The English as a Second Language for Adolescents in the Czech Republic and Italy: Why it is Studied and How Cyberlanguage May Influence It

By Roberto Bergami, Biagio Aulino and Blanka Frydrychova Klimova.

Published by The International Journal of Literacies

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This paper reports on pilot studies conducted in the Czech Republic and Italy on the influence that cyberlanguage may be exerting on linguistic communities of adolescents using virtual social networks, such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. These studies focus on the use of cyberlanguage and how this is developing in response to new technologies and channels of communication. Data was gathered through the administration of a voluntary written survey. The analysis of these data reveals a framework of linguistic strategies that adolescents use for on-line as well as off-line communications. This framework is used for a cross-cultural comparisons on Czech adolescents studying English as a second language (L2) with Italian (L2) adolescents. The adolescent speech varieties discovered in these studies reflect the types of observations suggested in the literature by other researchers in Europe and North America. These researchers highlight the existence of a specific speech code developed by adolescents for use in communications with their peers. The paper suggests that cyberlanguage appears to be exerting an increasing influence on adolescent communications. The paper concludes that, to make the curriculum relevant and of interest to the adolescent L2 learner, cyberlanguage should be introduced under the rubric of cultural material.

Keywords: Foreign Language Teaching, Foreign Language Learning, Czech Adolescent, Italian Adolescent, Adolescent Communication, Virtual Linguistic Communities, Cyberlanguage

The International Journal of Literacies, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp.131-142. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 381.732KB).

Dr. Roberto Bergami

Senior Lecturer (Practice of International Trade) and Associate Researcher, Institute for Community, Ethnicity and Policy Alternatives, School of International Business, Faculty of Business and Law, Victoria University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Roberto has over twenty years' experience in the manufacturing industry, primarily within the pharmaceutical sector. He held a number of roles with an international focus in finance, sales, marketing, customer service, and logistics. Roberto's teaching spans over twenty years with experience in higher education, TAFE (VET), and private education providers. Currently, he is a senior lecturer in the School of International Business at Victoria University, as well as an associate researcher in the Centre for Strategic and Economic Studies and the Centre for Cultural Diversity and Wellbeing. Roberto holds a Master in Education, a Master of Business by Research (Applied Economics) and a Ph. D. Roberto is a visiting professor at the Faculty of Economics, University of South Bohemia. Roberto has maintained his involvement with industry through a number of peak associations where he enjoys various grades of senior level membership. In 2002, Roberto received the State of Victoria Quarantine Award for his efforts in educating students in quarantine matters. Roberto’s main areas of research interests in international trade focus on government regulations; delivery terms (Incoterms); international payment terms; and market entry barriers. Other research interests include professional development of academics/teachers, the development of communities of practice, online teaching and online communities, migration from Emilia-Romagna (Italy) to Australia and teenage/youth dialect.

Dr. Biagio Aulino

EdD Graduate, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Biagio Aulino has a Doctor of Education from the University of Toronto, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education in the area of second language education. He also has a Master of Arts degree in Italian studies from the University of Toronto. Currently, he is Dean of French, Classical and International Languages in the York Catholic District School Board. He has been teaching for twenty years. Biagio also teaches part time at the University level in the department of Education, Methods of Foreign Languages at Niagara University in Ontario; and French as a second language at the University of Toronto for teacher candidates who would like to teach at the elementary and secondary levels. Each summer session, Biagio teaches Italian as a second language to Canadian students in Italy during the month of July. His interests of study include the speech varieties of Italian-Canadian adolescents, youth culture, and second language acquisition.

Dr Blanka Frydrychova Klimova

Assistant Professor, Department of Applied Linguistics, Fakulta Informatiky a Managementu, Univerzita Hradec Králové, Hradecká, Czech Republic

Blanka has eighteen years of experience of teaching English as a foreign language in all types of educational institutions, from preschool to tertiary levels, as well as in private businesses. She has MA in history from Central European University, and Ph. D. in English language from Charles University in Prague. Currently, she is teaching at the Faculty of Informatics and Management of the University of Hradec Kralove. Her main field of interest is teaching business English and academic writing. In addition, she runs courses in culture and history of Great Britain/USA. In addition, she works as an interpreter and translator. She has also published several articles and most recently a monograph dealing with teaching and academic writing.