Università di Bergamo > Cerlis > English Version > Projects > Intercultural Discourse in Domain Specific English





Anno 2002 - prot . 2002104353


Identity, Community, Discourse: English in Intercultural Settings - University of Turin – Sixth Centennial Celebrations (30 September – 2 October 2004)




Project of the University of Turin


Intercultural practices and strategies of textual recasting


In consonance with the design and structure both of the entire research project (Form A) and of the specific unit, this research team wishes to investigate macrocategories of text-types, from the communities identified in 2.3 above, on which the global hypothesis of textual recasting functional to intercultural reception may be tested. Such recasting may consist of strategies of omission and manipulation of the original linguistic and cultural features, with a consequent distortion of the profile of the community of practice wherein the text originated, and it may equally include strategies of conservation and even highlighting of difference.

Starting from a definition of text which includes visual and multimodal texts, this research unit intends to pursue similarities and differences in “ languaging ” strategies aimed at intercultural production/reception amongst text types sampled from the following domains:

a) social science abstracts, both in their paper and electronic format, from repertoires which consist of selected and edited or originally produced syntheses of research papers for the international academic community, with the aim of comparing each abstract with the original homotopic journal abstract;

b) transcripts, recordings/ videorecordings of international diplomatic negotiations and of tutorials for diplomatic staff, in order to assess in the recorded events an intercultural awareness reaching beyond conventional diplomatic routines and producing linguistic acts which are aimed at establishing and maintaining a common ground at every step in the unfolding negotiations;

c) multilingual electronic texts, wherein the English presentation constitutes one of several linguistic options, issued by “non profit” making organizations for an international target of “ telematic citizens”. Discrepancies between the original Italian version and the English international one (and vice versa) will be noted with regard to differences in organizing the verbal, non-verbal and iconic components relevant to the identification of cultural assumptions and representations.

d) visual texts produced in the experimental TEDS (Teaching English to Deaf Students) courses and sign-language interpreting course currently taught at the Universities of Turin (Special Projects Section) and Trieste (Advanced School of Modern Languages) respectively.

Implementation stages :

· the first stage envisages the compilation of specific corpora for ‘local’ and ‘remote’ use after validation. By ‘local mode’ we mean the pedagogical application of said materials in domain-specific English courses for the social, economic and international sciences; by ‘remote mode’ we mean verification of their applicability in the distance learning project which is one of the strategic objectives at the University of Turin;

· the second stage envisages the analysis of each corpus, with methodologies which focus on the lexicogrammar and the rhetorical-textual level, looking at genres, text types and connected phenomena such as leakage and hybridization. These methodologies, drawing upon textlinguistics , discourse analysis, pragmatics and corpus linguistics, also include the application of digitalizing videocards and of dedicated software for the analysis of multimodal frames.

· Final results, particularly mappings of the strategies of representation and manipulation of cultural identities and their actualization in texts, will be compared with those obtained by the other research units, so as to put together an inventory of cultural percepts , particularly those involving the Italian cultural contexts and their linguistic coding in English-language materials for an international public.

· The production of the following may be envisaged:

a) teaching aids/materials in electronic format for linguistic pedagogy in the domains of the social, economic and international sciences;

b) tutorials on CD-Rom for the training of TEDS teachers and of interpreters in the service of Deaf communities in Italy ;

c) a bilingual glossary (English-Italian) on CD Rom aimed to provide the relevant lexis of non-profit charitable organizations with special attention to the lexicalization of non-isomorphic constructs concerning local, national and international regulations and practices.