Yleisen kielitieteen laitos
|Työn nimi - Arbetets titel|
The influence of culture in second language learning: A qualitative study of foreign adult L2 learners in Finland
|Oppiaine - Läroämne|
|Työn laji - Arbetets art
||Aika - Datum
|Sivumäärä - Sidoantal|
63 + 42
|Tiivistelmä - Referat|
The present study aims at evaluating the influence of culture in adult second language acquisition. More specifically, Finnish culture is the focal point and hence, the observations given by the 20 foreign informants from 14 different countries also shed some light on characteristics of Finnish culture and speech behaviour. As to what concerns Finnish communication behaviour, the most reported stereotypical attribute is that of being silent. Non-verbal behaviour classifies the Finn as belonging to a non-contact culture.
The Finn's non-personal involvement, brevity of verbal contact, and directness of speech in conversation are seen to support the theory that Finns desire to protect their public self in socio-communicative situations. The difficulty informants experienced in self-expression was reported as arising from insufficient knowledge of grammar and vocabulary and not from cultural differences, although some instances of cross-cultural misunderstandings were cited. Both the learning environment and the reactions of Finns towards the foreigners' learning of Finnish were positive.
Finnish culture was perceived as "different" than the informants´ respective native cultures, yet this difference did not result in culture shock. Culture learning with respect to language acquisition was considered important, but not essential. Personal need and/or desire was the guiding force for most in determining the extent of adopting Finnish customs and character traits for succesful existence in Finnish society. However, the Model of Acculturation indicated that, on the whole, the informant group is well acculturated and that Finnish culture is not the barried, it is the complexity of Finnish grammar and vocabulary. The purpose for which the adult learner is going to use the language is a careful consideration when assessing the importance of culture learning.