International Journal of Applied Linguistics

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Volume 17 Issue 1 (March 2007), Pages 1-158

Unanswered questions: cultural assumptions in text interpretation (pages 38-59)

This article investigates the role of cultural assumptions in text interpretation by focusing on readers’ perspectives, a focus which has been lacking in Critical Discourse analytic approaches. It examines the influence of cultural assumptions by administering a reading comprehension questionnaire to two different cultural groups, Japanese and non‐Japanese. The results show the complex nature of readers’ text interpretation in that the respondents were influenced by the interaction of their cultural assumptions, prior knowledge and co‐textual information in interpreting a text. This points to the need for Critical Discourse Analysis to recognise variability in interpretation more and how this is affected also by cultural factors. The article then discusses possible implications of the findings for language pedagogy.

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