Case Study Language Acquisition

Topics: Linguistics, Language acquisition, Second language acquisition Pages: 5 (1877 words) Published: June 27, 2013
Marbel Gonzalez
MCC 609
Fall 2012
Dr. Klosek

Case Study on Language Acquisition
1. Goals of the Case Study
Throughout my life I have encountered and worked with adults that come from different native backgrounds. Many of them come to America in search of better opportunities. As a result, they come with their first language mastered and now they must learn a second language. America continues to be the destination of immigrants around the world. Millions will continue coming here even by risking their lives. This paper is very important, as an educator I will consistently meet families and students learning English. It will also help me further understand difficulties L2 learners face allowing me to tackle these problems with more efficiency. I hope to answer specific questions; what are mistakes made by L2 learners? What role does motivation play in language learning? How does a person’s social setting play a role? What are reasons for code switching? 2. Study Participant

I chose to use Mrs. I, my lunch aide that I have been working with for multiple years now. She is in her 50’s and was born and raised in Italy. We always have meaningful conversations and we’ve always been very open with one another. She always tells me I remind her of her son and we’re able to converse about things most coworkers wouldn’t share with one another. Most immigrants that I have known come from Latin backgrounds and hers is Italian, which provides me with a different perspective with L2 learners. She got her early education in Italy and then came to America like many immigrants. She had to adapt to her new life and learn the language. Mrs. I is very proud of her culture and upbringing. She often compares our student’s upbringing with her own. She mentions that a lot of the behavior wouldn’t be tolerated in Italy. In our school there are many students that come from broken homes and she has expressed that marriage is for life! Her strong views come from the way she was brought up. 3. Data Collection

A. Data was collected through various forms. Like mentioned above, some was collected through spontaneous conversation. We have a very good relationship and we are very open with one another. The majority was collected through naturalistic observations and written notes. Lunch is held in the classroom and she comes in to watch my class. I personally choose to stay in my room to avoid all the gossip. I m able to see her interact with students in a natural way. B. This allowed me to take systematic notes and observe language use. 4. Data Analysis and Findings

Through our conversations, we always share our thoughts and I m able to make connections because my parents are immigrants. When she got to America she could not speak the language. She felt lonely and had bitter feelings about leaving her native country. In Italy, she knew who she was and contained an identity. Once she moved that security blanket no longer existed and it left her with mixed emotions. She was going through “acculturation” and many L2 learners go through this process (Brown p. 182). Immigrants may have to leave their native countries for various reasons. Some are “forced” to leave due to economic hardships; these factors may cause an individual to obtain feelings of anger and resentment. Still she has mentioned that she felt lonely and unwanted at the time. I can tell it’s a part of her life that she did not enjoy. Thankfully, Mrs. I came voluntary and was motivated to learn the new language and culture. Our book explains, “Language is central to the process of learning culture, and cultural patterns teach the appropriate way to communicate. The intertwined nature of the process is called language socialization” (2012, p. 220). Through my experiences, when immigrants come to America most say they wish to learn the new language. It seems like the “right” thing to say but actions speak louder than words. She took action and began taking L2 classes,...

References: Language Development by E. Robert Owens, Jr. (2012)
Principles of Language Learning and Teaching Fourth Edition by H. Douglas Brown (2000)
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