The Dilemma and Adaptive Skills of a Second Language Classroom: A Book Review


  • Arnoriely N. Canilao English Language Studies, Bulacan State University, Philippines.
  • Maria Fatima D. Gervacio English Language Studies, Bulacan State University, Philippines.
  • Luisito M. Nanquil Faculty of the College of Arts and Letters and Graduate Division of Bulacan State University, Philippines.



The Dilemma and Adaptive Skills, Second Language Classroom, Book review


Learning a language that is not your own tongue requires zealousness, hard labor, and confidence. One of the many ways to learn English as a second language is to take language courses. Among the four macro skills, speaking is the toughest task. Unfortunately, this problem is exacerbated by the fact that oral proficiency is often used as the primary criteria for evaluating the efficacy of different language programs regarding second-foreign language education. If one can speak the language with great eloquence, the purpose of learning a second language has likely been reached.

However, there could still be some paucity in acquiring knowledge of English as a second language. Despite their inadequate understanding of the target language, some successful L2 speakers may converse successfully in a foreign language. In order to cope with limitations, these speakers rely solely on their own resources and coping mechanisms. Creating communication in second language where there a communication gap is present necessitates the effective use of communication methods in the target language.

Depending on the writers’ qualitative research of English, which can be considered a foreign language in an oral communication situation, this book gives a complete synopsis and a systematic classification of learners' challenges and managing methods in second language speaking activities. It is organized into three chapters predicated on their prominent subject.

EFL oral communication is a multifaceted endeavor, and the Part I, which has five subparts, attempts to convey this complexity. This book starts with chapter written by Qian, he corroborates the silence in second language speaking courses to highlight the social character of second language oral communication. An EFL student’s stillness is not always a shortcoming in spoken communication, but rather an EFL student’s reaction to their social circumstances by situating themselves, classmates, and instructors in EFL situations.

Speaking about pragmatics in L2 oral communication, chapter 2 compares the spoken grammar of native speakers with that of EFL speakers. Because their various pragmatic purposes for native and non-native speakers, the researcher observed that grammatical traits are employed uniquely by each party. Using Niu’s chapter three submission as a case study, they examined how the environmental learning factors affect L2 verbal communication. The researcher used the tiered ecosystems model to analyze a collection of semi-structured interviews as well as journal writing to examine EFL oral communication. The process of learning oral communication of Chinese participants is considered as a conservational process that is formed by the collaboration of the learner with the four degrees of the teaching-learning surroundings.

Shokouhi continued his exploration of L2 communication from a cultural perspective in chapter five. It was also demonstrated how the absence of basic English proficiency of Iranian migrants in Australia has stemmed in their linguistic invalidation in in communicating using second language by focusing on a group of Iranians in Australia. Disappointingly, the lack of expressiveness about Iran's history and the lack of linguistic skills for critiquing others has a devastating impact on the Iranian people.

The final chapter of Part I offers a full summary of different approaches such as qualitative approach, quantitative approach, and mixed approach in second language oral communication research. A discussion of new ways to research pronunciation followed the introduction of the primary data gathering methodologies in each study method. This chapter concludes with an introduction to the book’s primary research strategy and how it fits within the numerous research approaches.

The second part discusses the nature and the natural dilemma in a second language classroom. The causes of these in second language learning have been studied through a linguistic approach that focuses on linguistic factors and individual characteristics and the interactional approach that pertains to societal concerns. The first chapter of this part emphasizes the causes of difficulties of learners in second language classroom. According to the related literature mentioned, individual attributes cause learners problem. For the collection of data and analysis, studies concentrate on ‘individual self-expression’, leaving behind ‘mutual achievement and comprehension’. Furthermore, communicators’ characteristics are found to be responsible for the learners’ difficulty in learning a second language and considered as an independent variable of learners’ performance in L2.

To identify the how these difficulties and learners’ characteristics are related in second language learning, the researcher evaluated and compared the factors affecting the establishment of difficulties that leads to social, cultural and situational nature of language use and learning. Along with this, problematic communication is also caused by interruption in the flow of interaction. There are arguments made of what observable evidence that bring problematic behavior in second language communication. Thus, the researcher dealt with this using three conversation turns, inference, and observable evidence.

In this chapter, it was also disclosed the communicators-oriented problems built by learners’ self-perception and interlocutors in second language communication. These and the fear of speaking in front of the crowd were said to be the main origin of the dilemma.

The next chapter discusses the language-oriented problems. Dornyei and Scott (1995), mentioned the four main categories of the sources of challenges in language learning. The researcher wanted to understand how target language and the context or background of L1 may be more troublesome in learning the second language. In EFL context, the author discusses how communicators and the language context interconnect with the establishment of challenge of second language learners. The thematic analysis of the data of L2 oral communication problems was condensed into language and content directed challenges.

The following chapter of part III explains the methods and techniques used by participants to explore their perception and use of the second language. This is to convey the message effectively and handle problems that occur inside the context. It was mentioned that vocabulary items are the often hindrance in starting communication and in order to manage this deficiency, scholars suggested the use of communication strategies.

The succeeding chapter talks about the language-oriented roles of methods of second language learning. Lack of language skills, or ability, a language-oriented problem, is one of the reasons why learners experience communication breakdown. This language-oriented challenges are mainly from the gap referring to resources in language learning. As mentioned, the challenges are the correctness and accuracy of expressions.

The chapter of content-oriented functions of strategies explains that language learners are being deprived of opportunities in oral communication of EFL contexts. Beside from the lack of opportunities, form-oriented system of education also interferes with the successful L2 communication due to unproductive environment. Despite these, there are still no agreed communication strategies to be used for the context-oriented problems. Therefore, the researcher provided new communication strategies in dealing with context-oriented problems.

As a conclusion, the book simplified the complexity and multidimensional given difficulties in second language learning. The participants of the study have shown their interests to be fluent speakers of second language. The cause of language learning challenges of learners led them in choosing communication strategies that is best fitted for them. The main problems as well as the subcategories and communication strategies were also summarized.

There is no particular classification of communication strategies. Learners have to work together and apply a series of CSs to have academic and social skills in an EFL context. It is also important for second language learners to build a social relationship with the speakers of language having interactional situations and communication with the native speakers of language. It is a must to have a friendly and comfortable environment in order to effectively master the language. Beside the formal education, interpersonal communication is said to be more effective in achieving interpersonal skills rather than just having language as a necessity.


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Author Biographies

Arnoriely N. Canilao, English Language Studies, Bulacan State University, Philippines.

Arnoriely N. Canilao is affiliated with DepEd San Fernando, Pampanga where she teaches English to high school students. For her research interests, she is into translation and literary criticism.

Maria Fatima D. Gervacio, English Language Studies, Bulacan State University, Philippines.

Maria Fatima D. Gervacio is an English teacher at DepEd San Fernando, Pampanga where she teaches English to high school students. Her research interests include everything pertaining to her native language, Kapampangan.

Luisito M. Nanquil , Faculty of the College of Arts and Letters and Graduate Division of Bulacan State University, Philippines.

Dr. Luisito Nanquil is a faculty of the College of Arts and Letters and Graduate Division of Bulacan State University where he is handling language and literature courses. His research interests are TESOL, curriculum design, cultural studies, and sociolinguistics.




How to Cite

Canilao, A. N. ., Gervacio, M. F. D. ., & Nanquil , L. M. . (2022). The Dilemma and Adaptive Skills of a Second Language Classroom: A Book Review. Linguistic Forum - A Journal of Linguistics, 4(1), 1–2.