Language Alienation and Conversion: Mapping Knowledge and Terra Incognita
Foreign language instruction and practice in the humanities is often confined to the study of literatures or the mastery of speech and writing techniques without giving due attention to its other potential as a means of mapping existing cognitive terrain and exposing the tacit assumptions of the "mother tongue". Yet especially "global" languages like English, French (presumably also Chinese), Spanish and earlier master tongues like Greek and Latin were consciously applied to define discoveries whether through conquest or missionising or "sciencing". Reemphasising this function in modern humanities education presents opportunities to expand creative capacities beyond "merely" reading and writing in the current language environment. This is a reflection on teaching practice and studies in sociology of knowledge done over the past 15 years (esp. on Brazil, South Africa, and Germany).
Keywords: Language instruction, Cultural history
Dr. Patrick Wilkinson
Associate Director, Europe, Institute for Advanced Cultural Studies