n Acta Germanica : German Studies in Africa - Leiblichkeit im interkulturellen Fremdsprachenlernen : Eine vernachlässigte Dimension

Volume 45 Number 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1273


Corporeality in intercultural foreign language learning. A neglected dimension

This article argues that the inclusion of a corporeal dimension in the process of foreign language learning / teaching can anchor intercultural learning in the felt body (“Leib”), and thus make its effects more significant and lasting. Contrary to traditional notions of learning, which place cognition at the centre of human activities, corporeal philosophy argues that the felt body has a life of its own, independent of cognition. It is capable of engaging in a holistic exchange of corporeal dynamics in existing and developing intersubjective situations. Intercultural situations contain atmospheric dimensions beyond rational understanding, and these can significantly destabilize one’s corporeal countenance. Its recalibration is achieved by the process of encorporation, i.e. the corporeal synthesis of diverse situational atmospheres. The relevance of the felt body in foreign language learning is underpinned by analysing autobiographical accounts of professional authors who find themselves writing between languages.

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