Challenges and Solutions in Adult Acquisition of Cree as a Second Language

Date

2013-05-01

Authors

McCreery, Dale

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Abstract

The purpose of this thesis is to document and analyze the experiences and beliefs of a cross section of the second language Cree learning and teaching community regarding perceived hurdles in Cree language acquisition. Very little applied linguistic research has been done involving indigenous languages in Canada, especially ones focusing on adult learners; as a result this study was conceived of as being exploratory in nature, opening ground for further research. The research questions were as follows: what are the major challenges facing adult second language learners of Cree? And secondly, what are the solutions used by learners to overcome these challenges? Seven participants were interviewed from across western Canada, two learners, three teachers, and two participants who had been heavily involved in both learning and teaching. The interviews covered participants’ history with the language, exploring challenges, learning approaches, and goals. The findings suggested that the most significant challenges facing learners were affective challenges such as anxiety; in addition the nature of resources available to learners and teachers was a significant challenge. The study highlighted the connection between methodologies and challenges, suggesting that challenges which appear specific to a particular language are often instead the result of the methodological approach. It also highlighted some areas of disconnect between teacher and learner views on challenges. This thesis also examines the pedagogical implications of this research.

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Keywords

Second Language Acquisition, Cree Language, Qualitative Study, Adult, Applied linguistics, Curriculum design

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