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LINGUIST List 16.1709

Sun May 29 2005

Diss: Lang Acquisition/Socioling: Rasinger: 'Adult ...'

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        1.    Sebastian Rasinger, Adult Second Language Acquisition in Immigrant Communities: A Study on Bengali-English in East London


Message 1: Adult Second Language Acquisition in Immigrant Communities: A Study on Bengali-English in East London
Date: 29-May-2005
From: Sebastian Rasinger <S.Rasingersussex.ac.uk>
Subject: Adult Second Language Acquisition in Immigrant Communities: A Study on Bengali-English in East London


Institution: University of Sussex
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2005

Author: Sebastian M. Rasinger

Dissertation Title: Adult Second Language Acquisition in Immigrant Communities: A Study on Bengali-English in East London

Linguistic Field(s): Language Acquisition
                            Sociolinguistics

Subject Language(s): English (ENG)

Dissertation Director:
Max W Wheeler
Nicola J Woods

Dissertation Abstract:

This thesis investigates the acquisition of English morphosyntax by a
community of immigrants from Bangladesh in the East London borough of Tower
Hamlets. I approach the topic from several linguistic disciplines: syntax,
by describing learners' syntactic development; psycholinguistics; by
investigating psychological aspects which may influence the acquisition
process; and sociolinguistics, by evaluating the influence of social
factors on the development of learners' interlanguages.

In chapter 2, I provide an introduction to the Bengali community in Tower
Hamlets, by outlining the history of the Bengali settlement in London and
the social and economic situation the community faces today. Chapter three
discusses relevant literature from all three disciplines concerned with
this study. In chapter 4, I address the methodology of the study. I
describe and evaluate the different methodological procedures employed for
the collection of both quantitative and qualitative data.

In chapter 5, I analyse the acquisition of 6 morphosyntactic structures of
English by 12 respondents: copular verbs, auxiliary verbs, full verbs,
pronouns, prepositions and determiners. I identify several developmental
stages of acquisition and describe their characteristics. Furthermore, I
evaluate possible linguistic interference effects of both the learners'
first language Sylheti and the London vernacular.

Chapter 6 assesses learners' second language proficiency with regard to how
close informants' proficiency is to the target variety, that is, the London
vernacular.

In chapter 7 I explore in detail the influence of various extra-linguistic
variables onto learners' English language proficiency, amongst them age of
arrival, lengths of residence and contact with (native) speakers of English.

Based on a second survey, chapter 8 discusses findings on language use and
ethnolinguistic vitality. In addition to quantitative data, qualitative
data is taken into account in order to explain respondents' motivations for
language use.

I conclude in chapter 9 that second language acquisition in immigrant
communities should be considered a multi-dimensional process, with
acquisition being subject to a complex system of intertwining variables.





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