Penetrating the Surface: The Impact of Visual Format on Readers’ Affective Responses to Authentic Foreign Language Texts
University of Exeter
This paper examines visual and affective factors involved in the reading of foreign language texts. It draws on the results of a pilot study among students of post-compulsory school stage studying French in England. Through a detailed analysis of students’ reactions to texts, it demonstrates that the use of ‘authentic’ documents under currently held notions of ‘authenticity’ may have a negative affective impact on learners. Authors and designers of texts make assumptions about an original, intended readership which influence visual design, assumptions which are not necessarily borne out in the foreign language learning situation. There is a need to examine texts for their format as well as their content, to move away from equating ‘authentic’ with ‘identical’ and to using electronic design to improve readability.
Volume 15, Number 2, pp. 110-127