Svetlana Sidneva

Νέα ελληνική γλώσσα ως ξένη γλώσσα: το πρόβλημα της εθνικής ταυτότητας των Ελλήνων στα εγχειρίδια της νέας ελληνικής γλώσσας για ξένους


The written texts (as well as narratives) are considered to be one of the basic sources for the studying of national (ethnic) identity of the individual. Traditionaly such kind of researches are focused on the material taken from either newspaper articles or fiction literature. However, the national identity also is spotted in the texts created or selected for the didactic purposes, especially if it is a language (a key component of identity concept) that is meant to be studied. In this regard at the present research our attention is turned to the textbooks of the Modern Greek as the second language published and copyrighted by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (initial course, intermediate and advanced levels) along with a number of Athenian textbooks and manuals. The texts and the dialogues placed in the beginning or at the end of the units, on the one hand, have a purely practical purpose of instantiating Vocabulary and Grammar material. On the other hand, they give an idea (either expressly or by implication) how the Greeks set themselves up in the world. The texts may involve the direct description of the Greeks, quite often based on the national and international stereotypes. This sort of identification can be rather short as a phrase from a dialogue: «Greeks love holidays and tasty meals»; and, on the contrary, it can be enough developed and even happens to be a citation from an article or a book, e.g. the extract from the Nikos Dimos’ article in the Unit 10 of the advanced course “Ελληνικά για προχωρημένους” by Evangelia X. Panagopulu and Anna Chatzipanagiotidi, where we may find ironical self­determination of the Greek national character (with its tendency to exaggeration): «When the Greek looks at himself in a mirror, he sees Alexander the Great, Kolokotronis, but he never distinguishes Karagez in the reflection». Indirectly the aspects of self­identity concept appears from the order of the texts and from the very selection of the text topics, which often refer the Greek language, its history or problems of studying, and the Modern Greek literature. The personalities mentioned in the textbooks (e.g. G. Seferis, G. Solomos) are also those who put a contribution to the Modern Greek language formation. It is necessary to point out that culturological texts pay less attention to the Ancient Greek issues than to the Byzantian or Modern Greek ones. If being compared with other course books for foreigners (e.g. Italian manuals), the Modern Greek textbooks turn to contain considerable quantity of texts referring the folklore and the religion – publications of national legends or descriptions of religious practices. The topic Family seems to be extremely important as well – in the basic course “Ελληνικά για ξένους” the “starting point” of the unit «Time and hours» becomes the dialogue between a boy and his father about the watch, his mother’s Christmas present, instead of discussion about the trains or planes timetables, usual for the textbooks of other languages.

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