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Ritual and foreign language practices at school

  • BEN RAMPTON (a1)

This article focuses on adolescents at an inner-London secondary school who are learning German rather reluctantly in a foreign language class, and then using the language to play around elsewhere. I argue that the language teacher's pedagogic methods turned the German lessons into relatively intense institutional rituals, and that the lessons provided symbolic and socio-emotional material that students subsequently inverted in a set of micro-ritual improvisations. There are some endemic problems of evidence in the argument that instructed German was connected to improvised Deutsch by cause-and-effect processes associated with ritual, but the discussion ends by affirming ritual's value as an analytic frame that can be applied both to institutional language learning and to historical shifts in classroom experience.

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Language in Society
  • ISSN: 0047-4045
  • EISSN: 1469-8013
  • URL: /core/journals/language-in-society
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