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Title: Using translation to develop intercultural competence in Japanese-as-a-foreign-language classroom : a case study of beginner and intermediate students
Author: Gyogi, Eiko
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 0775
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2016
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Although translation has been used in language classrooms for a long time, it has also received criticism for its excessive focus on the accurate mastery of grammar and vocabulary. However, recent recognition of the importance of students' own language(s), that is, the languages that students already know, has led to a re-evaluation of the use of translation in the language classroom. The present study adds to this growing area by examining the potential of translation as a means to develop intercultural competence in the beginner/intermediate-level language classroom. It is a piece of qualitative classroom research which aims to further understanding of students' learning experiences and the outcomes that can be achieved through translation activities based on Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL). In this study, five study sessions were carried out with 14 beginner and 14 intermediate students of Japanese. The results suggest that SFL-based translation activities can provide students with cognitively challenging tasks that have the potential to develop the following three aspects of intercultural competence: (1) reading and interpreting culture; (2) becoming a mediator and social agent; and (3) critically reflecting on own subject position. SFL-based translation activities draw students' attention to not only the referential meanings of the text being used but also to the subjective realities evoked by the text and to the text's social context. Furthermore, they enable students to play a mediating role and creatively manipulate symbolic systems to recreate, negotiate, and sometimes change the images, perceptions, and assumptions that are evoked by the source text. They also contribute to promoting students' critical reflection on their own meaning-making processes. The results of this study also have pedagogical implications for the recent bi-/multi-lingual turn in the field of applied linguistics, in that they offer an alternative teaching model to that which uses the native speaker as a goal in language learning, which can even be applied to beginner/intermediate level students with only limited knowledge of the target language.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral