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Wednesday, 26 December 2012

The Application of Acculturation Theories and models in Second Language Acquisition

The Application of Acculturation Theories and models in Second Language Acquisition

Acculturation theories, which explain how language learners integrate socially and psychologically with the target language, have been widely applied in the teaching of ESL. John Schumann, (1978) in his book, Second Language Acquisition and Foreign Language Teaching predicts that language acquisition is dependent on the level of acculturation to the second language.

In addition, he discusses the social and psychological factors that influence acculturation, such as Language shock, a concept in which a learner may feel inhibited because they fear appearing comic by using the target language inappropriately; culture shock, whereby the learner feels disoriented from the new culture while attempting to learn the new language;  motivation, where different learners learn under varying levels of motivation and seeming importance; and finally ego-permeability, which means that some learner’s ego is not easily penetrated, leading to more difficulty in learning.. Acculturation, according to his theory, appears difficult for adult learners than it is for children.

According to Norton B, (1998), there’s need to understand acculturation better, in order to promote Teaching and learning of a second language. Having these arguments in mind, one then observes that there’s need for positive attitudes between the L2 learners and the speakers of their target language. This will ease the process of acculturation and consequently enhance language learning. Schumann, (1986, 379) states that, Intercultural differences, however, sometimes make it difficult for immigrants to earn a second language in a new culture. This is especially the case for adolescents and emerging adults (Schwartz, et al, 2006, 2), who are still in the process of identity development. Among Muslim immigrants in the US, for instance, factors such as culture shock and dominance may hinder SLA.

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