The role of Sociolinguistics in Second Language Acquisition

Posted by Your Language Coach Cairns on January 31, 2013

The role of Sociolinguistics in Second Language Acquisition

Linguists have long depated and discussed the effect sociolinguistic factors have on second language acquisition. It is widely accepted these days, that sociolinguistics does influence 2nd language acquisition to a certain degree. According to Schumann, amongst all the various factors, the social- and psychological ones account for the two major casual factors, influencing a learner’s acquisition of a second language. He proposes the following sociolinguistic factors:

·         Social dominance

·         Integration Pattern

·         Enclosure

·         Cohesiveness

·         Size

·         Cultural congruence

·         Attitude

·         Intended length of residence

Schumann differentiates two types of learners: Type 1 is socially integrated with the target language community and psychologically open to their language. Type two regards the target language community as a reference group whose life style and values he consciously or unconsciously aims to adopt. Though social interaction may be common in both types, in type two acculturation, the individual attempts to integrate into the target language community in more ways than linguistically. That is, he may strive to adopt the customs, rituals, values etc. present in that target language.

Schumann puts forward:”Second language acquisition is just one aspect of acculturation and the degree to which a learner acculturates to the target-language group will control the degree to which he acquires the second language.” (Schuhmann's Acculturation Theory,1978b,p.34)

 


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