Publication Date

Spring 4-23-2018

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (Master of Arts in TESOL)

First Advisor

Elka Todeva


The notion of fossilization has been one of the most controversial, yet enduring topics in second language acquisition (SLA) theory since its first appearance in Selinker’s 1972 seminal article “Interlanguage.” In the past, work regarding fossilization sought to either support or challenge its existence, to determine the putative causes and to predict what linguistic items were prone to becoming fossilized. Initially, the possible causes which enjoyed the most attention were first language interference and the learner’s age and length of residency in the target language community. Now, however, with the current climate of SLA acknowledging that both learning and non-learning are the result of multiple factors unique to each individual, more emphasis has been placed on how social factors contribute to the language learning process. This paper seeks to explore what exactly some of those social factors are, how they might relate to students who are studying English for academic purposes in the United States, and how this information applies to the classroom.


Anthropological Linguistics and Sociolinguistics | First and Second Language Acquisition | Language and Literacy Education