Fossilization: a Comparative Study Between Formal and Informal SLA

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Abstract The notion of fossilization is one of the most important factors in preventing learners to reach their aim. The present study attempts to compare the degree of fossilization between two language learning settings, in other words, it seeks to compare between learners who studied English in formal settings and those who acquired their language informally, trying to find out which of the two is more fossilized than the other. It is hypothesized that formal and informal language learning are different in regard to fossilization ratio. This dissertation is divided into two main parts: the theoretical part or the literature review and the practical part, the former includes two chapters and the latter is composed of only one chapter. Furthermore, this study follows the quantitative approach and it was carried out using the descriptive design. The required data for the research were collected via two forms of questionnaires; one administered as a hard copy while another through an online submission, the former was distributed to 20 English students at the University of Khenchela while the latter to 20 learners who acquired English in informal settings. After the analysis of the data, the findings show that there is no significant difference in fossilization ratio between university students and learners who acquired English informally, yet, this phenomenon occurs anyway in both learning environments. Consequently, the context in which learners acquire a foreign language has inconsiderable impact on learner’s language competence.