Marking Community Identity Through Languaging: Authentic Norms in TELL

Marking Community Identity Through Languaging: Authentic Norms in TELL

Jonathan R. White (Högskolan Dalarna, Sweden)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5463-9.ch003
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This chapter takes up the issue of authenticity in language pedagogy. Traditional views of authenticity take the native speaker to be the primary authority for linguistic norms. Written standard language is especially highly valued here. It is argued herein that TELL environments are equally valid as learning environments, and that students can use the freedom they provide to develop their own locally negotiated cultural and linguistic norms. Evidence is provided that students on a net-based MA program develop their own norms for reducing language, and use them and other means to mark membership of a local TELL community. Thus, TELL is a rich and authentic environment for learners of English to become what is referred to as “language practitioners.”
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Significance Of This Chapter

This chapter gives us insights into how communities are developed and norms are negotiated in cross-cultural contexts. Specifically, here, the focus is on native vs. non-native cultures in English. Is it still the case that native cultures are the most appropriate for learners, and therefore, when learners interact with native speakers, it is native norms that will be adopted? It is demonstrated that this is very much not the case for the community being analysed. They interact and thereby develop their own community and norms. This demonstrates that it is the community of non-native speakers from different cultures that develop their own norms independently of those practiced by native speakers of English. Let us begin with the background to the issues of norms, identity and authenticity.

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