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ERIC Number: EJ1019744
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Oct
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0267-6583
Low-Educated Immigrants and the Social Relevance of Second Language Acquisition Research
Young-Scholten, Martha
Second Language Research, v29 n4 p441-454 Oct 2013
Since the 1980s' decoupling of the formal study of second language acquisition from pedagogical concerns, the social relevance of such research has been of little concern. Early studies, in the 1970s, of uninstructed adult learners' acquisition of morphosyntax pointed to social implications: these working class immigrants had varying levels of schooling, and it turned out that those with the least education made the slowest progress. With a shift in interest to consideration of poverty of the stimulus effects, researchers no longer needed to rely on adults who were uninstructed in the second language (L2) while immersed in the target language. Reliance on easy-to-recruit middle-class secondary school and university participants has had the--unintended--consequence of diminishing the attention paid to socially excluded adult L2 learners. This has left a range of language-external factors unaddressed in second language acquisition (SLA) at the international level; however, at the local level, interest in the language acquisition and literacy development of adult immigrants has risen along with increased immigration by adults with little or no native language schooling. These adults face considerable challenges in acquiring the linguistic competence and literacy skills that support participation in the economic and social life of their new communities. Those who teach such adults have very little SLA research to refer to in dealing with increasingly politicized policies and worsening provision. A return to the type of studies conducted in West Germany and the rest of Europe in the 1970s and 1980s would serve this population of learners well.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: West Germany
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A