Journal of Applied Linguistics and Language Learning

p-ISSN: 2471-7401    e-ISSN: 2471-741X

2018;  4(1): 6-12



The Impact of Censorship on EFL Learners Listening Comprehension

Ameneh Nejabat1, Massoud Tajadini2

1Department of English, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Kerman, Iran

2Department of English, Science and Research Branch, Azad University, Kerman, Iran

Correspondence to: Ameneh Nejabat, Department of English, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Kerman, Iran.


Copyright © 2018 Scientific & Academic Publishing. All Rights Reserved.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution International License (CC BY).


The cultural impact of foreign Language has usually been a matt or of concern for the learners of Languages'. The present study purposed at examining the relationship between in cultural English text book in Iranian context and English text books in terms of censorship. There have been a lot of books either censored at schools and different institutes and it has been co used to demo irate EFL learner on the one hand, the disintegration of culture from English language in ELT context in Iranian EFL learners at intermediate levels, on the other hand is the incorporate of culture with language teaching in different contexts. A combination of qualitative and qualitative research methods with 60 students. Treatment, close ended questioners were the means of data collection on the basis of the results obtained. It is strongly recommended that foreign language teachers consider. The cultural factors and specific teaching techniques that develop student's English abilities.

Keywords: Cultural theory - disintegration censorship, Text book, EFL

Cite this paper: Ameneh Nejabat, Massoud Tajadini, The Impact of Censorship on EFL Learners Listening Comprehension, Journal of Applied Linguistics and Language Learning, Vol. 4 No. 1, 2018, pp. 6-12. doi: 10.5923/j.jalll.20180401.02.

1. Introduction

Generally speaking language is a system of human communication it is through this system that people come in to contact with each other emotionally. Actually it sounds that learners are under the influence of the text books they study, culturally, and point of view (Richard 1989) teaching language as well as cultures is EFL context light on the two dimensions of teaching culture along with language. Cook and Guihem, (2002). There is a tendency to disintegrate culture from EFL Lerner in Iran.
A horrible censorship are varied in different passages films, learning and teaching materials is the last preventive measure done in ELT context to reduce the probability of culture incursion invasion and the outcomes of such censorship has disappointing influence on the EFL learners and quite problems in times of read communication with the English native speaker.

2. Review Literature

A. Culture
Based on the latest developments in information and communication technology we live in a small village now. There is ongoing exposure to a flow of information from around. The world coming through satellite TV, online and print media. The internet and possibility of communication with every single individual on the face of the globe, values, and culture. In accordance with Cook, (1999) and Guiheme, (2002), "Language teachers have radically changed their attitudes and the direction of the change suggests a further evolution. In the 1980s, contention that they caught to exclude the cultural content in their course aroused their annoyance and disappointment" Also, Cook, (1999) and Guiheme, (2002) purposed; “English language teachers have radically changed their attitudes since 1978 and the direction of the change suggests a further evolution. In the 1980s, content in their courses aroused their annoyance and disappointment. They not only saw little need for this added burden, they were afraid of it. During the last 27 years, the anger and fear gave way to more pessimistic reading is in ELT contexts”.
Furthermore, Cook, (1999) purposes” The horrible mutilation of the passages, tapes, films, learning and teaching materials as well as English magazines and newspapers is the least preventive measure done in ELT context to reduce the probability of culture invasion. (Cook, 1999; Guiheme, 2002) The outcomes of such disintegration has dismaying effects on the EFL learners, since their misunderstandings and misinterpretations of the sociocultural norms of the English language communities them many problems in time of real communication with the English native speakers.
Cook, (1999) and Kramsch, (1998) “Statement of the problem and purpose of the study teaching of culture is not akin to the transmission of information regarding the people of the target community or country even though knowledge about the "target group" is an important ingredient without teaching culture, English language teaching is a deficient piece of work.”
Language is a system of human communication. This system of communication is used to convey needs, requirements, request, wishses, desires and ideas. It is through this system that people come into contact with each other emotionally. Culturally, and point of view (Richard 1989) teaching language as well as cultures is EFL contexts light on the two dimensions of teaching culture along with language. The disintegration of culture from language which leads to culture confiscation when it is being compared with the compelling integrate of culture with English language teaching at different levels. ‘Cook and Guiheme, (2002). There is a tendency to disintegrate culture from EFL classes in Iran – at different levels educational system.
The horrible mutilation of the passages, tapes, films, learning and teaching materials is the least preventive measure done in ELT context to reduce the probability of culture incursion invasion. The out comes of such disintergration has dismenying effects on the EFL learners and many problems in times of real communication with the English native speakers.
B. The importance of culture in language teaching
It is regularly accepted that language is a part of culture and it plays a very essential role in it some social scientists consider that without language, culture would not be possible. Language simultaneously reflects culture, and is influenced and shaped by it. In the broadest sense, it is also the symbolic representation of a people, because it comprises their historical and cultural back grounds, as, well as their approach to life and their ways of living and thinking. Brown (1999:165) explains the two as follows: A language is a part of a culture and culture is a part of a language: the two are intricately interwoven so that one can not separate the two without losing the significance of either language or culture. In a word, culture and language are inseparable some people say that language is the mirror of culture, in the sense that people can see a culture through its language. Another metaphor used to symbolize language and culture is ice berg. The visible part is language, with a small part it culture, the greater part, lying hidden beneath the surface, is the invisible aspect of culture make a living organism; language is flesh culture is blood. Without culture, language would be dead. Without language, culture would have no shape. Many linguists explore the relationship between language and culture. Nida (1998: 29) embraces the view that ‘language and culture are two symbolic systems.
Everything we say in language and culture has meaning designative or associative, denotative or connotative. Every language form me use has meaning, carries meanings that are not in the same sense because it is associated with culture and culture is more extensive than language’.
C. Integrative culture into language teaching
People of different cultures can refer to different things while using the same language form. For illustration, when one says lunch, an English man may be referring to hamburger or pizza, but a Chinese man will most probably be referring to steamed bread or rice. The disintegration of culture from language leading to culture confiscation as being compared with the compelling integration of culture with the English language teaching at different EFL contexts. One hand of a coin is the disintegration of cultural from the English language in ELT contexts in Iranian EFL classes at different levels of educational system, i.e. from primary up to tertiary levels. On The other hand of is the integration of culture with language teaching in multifarious contexts. The horrible mutilation of passages, tapes, films, learning and teaching materials as well as English magazines and news paper is the least preventive measure done in ELT context to reduce the probability of culture incursion/ invasion. The out comes of such disintegration has dismaying effects on EFL learner, since their misunderstandings and misinterpretations of the socio cultural norms of the English langue communicates case them many problems in time of real communication with English native speakers. (Cook, 1999; Kramsch 1998).
The purpose of this research is to answer the following questions:
1. What is the EF learners attitude toward the censorship of English book?
2. Does text mutilation have any essential influence on listening comprehension of Iranian EFL learners ?
This study wanted to clarify the reasons behind the disintegration of culture in EFL contexts in Iranian institutions and organization and light on the mutilation of course materials and the impacts it may. Cause on the learners’ knowledge & personality.
Prodromou (1992) asked what should language teaching be about? And concluded from their answers that there is quite a strong association in learners’ mind between learning a language and learning about the people who speak that language; (ibid:40).
Linguists and anthropologists have long recognized that the forms and uses of a given language reflect the cultural values of the society in with the language is spoken. Linguistic competence along is not enough for learners of a language to be competent in that language (Krasner, 1999). Language learners need to be aware for example, of the culturally appropriate ways to address people, express gratitude, make requests, and agree or disagree with some one.
D. Teaching culture without pre conceptions
Cultural information should be demonstrated in a nonjudgmental fashion, in a way that does not place value or judgment on distinction between the students’ native culture and the culture explored in the classroom. Kramsch (1993) expresses the: Third culture” of the language classroom- a neutral space that learners can generate and use to explore and reflect on their own and the target culture and language some teachers have found it effective to show students with objects or ideas that are specific to the culture of study but unfamiliar to the students the students are given clues or background information about the objects and ideas so that they can incorporate the new information into their own worldview. This could lead into related discussion in the target culture. It is also important to help students understand that cultures are not monolithic.
A variety of successful behaviors are possible for any type of interaction in any particular culture. Teachers must allow students to observe and explore cultural interaction from their own perspectives to enable them to find their own voice in the second speech community.
E. Young adult attitude towards, foreign culture
Professor of English Michael Lessard – clouston (2004), recognizes three aspects of culture. These are ‘general’, specific’ and ‘dynamic’ aspect. The first one, according to saville Troike (1975; 83) “Incorporates both ‘material’ manifestation of culture that are easily seen and ‘non-material’ ones that are more difficult to observe”. The culture features are sometimes easily Recognized and they sometimes hide behind some behaviors. There fore, it is difficult to learn or teach them. Adaskov & Fahsi (1990: 3-4) by the specific aspect of culture mean; Cinema, Literature, music, and media. Family, interpersonal relations, custom, material condition… the system which conditions for captions and thoughts… the background knowledge, social and Paralinguistic skill, and language code which are necessary for successful communication. Another reason for careful selection of culture topics is the type of motivation that learners have. They have their own will and they have different interests and perspective for their future. Most of them is aware of their needs while learning a foreign language. Rod Ellis (1997: 75-76) describes instrumental, integrative, regulative, and intrinsic C motivation. Shortly, the first is an instrument to get a better job. Students are not interested in more than is necessary to be fluent in the language. Integrative motivation is visible in students’ are interested in the people and culture represented by the target – language group”. For these learners, culture lesson, inspire them to get better command of language and satisfy their needs. Next, resultative motivation is “the cause of L2 achievement:”
F. Cultural Interference in communication
Bamgbose (1994) asserted that a bilingual user of two languages has his first language (L1) that may be said to be associated with his own culture (C1). He also has a second language (L2) that is associated with the culture of the language he has acquired (C2). Bamgbose (1994, p.9) presented his view on the relationships between the languages the cultures in the form of the following diagram:
Figure 2.1. Relationship between language and culture
Since language is culture - base and cultural interference in communication can only occur through language, Bamgbose (1994, p.91) introduced the following assumptions:
1. Native - like competence in a language involves the ability to move from the culture to the language associated with it, i.e. Obviously, this is the competence expected of monolinguals, and only a few so - called coordinate bilinguals can attain anything near such competence.
2. No culture - to - culture transfer is possible, except through the mediation of language.
The point of interest in the above diagram is the way it throws light on the interference between either language or culture or of both (Bamgbose, 1994).
Language - motivated interference is the transfer of the feature of one language to another arising purely from the difference between the two languages. It is two types: linguistic interference and cultural interference. Linguistic interference is represented by It involves first language interference in the second language without any implication for the culture of the second language. Such cases include simple phonological transfer, e.g. r for T in love, t for th in thief, or lexical interference, e,g. borrow for lend, as in Borrow me you book, cow meat for beef, and syntactic deviance, e.g. "I am owing him ten dollars" of "I owe him ten dollars". A lot of such interference is associated with low-level proficiency, but a native speaker of English will easily recognize and accommodate such errors in a communicative encounter. No further account will be taken of these types of interference. since it does not involve any cultural transfer into second language.
Language - motivated cultural interference is represented by It is a case where the interference from the first language to the second also involves a transfer of an aspect of the culture of the first language in to the second language, the effect may be a wrong signal to the native- speaker interaction who will certainly judge the utterance by the norms of his own culture. Thus, as Gumperz (1980, p.410) reported, the use of a falling intonation such as "you left the door open" instead of a rising one "you left the door open?" is likely to cause offence, since it implies an accusation. Similarly, when a word order typical of one language is transferred first in a noun phrase coordination. Hence, "I and you". Imagine the effect of transferring this to English. The interaction is likely to feel that the bilingual concerned is arrogant or impolite since in English it is the person that is mentioned last. Even the Queen of England always talks of "My husband and I" and never" I and my husband.
Culture - motivated interference arises from a culture- bound concept, practice or habit transferred into another culture. Although this transfer is done through a language, the immediate motivation for it is an attempt to translate certain aspects of one culture- motivated interference; Source- to- Target' and 'Target- to- Source interference.
'Source- to- Target' interference is represented by It is a case where a cultural aspect of a bilinguals culture is transferred into a second language with obvious implication for the way an interaction belonging to the second culture will react the transfer. This sort of interference is the commonest feature of a bilingual's performance in a second language. Examples of such interference could be found in greetings, kinship illustration each from greetings and kinship terms.
80 Iranian students at “Alef Institute” took part in this study. Having administered a Celt test by the institute, the researcher chooses 60 participants. The criterion was to select those who second one standard deviation below and one standard deviation above the mean on the Celt. Thus two homogenous groups, control and experimental, were settled in which 30 students participated, both male and female and aged between twenty and thirty.
The present research is a combination of qualitative and quantitative stud design. A pre test and post- test quantitative experimental approach has been employed, measuring the effect of the treatment used by the investigator. A questionnaire served as the result.
As the independent variable in this study is personality type, 30 students out of 80, were sent into two of the researchers. Colleague’s classes were chosen as the control group of the study. The other 30 students were chosen as the experimental group of the study that were supposed to pass a 2-month treatment period. Additionally, the researcher aims at identifying the type and degree of relationship between two variables rather than establishing a cause and effect relationship. There fore, the design after this present study is “quasi-experimantal” as recommended by Hatch and Farhady (1981). It should be mentioned that the issue of text- mutilation, the culture integration and culture disintegration and the way of teaching are three variables of this study.
A Celt test were administered to the participants in 3 different sessions. The first one (The Celt) for measuring their level of proficiency and the other one was taken twice, once at the beginning of the semester as the pre/test of the study and again at the end of the term as the post/test of the study.
The first instrument which was used by the Institute to measure the language proficiency level of the students, was on original test of English as the foreign language (Celt), a well- known and wildly used English language proficiency test.
The test is to be taken in 115 minutes and encompasses three major sections:
1) The structure section consists of 75 items. This type of items involves an incomplete sentence and requires the test taker choose from the four options given for each sentence one which completes it. The time for completing this section is 35 minutes.
2) The vocabulary section consists of 75 items this type of items involves an incomplete sentence and requires the test taker choose from the four options given for each sentence the one which completes it. The time for this section is 35 minutes.
3) The reading comprehension section consists of 24, items. The test takers are supposed to answer to the questions related to 3 different text, each text 8 questions the time allocated to this section is 35 minutes.
The allotment of scores is demonstrated below:
Table 3.1. Information on the CEIT TEST
CEIT was administered at first, As specified in Table 3.1. it consisted of 174 items in three sections: structure vocabulary and Reading comprehension. The subtest, each started with detailed instructions in English, but the participants, native language was used to give explanations and to make sure that they fully understood how to perform on each part. The student were given 115 minutes to finish the three subtests and they were required to mark their answers on their answer sheets. Based on the scores of the CELT, 60 homogenous participants were selected to take test as the pre/test at the study. Based on their performing the scores of the control/experimental pre-test were gathered. Two month treatment period was done during the course by teaching the cultural points related to the text mutilation and cultural disintegration only to the experimented group. The book which was used is culled “American English File "by Christina Latham-Koenig Clive Oxenden “miles craven”. 10 units of this book had ban worked only with participant of the experimental group and the test of the one/post test were exactly according to the material they had learnt during the term. Control group did not have any special way of teaching over cultural and text mutilation and just they had a normal procedure of acquiring a general English language course. After treatment period, the test was taken again as the post – test of the study to both control and experimental and the results, scores and the comparison will be mentioned in following discussion.
Data collection
The CELT subtest were scored by using the original key of correct responses and each correct response was assigned. The total number of the items being 100 and the participants’ scores were subtracted from this figure. This test was managed to be given twice. First at the beginning of the semester as the pre-test of the control and experimental group and after a 2 month of treatment period, as the post –test of these two groups for second time. The result will be mentioned in following discussions.
Data Analysis
Pre first step to be taken at this stage was to tabulate the data. Since research questions were delt with in this study. The statistical procedures had to be performed in two separated series of analysis. The T-Test estimation which is used to show the amount of influence of one variable on the other variable, was done to provide answer to the research questions; never the less the estimation of some fundamental issue like, mean, standard deviation and text reliability was inevitable.
A close – ended questionnaire was administrated it comprised of 32 items and was made up of 5 options. The first corresponded to strongly agree and the fifth to strongly disagree. Because of the uniqueness of this case study the researcher had to design the questions herself based on the intention of the study. Tow teachers as the rater and a professor in the field of education reviewed and approved of questions. To ascertain that the participants beliefs and attitudes towards their native culture and the censer ship of English books and text mutilations and the effect on listening comprehension of Iranian EFL learners were clearly depicted.

3. Conclusions

In this research has reported a qualitative and quantitative study on the disintegration of culture from English language teaching and learning context, materials and activities the researcher has carried out a critical linguistic study of the American English File. Have inside then many cultural values which are described in detail in chapter three. In the next step the researcher found out that text books are all written and published under academic standards and supervisions, so there is no need for censorship, further more. There is no points in doing so in order to prevent from cultural invasions, since our students live in a modern world where satellite and internet have paved the way for them to be in contact with other cultures and ideas. They are mature enough to make their own decisions regardingly. This study has worked on books teaching English and learners of English there fore, it has some ideas to add to the field and some implications. This study shows that cultural disintegration does not occur true one book only if these control values are presented one book which is used for teaching English it does not become part of the learners' belief system if they found the book censorship.
The findings of this study may have different kind of implication, such as sociological implications and pedagogical implications.
A. Sociological implication
At the moment there is a lot of wrong about the phenomenon of cultural impact and the stronger version; cultural attack, In our country which is an Islamic country, This is because the cultural values which we as an Islamic society live with are various from those which western countries live by. One of the important worries of many parents and the elders of our society is that children will be impacted by the cultural values portrayed in books designed by writers living in foreign counties and holding other cultural values.
This study, however, shows that cultural disintegration does not occur through one book only. If these control values are presented in one book which is used for teaching English it does not become part of the learners’ belief system they found the book censorship respectable. They insisted that censorship just limits and controls the way people feel and think? Therefore, there is no cause for worry. Those people who want to pressure Islamic culture can rest assured that foreign books. Will not kinder with their work.
B. Implications for syllabus Design
The findings of this study can be useful in pedagogical respects as well. In fact it can makers in teaching and material development.
Implications for syllabus design and material development.
1. This study shows that next series do contain cultural values . This presentation of values is done in a subtle and clever way. This can be good model. When syllabus designers and material developers start planning books they can take. This possibility in to account. They can include understanding. The cultural of day – to – day conversational conventions such as greetings, fare wells, forms of address, thanking, making requests, and giving or receiving compliments means more than just being able to produce grammatical sentences.
2. Since this problem of cultural disintegration and teat mutilation has a big impact on learners’ second language. They deep down liked uncensored ones better. In addition, they disliked the idea of having one censor as a super-being to decide to them to read or see. Since our students live in a modern world where satellite and internet have pare the way for them to be in contact with other futures and ideas. Moreover, Iranian student, here their own right and at least it should be allowed to know about the fact, so this the least right of human being to know the truth. If we look at foreign books without bias we will see there are positive values form or point of view as well when me are sure that there are many different culture and behaviors around the world and are know that all the countries have their own culture and customs, and they will not harmus. We can then start to use them to improve ourlearning EFL language.
C. Implications for teaching
1. This research has shown that teachers are aware of the interdependency of culture and language. They have also shown that they do try to give cultural awareness to their students. These teachers should also come to know about cultural values which are implicitly put into the books so that they will be aware of what they are teaching.
2. When teachers are made aware of the existence such values, then can be asked to give explanations to the student. Teachers can elaborate of the cultural values in their classrooms. They can describe the cultural values to their students along with the causes which gives rise to such values, so that they come to understand the cultures are different and there is a reason for this verity which is usually the needs of those people.
3. Since students do not admit the cultural values in foreign books in to their cultural system, it can be deduced that they have not come to accept it and they hold their own culture in esteem. Teachers therefore have to be very careful not to say anything demeaning, humiliating or do grading about the students’ cultural system. Such a mistake will have a very series demotivating effect on the students.

4. Discussion

The present study did not deal with the following issues which if investigated, maybe of great use for the clarification of other factors involved in and influencing cultural impact:
1. The identification of the values held in esteem by the society, those values which lie at the very heart of educational discourse and comparing them with those values in the books which the society censors.
2. Identifying those values which are presented in other books and in common with Extra series and comparing them with values found only in Extra series.
3. A critical linguistic study can be carried out for the English text books published by the ministry of Education in order to see what cultural values are depicted in those books.


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