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ERIC Number: EJ936394
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 26
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 30
ISSN: ISSN-1085-4568
Interactive Contact as Linguistic Affordance during Short-Term Study Abroad: Myth or Reality?
Allen, Heather
Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, v19 p1-26 Fall-Win 2010
The idea that study abroad (SA) is an ideal context for acquiring language is one largely supported by foreign language (FL) students and their teachers, the latter often recollecting their own successful if not life-transforming sojourns abroad. According to Rivers (1998), SA represents "an environment which most closely resembles the environment of the first language learner: continuously available target language input, in all possible modalities, registers, and domains" (p. 492). Yet despite potential benefits, students often do not take full advantage of learning opportunities during SA, instead spending time outside the classroom socializing with SA peers rather than trying to access social networks in the community that would most enhance FL learning. Given previous research revealing SA participants' limited sustained interactions in the FL during SA, this study investigated interactive contact with French outside the classroom for 18 participants during short-term SA. In particular, this study sought to answer the following question: "How much interactive contact with French did SA participants report and to what degree was each form of contact perceived as a valuable affordance for FL learning?" To investigate participants' experiences and perceptions related to interactive contact with French during SA, a mixed-methods design was used, including quantitative survey data and qualitative interview and learning blog data. Findings illuminate how participants themselves perceive, represent, and interpret a short-term SA experience. Findings related to participants' reported interactive contact in French with host family members, SA peers, and other French speakers in Nantes as well as participants' perceptions of those forms of contact as linguistic affordances are synthesized. (Contains 1 note.)
Frontiers Journal. Dickinson College P.O. Box 1773, Carlisle, PA 17013. Tel: 717-254-8858; Fax: 717-245-1677; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: France