Social Network Development, Language Use, and Language Acquisition during Study Abroad: Arabic Language Learners’ Perspectives

  • Dan P. Dewey
  • R. Kirk Belnap
  • Rebecca Hillstrom
Keywords: Study Abroad, Social network, Arabic language learners, Education abroad

Abstract

In this paper, we explore language use, social network development, and language acquisition by second learners of Arabic in Jordan and Morocco.  Students in these programs reported speaking, listening to, and writing as much English as Arabic during study abroad, but they reported reading more Arabic than English. While patterns indicated similar levels of use of English and Arabic in general, questions focusing on learners' use of language with more familiar friends and acquaintances indicated learners thought they used Arabic more than English with these native friends. Regarding English language use, learners felt that speaking English with natives often created opportunities to interact in Arabic as well.  Students’ Arab social networks tended to be small, but there was considerable variation in these networks.  The closer their friendships with natives, the more likely students were to report gains in Arabic. English proficiency of friends and acquaintances in one’s social network, degree of friendship, and time spent speaking with people outside of this network predicted language proficiency development.

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Author Biographies

Dan P. Dewey

Dan P. Dewey is an Associate Professor of Linguistics and TESOL in the Department of Linguistics and English Language at Brigham Young University. He received a PhD from Carnegie Mellon University (2001) in Second Language Acquisition and conducts research on language acquisition during study abroad, focusing primarily on Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, and French.

R. Kirk Belnap

R. Kirk Belnap, Professor of Arabic in the Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages at Brigham Young University, serves as Director of the National Middle East Language Resource Center. He is also co-P.I. with Robert Blake (U.C.-Davis) on the award-winning website, Arabic without Walls, and is Director of BYU’s STARTALK summer Arabic high school camps.

Rebecca Hillstrom

Rebecca Hillstrom completed a Master of Arts in Second Language Acquisition at Brigham Young University (2011), specializing in Arabic. She has taught Arabic in BYU’s undergraduate Arabic program and in the summer STARTALK camps.

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Published
2013-01-15
How to Cite
Dewey, D. P., Belnap, R. K., & Hillstrom, R. (2013). Social Network Development, Language Use, and Language Acquisition during Study Abroad: Arabic Language Learners’ Perspectives. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 22(1), 84-110. https://doi.org/10.36366/frontiers.v22i1.320