipologia:4.1 Contributo in Atti di convegno

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