International Journal of Applied Linguistics

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Volume 16 Issue 1 (March 2006), Pages 1-136

Foreign language teaching – a modern building on historical foundations (pages 2-15)

During the 20th century, the teaching and learning of foreign languages has gained an unprecedented importance. This pertains mainly to English in its world‐wide use, but also to other national languages. The question is discussed of whether new vernaculars are to be taught merely as the instrument of communication, i.e. in a practical sense, or whether further‐reaching pedagogical goals should be envisaged. During the 19th and 20th centuries, educators in Germany discussed this issue heatedly with reference to the teaching of Greek and Latin vs the teaching of French and English. Using these thought‐provoking discussions, the idea is floated that foreign language teaching should always include reflecting on the respective culture in which the language is embedded and on the general rules and conventions which guide its use.

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