IRAAL Online Lecture: Teaching Spoken Languages for Tourism through Project Work and Authentic Clips: A Pilot Study

Dr Gloria Cappelli & Dr Veronica Bonsignori

May 13, 2021, 5:30pm (Irish time)

Online (organized by IRAAL)


Teaching LSP at university level necessarily involves both developing specialized language skills and forming knowledgeable professionals capable of appropriate and effective intercultural communication. This is especially true for foreign languages for tourism (e.g., English or French for Tourism). The distinctive feature of most instances of tourism discourse is the fact that it draws from a range of specialized domains. It mediates the tourist experience and contributes to closing the gap between the home- and the destination’s culture by making culture-specific knowledge and specialized concepts accessible to non-specialists. For this reason, teaching foreign languages for tourism communication involves simultaneously developing communicative and professional skills, as well as awareness of cultural differences and conventions. In this webinar, we discuss the potential of multimodal pedagogy in the English for Tourism classroom building on the idea that multimodality should be considered as an integral part of language proficiency rather than an addition. More specifically, focus is on the effects of using authentic multimodal materials (i.e., clips from authentic communicative exchanges) within task-based project work with young adult learners. This combination promotes the centrality of the learner offering opportunities for learning-by-doing, and helps learners expand their communicative proficiency and their awareness of specific professional communicative practices (Hyland 2005). At the same time, it avoids the limitations of the non-authenticity of the learning task, since the learners are asked to enact a type of spoken interaction which will likely be part of their professional practice in future.

GLORIA CAPPELLI is Associate Professor of English Language and Linguistics in the Department of Philology, Literature and Linguistics at the University of Pisa (Italy). She holds a PhD in Linguistics and Foreign Languages. Her research has focused on several areas of English linguistics, including semantics, pragmatics, English for Specific Purposes and English as a Foreign Language. She is the author of a book on English verbs of cognitive attitude (“I reckon I know how Leonardo da Vinci must have felt…” Epistemicity, evidentiality and English verbs of cognitive attitude), and of a book on the features of English tourism discourse (Sun, sea, sex and the unspoilt countryside. How the English language makes tourist out of readers). She has co-edited several collections of articles including volumes on lexical complexity, tourist guidebooks, complexity and creativity in the English Language and the linguistic study of dyslexia. On the same issues, she has published in national and international journals. Her most recent work has focused on meaning construal and conceptual accessibility, which she has examined in the processes of knowledge dissemination through tourism communication, as well as in pragmatic comprehension tasks in learners of English with and without dyslexia.

VERONICA BONSIGNORI is a Researcher in English Language and Linguistics at the University of Rome “Foro Italico”. She received a PhD in English Linguistics (2007) from the University of Pisa. Her interests are in the fields of pragmatics, audiovisual translation, multimodality, and ESP. She has published several articles in national and international journals and collections. She has also authored the monograph English Tags: A Close-up on Film Language, Dubbing and Conversation (2013) and co-edited with Belinda Crawford Camiciottoli the volume Multimodality Across Communicative Settings, Discourse Domains and Genres (2016). Her most recent publications include the paper “Using films and TV series for ESP teaching: A multimodal perspective” (System, 2018), “A multimodal analysis of spoken medical English in expert-to-expert interaction in TV programmes” (Ibérica, 2019), and with G. Cappelli “Specialized and culture-bound knowledge dissemination through spoken tourism discourse: Multimodal strategies in guided tours and documentaries” (Lingue e Linguaggi, 2020).