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TYPE THE TITLE IN THIS BOX Weaving together Conceptual Context, Skill of
Questioning, Visual Imagery, Kinesthetics and Mapping in the Acquisition of Language from Psycholinguistic Perspective
TYPE NAME(S) OF AUTHOR(S) IN THIS BOX Dr. V. Hema Nalini TYPE THE AFFILIATION(S) OF THE AUTHOR(S) Assistant Professor in English, Department of Education, Avinashilingam Deemed University, Coimbatore 641 108

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Language acquisition is often looked upon by psychologists and linguists as a critical period in the development of a child. Initial mapping in terms of language development has a decisive role to play in the learning process and in turn the cognitive development of a child. The inter-relatedness of the learner, the learning context and the tasks of language acquisition are the focus of this paper. Children internalize both consciously and unconsciously the important aspects of an ambient language. Ones mother is considered the first teacher of a child. The pivotal role played by the mother in the language learning process of a child cannot be refuted at all. The child learns to use speech patterns from the mother or the caregiver. When this scenario is analysed and the implications of the interactions studied in detail, what we come to know is that there are six components. These are Appropriate context based on a key concept Skill of Questioning Visualisation Kinesthetics Mapping Weaving These six components have to be exploited in every classroom. First and foremost among the six components is the apt context for language to happen. In the acquisition of a second language, it is rather imperative that appropriate context is created. The context is based on a key concept from the immediate environment of the child; context in language learning is the most important

element; concepts provide physical and psychological environment, learning experiences and opportunities for the child. Interactive or participatory activities provide opportunities for the child to acquire language. As the mother chooses a concept such as going to the park in the evening that becomes the key concept and along with that the child learns several other related concepts; she builds up the conversation further by asking questions. Let us look at an example: Mother: Shall we go to VOC park? Child: Pa Mother: Yes! Thats right, park. What is Chintu going to do in the park? (The child goes wee to indicate happiness and makes swinging movements) Yes! Chintu is going to swing in the park. (The child vocalizes and smiles). The mother adds It is going to be fun. She makes swinging movements and says After swinging, well be going round and round on the Merry-go-round. Here again she makes circulatory movements. She claps her hands and exaggerates the sounds. Mother: Who else is coming with us to the park? Child: Dada? (The child too throws questions and imitates the intonation used by the mother for questioning) Mother: Yes, daddy is also coming (She repeats the word used by the child and gives the correct pronunciation) As she puts the leading questions to the child, she expands the concept of park and helps the child visualize the different things in the park. The child immediately maps the different play areas such as swing, slide, merry-goround and weaves them together to form a mental picture of the concept park. This kind of reciprocal talk in psycholinguistic parlance is known as

protoconversation; this is further enriched by overextension and underextension. Questions serve as a powerful language tool and enable the mother to gain conversational attention and guide her interaction with the child and the child uses the same technique and asks pertinent questions for clarity and elucidation. The same strategy can be exploited in the classroom by the English Teacher. Teacher: I have a happy announcement. Tomorrow we are going on a picnic to Black Thunder. (All pupils shout and scream together) Teacher: What are we going to do there? Pupil 1: I will be riding the roller coaster. Teacher: Have you been to Black Thunder earlier? (Many of them give chorus answer saying that they had already been to Black Thunder with their family) Pupil 2: How are we going Madam? Pupil 3: Are we given lunch there? Pupil 4: How long we will be there? (Teacher-students interaction (protoconversation) goes on like this) This type of protoconversation should be taken advantage of in the English classroom and everyday activities have to be incorporated to enhance and work on language development and language learning. Questions provide clarity, continuity, relevance to the content and reinforcement to the child and these serve as critical elements of weaving the language web. Asking questions helps the mother initially to break the ice and start the interaction process and enables the child think about the unknown and sustain the interaction and provide a theme for continued exploration. Adults and children use questions to accommodate more thoughts, more experiences and internalize knowledge; learning a language is complex and

multidimensional in nature and demands the learner to get actively involved in a joint enterprise with the teacher of constructing new meanings out of past experiences. Visualization refers to the process or technique of creating images, diagrams, graphics or pictures or drawing pictures or using illustrations in order to communicate a message; From time immemorial , people have been communicating by sending messages visually; both abstract and concrete ideas have been effectively communicated pictorially. Visualisation also refers to the process of giving a visual form to an abstract concept in ones head or mind. The first step of the process of visualization is familiarity with the environment otherwise known as spatial orientation; once a person understands the topography, maneuvering through the environment becomes easier. The traveler gains knowledge and understanding of the space around him or her and forms mental images; these mental images or configurations are internalized and help the traveler to understand the space or the environment and permit the direct retrieval of spatial relationships between points without relying on external sources or without reference to the routes connecting them. Great ideas originate in the muscles says Thomas Edison. Neuroscientists and cognitive psychologists emphasize the importance of incorporating movement into all kinds of learning activities at every grade level as the focus is on teaching the whole child. Kinesthetic learning activities keep students focused on learning as teachers seamlessly infuse movement into their existing curricula creating both engaged and engaging learners. Body movements, exaggerated acoustic cues (simple changes in intonation and pitch), facial expressions, gestures and changes brought about in the interaction pattern highlight the concepts involved and help learners acquire

information fastest. The capacity to learn a language is innate whereas the structure of the language is not innate but it is learnt or acquired by the child by his or her own effort. This is exactly what happens in language acquisition. Once the concepts are visualized by the learner, the learner weaves a language web (as the mind darts and weaves just like the warps and wefts interlacing of the yarn in a loom) incorporating the skills of thinking, remembering, forming concepts and ultimately translating thoughts into words.