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How angry can you be in French and Italian? Integrating research and teaching for the development of pragmatic competence in L2 classrooms

Keywords: Languages , Language and Culture , socio-cultural norms , emotion communication , anger , Matsumoto , display rules , Ekman , Scherer , Intercultural Competence , IC , interaction , target language

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In recent years, discourse analysis has contributed to raising language practitioners’ awareness of the pragmatic aspects of culture in language and communication. However, the application of research data to teaching has often been limited to ESL contexts. On the other hand, the need to use research data in teaching cross-cultural pragmatic competence has been strongly advocated in the literature on SLA (Kasper, 1997), in view of the well-documented absence of the socio-pragmatic aspects of language/culture from foreign language textbooks (Liddicoat, 1997). In this paper we illustrate the rationale, as well as the main theoretical and practical aspects, of a research project designed to allow closer interaction between our research and teaching activities. In 2003, we initiated a cross-cultural investigation of emotion display and self-disclosure by Anglo-Australian, French and Italian speakers, based on the observation and analysis of non-verbal behaviour displayed in contemporary feature films. Following a discussion of issues that pertain to our research, we suggest ways in which our results can be brought into the classroom, with a view to provide opportunities for the development of socio-pragmatic competence in learners of French and Italian.


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