SUDAPORN LUKSANEEYANAWIN (CHULALONGKORN UNIVERSITY)

DIVERSITY WITH HARMONY: THE THRESHOLD CONCEPT FOR COMMUNICATION : INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION

The threshold concept for successful communication in this dynamic transcultural world is “Accommodation”. Learning to accept and to be accepted in the vast communication contexts is natural in human communication. Awareness of varieties in language for transcultural variation is one of the main concepts in Firthian Grammar or the London School of Linguistics (J.R. Firth 1890-1960). Key factors that govern communication are, culture, situation, participants. They are all etic that are related to the space and time of communication. First language learners learn and acquire their grammars either the grammar of the standard variety or other varieties such as the regional, the dialectal, the creolized, or the pidginized variety of their mother tongue. In schools we need to start our language education with the standard variety. It is the variety of educated people. The learners need to be aware of this variety as the unmarked one that they can use either in writing or speaking without being marked with any regional or social markers. In English language education teachers need to be aware that the diversity of English is very vast. The learners of English as a Second Language- ESL or speakers of the outer circle (Kachru 1982) may have acquired English as their native tongue and it is used orally in everyday conversation. Their varieties of English may be well accepted socially and psychologically. However, they need to learn the standard variety when they come to school to be educated. The learners of English as a Foreign Language-EFL have less chance to fully acquire the English language. Their grammar is full of errors identified as interlanguage that still needs to be learned and not fossilized on the way. Their input language can be a big problem if their teachers are not qualified with constant use of broken English. Their only option is to acquire the standard variety first. With more exposure to other varieties of the language through extensive authentic materials they will learn to diversify the varieties due to the context of communication and become the master of the language. This talk is to raise the awareness that successful communication in a native language, a second language, or a foreign language that we, language teachers, need to understand deeply is that "Acceptability" does not come from one variety of language. Harmony in communication needs different degrees of mitigation and politeness. Acceptability could be social or psychological and it is always from the perspective of the perceivers, the readers, the listeners and only in a certain context of communication. Diversity with Harmony only emerges from the acquisition of various varieties starting from the standard variety before spreading their wings to other varieties through extensive exposure of English. That is what we expect from quality language education.

Dr. Sudaporn Luksaneeyanwin is a senior consultant of the Graduate Program in English as an International Language, Chulalongkorn University. She got her degrees in Education from Chulalongkorn University, another degree in Phonetics from Leeds University, a PhD. in Linguistics, and a Postdoctoral Fellow in Speech Technology at Edinburgh University. She was former Chair of the Linguistic Department, and former Assistant to the President for Research Affairs at Chulalongkorn University. Her supervision ranges in various areas of Linguistics. Her main contributions to the Thai society are the Thai TTS and STT, and the application of Social Constructivism to teaching and learning.