Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What is Acculturation in SLA Research?


Acculturation is a process in which members of one cultural group adopt the beliefs and behaviors of another group. Acculturation is the exchange of cultural features that results when groups come into continuous firsthand contact Although acculturation is usually in the direction of a minority group adopting habits and language patterns of the dominant group, accult uration can be reciprocal--that is, the dominant group also adopts patterns typical of the minority group. Assimilation of one cultural group into another may be evidenced by changes in language preference, adoption of common attitudes and values, members hip in common social groups and institutions, and loss of separate political or ethnic identification.

J. H. Schumann's acculturation model of SLA contends that learners will succeed in SLA only to the extent they acculturate into the group that speaks the target language natively. Schumann separates instruction from acculturation, and claims that instruction is a minor variable in the SLA process compared to acculturation. The acculturation process can, to some extent, take place in the second language classroom as well as the naturalistic setting. Despite Schumann's assertions, it is argued that a responsive teacher can do much to alleviate psychological and sociological distance factors between the students and the target culture, and responsive teaching may increase learner receptivity to the target language.