ERIC Number: ED096820
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1973-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Culture and Language as Factors in Learning and Education.
Lambert, Wallace E.
Similarities among ethnolinguistic groups are greater than differences. It is the belief in the influence of culture and language on basic structures of thought and personality that divides groups, not the structures themselves. However, linguistic differences among ethnic groups are real. The linguistic distinctiveness of a particular ethnic group is a basic component of its members' personal identity; thus, ethnicity and language become associated in the thinking of those inside and outside the group. Three questions based on these assumptions are currently being studied: (1) Do beliefs about a particular ethnolinguistic group affect the efficiency of learning that group's language? (2) Is there any basis to the belief that in becoming bilingual or bicultural cognitive powers are dulled and identities are diluted? (3) Should minority groups try to maintain their ethnolinguistic identities and heritage in the North American setting? Research on English-Canadians learning French demonstrated that attitudes held toward the French strongly influenced the learning of the language. As for bilingualism, French-Canadian bilingual students tested higher than carefully matched monolinguals on both verbal and nonverbal measures of intelligence. Also, testing of adolescent boys of mixed French-English parentage demonstrated that there is no basis for the belief that biculturalism produces a loss of identity. Finally, results of work with French-Canadians, and French-Americans in Maine, substantiate the need for the maintenance of minority ethnolinguistic identities. (LG)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: English Canadians; Franco Americans; French Canadians
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Learning Symposium on "Cultural Factors in Learning" (5th, Western Washington State College, Bellingham, Washington, November 1973) and at the Annual convention of the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (Denver, Colorado, March 1974)