Is the Acquisition of Conceptualizations possible for Foreign Language Students? A Study on the Conceptualization of time in the English Foreign Language Classroom of German
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The purpose of this study was to predict and test the different conceptualization of time in German as done by German native speaker and L2 German students, who are English native speakers. The overall aim was to determine the cross-cultural difference of conceptualizing time in both languages and to predict and test students’ reaction to this difference. Furthermore, the study questions the possibility of an acquisition of cognitive perspectivization in general. It also aims to draw some general conclusions for cognition, second language acquisition, and the foreign language classroom. The research tested this issue using quantitative measurements and utilized a test of the “Wednesday’s meeting has been moved forward” scenario in order to determine if American students of German at an advanced level show the same tendency as German native speakers to use the intrinsic temporal frame of reference. The results showed that the students followed the pattern of their native language English instead of German. Once a frame of reference was chosen, participants consistently used this frame in German and English. Furthermore, there was not difference in results between students who had a long-term study abroad experience and students who did not. The implications of these findings are that while the possibility that students can acquire the conceptualization of abstract ideas like time still persists, the probability of an acquisition of the perspectivization behind the conceptualization is very small. In order to acquire a deeper understanding of the language and the cultural experience inherent to all areas of the language, students should receive more focused instructions based on an the framework of Cognitive Linguistic which views language as a set part of cognition that will help train and foster cognitive abilities.
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