study of linguistic gains, language immersion programs, native speakers


This study compared the amount of the second language (L2) use and linguistic gains made by students in three short‑term language immersion programs: (1) traditional study abroad, (2) service-oriented study abroad, and (3) foreign language (FL) housing. These were chosen because they represent three distinct program types, providing students with different ways of interacting in the target language and different types and amounts of contact with native speakers. This allowed us to evaluate relationships between study setting, language use, and language gains. Learners completed language logs detailing their use of the L2 as well as pre- and post-immersion oral tests to assess gains in fluency, pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary. Although the traditional study abroad group used the L2 the most, findings demonstrate much of this use was due to coursework. When comparing use outside of the classroom, the service learning group used the target language significantly more than students in the FL house and traditional study abroad. Also two of the groups, those in the FL house and service‑oriented study abroad demonstrated significant linguistic gains. Results also suggest a positive relationship between time speaking the L2 with non‑native speakers and linguistic gains.

Original Publication Citation

Martinsen, R., Baker, W., Dewey, D., & Bown, J. (2010). Exploring Diverse Settings for Language Acquisition and Use: Comparing Study Abroad, Service Learning Abroad, and Foreign Language Housing. Applied Language Learning, 20, 45-66.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Applied Language Learning







University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor