The effects of intergenerational and intercultural encounters on L2 learning: Socializing cultural competence in Australia’s multilingual society

Jianwei Xu, Hui Huang

Onderzoeksoutput: Meeting abstract (Book)


In the context of multicultural societies, there has been long-standing emphasis on maintaining the cultural and linguistic diversity and promoting multicultural values and multilingual skills for broader social benefits. As a result, diverse initiatives and endeavours abound on both the political and educational grounds. Community resources, however, appear to be relatively underexplored and underused in their role in facilitating the maintenance. This paper is based on a large project designed to utilize community resources in Australia's multilingual society in order to enhance the second language (Chinese, German and Spanish) development and intercultural communication experience of young Australians learning the languages as L2.

The purposes of the paper are twofold: 1) to present the project as an innovative initiative which showcases how the linguistic, cultural and communicative competence of L2 learners can be developed through naturalistic conversations conducted fortnightly with senior immigrants speaking the languages as L1; 2) to zoom in on the cases of learners of Chinese as a heritage language to examine, in particular, the effects of such encounters on their cultural knowledge acquisition.

The theoretical framework used to investigate the effects is the L2 socialization theory which typically adopts a sociocultural or social constructivist view in studying the process by which L2 novices acquire not only communicative competence, but also sociocultural knowledge of the target language (see e.g. Duff 2007; He 2008; Schieffelin & Ochs 1986; Zuengler & Cole 2005). In this process, experts or more proficient members of target language are thought to play a crucial role in socializing novices and implicitly and explicitly teaching them to think, feel and act in accordance with the values, ideologies and traditions of the group (Duff 2007). The data were analysed by employing the Conversation Analysis approach with the focus on how the older speakers (expert users) socialize the students (novice learners) into acquiring linguistic meanings embedded in cultural systems of understanding. It is expected that the discussion and the findings will shed important light on the obvious advantages of utilizing community resources in structured second language learning environments.
Originele taal-2English
TitelSociocultural Competence & Language Learning in Multilingual Settings, Vrije Universiteit Brussel: September 18-19, 2014, Brussels.
StatusPublished - 2014
EvenementSociocultural competence and language learning in multilingual settings - Koninklijk Paleis der Wetenschappen, Brussels, Belgium
Duur: 18 sep 201419 sep 2014


ConferenceSociocultural competence and language learning in multilingual settings


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