1973. Stockholm - LTA & LSP: Towards a Semiotic-SocioLinguistic Model.

by C. George SANDULESCU, Stockholm.

A B S T R A C T.

            (Published in Modern Language Teaching to Adults: Language for Special Purposes. edited by M. de Greve, M. Gorosch, C. G. Sandulescu and F.Van Passel.  Being The Second AIMAV Seminar of ASLA, Stockholm, 27-30 April 1972.  Printed by AIMAV in Bruxelles and DIDIER in Paris. 1973. Paperback. 290 pp. The above paper by C. George SANDULESCU appears in the book on pages 87 to 89.)

            1. Giving their specific characteristics, both LANGUAGE TEACHING TO ADULTS and LANGUAGE FOR SPECIAL PURPOSES, as fundamental working concepts of the present Seminar, need a closer and more minute definition within frames of reference which may often go beyond the boundaries of conventional linguistics and traditional MODERN LANGUAGE TEACHING. Linguists, in other words, must strive to find  a "common language" (and metalanguage) with non-linguists, particularly in the field of LSP.

            2.    The semiotic approach might thus provide the necessary background for factor analysis in much the same way as sociolinguistics (particularly at its microlevel) is already providing the necessary theoretical framework for an understanding of the essence of role relationships.

            3.    Considering that a narrowly linguistic approach to LSP may prove irrelevant and even unproductive, the present paper suggests a wider-than-linguistics approach to LANGUAGE TEACHING/LEARNING within the framework of communication models, starting from the premise that, as a colleague from the University of Lancaster put it recently "a communicative approach to applied linguistics is one very necessary at the time".

            4.    The major subdivisions of Semiotics -- repeatedly labelled Syntactics, Semantics, and Pragmatics --, if interpreted as components of an integrated system, provide useful suggestions for taking at least the first step along the line of solving the vastly intricate and so far apparently insoluble problems of LSP & LTA. Roman Jakobson's well-known scheme of communication may provide the theoretical linguistic and extra-linguistic frame for a survey of (language) teacher and (adult) student. And recent research has pointed to the vast difference as regards language learning between what might be here termed as [ + ADULT] and [ - ADULT], thus undermining the fundamental principles of the barely emerging "direct method", and making way for what is now called, at least in Sweden "a modified direct method".

            5.    A [ + ADULT ]  Teacher  & [ + ADULT ] Pupil role relationship entails psychological and sociological factors which are still inadequately investigated even in an ordinary situation, where LANGUAGE FOR GENERAL PURPOSES -- LGP -- is the goal of the teaching process. When an LSP situation replaces the above LGP one, with role features unchanged, there are a great number of factors which, though linguistically unanalysable at first sight, acquire greater coherence when viewed within an integrated semiotic model.

            6.    Thus, for instance, instead of looking upon LSPs as registers, it is certainly far more profitable to reinforce the distinction between closed systems and open sets of items and rules by isolating the restricted languages (Spencer 1972), and emphasizing sociolinguistic aspects and the organization of the message (within the frames of reference provided by the three components of a semiotic model).

            7.    There are two kinds of factors involved in an analysis of LSP which could for the sake of convenience be defined as (a) linguistic, and (b) non-linguistic (or extra-linguistic)(cf Mackay 1972).  This opposition, however, though true, may be misleading, as what is really opposed is LSP vs LGP (e.g. synonymic discrimination between, say, muzzle and nozzle in LGP may be quite different from the same items discriminated in the sublanguage of fire-arms and rocketry, which leads us back to atom and Chomsky's phrase "theory-laden words").

            8.    With a view to simplifying the approach to  LGP & LSP, no matter whether they are defined on a competence, performance or goal (Gorosch 1970) basis, and particularly with a view to assisting course designing and the course designer himself, it might be necessary to distinguish between [ + Language ] (or Linguistic, in the sense of 'pertaining to Language'), and [ + Specialism ], which covers a wide range of non-linguistic factors, so far very little discussed -- among others what Halliday (1969 : 24) calls "the structure of information".

            9.    The distinction [ + L ] and [ + S ] is empirically generated by the fact that the L expert is very seldom, if ever, the S expert.  And when the S expert assumes the L teacher role, the situation is even worse. In an ideal case, the L expert should be acquainted with the structure of scientific information to the same extent to which the S expert should be explicitly acquainted with the linguistic structure of linguistic messages.

            10.       Discovery of specific features as well as universals and differentials in language structure, course designing, classroom teaching for LSP in relation to LGP are still impeded by insufficient empirical research at the level of lesson analysis and group dynamics in classroom situations. The use is suggested among others of close-circuit television systems for detection of differences between teaching-oriented LSP and LGP communication in point of both item occurrence and the organization of messages at the level of various channels.


R E F E R E N C E S :

1.    Max GOROSCH. 1970. 'Goal-oriented Modern Language Teaching',
                            in: CEBAL, 1: 1970.

2.    A.J. GREIMAS & R. JAKOBSON, eds. 1970. Sign, Language, Culture. Mouton.

3.    M. A. K. HALLIDAY. 1969. Existing Research and Future Work: Chapter Four of
                            Languages for Special Purposes, CILT Reports and Papers No. 1,
                            Centre for Information on Language Teaching, London.

4.    Ronald MACKAY. 1972. English Programmes for Postgraduate Students in the
                            Faculties of Science, Applied Sciences and Agriculture in the
                            University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

5.    Mabel A. L. SCHULTHORP. 1967. The Language of Specialisms, Council of 
                            Europe, Strasbourg, 1967.   
6.    John SPENCER. 1972. Languages for Special Purposes: Teaching Rules or
                            Learning Roles ?

7.    C. G. SANDULESCU. 1971. 'Contrastive Analysis and Idiolectal Semiotic 
                            Systems', in: Sprakforskning i relation till sprakundervisning
                            (Linguistic Research in relation to Language Teaching), 
                            Nordiska Sommaruniversitet, Juvaskyla, Finland, August 1971. 
                            Published in Stockholm in 1972.