1.1 Background to the Study
An extensive language acquisition is determined by a level of
dexterity in the four language skills namely speaking, listening,
reading and writing. Listening and speaking, in this order, have been
described as the most important two as language transcends the semiotic,
that is the language for communication, role. Language is both a
sociological and political tool that influences man more than man does
it; in it a person’s worldview is determined to the extent that language
is consciousness so that such things as art especially the literary
kind become a production of this consciousness at the same time a
product of it. Disciplines like anthropology, sociology, psychology,
economics, history, etc., invest much time in the study of language as
the latter bear upon any deep human-related study. As a result, bridge
disciplines have sprung up over the last few decades such as
sociolinguistics and so on.
However, it is the application of language studies in
things like marketing, advertisement, social media strategies,
programming, etc., that inform the surging call for more diverse
language related studies. One of such is on the issues of gender and
identity in second language acquisition.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
A cross-section of second language learners of a particular language
with the same materials namely same tutors, learning media, duration of
exposure, etc., are found to have advanced in the language at an
alarming differences in dexterity. One begins to enquire into the
various factors that have come to bear upon this differences in second
Studies have been carried out before now on the issues of
gender in L2 and also the representation of identity in the acquisition
of L2(second Language). One of such studies is Masoud Zoghi et al “The
Effect of Gender on Language Learning” which:
examine[d] the effect of gender on English as a second language
(EFL) achievement test at the end of RUN2 (young adults) at ILI (Iran
Language institute in 2013). In other words, the aim of th[e] study was
to determine whether student’s gender can affect their learning English
as a second language or not. (1)
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The objectives of every research work always revolves around a
problem and an enquiry into its solution. In research, of course, this
problem can be in the form of a question whose posing can spurn into
other questions. The research process then is the attempt at answering
or solving this problem under established rules of the discipline from
which the question originated.
In this particular research work, the focus is to
establish the presence and issues of gender and identity in the learning
of a second language. Individually, the influence of gender and
identity on the acquisition of a second language has been studied and in
the case of gender, researcher have concluded that presented before the
same learning conditions and same languages, women have, at the initial
stage, proven to be quicker and more eloquent in the new language than
men whereby as time progresses, men tend to be better at it. It is the
aim of this present examination to follow the study alongside the issues
of identity in the learning of a second language.
Consequently, this study hopes to put to rest the
question as to whether how a learner sees himself generally can
influence his learning of a second language and how he is most likely to
wield this second language. This is as it has been suspected that
learners of a second language say English in areas where they enjoy free
political security thrive better in the language than those who don’t.
1.4 Research Questions
As we pointed out in the background to the study, what brings a
research into being isn’t always necessarily a problem; it can, and
usually in the humanities, be a question. And the following questions
have brought the present research work into being and have informed its
1.4.1 Do gender and identity influence the acquisition of a second language?
1.4.2 What are the issues that inform this influence?
1.4.3 To what extend do they come to bear upon the learning of the second language?
1.5 Significance of the Study
This research work would be of great significance to anyone teaching a
language to an international student or just a second language learner
as it would help shape the curriculum and teaching technique.
It would also be of immense importance to digital
marketers in that their topographical targeting would take into
consideration the findings of this work thereby focusing their social
media campaigns and adverts on the gender which would relate to a
particular language use in written contents.
The gender and identity issues raised in this work would
stand as case in points in the cultural reorientation of the younger
generations; the cultural practices that may be found to hamper the
smooth learning of a second language in a gender would be legislated
upon and a better ground found. One of such is the little or no exposure
given to the girl child in most African countries to formal education
which makes them illiterate in their mother tongue; a skill whose lack
results in a difficulty in the acquisition of a second language.
1.6 Research Hypothesis
The hypothesis on which this research work would be carried out is
found in the statement that issues of gender and identity significantly
influence upon the acquisition of second languages
1.7 Scope of the Study
The gender and identity issues as related to the learning of a second
language which would be treated here will concentrate on the immediate
1.8 Limitations of the Study
The very significant limitation of this research work is that of
resources to carry out an extensive enquiry that can cut across a wide
section of second language learners of different genders and backgrounds
and also of different ages in order to conclude without any doubt that
these factors influence second language acquisition. However, one cannot
overlook time factor as the present research work is one that demands
extensive field and theoretical work.
1.9 Definition of Terms
Gender is the state of being either male or female albeit there are
other genders apart from this. But in a sociolinguistic study such as
this, these two will suffice.
Character or the state and condition that gives a person the quality
by which he or she is identified from other persons. identity often has a
societal or legal undertone.
Zoghi, Masoud. “The Effect of Gender on Language Learning.” Journal of Novel Applied Sciences 4.2 (2013): 1124-28. PDF.