Social Context and Fluency in L2 Learners: The Case of Wales
Author: Lynda Pritchard Newcombe
Social context, an often-neglected dimension in L2 learning/use, can play a vital role in sustaining learners' initial motivation. As researchers have begun to shift their focus from teaching to learners and learner variables, what happens to learners when they practise their new skills in the community, has become an important area of concern. Using data on Welsh learners' experiences outside the classroom, the author argues that, in order to learn a second or foreign language successfully, learners require regular interaction in the target language in a setting in which they feel comfortable. The impact on learners of native speakers' switch to a language of wider communication, their speed of speech, use of dialect and identity issues are explored as are the relevance of practical issues such as time and opportunity and affective factors such as anxiety.
This socio-educational study provides a fascinating glimpse into the psychology (and anxiety) of language acquisition and issues of personal and national identity.
Pamela Petro, Planet, the Welsh Internationalist
This book gives valuable insights into some of the problems faced by language learners throughout the world, that teachers should carefully take note of. Moreover, much of what the protagonists of the book have to say is strikingly familiar to those thousand upon thousand non-Catalan-speakers striving to do the same in the Catalan context. Their frank and sincere thoughts are a call to neighbours, friends, colleagues who are fortunate enough to have the language: Don't hide it away, please share it with us!
Miquel Strubell,Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona, Catalonia
A stimulating and thought-provoking look at the real, practical problems facing adults, as they learn a language and try to become part of this new community.
Dr Gwen Awbery, Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning, Cardiff University
Dr Lynda Pritchard Newcombe is from South Wales and lives in Cardiff. She learned Welsh, her ancestral language as an adult and has extensive experience of teaching Welsh and German to adults. She has been involved in various research projects on L2 learning/use and bilingualism, most of which have been qualitative in nature; she has, however, collaborated in some quantitative studies with her husband, Professor Robert G. Newcombe. She also works as a freelance writer.
Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 Adult Language Learners
Chapter 3 The Learner's Experience in the Community
Chapter 4 Beyond the Classroom – Cultural and Identity Issues
Chapter 5 Anxiety and Lack of Confidence
Chapter 6 Time and Opportunity
Chapter 7 Sustaining Motivation
Chapter 8 Conclusions and Recommendations