This study adopts a sociocultural lens to obtain a holistic view of language learning. Specifically the goal is to understand the social realities behind the language learning experiences of a set of students enrolled in a dual immersion program. In-depth interviews with 25 high school students of varying levels of French-language ability and different family backgrounds were held. The students were grouped by their ability level in French and then categorized as successful, moderately successful, and weak language learners. The study presents an account of the participants’ reactions to their language learning education; their views about the language learning experience in general; the level of parental support they received; the friendships they had been able to form with French students at school; their motivation for learning French; and finally, the positive and negative experiences they had within their classroom setting. No one single social factor guaranteed successful language learning for these students. Success in language learning was the result of a web of social realities and situations that interacted with and reinforced each other to breed success.

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Elizabeth Chaponot

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General and comparative linguistics