Northeast Modern Language Association 2018 Convention
Abstr. due: 30.09.2018
Dates: 12.04.18 — 15.04.18
Organizing comittee e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Organizers: The Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
A regional affiliate of the Modern Language Association (MLA), NeMLA provides a forum for the dissemination of scholarship and the advancement of teaching in modern languages and literatures. Every year, the NeMLA Convention affords NeMLA’s principal opportunity to carry on a tradition of lively research and pedagogical exchange. This four-day long event showcases different areas of inquiry and includes regular panels, roundtables, seminars, interactive workshops, special events, caucus meetings, literary readings, film screenings, and guest speakers.
Building on a rich tradition of excellence, the University at Buffalo supports the mission of NeMLA by serving as its institutional and administrative host. In addition, each NeMLA Annual Convention is sponsored by a local host institution.
Interrogating the Native Speaker Ideal in Second Language Curricula
Hosted by Amanda Ziemba Randall (St. Olaf College) and Karin Maxey (Vassar College)
Since the 1990s, foreign language instructors and researchers have called for the subversion of the native speaker construct. Perhaps the most well-known of these calls comes from Claire Kramsch (1997), who suggests that the term ‘native speaker’ itself is ill-defined, and that non-native speakers have valuable perspectives on a language and culture as non-members of a group. Similarly, Cem Alptekin criticizes the utopian, monolithic idea of native speakership as a linguistic myth (2002, see also Hensel 2000, Liddicoat, 2016).
Yet, despite declarations from others like Thomas Paikeday (1985) that “the native speaker is dead,” this construct remains the hidden standard to which language teachers and their students look as the ideal example of proper and correct language usage. Commercial curriculum packages, for instance, routinely follow this model: whether the discourse is didactically contrived or extemporaneous, it is most often ethnically-marked native speakers who demonstrates the standard language in audio and video recordings for students to emulate. Even as regional dialect variation and the broadening cultural diversity of the German-speaking world are gaining recognition in language curricula and instruction--albeit often as a side-issue or separate unit, not fully integrated as a part of mainstream culture--the regionally “unmarked” native German speaker persists as the spoken and written linguistic and cultural ideal.
Practically speaking, studies have shown that second language learners, even those majoring in a language, rarely reach a state of nativeness, whether in speaking (Glisan, et al., 2013) or reading and listening (Tschirner, 2016). Scholars examining this issue thus continue to ask whether we are setting impossible goals and setting ourselves and our students up for failure by striving for a particular native speaker ideal (Cook 1999, 2007; Medgyes 1992). Recent efforts to critically revise the German curriculum to better reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of the German-speaking world further ask: what are the social and ethical implications of the “native speaker” construct, when the most prevalent model voices heard in instruction reflect “accent free”--in the linguistic and the cultural sense--regions or cultural backgrounds? What role should awareness-raising of language ideologies play in the foreign language classroom?
Conference Web-Site: https://www.buffalo.edu/nemla.html