A Sociocultural Perspective into Intercultural Competence and Computer-Assisted Language Learning: Intercultural Competence and Computer-Assisted Language Learning

A Sociocultural Perspective into Intercultural Competence and Computer-Assisted Language Learning: Intercultural Competence and Computer-Assisted Language Learning

Rahman Sahragard (Shiraz University, Iran) and Hussein Meihami (Shiraz University, Iran)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1882-2.ch008
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The theoretical underpinnings of computer-assisted language learning (CALL) enjoy a lot of shifts since when CALL has been introduced to second language acquisition (Chapelle, 2009). One of the least perused theories in this regard is sociocultural theory which purports that the practices human beings do can support language learning (Ortega, 2007). The sociocultural theory is the direct descendant of Vygotskian theory of learning in which learning is co-constructed through social interaction. This chapter provides an insight into the tenets of intercultural competence promoted through CALL. First, we explore culture and intercultural competence, then we review the studies done to investigate the effectiveness of CALL to promote intercultural competence, next, we review CALL materials through the tenets of sociocultural theory, then after, we examine how language practitioners can promote intercultural competence through CALL, finally, we propose a sociocultural based model on how to promote intercultural competence through CALL.
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Inter, Culture, And Intercultural

The term inter became influential in the studies conducted within the realm of language pedagogy once Selinker (1969, 1979, 1992,) coined the term interlanguage to address “learner language.” Interlanguage was coined to tap upon the arguments posited by the stance arguing the distinction between native and non-native language producers at sixties. The proponents of this stance believed that native rules should be regarded as the mere correct forms of L2 production and errors are made due to learners’ L1 interference in L2 learning. However, the paradigm shift triggered by interlanguage research acknowledged that L2 is between the learners’ L1 and native language, paving the way toward native norms.

For Selinker (1969) interlanguage is “the observable output resulting from a speaker’s attempt to produce a foreign norm” (p. 5). House (2007) believes that what involve in interlanguage are “foreign norms”, “non-errors”, “system”, and “errors” which are unreachable for L2 learners. That said, it seems that the characteristics of interlanguage are not appropriate manifestations for interlanguage and the analogy is not illustrated appropriately. This is so, since in the term intercultural we are against any incompleteness, the thing which is addressed in interlanguage. According to House (2007, p. 14) “the concept of intercultural may have acquired through association with the venerable notion of interlanguage.” The reason may be due to the differences existing in defining culture according to different schools of language pedagogy.

Different fields of study such as literature, philosophy, anthropology, and sociology have considered culture in their tenets. Hence, there are various definitions for culture. Owing to this, culture is defined based on two frames of references: the humanistic concept and the anthropological one. The former, the humanistic concept of culture, defines culture in accordance to fine art, music style, literature, community related masterpieces. In this sense, as Brody (2003) asserts culture is the manifestation of civilization. Yuen (2011) associates this sense of culture with “Big C” definition of culture which taps upon the formal aspects of cultures. The humanistic definition to culture is the output of “literacy acquired in school … has been promoted by the state and its institution.” (Kramsch, 2013, p. 65).

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