Undergraduates reading for degree courses in modern languages often come to the university under the false impression that they only need to learn the language, and fail to realize the essential fact that language is, above all, a social creation, and communication is a social act which does not operate in a social void.Indeed, students need to overcome their initial difficulty in adjusting to an emphasis on a deeper awareness of the classic form-function dichotomy, with the focus on the particular meaning of each form depending on its specific function in the speech context. They must recognise that the illocutionary force of the utterance or expression is not implied in the form itself, (e.g. the imperative that may have the force of a suggestion, threat, invitation, etc) but relayed through contextual and co-textual clues. Hence teachers must set themselves the task of helping students to prepare not only for the final objective of the degree course, but also for the world outside the teaching / learning institution, by bridging the gap between the academic declarative knowledge imparted and the practical skills they will need to operate in the professional world.In other words teachers have to act as stimulators and transferers, shifting the focus from product-oriented teaching, where learners are generally required to complete successfully more demanding tasks at various levels of language competence, to process-oriented teaching, guiding students to become aware of the use-usage dichotomy which, albeit implied in the study of specialised texts, may not always be explicit in the practical activities of the language classroom.Such awareness raising means incorporating into the language learning curriculum a set of activities which can help students become better equipped to operate in their chosen, future professional contexts. Indeed, these activities can involve the consultation of a general corpus, which will provide the students with deeper insights into the multiple meanings of everyday lexical items.
Bridging the gap between the academic classroom and the professional world through the transfer of knowledge and skills / G., Mansfield; Poppi, Franca. - STAMPA. - 5:(2012), pp. 201-218.