Foreign language acquisition has been assuming greater importance over the recent decades due to the global processes taking place in the world. It is, therefore, significant to more fully understand the factors that facilitate or hinder the process of foreign language acquisition. It is argued that context figures prominently in foreign language acquisition and the relationship between foreign language acquisition and context is explored. The English language has been chosen due to the abundance of data on a variety of factors that influence acquisition of English as a foreign language. A qualitative research strategy is employed to explore the learners’ perspective on the activity. Data are represented from four schools with different characteristics to compare and assess the influence of various factors. Grounded theory is used to analyse the data in a systematic way. Foreign language acquisition is viewed as involving two types of activities: learning activity and use activity. The analysis shows that learning activity and use activity are different in nature and that different levels and aspects of context are pertinent to each of these activities. The importance of transition from learning activity to use activity is stressed.
Keywords: Foreign language acquisition; English language learning; English language use; Context; Capital; Activity; Qualitative research.