Learning Cantonese in the community: An exploration of the role of social interaction in language learning

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Abstract

This paper reports on a study of interaction between learners of Cantonese as a second language in Hong Kong and native speakers beyond the classroom. The primary aim of this study was to investigate how learners experience, feel about and respond to such interaction. In addition, the study sought to explore whether such experiences, drawn from a group of largely native English speakers pursuing professional careers, differed from those of Norton’s (2000) English language learners, who, in contrast, were confined to positions of relatively low socio-economic status in Canadian society. Data were collected from thirteen subjects using interviews and a diary study. The results suggest that learners experience a wide range of feelings, both positive and negative, in their interaction with native speakers. One of the principal findings of the study was that learners often engineer potentially negative encounters into positive language learning outcomes. These results point to the importance of interaction in second language learning and to the role of the classroom teacher in preparing learners for such encounters, through, for instance, service learning programs. Copyright © 2004 Centre for Applied English Studies, The University of Hong Kong.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-52
JournalHong Kong Journal of Applied Linguistics
Volume9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2004

Citation

Trent, J. (2004). Learning Cantonese in the community: An exploration of the role of social interaction in language learning. Hong Kong Journal of Applied Linguistics, 9(1), 33-52.

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