Language Awareness, Intercultural Awareness and Communicative Language Teaching: Towards Language Education

Lazgin Kheder Barany


This paper maintains that foreign language teaching does not only involve linguistic competence/performance and verbal communication but also it is much to do with intercultural awareness and intercultural skills: understanding how an identity and a culture are socially constructed and the abilities of discovery of “the other” (Pędich, Draghicescu, Issaiass and Šabec, 2003, p. 7). Also the goals behind learning a foreign language are not only a matter of acquiring that language but also helps learners acquire knowledge, culture, values and education that can be utilized in their life beyond the classroom , link them to their lives and take them back into their community ; it aims at developing learners as intercultural speakers or mediators who are equipped with cultural background so that they can use the language efficiently in socially and culturally appropriate ways  and who are able to “engage with complexity and multiple identities and to avoid the stereotyping which accompanies perceiving someone through a single identity” (Byram, Gribkova and Starkey, 2002, p. 5).  Language education should also aim at "producing men who possess both culture and expert knowledge“(Whitehead, 1929, p. 1).  In addition, learning and using languages is about citizenship and democracy (Guilherme, 2002); it is about “people coping with contexts of diversity and with mutable needs and aims” (Ara´ujo e S´a and S´ılvia Melo, 2007, p. 7). The aim of this paper is to shed light on how Language Awareness (LA), Intercultural Awareness (IA) and Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) can help learners transfer culture, knowledge, values and education beyond the classroom to influence their way of thinking and consequently their view of life on the basis that a language educational system should inspire a student to understand, explore and think about the world around him/her through and besides learning that language. This paper also calls for a significant attention to intercultural communication in Foreign Language Teaching (FLT) and it stresses its increasingly important role in FLT in order to develop students’ intercultural communicative awareness and competence.


Applied Linguistics; Culture and Language Teaching; Communicative Language Teaching; Intercultural Awareness; Intercultural Communicative Competence.

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