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AuthorSchilaty, Ben James
AdvisorCombs, Mary C.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation is comprised of three articles that discuss the linguistic choices made by six Mormon missionaries who had been assigned to work with the Spanish speaking population of southern Arizona. Data was collected through interviews, reflective journals, and participate observations. The first article chronicles the missionaries' feelings about a temporary language use rule that required them to speak Spanish from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm for one week. The missionaries experienced elevated confidence as they increased their Spanish use, but also found it to be tiring. The rule provided sufficient motivation for them to significantly alter their linguistic behavior, but once the week was over they reverted back to mostly speaking English. The second article examines how their behavior changed during that week. The missionaries explained their temporary goal to the Spanish-English bilinguals they worked with who were happy to also alter their language use and accommodate the missionaries' Spanish speaking objective. However, other language learning missionaries outside of the group of six were less accommodating and often continued speaking to the missionaries in the study in English even when spoken to in Spanish. The third article discusses the factors that influence which language missionaries choose to use. They often felt uneasy in initial encounters when speaking to someone who might be a native Spanish speaker. Many of their linguistic choices were made based on phenotype, but they preferred to speak to a new person in whichever language they overheard them speaking. The missionaries also felt that native Spanish speakers rejected their invitations to speak Spanish simply because they were white. While race played a large role in language choice, both the missionaries and their interlocutors were invested in conversing in the language that made the other most comfortable. This paper shows that Spanish language learning missionaries in the United States are eager to improve their linguistic abilities, but often require external motivation and community support to use the target language.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Second Language Acquisition & Teaching