LINGUIST List 14.987

Thu Apr 3 2003

Diss: Lang Acquisition: Ciscel "Language and..."

Editor for this issue: Anita Yahui Huang <>


  1. ciscelm, Lang Acquisition: Ciscel "Language and Identity..."

Message 1: Lang Acquisition: Ciscel "Language and Identity..."

Date: Wed, 02 Apr 2003 16:29:19 +0000
From: ciscelm <>
Subject: Lang Acquisition: Ciscel "Language and Identity..."

Institution: University of South Carolina
Program: Program in Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2002

Author: Matthew H Ciscel 

Dissertation Title: 

Language and Identity: L2 acquisition in post-Soviet Moldova

Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition, Anthropological Linguistics

Subject Language: Romanian (code: RUM )

Dissertation Director 1: Laura M Ahearn
Dissertation Director 2: Rakesh Mohan Bhatt

Dissertation Abstract: 

The study draws on diverse fields from second language acquisition
theory and linguistic anthropology to history and language policy. It
focuses on two research questions: (1) To what extent do attitudes
toward languages correlate to competing notions of national and social
identity within the Republic of Moldova? (2) How does the variability
in these attitudes and identities affect the acquisition of second
language (L2) proficiency in standard Russian, Romanian, and English?
The first question is addressed using ethnographic and psychometric
methods, including the matched guise technique and follow-up
interviews. Survey respondents include over one hundred students of
English in Moldova's capital city. The second question is tested by
comparing attitude data with measures of L2 proficiency in a small
subset of the survey respondents. Together with qualitative
explorations of Moldova's recent history and its social milieu, the
quantitative results of the surveys suggest that language attitudes
and social identities create predispositions with regard to the
acquisition of a particular L2. Specifically, evidence is found for a
post-colonial effect that continues to maintain the status of Russian,
despite policy efforts to establish a stronger role for Romanian. In
addition, the role of English, as an international language associated
with ideologies of progress, is argued to further complicate the
dynamics of multilingualism and identity crisis in the country. The
use of multiple methods and models related to linguistic and social
identity creation contribute to a textured, complex presentation of
socially situated L2 acquisition in Moldova, informing both language
policy in the region and the often overlooked social aspects of L2
acquisition theory.
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