Reviewing difintional ambiguities and significance of text authenticity in english language teaching

Hamdi Ahmad*, Robert Mccoll Millar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose of the study: The premise of this paper is to define and address the ambiguities surrounding the concept of text authenticity in the field of English Language Teaching (ELT). Methodology: It represents a critical review of a series of research studies aimed at defining the concept of text authenticity and investigating the effect of text authenticity on ESL/EFL learners’ individual differences, namely ESL/EFL learner motivation and communicative competence. However, wherever possible, for the purpose of maintaining criticality, data associated with pedagogic/contrived materials are also discussed. Main Findings: The aspects of text authenticity may be situated in the text itself, the participants, social or cultural situations and purposes of the communicative act, or some combination of these elements. In addition, deficiency in learners’ overall communicative competence in the English language can be attributed to teachers’ exclusive reliance on contrived text materials presented in the form of textbooks. Applications of this study: It is strongly recommended that teacher training courses aim to develop classroom teachers’ practical knowledge and skills necessary for designing and evaluating TESOL materials. Reaching a consensus among researchers on the issue of the effects of authentic materials on ESL/EFL students’ motivation and overall communicative competence can have fundamental implications not only for developing language curricula but also for promoting learner autonomy. Novelty/Originality of this study: This study addressed the ambiguities surrounding the concept of text authenticity by proposing a typology encompassing eight possible inter-related definitions of text authenticity emerging in the ELT literature. More importantly, the paper structured a triangulation framework for introducing authentic materials into language classrooms:1) careful implementation of learner need-analysis, 2) criteria-based selection of authentic texts in the light of learner need-analysis, 3) utilization of task-based learning approach stressing the importance of activating learner schemata, awareness-raising activities, and task differentiation. This triangulation methodology is likely to reduce the difficulty of text authenticity and realize comprehensible input.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalHumanities and Social Sciences Reviews
Issue number4
Early online date1 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


  • Ambiguities
  • Competence
  • Motivation
  • Teaching
  • Text Authenticity


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