Impact of the Target Culture on Foreign Language Learning: A Case Study/L'IMPACT DE LA CULTURE CIBLE SUR L'APPRENTISSAGE DES LANGUES ÉTRANGÈRES: UNE ÉTUDE DE CAS

By Amin, Mohamed | Cross - Cultural Communication, March 31, 2011 | Go to article overview

Impact of the Target Culture on Foreign Language Learning: A Case Study/L'IMPACT DE LA CULTURE CIBLE SUR L'APPRENTISSAGE DES LANGUES ÉTRANGÈRES: UNE ÉTUDE DE CAS


Amin, Mohamed, Cross - Cultural Communication


Abstract:

This study provides the profile of college student of English in advanced levels of study in the English Department of a College of Languages & Translation, Saudi Arabia. Utilising qualitative data collection methods, the responses and scholastic history of the student provide insights into his personal qualities and aptitudes as a native-like speaker of English as proven by CEPA scores and direct communication with the case in English. The story of the student indicates a strong influence of the second language culture on the learning of this language. The case has been studied and presented against a rich research and literature backdrop that explored culture and language concepts and their interrelatedness from different perspectives, emphasising the significance of acculturation as part of second/foreign language acquisition/learning. The paper ends on notes and implications for pedagogy and further research in culture and language in EFL learning settings.

Key words: Culture; Language; Acculturation; EFL; Sapir Whorf Hypothesis; Socio-linguistic identity; Case study

Resumé: Cette étude fournit le profil d'étudiant universitaire d'anglais dans les niveaux avancés d'étude dans une université de langues et la traduction du département anglais,de l'Arabie Saoudite. En utilisant des méthodes de collecte de données qualitatives, les réponses et l'histoire scolastique de l'étudiant fournit des aperçus dans ses qualités personnelles et aptitudes comme un orateur semblable d'anglais comme prouvé par le grand nombre CEPA et dirige la communication avec le cas en anglais.

L'histoire de l'étudiant indique une influence forte de la deuxième culture de langue en apprenant de cette langue. Le cas qui a été étudié et présenté contre une recherche riche et un fond de littérature qui a exploré la culture et des concepts de langue et leur été en corrélation de perspectives différentes, soulignant la signification d'acculturation comme la partie d'acquisition de seconde langue étrangère. Le journal finit sur des notes et des implications pour la pédagogie et la nouvelle recherche dans la culture et la langue dans l'installation de l'enseignement de EFL.

Mots-clés: Culture; Langue; Acculturation; EFL; Sapir Whorf Hypothèse; Identité sociolinguistique; Etude de cas

INTRODUCTION

It is axiomatic that the relationship between culture and language is quite entwined, the latter being an important feature of the former, and each affects the other (Ando, 1997; Humphrey, 1997; Harumi, 2002; Eoyang, 2003; Tanaka, 2006; Bahumaid, 2008; Jalilifar and Assi, 2008; Janzen, 2008; Tochon, 2009). Hall (1981), in token ofthat, suggests that language is "one of the dominant threads in all cultures" (p. 36). However, culture also impacts language in one way or another. This study has been initiated on the assumption that culture not only affects the meanings of words and concepts in a language (Franklin, et al., 2008; Perlovsky, 2009), but it also affects the attitudes towards and learning of a language, as deduced from a case study reported here.

LITERATURE REVIEW

A popular theory - the Sapir Whorf Hypothesis (SWH) - has explained the interrelations between language and culture. According to this theory, conceptual contents of languages and cultures are significantly determined by words and their semiotic manifestations and semantic differences; and these 'cultural meanings' could be borrowed among languages and exchanged among cultures (Sapir, 1985; Whorf, 1956; Pinker, 2007; Perlovsky, 2009). The 'Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis' assumed that language influences and determines our thinking and cognition, and that the relative distinctions in one language may not be available in another language (Whorf, 1956; Sapir, 1985; Perlovsky, 2007; Franklin, et al., 2008). But this hypothesis has been criticised in terms of whether these relations between cultures and languages are causal or correlational. …

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