Chapter 5. In the beginning was the word

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This chapter examines vocabulary acquisition by adult learners of six mission languages: German, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese and Spanish. Although the data show little relationship between pre-mission L2 exposure and mission vocabulary acquisition, the length of exposure time on the mission is a robust predictor of lexical attainment. Words tend to be acquired more quickly by learners of the European languages than the Asian, with no significant gender difference overall. Affect is most positive during the MTC intensive course, decreasing significantly upon arrival in the foreign culture. A regression analysis indicates that the variables which contribute significantly to missionary vocabulary attainment are time on mission, language distance, motivation, attitude, and belief in a spiritual component in language learning.


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