A cognitive view on bilingualism and "bilingual" teaching and learning

Susanne Niemeier


Foreign language teaching and learning may profit substantially when discussed from a cognitive point of view. The paper deals with the situation of a new direction of foreign language teaching and learning in Germany, where in the last years so-called "bilingual" approaches have been implemented. This means that subjects such as history or biology are taught in English instead of in the mother tongue, thus exposing the learners to the foreign language to a degree that can not be offered by traditional English lessons. Furthermore, in those content subjects, the foreign language is used in a much more authentic and holistic way. So far, the results have been very promising. Combining some reflections on this new kind of teaching with insights from cognitive linguistics seems to be a way of introducing the learners not only to more exposure to the language, but also offers a way to provide the learners with insights into the way language works as well as with insights into the conceptual world behind the foreign language, and it tries to prevent the students from generating an indiscriminate mixture between their home culture and the foreign culture

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18172/jes.48

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© Universidad de La Rioja, 2013

ISSN 1576-6357

EISSN 1695-4300