Achieving Understanding: Discourse in Intercultural Encounters is a detailed study of understanding in a second language, related to the actual lives of minority workers. The focus is on the everyday interactions between these workers and the bureaucrats of the society in which they are now resident. Based on data collected for the major European project on second language acquisition funded by the European Science Foundation (1982-7), this book bridges the gap between studies in second language acquisition and the sociology and ethnography of minority workers in Europe.This study is an important contribution to the debate about the function of language as a social practice, adding a fresh perspective to the psycholinguistc and experimental paradigms currently existing in SLA research.Individual chapters consider the causes of non-understanding, how problems of understanding is (often painfully) negotiated. This text, therefore, differs from most studies of second language development where language production is the main concern.The focus on interpreting institutional data from four European countries makes this text of great use to students of applied linguistics.
It will also be helpful to language teachers and other professionals involved with intercultural communication.katharina Bremer, Department of English, University of heidelberg, Germany; Celia Roberts, School of English Language Teaching, Thames Valley University, I.K.Marie Therese Vasseur, Department of Linguistics, University Rene Descartes, Paris, FranceMargaret Simonot, Department of Arts, Law and Social Sciences, Islington College, U.K.Peter Broeder, Department of Linguistics, Tilburg University, The Netherlands