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Culture and Second-Language Acquisition 1 Culture and Second-Language Acquisition: Cross-Cultural Influences on Language Acquisition

and Retention

Martin Schoket

C&T 331 arl Magnuson March 1!" !#1!

Culture and Second-Language Acquisition ! Culture and Second-Language Acquisition: Cross-Cultural Influences on Language Acquisition and Retention $nglish Language Learners %$LLs& cross cultures and face acculturation as the' (enture further into their second-language acquisition %SLA&) As an increasingl' glo*al societ' *egins to e+erge and ,articular languages start to do+inate others" linguists and language e-,erts recogni.e that second or foreign languages can seldo+ *e acquired or instructed /ithout addressing the culture of the co++unit' in /hich the language is used and associated /ith %0inkel" et) al)" 1111&) Concentrating on the culture and co++unit' in /hich a language is associated /ith is i+,erati(e *ecause language is ine-trica*l' connected to the conte-t fro+ /hich it is +ost /idel' used and the s'ste+ *' /hich +e+*ers of a s,ecific language co++unit' re,resent and share their hu+an e-,eriences" *eliefs" assu+,tions" constructions and understandings of the /orld in a co++on fashion %0unkel" et) al)" 1111&) 2ith $LLs e-,eriencing such a (aried cross-cultural re,ertoire /hile ,rogressing through the stages of SLA" ,er+eating cultural characteristics fro+ *oth do+inant cultures function si+ultaneousl' and affect $LLs second-language acquisition and retention of their nati(e language) Multi,le facets of cultural s'ste+s influence second-language acquisition and nati(e language retention" *ut the +ost significantl' contri*uting factors are social" ,s'chological and ,olitical effects of acculturation) The idea of language co++unities e-tends far *e'ond cultural co++unities and" indeed" ste+s fro+ the (er' core of all languages *ecause" no +atter /hat the language is" all hu+an languages share the sa+e *asic features %34a.-Rico" !#1!&) This fact has hea(' i+,lications for SLA" and language acquisition in general" as it under,ins the notion that $LLs" and +oreo(er an' second language learners" acquire language through a +eans of hu+an and cultural

Culture and Second-Language Acquisition 3 interaction and retain their o/n language %if the' are stri(ing to/ards SLA& *ecause of se+antic uni(ersals" such as 5+ale6 or 5fe+ale"6 that are found in e(er' language in the /orld %34a.-Rico" !#1!&) Although languages are connected through (arious se+antic uni(ersals" language learning" according to language e-,erts La(e and 2enger %1111&" at an' age or in an' culture" 5is not a se,arate and inde,endent acti(it' of indi(iduals *ut an integral ,art of ,artici,ation in a co++unit')6 This lends credence to the idea that a nonnati(e s,eaker of a language /ould ha(e to ,artici,ate acti(el' in the $nglish s,eaking co++unit' and culture to de(elo, *asic $nglish language ,roficienc') $(idence see+s to suggest that learners do not acquire language in a (acuu+7 rather" the' learn it through the interaction /ith other indi(iduals) 2ith general language learning requiring such high interacti(it'" it is safe to reason that ,s'chological and sociocultural factors +anifest and ,la' i+,ortant roles in a learner8s acquisition and use of a second language %34a.-Rico" !#1!&) This is an interesting inference *ecause" according to linguists Shade and 9e/ %1113&" 5culture go(erns the /a' ,eo,le learn6 and 5a,,ears to influence the /a' indi(iduals select strategies and a,,roach learning)6 Shade and 9e/ %1113& also ,osit the idea that 5:d;es,ite (ar'ing cultural a,,roaches to learning" all cultures la' out the *asic design for learning for their +e+*ers)6 So" h',otheticall'" if an $LL is /orking to/ards SLA and is gi(en learning strategies de(elo,ed /ith the $nglish language culture in +ind" then the $LL is ine(ita*l' e-,osed to characteristics of that culture" /hich could easil' create and sustain cultural fra+es as the $LL *eco+es older" the *rain *eco+es +ore hard/ired" and characteristics *eco+e internali.ed" indi(iduated and then e+erge in those co++unit' interactions that ,ro+ote the use of si+ilar cultural tendencies %S+ith" <aige" & Steglit." 111=&) These cultural learning affects ha(e also *een studied in acade+ic settings) >udit 0idasi"

Culture and Second-Language Acquisition ? ,ast ,rofessor in the International Co++unication 3e,art+ent of anda @ni(ersit'" assu+ed the lead role in e-a+ining the 5i+,act of culture on second language acquisition"6 ,articularl' for >a,anese educational and ,rofessional *usiness interests that ha(e had the ,ro*le+ of language learning and teaching %es,eciall' in $nglish& on their agenda for quite so+e ti+e %0idasi" !##A&) The research conducted *' 0idasi %!##A& found that 5characteristics of >a,anese co++unication ,atterns function /ell /ithin a >a,anese conte-t"6 *ut ,ro*le+s arise 5/hen these sa+e co++unication strategies are transferred to co++unication /ith foreigners andBor in a foreign language"6 often ti+es leading to 5+isunderstanding" e+*arrass+ent and frustration6 for the learners) The >a,anese a,,arentl' ha(e difficult' /ith +aking gains in SLA *ecause the conte-ts that arise fro+ $nglish use %the ,ri+ar' language of co++erce& conflict /ith ho/ learning is understood in a >a,anese culture and conte-t) This a,,ears to suggest that >a,anese $LLs do retain +aCor cultural characteristics /hile tra(ersing the $nglish language co++unit'" /hich has *oth ,olitical and econo+ic ra+ifications for >a,an and their foreign interests) 0idasi8s %!##A& conclusion includes a reco++endation for 5nati(e teachers of foreign languages targeting a >a,anese audience to stud' +ore thoroughl' the co++unication and teaching-learning strategies of the host culture)6 This state+ent indirectl'" *ut effecti(el'" con(e's the o(erall i+,ortance of cultural i+,act on language learning" /hether foreign or nati(e) The findings +aintain that 5:a;/areness should *e raised /ith res,ect to the /a's in /hich ,eo,le8s /orld(ie/s affect their learning" understanding" ,roduction and interaction6 /ith language) A further ,oint *eing that negligence of 5differences in +ental ,rogra++ing D and for that +atter in co++unication D +ight lead to lo/ effecti(eness6 in the areas of acquisition" /hereas 5:a; *etter understanding of the differencesEhel,s to a(oid frustrations arising fro+ +isunderstandings6 %0idasi" !##A&) The le(el of cultural ,erce,tion and consciousness

Culture and Second-Language Acquisition A undou*tedl' has *enefits for $LLs and the SLA ,rocess) $LLs can gain an ad(antage in acade+ic ,ursuits /ith the additional cultural inheritance" as scholars no/ assert that +ultilingual children ,erfor+ *etter in su*Cects such as +ath" *ecause a greater understanding of the nature of s'+*olic s'ste+s" including ar*itrar' signified and signifier relationshi,s" has alread' *een de(elo,ed through e-tensi(e language learning %Ada+s and Cur.an" !##1&) <er+eations of cross-cultural characteristics should not and do not necessaril' negate the fact that +ultilingualis+ is of real *enefit to the language user) This *enefit should *e e+,hasi.ed" as research %Schu+ann" 11=F& also suggests that 5learners /ill acquire the target language to the degree the' acculturate to the target language grou,"6 ,reci,itating a need for a/areness of cultural influences) This a/areness entails an e-ercise of +etacognition and is a considera*le indicator of high order thought ,rocesses) Although the intensit' of +ultilingualis+ +ight see+ o(er*earing and counteracti(e of *asic learning" linguists Ada+s and Cur.an %!##1& ,ro,ose 5e(en if languages are +i-ed" the children sort the+ out and catch u, quickl' in ter+s of fluenc' /ith their +onolingual ,eers)6 $(identl'" these cross-cultural influences ha(e little affect on the educational outco+e e-hi*ited *' +ultilingual children) 2ith $LLs e-,eriencing such a (aried cross-cultural re,ertoire /hile ,rogressing through the stages of SLA" ,er+eating cultural characteristics fro+ *oth do+inant cultures function si+ultaneousl' and affect $LLs second-language acquisition and retention of their nati(e language) Multi,le facets of cultural s'ste+s influence second-language acquisition and nati(e language retention" *ut the +ost significantl' contri*uting factors are social" ,s'chological and ,olitical effects of acculturation) These factors" so+e *eing +ore ,re(alent than others" ,la' a critical role in a language learner8s linguistic de(elo,+ent" regardless of /hat circu+stances

Culture and Second-Language Acquisition F underlie the reasons for acquiring a ne/ language" *ecause language acquisition necessitates a certain le(el of interaction /ith the culture" co++unit' and conte-t in /hich it is used) Although characteristics do ,er+eate" the naturall' occurring acculturation ,rocess fro+ foreign language use for $LLs and second language acquirers has little to no affect on their learning a*ilities and +ight e(en ,ro(ide an ad(antage in a glo*al /orld)

Culture and Second-Language Acquisition G Hi*liogra,h' Ada+s" M)" & Cur.an" A) %!##1&) How english works: A linguistic introduction) 9e/ Iork: <earson $ducation) 34a.-Rico" L) T) %!#1!&) A course for teaching english learners) %! ed)&) Hoston: All'n & Hacon) 0idasi" >) %!##A&) The i+,act of culture on second language acquisition) Annals of the International Business School of Budapest" 1-11) 0inkel" $)" et) al) Culture in second language teaching and learning) %F ed)&) Ca+*ridge: Ca+*ridge @ni(ersit' <ress) La(e" >)" & 2e+ger" $) %1111&) Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation) 9e/ Iork: Ca+*ridge @ni(ersit' <ress) Schu+ann" >) 0) %11=F&) Research on the acculturation +odel for second language acquisition) >ournal of Multilingual and Multicultural 3e(elo,+ent" G%A&" 3G=-31!) doi: 1#)1#=#B#1?3?F3!)11=F)111?!A? Shade" H)" & 9e/" C) %1113&) Cultural influences on learning: Teaching i+,lications) In >) Hanks & C) Hanks %$ds)&" Multicultural education: Issues and perspectives) Hoston: All'n & Hacon) S+ith" S) L)" <aige" R) M)" & Steglit." I) %111=&) Theoretical foundations of intercultural training and a,,lications to the teachings of culture) In 3)L) Lange" C)A) lee" R) M) <aige" & I) A) Iersho(a %$ds)&" Culture as the core: Interdisciplinary perspectives on culture teaching and learning in the language curriculum %,,) A3-11&) Minnea,olis: Center for Ad(anced Research on Language Acquisition" @ni(ersit' of Minnesota)