The Cultural Dimension of SLA

Attitudes of Philological and Non-Philological Learners to English Language Speakers


  • Jelena V. Grubor Department of Philology, English Language and Literature Study Programme, State University of Novi Pazar, Serbia



attitudes to TL speakers, Bogardus Social Distance Scale (BSDS), English as a foreign language (EFL), philological (Phil) and non-philological (Non-Phil) groups, social distance, TL culture and speakers


Attitudes towards target language (TL) speakers present an aspect pertaining to the cultural dimension of learning a foreign language. Consequently, the main goals of the study were to determine the participants’ attitudes towards the British and Americans, and the degree of social distance the participants felt towards these groups by comparing evaluations of their willingness to identify with TL and L1 speakers. The participants included in the study (N=239) represented two age groups (secondary and tertiary students), and two educational profiles: philological (Phil) and non-philological (Non-Phil) groups. The main research instruments were an adapted Bogardus Social Distance Scale, which showed good internal consistency on all the subscales, and an English language contact scale, whose aim was to test the participants’ actual interaction with the target language speakers (the length of stay in a TL community, potential mobility via school/university exchange programmes). The main finding suggests that Phil groups, being more familiar with the TL culture, evaluated its speakers much more positively and were generally more willing to identify with TL members, even at the most intimate level (spouse). Accordingly, the practical implications would be to encourage foreign language teachers to keep acquainting learners with different cultural elements and work towards fostering positive attitudes to the TL and its culture. What our study has failed to determine, though, is whether the actual contact with real, flesh-and-blood people in contrast to indirect contact with ‘imaginary TL speakers’ that are the product of one’s perception makes a difference in attitudes.  


Download data is not yet available.


Acton, William. 1979. “Second language learning and perception of difference in attitude” Unpublished doctoral thesis. University of Michigan.

Bogardus, Emory, Stephen. 1925. “Social Distance and Its Origins”. Journal of Applied Sociology 9: 216–226.

Bogardus, Emory, Stephen. 1933. “A Social Distance Scale”. Sociology and Social Research 17: 265–271.

Brown, H. Douglas. 1980. “The Optimal Distance Model of Second Language Acquisition”. TESOL Quarterly 14: 157–164.

Brown, H. Douglas. 2014. Principles of Language Learning and Teaching (6th ed.). New York: Pearson Education, Inc.

Bugarski, Ranko. 2003. Lingvistika o čoveku. Beograd: Prosveta.

Butler, Yuko Goto. 2017. “ISLA in East Asian Contexts”. In The Routledge Handbook of Instructed Second Language Acquisition, edited by Shawn Loewen and Masatoshi Sato, 321–337. New York: Taylor & Francis.

Byram, Michael. 1997. Teaching and Assessing Intercultural Communicative Competence. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Csizér, Kata and Zoltán Dörnyei. 2005. “The internal structure of language learning motivation and its relationship with language choice and learning effort”. Modern Language Journal 89(1): 19–36.

De Swaan, Abram. 2013. “Language Systems”. In The Handbook of Language and Globalization, edited by Nikolas Coupland, 56–76. Malden MA: Blackwell.

Dörnyei, Zoltan. 1994. “Motivation and Motivating in the Foreign Language Classroom”. Modern Language Journal 78 (3): 273–284.

Dörnyei, Zoltan. 2011. Research Methods in Applied Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Dörnyei, Zoltan, Kata Csizér and Nora Németh. 2006. Motivation, Language Attitudes and Globalisation: A Hungarian Perspective. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Edwards, John. 1982. “Language Attitudes and their Implications Among English Speakers: Social and Applied Contexts”. In Attitudes Towards Language Variation, edited by Ellen B. Ryan and Howard Giles, 20–33. London: Edward Arnold.

Ellis, Rod. 1990. Instructed Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Ellis, Rod. 2015. Understanding Second Language Acquisition (2nd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gardner, Robert, Charles. 1979. “Social Psychological Aspects of Second Language Acquisition”. In Language and Social Psychology, edited by Howard Giles and Robert St. Clair, 193–220. Oxford: Blackwell.

Gardner, Robert, Charles. 1985. Social Psychology and Second Language Learning: The Role of Attitude and Motivation. London: Edward Arnold.

Gardner, Robert, Charles. 2007. “Motivation and Second Language Acquisition”. Porta Linguarium 8: 9–20.

Gass, Susan, M. and Larry Selinker. 2008. Second Language Acquisition: An Introductory Course (3rd ed.). New York: Routledge.

Grubor, Jelena. 2012. „Stavovi prema učenju engleskog kao stranog jezika i njihov uticaj na postignuće” Doktorska dis. Filološki fakultet, Univerzitet u Beogradu.

Grubor, Jelena. 2015. „Ispitivanje L2 stavova”. Inovacije u nastavi – časopis za savremenu nastavu 28 (1): 140–148.

Grubor, Jelena. 2018a. „Vannastavni input i stav prema učenju engleskog kao stranog jezika“. Primenjena lingvistika 19: 61–74.

Grubor, Jelena. 2018b. „Stavovi roditelja prema učenju engleskog jezika svoje dece”. Nastava i vaspitanje 67 (3): 453–469.

Grubor, Jelena. 2020. “What Makes up the Attitude to Learning English: EFLS-ALE Scale”. In Science Beyond Boundaries 3, Vol. 2 Language and Languages, edited by Golub Jašović, Branislava Dilparić and Jelena Bajović, 31–51. Kosovska Mitrovica: Faculty of Philosophy, University of Priština.

Grubor, Jelena. 2021. “L2 Attitudes Across Secondary Education: How (Relatively) Stable Are They?” Nasleđe (Kragujevac) 48: 299–314.

Grubor, Jelena and Darko Hinić. 2011. “Pronunciation Tendencies Towards British and American English in EFL Teachers in Serbia: Are Teachers Immune to Global Influences?” Nasleđe (Kragujevac) 8 (17): 299–310.

Grubor, Jelena, Darko Hinić and Jelena Petrović-Desnica. 2011. “How Do EFL Teachers Feel About Touching Wood or Knocking on Wood? Attitudes and Choice of British/American English”. In ELLSIIR Proceedings, Volume I, edited by Nenad Tomović and Jelena Vujić, 447–456. Belgrade: Faculty of Philology, University of Belgrade.

Grubor, Jelena, Nataša Bjelogrlić and Darko Hinić. 2008. “British or American English in Serbia, or Both?” Nasleđe (Kragujevac) 5 (11): 123–131.

Hall, Edward, Twitchell. 1981. Beyond Culture. New York: Anchor.

He, Agnes Weiyun. 2011. “Language Socialization”. In The Routledge Handbook of Applied Linguistics, edited by James Simpson, 287–302. Abingdon: Routledge.

Hismanoglu, Murat (2011). „An Investigation of ELT Students’ Intercultural Communicative Competence in Relation to Linguistic Proficiency, Overseas Experience and Formal Instruction”. International Journal of Intercultural Relations 35 (6): 805–817.

Jones, Barry. 2005. “Developing Cultural Awareness”. In Issues in Modern Foreign Languages Teaching, edited by Kit Field, 151–162. Taylor & Francis e-Library.

Kirkpatrick, Andy. 2007. World Englishes: Implications for International Communication and English Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kramsch, Claire. 2001. Language and Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kramsch, Claire. 2011. Language and Culture. In The Routledge Handbook of Applied Linguistics, edited by James Simpson, 305–317. Abingdon: Routledge.

Kramsch, Claire and Hua Zhu. 2016. “Language and Culture in ELT”. In The Routledge Handbook of English Language Teaching, edited by Graham Hall, 38–50. Oxon: Routledge.

Larson-Hall, Jenifer. 2010. A Guide to Doing Statistics in Second Language Research Using SPSS. Oxon: Routledge.

Mair, Christian. 2013. „The World System of Englishes: Accounting for the Transnational Importance of Mobile and Mediated Vernaculars”. English World-Wide 34: 253–278.

Maurer, Trent, W. 2013. „Evaluation of a Classroom Exercise on Social Distance and Discrimination”. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning 7 (2).

Mitchell, Rosamond, Nicole Tracy-Ventura and Kevin McManus, eds. 2015. Residence Abroad, Social Networking and Second Language Learning: Eurosla Monographs Series 4. Amsterdam: The European Second Language Association.

Moon, Dreama, Gail. 1996. „Concepts of ‘culture’: Implications for intercultural communication research”. Communication Quarterly 44 (1): 70–84.

Pérez-Vidal, Carmen. 2017. “Study Abroad and ISLA”. In The Routledge Handbook of Instructed Second Language Acquisition, edited by Shawn Loewen and Masatoshi Sato, 339–360. New York: Taylor & Francis.

Scherger, Anna-Lena. 2019. “Dative case marking in 2L1 and L2 bilingual SLI”. In Proceedings of Gala 2017: Language Acquisition and Development, edited by Pedro Guijarro-Fuentes and Cristina Suárez-Gómez, 95–115. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Schumann, John, H. 1978. “The Acculturation Model for Second Language Acquisition”. In Second Language Acquisition and Foreign Language Teaching, edited by Rosario C. Gingras, 27–50. Arlington, VA: Center for Applied Linguistics.

Schumann, John, H. 1986. „Research on the acculturation model for second language acquisition”. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 7: 379–392.

Scrivener, Jim. 2015. Learning Teaching: The Essential Guide to English Language Teaching (3rd ed.). Oxford: Macmillan Education.

Seoane, Elena. 2016. World Englishes Today. In World Englishes: New Theoretical and Methodological Considerations, edited by Elena Seoane and Christina Suárez-Gómez, 1–15. Amsterdam/ Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Thyne, Maree and Rob Lawson. 2001. “The Design of a Social Distance Scale to be Used in the Context of Tourism”. In Asia Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 4, edited by Paula M. Tidwell and Thomas E. Muller, 102–107. Provo, UT: Association for Consumer Research.

Vuksanović, Gordana. 2004. „Bogardusova skala socijalnog odstojanja – prednosti i ograničenja”. Sociološki pregled 38: 309–320.

Wark, Colin and John F. Galliher. 2007. Emory Bogardus and the Origins of the Social Distance Scale. American Sociologist 38 (4): 383–395.




How to Cite

Grubor, Jelena V. 2021. “The Cultural Dimension of SLA: Attitudes of Philological and Non-Philological Learners to English Language Speakers”. Etnoantropološki Problemi Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 16 (4):1207–1227.



Other Humanities and Social Sciences