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Council of Europe/Conseil de l'Europe

ECML Publications:

Across Languages and Cultures

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Michel Candelier

The term “pluralistic approaches to languages and cultures” refers to didactic approaches which use teaching /learning activities involving several (i.e. more than one) varieties of languages or cultures. This is to be contrasted with approaches which could be called “singular” in which the didactic approach takes account of only one language or a particular culture, considered in isolation.

Singular approaches of this kind were particularly valued when structural and later “communicative” methods were developed and all translation and all resort to the first language was banished from the teaching process.

We have, provisionally until a more detailed analysis is made, identified basically four pluralistic approaches. The first one, the intercultural approach has had some influence on language pedagogy and because of this seems to be relatively well-known, even if it is not always employed explicitly and genuinely in conformity with its fundamental principles. The other approaches, which have a more linguistic orientation, probably require a short presentation.  They are awakening to languages, the inter-comprehension of related languages, and integrated didactic approaches to different languages studied (in and beyond the school curriculum).

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