Relationship between the Cultural Practices of Literacy and the Variability in the Written L2 Spanish by Children Speakers of L1 Zapotec (Valley) at the Elementary Level.

Principal Investigator: Kalinka Velasco Zárate
Universidad Autónma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca

The development and acquisition of Literacy in Spanish as a second language takes place in and is shaped by the following: the educational institution, the curriculum, teachers and their teaching practices, the teaching and learning strategies, the student and his/her sociocultural and economical background, motivation, aptitude, learning styles, and last but not least, the previous knowledge of a linguistic system. These elements together, along with the sociocultural context, result into knowing how to write and read in Spanish, the second language of the Zapotec speakers who will participate in this study.

Although observed problems in the acquisition of Literacy in Spanish as a second language may be closely related and influenced by external sociocultural factors and different cultural practices of literacy, it is also plausible that the variability found in the written texts of speakers of Spanish as a second Language may have as its source the co-existance of two seemingly different linguistic systems. These problems then will be approached from the perspective of Universal Grammar theories for the Second Language Acquisition.

Both qualitative and quantitative analyses of the cultural practices of the literacy by the participants (written texts and information provided about the amount, type and frequency of reading in the L2 during interviews) should inform about the participants’ knowledge and use of different grammatical properties of L2 Spanish, the possible effects of transference of properties of the L1 onto the L2, the status of different categories and related properties throughout the development of L2 Spanish and the effects of the L2 input through reading and writing. The implications of the results for the theories of SLA and the theory of the acquisition of Literacy will be discussed.

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