ORIENTATIONS IN SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION: I. THE EFFECTS OF ETHNIC TY, MILIEU, AND TARGET LANGUAGE ON THEIR EMERGENCE.

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Abstract

Studies comparing the relative effectiveness of different orientations to second language acquisition have obtained contradictory results. In the present study, these contradictions are traced to ambiguities pertaining to the definition of orientations and to the influence of the milieu on the acquisition process. This study assessed the influence of ethnicity (French vs. English), milieu (unicultural vs. multicultural). and target second language (French or English vs. Spanish) on the emergence of orientations. The subjects were 871 grade I 1 students distributed in eight groups obtained by permutations of the above t h m factors. The ratings given to 37 reasons for learning the target language were factor analyzed separately for each sample, thus generating eight six-factor structures. The 48 factors were then correlated and factor analyzed in order to delineate clusters of orientations which would be common to all samples or to subsets of the samples. The results show that instrumental, friendship, travel, and knowledge orientations were common to all groups, while five orientations resulted from specific combinations of ethnicity and target language, on the one hand, and milieu, on the other hand. These results arediscussed with respect to the influence of the learning context on orientations and in terms of their implications for further studies.

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