What is meant by social and Psychological distance?
Social and Psychological distances are basically derived from Acculturation Theory of SLA provided by Schumann.The theory is, “second language acquisition is just one aspect of acculturation and the degree to which a learner acculturates to the target language group will control the degree to which he acquires the second language.”
Social Distance :
It is the result of number of factors which affect the learner as a member of a social group in contact with the target language group.
Psychological Distance :
It is the result of various affective factors which concern the learner as individual.
There can be good or bad learning situation which are included in social factors .
A good learning situation contains these:
The target language group and the L2 group both view each other socially equal. 2.
The target language and L2 group both are desirous that the L2 group will assimilate. 3.
Both the target language and the L2 group expect the L2 group to share social facilities with the target language group. 4.
The L2 group is small and not very cohesive.
The L2 group’s culture is congruent with that of the target language group. 6.
Both groups have positive attitude to each other.
The L2 group envisages staying in the target language area for an extended period.
Bad learning situation contains the opposite conditions of the ones described above.
1 Language Shock
2. Culture Shock
4. Ego boundaries
How these distances influence SLA:
Social and Psychological distance influence SLA by determining the amount of contact between the target language group and L2 group. It also determines the degree that the learner is open to that input which is available.
The learner will receive very little input in bad learning situation.
The learner will fail to convert the available input into intake when the psychological distance is great.
When the social and psychological distance is great, the learner fails to progress at the early stages of SLA which are characterized by the same processes that responsible for the formation of pidgin languages.
How social and psychological distance influence EFL
Here, the concern is what extent the concept of social and psychological distance is applicable to EFL like Bangladesh.
EFL means English as Foreign Language.
The thing is to find out how much the concept of social and psychological factors affect English learning when it is a foreign language. Basically the idea of Social and Psychological distance are applicable in the situation like when a person shifts to a community and his community and the community where he reaches share different languages and he will try to acquire that language by getting acculturated with the society. But here, it is to find out that when a learner learn English as a foreign language by attending classes and living in his own community .So, there are some differences between SLA and EFL context.
SLA-society of native speaker of target language is present.
EFL-society of the native speaker of target language is absent.
SLA-wide range of environment for learning.(whole society)
SLA-learner and the target language community communicate
EFL-learner communicates with either teacher or other learner.
These differences show that trying to relate the social factors of acculturation theory of SLA with EFL is fruitless. But ic be tried in another way . That means there will be social factors where a gob or bad learning situation will be found but that should be done on the context of classroom language learning. In Bangladesh students are not much fluent in either speaking or writing English though they learn it from the very beginning of their primary education as a subject...
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