University of California, Santa Barbara) is Senior Lecturer in French in the Modern Languages Department at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Stories and Stances: Cross-Cultured Encounters with African Folktales
Article first published online: 31 DEC 2008
© 1995 American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages
Foreign Language Annals
Volume 28, Issue 3, pages 392–406, October 1995
How to Cite
West, M. and Donato, R. (1995), Stories and Stances: Cross-Cultured Encounters with African Folktales. Foreign Language Annals, 28: 392–406. doi: 10.1111/j.1944-9720.1995.tb00807.x
- Issue published online: 31 DEC 2008
- Article first published online: 31 DEC 2008
ABSTRACT This paper describes a recent initiative to incorporate folktales and legends from francophone West Africa into a college-level advanced French literary and cultural studies course. Students were asked to keep reading journals to record their reactions to various texts taken from France and francophone West Africa. An analysis of the reading journals shows that critical competencies in Western culture often do not carry over when students encounter African texts. In the same way that students make linguistic errors by translating literally from their native language to the target language, they likewise make critical errors by misapplying critical stances to unfamiliar cultural contexts.