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