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Presentation on Intertextual episodes in lectures with bilingual content

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European higher education is increasingly characterized by a parallel language environment, with instruction in the local language, but textbooks written in English. In both situations new specialist terminology and general academic vocabulary are encountered in two languages via distinct modalities. We have started a three-year investigation, funded by the Swedish Research Council, of the conditions under which exposure to English terminology and academic language from textbooks alongside lectures in Swedish can result in acquisition of terms in both languages for the concepts acquired. The literature on language and vocabulary acquisition suggests that the degree of attention to the item to be learned is crucial for the success of learning. This in turn suggests that intertextual ties created between the language of the lecture and that of the textbook can have a beneficial effect on language learning. We report on interviews with lecturers who express concern about the linkage between Swedish-language lectures and English-language textbooks. As part of our investigation we have also video-recorded Swedish-language undergraduate lectures in computing and biology. This paper will give an account of the intertextual references to textbooks which occur in the lecture. Examples are lecturers giving English terms or referring to pages or diagrams in the textbook, and more interestingly debating appropriate Swedish terms for items cited in English, and recreating diagrams with equivalents in the textbook, but giving them Swedish labels. The results may have implications for practices that might improve bilingual scientific literacy (Airey) in the area of terminology.

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