AWEJ Volume.4 Number.4, 2013                                                                                                  Pp.60-77

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A Discussion on Teaching a Language without Teaching its Culture

 Ronnie Goodwin
Gulf University for Science & Technology

The human elements of language and culture are intricately and intimately intertwined, which is an aspect that has been studied by many linguistic scholars (Abdo & Breen, 2010; Annamali, 1989; Appel & Muysken, 2006; Gardner, 2012; Gregg, 2006; Hussein, 2013; Gumperz, 2001; Schegloff, 2001).  When learning a new language, the cultural attributes of the language become relevant to the comprehension of the target language (L2).  The purpose of this paper is to discuss the practice of teaching a second language (L2) without teaching the relative or content culture associated with the language.  This is particularly relevant for individuals that speak Arabic and are learning English as a second language (ESL) or English as a foreign language (EFL).  The ensuing discussion will present a case study reflection of Jordanian Arabic speaking EFL/ESL students and how culture affects the comprehension of the English language due to the grammatical, syntactic, structural, and other differentiating characteristics in each linguistic paradigm, as well as a study conducted at a Middle Eastern university.
Keywords: Language, Culture, ESL/ EFL, Arabic language


Dr. Ronnie Goodwin completed his doctorate in English: Rhetoric & Linguistics at Indiana
University of Pennsylvania in 2005. He has over 24 years of teaching experience in university,
community college, private and public school settings. He specializes in teaching Linguistics,
Business Writing, English Composition and English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).
Dr. Goodwin is also experienced in teaching intensive English for Academic Purposes (EAP)
and English for Specific Purposes (ESP) courses.