Learning a foreign language well does not simply mean mastering its pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary. In fact, the learning of a language is inseparable from the learning of its culture. It shows that students not only should grasp vocabularies, grammar and pronunciation，but also properly grasp the relationship between language teaching and culture understanding. It's clear that language teaching is indeed culture teaching. It is necessary and urgent to teach not only cultural knowledge information but cultural communication information as well. Having plenty of knowledge of cultural perspectives, cultural contents and cultural practices, an individual can learn a foreign language to a desirable height and level. Briefly, cultural knowledge is a starting point, cultural awareness is the link between cultural knowledge and cultural understanding, and the final objective is to improve the language acquisition of English-learners through culture teaching.
Key words: culture; teaching; learning; approaches; learning strategies
Taking the cultural dimension into account is nothing new in language teaching and learning. A widely defined notion of language is that people use language as a means of communication. English has already become firmly established as the international language of the present time, irrespective of the diverse range of situations and cultures throughout the world. For the last several decades we have been witnessing the fact that contemporary society is undergoing rapid and profound transformation on a wider scale. Economic globalization is a powerful factor underlying the changes taking place, and it is underpinned by the communications revolution. The past decades have seen a dramatic increase in travel, and more recently, new information technologies, notably the internet, have produced a degree of mobility, both true and virtual, that could hardly have been dreamt of half a century ago. As a consequence, the extent to which people are exposed to other people, and cultures confronted with other cultures, has increased exponentially. Language, thus, has come to be seen as a social practice, and culture as the very core of English language teaching and learning.
Chapter I Relation between Culture and English Learning
In this section, we will briefly examine the relationship between language and culture and see why the teaching of culture should constitute an integral part of the English language curriculum.
1.1 Definition of Culture
Culture is a complicated social phenomenon. It exists everywhere; it covers everything and it is involved in all the aspects of social life. Thus, it is considered as the sum of all the achievements got from social and spiritual life. Generally speaking, culture can be divided into two parts: one is Formal Culture, or Knowledge Culture. It includes all the accomplishments in social and physical science and highly reflects humans material and moral civilization. The other is Common Culture, or say Communicative Culture. It has a series of different features in daily life, such as customs, ceremonies, manners and holidays, etc. In addition, peoples actions or speeches all directly or indirectly reflect their self cultivation.
1.2 Relation between culture and language
Language is a social institution, both shaping and shaped by society at large. Thus, if our premise is that language is, or should be, understood as cultural practice, then ineluctably we must also grapple with the notion of culture in relation to language. Language is not an ‘autonomous construct’ but social practice both creating and created by ‘the structures and forces of the social institutions within which we live and function. Certainly, language cannot exist in a vacuum; one could make so bold as to maintain that there is a kind of “transfusion” at work between language and culture. Amongst those who have...
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