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Presenting Cultural Information and the Effects of Linguistic Imperialism. A Textbook Study.

By NIINA PITKÄNEN

Abstract

Bibliography examples: Byram, Crystal, Kaikkonen, Karvonen, Kramsch, Pennycook, Phillipson, Risager, Seelye The topic of this study was culture; how it was understood and presented in English language high school books in Finland. The focus of this empirical study was a series called English Update Highlights. The purpose was to find out how culture was introduced in the high school books, which cultures were in focus and why, and whether the objectives of the series themselves and the current OPS, the national curriculum, were being meet. A brief outline of the problems studied was as follows. First the aim was to find out the English speaking and other cultures presented in the books and the reasons behind the choices; then to analyze whether the goals of the writers of the English Update Highlights were being achieved. The stated goals of the series were cultural knowledge and cultural awareness, which could be analyzed by investigating the presentation of people and different cultures in an equal manner. The material for this empirical study was the latest published version of English Update Highlights, which were published between the years 1999-2001. The course books were organized in a thematic manner, each book consisting of two or three main areas of focus. Each of the books had seven to nine different and separate chapters that consisted of a lead in text, the main text, a follow-up -text, and exercises. The focus of the study was the main, obligatory texts. The method used in the study was a precise and quantitative analysis of the subject matters found in the chapters and texts. This method had been chosen on the bases of the background theories and their information. A short summary of the results found and analyzed shows clearly that the writers of English Update Highlights have not been able to meet their own demands of being able to teach cultural knowledge, cultural awareness, presenting the whole of the English speaking world and other cultures, nor have they been able to meet the demands and follow the suggestions of the current Finnish OPS either. They are no valid justifications for the obvious concentration on Anglo-American culture can be found in the books, and the picture of different cultures around the world that is given by the books is not complete, but biased and somewhat stereotypical. Key words: Cultural awareness, cultural knowledge, Anglo-American, linguistic imperialis

Topics: Englantilainen filologia - English Philology
Year: 2002
OAI identifier: oai:trepo.tuni.fi:10024/89498
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