This panel investigates the sociolinguistic and psycholinguistic aspects of teaching and learning Persian. The first presentation discusses the idea of a standard Persian by defining standardization versus linguistic truths and rights. Since the introduction of modern education in Iran in 1858, the myth of “one language, one nation” has been the underlying ideology of Iran’s language planning and policy. This presentation argues that implementation of the above policy has not been successful in all contexts and throughout its 160 years of practice. This presentation will also delve into the strengths and weaknesses of the present state of teaching Persian to approximately one third of the Iranian students who are from non-Persian speaking backgrounds.
The second presentation will identify and compare the language learning strategies and beliefs about language learning of 166 university students learning Persian at three universities in the United States. The presenter will share the results of her study showing how her participants reported holding strong beliefs in the categories of “motivation and expectation” and “foreign language aptitude”. In addition, participants also reported using compensation and social strategies most, followed by cognitive, metacognitive, memory, and affective strategies. In short, the results of this study provide empirical description of the language learning beliefs and strategies in learners of Persian. The study concludes with a list of practical implications for Persian instruction.
The third presentation discusses how Persian language learners develop an interlanguage through their language acquisition journey which will have some features of their first language as well as some overgeneralization regarding the Persian language rules. This interlanguage will change through different stages of their learning process and would be different for every individual. Cognitive, interlingual, and intralingual factors can affect the form of this interlanguage. This presentation discusses the characteristics of such an interlanguage in a Persian-English and English-Persian environments. Therefore, the phonological, morphological, semantic and syntactic features of Persian as an interlanguage will be discussed throughout the presentation.
The fourth presentation is on the psycholinguistic aspect of teaching Persian. More specifically, it discusses the teaching and learning of formulaic language in Persian. Formulaic language is not only part of the language, but also part of the culture of the speakers of that language. Therefore, it poses some special problems for a second language learner. This presentation will evaluate different theories of second language acquisition of formulaic language in general as well as the problems of learning and teaching formulaic language in Persian.