CE28 - Cognition, éducation, formation

Culture appropriation and Language Acquisition: the role of intercultural Sensitivity in Syrian learners of French – CLASS

Culture appropriation and Language Acquisition: the role of intercultural Sensitivity in Syrian learners of French

The CLASS project proposes to examine the links between the development of intercultural sensitivity (IS) and the restructuring of the conceptual system of the Syrian Arabic-speaking learner of French as a second language in a migratory context as manifested at the level of the lexicon, understanding and processing figurative expressions, conceptualizing events and constructing the narrative.

Innovative character and benefits

The project is innovative in several respects:<br />(i) It is interested in a learner profile that is difficult to access and rarely studied in the field of language acquisition. These learners, more and more present on French territory, have an atypical life and training trajectory.<br />(ii) It adopts a recent approach and an innovative methodology allowing to take into account the differences in the intercultural profiles of learners and the way in which the differences determine or influence language acquisition. The multidisciplinary methodology will also make it possible to articulate qualitative and quantitative data and to access, thanks to eye tracking technology, cognitive processing during the performance of language tasks.<br />(iii) It will generate new longitudinal data whose interpretation and analyzes will contribute to a better understanding of language acquisition in a migratory context by disadvantaged learners, a profile largely neglected by SLA research for several decades.<br />Regarding the benefits of the project:<br />(i) Given the lack of work on the appropriation of a second culture by the learner and its manifestations at the cognitive and linguistic level and the lack of hindsight on language acquisition and conceptual development in a migratory context, the results of the CLASS project will make a real contribution to the development of the conceptual system in L2 in general, and that of the Arabic-speaking learner of French L2 in particular.<br />(ii) This research will also make it possible to understand the intercultural trajectories of learners from a culture and L1 different from the culture and language of the host society, and who evolve in difficult living conditions with opportunities for interaction in L2 often very limited.<br />(iii) Finally, the results of the project may ultimately contribute to the design of educational environments allowing the development of intercultural competence and to contribute to the improvement of educational practices with migrant populations.

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The CLASS project aims to examine the links between the development of intercultural sensitivity and the restructuring of the conceptual system of the second language learner in a migratory context as it manifests itself in the lexicon, the understanding and treatment of figurative expressions, the conceptualization of events and the construction of the narrative. The project is particularly interested in Arabic-speaking refugees or asylum seekers from Syria who are learners of French as a second language at the French university.


While being in the field of language acquisition and cognition, it relies on collaboration with experts in intercultural psychology. The project thus aims to develop an innovative multidisciplinary methodology to collect and analyze intercultural, language and eye-tracking data with the aim of characterizing precisely the evolution of the two variables (intercultural sensitivity and restructuring of the conceptual system) through time.

The project is innovative in several ways:

(i) It focuses on a learner profile that is difficult to access and rarely studied in the field of second language acquisition. The targeted learners, increasingly present on French territory, have an atypical life and training trajectory.

(ii) It adopts a recent approach and an innovative methodology allowing to take into account the differences in the learners’ intercultural profiles and the way in which the differences determine or influence second language acquisition. The multidisciplinary methodology will also make it possible to combine qualitative and quantitative data and to gain access, thanks to the technology of eye tracking, to cognitive processing during the performance of language tasks.

(iii) It will generate unprecedented longitudinal data whose interpretation and analyses will contribute to a better understanding of language acquisition in a migratory context by disadvantaged learners, a profile largely neglected by second language acquisition research for several decades.

Regarding the benefits of the project:

(i) Given the lack of work on second culture acquisition and its manifestations at cognitive and language level and the little perspective on language acquisition and conceptual development in a migratory context, the results of the CLASS project will bring new insights into the development of the conceptual system in L2 in general, and that of the Arabic-speaking learner of French L2 in particular.

(ii) This research will also make it possible to understand the intercultural trajectories of learners from a culture and L1 that are different from the culture and language of the host society, and who evolve in difficult living conditions with often limited opportunities for interaction in L2.

(iii) Finally, the results of the project may ultimately contribute to the design of pedagogical environments and activities allowing the development of intercultural competence and to contribute to the improvement of educational practices with migrant populations.

This JCJC project will allow the project leader to consolidate her research on language acquisition by Arabic-speaking migrants within her team. In particular, it will allow her to deepen the issues emanating from the SOFRA project (2018-2020) and to tackle the many scientific obstacles that this research involves, benefiting from different expertise brought by the members of the consortium (in cognitive, acquisitional and intercultural development). Finally, it will allow her to expand her solid experience in the field and the target population, and to generate a substantial body of longitudinal data that can make a real contribution in the field of second language acquisition.

Project coordination

Inès Saddour (UNITE DE RECHERCHE INTERDISCIPLINAIRE OCTOGONE-LORDAT)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.

Partner

OCTOGONE-LORDAT UNITE DE RECHERCHE INTERDISCIPLINAIRE OCTOGONE-LORDAT

Help of the ANR 243,907 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: February 2021 - 48 Months

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