Calling for English for Specific Cultures-based Coursebooks in English as an International Language Era

Mehdi Solhi Andarab

Abstract


In recent years, the emergence of English as an International Language (EIL) has paved the way for its global speakers to use it as a means of interacting globally, and representing themselves and their cultures internationally. Although English is globally considered as an international language and as a tool to be used in cross-cultural communication with people having various first languages from different parts of the world, native-speakers’ norms and cultures still dominate the language materials that are developed to be globally used. In fact, English language coursebooks insists on bombarding the ELT world with culturally-loaded native-speaker themes, such as actors in Hollywood (Coskun, 2009). Prodromou (1988) similarly underlines the issue that the majority of English language coursebooks are published by major Anglo-American publishers in Inner Circle countries and these coursebooks include cultural situations that most students will never come across, such as ‘finding a flat in London’ (p. 80). Considering the importance given to the growing role of EIL, the issue of linguistic norms and cultural content in language learning materials has remained one of the unresolved problems in the process of materials development. A group of scholars argues in favor of localizing the materials by using the learners’ experiences and making English language coursebooks culturally responsive to their needs. The opponents solely favor the integration of the linguistic and cultural norms of the native speakers of English in language learning materials. As far as EIL is concerned, there are several aspects that need to be taken into close account when language teaching materials are being prepared to be globally used. In a nutshell, in EIL era, while preparing English language coursebooks, rather than just integrating English of Specific Cultures, the linguistic and cultural norms of the native speakers of English, as the sole reference in the contents of the English language coursebook, at least a due attention should be paid to English for Specific Cultures, the linguistifc and cultural norms of non-native speakers of English. This study recommends a group of essential features for the future English language coursebooks in EIL era.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ijele.v2i2.6619

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