|Table of Contents|
Table of Contents
List of Tables
Chapter 1. Introduction and methodology
Chapter 2. European labor migrations: Historical overview and policy issues
Chapter 3. Analytical framework and literature review
Chapter 4. Sociolinguistics and second language acquisition
Chapter 5. Sociolinguistics and conversational interaction
Chapter 6. Conclusions and implications for further research
Appendix A. Questionnaire
Appendix B. Outline for student interviews
Appendix C. Outline for talk with AMMU subjects
A SOCIOLINGUISTIC AND CONVERSATIONAL ANALYSIS
AMONG SECOND GENERATION MOROCCANS IN THE NETHERLANDS
PETRONELLA LYDA FRANCISCA VAN DEUSEN-SCHOLL
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN
PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS
FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
UNIVKSITY OF FLORIA LIBRAIka
Petronella Lyda Francisca Van Deusen-Scholl
I would like to express my sincere thanks to my
dissertation director, Dr. Allan Burns, for his support and
guidance over the years. Furthermore, I would like to
extend my appreciation to the members of my committee, Drs.
Aida Bamia, Norman Markel, Hernan Vera, and Jerrie Scott for
their help and insightful comments during this project.
Without the cooperation of Mr. Rob Rendering,
Principal of the Julianaschool voor MAVO in Utrecht, and Mr.
Jacques van Boven of the Internationale Schakelklassen in
Utrecht, I would not have been able to carry out my
research. Furthermore, I owe a special debt of gratitude to
the Moroccan students at the above schools and to the
members of the Association of Moroccan Migrants in Utrecht
who volunteered to participate in the research.
I am very grateful to my neighbor, Mevr. Brutel de la
Riviere, for allowing me to share in her wealth of knowledge
about Moroccan children. Verder een speciaal bedankje voor
mijn moeder voor alle gastvrijheid gedurende het onderzoek
in Utrecht. Finally, without the love and encouragement of
my husband Wayne this dissertation would never have been
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ..... ..............
LIST OF TABLES ...... ...............
ABSTRACT ....... ..................
. .... viii
INTRODUCTION AND METHODOLOGY .
Introduction ... .........
Problem Statement ........
Theoretical Perspective. .
Terminology ... ..........
Methodology .... ..........
Research Questions .......
Research Design ..........
Subjects .... ..........
Data Analysis ... .........
Summary .... .............
Notes ..... .............
EUROPEAN LABOR MIGRATIONS: HISTORICAL
OVERVIEW AND POLICY ISSUES .......
History of Labor Migrations. .........
Foreign Workers in Western Europe. .
Immigration in the Netherlands .
The Netherlands: Policy Formulation.
Cultural Minorities: General
Observations ... ............
Moroccan Immigrants ... ..........
The Second Generation ... ..........
Second Generation Immigrants in
the Netherlands .... ..........
Moroccans ..... ...............
Second Language Acquisition and
Educational Issues ... .........
2.5.1 The Education of Immigrant Children
in Europe .... .............. 43
2.5.2 Educational Integration in the
Netherlands ... ............. ... 47
2.5.3 Policy and Dutch as a Second Language. 58
2.5.4 Intercultural Education: A European
Perspective ... ............. ... 60
2.6 Summary ...... ................. .. 61
; THREE ANALYTICAL FRAMEWORK AND LITERATURE
REVIEW ...... ................ 64
3.1 Introduction ..... .............. 64
3.2 Sociolinguistics and Conversational
Interaction .... .............. 68
3.3 Sociolinguistic Aspects of Discourse . 73
3.3.1 Ethnographic Observations ......... .. 74
3.3.2 Quantitative Analysis ........... ... 75
3.3.3 Discourse Strategies .. ......... 76
3.4 Acquisition of Conversational Competence
by Second Language Learners ........ .. 89
3.5 Child Discourse ... ............. ... 93
3.5.1 Acquisition of Conversational
Competence ... ............. 95
3.5.2 Child/Adult Differences in Second
Language Acquisition .. ........ .. 97
3.5.3 Discourse Aspects of Child Second
Language Acquisition .. ........ 101
3.6 Summary ...... ................. ..103
3.7 Notes ....... .................. 103
FOUR SOCIOLINGUISTICS AND SECOND LANGUAGE
ACQUISITION .... .............. ...105
4.1 Introduction ..... .............. 105
4.2 Ethnographic Observations .......... ..107
4.3 Situational Variation in Language Use. 112
4.4 Conversational Data: Quantitative
Analysis ..... ............... ..117
4.4.1 Differences between MAVO and ISK
Students ..... .............. 119
4.4.2 Conversational Data and Socio-
demographic Variables .......... ..125
4.4.3 Age and Conversational Data ........ ..131
4.5 Conversational Strategies: Summary
Discussion ..... .............. 134
4.5.1 General Observations .. ......... 135
4.5.2 Turn-taking .... .............. ...137
4.5.3 Simultaneous Speech ... .......... 139
Summary ....... .................
Notes ....... ..................
SOCIOLINGUISTICS AND CONVERSATIONAL
INTERACTION ..... ..............
Introduction ..... ..............
Ethnographic Observations ... .........
Quantitative Analysis of Speech Data
Total Number of Words ...........
Total Number of Words per Participant.
Total Number of Turns and Mean Length
of Turn ..... ................
Number of Turns over Time ..........
Total Number and Percentage of Turns
* . 165
* . 167
* . 172
* . 177
* . 178
* . 185
* . 194
* . 198
* . 202
* . 203
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR FURTHER
RESEARCH ...... ...............
Introduction ..... ............
Policy Issues .... .............
Conversational Analysis: Theoretical
Issues ..... ..............
Second Language Acquisition Issues .
Discourse Strategies .. .........
Summary ..... ................
QUESTIONNAIRE ..... ............
OUTLINE FOR STUDENT INTERVIEWS . .
OUTLINE FOR TALK WITH AMMU SUBJECTS.
per Participant ... .........
Speech Behavior per Participant
over Time .... ............
Mean Length of Turn ..........
Simultaneous Speech Episodes .
Discourse Strategies .. ........
Turn-taking .... ............
Coherence and Cohesion .......
Goals ..... ..............
Control ..... .............
Topics ..... .............
Summary ...... ..............
Notes ..... ................
BIBLIOGRAPHY .......... ...................... 219
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ....... .................. 239
LIST OF TABLES
1-1 SUBJECTS ........ ..................
1-2 AGE OF SUBJECTS ...... ...............
1-3 AGE AT ARRIVAL ...... ...............
1-4 LENGTH OF RESIDENCE OF MAVO STUDENTS ....
1-5 LENGTH OF RESIDENCE OF AMMU SUBJECTS ....
1-6 LENGTH OF RESIDENCE OF ISK STUDENTS ........
1-7 GEOGRAPHIC ORIGIN OF SUBJECTS ...........
1-8 FATHERS' OCCUPATIONS .... ............
1-9 FAMILY SIZE ....... ................
4-1 STUDENTS' SELF-EVALUATIONS: MEAN SCORES. .
4-2 SITUATIONAL VARIATION IN LANGUAGE USE ...
4-3 MAVO AND ISK CONVERSATIONS: INTERVIEWER'S
CONTRIBUTIONS ...... ...............
4-4 MAVO AND ISK CONVERSATIONS: COMPARISONS OF
OVERALL DATA ...... ...............
4-5 MAVO AND ISK CONVERSATIONS: COMPARISON OF
SUBJECTS' DATA ..... ..............
4-6 CORRELATIONS BETWEEN LENGTH OF RESIDENCE AND
CONVERSATIONAL VARIABLES ... .........
4-7 CORRELATIONS BETWEEN AGE AT ARRIVAL AND
CONVERSATIONAL VARIABLES ... .........
4-8 CORRELATIONS BETWEEN AGE AND CONVERSATIONAL
VARIABLES ....... .................
. . 12
. . 13
. . 15
. . 16
. . 16
. . 17
. . 20
. . 21
. . 109
. . 114
. . 120
. . 121
. . 122
. . 126
. . 129
. . 130
4-9 ADOLESCENTS AND YOUNG ADULTS: COMPARISON OF
OVERALL CONVERSATIONAL DATA ... ........... 132
4-10 ADOLESCENTS AND YOUNG ADULTS: COMPARISON OF
SUBJECTS' CONVERSATIONAL DATA ... .......... 133
5-1 LANGUAGE USAGE OF AMMU SUBJECTS ... .......... 148
5-2 SELF-ASSESSMENT SCORES OF AMMU SUBJECTS ........ ..149
5-3 TOTAL NUMBER OF WORDS AND PERCENTAGE OF
CONTRIBUTION PER PARTICIPANT ... .......... 160
5-4 SUBJECTS' JUDGMENTS ON ORAL PROFICIENCY AND
COMPREHENSION ....... .................. 162
5-5 NUMBER OF TURNS OVER TIME .... ............. 164
5-6 TURNS AND WORDS PER PARTICIPANT BY PERCENTAGE
AND RANK ........ .................... 166
5-7 NUMBER OF TURNS PER PARTICIPANT OVER TIME ..... 168
5-8 PERCENTAGE OF TURNS PER PARTICIPANT OVER TIME. . 169
5-9 NUMBER OF WORDS PER PARTICIPANT OVER TIME ..... 171
5-10 CONTROL BY SEGMENT ...... ................ 172
5-11 MEAN LENGTH OF TURN ...... ................ 173
5-12 MEAN LENGTH OF TURN PER PARTICIPANT OVER TIME. . 174
5-13 MEAN LENGTH OF TURN: SEGMENT 1 VS. SEGMENTS 2-8. 175
5-14 SIMULTANEOUS SPEECH EPISODES .... ............ 177
5-15 TOPICS .......... ....................... 200
Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
A SOCIOLINGUISTIC AND CONVERSATIONAL ANALYSIS
AMONG SECOND GENERATION MOROCCANS IN THE NETHERLANDS
Petronella Lyda Francisca Van Deusen-Scholl
Chairperson: Allan F. Burns
Major Department: Linguistics
This study investigates the use of Dutch in
conversational interactions by second generation Moroccan
immigrants. In view of the complexity of the speech
situation of particularly the older second generation, a
framework for analysis was adopted which applies a
sociolinguistic and ethnographic perspective to second
language (L2) acquisition and intercultural communication.
Speech data were obtained from a total of forty-three
subjects living in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The L2
conversational competence of two groups of nineteen
Moroccan subjects was assessed based on ten conversations
with students integrated in the Dutch school system and
eight conversations with students who attended International
Linking Classes, a transitional type of education for newly-
arrived immigrant children. Quantitative data were used in
addition to qualitative observations to relate
conversational and sociodemographic variables to proficiency
in spoken discourse.
Results indicate that though both groups of second
language learners were proficient in maintaining
conversational interaction, they employed different turn-
taking strategies. Length of residence (LOR) and age at
arrival were found to be more strongly correlated with
conversational variables than age, which correlated with
simultaneous speech only. Cultural differences in discourse
style were observed with respect to frequency of turn-taking
and simultaneous speech episodes.
In addition, analysis of an extended conversation in
Dutch with five young adult Moroccans revealed a number of
discourse strategies which were different from those
employed by native speakers of Dutch. For instance, (1)
continuous use of back-channel utterances served to re-
establish conversational control; (2) organization of
discourse topic contributed to a more formal style of
argumentation; (3) simultaneous speech functioned as a
solidarity strategy; and (4) frequent repetitions of
utterances maintained cohesion and intensified the
INTRODUCTION AND METHODOLOGY
While the problems of ethnic and cultural minorities in
the United States have been amply documented from a variety
of disciplinary perspectives, the status of the current
European immigrant situation is relatively new to American
researchers. The recent influx of large numbers of
immigrants from the Mediterranean area into Northern and
Western European countries has had a strong impact on the
host societies. A majority of the immigrant societies has
traditionally been monolingual and monocultural, which has
left them unprepared to adequately deal with the situation.
Especially in view of the vast differences in language and
culture between the immigrants' native countries and the
host societies, many unanticipated problems of cultural and
linguistic integration have recently surfaced.
One area of research to which these problems are of
central interest is sociolinguistics, which has long been
concerned with the influence of social and cultural factors
on language use. The present study examines the language
contact situation of Moroccan immigrants in the Netherlands
from a sociolinguistic perspective. The investigation
specifically addresses the question of the usage of Dutch by
second generation Moroccans in conversational interactions.
1.1.1 Problem Statement
A relatively large number of studies have been devoted
to the social and economic consequences of the immigrant
problems in Western Europe. Only in recent years, however,
has the situation been considered from a sociolinguistic
perspective. Several large projects have addressed the
linguistic situation of the adult immigrant, such as the
Adult Language Acquisition Project of the European Science
Foundation (Perdue, 1984), the Heidelberg research project
(Heidelberger Forschungsprojekt "Pidgin Deutsch," 1975), and
the Wuppertal project "Zweisprachenerwerb Italienischer und
Spanischer Arbeiter" (ZISA).
While sociolinguistic research in the Netherlands was
initially also primarily concerned with the language
problems of the adult workers, more recently the integration
of primary school children has been of growing concern (cf.,
for instance, Appel, 1984; v. Helvert, 1985; Lalleman,
1986). The language of adolescents and young adults has not
yet received a great amount of attention, however. The
situation of the older children of immigrant families, i.e.
those who were not born in the Netherlands but reunified
with their fathers/parents at a later stage, has appeared
particularly problematic because of the heterogeneity of
this group. Research has shown, for example, that they tend
to experience more severe problems in adapting to a
different society than the younger children and therefore a
need exists to understand more about this group of
immigrants. Some of the social problems of the second
generation will be discussed in Chapter Two (cf. section
2.4), while Chapter Three will attempt to describe their
sociolinguistic situation in greater detail. The goal of
the present study is to examine some aspects of
conversational interaction of three groups of older second
generation Moroccan immigrants.
1.1.2 Theoretical Perspective
The field of sociolinguistics has rapidly expanded
during the past three decades. Early studies by, for
instance, Haugen (1953) and Weinreich (1953) pioneered
investigations of speech in language contact situations.
The work of Labov (e.g. Labov, 1966; 1972b) was instrumental
in establishing the systematic analysis of social
variability. His methodology depends on the correlation of a
number of salient linguistic features with certain social
variables. The anthropological tradition, represented by
specifically Gumperz and Hymes (e.g. Gumperz and Hymes,
1972; Hymes, 1974, etc.) adopted an ethnographic perspective
on the study of linguistic variation in society, which they
termed "ethnography of communication." An ethnographic
description of a speech situation must "apply a cultural
context and a cultural interpretation to an observed event"
(Fradd, 1983: 2). More recently, the interactive function
of communication has become a basis for investigation in
sociolinguistics. Many studies have addressed the issue of
variability in conversational situations and have focused on
analysis of discourse processes in interactions.1
The present study attempts to combine some of the
insights from both the subdisciplines of correlational
sociolinguistics and ethnography of communication to examine
the discourse patterns of second generation immigrants.
Lindenfeld (1979: 132) has suggested that a combined
approach, with a "judicious use of the better features of
each of them," may discover "the truly significant
relationships between the various speech components" in a
particular speech situation. Chapter Three will outline a
framework for analyis which will be applied to the situation
discussed in this study.
It is necessary to first define a number of terms which
have been subjected to different interpretations in recent
literature on this topic.
1. Guest worker foreign worker/immigrant. Various
terms have been employed to describe the workers taking part
in the labor migrations. Some examples are migrant or
international migrant, foreign employee, international
commuter, etc. The term guest worker, however, has been by
far the most frequently employed phrase, but has acquired a
number of negative connotations, conjuring up an image of a
poor, illiterate, unskilled laborer of Mediterranean
descent. Shadid (1979: 11), therefore, argues for the
rejection of this term on three specific grounds: 1) it
refers only to those people who perform the heaviest and
least desirable tasks; 2) the concept is misleading in that
it suggests altruism on the part of the receiving society;
and 3) in contradiction to the facts, it implies a temporary
stay on the part of the laborers. He suggests the concept
of foreign worker or foreign laborer, as "it indicates the
geographical, socio-economic, and legal position of these
migrants" (Shadid, 1979: 11). In this study, the more
neutral terms, such as immigrant or foreign worker will be
preferred over the more traditional usage of guest worker.
2. Second generation. The term second generation will
be used to indicate those immigrant children who are either
born in the host countries or who are born in the sending
countries but, through family reunifications, grow up in the
host countries. Several studies (cf. Brasse and de Vries,
1986; de Vries, 1983) have referred to those immigrant
youths who were not born in the host countries as a
"transitional" generation, neither belonging to the first
nor to the second generation. De Vries (1983: 111) has
proposed the cover term allochthone youths for both the
second and transitional generation. However, as this term
does not seem to solve the problem but merely offers a
substitution of terminology, the term second generation will
be employed in this study.2
As no comprehensive data appeared to exist on the
language use and language behavior of older second
generation Moroccan immigrants in the Netherlands, several
techniques were used to gather linguistic and sociocultural
information in a variety of settings. In addition to
establishing a structured research design, which will be
discussed in section 1.2.3 below, an attempt was made to
obtain general data through direct interactions with
Moroccans in the Netherlands. For example, through the
efforts of a teacher who worked for the elementary school
system in the city of Utrecht, I was able to visit the
parents of several Moroccan elementary school students.
These families consisted of both Arabic- and Berber-speaking
Moroccans; quite frequently each of the parents spoke a
different language, so that the children were often fluent
in both Berber and Arabic. Though conversations could not
be recorded on tape during these visits, informal
observations could be made on the role of the various
languages in family interactions and on the variation in
the use of Dutch between the first and second generation and
between the children who were born in Morocco and those who
were born in the Netherlands. Furthermore, cultural
differences between Moroccans of Berber and of Arabic
backgrounds could be observed.
Other observational data were obtained through a
variety of activities, including attending cultural events
for immigrants, visiting continuing education centers for
immigrant women, participating in meetings with various
immigrant organizations, following the broadcasts for
Moroccan immigrants of the Islamic Broadcasting Organization
(the Islamitische Omroep Stichting, or IOS), etc.
Though not all these data are used directly in this
study, the purpose of a multi-chanelled approach to data
gathering was to get as comprehensive an understanding of
the linguistic and cultural situation of the Moroccan
immigrants as possible. Such information can then be used
to compile a "ethnography of communication" (cf. Gumperz and
Hymes, 1972), which aids in understanding the sociocultural
context for linguistic analysis.
1.2.1 Research Questions
The purpose of this study is to explore the use of
Dutch in conversational interactions by second generation
Moroccan immigrants. A detailed evaluation will be given of
the complex sociolinguistic situation of the older group of
immigrant children who were not born in the Netherlands.
The issue of conversational competence will be related to
second language acquisition and intercultural communication
and will be examined with respect to a variety of settings
and sociodemographic factors.
In addition, from a methodological perspective this
study will evaluate the significance of quantitative data in
sociolinguistics and conversational analysis as well as
suggest a possible way in which a quantitative approach may
provide a point of departure within a more comprehensive
framework of analysis.
The following questions will be considered:
1. In what way do social and situational variables
affect the use of Dutch by second generation
2. What factors must be considered in the acquisition
of Dutch conversational competence by adolescent
and young adult Moroccan immigrants?
a. Which correlations can be observed between
conversational variables and sociodemographic
b. Which variables are most significant in
evaluating the conversational skills of
second language learners?
3. What discourse strategies are employed by second
generation Moroccans in spontaneous conversation
a. In what way do these strategies differ from
those of native speakers of Dutch?
b. To what extent should such strategies be
attributed to influence of the native
language and culture of the subjects?
c. What effects may such strategies have in
4. To what extent can quantitative data contribute to
a sociolinguistic analysis of conversational
1.2.2 Research Design
Permission to conduct research was obtained from two
secondary schools in Utrecht. Both a MAVO school (cf.
section 126.96.36.199), the Julianaschool voor MAVO, and a school
for transitional education of immigrant children, the
Internationale Schakelklassen (ISK, or 'international
linking classes'), agreed to cooperate in the project.
Students were asked to participate in the research on a
Interviews with students were usually conducted in an
empty classroom during the midmorning breaks or lunch
breaks, or after school hours, so that there was minimal
interruption of the students' schedules. First, the
participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire designed
to elicit information regarding the students' ethnic,
educational, and family backgrounds, their use of language
in the home and school environments, during peer
interaction, and in shops. In addition, the instrument
asked them to describe their knowledge of both spoken and
written Arabic and to evaluate their proficiency in Dutch
with respect to speech, reading, writing, and comprehension
(see Appendix A).
After students had completed the questionnaire, an
informal interview was held. The interviews were structured
to elicit information on a variety of sociocultural topics,
ranging from the educational or occupational aspirations of
the students to the role of religion and traditional values
in their lives to interactions with family and friends (see.
Appendix B). An effort was made to include more than one
student at the time in the interviews in order to create a
setting which was as comfortable as possible to the students
so that the most natural language data could be obtained.
Generally, two or three students, often classmates,
participated in an interview. The students were encouraged
to speak freely on any topic of their own choosing. Each
interview was taped using a small casette recorder. The
tape was always started while the students filled out their
questionnaires, which was intended to reduce their awareness
of the presence of the taperecorder during the interviews.
Approximately 10 hours of language data were recorded on
A slightly different procedure was followed with the
third group of subjects who were members of a Moroccan youth
organization, the AMMU (Association of Moroccan Migrants in
Utrecht). The subjects were also asked to fill out the
questionnaire which was adapted to elicit additional
information about the work situation of those subjects who
were employed.3 Rather than holding separate interviews
with the subjects, a group discussion format was adopted.
Though an outline for discussion had been prepared by the
researcher ahead of time (see Appendix C), the aim of the
session was to elicit natural language data. The role of
the researcher as "discussion moderator" was rapidly
abandoned in favor of a more backgrounded role and the
subjects were encouraged to introduce and develop topics
according to their own interests. The conversation was
recorded in the same manner as the student interviews
described above and yielded nearly two hours of language
Three groups of second generation Moroccans, comprising
a total number of 43 subjects, participated in the study.
Five of the subjects belonged to a Moroccan youth
organization, the Association of Moroccan Migrants in
Utrecht (AMMU). The remaining 38 subjects were students
from two secondary schools in Utrecht. Nineteen students
were integrated into the Dutch school system and attended a
school for MAVO and nineteen attended the ISK
('international linking classes'), which is a transitional
type of education for children of immigrants (cf. section
2.5.2). The next sections will present some of the
demographic information gathered on the subjects.
The AMMU group consisted of male participants only. Of
the student participants, approximately 60 percent was male
and 40 percent female. The distribution of the number of
male and female students per school is shown in Table 1-1.
M F M F
Number 10 9 13 6
Percentage 52.6 47.4 68.4 31.6
All of the subjects in the study were born in Morocco
and had come to the Netherlands through family
reunification. As reunifications have been going on for
approximately a decade and are expected to continue for a
number of years to come, the newly arrived immigrant
children may vary widely in age range. Table 1-2 shows the
age ranges of the subjects for all three groups.
The AMMU subjects constituted the highest age group,
ranging from 19,8 to 22,11 years, with a mean age of 21,2.4
The average age of the ISK students was 17,3, ranging
between approximately 12 and 21 years, while the average age
of the MAVO students was 16,10, ranging between 13,3 and
AGE OF SUBJECTS
Age 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22
ISK students 1 4 4 2 4 1 1 2
MAVO students 2 3 2 6 2 1 1
AMMU subjects 1 1 1 1
(n=40) 1 2 3 4 6 8 6 3 3 3 1
The fact that the ISK students, representing a school
stage theoretically preceding that of MAVO, were actually
slightly older than the MAVO students may appear
contradictory, but in view of the immigration patterns it
indicates that they represent more recently reunified
families. Nearly all newly arrived immigrant children have
to attend ISK education regardless of their age, provided
that they are of compulsory school age (cf. section
188.8.131.52). In addition, because of their different
educational, ethnic, and linguistic backgrounds, second
generation Moroccans may experience a variety of problems in
adapting to their new environment. As a consequence, some
students may be integrated relatively quickly into the Dutch
school system, while others may have to attend ISK education
for a much longer period of time. Moreover, some of the
students who are being integrated in the school system may
be placed at a relatively low grade level for their age and
184.108.40.206 AQe at arrival and length of residence
As stated above, none of the subjects had been born in
the Netherlands. The MAVO students in the sample represent
a group which had been reunified at a slightly earlier
stage with their parents and had already made the transition
from initial intervention programs into the regular school
system. The ISK students, on the other hand, represent the
most recently arrived group of immigrant children and are at
the initial phases of transition. The participants from the
AMMU youth center represented the oldest, most recent group
of arrivals in the Netherlands, with a mean age at arrival
of 19,4 years. The average age at arrival for the MAYO
students was 12,2, with a range between 2 and 18 years,
while the average age at arrival for the ISK students was
16,2, with a range of 13 to 21 years. Table 1-3 shows the
age at arrival for ISK, MAVO, and AMMU subjects
AGE AT ARRIVAL
Age 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21
students 15 3 2 3 2 3 3 1 1
students 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1
AMMU subjects 1 1 2
(n=39) 1 1 1 2 2 2 5 4 4 3 5 5 3 1
Table 1-4 shows the length of residence of MAVO
students and indicates the distribution of th3 students per
year of residence. The MAVO students had stayed in the
Netherlands for an average of 5 years and 2 months, although
the range was rather wide, from 1 to 15 years. Almost half
of the students had been in the country for less than three
years. The overwhelming majority of the students had lived
in Holland for less than seven years, and only three of the
students had been there for ten years or more.
LENGTH OF RESIDENCE OF MAVO STUDENTS
stay in 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 11 12 13 14 15
students 3 2 4 3 2 1 1 1
The group of AMMU subjects had been in the Netherlands
for an average of 2,9 years, ranging from 1,2 to 6,0 years.
Four of the five subjects had a length of residence of two
years or less. In terms of age at arrival and length of
residence, these subjects constituted the oldest group among
the recent arrivals of the second generation. Table 1-5
summarizes their length of residence.
LENGTH OF RESIDENCE OF AMMU SUBJECTS
Length of stay
in years 1 2 3 4 5 6
Number of subjects
(n=5) 2 2 1
The average length of stay of the ISK students was, as
could be expected, much shorter than that of the MAVO
students. With the exception of one student, all of the ISK
students had been in the Netherlands for less than 2 years,
with an average of 1,1 year, ranging between 5 months and 2
years.5,6 Table 1-6 shows the length of stay of ISK
students in increments of 6 months.
LENGTH OF RESIDENCE OF ISK STUDENTS
Length of stay
in months 0-6 7-12 13-18 19-24
Number of ISK
students 2 8 3 5
Generally, the students attend transitional education
for a period of time which varies depending on their
circumstances and abilities, at the end of which they take a
diagnostic examination which helps determine in which school
type and at what grade level they can be fitted in. For
example, some of the MAVO students who had been in the
Netherlands for less than three years had apparently moved
from transitional education into regular education rather
rapidly in comparison to some of the ISK students who had
remained at the school for approximately two years. Not all
the children are able to make an easy transition, however.
A number of the children, for instance, may be too old to be
placed in primary education but not ready for secondary
education because either their language skills are not
developed enough or they do not have an educational
background sufficient to allow them to adapt to the Dutch
schools. Other students may be too old to be admitted to
Dutch schools and therefore remain at the ISK as long as
possible so that they can develop their language skills.
Some students who have excellent educational backgrounds
find themselves placed in a school level far below their
ability, such as vocational-technical education or non-
college preparatory high schools, because they tend to be
judged on the basis of their language skills rather than
their general educational levels.
220.127.116.11 Geographic origin
The majority of the families came from the northern
part of Morocco, particularly from the area around Nador
(nearly 40% of all subjects). Sixty percent of the subjects
came from rural areas, while forty percent was of urban
origin, which corresponds closely to Shadid's (1979: 151)
findings. The subjects who reported an urban background
came mainly from the following cities in Morocco: Oujda (3),
Tetouan (3), Tanger in the north (2), Meknes (2) and Taza
(1) in the center, Casablanca on the coast (1), and
Marrakech in the south (1). The following table shows the
geographic origin of the subjects by general region.7
GEOGRAPHIC ORIGIN OF SUBJECTS
Region Number Percentage
North 27 72.98
Center 5 13.52
East 3 8.1
Coast 1 2.7
South 1 2.7
18.104.22.168 Parents' occupations
The socio-economic position of the foreign workers in
the European host countries will be discussed in detail in
Chapter Two. The first generation, which consisted largely
of men, generally occupied unskilled positions in the labor
market and held the most undesirable jobs in the societies
that employed them (cf. Muus, 1986: 112ff.). The parents of
the students interviewed for this study conformed to those
patterns, as most of the fathers were factory laborers or
had other unskilled work. None of the mothers were employed
outside the home, although one of the mothers had been a
photographer before her marriage. One of the mothers was
not living in Holland, but remained in Algeria, as the
father had married a Dutch woman in addition to his first
wife.9 The fathers' occupations are shown in Table 1-8.
Occupation Number Percentage
laborer 17 42.5
unemployed 11 27.5
printer 3 7.5
waiter 2 5.0
cook 2 5.0
WAO10 2 5.0
painter 1 2.5
bookbinder 1 2.5
baker 1 2.5
The high level of unemployment (27.5%) noted among the
fathers corresponds to that observed among the immigrants in
general. Muus (1986: 115) cites an unemployment figure of
37.2% for Moroccans in 1983. Furthermore, though exact
figures have not yet been established at this time, he also
refers to an expected increase in the percentage of Turkish
and Moroccan workers who will be eligible for disability
22.214.171.124 Family size
The average family size of particularly Moroccan
immigrants tends to be very large in comparison with Dutch
families and to other groups of immigrant (cf. v.d. Berg-
Eldering, 1983: 15; Shadid, 1979: 160). In this study, the
average number of siblings reported by the subjects was more
than 5 per family, and there were two very large families
with 10 and 13 siblings, respectively. Table 1-9 shows the
total number of children per family, including the students.
Number of children Frequency Percentage
3 2 4.87
4 3 7.31
5 6 14.63
6 16 39.02
7 5 12.19
8 4 9.75
9 3 7.31
10 or more 2 4.87
The total number of siblings per family may in
actuality be even larger than reported here, as several of
the subjects commented during the interviews that they had
additional brothers or sisters (usually married) who had
remained in Morocco.
1.2.4 Data Analysis
The speech data used for this study consist of
approximately 10 hours of tape-recorded interviews with MAVO
and ISK students and approximately 90 minutes of group
discussion with the AMMU youth group. Orthographic
transcriptions were made of all the speech events and
included notations for interruptions, simultaneous speech,
and code-switching episodes. Specific examples from the
texts used in this study have been translated as literally
as possible from Dutch into English.
The student interview data will be discussed in Chapter
Four, while Chapter Five will focus on the more complex
interaction of the Moroccan youth group. The analysis of
both sets of data combines a quantitative approach with a
more descriptive methodology. The quantitative analyis
takes into account a number of conversational parameters
such as number of words, number of turns, mean length of
turn (MLT), etc. and relates these to sociolinguistic
factors. In addition, specific discourse strategies such as
control, turn-taking, repetition, etc., are discussed in
relation to both the specific context of the speech
situation and the general context of intercultural
The present chapter has provided a rationale for
studying the speech behavior of adolescent and young adult
Moroccan immigrants. The use of Dutch by the older second
generation immigrants has not yet been discussed in any
detail, even though their sociolinguistic situation appears
more complex than that of the primary school-aged children
or of the adult immigrants. Chapter Two will evaluate the
history of the European labor migrations and relate the
problems of the second generation to current policy issues.
Chapter Three will present a theoretical framework for
analysis and will review the relevant literature in the
areas of sociolinguistics, conversational analysis and
second language acquisition. Discourse aspects of second
language acquisition will be discussed in Chapter Four.
Specifically, the conversational strategies of secondary
school-aged Moroccan immigrants will be correlated with a
number of sociolinguistic variables. Chapter Five will
focus on one extended conversation by young adult Moroccan
speakers of Dutch. A detailed analysis will be presented of
the conversational strategies employed in an intercultural
setting. The final chapter will summarize the implications
of the research findings with respect to the areas discussed
in the above chapters.
1 Chapter Three reviews the literature in the areas of
sociolinguistics and conversational analysis and section 3.2
in particular attempts to clarify the often conflicting use
of terminology in these fields.
2 In a similar manner, Wolfram (1974) employs the term
second Qeneration to refer to children who were either born
in the U.S. or arrived during childhood and whose parents
came to the United States as adults.
3 The questionnaire was changed from
Item 6. Which school are you attending?
to an item including the following options
Item 6a. Which school are you attending and which grade are
b. Are you employed? Where?
4 An abbreviated code will be followed throughout this
study to indicate year and month respectively; thus, 19,8
should be read as 19 years and 8 months; 22,11 as 22 years
and 11 months, etc.
5 Subject Ii did not technically belong in an ISK, as
he had resided in the Netherlands off and on for
approximately six years and had attended primary education
there. He had apparently been placed in the ISK for
disciplinary reasons because he had had some behavioral
problems in primary school. He stated during the interview
that he had attended Dutch primary school for about three or
four years and had been at the ISK for one year. In order
to reflect the length of residence of the ISK group more
accurately, this student will not be counted in Table 1-5.
6 If subject Ii's residence would be calculated into
this figure, the average LOR for the ISK students would be
7 The geographic division follows that of Shadid
8 The following six subjects were not calculated into
the percentages: one subject came from Algeria; one subject
was from Melilla, which is a Spanish colony in the North of
Morocco; two subjects came from small villages the locations
of which could not be identified; and two subjects did not
fill out the information.
9 Dutch law permits Muslim immigrants to be married to
more than one wife provided that only one wife resides in
the Netherlands with the husband.
10 The WAO ('Wet op Arbeidsongeschiktheid') is a Dutch
disability law which enables workers to retire early for
EUROPEAN LABOR MIGRATIONS:
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND AND POLICY ISSUES
In order to provide a socio-historical context to this
study, the present chapter will trace the history of the
European labor migrations from its start in the early 1950s
and 1960s to the more recent developments of family
reunifications and the problems of the second generation.
Specifically the situation of Moroccan immigrants and their
children in the Netherlands will be addressed and,
furthermore, this chapter will attempt to assess the
implications of government policies concerning the cultural
integration of the second generation. In addition, a number
of models employed in Europe concerning specific issues
such as second language acquisition, native language and
culture teaching and intercultural education, will be
evaluated as to their relative merits and shortcomings.
Finally, the development of educational policy formulation
for cultural minorities in the Netherlands will be described
and, where appropriate, a critical assessment of the
different approaches will be included.
2.2 History of Labor Migrations
European labor migration from the economically less
developed Mediterranean and North African countries to the
industrialized countries in Northern and Western Europe
first started in the early 1950s. The sending countries
involved were Greece, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Turkey,
Yugoslavia, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and Finland, while
France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Switzerland,
Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Sweden functioned as
host countries. These large-scale migrations were initially
caused by gaps in the labor markets of the host countries,
for, as Rogers (1985:3) states,
the European host countries needed additional labor and
assumed that they could reap the economic benefits from
the employment of foreign workers while at the same
time keeping the social, cultural, and political
consequences of the presence of these foreign
populations within their borders to a minimum.
The assumptions behind these migrations were that both
the sending and receiving countries, and the individual
migrants themselves would benefit equally from this
arrangement (cf. v. Amersfoort, 1982: 184ff.). The host
countries would be able to temporarily supplement their
labor force and, in addition, use the guest workers to
perform those jobs perceived as unacceptable or unpleasant
by the indigenous labor force. Unemployment in the sending
countries would be alleviated and, ideally, the workers
would eventually return to their countries of origin having
gained useful training and experience. Finally, the
migrants themselves would benefit from working in the host
countries by receiving high salaries and training
opportunities not available in their home countries. In
reality, however, the development of labor migration turned
out to be entirely different. Both Shadid (1979: 22) and
van Amersfoort (1982: 187-88) refer to Albeda's (1970: 635)
analysis of four phases of development in the European labor
migrations: (1) Laborers are temporarily used to relieve
certain problems in the labor market; (2) they are
permanently engaged in jobs that the nationals experience as
unpleasant, inferior, or insecure; (3) they perform in
principle all unskilled jobs; (4) they perform all manual
labor in a developed economy. The various host countries,
then, move through the subsequent phases at a different
pace, according to their particular foreign worker
situations. Shadid (1979: 22) suggests, for instance, that
Switzerland had at that point reached the fourth phase,
France and Germany had passed the second, and the
Netherlands was about to enter the second phase. In all
probability, the Netherlands has by now moved through one or
more further phases.
2.2.1 Foreign Workers in Western Europe
Despite the earlier predictions, European labor
migration turned out not to be a transitory phenomenon, as
settlement gradually took on a more permanent character.
Though return migration did occur, an increasing number of
guest laborers had become long-term residents by the early
1970's. A number of factors may have contributed to the
permanent settlement of the guest workers in their host
countries. Van Amersfoort (1982: 190) points out that the
immigrants encountered many logistical problems when they
tried to reintegrate into their home countries. More
important, however, was the change in expectations, needs,
and ambitions on the part of the immigrants, which often
rendered the standard of living in their own countries
unacceptable in their eyes. Furthermore, the host countries
had facilitated family reunification and frequently extended
permanent resident status to workers and their families,
making it attractive for them to stay (cf. also Rogers,
Rogers (1985: 19ff.) addresses a number of problems
that European countries must face now as a consequence of
permanent settlement of the foreign workers. Issues that
must be raised are, for instance, the economic roles of the
migrants, the legal status of immigrant families, the
economic situations of the sending countries, and, most
importantly, the problems of the second generation.
Specifically, attention must be paid to problems of
education, maintenance of immigrants' native language and
culture, the occupational future of the second generation,
and other related issues.
2.2.2 Immigration in the Netherlands
Developments in the Netherlands followed those of the
other Western European countries, as the Dutch labor market
felt the need for recruitment of foreign workers
approximately a decade later than the other countries of the
European community (van der Staay, 1971: 195). From the
early 1960's onwards, the Netherlands began to encourage
labor migrations at first primarily from Spain, Italy,
Yugoslavia and Greece, but later especially from Turkey and
Morocco (cf. van Amersfoort, 1982; Entzinger, 1986).
According to van Amersfoort (1986: 24), the percentage
of foreign workers of Mediterranean origin in the
Netherlands could be estimated at 47 for Turks and 30 for
Moroccans. Entzinger (1986: 47) quotes the total number of
Turks as 152.200 in 1983 and of Moroccans as 100.500. The
Social and Cultural Planning Bureau (SCP) population
prognosis, which includes a variety of factors such as
immigration and return migration, family reunification, and
natural population growth, estimates the maximum number of
Turkish workers at 196.000 and Moroccans at 149.000 by the
year 1992 (cf. van Praag and Kool, 1982: 32).
As mentioned above, despite earlier predictions, these
immigrations turned out to be a permanent phenomenon, and in
the Netherlands, as in the other countries, the status of
the "guest laborers" gradually changed into that of
"immigrants." Dutch law stipulates that immigrants, after
an uninterrupted stay of at least five years, are entitled
to permanent residence status, which, naturally, contributed
significantly to settlement (cf. Entzinger, 1986: 49).
Permanent residence on the part of the foreign laborers, in
turn, led to an increase in family reunifications in the
host country. Van Amersfoort (1982: 193) suggests that
family reunifications may have started as early as 1971, and
Entzinger (1986: 50) remarks that after the oil embargo of
1973 recruitment of new workers virtually ceased, while
family reunifications gradually increased.
2.3 The Netherlands: Policy Formulation
The initial position of the Dutch government concerning
its policies regarding Mediterranean immigrants can be
characterized by two potentially contradictory principles:
1) the belief in the temporary character of labor migration
and 2) the ideology of the western welfare state (cf.
Entzinger, 1986: 48; van Amersfoort, 1986: 22). This last
principle, according to Entzinger (1986: 48), guarantees a
"humane" existence to all residents of the Netherlands
"regardless of their nationality or the duration of their
stay, and therefore also to (legally present) immigrants,
even if their stay is meant as temporary only" [tr.].
The government long refused to accept viewing the
Netherlands as an immigration country and this
"temporariness principle" remained in force until the late
1970's, as evidenced by a number of government and
government-related reports published during that time. The
1971 Government Report on ForeiQn Workers, for instance,
states twice that "the Netherlands is not a land of
immigration" (cf. van Amersfoort, 1982: 197). Van der
Staay (1971) also repeatedly refers to the fact that the
majority of the foreign workers in the Netherlands take part
in Dutch society as temporary residents with no particular
commitments to that society. Characteristic of this view is
his use of the term "international commuter," which implies
a relationship between foreign worker and host country based
on (temporary) economic ties only.
A major change in government policy was realized
through the 1979 publication of the report Ethnic Minorities
by the Scientific Council for Government Policy, which
advised the government to abandon the temporarinesss
principle and suggested the development of a comprehensive
policy on minorities for the various immigrant groups (cf.
Entzinger, 1986: 51 ff.). Both recommendations were
subsequently adopted by the Dutch government.
2.3.1 Cultural Minorities: General Observations
The first formulation of such a comprehensive minority
policy was published in the government report Ontwerp-
Minderhedennota ('draft for minority bill'). The principal
aim of the policy as stated in this bill was "the
realization of a society in which the members of minority
groups who reside in the Netherlands each separately and as
a group are entitled to equal opportunities" (cf. Entzinger,
1986: 55). In concrete terms, from a legal perspective the
policy ensured equal rights to minorities with respect to,
for instance, housing and employment. Moreover, the right
to maintenance of native culture and education on the part
of the immigrants was also asserted. The definitive
Minority Bill was adopted in 1983 and, according to
Entzinger (1986: 58), reflects a government policy directed
toward integration rather than assimilation. In addition to
this bill, the Ministry of Education formulated a policy
with regard to cultural minorities in the educational system
in 1981, which will be discussed in more detail below (cf.
2.3.2 Moroccan Immigrants
While Turkish immigrants to the Netherlands came from
practically all provinces in Turkey, immigration from
Morocco had, to some extent, a more specific character.
Although Shadid's (1979) study shows that all regions of the
country are represented in the migration, the northern
region appeared to dominate emigration patterns. Shadid
(1979: 151) provides the following table of provinces from
which a majority of the Moroccan immigrants in the
North: Tanger, Tetouan and Al Hoceima, Nador
Coast: Rabat, Casablanca, El Jadida, Kenitra
South: Marrakech, Agadir, Ouarzazate
Centre: Taza, Fez, Meknes
His study showed that 38.6% of the immigrants came from the
northern area and he further ranked the provinces in order
of percentage of immigrants supplied to the Netherlands as
follows: Nador (20%), Al Hoceima and Tetouan (13.9%), Oujda
(9.3%), Casablanca (7.9%) and Ouarzazate (6.8%) (Shadid,
Van Amersfoort (1982: 195; 1986: 27) agrees with Shadid
that the northern area appears to have contributed most to
emigration to the Netherlands. He observes, for instance,
it is principally the isolated, rural area in the
Eastern Riff that provides migrant labor for the
Netherlands. Even by Moroccan standards these people
have a low level of education (half of the Moroccans in
the Netherlands are illiterate) and they are closely
bound to the traditional rural culture in which family
and village play the central role.
(van Amersfoort, 1982: 195)
As mentioned earlier, many immigrants from this area come
from the provinces of Nador and Al Hoceima, which is an area
of Morocco that belonged to Spain rather than France during
the colonial period. A great number of the inhabitants of
this area speak a Berber language, and, though the younger
men generally are able to read, speak and write Arabic, the
older men and most of the women are illiterate as Berber is
not a written language (cf. van Amersfoort, 1986: 27ff.).
Shadid's (1979: 161) findings correspond to these
observations, as 45% of his respondents had no school
education and were generally illiterate. He warns, however,
that his figures deviate somewhat from the figures quoted
for the Moroccan population in general and he refers to the
figures obtained by van Amersfoort and van der Wusten (1975:
20) which indicate a 65% illiteracy rate among the male
population between 25 and 34 years of age. Talmoudi (1984:
29) reports a 1971 illiteracy rate for the rural population
of Morocco of 78.1% for males and 98.7% for females.
Comparatively speaking, then, the foreign workers in the
Netherlands have more school education that the rest of the
Shadid (1979: 155) furthermore found that the majority
(71.8%) of the respondents in his study were younger than 39
years of age, which he explained as the most active age
period for people to be able to carry out the hard physical
labor in the industrialized countries to which the Moroccans
emigrate. Most of his respondents were married, with a
majority of the wives remaining in Morocco (cf. Shadid,
1979: 156ff.). Shadid's study also showed a positive
correlation between reunion with wife and children and
school attendance or educational level of the respondents.
The higher the educational level, the greater the chance of
family reunion. Moreover, he showed that "respondents
originating from urban regions show more family reunion than
those of rural regions" (Shadid, 1979: 159).
2.4 The Second Generation
As Rogers (1985: 22ff.) observes, one of the most
pressing issues facing the host countries at the present
time is the situation of the second generation. Problems
that require immediate attention include their occupational
prospects, their legal and political status, and their roles
in the educational system. Because the immigrations to
France began somewhat earlier than those to the other
European countries, France has experienced the entire
development of the second generation, which is just now
beginning in the other countries. Zehraoui's (1976) study
of second generation Algerians shows some remarkable
differences between the first and second generation. Most
of the younger immigrants no longer subscribe to their
parents' moral and religious values, but appear quite
European in their outlook. Returning to their home country
is no longer considered a viable option, for although most
of them would like to visit the places where they came from,
they prefer the opportunities in the West. Yet although
these youths appear largely acculturated to European
society, it is interesting to note that some of them express
a certain amount of doubt about their status; many second
generation immigrants feel in-between two cultures, neither
completely French, nor completely Algerian (cf. Zehraoui,
Many of the immigrant children enter the Western
countries at a great disadvantage. As shown above, their
parents frequently come from poor, rural areas, and tend to
be illiterate, or at least poorly educated by European
standards. Furthermore, the parents mostly belong to the
lowest socio-economic status groups in Europe, and this,
above all, appears to be one of the major causes of the
children's poor performance in school. In his study of
Swiss second generation immigrants, Hoffmann-Nowotny (1985:
120) concludes that while ethnic discrimination no longer
appears to play a significant role in Swiss education, "the
observed disadvantages of foreign children today are a
consequence only of the fact that they belong overwhelmingly
to the lower social strata."
Lebon (1985: 135ff.) investigated the integration of
the second generation in France from three perspectives: 1)
passage through school; 2) going through a training system;
and 3) participation in the life of the local community.
With respect to these factors, he observes that the second
generation immigrants either fail completely or achieve only
limited success in their schooling, that the nature of their
vocational training is both qualitatively and
quantitatively inadequate, and that they experience a
certain amount of discrimination in seeking employment. He
concludes that these problems should be given immediate
attention as the fate of the second generation, in his
opinion, constitutes "the major problem in migration that
will confront French society, today and in the years to
come" (cf. Lebon, 1985: 155).
Mehrlander (1985: 181) underscores the same theme in
her study of the second generation in Germany, stating that
. long-term residence in Germany by the foreign
youths does not in itself contribute substantially to
increased integration. Instead, factors of greater
causal significance are entry into a job or access to
occupational training through apprenticeships.
From the above studies, then, it appears that formulation
and implementation of comprehensive educational policies,
availability of adequate vocational training opportunities,
and facilitation of entry into job situations are some of
the most crucial factors which might ensure successful
integration of second generation immigrants into their host
2.4.1 The Second Generation in the Netherlands
At the present time, the number of second generation
immigrants is still expected to grow in the years to come.
According to the 1982 report of the Social and Cultural
Planning Bureau (SCP), primary and secondary family
reunifications are still in progress. Primary reunification
is the arrival of the wives and/or children of the foreign
workers in the host country, whereas secondary reunification
is the arrival of a marriage partner from the home country
in the host country (cf. van den Berg-Eldering, 1983: 14;
van Praag and Kool, 1982: 19). Approximately two thirds of
the Moroccans have not been reunified with their families
yet through primary family reunification (van Praag and
Kool, 1982: 5). In addition the rapid population growth
among immigrants is also expected to contribute to the
growth of the second generation. Current estimates assess
the growth of the number of school children between 4 and 16
years of age at approximately 100% to 150% by the year 1990
(cf. van den Berg-Eldering, 1983: 15). On the other hand,
return migration and a possible decline in the birth rates
of foreign workers would to some extent slow down the rate
of growth of the second generation.
De Vries (1983: 112) estimates that presently
approximately 85% of all Turkish and Moroccan children below
8 years of age were born in the Netherlands, while it is
expected that by the year 1990 all children up to 12 years
of age will have been born there. Therefore, Dutch
educational policies must be formulated in such a way that
they can address the problems of both the newly arrived
immigrant children and of the second generation youths who
grew up in the Netherlands, and can also deal with the older
second generation youths who are no longer of school age,
but must learn to participate in Dutch society (cf. de
Vries, 1983: 111-112).
Van den Berg-Eldering (1983: 15) points out that by
1990 the group of school-aged Turkish and Moroccan children
must be divided into two main categories. The first
category will consist of those children who were born in the
Netherlands or arrived at a very early age, while the second
consists of those children of secondary school age who
generally will have arrived in the Netherlands some time
during their primary school years. A large number of
Moroccan children in particular in this last group,
according to van den Berg-Eldering (1983: 16), has not had
any education at all in their own country.
Besides the two groups of school age children, a large
number of youths between the ages of 15 and 24 will still be
arriving; van den Berg-Eldering (1983: 16) estimates their
number at approximately 40.000. They have exceeded the
obligatory full-time school age and therefore do not have
easy access to further schooling in the Netherlands.
A recent report by the city of Utrecht, entitled
Moroccan and Addicted, shows that specifically Moroccan
youths of secondary school age and older suffer from
feelings of alienation and, as a "lost generation," become
easily addicted to hard drugs. The roots of their problems,
according to this study, go back to a fatherless childhood
in their home country, while the further developments of the
immigration process seem to only have exacerbated the
situation. Buurman (1987), in an article in Het Utrechts
Nieuwsblad, states that most of the addicts had problems
stemming from the reunification of the family in the
Netherlands and identifies the four of the main causes of
their problems as 1) interruption of their education in
Morocco, 2) lack of possibilities for work or education, 3)
discrimination, 4) renewed confrontation with strong
fatherly authority. As mentioned above, solutions must
extend beyond the educational problems of the second
generation proper and must incorporate the needs of the
intermediate, "lost," generation.
At first glance, several parallels appear to exist
between the problems of the Moroccan youths in the
Netherlands described above and those of the Algerians
second generation in France discussed in Zehraoui's (1976)
study (cf. section 2.4 above). Both the Algerians and the
Moroccans express feelings of not fully belonging to either
the culture from which they came or the culture in which
they must live, and both experience many problems as a
result of this in-between status. It must be stressed,
however, that in many respects the sources of the problems
of French Algerians and Dutch Moroccans respectively should
be distinguished carefully. Even though the Algerians who
migrated to France can be considered "guest workers" to some
degree, they were to a large extent familiar with the
language and culture of France because of the French
colonial tradition in North Africa. Therefore, their
problems may stem partially from international migration,
but the after-effect of colonialization may also have
brought with it an entirely different set of problems.
Moroccans in the Netherlands, on the other hand, could not
rely on at least some form of shared history with their
guest country, and therefore they had to adapt to a totally
unfamilar culture, which was very different from their own.
Moreover, they had to learn a language they had never been
in contact with before and which was not even remotely
related to their native Arabic or Berber language. This
difference, then, between these groups of migrants has
implications with respect to both problems of cultural
adaptation and integration and questions of education and
second language acquisition. It seems obvious that the
situation in France would require a different approach than
the situation in the Netherlands or other Northern European
2.5 Second Language Acquisition and Educational Issues
In the Western European countries faced with the
problems of foreign worker immigration no consensus has been
reached yet with respect to the formulation or
implementation of educational policies. Approaches to the
educational problems of the immigrant children not only vary
from country to country, but tend to differ greatly within
the various provinces or districts in each country as well.
2.5.1 The Education of Immigrant Children in Europe
Of the European countries, Sweden has frequently been
considered to be the most successful in dealing with the
immigrant situation. Though a single successful policy has
not yet been identified, a number of possible solutions have
been forwarded. Ekstrand (1983: 142) identifies four major
types of educational policies that have been tested in
1. Mainstream education without home language
2. Mainstream education with continuous home language
instruction, throughout the primary and secondary
3. Bilingual/bicultural education.
4. Monolingual mother tongue classes.
In view of the relatively unstable situation of many of the
foreign laborers in Western Europe, the first solution may
not be satisfactory for all immigrant children. Though a
large percentage of immigrants has settled permanently in
the host countries, many of them prefer, in theory at least,
to leave open the option of an eventual return home.
Education in the host language alone, then, would leave the
children of this segment of the immigrant population totally
unprepared for a possible reintegration into their own
societies. Secondly, such a form of instruction ignores the
cultural and ethnic identity of the immigrant children. It
is aimed at eradicating the mother tongue and home culture
in favor of the language and culture of the host society.
The disadvantage of the second approach, mainstream
education with continuous home language instruction, is that
it clearly establishes a dominance pattern of the host
language over the immigrant language. In this situation,
the immigrants' native language becomes reduced to the
status of a foreign language, subordinate to that of the
host culture. Moreover, home language instruction alone
would not appear sufficient for maintaining immigrants'
native culture, as many other aspects of culture, such as
religion, values, etc., would need to be taught as well.
The bilingual/bicultural approach has often been
regarded as the most equitable type of solution, as it
offers integration into the host society on the one hand and
maintenance of the native language and culture on the other.
In practice, however, many problems can, and do, surface.
Rogers (1985: 23), for instance, points out that such a dual
option, educating children simultaneously toward staying in
the host country and toward returning home, is not
realistic. Similarly, Hoffman-Nowotny (1985: 126) observes
that immigrant organizations tend to object to this policy
and prefer mother tongue instruction alone, as "they fear an
alienation of the children from their own language and
culture." In addition, Mehrlander (1985: 168) found that
the dual approach often led to the children being
"functionally, illiterate in two languages," as they became
uncertain of where they belonged and what they should learn.
If not carefully applied, then, the bicultural option may
lead to a double disadvantage for minority children.
In the United States, objections have been raised to
the bicultural/bidialectal approach on the grounds that it
forces minority children to learn the language of the
dominant culture in addition to their own and thus presents
the dominant culture as the standard. In Sweden, similar
views were held by proponents of monolingual mother tongue
education for immigrant children, who argued that forced
assimilation caused many of the immigrant problems (cf.
Ekstrand, 1983: 146). However, in view of the fact that a
large number of the immigrants must be considered to have
permanently settled in the host countries, some form of
linguistic and cultural integration must realistically be
anticipated in order to ensure the educational and
occupational future of the second generation.
An obvious solution to the educational dilemma of the
immigrants in Europe does not exist. The most reasonable
solution appears to be the intercultural model, which is
currently being explored in Europe (cf. sections 2.5.2 and
2.5.4). Past experiences in the various countries, however,
have indicated a number of shortcomings of previous
approaches which should be avoided in other applications.
The German experiment, for instance, showed that the
immigrant children often received complementary training in
their mother tongue during school hours, at the expense of
some of their other subjects (cf. Mehrlander, 1985: 168).
Van Amersfoort (1982: 203) states that in the Netherlands
supplementary native culture education was sometimes taught
by teachers from the countries of origin and was often
nationalistic or ideologically colored, and gave a distorted
picture of life in the home country. The Swiss approach
appears to have attempted to integrate the children too
rapidly into the host society, which resulted too quickly in
mainstreaming education alone (cf. Hoffmann-Nowotny, 1985:
2.5.2 Educational Integration in the Netherlands
In 1974, the Ministry of Education published its report
entitled Policy Formulation for Education to Groups from
Disadvantaged Backgrounds, in which the problem of education
of immigrant children was first addressed as it appeared to
run parallel with the situation of children from lower class
environments. At the same time, however, the report
stresses the differences between the two situations in that
particularly the problems of language, culture, and religion
of the immigrant children must be addressed as a totally
separate issue. In view of the "temporariness principle"
espoused at that time, especially the uncertain role of the
immigrants played an important role in the formulation of
guidelines for educational policies. The policy, therefore,
made a distinction between children who would "stay in the
Netherlands for just a few years and those who would stay
longer" (cf. Ministry of Education, 1974: 4). While both
groups were to receive bicultural education, the emphasis
would be different. The first group was to be integrated
into the Dutch educational system, while the second group
would receive primarily native language and culture
education. In general, the statement in the Ministry's
report (1974: 35) concludes, "an integrational policy will
be conducted except for those groups that will stay in the
Netherlands for only a few years" [tr.].
From 1974 onwards, education in native language and
culture was instituted for immigrant children, which "both
in content and in pedagogic-didactic approach was adapted to
the educational system of the native country" (cf. v.d.
Berg-Eldering, 1986: 179 [tr.]). Education in the Dutch
language was provided by specially appointed teachers, who,
however, generally were not trained in teaching Dutch as a
According to v.d. Berg-Eldering (1986: 180), the dual
approach of the educational policies was widely criticized
towards the end of the 1970's and suggestions were made for
a more integrated approach. The report Ethnic Minorities
by the Wetenschappelijke Raad voor het Regeringsbeleid (the
WRR, or 'Scientific Council for Government Policy'), which
had been crucial in changing attitudes on general minority
policies in the Netherlands (cf. section 2.3), also
contributed much to the changes in educational policies for
The 1981 report Policy Formulation concerninQ Cultural
Minorities in the Educational System by the Ministry of
Education largely followed the WRR's recommendations with
regard to abandoning the temporariness principle and
developing an integrated minority policy. Its two main aims
are formulated as follows:
1. Education must prepare members of minority groups
to function and participate fully in Dutch society
both socially, economically, and democratically,
and must provide them with the opportunities to do
so, with the possibility to accomplish this from
their own cultural background;
2. Education must, among other things through
intercultural education, encourage acculturation
of minorities and other members of Dutch society.
Acculturation is here understood to be a double-
or multi-faceted process of becoming acquainted
with, accepting and respecting each other's
culture or elements thereof, and approaching it
(cf. Ministry of Education, 1981: 6; [tr.])
In order to implement these policies, the government
proposes to address four main issues: a. the initial contact
situation at arrival; b. problems of children with
disadvantaged backgrounds; c. native language and culture
teaching; d. intercultural education (cf. Ministry of
Education, 1981: 6; v.d. Berg-Eldering, 1986: 181).
The first issue, initial intervention at arrival,
according to the Ministry's report (1981: 7), deals
primarily with Dutch as a second language, a general
orientation on Dutch society, and participation in the
(future) school environment. For students between 12 and 16
years of age, a specific form of transitional education, the
Internationale Schakelklassen (ISK, or 'international
linking classes'), were developed to provide a type of
education to bridge the gap between the students' own
backgrounds and the Dutch school system. The main aim of
the ISK is to integrate the students into the regular types
of education as soon as possible (cf. section 126.96.36.199).
Concerning the second issue, i.e. the position of
students from disadvantaged backgrounds, the Ministry of
Education (1981: 10) lists a number of factors which may be
of influence on the educational development of minority
1. low socioeconomic status of the parents;
2. sub-standard housing conditions;
3. lack of education of the parents;
4. language differences;
5. discrepancies between the norm and value system
at home and at school.
Van den Berg-Eldering (1986: 183-4) warns, however, that one
should beware of drawing such parallels between children
from lower class backgrounds and immigrant children, as the
uniqueness of the situation of cultural minorities must be
recognized and its specific problems must be properly
addressed. Furthermore, the immigrant problem is too recent
to allow accurate predictions with regard to the future
socio-economic stratification of the various immigrant
The third issue, native language and culture education
has gained much importance in recent years. The Ministry of
Education's (1981: 8 [tr.]) report provides the following
This type of education can thus contribute to the
development and self-identity and self-awareness of the
student. Through better knowledge of and access to the
culture of the country of origin, ties with family
members, friends and acquaintances from and in the
native country can potentially be maintained.
Moreover, it facilitates, to a certain degree,
reintegration into the educational system of the native
country in case return migration has been decided on.
The brochure Native language and culture education (1985) of
the Ministry of Education explains the recent Law for
Primary Education, which went into effect on August 1, 1985,
and which determines that native language and culture
education can be part of the primary school curriculum.
Under this law, up to five hours a week can be devoted to
native language and culture teaching, of which two and a
half hours may maximally be fitted into the regular school
schedule. A minimum of eight students per foreign language
is necessary for the schools to acquire a foreign teacher
for the immigrant children. According to van den Berg-
Eldering (1986: 184) a total of 625 foreign teachers was
employed during the school year 1982-83, the majority of
which were Turks (351) and Moroccans (172).
Van den Berg-Eldering (1986: 185-186) raises the
question that, while the main aim of this type of education
is the development of a positive self-identity on the part
of the immigrant child, the option then remains of which
culture should be the point of reference for accomplishing
this. The focus could be placed on the role of the
immigrant child within Dutch society or on the culture of
the parents and the country of origin. The problem with the
latter approach is that often the children do not master
their own language sufficiently to be able to understand
their instructors' discussions on various cultural topics.
According to van den Berg-Eldering (1986: 185), emphasis is
gradually shifting toward the first approach. However, she
detects two inconsistencies between the government's stated
policy goals and their practical realizations. First, as
recent suggestions have been made to emphasize native
culture teaching within intercultural education, native
language and culture education could become reduced to
primarily language teaching. It would have been more
appropriate then, she states, to have formulated the policy
goal as learning the official language of the country of
origin and execute it consistently. Second, even though in
theory all cultures are considered equal, van den Berg-
Eldering counters that this type of education has been made
subordinate to Dutch school culture both in content and in
The fourth issue, intercultural education, has
increased in priority in recent years. In the Ministry of
Education's policy formulation it is carefully distinguished
from native language and culture teaching, since it is aimed
at all students, not just at cultural minorities. According
to this policy (Ministry of Education, 1981: 11 [tr.]),
students "must become acquainted with the different
cultures; they must learn to distinguish both the
differences and similarities, with as a main principle the
equality of the cultures." Intercultural education, it
states, is aimed at acculturation rather than assimilation.
Its main goal, as formulated by van den Berg-Eldering (1986:
187 [tr.]), is to attain a large degree of cultural
sensitivity and cultural relativism among the students"
The 1985 Law for Primary Education, mentioned above, in
fact requires schools to formulate their curricula in such a
way as to provide students with education within a
multicultural context. Observing that this is not an easy
task, van den Berg-Eldering (1986: 187 [tr.]), cites a
number of reasons why intercultural education has been
difficult to realize:
lack of concrete realization of the policy goals for
lack of a systematic overview of proper structure,
educational tools, and materials
lack of knowledge of and insight in other cultures on
the part of teaching personnel
inability to recognize and deal with symptoms of
stigmatization, discrimination and racism
She observes (1986: 188) that, as yet, intercultural
education is a "marginal activity" in the Dutch school
188.8.131.52 The Moroccan school system
The current Moroccan school system consists of both
traditional Koran education and of a more general type of
education. In the traditional Koran schools, education in
provided by a religious teacher, a fqih, at the local
mosques. Education consists mainly of learning to read and
write Arabic, memorizing the chapters of the Koran, and, at
higher levels, specializing in a specific topic, such as
theology, Arabic literature, or muslim law.
After its independence in 1956, Morocco instituted a
new educational policy intended to 1) unify the educational
system, 2) introduce Arabic as the main language in the
schools, 3) encourage education by Moroccan teachers only,
and 4) make primary education available to everyone (cf.
Hermans, 1982: 27-28). According to Hermans (1982: 28-30),
the structure of the current system does not allow for any
preschool education, but provides obligatory primary
education for all children between seven and thirteen years
of age. Secondary education consists of a first cycle of
four years, followed by a second, more specialized cycle of
three years, and after completion of a baccalaureat, it
provides access to higher education. Hermans (1982)
stresses, however, that despite obligatory education
especially girls in rural areas tend to be underrepresented
in the primary schools. Furthermore, the lack of vocational
opportunities at the secondary school level results in an
extremely high dropout rate among those students who cannot
keep up in school. Hermans (1982: 31) finds that only one
half percent of the students who started primary education
obtain a baccalaureat.
184.108.40.206 The Dutch school system
The constitution of the Netherlands guarantees freedom
of education for all and all education is regulated by law.
Schooling is compulsory for everyone for a total of eleven
school years, eight of which consist of primary education.
After the eleventh year of schooling, all children must
still attend school for a minimum of two days a week for one
more year; this is called 'partial compulsory education'
particlee leerplicht). The 1985 Wet op het Basisonderwiis
('law for primary education') regulates education for
children from four through twelve years of age. This new
law is interesting in that it shows its adaptation to some
of the recent changes in Dutch society, as can be seen from
Title 8 (Artikel 8) of the law on primary education:
Primary education must provide an uninterrupted
developmental process to students, taking into
consideration the development of the individual student
(i.e. independent of the progress of other students).
Education is particularly aimed at the development of
sensitivity, sensibility, creativity, acquisition of
essential knowledge and of social, cultural and
Education must adopt the principle that the students
grow up in a society shared also by people with other
languages and cultures.
(Ministry of Education, 1986: 6-1,2; [tr.])
Secondary education is aimed at students from twelve to
approximately eighteen years of age. It consists of a
rather large number of different types of schooling, with a
major division between regular secondary education and
vocational education. The Ministry of Education (1986: 9-1)
divides the former types into four subcategories:
1. college preparatory education (v.w.o.); e.g.
gymnasium and atheneum; duration: 6 years.
2. higher general secondary education (h.a.v.o.);
duration: 5 years.
3. intermediate general secondary education (m.a.v.o.);
duration: 4 years.
4. lower general secondary education (l.a.v.o.);
duration: 2 years.
Vocational education consists of two major subdivisions
which each have approximately the same subcategories on
1. lower vocational education (e.g. technical, nautical,
administrative, etc. education); duration: 4 years.
2. intermediate vocational education, which is intended
as a continuation of either intermediate general
secondary education (m.a.v.o.) or of lower vocational
education; duration: up to 4 years.
Finally, higher education consists of two major types:
university and higher vocational education (consisting of
e.g. schools of business, agriculture, education, etc.).
220.127.116.11 Immigrants in the Dutch school system
From these brief descriptions of both the Dutch and the
Moroccan school system it can be seen that the two countries
differ a great deal in educational approach. Brasse and de
Vries (1986: 148-149) comment that, in general, the level of
education of young Turks and Moroccans in the Netherlands is
not very high. Three quarters of this group attends lower
vocational education, approximately 10% follows intermediate
secondary education (m.a.v.o.), and only a handful of youths
attend the higher school types such as havo, college
preparatory or intermediate vocational education. Brasse
and de Vries (1986: 148) attribute this low level of
education mainly to a lack of education in the home
countries and not so much to the cultural and educational
transition these youths experience in moving from one
country to another. However, the present study found, in
interviews with Moroccans youths who had a higher level of
education in their native country, that better educated
students experience severe problems stemming from the
transition process as they are often judged on the basis of
their language skills rather than on their intellectual
capacities. Many of the students in this study were
attending Dutch schools that, compared to the Moroccan
schools they had previously attended, were far below their
level of ability, mainly because of insufficient language
acquisition in Dutch. Negative stereotyping, then, may play
a significant role in the educational accomplishments of
immigrant students in the Netherlands and can be compared to
what has been termed the "self-fulfilling prophecy" of
teacher expectations in the American context (cf. Seligman,
Tucker, and Lambert, 1972; Edwards and Giles, 1984).
2.5.3 Policy and Dutch as a Second Language
Coenen (1979) evaluates the issue of government policy
with respect to the teaching of Dutch as a second language
to immigrant children. As has been shown above as well,
Coenen finds that the "temporariness principle" was largely
responsible for the slow start in formulating policies
dealing with immigration-related problems. The article
criticizes the ad-hoc nature of the provisions with regard
to second language teaching in the Dutch school system.
Coenen (1979: 161ff) attempts to establish a link between
the educational situation, research efforts and policy
formulation and argues for increased involvement on the part
of linguistic research in outlining the target areas for
prospective policies, so that a consistent policy could be
established in the area of Dutch as a second language.
The 1981 Policy for cultural minorities in education
deals with the issue of Dutch as a second language primarily
under the heading of initial language contact situations
both within regular educational settings and in transitional
education models such as the international linking classes.
Beyond the point of first contact the issue does not seem to
play any role.
The 1982 advisory note by the ACLO-Moedertaal
('advisory committee on curriculum development--native
language') entitled Onderwijs in een Multiculturele en
Multi-Etnische Samenleving ('education in a multicultural
and multi-ethnic society') criticizes this approach and
points out that providing second language education should
not be restricted to the initial contact phase of the
student. The ACLO (1982: 81) reports that even though many
of the students develop communicative competences in Dutch,
they often continue to encounter problems both receptively
and productively in specific areas of language. The report
warns that the danger then exists that students are,
erroneously, considered to be able to function within the
Dutch school system, which often makes great demands on the
cognitive aspects of language (e.g. abstract concepts). In
its conclusion, the report formulates a specific
recommendation to the Ministry of Education to "expand the
opportunities for the teaching of Dutch as a second language
in such a way that attention can be given to L2-education
during the entire school career of non-native speakers of
Dutch" (ACLO, 1982: 113 [tr.]. More recent studies by, for
instance, Appel (1984) and Extra and Vallen (1984), confirm
the need for further research on the new problem of Dutch as
a second language.
2.5.4 Intercultural Education: A European Perspective
In section 2.5.1 some of the earlier approaches to the
situation of the immigrant children were discussed. In
concluding this chapter, some attention must be given to
current thoughts on this problem. As has been shown above,
historically, little or no cooperation between the various
countries existed in this area and each country attempted to
develop its educational and minority policies according to
the demands of its specific immigrant situation. As by now
Mediterranean immigration has been established as a
permanent phenomenon in many of the Western European
countries, a next logical step would seem to establish a
dialogue among the countries involved concerning possible
solutions to the problems they share.
One recent attempt is the 1981 report commissioned by
the Council for Cultural Cooperation by the Council of
Europe, which addresses the problem of the education of the
children of foreign laborers from an international, European
perspective. The report focuses on the intercultural
dimensions of education and calls for international
cooperation in this issue, particularly in the area of
teacher-training. The first part of the report explores the
theoretical aspects of the concept of interculturalism and
illustrates its practical realizations within the various
European countries. The second part of the report contains
specific recommendations for international collaboration
among the immigrant countries to coordinate their teacher-
While the report does not claim to provide any
definitive solutions to the problems, it attempts to outline
a realistic course of action for the countries involved.
Porcher (1981: 48) attempts to formulate the ultimate
objective, stating that
. an original type of education should be worked
out, not for the children of migrant workers
specifically, but including them necessarily among the
target school population. Simultaneously, a teacher-
training course suited to the achievements of this goal
should be devised -- that is, a course fitting teachers
to take account of the different characteristics of
their pupils and at the same time offer them conditions
of equal opportunity. To be able to handle migrants'
children as they are, without treating them as a class
apart, that is the aim. No doubt this untrammelled
type of teaching will upset certain habits, but the
course of history demands it.
This chapter has addressed the problems of immigrant
policy formulation and the implications for educational
practice. It was shown that a major cause for the initial
lack of interest in the social, cultural, and political
position of the immigrants was the "temporariness principle"
which ignored the reality of the immigration problem.
Implicit in this principle was the thought that the
immigrants had no real need to learn the languages of their
respective host countries. The first generation immigrants,
mostly men, were generally engaged in unskilled labor which
did not require any particular language skills.
Furthermore, it was expected that they would return to their
countries, so that even once the families began to reunify
in the host countries, no immediate pressing need was
perceived to provide comprehensive policies addressing their
problems. Only when immigration appeared to have become a
permanent phenomenon did the educational problems of
particularly the second generation become apparent.
Permanent settlement had drastically altered the function of
the languages of the host countries, as immigrants became a
part of the host societies. Policies were needed to address
the often conflicting issues of, on the one hand,
acquisition of the host languages and integration into those
societies, and, on the other hand, maintenance of the
children's native language and culture.
The next chapters will explore some aspects of second
language acquisition by Moroccan immigrants in the
Netherlands and will specifically focus on the acquisition
of conversational competence and on the strategies employed
in interethnic encounters. While a number of studies have
addressed various aspects of language acquisition,
specifically problems in morphology or syntax, little or no
attention has been paid thus far to the acquisition of
conversational competence by immigrants.
As has been shown in this chapter, the sociolinguistic
situation of the immigrants is extremely complex. Even
though this study is restricted to the second generation of
Moroccan immigrants only, it has been pointed out here that
this cannot be considered a homogeneous speech community.
The second generation ranges from children born in the
Netherlands who grow up speaking Dutch, to adolescents who
may have resided there for longer or shorter periods of
time, to adult or nearly adult Moroccans who joined their
parents in Holland through the family reunification process.
An analysis, then, of conversations by second generation
Moroccans must take into consideration all relevant factors,
such as ethnic and linguistic background, age at
acquisition, length of stay, etc., and relate them to the
social context of the conversational interaction. Only when
the complexities of a speech situation such as this one are
recognized, can we begin understanding variation in the
acquisition of discourse within an interethnic context.
ANALYTICAL FRAMEWORK AND LITERATURE REVIEW
The study of speech in conversational interactions has
received an increasing amount of attention in the last two
decades. Researchers in a variety of fields, ranging from
sociology and psychology to anthropology and linguistics,
have applied their different perspectives to the
understanding of verbal behavior. Major contributions to
this field of study were made in the early 1970s by
ethnomethodologists, such as Sacks, Schegloff, and Goffman,
whose work on conversational openings and closings, turn-
taking mechanisms, and social interaction has been the basis
for much of the later research. Their work was, however,
mainly concerned with homogeneous speech communities.
While linguistic research for a long time was primarily
concerned with systematic analysis of grammatical forms at
the sentence level, more recent studies, for example in the
areas of speech act analysis, pragmatics, functional
grammar, and sociolinguistics, have begun to pay attention
to the interactional aspects of speech. In the last few
years, the field of sociolinguistics has moved beyond
correlations of grammatical forms and social variables and
has begun to "look for new approaches to the study of
conversational processes" (Gumperz, 1982a: 3). Gumperz
(1982a: 29) expresses the current concerns of the discipline
of sociolinguistics as follows:
There is a need for a sociolinguistic theory which
accounts for the communicative functions of linguistic
variability and for its relation to the speakers' goals
without reference to untestable functionalist
assumptions about conformity or nonconformance to
closed systems of norms. Since speaking is
interacting, such a theory must ultimately draw its
basic postulates from what we know about interaction.
A number of different approaches have been directed towards
the problems of variability at the discourse level. For
example, Labov and Fanshel (1977) and Edmondson (1981)
employ speech act analysis in their respective frameworks;
Gumperz (1982a and 1982b) is particularly concerned with
conversational interaction in an intercultural setting;
Tannen (1984) attempts to identify strategies of narrative
style in naturally occurring conversation; Ervin-Tripp and
Mitchell-Kernan (1977) as well as Ochs and Schieffelin
(1983) investigate various aspects of the acquisition of
communicative competence by children; and Hatch (1978)
applies a discourse perspective to second language
The present chapter will sketch the analytical
framework that will be employed in analyzing conversations
with second generation Moroccan immigrants in the
Netherlands and relate it to the current literature in the
field of conversational analysis. The complexity of their
specific speech situation poses a number of problems for an
analysis of conversational data and requires a multi-faceted
approach which takes into account the various factors
involved. While such an approach would base its theoretical
underpinnings in the recent work in conversational analyis,
it would need to address such additional issues as
sociolinguistic variation, second language acquisition, and
The second generation of Moroccan immigrants is, as
noted in the previous chapters, by no means a homogeneous
speech group. With respect to their ethnic background, for
example, the immigrants consist of both Arabic and Berber
speakers who may come from either country or city
backgrounds. Second, some were reunified with their
families very early in life or were born in the Netherlands,
for whom Dutch may be regarded as their primary language.
On the other extreme are the most recent arrivals who have
but the slightest knowledge of Dutch, and, naturally, there
is a broad range of levels in-between. Third, the term
"second generation" was shown to cover age levels ranging
from infants born in the Netherlands to young adults
reunified relatively late in life.
The conversational data in this study include the
speech of adolescents and young adults nearly all of whom
were in the process of acquiring Dutch as a second language.
Considerable variation existed with respect to, for
instance, their ages, level of education, length of stay,
ethnic backgrounds, and language usage. In order to present
an adequate analysis of such conversations, the multiple
contexts of interethnic communication, second language
acquisition, and child (or adolescent) versus adult
discourse must be recognized. The proposed framework of
analysis derives its theoretical concepts from the fields
of the ethnography of communication, conversational
analysis, sociolinguistics, and second language acquisition.
Analysis of the conversations will consist of several
interrelated parts. First, detailed ethnographic
observations on the speech event(s) are provided. This
includes both the parameters of the specific situation, such
as setting, participants, goals, role relationships, etc.,
and a general overview of the language use by the
participants in various contexts. Second, a quantitative
analysis is employed in order to capture generalizations
concerning the conversational abilities of the subjects and
to present the overall structure of speech events through,
for example, participants' total contributions, word and
turn counts, speech overlap, and progression of the
conversation over time. Third, relevant discourse
strategies of the event are analyzed and attention will be
paid to interethnic aspects of communication as well. In
addition, discourse aspects of second language acquisition
and differences in conversation between children
(adolescents) and (young) adults will be discussed to
explain the variations observed.
3.2 Sociolinuistics and Conversational Interaction
The field of conversational analysis is notably lacking
in a consensus on the use of its terminology. Each
different approach appears to employ a specific set of terms
reflecting its theoretical perspective. The result is that
overlapping interpretations may be applied to quite distinct
terms or, conversely, similar terms may be used in widely
divergent ways. In view of this, it is useful to clarify
some of the concepts that will be discussed in this study.
In studies of conversational interactions frequently no
distinction appears to be made between the notions of
'discourse' and 'conversation.' Peck (1978: 384), for
instance, defines discourse as "the flow and the structure
of a conversation or topics within it." Edmondson (1981),
however, first distinguishes between written language (text)
and spoken language (discourse), and then more carefully
defines conversation as "a particular type of multiple-
source spoken discourse" (Edmondson, 1981: 6). This study
will follow Edmondson's use of terminology in this respect.
However, as this study represents a sociolinguistic
perspective and will be primarily concerned with the
conversational aspects of discourse analysis, the terms
'discourse' and 'conversation' may at times be used
interchangeably, as is done, for instance, by Gumperz
The notion of strategy is often employed in the field
of discourse analysis. Van Dijk and Kintsch (1983), for
instance, propose a comprehensive model of strategic
discourse processing, focusing, above all, on the cognitive
processes underlying this. Sociolinguistic studies
generally favor a less theoretical, more data-oriented
approach, particularly to spoken, as opposed to written,
language. As a consequence the terms used in
sociolinguistic research do not necessarily imply underlying
cognitive processes but may be seen primarily as functional
or descriptive. For example, Edmondson (1981: 115) defines
a conversational strategy as "the manipulation of
interactional structure in conversational behaviour, in the
interests of achieving conversational goals." Gumperz
(1982a: 35) presents a similar interpretation of
A speaker oriented approach to conversation [. .1
focuses directly on the strategies that govern the
actor's use of lexical, grammatical, sociolinguistic
and other knowledge in the production and
interpretation of messages in context.
Edmondson (1981: 7) makes a distinction between
conversational rules and conversational strategies, where
the former relate to what people 'know,' or their
communicative competence, which is
. a theoretical construct, and may be described in
sets of rules or conventions which may be said to
express what one can do in a conversation .
whereas the latter represent conversationalists' social
. is reflected in the use to which an individual
puts his communicative competence in his conversational
behaviour to achieve goals without endangering face -
i.e. without offending socially-accepted notions of
what is and what is not acceptable behavior.
While it is impossible to provide a simple working
definition for the notion of strategy in conversational
analysis, the discussions on 'discourse strategies' will
follow the general ideas of Gumperz and Edmondson.
Another context in which the idea of strategy plays an
important role is that of second language acquisition.
Dittmar (1984: 244), for example, refers to the underlying
rules applied by the learner, i.e. "those rules which cannot
be directly derived from the 'language product"' as
strategies. The issue of learner strategies will be
explored further in section 3.4 below.
In addition to the notion of 'strategy' the concept of
'competence' has been widely debated in linguistic analysis.
Chomsky (1965: 4), claiming that "a grammar of a language
purports to be a description of the ideal speaker-hearer's
intrinsic competence," focused on the innateness of language
ability as the basic objective of linguistic inquiry. Hymes
(1972), on the other hand, reacted against this view and
introduced the notion of 'communicative competence.' With
this he placed the role of language within the context of
social interaction. Examples of the sociolinguistic
perspective on communicative competence are, for instance,
Ervin-Tripp and Mitchell-Kernan (1977: 6), who state that
the concept of communicative competence is meant to be
broadly descriptive of the knowledge that underlies
socially appropriate speech. It includes, in addition
to grammatical knowledge, social knowledge, which acts
as a constraint on the communicative process, and which
shapes the way messages are realized in actual social
or Gumperz (1982a: 209), who stresses the importance of the
context of interaction:
Communicative competence can be defined in
interactional terms as 'the knowledge of linguistic and
related communicative conventions that speakers must
have to create and sustain conversational cooperation,'
and thus involves both grammar and contextualization.
A different perspective is presented by Canale (1983)
who proposes a comprehensive framework for the study of
communicative competence, which he defines as "the
underlying systems of knowledge and skill required for
communication." He distinguishes between four areas of
knowledge and skill:
(1) grammatical competence, which is "the mastery of
the language code (verbal or non-verbal);"
(2) sociolinguistic competence, which includes the
mastery of sociocultural rules or "appropriateness
(3) discourse competence, which is the "mastery of how
to combine grammatical forms and meanings to
achieve a unified spoken or written text in
(4) strategic competence, which is the "mastery of
verbal and non-verbal communication strategies."
In conversational analysis the term 'discourse competence'
is frequently used interchangeably with 'conversational
competence.' Scarcella (1983: 175) simply calls this "the
ability to participate in conversations," but adds that
"underlying this competence are the rules and mechanisms
which allow conversations to flow smoothly." Ochs and
Schieffelin (1983: xiv) consider conversational competence
to consist of the "norms underlying relatively informal
verbal interaction." In Canale's framework, on the other
hand, the term 'discourse competence' is used in a much more
restricted sense to refer to to the type of textual cohesion
discussed under 3.3.2 below and forms but a small part of
his overall definition of communicative competence.
In this study, the terms 'discourse competence' or
'conversational competence' will be employed in the broader,
more descriptive sense, represented by, for instance,
Gumperz (1982a), Scarcella (1983), or Edmondson's (1981) use
of social competence, to refer to the ability to sustain a
conversational interaction through the use of discourse
3.3 SociolinQuistic Aspects of Discourse
The study of language use in conversational
interactions must take into consideration complexities of
speech at a number of different levels. Above all, an
interactional approach must be concerned with the
communicative functions of speech. Canale (1983: 3)
provides a useful outline for the notion of communication,
which, according to his characterization,
(a) is a form of social interaction, and is therefore
normally acquired and used in social interaction;
(b) involves a high degree of unpredictability and
creativity in form and message;
(c) takes place in discourse and sociocultural
contexts which provide constraints on appropriate
language use and also clues as to correct
interpretations of utterances;
(d) is carried out under limiting psychological and
other conditions such as memory constraints,
fatigue and distractions;
(e) always has a purpose (for example, to establish
social relations, to persuade, or to promise);
(f) involves authentic, as opposed to textbook-
contrived language; and
(g) is judged as successful or not on the basis of
An analysis of interactional encounters, then, must be
capable of explaining the variability of discourse within
its social context.
The present study will employ a combination of both a
quantitative approach and an analytical approach based on
the framework of the ethnography of communication. A number
of basic parameters of speech events can be quantified to
allow insight into the structure of interaction and such a
quantitative analysis can provide a basic framework for
further discussion of the specific strategies employed
within the speech event under consideration. This approach
is similar to that of Tannen (1984) and derives much of its
theoretical base from the work of Gumperz (1982a and 1982b).
3.3.1 Ethnographic Observations
In order to establish the contexts for the
conversations analyzed in the following chapters, a brief
ethnographic description will be presented for each speech
event. The descriptive framework derives primarily from the
work of Gumperz and Hymes (1972) and Hymes (1974) on the
ethnography of communication, although a number of
parameters have been added or changed to fit the specific
speech situations under consideration. For example, some
language acquisition variables will be discussed in order to
clarify the context of language use.
The basic vehicle for description is the notion of
speech event, which Hymes (1972: 56) defines as "activities,
or aspects of activities that are directly governed by rules
or norms for the use of speech." The speech events to be
considered here are the interviews and conversations with
second-generation Moroccans. First, the speech event as a
whole can be evaluated in terms of a number of parameters:
(1) setting, i.e. the time and place or, more generally, the
physical circumstances of the speech event; (2) scene, i.e.
the "psychological setting," or the "cultural definition of
an occasion" (cf. Hymes, 1972: 60), which allows the
participants to define their interaction in terms of
formality, etc.; (3) duration, i.e. whether an encounter
should be regarded as brief or extended, which may be of
significance to the level of naturalness that can be
achieved in an interaction; (4) goals, or expected outcome
of the event according to the varying perspectives of the
participants; (5) themes or topics, i.e. what the
interaction is about in terms of contents; and (6) the
status and role relationships among the participants.
Finally, more detailed observations on the participants are
necessary for an understanding of the above and will employ
the following variables: age, education, ethnic background,
length of stay, age at arrival, and language use.
3.3.2 Quantitative Analysis
The interviews obtained for this study will be
quantified as a preliminary method of analysis to gain
insight in the general structure of the speech events and in
the variability of language use among the participants. The
Moroccan-Dutch conversations are analyzed in terms of word
and turn count, simultaneous speech episodes, percentage of
contribution per participant, etc., as such information
provides a more precise indication of the progression of a
speech event than impressionistic observations alone.
Second, differences between child and adult speakers with
respect to, for instance, discourse strategies, can be drawn
sharper when they are presented more objectively. Finally,
the quantitative data will be used to explain variability of
language use from a second-language acquisition perspective,
as generalizations can be made on the basis of such relevant
sociodemographic variables as length of stay, age, age at
However, while quantification of data may allow us to
see some generalizations that might otherwise be obscured,
it alone is not sufficient for a thorough analysis of
conversational interactions. As Tannen (1984: 48) points
out, "counts of contributions and words can be deceptive .
., they do not reflect content or interactional purpose or
effect." A possible consequence of quantification can be
oversimplification of the speech data with the result that
the more interesting nuances of a speech situation such as,
for instance, intercultural encounters, may be lost. If the
limitations of a quantitative approach are recognized,
however, it can function as a useful tool within the total
3.3.3 Discourse StrateQies
This section will present an overview of the
sociolinguistic aspects of discourse which are most relevant
for the analyses of the data discussed in the next chapters.
While some strategies have been found to occur universally,
others tend to be culture-specific.1 An account of
intercultural conversations, thus, cannot be restricted to a
description of discourse strategies alone, but must explore
the context of their occurrence as well.
In any conversational interaction the purposes for
starting the encounter are generally of prime significance
to its development. In analyzing discourse, therefore, it
is useful to understand the motives of the speakers in
addition to the structure of the speech event. Bennett
(1982: 97), for instance, states that
instead of looking at discourse either as constructed
of repeated surface patterns such as adjacency pairs,
or as exchange events taking place against a formal set
of culturally specific rules, I want to make the
assumption that discourse is composed of more or less
reasonable and reasoned acts which actors perform on
their way toward achieving particular goals.
Hymes (1972: 61) uses the notion purpose in a general
sense and proposes a distinction between outcomes, which are
"conventionally recognized and expected," and goals, which
are "purely situational and personal." He warns that in a
description of a speech event the individual motives of the
participants should not be confused with what is "customary
or culturally appropriate behavior" (cf. Hymes, 1972: 62).
Particularly in interethnic encounters, therefore, it
is necessary to view a conversation from both its cultural
and its specific context and to distinguish its general,
often culturally-determined goals from the individual
motives of the participants.
One of the most basic units for analysis of
conversational interaction is the turn-taking mechanism, or
the interplay of talk between the various participants. A
classic study of the turn-taking system is the article by
Sacks, Schegloff and Jefferson which thoroughly explores the
systematics of turn-taking. They present the following
outline of the basic set of rules which governs turn
(1) For any turn, at the initial transition-relevant
place of an initial turn-constructional unit:
(a) If the turn-so-far is so constructed so as to
involve the use of a 'current speaker selects next'
technique, then the party so selected has the right and
is obliged to take next turn to speak; no others have
such rights or obligations, and transfer occurs at that
(b) If the turn-so-far is so constructed as not to
involve the use of a 'current speaker selects next'
technique, then self-selection for next speakership
may, but need not, be instituted; first starter
acquires rights to a turn, and transfer occurs at that
(c) If the turn-so-far is so constructed as not to
involve the use of a 'current speaker selects next'
technique, then current speaker may, but need not
continue unless another self-selects.
(2) If, at the initial transition-relevance place of an
initial turn-constructional unit, neither la nor lb has
operated, and, following the provision of 1c, current
speaker has continued, then the rule-set a-c re-applies
at the next transition-relevance place, and recursively
at each next transition-relevance place, until transfer
(Sacks, Schegloff and Jefferson, 1974: 704)
Relatedness between pairs of utterances, such as greeting-
reply, question-answer, etc., is accounted for in the
ethnomethodological model by positing the concept of
A basic rule of adjacency pair operation is: given the
recognizable production of a first pair part, on its
first possible completion its speaker should stop and a
next speaker should start and produce a second pair
part from the pair type the first is recognizably a
(Sacks and Schegloff, 1973: 239)
Other approaches have employed different terms for such turn
combinations, such as 'exchange' or 'interchange,' for
Gumperz (e.g. 1982a; 1982b) generally views the issue
of turn-taking mechanisms from the somewhat broader
perspective of speaker/listener coordination. He
alternately calls this 'conversational cooperation' or
Conversational cooperation is commonly understood to
refer to the assumptions that conversationalists must
make about each other's contributions and to the
conversational principles on which they rely.
Cooperation, however, involves not only communication
through the use of words in their literal meanings, but
construction across time of negotiated and
situationally specific conventions for the
interpretation of discourse tasks as well as the
speaker's and listener's knowledge of how to conduct
and interpret live performances.
(Gumperz, 1982b: 17)
Gumperz attaches great importance to the role of contextual
factors in interpreting the meanings negotiated in
conversational interaction. By this he means that
interpretation is not only based on grammatical and lexical
knowledge, but on a variety of other factors as well. He
aside from physical setting, participants' personal
background knowledge and their attitudes toward each
other, sociocultural assumptions concerning status and
role relationships as well as social values associated
with various message components also play an important
(Gumperz, 1982a: 153)
Crucial to Gumperz' understanding of such "situated" or
"context-bound process of interpretation is the notion of
contextualization cues, which may signal contextual
presuppositions in an interaction.
The code, dialect and style switching processes, some
of the prosodic phenomena we have discussed as well as
choice among lexical and syntactic options, formulaic
expressions, conversational openings, closings and
sequencing strategies can all have similar
(Gumperz, 1982a: 131)
Differences in conversational strategies and in
contextualization may be particularly problematic for
interethnic encounters, as participants would tend to make
widely divergent conversational inferences.
18.104.22.168 Cohesion and coherence
The question of how utterances produced by speakers in
a conversation are connected in a meaningful way has
received much attention in studies of discourse. Canale
(1983), for example, discusses the notions of coherence and
cohesion as manifestations of discourse competence, one of
the four components of communicative competence in his
approach. He defines discourse competence as ". . mastery
of how to combine grammatical forms and meanings to achieve
a unified spoken or written text in different genres"
(Canale, 1983: 9). Cohesion, by his definition, "deals with
how utterances are linked structurally and facilitates
interpretation of a text" and can be accomplished through
use of pronouns, synonyms, ellipsis, and conjunctions, for
example (cf. Canale, 1983: 9). Though at first glance
Halliday's (1985: 288) interpretation appears to be in
complete agreement with Canale with regard to the
realization of cohesion through (1) reference, (2) ellipsis,
(3) conjunction, and (4) lexical organization (e.g. synonyms
and word repetition), they differ in one important aspect.
Halliday (1985: 288), in contrast to Canale, does not regard
this as belonging to structure and defines cohesion as the
"nonstructural resources for discourse." His views are
assimilated in Edmondson (1981: 5):
Cohesion will be used to indicate those devices by
means of which texture is evidenced in a
suprasentential stretch of language. . Texture is
taken to be the sum of those features of a text,
distinct from its structure, which make it a text and
not a random sequence of sentences.
While cohesion is concerned with form, coherence
applies to meaning, according to Canale (1983: 9) who states
that "coherence refers to the relationships among the
different meanings in a text, where these meanings may be
literal meanings, communicative functions, and attitudes."
Edmondson (1981: 5) considers coherence to refer to "a well-
formed" text or discourse and equates it with its
interpretability. He further explains that
"interpretability is a matter of possible contextualisation
and thus the notion of coherence with regard to a text is to
be equated with its possible use as a discourse"
(Edmondson, 1981: 14).
The notion of contextualization functions centrally in
Gumperz' framework, although he does not emphasize any
distinction between cohesion and coherence. Where
Edmondson is concerned with the distinction between 'text'
and 'discourse,' Gumperz' main focus is on the interactional
nature of discourse:
. for discourse to be cohesive, speakers must
signal and hearers interpret (1) what is the main part
of a message and what is subsidiary or qualifying
information, (2) what knowledge or attitudes are
assumed to be shared, (3) what information is old and
what is new, and (4) what is the speaker's point of
view and his/her relationship to or degree of
involvement in what is being said. In other words, an
utterance to be understood must be contextualized.
(Gumperz, Aulakh, and Kaltman, 1982: 28)
Tannen (1984: 152 ff.) refers to the study of coherence as
"an aesthetics of conversation" and suggests the following
outline for further investigations:
2. surface linguistic structures (e.g. sound and
a. ellipsis (indirectness in conversation)
b. figures of speech
c. imagery and detail
In a more recent article, she relates the strategy of
repetition to the creation of coherence in discourse, noting
the varied purposes simultaneously served by repetition
can be subsumed under the categories of production,
comprehension, connection, and interaction. The
congruence of these levels of discourse provides a
fourth and over-arching function in the establishment
of coherence and interpersonal involvement.
(Tannen, 1987: 581)
Furthermore, Tannen (1987: 599) suggests that it is likely
that "degree and type of repetition differ with cultural and
individual style." She cites a number of sources which
demonstrate cultural differences with respect to repetition
and she refers to data that indicate that particularly
adolescents are inclined to use the strategy of repetition
in conversational interactions. This issue will be further
explored in section 5.4.2.
As Richards and Schmidt (1983: 136) point out, "the way
topics are selected for discussion within conversation and
the strategies speakers make use of to introduce, develop,
or change topics within conversations constitutes an
important dimension of conversational organization."
However, while it is usually not too difficult to form a
general impression of the topics discussed in a conversation
or to find out "what the conversation is about," a precise
analysis of topic organization, i.e. topic maintenance and
shift, is a much more difficult task. Many investigations
have dealt with the notion of topic, but the very nature of
the concept appears to defy a precise definition. Atkinson
and Heritage (1984: 165), in fact, suggest that "'topic' may
well prove to be among the most complex conversational
phenomena to be investigated and, correspondingly, the most
recalcitrant to systematic analysis."
Sacks proposed a two-way distinction of topical
movement in conversation between stepwise transition, where
one topic flows into another, and boundaried topical
movement, where the closure of one topic is followed by the
initiation of another (cf. Atkinson and Heritage, 1984:
165). The former, according to Sacks, appears to be more
common than the latter:
A general feature for topical organization in
conversation is movement from topic to topic, not by a
topic-close followed by a topic beginning, but by a
stepwise move, which involves linking up whatever is
being introduced to what has just been talked about,
such that, as far as anybody knows, a new topic has not
been started, though we're far from wherever we began.
(Sacks, 1972; in Jefferson, 1984: 198)
Tannen (1984), following Bennett (1978), also employs the
term thematic progression for topic maintenance of this
Button and Casey (1984) investigated boundaried topical
movement and found that certain sequential environments were
favorable to topic initiation. Topic-initiating utterances,
or "topic initial elicitors" in their terminology, occur
most frequently following opening components, following
closing components and following topic-bounding turns.
Tannen (1984: 41ff.), however, points out that the question
of who raises a topic is often extremely complex in natural
conversations. For instance, at times it is not possible at
all to attribute a topic to a particular person or, though
one participant may have originally raised a topic, others,
by expanding on it, may have controlled it. Often it may
not be clear where precisely one topic begins and another
The introduction of new topics in conversations has
often been considered as a measure of control in
interactions. Schegloff (1968), for instance, describes the
openings of telephone conversations in terms of rules for
summons-answer sequences, which allow the initiator of the
conversation to control the topic. Erickson (1976)
discusses control in relation to "gatekeeping" encounters,
such as counseling sessions, job interviews, etc., where
those in positions of authority maintain conversational
The issue of control has been the center of
methodological discussions on the problems of the
sociolinguistic interview. Labov (1972c: 113) refers to the
limitations of the interview situation as the Observer's
Paradox: "to obtain the data most important for linguistic
theory, we have to observe how people speak when they are
not being observed." Wolfson (1976: 197) comments that "the
degree of solidarity between the participants will affect
the verbal behavior of the subject" and argues for
naturalistic observations only to avoid the problem of
asymmetrical role relationship between interviewer and
An example of the constraints of the interview
situation on the speech data is given by Slaughter and
Bennett (1982) who note that the conversational strategies
of the adult interviewer had a strong impact on children's
discourse in both their first and second language.
Questioning by the interviewer at times elicited merely
'yes' or 'no' answers by the children with no further reply.
Similar problems did occur in the present study.
Conversations with some of the students resulted in rigid
question-answer patterns, while other interviews produced
more natural speech data. However, rather than dismissing
the interview entirely as a method of observation, this
study will present interviews within the context of the
total speech situation and as such, interviews will be
regarded as speech events. A distinction will be made
between planned and unplanned discourse to differentiate
structured from spontaneous interviews. Furthermore,
through ethnographic observations each interview will be
evaluated with respect to the role relationships among the
participants. It can be seen that the issue of control
varied considerably from one speech event to another.
The concept of style defies easy characterization. As
Hymes (1972: 57) points out, speech style may be expressed
in terms of "statistical frequency of elements already given
in linguistic description," but also depends on "qualitative
judgments of appropriateness." The former might involve
occurrence of specific linguistic or paralinguistic features
(e.g. pauses, rate of speech, discourse features), whereas
the latter would have to consider the context in which they
Sapir (1927: 903) related style to both personality and
to social context and described it as one of five levels of
speech behavior as "an everyday facet of speech that
characterizes both the social group and the individual."
Tannen (1984: 10) expresses a similar position:
Each person's individual style is a combination of
features learned in interaction with other (hence,
social) plus features developed idiosyncratically.
Perhaps the impression of individual style results from
the unique combination and deployment of socially
In addition, Tannen (1982: 230) suggests that ethnicity
plays an important role in the development of style; she
found that "conversational style is more resistant to change
than more apparent marks of ethnicity such as retention of
the parents' or grandparents' language."
A final area which is of interest to the study of
discourse organization is that of repairs. As one of the
primary functions of conversations is establishing
communication, speakers in an interaction must continually
check their own and other participants' speech to ensure
successful communication of the intended message.
Schegloff, Jefferson, and Sacks (1977) offer a
framework for analysis of the notion of repair in
conversations, which they employ as distinct from the term
'correction' to reflect its broader domain of occurrence.
The notion 'correction' would necessarily imply replacement
of a mistake, whereas 'repair' might, for instance, involve
cases where there is no hearable error. They further make a
distinction between self-repair and other-repair, each of
which may be the result of self-initiation or other-
initiation. They found that, overwhelmingly, participants
opt for self-correction over other-correction, which led
them to conclude that
. the organization of repair in conversation
provides centrally for self-correction, which can be
arrived at by the alternative routes of self-initiation
and other-initiation -- routes which are themselves so
organized as to favor self-initiated self-repair.
(Schegloff, Jefferson, and Sacks, 1977: 377)
Richards and Schmidt (1983: 148) mention echoing as an
additional repair strategy, "whereby the speaker repeats a
word or phrase which is not understood and the
conversational partner explains it or replaces it with an
3.4 Acquisition of Conversational Competence
by Second Language Learners
Thus far some aspects of conversational analysis have
been discussed which can be applied to the study of
discourse in intra- or interethnic contexts. The problem of
the Moroccan-Dutch immigrants, however, contains the
additional dimension of second language acquisition for a
vast majority of the second generation. As only a small
percentage of the immigrants are as yet acquiring Dutch as a
first language, the problem needs to be approached from the
perspective of second language acquisition as well as that
of intercultural communication.
In recent years, second language acquisition research
has begun to consider conversational analysis as a means for