Learners: Activity 2

Compare the learners

Compare the individual characteristics of the learners. How are these the same or different?

Background Information Tables:

(Information in the tables was provided in the video as well as in interviews with project staff.)

  Pari Fereshteh
Age 39 31
Native language EnglishEnglish
Other language Spanish, two semesters Hindi Some Spanish
Studied Persian Two years at the University of Minnesota, summer immersion program at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Starting age: 37. Participating in Persian conversation group every week for two hours. Two semesters at the University of Minnesota. Starting age: 30
Native Country United States of America United States of America
Education Pursuing her masters degree/ focusing on political science.Bachelors’
Relationship with conversational partner Distant acquaintances Distant acquaintances

Please type your answers to the questions in the box below.

When you have finished typing your answer, click to compare your response with the Learner Language staff response.

Pari is educated in her native language and she is like many typical American grad students in the humanities who try to learn different languages. In addition to Farsi, she has started to learn a new language, Hindi. She is very relaxed and confident during the interview and wants to share whatever she knows with the interviewer. She also monitors her speech most of the time; she corrects her grammatical and lexical errors many times and usually when the interviewer corrects her she does her best to not make that error again. It is believed that most adult learners cannot achieve a native accent after the critical period for language acquisition. Pari’s pronunciation is very good but it is not precisely native-like. She has the ability to pronounce many words correctly including difficult sounds like “خ، ق” [ɣ], [x], but she still has an English accent. This is true even though she has practiced a lot on pronouncing these sounds and being with native speakers to gain this ability.

Like Pari, Fereshteh has had a formal education and is literate in her native language. She is also a very good risk taker and although her Persian proficiency appears to be lower than Pari’s she uses many communication strategies to express herself. She also monitors her utterances and this monitoring causes her to have long pauses. She is thinking about what she consciously knows about the language during these periods and this could be related to her grammar-based background. It’s true that the tasks require her to communicate, but her grammar training hasn’t prepared her to be fluent at that. Fereshteh’s lexicon and syntax are not as developed as Pari’s. She tries her best to answer the interviewer’s questions. Any time she does not understand she uses clarification requests in order to obtain better comprehension of the interview’s question. Overall, Fereshteh seems less confident than Pari.


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