Bernard Spolsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


A major difference between first and second language acquisition is in the degree of variation in the levels of proficiency attained by learners. Among the factors proposed to account for this variation are method, age, aptitude and attitude. In a typical language learning situation, there are a number of people whose attitude to each other can be significant: the learner, the teacher, the learner's peers and parents, and the speakers of the language. One of the most important attitudinal factors is the attitude of the learner to the language and to its speakers. Use of an instrument that compares a subject's attitude to speakers of his native language and to speakers of a foreign language made possible a consideration of the nature and influence of this attitude. The extent to which foreign students newly arrived at American universities showed a greater desire to be like speakers of English than like speakers of their own language was significantly correlated with their proficiency in English. It is clear that the social role of language cannot be overlooked in the development of a theory of second language acquisition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-275
Number of pages5
JournalLanguage Learning
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Dec 1969
Externally publishedYes


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