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Authenticity, Culture and Language Learning
University of Exeter; University of Leeds
Language and Intercultural Communication
In philosophy, authenticity has been used with two meanings: one entails the notion of correspondence; the other entails the notion of genesis (Cooper, 1983: 15). As in certain branches of philosophy, language teaching has perhaps clung too long to the first of these notions of authenticity at the expense of the other. This paper reviews four key conceptualisations of authenticity which have emerged in the field of applied linguistics: text authenticity, authenticity of language competence, learner authenticity and classroom authenticity. If any of these types of authenticity is couched exclusively in terms of one usage or the other, it can lead to an impoverishment and objectification of the experience of language learning. Text authenticity can lead to a poverty of language; authenticity of competence can lead to a poverty of performance; learner authenticity can lead to a poverty of interpretation; classroom authenticity can lead to a poverty of communication. This paper proposes that a pedagogy of intercultural communication be informed by a more hybrid view of authenticity as a process of subjectification, derived from the Heideggerian concept of self-concern.
Volume 6, Number 3-4, pp. 250-261