Sociolinguistic Studies, Vol 4, No 1 (2010)

Is it just the telenovelas? Learning Spanish in Israeli schools

Malka Muchnik
Issued Date: 6 Oct 2010

Abstract


The article deals with the study of Spanish as a heritage or foreign language in Israel. It reports on research conducted at junior high and high schools, which included a student questionnaire and semi-structured in-depth interviews with teachers. One of the goals of the study was to reveal the motivation for selecting Spanish, a language which over the past decade has become increasingly popular at schools. Another goal was to research the progress students made in the study of the language. The study sought to reveal whether motivations, previous knowledge of the language and personal background of the learners influence their language proficiency. Results show that motivation does not guarantee success in language learning. Moreover, the belief that watching telenovelas (Spanish soap operas) and learning popular songs helps students learn Spanish was found to be incorrect. Significant factors found to be possible predictors of success are previous knowledge, language use, learning years and learners' age.

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DOI: 10.1558/sols.v4i1.45

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