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Acculturation Model and Language-Culture Connection

Published on January 3rd, 2019 | Last updated on January 27th, 2020 by | Category: TESOL / TESL Issues through CALL | 4 Comments on Acculturation Model and Language-Culture Connection | 110 Views | Reading Time: 3 minutes

Acculturation Model

Acculturation model is one of the aspects of ‘language-culture connection.

Schumann’s Acculturation Model was established to account for the acquisition of L2 by immigrants in majority language settings. It specifically excludes learners who receive formal instruction. In this response, Schumann (1978) states, “… 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” (p. 34).

In his early writings, Schumann suggested that acculturation affects L2 acquisition by its effect on the amount of contact learners have with TL speakers: the greater the contact, the more acquisition takes place. Subsequently, Schuman (1986) proposed that acculturation may also affect the nature of the verbal interactions that learners take part in and thus the quality as well as the quantity of L2 input.

The extent to which learners acculturate depends on two sets of factors which determine their levels of ‘social distance’ and ‘psychological distance’ (Schumann, 1978). Social distance concerns the extent to which individual learners become members of the target language group and, therefore, achieve contact with them. Psychological distance concerns the extent to which individual learners are comfortable with the learning task and constitutes, therefore, a personal rather than a group dimension. The social factors are much more important than the psychological factors.

Social factors include: social dominance, enclosure, cohesiveness, integration pattern, size, cultural congruence, attitude, intended length of residence. While the psychological factors include: language shock, culture shock, motivation, ego-permeability.

Especially in second language learning contexts, the success to which learners adapt to a new cultural milieu will affect their language acquisition success, and vice versa, in some possibly significant ways.

It is composed of social and affective variables. That is, if learners acculturate, they will learn. If they don’t acculturate, they will not learn.

It is a change in the cultural behavior and thinking of a person or group of people through contact with another culture.

Acculturation takes place in ESL milieus far more than EFL atmospheres.

It was proposed by Schumann (1978).

Criticism: The test of any model is whether it is supported by the results of empirical research. The Acculturation Model has received only limited support (Schumann, 1986). The Acculturation Model does not specify the internal processes that are involved in acquisition.


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4 comments on “Acculturation Model and Language-Culture Connection”

  1. This was an interesting passage with many good points. The social impact seems dominant to me as well. People who talk the same language if gather in a new environment that requires using a new language, keep socializing and talking in their native language. They are not good stimulators for each other with regard to mastering a new language. The attitude is relatively uninevitable.

    • Thank YOU for your valuable comment as a reliable source of information on the issue of Acculturation. From what you’ve written, it’s alleged that acculturation is not an easy process and it takes time for complete adaptation (if it happens by any chance). That’s why individual learners who share a native language prefer to speak their mother tongue as long as possible unless they’re forced to speak the target language.
      With all due respect, I couldn’t find the word uninevitable in your comment in my dictionary. I suppose you meant inevitable. Please let me know if this word actually exists.

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