Journal of Universal Language
Sejong University Language Research Institue

Forming Identity and Avoiding Hegemony in the Era of Globalisation

Vanessa Leonardi1
1Universita' di Ferrara

Copyright ⓒ 2016, Sejong University Language Research Institue. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Published Online: Jan 01, 2017


The phenomenon of globalisation has further strengthened the relationship between cultural identity and language learning. The aim of this paper is to analyse the role of language in the formation of cultural identity and the role of culture in language teaching as an expression of identity that avoids hegemonic practices. Teaching languages inevitably necessitates teaching culture. Integrating culture into L2 teaching can help learners develop cultural awareness and cultural identity. In the first case, learners will become aware of the we versus they dichotomy created by false generalizations and stereotypes, and will be encouraged to develop tolerance and empathy towards different cultures. By comparing L1 and L2 similarities and differences learners will better understand, in terms of identity, their own place within the spectrum of cultures. Some scholars have heavily criticised ELT professionals and materials for their hegemonic tendencies. This paper, however, argues that teaching languages and culture naturally involves some sort of exclusionary practices which should not necessarily be viewed as hegemonic. The selection of a specific linguistic or cultural model, be it British or American English or other varieties, should not be viewed as an imposition of hegemony, but rather as a necessary means to achieve some kind of intelligibility.

Keywords: globalization; cultural identity; language learning; L2 teaching; cultural awareness; stereotypes; hegemony; intelligibility



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