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Volume 15 Number 2, Summer 2018, Pages 257-565   


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Culture and Interculture in Saudi EFL Textbooks: A Corpus-Based Analysis

    Sultan Almujaiwel


This paper combines corpus processing tools to investigate the cultural elements of Saudi education of English as a foreign language (EFL) textbooks. The latest Saudi EFL textbooks (2016 onwards) are available in researchable PDF formats. This helps process them through corpus search software tools. The method adopted is based on analysing 20 cultural topics (nodes), namely climate, clothing, eating, education, family life, geography, history, holidays, humour, language, leisure, meeting people, currency, pets, population, religions, social occasions, sports, transportation and vacations. Function words, verbs, adjectives and punctuation were removed from the files of Saudi EFL textbooks. This guarantees searching for only cultural content words that are associated with the 20 selected cultural topics. The processing of the associations helps identify the type of culture quantitatively: local culture, target culture, and interculture. The results show that local Arabic cultural words are more frequent than target English cultural words, and the latter is more frequent than the intercultural words. This highlights a lack of intercultural examples in the whole corpus of Saudi EFL textbooks. This implies that a reconsideration of intercultural examples is needed for developing English language teaching materials. This is due largely to English being widely used as a lingua franca.

Keywords: Saudi EFL textbooks, cultural content, interculture communicative competence