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One of the aspects of foreign language use which is often glossed over is the emotional aspect. When you express a concept in your native language, you've also 'invested' a certain amount of emotion in it. Let's take the idea of 'citizenship', for example. In British English, the idea has all sorts of connotations connected with Blair's immigration policy. A French term might be 'citoyen', which, I understand, has certain historical connotations.

I think that English language is getting away from the control of English-speking people. I believe that a sort of Euro-English is being born and a kind of European identity is developing linked to this Euro-English. How many people in Europe communicate in Euro-English? More and more people. This is the main point of teaching history in English in Spain, to prepare a growing number of Spaniards to join this "European community".

An example of what I am trying to say is the example used on the word "citizenship". I am sure that for this "European community" this term has nothing to do with Mr. Blair's immigration policy.

I absolutely agree with the notion that terms have different connotations in different countries.

When Mr. Aznar called a demonstration the day after the terrorist attacks on 11th March 2004, he claimed that the demonstration was to defend the (Spanish) constitution. It probably means nothing in Sweden or in Britain. In Spain, it meant that ETA was the terrorist organization that planted the bombs in the trains. It was one example of the manipulation that led to his electoral defeat three days later.

Edited by Juan Carlos
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Juan Carlos, I agree with you. English is no more the language of the English people. Eward Said have appointed that one the aspects of English as an international language is that it stops being a patrimony of only English speaking people to become a world's patrimony. An international English language is growing and we have to stick to it. Our students we'll have to cope with anEnglish speaking Europe and this is the reason of teaching English not only as a foreign language but as an instruction language as well. I think the problem arises at language competence level: can a history teacher teach history with a low English competence? Can a student learn history with a low command of the English language in the four basic skills?

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I think the problem arises at language competence level: can a history teacher teach history with a low English competence? Can a student learn history with a low command of the English language in the four basic skills?

There's extensive literature on English as an international language and the contending trends of English as an international language and the new Englishes (the geographical varieties of English in the different countries where is the first or second language). I agree with Javier in the fact that what really affects our purpose is the implications of the levels of competence of both teachers and students in the foreign language as cosntraints to the effectiveness of the learning and teaching processes. In my view, there is an initial absolute demand on the teacher, but no less in the student. There is no chance of learning if there is a language barrier on either side of the learning process. For this reason it will be necessary to provide a background support for both teachers and students. School organization needs to be flexible as well. Reducing the number of students per class and maybe streaming them according to their levels is a possibility. Team teaching is another possible alternative. Once again I come to these simple conclusions:

1. There is a need (as far as Spain is concerned, and especially in State schools) of agreement by the members of the different didactic departments so that an adapted curriculum (lin language terms and, to some extent, in geographical or historical contents as well) may be used in the educational institution, reflecting the curricular requirements of the educational administration.

2. There is a need of offering a flexible school timetable or organization of lessons so that the language support for the non-specialist teachers can be guaranteed.

3. It is, finally, necessary that teachers do agree on their predominant role as educators in the classroom. I perceive that there is still a lot to learn and accept regarding class control and developing autonomy.

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An international English language is growing and we have to stick to it. Our students we'll have to cope with an English speaking Europe and this is the reason of teaching English not only as a foreign language but as an instruction language as well.

I accept your arguments about the spread of English, Javier, but I'm not entirely convinced that an "international English language" actually exists. Some linguists talk about "Englishes" or "varieties of English". The term "international English language" seems to imply that a standard English language exists worldwide, independent of the countries where the language is traditionally spoken. We all know that British English and American English have differences in spelling (humor/humour) and vocabulary (sidewalk/pavement). Some of the transatlantic differences are so great that we are truly "divided by a common language". So which of the two is the international standard? What tends to happen at academic conferences is that a decision is made in advance which of these norms should apply when submitting papers. When I presented in Kobe, Japan, I was asked to write my paper using American English. I was happy to oblige, but that doesn't mean I will then use American English when I teach my special educational needs students at my English school. They learn British spelling and usage. And if we talk of English as the language of Europe, just what does that mean in practice? Latin was once "the language of Europe", but that meant it was the language of theology, philosophy, science, the lingua franca of a scholarly élite, not the language of the common man. I hope that the vernaculars of Europe, from Albanian to Welsh, will long continue to be spoken on the streets of our continent, testifying to our rich cultural and linguistic diversity. I also hope that the adoption of a form of English as a language of international communication won't discourage "native" Anglophones from studying other major languages such as French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Chinese and Japanese.

Is there an "international Spanish language"? I'm not a Hispanist, but I have heard that there are significant differences between Castilian and the various manifestations of Latin American Spanish.

David Wilson

http://www.specialeducationalneeds.com/

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David, your are right, I tried to be practical. I know it is very difficult to talk about an international English language, and neither about an international Spanish language. But I am sure you agree that despite differences American English and British English are basically the same language and communication is possible whether you talk either variety. The same as Spanish is concerned. What I meant it is that any European student will probably will develop his career if he can talk English, otherwise his promotion will be very difficult. That's a fact and we have to make them aware of it.

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Latin was once "the language of Europe", but that meant it was the language of theology, philosophy, science, the lingua franca of a scholarly élite, not the language of the common man. I hope that the vernaculars of Europe, from Albanian to Welsh, will long continue to be spoken on the streets of our continent, testifying to our rich cultural and linguistic diversity. I also hope that the adoption of a form of English as a language of international communication won't discourage "native" Anglophones from studying other major languages such as French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Chinese and Japanese.

I think that there are two big differences between Latin and English role in the world:

English is not and surely will not be a language of a scholarly minority, there is a growing number of people speaking and writing it in a way that they can communicate.

English is a world language that can help us to communicate with people coming from non-Western cultures.

I am sure that vernacular languages won't dissapear. It won't be the case of Basque, for sure it won't be the case of Spanish (the other world great western language). Actually, as the English is more and more used around Europe, people from Wales, Basque Country... are resurrecting their moribund languages.

Unfortunately, I am not sure that native Anglophones will try to learn other major languages. It is so time-consuming and tough task! <_<

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