A sociolinguistic and conversational analysis among second generation Moroccans in the Netherlands


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A sociolinguistic and conversational analysis among second generation Moroccans in the Netherlands
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Van Deusen-Scholl, Petronella Lyda Francisca, 1957-
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Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
    Table of Contents
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    List of Tables
        Page viii
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    Chapter 1. Introduction and methodology
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    Chapter 2. European labor migrations: Historical overview and policy issues
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    Chapter 3. Analytical framework and literature review
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    Chapter 4. Sociolinguistics and second language acquisition
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    Chapter 5. Sociolinguistics and conversational interaction
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    Chapter 6. Conclusions and implications for further research
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    Appendix A. Questionnaire
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    Appendix B. Outline for student interviews
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    Appendix C. Outline for talk with AMMU subjects
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    Biographical sketch
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Full Text








Copyright 1988


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





ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ..... ..............

LIST OF TABLES ...... ...............

ABSTRACT ....... ..................

..... iii

. .... viii




Introduction ... .........
Problem Statement ........
Theoretical Perspective. .
Terminology ... ..........
Methodology .... ..........
Research Questions .......
Research Design ..........
Subjects .... ..........
Data Analysis ... .........
Summary .... .............
Notes ..... .............


Introduction .................
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 ... .........

. 1








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

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

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 ....... ..................

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
. 179
* . 185
* . 194
. 196
* . 198
* . 202
* . 203

RESEARCH ...... ...............


Introduction ..... ............
Policy Issues .... .............
Conversational Analysis: Theoretical
Issues ..... ..............
Second Language Acquisition Issues .
Discourse Strategies .. .........
Summary ..... ................

* 204
* 205



QUESTIONNAIRE ..... ............




. 216


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




1-1 SUBJECTS ........ ..................

1-2 AGE OF SUBJECTS ...... ...............

1-3 AGE AT ARRIVAL ...... ...............





1-8 FATHERS' OCCUPATIONS .... ............

1-9 FAMILY SIZE ....... ................



CONTRIBUTIONS ...... ...............

OVERALL DATA ...... ...............

SUBJECTS' DATA ..... ..............



VARIABLES ....... .................


. . 12

. . 13

. . 15

. . 16

. . 16

. . 17


. . 20

. . 21

. . 109

. . 114

. . 120

. . 121

. . 122

. . 126

. . 129

. . 130


Table Page



5-1 LANGUAGE USAGE OF AMMU SUBJECTS ... .......... 148



COMPREHENSION ....... .................. 162

5-5 NUMBER OF TURNS OVER TIME .... ............. 164

AND RANK ........ .................... 166




5-10 CONTROL BY SEGMENT ...... ................ 172

5-11 MEAN LENGTH OF TURN ...... ................ 173



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


Petronella Lyda Francisca Van Deusen-Scholl

April, 1988

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

argumentative structure.


1.1 Introduction

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.

1.1.3 Terminology

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

1.2 Methodology

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
Moroccan immigrants?

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
in Dutch?
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
interethnic encounters?

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, 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

volunteer basis.

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


1.2.3 Subjects

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. Sex

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.



Number 10 9 13 6

Percentage 52.6 47.4 68.4 31.6 Age

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 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

number of
ISK students 1 4 4 2 4 1 1 2

number of
MAVO students 2 3 2 6 2 1 1

number of
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 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

background. 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 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

of ISK
students 15 3 2 3 2 3 3 1 1

students 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1

number of
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
stay in 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 11 12 13 14 15

Number of
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 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 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. 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


Region Number Percentage

North 27 72.98

Center 5 13.52

East 3 8.1

Coast 1 2.7

South 1 2.7

378 100 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

40 100

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

(WAO) benefits. 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


1.3 Summary

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.

1.4 Notes

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?
Which grade?

to an item including the following options

Item 6a. Which school are you attending and which grade are
you in?
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
1,4 year.
7 The geographic division follows that of Shadid
(1979: 151).


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
health reasons.


2.1 Introduction

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,

1985: 16ff.).

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.

section 2.5.2).

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

Netherlands originates:

North: Tanger, Tetouan and Al Hoceima, Nador

Coast: Rabat, Casablanca, El Jadida, Kenitra

South: Marrakech, Agadir, Ouarzazate

Centre: Taza, Fez, Meknes

East: Oujda

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,

1979: 151).

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

Moroccan population.

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,

1976: 211ff.).

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).

2.4.2 Moroccans

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

second language.

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

immigrant children.

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

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

educational approach.

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
educational practice

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

system. 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. 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
physical capabilities.

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

different levels:

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.). 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-

training programs.

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.

2.6 Summary

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.


3.1 Introduction

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

child-adult speech.

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

conversational strategies:

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

competence, which

. 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
of utterances;"

(3) discourse competence, which is the "mastery of how
to combine grammatical forms and meanings to
achieve a unified spoken or written text in
different genres;"

(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
actual outcomes.

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

arrival, etc.

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. Goals

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. Turn-taking

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
is effected.
(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

adjacency pairs.

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
member of.
(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 coordination.'

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

explains that

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
contextualization functions.
(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. 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:

1. rhythm
2. surface linguistic structures (e.g. sound and
structural patterns)
3. contextualization
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. Topics

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

one ends. Control

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. Style

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
learned features.

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." Repairs

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

easier item."

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