Glossary (Version 8.4)

A person’s conception and expression of individuality or group affiliation, self-concept and self-representation. Identity is closely connected to both culture and language. Thinking and talking about the self is influenced by the cultural frames, which are offered by different languages and cultural systems. Identity is not fixed. Second language learners’ experience with different linguistic and cultural systems introduces them to alternative ways of considering the nature and the possibilities associated with identity.

A graphic character that indicates meanings without reference to the sounds used to pronounce the word.

A group of (more or less) fixed words having a meaning not deducible from the individual words. Idioms are typically informal expressions used by particular social groups and need to be explained as one unit (for example, I am over the moon, on thin ice, a fish out of water, fed up to the back teeth).

An indication for the purposes of curriculum development of the assumption about learning time on task.

A base form of a verb.

Direct contact with and experience of the target language; the stimulus required for language acquisition and learning. Input can take multiple forms and be received through different modes.

Words that are usually used with adjectives to emphasise their meaning and are expressed by means of an adverb (for example, very interesting, awfully boring)

An ability to understand and to engage in the relationship between language, culture and people from diverse backgrounds and experience. This involves understanding the dynamic and interdependent nature of both language and culture, that communicating and interacting in different languages involves interacting with values, beliefs and experiences as well as with words and grammars. An intercultural capability involves being open to different perspectives, being flexible and curious, responsive and reflective; being able to decentre, to look objectively at one’s own cultural ways of thinking and behaving, and at how these affect attitudes to others, shade assumptions and shape behaviours. Characteristics of an intercultural capability include cognitive and communicative flexibility and an orientation and ability to act in ways that are inclusive and ethical in relation to diversity and difference.

An orientation to language teaching and learning that informs current curriculum design; framed by the understanding that language and culture are dynamic, interconnected systems of meaning-making; that proficiency in an additional language involves cultural and intercultural as well as linguistic capabilities. The focus is on developing communicative proficiency and on moving between language–culture systems. It includes the reflexive and reciprocal dimension of attention to learners’ own language(s) and cultural frame(s).

In the context of L2 learning, interpret refers to two distinct processes:

  • the act of translation from one language to another
  • the process of understanding and explaining; the ability to conceive significance and construct meaning, and to explain to self or others

A key component of communication, involving patterns of pitch and melody of spoken language that can be used like punctuation; for example, to express surprise or suggest a question, to shade, accentuate or diminish emphasis or meaning, and to regulate turn-taking in conversations.