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The Impact on Language Learning of Lebanese Students’ Attitude towards English in the Context of Globalization and Anti-Americanism.

By Zane Siraj Sinno

Abstract

Second language acquisition (SLA) is embedded in a complex network of influential\ud variables, among which is the socio-political context. Indeed, researchers agree that attitudes and motivation are significant in determining linguistic proficiency and achievement (Gardner, 1985, 2001, 2004; Oxford and Shearin, 1994; Oxford, 1996; Dörnyei, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2003).\ud The purpose of this study was to investigate whether negative attitudes existed towards\ud English as an international language in the context of globalization and anti-\ud Americanism, and if so, whether they interfered with second language acquisition.\ud Data was collected through qualitative research methods, namely individual and group\ud interviews and in class writing assignments.\ud The students considered English indispensable for employment and career advancement (extrinsic motivation or instrumental motivation). This outweighed negative attitudes associated with the target language community (TLC) and the power of the target language (TL). The study signals a parallel duality where participants acknowledged the significance of the English language and wanted to learn it even though they were aware of political discrimination against Arabs and the linguistic power exerted by the dominant\ud powers.\ud Even though attitudes towards the L2 and the TLC impact language acquisition, it seems\ud that in this sample, they did not have a direct effect on L2 motivation as displayed in the willingness to use the language or to learn it.\ud Most importantly, my study identifies a desire to integrate, not to a specific TLC but to a global community and workplace to which the English language provided access. One reason fueling this integrative motivation is the conflict zone in which the participants live. The socio-political as well as economic context and its concomitant Arab identity inferiority complex encourage students to seek to escape from the limitations of the local workplace and context

Publisher: University of Leicester
Year: 2008
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/4234

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