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Audiovisual materials in foreign language teaching - cultural and linguistic aspects

This paper underlines the importance of a frequent introduction of both cultural and culturally defined linguistic elements in the everyday language classroom. The authors believe that by exposing students to carefully selected authentic materials, such as television commercials and sitcoms, they will help them to understand the similarities and differences between cultures and, thus, pave the way for tolerance and effective communication. This, as well as the two major theories on culture and its influence on language itself, are discussed in the introductory part of the paper.
The main part of the paper revolves around the didactic role of both television commercials in the Italian language classroom and television series in the English language classroom.
After a brief insight into the notion of a television commercial and the so-called Carosello which is perceived as an extremely important segment of the Italian culture, the criteria for the selection of audiovisual materials are analysed. Then, the variety of related activities that may be used to foster the grammar and vocabulary acquisition are presented. Cultural elements are also discussed.
As an example of British cultural elements, the didactic analysis of one episode of the classic sitcom Fawlty Towers is provided further in the paper. The episode, Communication Problems, revolves around misunderstandings between selectively deaf Mrs. Richards and the hotel staff. These serve as a perfect example of culturally specific behavioural patterns, which are reflected in the fascinating use of language, such as idioms, puns and clever use of synonyms.

Author(s):

Katarina Krnić    
University of Split, University Department of Professional Studies
Croatia

Edita Šalov    
University of Split, University Department of Professional Studies
Croatia

 

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