Effects of acculturation factor on Saudi Arabian English language learners: a contextual comparison study

by Nasser Alasmari

Institution: University of Newcastle
Degree: PhD
Year: 2014
Keywords: acculturation; second language acquisition; sociolinguistics; Saudi Arabia
Record ID: 1054352
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.13/1042350


Research Doctorate - Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) The aim of the current study is to assess the effects of acculturation factors on Saudi students at university language centres in Saudi Arabia and Australia when they studying or using English as a foreign language. Secondary research purposes were first to explore the relationships among participants’ demographic data: age, level of English, prior English training and prior travel to an English-speaking country. Another secondary purpose was to determine the role and influence of cultural change on Saudi students’ religious and cultural perceptions in the Australian context, and how those factors affect their language learning and culture adjustment. To achieve the research’s aims, this study employed mixed quantitative and qualitative research methods, including a questionnaire, in-depth face-to-face interviews and a language test. Two hundred Saudi English-language learners in both Saudi Arabia and Australia—100 participants in each context—participated in the questionnaire section. There were 40 participants in the language testing section (20 participants from each context), and 20 participants for the interviews (10 participants from each context). Research data were collected from two universities: King Khalid University for the Saudi context, and the University of Newcastle for the Australian context. Results from the quantitative and qualitative data collected for the current study revealed that the Saudi context participants were socially, psychologically, and culturally distant from the target language and the target language group, with high levels of rejection. On the other hand, social, psychological and cultural distance was still noticeable for the Saudi students in the Australian context, while integration scored the highest level in the Australian context participants’ responses. Comparisons of the findings of the three scales; rejection, integration, and assimilation for both contexts demonstrated that the contextual atmosphere had an impact on the learners’ degree of acculturation.