University of Rome III _ School of Humanities _ Degree in Languages and International Communication
Università Roma Tre _ Facoltà di Lettere _ Corso di Studio in Lingue e Comunicazione Internazionale


Academic Year: 2008-09  _  Course convener: Patrick Boylan  _  Email:  _  Folder: 8ls-ii  _   Tinyurl

Second Year / Second Semster English Course (English 2b)
for students of the Post-Graduate Course in “Language Sciences” (LM LDF)
March 3 to April 8, 2009
Tuesday 2-4pm in Room 9;   Wednesday 2-4pm  and  Friday 1-3pm  in Room 3.01 (3rd floor)

originally: Tuesday 2-4pm in Room 9, 
Wednesday 4-6pm in Room 14 and Friday 12-14pm in Room 9

Accommodation as translation of the Self; translation as accommodation to the Other

click on the orangeCliccare QUI SOTTO. / Click BELOW.dots   Cliccare sui puntini ROSSI. / Click on the ORANGE dots.   cliccare sui puntiniCliccare QUI SOTTO. / Click BELOW.rossi




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* Legge Privacy: dopo i 15 gg. di affissione prescritti dal Rettorato, sono stati tolti dalla tabella qui sopra i cognomi e i voti.
Per vederli, bisogna prima dotarsi di un password (scrivere a )
e poi cliccare qui per scaricare il file criptato.

In any case, here is a note explaining the marks given.  
They are very high.   But there are two reasons for this:
1. The students are a great group and deserve them;
2. Read the rest by clicking

** 18.3.09 = strike CGIL / University, make-up lesson on 19.3 (English language cine club).     
27.3.09 = teacher absent (meeting), make-up lesson on 2.4.09: Trinity College encounter.

  Enrollment form and instructions>      (Informativa privacy)     Enrollment is necessary only for students who attend (frequentanti).

In addition, take the DIALANG Diagnostic Test in English>  and send the results on the Form to the teacher:

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I really appreciate the thought. (It doesn't happen all that often...). -- P.




NOTICE: Lesson on May 4th: noon to 2pm in Room 3.01 (the teacher's office) on the third floor.











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"Communicating" according to Jakobson (1982: 350-377 [1958]): Sender / message / context / coding / transmission / channel / Receiver / decoding.

But in culturally asymmetrical situations, “communicating" means establishing a relationship (a contact in which concomitant changes are presumed to be reciprocally causal) in which to search for a common code

Several students defined communication as “interaction” but did not say “interaction for what purpose” -- not coding/decoding a message which presupposes a common code already agreed upon.


As a faculty:

the mind's sense-making mechanism (sense is made through interaction with other sense-making agents), fundamentally volitional with a cognitive overlay. (Plato in Cratylus, Humboldt)
[In Italian: organo “sceverativo” (che scevera, discerna) più che organo di semiosi.]

As a semiotic system:

-- For most linguists, a “code” (see above)

-- For Saussure: as langue, a “verbal semiotic system”;

as parole, instances of language (but not mere instantiations of langue!!).

-- For this course:

- as langue, a will to mean (in a particular way) deriving from a will to be (in a particular way, i.e. ≈ culture), specifically a “matrix of sedimented, socially-acquired values governing expressive behavior”;

- as parole, a will to mean (in a particular way) in a specific, concrete, communicative event – thus, a highly modulated (articulated) volitional state of “pre-verbal meaning”, conditioned by one's langue.

Halliday's 7 functions of language:
informative (or “representational”)>“No!”, (“The cat did it.”),
personal>“Here I am!”,
imaginative>“Let's pretend”

(M.A.K. Halliday, Language as social semiotic - The social interpretation of language and meaning. London, 1978).


Problem: The teacher's office (3.01) is occupied by a colleague: where can the four students have their lesson? The teacher said that, if they wanted, they could go to Room B on the other side of the campus, a very large classroom but one that was empty at that hour.

The answer given by the four students: Room B. If there are no other classrooms available, then we can all cross the campus to go there.

After a short discussion, second proposal: A table in the student café downstairs. Quicker to get to. Friendlier surroundings. (A huge, empty classroom can seem strange for a class with 4 students.)

Question: Why was the short discussion necessary?


Short interaction in English: ordering and having a coffee together.
A lot of embarassment in speaking English, even for something simple like ordering and having a coffee together. Why?

The answer given by the four students: We don't have practice speaking English.

Question: And your English lessons, with the “official” teachers and the “lettori”?

The answer: We don't speak very much during these lessons, it's the teacher who speaks.

Question: But IF YOU REALLY WANT TO LEARN TO SPEAK ENGLISH, don't you have other opportunities to practice doing so in Rome?

The answer: No. Our only hope is to go to England and enroll in a course there.

Question: But why enroll in a course? That's like being in a classroom with a “lettore” here!
Going to England or Ireland is fine for living and working there, but can't you do anything in Rome?

The answer: No.

After a short discussion, another conclusion: In Rome we can go to pubs (for example, during the happy hour late afternoons), and also other places where English-speaking people gather (see
here). (OBIEZIONE: “Ma noi siamo italiane, non è 'bene' andare in un pub da sole”. RISPOSTA: Ma all'estero lo fareste, quindi è un blocco mentale non farlo qui; intanto nel pub non ci sono italiani che potrebbero giudicarvi male, ci sono gli stessi inglesi che incontrereste in Inghilterra.)

In addition, we can use the Internet to chat (chatting is writing, not speaking, but it is interactive writing so it is a good preparation for conversational English). When we have gained confidence, we can converse orally after buying a web cam (OBIEZIONE: “Ma costa!” RISPOSTA: Costa €24, il costo di una sola ora di conversazione con un professore di madrelingua inglese. OBIEZIONE: “Ma la gente con cui parlerei in chat non sono professori!” RISPOSTA: “Meglio così, visto che tu, con tutte le tue inibizioni, sei un prodotto dei professori che hai conosciuto fino ad oggi!” ).


Addition to the discussion (on 3.3.09) about seating arrangement. The teacher asked the students if they saw anything significative in the fact that, when he entered the room the first day, (1.) they all were sitting in the first row with notebooks open and pens poised; (2.) the teacher sat down in the second row behind them, instead of sitting behind the teacher's desk.

They saw nothing significative in the first fact. (And yet, if you go to ANY Italian classroom, you will almost NEVER find the students sitting in the first row. Evidently these students do not understand themselves.)

They did see something strange in the second fact, but were not able to say what.


From P. Boylan, La comunicazione interculturale nella scuola multietnica, 1999


Review of discussions on 3.3.09 and 4.3.09 for Annarita who joined the class.

Add to notion of “communicating through furnishings” (il comunicare attraverso l'arredo):

Besides the classroom there is the office (desks, chairs) that can be in various configurations:

What does the “Tu”, through her/his office furnishings, communicate to the “Altro”?

Add to notion of “communication”:

code not entirely common, message not entirely known.

Add to notion of social conditioning in learning languages, the social pressure to maintain inner group identity, especially strong in cultures based on family/clan solidarity.


Add to notion of “language”:

In defining language, distinguish between langue and parole (Saussure):

- as parole language is the “will to mean” that erupts in a communicative event,

- as langue language is the sedimentation of perceived/produced acts of parole which produces a Weltanschauung and a a disposition to express oneself in a certain way: Thus, to speak a language means to acquire that disposition and express oneself from within a certain “world”; to immerge oneself into that world (at least temporarily).


Add to notion of “language function”:
Three general functions: Karl Bühler (Sprachtheorie. Jena: Verlag von Gustav Fischer, 1934):

1. Representation (“move people to see and understand”,

2. Expressivity (“move people to feel and like/dislike),

3. Appeal (“move people to want and do”).

Boylan ("Language as Representation, as Agency, as Being", 2002). You use language:

1. to represent something (to yourself, to others) such as an idea, the description of a feeling, etc. and you study this function of language in your linguistics courses. These courses ask: “What are the formal properties of series of sounds and graphemes that produce meaning?”;

2. to do something and you study this function of language in your sociolinguistics and pragmatics courses. Pragmatics is a discipline that studies the illocutionary and perlocutionary force of words in context (example: “The door!” meaning “Please close the door”). See J. L. Austin in How to do things with words. These courses ask: “What are the 'rules of use without which the rules of grammar are useless'?” – Dell Hymes, “On communicative competence” in J. Pride & J. Holmes (Eds.), Sociolinguistics. Penguin, 1972 (orig 1971), p.278.

3. to BE something and you study this function of language in courses teaching language as culture (like this course). To be someone in English, you have to acquire an Anglo persona when speaking English, and thus speak




Ogden: “Basic English”,
Quirk: “Nuclear English”,
Crystal: “World Standard Spoken English”,
Brumfit_“English As An International Language”,
McArthur “World English”,
Trudgill: “International English”


Varieties of English in the world (Crystal, English as a Global Language, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997).

Three general categories of English: norm-providing, norm-developing and norm dependent (Kachru, 1982, 1988). These categories can be represented with concentric circles:

(language contact) Pidgin >>> Creole >>> Language

Compare Hawaiian Pidgin English (now probably a creole) and Tok Pisin or Jamaican patois, once considered creoles but increasingly full-fledged languages and thus varieties of English, with established varieties like Indian English (also see Hinglish), Singaporean English (also see Singlish), etc.

It is not a question of learning either SBE (SouthEast British English or Standard British English, spoken by the upper classes) OR one of the marginal varieties in the norm-providing circle, OR one of the emerging varieties in the norm-developing circle. Your task is to learn not as many varieties as you can – impossible at this stage – but rather the ethnolinguistic capabilities that will enable you to learn the varieties you will need in the future. In a global world, you will assuredly need to accommodate to more than just SBE speakers.



How to accommodate formally to an interlocutor? The answer's easy: observe and imitate her/his pronunciation, way of interrupting, topic preferences, speech rate, and all the other formal features.

How to accommodate substantially to an interlocutor, introjecting her/his Weltanschauung (world view)?  By grasping her/his value system (wants, beliefs, affects) and redirecting your will to want the same things, believe the same things, feel as “good” (or “bad”) the same things.

But how do you know what the world view of your interlocutor is? How do you know what s/he REALLY wants, believes, feels? You don't know THAT even about your boy friend, after years of being together!

So relax. Resign yourself to the fact that you will never know. And try your best. Honestly.

The (post-)modern view of knowledge is not like the 17th and 18th Century view of knowledge as “immutable laws” (e.g. Newton) – which, of course, are “immutable” only within well-defined special conditions of time, place and agency. Neo-positivism and other relativist epistemologies (e.g. Gadamer's hermeneutics) see knowledge as an attempt at construing meaning by projecting hypothetical models onto (or resonating empathetically to) phenomena that resist being known “directly”.  Indeed, the only directly “knowable-as-100%-true” assertions are “obvious” tautological/intuitive truths, like 2+2=1+3, or “Rome is not Venice”.  All other “truths”, however strong and well-reasoned our convictions be, are nonetheless contingent truths (Wittgenstein).

So all you can do is ATTEMPT to GUESS the world view of an English speaking interlocutor.

If you want absolute truths, join a fundamentalist religion.

How can you attempt to guess the world view of an interlocutor? You can, for example, try to:

-- project hypothetical models onto her/his behavior (e.g., the cultural dimensions we discussed, like direct/indirect, egalitarian/hierarchical, etc.) and test your guesses with questionnaires or, better yet, experiments; or

-- resonate empathetically to her/his behavior by first neutralizing your own cultural conditioning and then by examining introspectively your newly-acquired subjective state.






Review of so-called neutral (or non national) forms of English:
Precisely because they avoid cultural imperialism, they offer an impoverished pallette for rendering existential states.   Their utility, like all conventional languages, is limited to conventional discourse (financial transactions, technical and scientific discussions).

So our project now is: what English do we want to learn to speak and what “cultural pallette” do we want to learn to make use of, to render our existential states?

As for the verbal forms:
Annarita = Jamaican English (but not Patwa)
Chiara = Southeast (or Standard) British English as spoken in the Home Counties, e. g. Reading (Berkshire)
Eugenia = Australian English (Cultivated Australian when interviewed, otherwise General with Broad inflexions)
Pamela = New York dialect (borderline Bronx)
Roberta = Hiberno (Irish) English (specifically, North Dublin)
(If you click on the varieties, you will see a Wikipedia description of the verbal forms. You can use that as a starting point to develop a
one-page description on all six traditional levels. That is, you are to indicate the characteristic:
- phonological realizations,
- morphemic constructions,
- lexis,
- syntax,
- textual features and
- normative pragmatic usage.

As for the intentional states:
What cultural worldview should we adopt when conversing with native speakers of these varieties?
What existential stance should we assume to be more readily understood and accepted?

When you speak you will focus on THIS, not on the characteristic verbal forms.

NOTE: As we said in our discussion of souvenirs from a happy vacation, the verbal forms do not signify anything in themselves (this is the Saussurian principle of linguistic arbitrariness); they simply trigger the memories of the happy vacation experience. BUT with time, the constant association with those memories makes the souvenirs seem to possess intrinsically the qualities that they bring to mind.  
            This means that it would be a good idea to use SOME of the verbal forms that characterize your specific variety, not because you want to “imitate” that variety, but because using the form helps you bring to mind the associations of beliefs, affects, wants, that characterize the worldview of the stereotypical speakers of that variety.


A = Five values (beliefs and/or affects and/or wants)
B = the analysis of each in terms of cultural dimensions,
C = the resulting maxims that will guide your speech and behavior.


Where to find descriptions of the cultural mindset typical of speakers of your varieties?  There is no established “science” but practitioners of intercultural mediation have elaborated guidelines using:
-- purely intuitive knowledge from experience (e.g., Kwintessential, or Global Excellence for UK and USA)
-- the response to worldwide questionnaires on values (e.g., Hofstede Survey, World Values Survey)
You can use these sources as a starting point. (Unfortunately, Jamaica is a poor country and so it is not always taken into consideration in these surveys.)
Remember to look not only at your target culture, but also at Italy, as a point of comparison.


1. When you google for other sources, remember to use ENGLISH words (there is very little in Italian).
2. Remember to use both and in your searches.
3. Pay attention to the use of quotation marks ( “ ” ) to enclose strings of words and make sure to
CAPITALIZE the word “OR” to indicate alternative possibilities.

Sample google requests (you can invent variants) using “Irish” as the variable:
                        "Irish mentality" OR "Irish mindset" OR "Irish worldview" language culture

                        Irish intercultural OR “cross-cultural” communication OR mediation

                        You can also make one long request using both strings indicated above!

---- Discussion on the Sapir Whorf hypothesis. -----

(See the comments, by searching for the word “Whorf”, in Accommodation Theory Revisited.)


Debriefing encounter with the American (and international) film club members.

What effect does accommodation produce on interlocutors?
-- identity
-- affinity

Notions of formal and substantial accommodation.
-- standard Communication Accommodation Theory (CAT – Coupland & Giles, 1988)
-- extended CAT: substantial accommodation is the base and leads to formal accommodation.

Explanation of Task 1b:

Explain what is CHARACTERISTIC in the formal features of the verbal repertory of your variety of English. The concept of “characteristic” implies that you have an idea of a “neutral form” of English, for example Quirk's Nuclear English, even if it does not exist as the idiom of any speech community (see the other “culturally neutral” varieties discussed on 11.3.09). So with respect to the common core of features, what distinguishes the variety of English you have chosen to learn?

Explanation of Taks 1a:
Explain the Intentional Matrix that generates CHARACTERISTIC speech in your chosen variety of English. A. Make 5 or more statements of the various subjectively perceived traits. B. Try to put your ethnocentric perception into better focus by analyzing each statement with SERIES of cultural dimensions, to make the implicit content clearer. C. Summarize, for each statement, the essence of the mindset expressed in the form of maxim.

Next Experiment

Place: Trinity College in Rome (
see their website)
(see also the website of the main college in the U.S.)

Date: Thursday evening, April 2nd, from 8 to 10 pm
(See the map of the college: meeting place in Enrico VII Square)

Research Task – To verify:

  • the (usually taken for granted and rarely documented) claim of CAT (Communication accommodation theory),
    that converging expressively (= delivery, discourse, normative pragmatics) with an interlocutor helps create entente;

  • the claim of extended CAT (in the paper read for this course) that entente requires substantial accommodation
    and that formal accommodation (expressive convergence) follows it automatically, at least to some extent.

To do the experiment, you have to be able to do code switching AND identity shifting in English.
This requires learning two varieties of English sufficiently to be able to accommodate substantially/formally to some extent in them.
So you will form couples, teach the variety of English you have studied to your partner, and learn from her the variety she studied.

For next Tuesday (March 24th) you should have prepared two sheets, one for Task 1a and the other for Task 1b (as explained above).
These sheets should be complete enough to enable you to get your partner to accommodate in your chosen variety of English.

This means that FIVE STATEMENTS DESCRIBING THE MIND SET may NOT be enough; in that case furnish her as many as necessary.
It also means that your descriptions should not be about generic qualities, but should help your partner know what to say and how.

Your description of the purely formal features of just the verbal repertory of your variety must serve the same purpose:
it must give your partner enough linguistic “tics” to will enable her to enter into and remain inside of the appropriate cultural mindset.


Stanislavski's “magic if”.
If you were in situation X, what would you do? (If you really feel your new mindset, you should know!)

Southeast British English,
Hiberno English,
West Coast General American,
New Yorker (Bronx),
Jamaican English,
Cultivated (Broad?) Australian English.

 <What do Hofstede's dimensions tell us about the differences between the stereotypical Italian
      mindset and the mindset of the typical speakers of the varieties of English indicated above?

Characteristics of Anglo will-to-mean that are (theoretically) present in all varieties of English, to varying degrees.  Note that they correspond to the following characteristics of (colonial) British “will to be” (as suggested by Hall, Hofstede and Beamer).

Hegemonic British will-to-be (up to WWII)

Self in control, experiential learning

low context,*

Horizontality, rule observance

Uncertainty avoidance,

Short-term orientation, individualism

Anglo linguistic traits
(found in all Englishes)

But see Kaplan's
(like the French claim of “logicality”)

task over human considerations

Premises and objections declared; step by step report, high cohesion, coherence;

thus hedged statements, understatement ,

(considered ethnocentrically as “objectivity”) in making assertions

due to pragmatism

Skin-ology, or
the superficial
manifestations: verbal, gestural, prosodic, textual, etc.

Phrasal verbs, quasi deictic definite articles;
mostly baton gestures, with few (redundant) iconic gestures

Heavy use of connectors; oral stress placement to “telegraph” essential information

Qualifiers to avoid brash assertiveness;
conversational turn-taking at CTRP***

Extensive documentation, proof; source attribution; future agenda, charts, graphs.

Creativity by varying genres (new situations, fads...)

*Low context: a cultural value proposed by Edward Hall, in opposition to “High context”: Anglos do not like to have to guess meaning from context in reading and listening; they prefer that things be “spelled out” (preferably with bullet points) so that their dependence on context is low.   Italian speech is typically high context: you need a high degree of understanding of the context in order to understand a speaker's allusions.  

**Monochronic: another cultural value proposed by Edward Hall, in opposition to “Polychronic”: In monochronic cultures people prefer doing one thing at a time; in polychronic cultures a conversation does not have to follow a thread, people can talk about a thousand different things, changing from one subject to the other and back again; a boss can hold a meeting, answer the phone, sign letters and tell his secretary what to order for lunch all at the same time and the people at the meeting are not offended.

***CTRP = Complex Transition Relevance Places, i.e. the point in conversation where syntactic, intonational and pragmatic “completion signals” occur at the same time.


The cultural value “Form Trusting” is not used here because it varies within the Anglo community.

“Form Trusting” should not be confused with the term “formality” or the term “good form.”

Formality is a situational variant (as any register), not a general property of Anglo will-to-mean; oriental discourse, for example, can be as highly formal (but in a different, high-context and intuition-based way) as the most formal R.P. British English.

However “good form”, as used in sports, does indeed characterize Anglo will-to-mean, whether in formal or informal situations. “Good form” = proper, for the circumstances, according to the local culture and customs.  If you give lots of statistics in your report to the boss and make them all perfectly understandable with charts and graphs so that your boss, delighted, gives you a promotion – hey, that's good form!


 Exam Question:        Which Englishes have "norm providing" status?

A Student's Answer:  Most people consider the English language to be a single thing but in reality it is many things, many Englishes. This is because there is no single variety that is both rooted in a geopolitical community and used as a universal standard. Thus, "English" is a fiction; only "Englishes" exist. Of all the Englishes born in Britain and in her former colonies, some have conserved Anglo cultural values and, in their respective communities, constitute the prestige models: General American, Cultivated Australian, R.P. English, etc. They are what Kachru calls the "norm providers". Others, especially those that use English words to express local cultural values (Indian, Singaporean, Philippine, Nigerian Englishes for example), have traditionally taken their linguistic norms from the first group, although lately they have started to become "norm developing" and many people already call them "New Englishes".

What should the student have written to accommodate better to her teacher's Anglo mentality?



Since many of you hope to be future English teachers in the school system, a short discussion on what it means to know – to learn – to teach. Also with reference to what the Corso di Laurea proposes – de facto – as knowledge, learning, teaching. Any social institution always has, as an auxiliary purpose, the maintaining of the society of which it is a part, this is the function of what Gramsci called “traditional intellectuals”, who are “sovrintendenti della sovrastruttura,” guardians of the traditional beliefs that structure society and give it order. (The order always serves a function useful to the dominant classes, which is not always apparent.) Thus, our Corso di Laurea, in spite of its inefficiency, is in reality fulfilling a plan that serves those who are dominant in it. Your task is to understand what is going on and to collaborate actively if you approve, or raise other students' awareness of what is going on if you do not approve, and take initiatives with them to change things.

So what does to KNOW a language mean, in this Corso di Laurea? And why does it mean that?
What does it mean to LEARN a language for the people who organized your learning program?
What does it mean to TEACH students enrolled in a post-graduate Degree Course?


The common characteristics of “English” expressivity.
Does the existence of these common characteristics contradict the affirmation made previously that a “common English” does not exist?

Irish humor and song. Australian song. Southeast British declamation.

Do Task 2 for March 31st. (Read the instructions for Task 2 below)


Walzing Matilda: Eugenia sang and explained and the myths of Australian pub culture.

Discussion of Pam's and Ann's Task 2.  To what degree do they embody the Anglo mindset and discourse patterns? And on the level of material realization, to what extent do they use typical English verbal forms?

How can we say that “English in general” does not exist if we have defined a series of typical traits of Anglo discourse?

Gambits for introducing (oneself), offering or asking for assistance, inviting and responding to an invitation in the five varieties of English studied by the students of this class.

British Pub culture and etiquette – you begin to communicate for the instant you enter a pub (proxemics).

Go on Home British Soldiers: Robbie sang and explained the myths of Irish pub culture(in 3 minutes)
South Bronx (Krs-one): Pam sang and explained the myths of New York street culture (in 2 minutes)!
Three Little Birds: Ann sang and explained the myths of Jamaican culture (in 1 minute).
(end of class time)

Do Task 3 for April 7th. Before you write the report, read ALL of Accommodation Theory Revisited 

(Read the instructions for Task 3 below).


Wherefore art thou Romeo:” Chiara gave the soliloquy and comment on Juliet's nominalism and British linguistic skepticism since Ockham.

Discussion on L2 pedagogy (since students say the want to be teachers of English as a Second Language).   In this course several students redid Tasks that had already been accepted, just to make them better.   Not all students, of course, but a few.   In most school rooms and even university lecture halls this does not happen.  What made it happen here?  

There are many reasons of course, but to limit this discussion to the pedagogy used in this course, we can offer two possible answers. This course takes inspiration from:

(1) constructivist learning: there is no set program, just a provisional program that changes as latent student interests for this or that theme emerge: this means learning is a will to know and knowing is a will to make sense of phenomena that students find interesting;

(2) mastery learning: there are no marks for tasks and tasks can be done over and over until they satisfy both the teacher and the student; this means that every student can get a good mark: some students will take more time since they will do tasks repeatedly to reach an acceptable level – but everyone will succeed, if s/he accepts to put in the time necessary for her/his level.

Debriefing of the evening at Trinity college. The purpose was to experience trying to speak English as the will to mean in a particular way (according to the linguistic/cultural variety of English chosen). The purpose was not (and given the time restrictions, could not have been) to gather evidence to validate or invalidate the three hypotheses expressed in
Accommodation theory revisited.


1. Why is it NOT necessary, in a course correctly taught with the two pedagogical principles explained last time, for every student to redo tasks even after they are accepted? (For the same reason, it is NOT necessary for every student to participate in a demonstration, in order for the class to be politically aware and engaged as a whole.)

2. See Chiara's Task 3: Why are the “grammatical corrections” the central feature of the corrections? If language is much more than grammar, why don't corrections focus on all the rest?

3. According to the nominalist view of phenomena, English does not exist as a real entity but only as a highly limited combinatory potential of a reduced verbal system abstracted from concretely existing Englishes; thus it exists only in the minds of linguists as a (limited) potentiality. But, in the view proposed in this course, English does exist as a concrete reality, on the Earth: it exists as a family of idioms, indeed as a métis family of idioms. (Note: the term “family” is also a relational term and therefore a non existing entity; what is concrete are the specific members of the métis family, which occupy specific historical/geographic areas – that we can investigate empirically – and which form a specific, one-off inventory or list. The word “family” is used to evoke that list and has no other denotation or connotation.)  

So, what does “métis family of idioms” mean in the case of English?

4. Theory of translation as a double introjection of mindsets.

Enel press release translation

Do Task 4 for April 8th: (SEE TASKS SECTION BELOW).


Last lesson. Recap of principal themes.
Discussion (at last!!) of the text Accommodation Theory Revisited 

Last theme for discussion:

What would you like to do to improve the language curriculum at Roma Tre, on the basis of your five years' experience of what that curriculum offers (as it is currently designed)?
N.B. The curriculum will be rediscussed next year.

 Return to Menu>







     Research tasks  Return to Menu>



With respect to the variety of English you have chosen (Southeast British English, Hiberno English, New York and West Coast General American, Jamaican English, Cultivated/Broad Australian):

Task 1a. Follow the instructions here to sketch the Intentional Matrix of the variety' chosen.

Task 1 b. Describe formally (6 levels of traditional linguistic description) the variety chosen.

Intentional Matrix (Worldviews):

A = Five values (beliefs and/or affects and/or wants)
B = the analysis of each in terms of cultural dimensions,
C = the resulting maxims that will guide your speech and behavior.

Formal Description ONLY of the verbal repertory
(not the gestural, facial, paralinguistic, postural, prossemic (etc.) repertories)
A = phonemic, B = morphemic, C = lexemic, D = syntactic, E = textual, F = (normative) pragmatic

Annarita = Parts 1aABC but they need to be redone (see the other students' papers first)
                = Second attempt
1aABC ok
                = Third attempt.
1aABC even better!!! 
                = Fourth attempt –
1a ABC the best!!!!
                                                   1b ABCDEF very good  

Chiara = Parts 1aA and 1aC (redo 1aB after seeing my comments on Annarita's paper)
             = Second Attempt: 1aABC
             = Third attempt
1aABC ok
             = Fourth attempt: even better!! 1aABC
             = Part 1bABCD (EF missing)
Part 1bABCDEF ok

Eugenia = Part 1aC (do 1aAB)
                = Second Attempt:
1aABC ok  
                = Third Attempt (even better): 1aABC
                = Part 1bAB  
                = Second Attempt
1bABCDEF ok!

                = Third Attempt 1bABCDEF <- EXCELLENT!

Elisa =1bABCDE but not F (Verbal Forms) + 1aC (Intentional Forms)
          =1aABC ok
          =1bABCDEF excellent!

Pamela = Parts 1aAC (redo 1aB after seeing my comments on Annarita's paper)
              = Second Attempt: 1aABC,
              = Third Attempt 1aABC ok !!!

Roberta = Your first attempt (1aC) at was incomplete: please see the other papers and try again.
              = Second Attempt: 1aABC

              = Third Attempt:
1aABC ok
              = Part 1bACD ?? (you haven't done B,E,F. Give priority to doing 1a better.
                                              If you have time do the missing parts of 1b.)




 Annarita = 2  ok
                    2 Improved: almost no corrections!

 Pamela  = 2  ok

 Chiara = 2  ok

 Roberta = 2 (not very clear or detailed)
                = 2 ok
 Eugenia =
2 ok
 Elisa =
2 excellent


Encounter with the (East Coast) American students from Trinity College, 2 April 2009 (8-10 pm).

Speak the variety of English you have studied for the first part of the evening; note the reactions (if any) of your interlocutors. If none comment on your way of speaking, ask them questions indirectly. (Do NOT ask what they think of your “English,” otherwise they will comment your grammatical competence; ask what they thing of your “way of speaking” -- this will encourage them to speak of your communicative competence.) You will also note, subjectively, the degree of entente you achieve with your American interlocutors. (For an explanation of the notion of entente, see note 2 in Accommodation Theory Revisited ).  Finally try to note if your verbal production changes spontaneously when you start to “feel” strongly you Anglo mindset. In other words, if you are trying to “think Irish”, note if your way of speaking starts to sound Irish, even if you make no specific effort to use Irish expressions, lexis/grammar or phonology.

Then, during the rest of the evening, try to accommodate to their “East Coast General American” way of speaking. (NOTE: Pam and Elisa will start the evening with the alternative variety of English that they learned from their class partner, e.g. Hiberno English in the case of Pam; then during the second part of the evening they will codeswitch to General American and try to accommodate to the East Coast speaking style of their interlocutors.) Again, you will note (and even provoke) comments on your way of speaking and you will try to estimate the degree of entente you achieve.  You will also try to note if, after accommodating substantially, you instinctively accommodate formally as well.

At home you will write a (minimum) one-page paper reporting your three observations
(1. their reactions, 2. the degree of your entente, 3. your spontaneous formal accommodation)
for the first part of the evening and
for the second part of the evening.

But fist, read ALL of Accommodation Theory Revisited and, in writing your report, make use of the concepts explained. Your report should be presented as evidence for or against the claims made in the text.

 Chiara = 3 ok
 Pamela =
3 ok
 Roberta =
3 ok <Everyone should read this paper since I made many comments of general interest.
 Eugentia =
3 ok  (Some comments may be of interest to other students as well.)
 Elisa =
3 top notch.
 Annarita =
3 ok


Redo, according to accommodation theory,* the Enel press release translation.
*as well as the theory of communicative translation versus semantic translation, as defined by Newmark (1988).

First imagine and introject the mind-set and value system of the Author-in-the-text (who is not so much the ENEL Press Relations Officer who wrote the release, as the idea that person has of the ENEL management and in particular the boss, Chicco Testa. The worldview of these “committenti” is what probably drives the form that the press release takes.)

Then imagine and introject the mind-set of a specific readership in the Anglo culture you studied and identified with. You can also choose an alternative readership. In either case you must take the communicative intent of the original press release and transpose it, according to our definition of communicative-cultural translation, into an English language press relase with "reader appeal", i.e., suitable for your target newspaper audience.

As you can see, communicative translation is a form of accommodation -- you adapt your reading of the source text to the mind-set of your committente (you see in it what s/he sees in it), and you adapt how you write the target text to the mind-set of your future readers (so that they see in it as much as they can of what the committente sees in the original text).

Just as communicative accommodation (like at Trinity) is a form of translation -- you “translate yourself” into the other culture, not to deform yourself, but to make what you really are (in Italian) more readily understandable to your interlocutor of another culture, by presenting yourself using his or her language.

 Roberta =
4 ok     (although...)
4 (second attempt: excellent!) 
Chiara =
4 ok  (plebeian Sun style)
 4  (excellent - aristocratic Times style)
 Eugenia =
4 ok
                   4 – Excellent!! Good chance of publication.
 Pamela =
4 ok (excellent!)
4 even better!
 Elisa = 4 (incorporate the suggestions made during class)
4 ok and excellent!! (First prize)
             (Everyone should read and compare Elisa's first and second versions)
 Annarita =
4 ok (Second prize)
4 improved. A tie for first prize!!

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     Program (set texts)   Return to Menu>

Accommodation as translation of the Self; translation as accommodation to the Other

Non attenders (Non frequentanti)

1. Accommodation Theory Revisited , Cross-cultural Accommodation through a Transformation of Consciousness 
2. Mary Snell-Hornby,
Translation Studies, Amsterdam: Johns Benjamins, 1995.
3. Albrecht Neubert, Gregory M. Shreve,
Translation as Text, Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 2000.
4. Peter Newmark,
A textbook of Translation, New York; Prentice Hall, 1988.
5. Basil Hatim, Ian Mason,
The Translator as Communicator, New York: Routledge, 1997



Attenders (Frequentanti)

1. Accommodation Theory Revisited , Cross-cultural Accommodation through a Transformation of Consciousness 
2. Parts of the texts for non attenders (available at the photocopy shop
Pronto Stampa, since they constitute less than 15% of each volume).





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     Exam procedure  Return to Menu>

Non attenders (non frequentanti)

TEXTS: You are responsible for all texts on the Reading List>  
MARKS: Here are the criteria determining your mark  


Attenders (frequentanti)

Students attending 80% of the lessons may substitute part of the program with research activities and also take the esonero.
Final mark = max. 20 points for research &
esonero + 8 points for contributing to class discussions + 2 points for final exam.






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     Rules, credits   Return to Menu>



Regulations for taking exams at the School of Humanities  


This course is worth 4 credits.  Since in the EU 1 credit = 25 hours of work, the total work load for this course is set at one hundred
32 contact hours (16 lessons) + 68 hours of study (reading and carrying out research activities.  N.B.
Non frequentanti: just reading) = 100 hours



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