LINGUIST List 26.5047

Wed Nov 11 2015

Confs: Lang Acq/France

Editor for this issue: Ashley Parker <>

Date: 11-Nov-2015
From: Anne-Laure Dubrac <>
Subject: APLIUT Conference
E-mail this message to a friend

APLIUT Conference

Date: 02-Jun-2016 - 04-Jun-2016
Location: Lyon, France
Contact: Anne-Laure Dubrac
Contact Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Language Acquisition

Meeting Description:

« Jeux en jeu dans l’enseignement/apprentissage des langues en Lansad »

Playing roles: what are the stakes in LSP / LAP?

In his work entitled L’anthropologie du geste, Marcel Jousse describes man as an
“interactional mimic” ([1974] 2008) who cannot but replay the actions he sees
around himself, actions which imprint upon him and which he expresses through replaying
them. Man thus constructs his identity, his role by replaying the actions he
sees around him. Playing roles allows him to “become the other” and by so doing, to
understand and memorise better (Lecoq 1997). As a result, the act of playing
(and replaying) a role allows the acquisition of skills and knowledge by bonding with others,
because playing requires recognising and adapting to the other’s needs.
Finally, playing is a creative process, because replaying is never a simple repetition or
holding up of a mirror, but it is a personal and dynamic reaction. It is not a
case of a figurative representation of that which we observe and replay, but an acting out of
its essence – a dynamic activity.

In this way, playing roles can be a fun an entertaining activity which we could encourage
our students to engage in in order to motivate them; it remains however a
behaviour which is innate, which is “profoundly anthropological” (ibid). In a similar vein,
Berthoz considers that there can be no learning without action because “the
origin of thought resides in the necessity of movement” (2009). Other researchers in
neuroscience have underlined the importance of the body in learning, such as
Rizzolatti, who suggests the existence of mirror neurons which allow us to unconsciously
imitate the actions of others.

The links between play and learning are numerous - both are eminently social phenomena
which re-place the individual in his or her environment. They allow the re-
presentation of his or her identity and reinforce the role of the body in understanding
others. Play remains marginalised however in the language classroom (Lapaire
& Masse 2008; Aden 2008). How, under these conditions, should we envisage teaching &
learning LSP / LAP so as to give playing its due? This is the question
which we will try to address at the next APLIUT conference in Lyon. The notion of playing
roles can be approached from a number of angles (theatre, strategy
games, video games, physical games, etc.) as well as its implications in terms of teaching
and learning languages (motivation, pleasure, autonomy, memorisation,

Aden J. 2008. « Compétences interculturelles en didactique des langues : développer
l’empathie par la théâtralisation », Apprentissages des langues et pratiques
artistiques, Paris, Édition le Manuscrit, p. 67-102.
Berthoz A. 2009. La simplexité, Paris : Odile Jacob.
Jousse M. 2008. L’Anthropologie du Geste, Paris : Gallimard (1978)
Lecoq J. 1997. Le corps poétique : un enseignement de la création théâtrale, Arles : Actes
Lapaire, J.-R. & Masse J. (2008). « Danser la grammaire de l’anglais », dans Aden J.,
Apprentissages des langues et pratiques artistiques, p. 149-176.
Rizzolati G., Sinigaglia C. 2007. Mirrors in the Brain. How our minds share actions and
emotions, Oxford : Oxford University Press.

Page Updated: 11-Nov-2015