Dr. Christina L. Isabelli-García is Assistant Professor in the Department of Hispanic Studies at Illinois Wesleyan University where she teaches courses in Spanish, Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition. She holds a Ph.D. in Ibero-Romance Philology and Linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin. Her research is in the area of second language acquisition in the foreign language classroom and study abroad context.
2004 0-7734-6348-8 This study examines the impact of a one-semester study abroad experience in Argentina on the second language acquisition of five North American university Spanish learners. The goal is three-fold: (1) to measure development of linguistic accuracy of (a) tense selection, (b) aspect selection, (c) subject-verb agreement and (d) adjectival agreement; (2) to measure development of oral skills in performing the functions of narration, description and opinion; and (3) to relate patterns of social contact via analysis of social network logs to development in oral ability as measure by gains in linguistic accuracy and oral communication skills over time. The author submits that the two vital factors that lead to acquisition gains in the study abroad context are motivation and extended significant target language interaction with native speakers in social networks. The study shows through qualitative and quantitative data that those who had high motivation were those that had more extended networks, which correlated with gains in linguistic accuracy and development in performing discourse functions.