All languages are linguistically equal, but due to human interaction, they are not equal socially. The purpose of this project is to determine the success of the English acquisition process in Bellavista [1], Ecuador between school and the tourism industry, based on the perspectives of my participants. I use the theoretical framework of Pierre Bourdieu to explain linguistic and cultural capital, leading to the motivating forces behind second-language acquisition. The literature on language acquisition as related to my I.S. can be categorized into three areas: linguistic capital and the theory behind it; language acquisition in school; and language acquisition in the tourism industry. Language acquisition plays an important role in the commodification of language and in its ultimate socioeconomic value. The Ecuadorian government places great importance on English and so it possesses a higher level of linguistic capital than other non-native languages. This study uses participant observation, ethnographic interviews and content analysis to collect data. I conducted my research over the course of two visits to Ecuador between May and October 2017, and spent a total of three weeks in Bellavista, a small town in the cloud forest with a strong tourism industry. This study focuses on two locations in Bellavista where English acquisition occurs: in the tourism sector of el pueblo and in school. In order to expand this research, I would need to spend an extended period of time in Bellavista, conducting observations in both the school and the tourism industry.

[1] All place names in this study are changed to maintain anonymity and protect my participants.


Frese, Pamela


Sociology and Anthropology


Anthropology | Linguistic Anthropology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Language Acquisition, Ecuador, English Acquisition, Linguistic Capital, Cultural Capital, Tourism, Education

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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