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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Academic Paper

Title: English as a foreign language in Azerbaijan: English teaching in the post-Soviet era
Author: Ulker Shafiyeva
Author: Sara Kennedy
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: During the Soviet era, language teaching methodology in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was premised on promoting a deep knowledge of a language's grammar and vocabulary. To this end, the selection of texts was centrally mandated, and teaching techniques and activities were carefully controlled and monitored. This rigorous approach to language teaching had both benefits and drawbacks for teachers and students. In response to the drawbacks of traditional Soviet methodology, some teachers and teacher trainers in former Soviet republics are currently promoting communicative language teaching, also known as the communicative approach. Communicative language teaching, as opposed to more traditional Soviet teaching methodology, emphasizes learning to use language to communicate rather than learning language solely as a linguistic system. However, the implementation of communicative language teaching has been problematic, for reasons ranging from government policies to teachers' beliefs and training to students' expectations. The purpose of this article is twofold. We first describe important characteristics of traditional Soviet language teaching methodology and the consequences of that methodology for language learning. Then, we explore the challenges of transforming traditional language teaching methodology (for the teaching of English as a foreign language, in particular) in post-Soviet republics, using Azerbaijan as a specific example.


This article appears IN English Today Vol. 26, Issue 1.

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