Sla and culture


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Sla and culture

  1. 1. Language Learning 56:4, December 2006, pp. 609–632 C 2006 Language Learning Research Club, University of Michigan Second Language Learning and Cultural Representations: Beyond Competence and Identity Sara Rubenfeld and Richard Cl´ ment e University of Ottawa Denise Lussier McGill University Monique Lebrun and R´ jean Auger e Universit´ du Qu´ bec a Montr´ al e e ` e The socio-contextual model of second language (L2) learning proposes that L2 learning is influenced by as- pects of contact with the L2 community, L2 confidence, and identification to both the first language and L2 com- munity (Cl´ ment, 1980; Noels & Cl´ ment, 1996). The e e present study examines how these aspects are linked to individuals’ cultural representations, corresponding to at- titudes toward the L2 community (Sperber, 1996). Re- spondents included Francophone (n = 50) and Anglophone (n = 50) university students with low and high ethnolin- guistic vitality, respectively. Path analyses were conducted in order to examine the interrelations between aspects of the socio-contextual model and cultural representations.Sara Rubenfeld and Richard Cl´ ment, School of Psychology; Denise Lussier, eFaculty of Education; Monique Lebrun and R´ jean Auger, Faculty of Educa- etion. This project was supported by research grants from the Social Scienceand Humanities Research Council and Heritage Canada. A version of thisarticle was presented at the Canadian Psychological Association Conferenceon June 10, 2005, in Montr´ al, Qu´ bec, Canada. e e Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to RichardCl´ ment, School of Psychology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, eCanada, K1N 8A5. Internet: 609
  2. 2. 610 Language Learning Vol. 56, No. 4 These analyses revealed that, for both groups, learning an L2 leads individuals to hold more positive and accepting views of the L2 community. Implications of the findings are discussed with respect to ethnolinguistic vitality, L2 learning, and cultural representations. How does the process of learning a second language (L2)relate to the ways in which an L2 learner comes to view the L2community? Although it is known that contact with an L2 group isassociated with confidence in the L2 and feelings of identificationwith the L2 community (Cl´ ment, 1980; Noels & Cl´ ment, 1996), e eresearch has not established how this process, in turn, relatesto the formation of attitudes and beliefs, in the form of culturalrepresentations, about that community. The goal of this studyis to examine this process. Further, it aims to explore how it isaffected by the relative linguistic status of the learners involved.In order to do this, the beliefs of Francophones and Anglophones,a minority group and majority group respectively, sharing thesame environment, are compared. Second Language Learning and Social Representations Second language learning has been the object of much theo-rizing. As one among many (Cl´ ment & Gardner, 2001), the socio- econtextual model of L2 learning (Cl´ ment, 1980) postulates that eL2 confidence is the key construct underlying L2 behavior as wellas its social psychological correlates. L2 confidence corresponds toa relative lack of anxiety when using an L2 coupled with the beliefin being able to cope linguistically with the L2 situation at hand. Itis specifically derived from relatively frequent and pleasant con-tacts with the members of the L2 community whether throughface-to-face interactions or L2 media. It has been shown to sus-tain motivation to learn an L2, to promote identification to theL2 group, to be related to better production of the L2, and finally,to better adaptation among those living in a bilingual context(Cl´ ment, 1986; Cl´ ment & Kruidenier, 1985; Cl´ ment & Noels, e e e
  3. 3. Rubenfeld et al. 6111992; Noels & Cl´ ment, 1996). Cl´ ment and Gardner argued that e ethe link between L2 confidence and contact is critical to the degreeof identification with the L2 community as confidence takes thelearner to contact beyond the classroom. Like Cl´ ment’s socio-contextual model of L2 learning, eMoscovici’s (1984) phenomenon of social representation recog-nizes the importance of communication in predicting how indi-viduals come to view themselves and other groups. Accordingly, It was essential from the very beginning [of theory devel- opment] to establish the relationship between communica- tion and social representations. One conditions the other because we cannot communicate unless we share certain representations, and a representation is shared and en- ters our social heritage when it becomes an object of inter- ´ est and of communication. (Moscovici & Markova, 1998, p. 274) Social representations, corresponding to images, beliefs,and attitudes, are, therefore, created by interindividual and in-tergroup communication (Gohard-Radenkovic, Lussier, Penz, &Zarate, 2004). Our social representations are “used for the dis-covery and organization of reality” (Jaspars & Fraser, 1984, p.102) in that they provide both an order, which allows individu-als to acquaint themselves and master their social world, and acode in the form of communication, which enables social groupsto label aspects of their world (Jaspars & Fraser, 1984; Moscovici,1976). According to Moscovici (2001), “[the] representation is anotion conceived to explain what, if anything, binds people to-gether in a group, a society, and makes them act together” (p. 21).Although initial exposure to representations occurs while so-cial agents “[incorporate a child] into a representational sys-tem” (Duveen, 2001, p. 260), our representations are mutable, asexposure to new situations necessitates adjustment (Philog` ne, e2001). Given the frequency of exposure to new and unfamil-iar situations as a result of intercultural contact (Gudykunst &Kim, 1997), a more specialized version of social representations,
  4. 4. 612 Language Learning Vol. 56, No. 4pertaining directly to knowledge of cultures, would, however,seem appropriate. As a result, Sperber (1996) has introduced theconcept of cultural representations. Cultural Representations Cultural representations consist of mental and public repre-sentations that characterize a specific group or subgroup within acommunity (Sperber, 1996). Cultural representations can be posi-tive (xenophilic), where attitudes toward the other group are openand accepting, or negative (xenophobic), marked by rejection andrefusal of the other group (Gohard-Radenkovic et al., 2004). Theoriginal question of how the process of learning an L2 identifiedby the socio-contextual model relates to knowledge of and atti-tudes toward the L2 community can, therefore, be reformulated.More specifically, how does the process of learning an L2, identi-fied by the socio-contextual model, relate to the endorsement ofxenophilic or xenophobic cultural representations? According to Gohard-Radenkovic et al. (2004), “the teach-ing/learning of modern languages seems to us to be the disciplinepar excellence for intensifying the openness to other cultures andthe contact with otherness in the development of positive cul-tural representations associated with xenophile attitudes” (p. 53).Given the link between language learning and positive culturalrepresentations, it is, therefore, hypothesized that positive inter-relations between aspects of the socio-contextual model, namelycontact with the L2 community, confidence when speaking the L2,and identification with the L2 community would, in turn, lead tomore positive cultural representations. Qualifying this hypothesis, however, the specific interrela-tions among aspects of the socio-contextual model, contact, L2confidence, and ethnic identity are moderated by the ethnolin-guistic status of the groups involved (Noels & Cl´ ment, 1996; eNoels, Pon, & Cl´ ment, 1996). Ethnolinguistic vitality (ELV; eGiles, Bourhis, & Taylor, 1977) is defined according to collec-tive or structural characteristics of a group such as demographic
  5. 5. Rubenfeld et al. 613representation, social status, and institutional support. It helpspromote the maintenance of an ethnolinguistic group’s charac-teristics in the context of intergroup contact (Giles et al.); thatis, ethnolinguistic groups differ in the extent to which they areimpacted by intergroup contact. High-ELV groups are consideredsuch because their characteristics allow them greater resistanceto language shift and, more generally, cultural erosion. In Canada, for example, the province of Ontario is predomi-nantly English speaking. Although both English and French areofficial languages, Anglophones in Ontario experience higher vi-tality than Francophones. In line with the proposition that high-ELV groups will maintain their group characteristics in the faceof intergroup contact, research has found that Anglophones expe-rience an additive process, whereby identifying with an L2 groupoccurs without the loss of identity associated with the originallanguage community (Cl´ ment, 1980; Lambert, 1978). Low-ELV egroups, on the other hand, hold less power, socioeconomic status,and demographic representation. It is, therefore, expected thatintergroup contact will result in the loss of group characteris-tics. Consistent with this proposition, Noels and Cl´ ment (1996) efound that intergroup contact experienced by the low-ELV group,Francophones, results in a subtractive process whereby identi-fication with the L2 group is at the expense of original groupidentity. In line with patterns of interrelations found among as-pects of the socio-contextual model (Cl´ ment; Cl´ ment, Noels, & e eDeneault, 2001; Noels & Cl´ ment), we expect consistent subtrac- etive and additive patterns among low- and high-ELV groups, re-spectively. This perspective applied to the current issue has twoconsequences for our conceptualization of the relationship amongcommunication, identity, and cultural representations. The first consequence has to do with the influence of eth-nolinguistic vitality on the causal sequence of the language con-fidence process. The socio-contextual model poses the existenceof a proportional relation between contact and confidence. Basedon previous research and theorizing, it would follow that contactexperience would determine the development of L2 confidence.
  6. 6. 614 Language Learning Vol. 56, No. 4Germane to the current situation, however, is the fact that theFrancophone minority group is as confident in its English skillsas native Anglophones. This, in our view, would entail a reversal ofthe contact-confidence process. Specifically, as a result of belong-ing to a low-ELV group, its members speak in an L2 more oftenand across a greater number of domains than would members of ahigh-ELV group (Cl´ ment & Noels, 1992). We hypothesize, there- efore, that Francophones, the low-ELV group, will exhibit higherlevels of confidence than Anglophones, the high-ELV group. Asa result of this confidence, this low-ELV group will already havethe skills and past experiences that are necessary for the activepursuit of contact in the L2 (see Figure 1). In acknowledging thepreexisting confidence among Francophones, we hypothesize thatconfidence will act as a precursor to contact. However, individuals with lower confidence in an L2 andhigher ELV, such as the Anglophone group, would be less likelyto seek out situations of contact (see Figure 2). Therefore, in linewith the socio-contextual model, confidence occurs passively as aresult of contact experiences. For Anglophones, experiencing morecontact with the Francophone community will, therefore, lead tomore confidence when speaking French. In this case, contact isthe precursor of language confidence.Figure 1. Hypothesized model for Francophone respondents.
  7. 7. Rubenfeld et al. 615Figure 2. Hypothesized model for Anglophone respondents. The second consequence relates to the expected dynamicsof the link between first (L1) and L2 identity. The Multicul-tural Hypothesis perspective (Berry, 1984; Lambert, Mermigis,& Taylor, 1986) argues that holding positive cultural representa-tions would be largely associated with one’s own ethnic identity.This hypothesis posits that positive feelings toward and greateracceptance of other ethnic groups occur in the presence of greateridentification to one’s own cultural group. According to Berry,“own group development and maintenance permits a sense ofconfidence which will lead to other group acceptance and toler-ance” (p. 363). This implies that patterns of additive bilingualism(see Figure 2), where identification to the L2 community doesnot entail a loss of identification to the original language commu-nity, will result in positive relations between identification to theoriginal community and cultural representations of the L2 com-munity. In contrast, subtractive tendencies (see Figure 1) wouldnot permit the cultural maintenance that is required in orderto maintain the confidence that leads to acceptance of the othergroup. As a result, we hypothesize that there will not be a linkbetween L1 identity and cultural representations for the low-ELVgroup.
  8. 8. 616 Language Learning Vol. 56, No. 4 In summary, this research will examine how L2 confidenceinfluences cultural representations of the L2 community. For bothAnglophones and Francophones, we believe that L2 confidencewill lead to increases in positive cultural representations of theL2 community; that is, increases in confidence and contact lead togreater identification with the L2 community, which sets the stagefor openness to and positive attitudes toward the L2 community.As a result of differences in ELV, both the commencement andthe completion of our proposed model will be impacted. To begin,the active pursuit or the passive receipt of contact will dependon confidence in speaking the L2, which differs between high-and low-ELV groups. At the other end of the model, in accordancewith the Multicultural Hypothesis, we expect that the additivebilingualism characterizing high-ELV groups will permit the L1identity maintenance that is required for positive representationsof the L2 community. Without this maintenance, positive culturalrepresentations of the L2 community would not be aided by theL1 identity, due to subtractive bilingualism. MethodParticipants Participants originally included 50 Francophone and 50Anglophone students taking Introductory Psychology at theUniversity of Ottawa. The University of Ottawa is a bilin-gual institution in Ottawa, Canada’s national capital, that pro-vides classes in both official languages. Given that the uni-versity is located in Ontario, where Franco-Ontarians compriseonly 6% of the population (Cl´ ment, Baker, Josephson, & Noels, e2005), Francophones possess lower vitality than Anglophones.At the University of Ottawa, however, there are many oppor-tunities for intergroup contact. Participants’ responses, there-fore, provide relevant insights about how L2 experience relatesto representations of the L2 community.
  9. 9. Rubenfeld et al. 617 Questionnaires were given to students in the correspond-ing language of instruction. Given the bilingual atmosphere ofthe university, students have the option to take classes in ei-ther official language. Students in French classes were, there-fore, given questionnaires in French, whereas students in Englishclasses were given questionnaires in English. Questionnaireswere eliminated when respondents, whose mother tongue wasone of Canada’s official languages, completed the questionnairein the other official language. This resulted in the eliminationof seven French and five English questionnaires. One additionalFrench questionnaire was eliminated due to missing data. Afterall eliminations, participants included 42 Francophone and 45Anglophone students. Francophone students ranged in age from 18 to 32 years,with a mean age of 19.7. Participants included 31 females and 11males. Anglophone students ranged in age from 18 to 29, with amean age of 19.7. Participants included 36 females and 9 males.Procedure Upon receiving permission from Introductory Psychologyprofessors, classes were visited by two to three researchers. Whilebeing addressed in the language of instruction, students were in-formed of the general topic of the research and asked to voluntar-ily take a questionnaire home for completion. All questionnaireswere handed out with a self-addressed stamped envelope. Par-ticipants were informed that their participation was optional andthat all responses would be confidential and would not affect theirmarks.Materials Participants completed questionnaires examining theirexperiences as they relate to the other official languagecommunity. Francophone participants, for example, completedmeasures that evaluated confidence when speaking English,
  10. 10. 618 Language Learning Vol. 56, No. 4contact with English-speaking people, and representations ofEnglish-speaking people. A description of the scales follows. Self-evaluation of L2 confidence. Self-evaluations of L2 con-fidence consisted of 7-point scales (Cl´ ment & Kruidenier, 1985) erelated to four aspects of L2 ability: writing, reading, comprehen-sion, and speaking. Participants indicated their perceived com-petence in all abilities, ranging from 1 (not at all) to 7 (fluently).Francophone and Anglophone responses had Cronbach’s alphasof .81 and .95, respectively. Second language contact consisted of two measures: (1) ex-posure to second language media and (2) frequency of second lan-guage use. Exposure to L2 media. An abridged version of the media ex-posure scale (Cl´ ment et al., 2005) asked respondents to indicate eto what extent their media exposure was 1 (mostly French) to 7(mostly English) in four mediums: television, radio, magazines,and flyers. In order to measure exposure to L2 media, Anglo-phones’ responses were inversely coded to allow for one consistentvariable having high scores represent high exposure to L2 media.Cronbach’s alpha for Francophone and Anglophone participantswas .79 and .55, respectively. Frequency of L2 use. Participants indicated their frequencyof L2 use ranging from 1 (never) to 5 (always) across five situ-ations: in social interactions, at school, with close friends, withfamily, and while reading or writing for pleasure. Cronbach’s al-pha for Francophone and Anglophone participants was .79 and.78, respectively. Situated ethnic identity. The Situated Ethnic Identity mea-sure (Cl´ ment & Noels, 1992) assesses participants’ identities eacross 10 everyday situations (e.g., when I am at home, I feel. . .;when I listen to music, I feel. . .). Specifically, it evaluates thedegree to which individuals (a) identify with their own ethnicgroup, ranging from 1 (not at all like my own ethnic group) to 7(very much like my own ethnic group; e.g., when I am at home,I feel. . .); Cronbach’s alpha for Francophones and Anglophoneswas .88 and .91, respectively, and (b) identify with the other
  11. 11. Rubenfeld et al. 619official language group, ranging from 1 (not at all like OntarioFrancophones/Canadian Anglophones) to 7 (very much like On-tario Francophones/Canadian Anglophones); Cronbach’s alphafor Francophones and Anglophones was .85 and .92, respectively. To measure attitudes toward, images of, and beliefs aboutthe L2 community, the questionnaire consisted of three mea-sures of cultural representations: (a) semantic differential scales(Osgood, 1964) about the L2 community, Francophones or Anglo-phones, (b) feelings toward Francophones or Anglophones, and (c)feelings toward ethnic minorities who speak English or French. Semantic differential scales. Following the method devisedby Osgood, Suci, and Tannenbaum (1957), participants wereasked to indicate their impressions of the L2 community by rat-ing it on a series of bipolar scales defined at each end by an ad-jective and its antonym. Twenty-two antonymous adjectives (e.g.,stupid-intelligent, boring-amusing, honest-dishonest) were listedat extremes of a scale ranging from 1 to 7. Scale items were alter-nated such that positive or negative antonyms could be found ateither extreme. Positive items originally presented as an extremelow were recoded so that high scores always reflected positiveadjectives. Originally, participants were asked to respond to bipolar ad-jectives about the L2 community in both Ontario and Quebec. Forexample, Francophones were asked to rate their agreement toadjectives about Ontario Anglophones and Quebec Anglophones.However, results indicated that there were high correlations be-tween Ontario and Quebec Francophones (r = .73), as viewed byAnglophones, and high correlations between Ontario and QuebecAnglophones (r = .71), as viewed by Francophones. Scores were,therefore, computed to combine the two provinces, resulting in onescore each for Francophones and Anglophones. Cronbach’s alphafor English- and French-speaking participants’ representations ofthe corresponding L2 community was .94 and .95, respectively. Feelings associated with the L2 community. Participantswere asked to indicate the degree to which they agreed or dis-agreed with statements that they held feelings of mistrust,
  12. 12. 620 Language Learning Vol. 56, No. 4friendship, exasperation, rejection, and criticism toward the L2community, ranging from 1 (totally disagree) to 7 (totally agree).For example, Francophones were asked to indicate to what extentthey felt friendship toward Anglophones. All negative feelingswere recoded such that high scores represented positive feelingstoward the L2 community. As with the semantic differential scale,participants were asked to rate the L2 community, from both On-tario and Quebec, on a series of adjectives. Results indicated thatthere were high correlations between Ontario and Quebec Franco-phones (r = .81), as viewed by Anglophones, and high correlationsbetween Ontario and Quebec Anglophones (r = .79), as viewed byFrancophones. Scores were, therefore, computed to combine thetwo provinces, resulting in one score each for Francophones andAnglophones. Cronbach’s alpha for English- and French-speakingparticipants’ representations of the corresponding L2 communitywas .92 and .92, respectively. Feelings associated with minorities who speak the L2. Par-ticipants were asked to indicate the degree to which they agreedor disagreed with statements that they held feelings of mistrust,friendship, exasperation, rejection, and criticism toward minori-ties who speak the L2, French or English, ranging from 1 (totallydisagree) to 7 (totally agree). For example, Anglophones wereasked to indicate to what extent they felt rejection from ethnicminorities who spoke French. All negative feelings were recodedsuch that high scores represented positive feelings toward minori-ties speaking the L2. Cronbach’s alpha for English- and French-speaking participants’ representations of minorities speaking thecorresponding L2 was .87 and .83, respectively. Results Prior to examining the interrelations of aspects of the socio-contextual model and cultural representations, we first examinedwhether Francophones and Anglophones differed, as expected, intheir level of confidence in the L2. As predicted, a significantdifference was found such that Francophones (M = 6.32 on a
  13. 13. Rubenfeld et al. 6217-point scale) were significantly more confident with their L2skills than Anglophones, M = 3.92; t(85) = 8.77, p < .01, 2 =0.48. In order to examine the interrelations among contact, L2confidence, identity, and cultural representations among Fran-cophones and Anglophones, the socio-contextual model’s causalsequence, as presented in Figures 1 and 2, was tested using path-analytic techniques via EQS 6.1 (Bentler & Wu, 2004); correla-tions between variables for both groups are presented in Table 1.Path analysis is a model-testing approach that extends upon mul-tiple regression (Streiner, 2005). Both multiple regression andpath analysis examine the influence that predictor variables haveon a criterion variable. However, path analysis tests the hypoth-esis that the variables operate in a sequence. Essentially, thisstatistical technique allows researchers to examine the extent towhich a proposed mediational model, developed from theory andresearch, fits the data. Because the data are usually collected us-ing a correlational design, it would, however, be inappropriateto infer a causal relationship between aspects of the proposedmodel. Table 2 summarizes the results of the path analyses for theAnglophone and Francophone groups. For both groups, the ini-tial test of the model (Model 0 for both groups) did not producea good fit of the model to the data. Namely, the Satorra-Bentlerchi-squared (S-B 2 ), which takes the model, estimation method,and kurtosis into account (Byrne, 1994a), was significant. Aswell, the robust Comparative Fix Index (CFI) was far below thelower limit cutoff point of .90 (Byrne, 1994b) and the root meansquare error of approximation (RMSEA) was higher than the up-per range cutoff of .05 that indicates a good fit (Byrne & Campbell,1999). Following this, respecifications were applied in the form ofpath addition (Lagrange Multiplier [LM] test) and path subtrac-tion, resulting in a less restricted model (Wald test; see Bentler,1990). The LM test indicated that the first respecification for thelow-vitality Francophone group was to correlate the errors of
  14. 14. 622Table 1Intercorrelations among contact (frequency of L2 use and L2 media exposure), L2 confidence, identity andcultural representation (semantic differential scale, feelings toward L2 speakers, and feelings toward minoritiesspeaking L2) measures for Anglophone (above diagonal) and Francophone (below diagonal) groups 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 81. Frequency .42∗∗ .57∗∗ −.18 .26 .19 .28 .15 ∗∗2. Media .67 .26 −.02 .02 −.01 −.13 −.173. Self–confidence in the L2 .52∗∗ .58∗∗ −.07 .42∗∗ .13 .25 .214. First Language Group Identity .09 −.08 −.04 .09 .12 −.08 −.14 Language Learning5. Second Language Group Identity .48∗∗ .49∗∗ .46∗∗ .29 .39∗∗ .48∗∗ .35∗6. Semantic Differential Scale .33∗ .20 .07 .13 .24 .65∗∗ .55∗∗7. Feeling Toward L2 Speakers .10 .10 .19 .00 .31∗ .21 .78∗∗8. Feeling Toward Minorities Speaking L2 .00 −.04 .05 .01 .12 .17 .55∗∗∗ p < .05.∗∗ p < .01. Vol. 56, No. 4
  15. 15. Rubenfeld et al. 623Table 2Summary of fit statistics for Anglophone and Francophone modelsModel S-B 2a df CFI∗b RMSEAc C.I.dFrancophone (low vitality)0. Hypothesized 41.55 19 .65 .17 .10-.241. Model 1 21.25 17 .94 .08 .00-.172. Model 2 35.37 23 .81 .12 .01-.193. Model 3 28.68 22 .90 .09 .00-.17Anglophone (high vitality)0. Hypothesized 85.34 17 .37 .31 .20-.371. Model 1 21.77 14 .93 .11 .00-.202. Model 2 25.67 20 .95 .08 .00-.16a Satorra-Bentler corrected chi-square.b 2 Comparative Fit Index (computed from S- B ).c Root mean square error of approximation.d Confidence intervals based on RMSEA.the two contact measures1 (Model 1). Given that both of thesemeasures examine aspects of contact with the L2 community, thispost hoc adaptation is acceptable. Wald analyses for the removalof paths indicated that the paths leading to Francophone Iden-tity were insignificant. As well, the paths from the two contactmeasures (English Media Exposure and Frequency of EnglishUse) to Anglophone Identity and Anglophone Identity to two ofthe measures of cultural representations (Semantic DifferentialScales: Anglophones and Feelings About Minorities Who SpeakEnglish) were not significant (Model 2). A final examination ofnecessary restrictions indicated that the data would be betterdescribed by including a path from Francophone Identity to An-glophone Identity (Model 3). After these respecifications, the fit ofthe model to the data reached acceptable levels (see Figure 3).In line with our proposition that L2 confidence would pro-pel active pursuit of contact, the final model, therefore, com-menced with Second Language Confidence. Second Language
  16. 16. 624 Language Learning Vol. 56, No. 4Confidence was, in turn, associated with greater contact in theL2 in the form of English Media Exposure and Frequency of Con-tact With Anglophones. English Media Exposure predicted Anglo-phone Identity, which subsequently predicts more positive Feel-ings About the Anglophone Group. The first respecifications for the high-vitality Anglophonegroup, as indicated by the LM test, was to correlate the errorsfor the three measures of cultural representations (SemanticDifferential Scales: Francophone, Feelings about FrancophoneGroup, and Feelings About Minorities Who Speak French;Model 1). Given that these measures are intended to examinethe same construct, this post hoc adaptation is acceptable. Waldtest analyses indicated that the path from contact in the formof French Media Exposure to Second Language Confidence wasnot significant. Given the low reliability of this contact measure( = .55), the insignificance is not surprising. As well, oppos-ing the Multicultural Hypothesis, the Wald test specified thatnone of the paths leading from Anglophone Identity to the cul-tural representation measures were significant. As can be seenin Table 2 (Model 2), after the respecifications, the fit of themodel to the data reached acceptable levels (see Figure 4). There-fore, as shown in Figure 4, the final model for the AnglophoneFigure 3. Final model for Francophone respondents.
  17. 17. Rubenfeld et al. 625Figure 4. Final model for Anglophone shows that Frequency of Contact With Francophonespredicts Second Language Confidence. Second Language Con-fidence, in turn, predicts Francophone Identity and Franco-phone Identity predicts positive cultural representations ofFrancophones. Discussion The purpose of this study was to examine how aspects ofthe socio-contextual model, contact, confidence, and identity leadto cultural representations of the L2 community. With the hy-pothesis that Francophones’ experiences and Anglophones’ ex-periences with the L2 community differed, a path analysis wasconducted to examine the interrelations among contact, L2 confi-dence, identity, and cultural representations. Contrary to expecta-tions, results did not indicate patterns of additive and subtractivebilingualisms for Anglophones and Francophones, respectively.Rather, for both groups, L2 confidence or contact led only to L2community identity and did not relate to the L1 community iden-tity (i.e., an additive profile). Despite there being no relationshipbetween L2 contact or L2 confidence and L1 group identity, iden-tifying with the L2 community, as expected, led to xenophilic cul-tural representations for both groups.
  18. 18. 626 Language Learning Vol. 56, No. 4 In line with our theorizing regarding the causal sequence ofL2 confidence, we found that although L2 experience resultedin positive cultural representations for both groups, the routethrough which this occurs differed. Given that minority groupsare often required to speak in their L2, Francophones were moreconfident when speaking their L2 than were Anglophones. Thissupports the proposition that individuals with high confidence inan L2 already have the skills and past experiences that are nec-essary for the active pursuit of contact in the L2. Individuals withlower confidence in an L2, such as the Anglophone group, wouldbe less likely to seek out situations of contact. Therefore, in linewith the socio-contextual model, confidence occurs passively as aresult of contact experiences. The contrasting levels of confidence found between theAnglophone and Francophone groups allow for an interestingcomparison between a minority and a majority group. Of note,however, is that path analysis provides a “snapshot” of individ-uals as they are during testing. For example, if we were to lookat the Francophones at a younger age, while they were at theearlier stages of English learning, they would likely show a sim-ilar pattern to the majority group, where passive receipt of confi-dence occurs as a result of contact. The findings of this research,however, speak to how the relationship between L2 confidenceand contact with the L2 community differs between minorityand majority groups with high and low levels of L2 confidence,respectively. At the other end of the proposed model, consistent withthe Multicultural Hypothesis perspective (Berry, Kalin, & Taylor,1977; Berry, 1984), it was expected that maintenance of L1 groupidentity would provide the confidence that is required for pos-itive cultural representations of the L2 community; namely, itwas expected that Anglophones would show patterns of addi-tive bilingualism. As a result, their L1 identity would providethe reassurance to the L2 identity that is required. However, thehypothesized paths for the Anglophone group from L1 identityto L2 identity and cultural representations were nonsignificant.
  19. 19. Rubenfeld et al. 627Contrary to expectations, examination of the final models(Figures 3 and 4) reveals that although L1 identity was not im-plicated for the Anglophone group, it was necessary to add a pathbetween L1 and L2 identity for the Francophone group. On theone hand, our results were surprising in that we did not find ad-ditive and subtractive processes among Anglophones and Fran-cophones, respectively. Following this nonsignificance, our thirdhypothesis was not confirmed. On the other hand, in line with theMulticultural Hypothesis, the fact that we needed to add a pathbetween L1 and L2 identity for the Francophone group suggeststhat low-ELV groups might face greater ethnolinguistic insecu-rity than high-ELV groups. As a result, openness to others, in theform of positive cultural representations, will only occur once re-assurance of the L1 identity takes place, thus still speaking to thevalidity of the Multicultural Hypothesis. As the preceding discussion suggests, L2 learning has impli-cations beyond the acquisition of a new avenue of communication;namely L2 learning provides the opportunity to communicatewith other language communities, which, in turn, is associatedwith how we come to view these communities. Additionally, con-sistent with the idea that intergroup relations “do not occur ina vacuum” (Harwood, Giles & Bourhis, 1994, p. 167), the resultssuggest that ELV infiltrates every aspect of L2 learning and cul-tural representations. Taken together, the results suggest that factors involved inL2 learning propel representations of the new culture. Specifi-cally, contact with or confidence in an L2 leads individuals toidentify with the L2 community. This process, in turn, guides indi-viduals to more positive representations of the L2 culture. In day-to-day life, this research suggests that learning an L2 might pos-itively influence intergroup relations. In the context of learningan L2, we see greater identification with that community, which,in turn, leads us to feel more positively about the community. It is also conceivable that having positive cultural repre-sentations of a language community will motivate individuals tolearn that L2. Given the correlational nature of this research, it
  20. 20. 628 Language Learning Vol. 56, No. 4would be inappropriate to assert that language learning causespositive cultural representations in a nonrecurrent manner. Abetter understanding of the link between language learning andcultural representations can be asserted through the use of alongitudinal design, ideally commencing at the onset of languagelearning. The implications of this research, not withstanding its lim-ited sample of participants, extend beyond the scope of this study.According to Jaspars and Fraser (1984), “[Social representations]can influence individual behaviour” (p. 104). This implies thatcultural representations, formed as a result of L2 learning, mightinfluence subsequent behaviors. This implication is important, asit differentiates cognitive and affective aspects, such as positivethoughts and feelings toward the L2 community, from behaviors,such as positive interactions between individuals or communities.However, an evaluation of behavioral consequences was outsideof the scope of this study and is, therefore, left for future research.Representations might, for example, constitute the social and cog-nitive basis for the development of the cultural interpreters—those who are able to actually act as cultural mediators betweenthe L1 and L2 groups (Gohard-Radenkovic et al., 2004; Lussieret al., 2004). In conclusion, the present results suggest that aspects of thesocio-contextual model (i.e., contact, confidence, and identity) dolead to cultural representations of the L2 community. The resultsimply that learning an L2 not only can influence the way individ-uals come to view the L2 language community, but this processis also largely influenced by the vitality of the ethnolinguisticgroup. Revised version accepted 20 March 2006 Note1 In order to simplify the presentation, correlations between error terms arenot indicated in the figures.
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