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Schumann’s Acculturation Model

Schumann’s Acculturation Model

The Acculturation Model was developed by John H. Schumann in 1978. It is model of second language acquisition, which is based on the social psychology of acculturation. This model holds that there are social and psychological variables that combine into a single one, acculturation.

Learners learn the target language while they acculturate the group of the target language. Therefore, the social distance factor matters a lot in this model or view of second language acquisition. According to this model, the more a person is in proximity with the culture of the target language the more he/she will be likely to be proficient in that target language. Similarly, if a person has less contact with the culture of the target language, he/she is less likely able to be proficient in the target language. Therefore, in this sense, language proficiency is proportional to the contact with the culture and language. To make a person as proficient as possible, he should be in close contact with the culture of that language’s culture.

So with regard to social distance, the following matters;

  • Social dominance
  • Integration pattern
  • Enclosure
  • Size of learner’s L1 community
  • Culture congruence between native and target cultures
  • Attitude
  • Intended length of residence

Psychological Distance Factors

Thus, not only social but the psychological factors also matter in this model.

  • Language shock

It is whether a language user is ready to take the risk of using the language, the second language. Because the learner may have the fear of being ridiculed upon using the language.


  • Culture shock

Entering new culture may be something weird or shocking for the target language learner.

  • Motivation

The self-motivation of the target language is also important in this regard. If the learner in internally motivated, he/she will learn better and will integrate in the culture quiet easily. Otherwise, it would be difficult for him to do so.

  • Ego permeability

Sometimes, the learner may be flexible or rigid toward the practices or system of the culture of the target language. This may also affect the acquisition process.


About Zubair A. Bajwa

Zubair A. Bajwa is a graduate in linguistics from Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. Now, he holds an M.Phil. degree in English Linguistics from University of Gujrat. He is an author of various articles.

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