Indexicals and L2 learners' metadiscursive awareness

Abstract : This chapter deals with L2 learners' critical awareness of how indexicals function in extended English texts in terms of analysis and production. Its goal is to encourage L2 English teachers to raise learners' "metadiscursive awareness" levels, by engaging them in text-and discourse-structuring activities in which these expressions assume the major heuristic role. It begins by drawing a key distinction amongst text, context and discourse, and argues that indexical reference (context-bound pointing), though grounded in a variety of textual cues, is basically determined by discourse-level factors, mediated by context. Advanced L1 French learners of English, however, often make erroneous connections between parts of a written text and consequently misinterpret and hence distort the discourse created thereby. This is partly a function of certain models to which they are exposed in their learning experience, which tend to favour describing indexical reference in terms of matching segments of the co-text. To remedy these erroneous conceptions within learners' metadiscursive awareness, a set of standard guidelines was devised for analysing the discourse associated with non-literary texts. These encourage learners to approach the text from its most general aspect (its rhetorical "super-structure") up to its most specific (the "topic chains" developing two of the major discourse referents within it), via a breakdown of the discourse invoked into its essential parts. This approach entails not only a sensitivity to each stage in the discourse reached by the co-references corresponding to each main link, but also a grasp of the specific types of indexical expression capable of fulfilling each discourse-referring function.
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Francis Cornish. Indexicals and L2 learners' metadiscursive awareness. Breeze Ruth,; Sancho Guinda, Carmen. Essential Competencies for English-Medium University Teaching, ⟨Springer⟩, 2017, 978-3-319-40956-6. ⟨hal-01923284⟩

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