Cultural Stereotypes and Linguistic Clichés: their Usefulness in Intercultural Competency
AuthorBaider, Fabienne H.
SourceInternational Journal for Cross-Disciplinary Subjects in Education (IJCDS)
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This paper addresses the selection of ‘typical images’ and linguistic clichés in language textbooks and attempts to evaluate their usefulness in teaching and learning intercultural competency. After defining cultural clichés and linguistic phrases, we draw on previous studies to point out their importance in learning and teaching a foreign language. We then present our own study, namely a survey of such culturally typical images and idioms as presented in popular textbooks used to teach French as a foreign language in our region (Cyprus). We then map out the criteria that might justify the editors’ selection, and suggest modifications on the basis of our analysis of a selection of images, comments and phrases. Our suggestions are driven by research in sociolinguistics and intercultural pragmatics. We aim at promoting the most effective use of cultural clichés and idiomatic phrases in foreign language teaching as well as drawing attention to the potential danger of falling into counterproductive stereotyping.