Challenges of monolingual intercultural communication in the context of the Languages Connect Strategy
Keywords:Intercultural communication, Intercultural competence, Languages Connect strategy
The new national language strategy (Languages Connect) for Ireland has finally highlighted the importance of language learning for the economic, social and cultural development of the country. Inherent to this strategy is the demand for not only multilingual graduates but interculturally competent graduates. Ireland has been becoming increasingly culturally diverse for many years now, and so our contexts of work and interactions have become multilingual as well as multicultural. Yet many of our students remain limited in their acquisition and exposure to foreign language/s and culture/s.
Previously we reported (Authors, 2018) how our pedagogical content and practices are insufficient in addressing the current linguistic and intercultural competence (IC) needs of language specialist graduates. Our new data (n=141) has emerged using a mixed-methods approach from non-specialist language students, who have had limited language or IC training. Our analysis reveals problems arising from these monolingual intercultural communications due to English being the dominant lingua franca. We have major challenges in motivating these monolingual students to learn another language. The dangers arising from this monolingualism are self-evident, (see, for example: https://www.llas.ac.uk/700reasons.html), the solutions less so. This article explores this perplexing scenario and aims to open a dialogue on this subject, offering some recommendations and potential solutions.