An Analysis of the Problematic Discourse Surrounding "Authentic Texts"

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An Analysis of the Problematic Discourse Surrounding "Authentic Texts"

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In L2 (second language) pedagogy, texts are commonly distinguished based on whether language instruction was a consideration in their creation. Texts that are not created for L2 instruction, or “authentic texts,” have been thought to represent the target language in an accurate and reliable way (Zyzik and Polio 2017). Conversely, texts that are produced with language learning in mind (“non-authentic texts”), such as those often found in textbooks, have received a markedly negative depiction; they have been considered contrived texts with distorted and artificial language, and their sociocultural purpose has been questioned (e.g., Gilmore 2007; Glisan and Donato 2017). An analysis of these polarized characterizations reveals an overreliance on subjective qualities to distinguish the two types of texts and an implicit assumption that language can exist in an authentic, complete form. Additionally, the ideology of authenticity continues to influence our perception of language users, since native speakers are more often associated with authenticity than others. This paper problematizes the “authentic text”/“non-authentic text” dichotomy in L2 pedagogy and promotes a post-structuralist vision—one in which the value of a text is not determined in isolation from how students might interpret and interact with it in specific learning contexts (Guerrettaz and Johnston 2013).


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Previously Published Citation

Simonsen, Russell. (2019). An Analysis of the Problematic Discourse Surrounding "Authentic Texts". Hispania 102(2), 245-258. Johns Hopkins University Press. Retrieved September 1, 2019, from Project MUSE database.

Suggested citation

Simonsen, Russell L. (2019). An Analysis of the Problematic Discourse Surrounding "Authentic Texts". Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, 10.1353/hpn.2019.0045.

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