Resource title

A Theory of Social Forces and Immigrant Second Language Acquisition

Resource image

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Resource description

The preponderance of minimal second language acquisition by immigrants worldwide is striking. This paper proposes a theoretical model, which analyzes the underlying forces that contribute to this outcome of minimal secondary language acquisition by immigrants in such diverse immigrant-receiving countries as Canada, Germany, Israel and the United States. It is argued that the weak incentive structures for second language acquisition for an immigrant appear in four analytically separate spheres including the labour market, political, social, and education spheres. Furthermore, two integration regimes are imposed in these spheres – no government interference, or government-mandated minimum language acquisition after arrival. In all cases and in all spheres, it is argued that, for the majority of immigrants, the weakest level of second language acquisition – minimum oral and minimum written – is the optimal outcome given their incentive structure. In addition, the labour market is the primary determinant of this outcome. Finally, several policy measures to increase the incentives for further second language acquisition are explored.

Resource author

Don J. DeVoretz, Christiane Werner

Resource publisher

Resource publish date

Resource language

eng

Resource content type

text/html

Resource resource URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10419/20951

Resource license

Adapt according to the presented license agreement and reference the original author.