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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Learning and the Learner: A Smooth, Regenerating and Constructive Love Story

Mariangela Marcello.

The itinerary starting from our own perception of our reality followed by our own response to it, once we wandered through the meanders of the 'other's' perception of both our response and his own reality, is long, mysterious, intriguing, charming and awesome.

Learning about oneself, one's own identity and perception of it, is a never-ending process so much related to how one feels about himself or herself. Language learning, in particular, both mother tongue and foreign language, triggers the awareness not only of something outside oneself, but also of one's own 'self', a sometimes scary process, too. It requires choices, attitudes, responses, action, acceptance.

What happens when we learn a foreign language? What happens when we learn a foreign language when we live in our own environment or when we live in a foreign country, whether that language is spoken there or not? Who are we before the process begins, who do we become once the process starts? Is our identity going to change during that process? How much will the values of the culture whose language we are learning affect us, challenge us? Will we remain the same with just some more ways in which to communicate? Will we develop or discover another identity inside ourselves? And what happens when the foreign languages are more than one? Will we adapt to the stereotypes or will we create new types, mixing identities? Will we ever sink into a language so as to feel comfortable enough to use metaphors and idioms so as to 'think' and 'feel' as the speaker of the other language or will we use a safe area in the language so appearing as we are not? A foreign language may be an easy tool in breaking barriers as well as in creating barriers in the delicate process of creating a 'rapport' both with the self and the environment. Will it be true that speaking many languages means having many souls?


Mariangela Marcello  (Australia)
Honorary Lecturer
Department of Italian Studies
University of Sydney

Degree in Foreign Languages and Literatures-
Degree in Psychology-
General practitioner in Neurolinguistic Programming-
University lecturer on behalf of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

  • Language and Society
  • Language and Individuals
  • Language and Identity

(30 min Conference Paper, English)