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other than their mother tongue. Goals: 1. The description of L2 acquisition: to describe how learner language changes over time, example, grammatical structures, pronunciation, and vocabulary. 2. The explanation of L2 acquisition: to identify the external and internal factors that account for why learners acquire L2 in the way they do; to explain why some learners seem to be better at it than others. a. External factors: the social conditions in which learning takes place; the input that learners receive. b. Internal factors: learners’ cognitive mechanisms. (e.g. mother tongue; communicative strategies) 3. To improve language teaching: researchers have studied what impact teaching has on L2 learning. First language acquisition It seems that children all over the world go through similar stages of language learning behaviors. They use similar constructions in order to express similar meanings, and make the same kinds of errors. These stages can be summarized as follows: Language stage crying cooing babbling one-word utterances two-word utterances questions, negatives rare or complex constructions mature speech Beginning stage birth 6 weeks 6 months 1 year 18 months 2 years 3 months 5 years 10 years
An important characteristic of child language is that it is rule-governed, even if initially the rules children create do not correspond to adult ones. Children commonly produce forms such as sheeps or breads which they never heard before and therefore
not imitating. Comparing first and second language acquisition One needs to approach the comparison of first and second language acquisition by first considering the differences between children and adults. Four possible categories to compare, defined by age and type of acquisition are presented as follows: Child L1 L2 C1 C2 Adult A1 A2
Cell A1 is of an abnormal situation. There have been few instances of an adult acquiring a first language. The C1-A2 comparisons are difficult to make because of the enormous cognitive, affective, and physical differences between children and adults. The C1-C2 hold age constant, while the C2-A2 hold second language constant. The critical period hypothesis A biologically determined period of life when language can be acquired more easily and beyond which time language is increasingly difficult to acquire. The classic argument is that a critical point for second language acquisition occurs around puberty, (by the age of 12 or 13) beyond which people seem to be relatively incapable of acquiring a native-like accent of the second language. The hypothesis was grounded in research which showed that people who lost their linguistic capabilities, for example as a result of an accident, were able to regain them totally before puberty (about the age of twelve) but were unable to do so afterwards. There is considerable evidence to support the claim that L2 learners who begin learning as adults are unable to achieve native-speaker competence in either grammar or pronunciation. Lateralization: There is evidence in neurological research that as the human brain matures, certain functions are assigned, or ‘lateralized’, to the left hemisphere of the brain, and certain other functions to the right hemisphere. Intellectual, logical, and analytic functions appear to be largely located in the left hemisphere, while the right hemisphere controls functions related to emotional and social needs. Lenneberg (1967) suggested that lateralization is a slow process that begins around the age of two and is completed around puberty.
Second.) Why the L2 learner made errors: Old habits get in the way of learning new habits. teachers need to focus their teaching on areas of L1 and L2 difference. (e. These theories were applied to language learning. language learning would take place by imitating and repeating the same structures time after time (it was strongly believed that practice makes perfect).Recent history of second language research Behavioristic approach ( the 1900s -1950s): In the 1950s and 1960s. This was termed Contrastive Analysis (CA). The notion of interference has 3 . Behaviorist leaning theory: Theories of habit formation were theories of learning in general. In L1 acquisition children were said to master their mother tongue by imitating utterances produced by adults and having their efforts at using language either rewarded or corrected. in the behaviorist view.g. the implications of this approach were twofold. but they create new sentences that they have never learned before. Researchers also embarked on the task of comparing pairs of languages in order to pinpoint areas of differences. First. Mummy goed. The complication is that the old L1 habits interfere with this process. A habit was formed when a particular stimulus became regularly linked with a particular response. language learning is seen as the formation of habits. structures are realized differently in the L1 and the L2. Through repeated reinforcement. When learning a second language. It was also believed that SLA could proceed in a similar way. a certain stimulus will elicit the same response time and again. The response people give to stimuli in their environment will be reinforced if desired outcome is obtained. which could be systematically practiced and mastered one at a time.) From a teaching point of view. The L2 learning process therefore involves replacing those habits by a set of new ones. Criticisms: The creativity of language.children do not learn and reproduce a large set of sentences. which will then become a habit. we already have a set of well-established responses in our mother tongue. Imitation and reinforcement were the means by which the learner identified the stimulus-response association that constituted the habits of the L2. however. based on the notions of stimulus and response. If. either helping or inhibiting it. then learning will take place easily. then learning will be difficult. it breaked. This is only possible because they internalize rules rather than strings of words. (If the structures in the L2 are similar to those of the L1. L2 learning was most successful when the task was broken into a number of stimulus-response links.
4 . only 3 percent interference. d.a central place in behaviorist account of SLA. Unique errors: those that do not reflect first language structure and also not found in first language acquisition data. Krashen’s monitor model (the 1970s) Krashen’s Monitor Model evolved in the late 1970s in a series of articles (Krashen 1977. c. 1985. in much the same way as in L1 acquisition. Dulay and Burt (1973) claimed that 85 percent were developmental errors. Where the first and second language share a meaning but express it in different ways. Krashen’s theory has achieved considerable popularity among second-language teachers in the United States. On the other hand. b. In particular. but rely on their ability to construct L2 as an independent system. First language developmental errors: those that do not reflect native language structure but are found in first language acquisition data. the theory has been seriously criticized on various grounds by second-language researchers and theorists. The major difficulty in attempts at empirically validating the Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis has been the lack of well-defined and broadly-accepted criteria for establishing which grammatical utterances are the result of language transfer. 12 percent unique. They argued that children do not organize a L2 on the basis of transfer or comparison with their L1. Krashen and Terrell 1983). interference errors are difficult to distinguish from developmental errors. 1978) and was elaborated and expanded in a number of books (Krashen 1981. an error is likely to arise in the L2 because the learner will transfer the realization device form his first language into the second. 1982. Interference-like error: those errors that reflect native language structure and are not found in first language acquisition data. Empirical research and the predictability of errors: Dulay and Burt (1973. By comparing the learner’s native language with the target language. Ambiguous errors. differences could be identified and used to predict areas of potential error. Thus differences between the first and second language create learning difficulty which results in errors. L1 interference is probably not the prime cause of learner errors. Transfer will be positive when the first and second language habits are the same. 1974) identified four types of error: a. They suggested that interference might be a major factor only in phonology. Criticisms of the contrastive analysis hypothesis 1.
some rules tending to come early and others late (Krashen 1985). and are generally aware of their own process. but only enables the learner to “polish up” what has been acquired through communication. 4. a subconscious and intuitive process of constructing the system of a language. Krashen argued that formal instruction in a language provides rule isolation and feedback for the development of the Monitor. but the utterance is initiated entirely by the acquired system. Our conscious learning process and our subconscious acquisition process are mutually exclusive. 5 . The Monitor Hypothesis The “Monitor” is a “device” for “watchdogging” one’s output.1. what is consciously learned – through the presentation of rules and explanations of grammar – does not become the basis of acquisition of the target language. The Natural Order Hypothesis The Natural Order Hypothesis states that we acquire the rules of language in a predictable order. with the Monitor altering production to improve accuracy toward target language norms. 3. but that production is based on what is acquired through communication. This hypothesis has important implications for language teaching. 2. The second means is a conscious “learning” process in which learners attend to form. Learning does not “turn into” acquisition. The focus of language teaching should not be rulelearning but communication. According to Krashen. The five central hypotheses which constitute Krashen’s theory are as follows: The Acquisition-Learning Hypothesis The Monitor Hypothesis The Natural Order Hypothesis The Input Hypothesis The Affective Filter Hypothesis The acquisition-Learning Hypothesis Krashen claimed that adult learners have two means for internalizing the target language. 5. not unlike the process used by a child to “pick up” a language. Krashen’s position is that conscious knowledge of rules does not help acquisition. for editing and making alterations or corrections as they are consciously perceived. figure out rules. The first is “acquisition”. Acquisition “initiates” the speaker’s utterances and is responsible for fluency. Thus the Monitor is thought to alter the output of the acquired system before or after the utterance is actually written or spoken.
Problem: there is no way of knowing what is comprehensible input.This “natural” order of acquisition is presumed to be the result of the acquired system. questions. or the Monitor. Evidence: the silent period – during this period. patterns. the next level along the natural order. The main function of the second language class according to Krashen is to provide learners with good and grammatical comprehensible input that unavailable to them on the outside. to i+1. Formulaic constructions enable learners to express communicative functions they have not yet mastered and may be far from mastering. learners make considerable use of formulaic expressions during the process of acquisition. Krashen’s argument for the Natural Order Hypothesis is based largely on the morpheme studies. vocabulary. or by receiving ‘comprehensible input’…We move form i. Comprehensible input is the route to acquisition and information about grammar in the target language is automatically available when the input is understood. by focusing on final form. Speech will ‘emerge’ once the acquirer has built up enough comprehensible input (i+1). learners are presumably building up their competence in the target language by listening. tell us little about acquisitional sequences. arises from exposure to the language in meaningful settings where the meanings expressed by the language are understood. Krashen argued that the best way to learn a second language is to approach the language as children do when they are acquiring their first language. Once competence has been built up. The Input Hypothesis This hypothesis postulates that humans acquire language in only one way – by understanding messages. The Natural Approach: communication competence. our current level. Also. Krashen argued that they are making use of the ‘comprehensible input’ they receive. the auxiliary system. An important part of the Input Hypothesis is Krashen’s recommendation that speaking not be taught directly or very soon in the language classroom. which have been criticized on various grounds and which. The principal source of evidence for the Natural Order Hypothesis comes from the so-called “morpheme’ studies” (Dulay and Burt 1974) Krashen also maintained that there is a “natural” sequence for the development of the negative. To conclude. operating free of conscious grammar. or functional ability in a language. 6 . speech emerges. and to bring them to the point where they can obtain comprehensible input on their own in the real world. by understanding input containing i+1 (Krashen 1985). and inflections in English. Rules.
The affective filter acts as a barrier to acquisition: if the filter is ‘down’. or concerned with failure. the input reaches the LAD and becomes acquired competence. the only role that the speaker’s output plays is to provide a further source of comprehensible input. lacking in confidence. comprehensible input may not be utilized by a second-language acquirers if there is a ‘mental block’ that prevents them form fully profiting from it (Krashen 1985). Many researchers agree with Krashen on basic assumptions. Barry McLaughlin (1978. if the filter is ‘up’. Instruction in conscious rule learning can indeed aid in the attainment of successful 7 . but are gradually established in the learner’s repertory on the basis of exposure to comprehensible input. the learner must be given the opportunity to produce the new forms. Learners can benefit from talking. The Affective Filter Hypothesis According to the Affective Filter Hypothesis. the input is blocked and does not reach the LAD. such as the need to move form grammar-based to communicatively oriented language instruction. In his view. Krashen claimed that if input is understood and there is enough of it. but the input will not reach the LAD. The role of output: Krashen has argued that speaking is unnecessary for acquiring a second language. Krashen maintained that acquirers need to be open to the input and that when the affective is up. This occurs when the acquirer is unmotivated. There is no interface – no overlap – between acquisition and learning. 1990) sharply criticized Krashen’s rather fuzzy distinction between subconscious (acquisition) and conscious (learning) processes. The ability to communicate in a second language cannot be taught directly but ‘emerges’ on its own as a result of building competence via comprehensible input. The filter is down when the acquirer is not anxious and is intent on becoming a member of the group speaking the target language. Criticism: 1. Swain (1985) has argued for the importance of “comprehensible output”. the learner may understand what is seen and read. the role of affective factors in language learning. 2.and other language forms are not learned as they are presented or encountered. Other researchers would argue that understanding new forms in not enough. and the importance of acquisitional sequences in second-language development. Speaking is a result of acquisition and not its cause. the necessary grammar is automatically provided.
and we are not. Followed in the 1980s and 1990s. Chomsky believes that natural languages are governed by highly abstract and complex rules that not immediately evident in actual utterances (surface structure). The latter is the subset of all input that actually gets assigned to our long-term memory store. They asserted that meaning. 5. The rationalism/ cognitive approach (the 1960s-1970s): Cognitive psychologists sought to discover underlying motivations and deeper structures of human behavior by using a rational approach. 3. the child must possess a set of innate principles which guide language processing. or sometimes abandoned. those hypotheses get continually revised. it is important to distinguish between input and intake. he would not be able to acquire these rules. analytical thought. new links have emerged with cognitive science (the role of consciousness). Rather. First of all. Language acquisition is innately determined.the linguistic features and processes which are common to all natural languages and all language learners. Therefore. only a fraction of which becomes intake. Such a theory ascribes little credit to learners and their own active engagement in the pursuit of language competence. 4. extrapolation. These principles comprise Universal Grammar --. that we are born with a built-in device that predisposes us to language acquisition (LAD: language acquisition device). reason. The child’s linguistic development is not a process of developing fewer and fewer incorrect structures. the child’s language at any stage is systematic in that child is constantly forming hypotheses on the basis of the input received and then testing those hypotheses.communicative competence in a second language. They employed the tools of logic. Krashen presents the i+1 formula as if we are actually able to define i and 1. Second language learners are exposed to potentially large quantities of input. As the child’s language develops. If the child were totally reliant on the data available in the input. with neuropsychology (modularity of the brain. and knowing were significant data for psychological study. with mathematical and liner 8 . the left hemisphere is associated with logical. understanding. but we are left with no significant information on what to do about the students for whom speech does not ‘emerge’. Krashen’s Input Hypothesis claims that success in a foreign language can be attributed to input alone. and inference in order to derive explanations for human behavior. reshaped. The notion that speech will ‘emerge’ in a context of comprehensible input sounds promising.
9 . (7) intrapersonal intelligence(the ability to see oneself. tactile. and with sociocultural frameworks which have greatly enriched our perception of the many facets of second language acquisition. However. whether the strategies cause the learning. Interpersonal intelligence is of obvious importance in the communicative process. (3) memory abilities. and (4) inductive language ability. to develop a sense of self-identity). (5) bodilykinesthetic intelligence(athletic prowess). Language learning strategies: More proficient learners do indeed employ strategies that are different from those used by the less proficient. and therefore multiple contrasting ways knowing and describing are equally legitimate. has not been fully clarified. and auditory images). Cognitive factors of second language acquisition Intelligence: There is clear evidence that L2 students who are above average on formal measures of intelligence tend to do well in L2 learning. Language aptitude: (Is there really such a thing as a gift for language learning. and (8) naturalist intelligence. musical intelligence could explain the relative ease that some learners have in perceiving and producing the intonation patterns of a language.processing of information. By broadly defining intelligence as Gardner has done. Constructivism: (the 1980s-200) Constructivists argue that all human beings construct their own vision of reality. how they feel. or the learning itself enables different strategies to be used. For instance. Gardner (1983) described five more different forms of knowing as (3) spatial intelligence (to find your way around an environment). we can more easily discern a relationship between intelligence and second language learning. how they interact with one another). (6) interpersonal intelligence(to understand others. (4) musical intelligence (to perceive and create pitch and rhythmic patterns). distinct from general intelligence?) A number of subskills are believed to be predicators of L2 learning success: (1) phonetic coding ability. In addition to traditional sense of intelligence defined and measured in terms of (1) linguistic and (2) logicalmathematical abilities (IQ). (2) grammatical sensitivity. The right hemisphere perceives and remembers visual.
Specific affective factors are discussed as follows: Anxiety: Anxiety is associated with feelings of uneasiness. test anxiety). For instance. respond. At a more momentary. and value is an important aspect of a theory of second language acquisition. Understanding how human beings feel. Empathy Empathy is usually described as the projection of one’s own personality into the personality of another in order to understand him or her better. (Horwitz et al. Some people are predictably and generally anxious about many things. But the notion of facilitative anxiety is that some concern over a task to be accomplished is a positive factor. 1978).g. but they must do so in a language in which they are insecure. So the next time your students are anxious. something to be avoided at all costs (e. state anxiety is experienced in relation to some particular event or act. arising from a learner’s need to make a positive social impression on others. In order to communicate effectively. trait anxiety is a more permanent predisposition to be anxious. or worry. We may be inclined to view anxiety as a negative factor. in a second language learning situation. Anxiety can be experienced at various levels. Language is one of the primary means of empathizing. frustration. At the deepest. 10 . level. and (3) test anxiety. arising from learners’ inability to adequately express mature thoughts and ideas. (2) fear of negative social evaluation. It could well be that a little nervous tension in the process is a good thing. Foreign language anxiety focuses more specifically on the situational nature of state anxiety. Three components of foreign language anxiety have been identified: (1) communication apprehension. believe. Both too much and too little anxiety may hinder the process of successful second language learning. or situational level. The affective factors are the emotional side of human behavior in the second language learning process. you do well to ask yourself if that anxiety is truly debilitative. The development of affective states or feeling involves a variety of personality factors. 1986) Yet another important insight to be applied to our understanding of anxiety lies in the distinction between debilitative and facilitative anxiety (Scovel. not only must learner-speaker correctly identify cognitive and affective sets in the hearer. or apprehension over academic evaluation. self-doubt.. apprehension. feeling both about ourselves and about others with whom we come into contact. or global.Affective domain of second language acquisition Affect refers to emotion or feeling. you need to understand the other person’s affective and cognitive states.
Motivation: Motivation is commonly thought of as an inner drive. Intrinsic motivation: Motivation involves the arousal and maintenance of curiosity and can ebb and flow as a result of such factors as learners’ particular interests and the extent to which they feel personally involved in learning activities. or desire that moves one to a particular action. to get a better job. However. and so forth. 3. translation. Most situations involve a mixture of each type of motivation. These five types of motivation should be seen as complementary rather than as distinct and oppositional. arts. Integrative motivation: Learners are interested in the people and culture represented by the target language group. 2. especially for long-term retention (Brown. Intrinsically motivated behaviors are aimed at bringing about certain internally rewarding consequences. Learners wish to integrate themselves within the culture of the second language group. But culture is 11 . In second language learning. 1. a learner will be successful with the proper motivation. and even certain types of positive feedback. or in some contexts. 4. grades.the desire to learn the L2 in order to manipulate and overcome the people of the target language. However. feel. customs. Instrumental motivation: To learn an L2 for some functional reason. Typical extrinsic rewards are money. think. Learners who experience success in learning may become more. and tools that characterize a given group of people in a given period of time. Resultative motivation: This motivation is the result of learning. reading technical material. prizes. skills. less motivated to learn. It is the context within which we exist. some learners may be influenced by a “Machiavellian motivation”. emotion.to pass an examination. and relate to others. Extrinsic motivation: Extrinsically motivated behaviors are carried out in anticipation of a reward from outside and beyond the self. 1990). There is no apparent reward except the activity itself. Sociocultural perspectives on second language acquisition Culture is a way of life. to identify themselves with and become a part of that society. Culture might also be defined as the ideas. namely. growing stockpile of research on motivation strongly favors intrinsic motivation. impulse. feelings of competence and self-determination. 5.
John Schumann (1978) characterized the relationship between acculturation and second-language acquisition in the following way: Second language acquisition is just one aspect of acculturation and the degree to which a learner acculturates to the target language group will control the degree to which he acquires the second language. the lower the learner’s degree of acculturation will be toward that group. In a negative psychological situation. “It is a system of integrated patterns. yet all of which govern human behavior” (Condon. Linton (1963) described the general process of acculturation as involving modification in attitude. Schumann’s acculturation model Acculturation is defined by Brown (1980) as ‘the process of becoming adapted to a new culture’. It is assumed that the more social and psychological distance there is between the second-language learner and the target-language group. as an ingrained set of behaviors and modes of perceptions. for his synthesis of his mental stock in trade (Whorf. In this view. knowledge. Social and psychological distance influence second-language acquisition by determining the amount of contact learners have with the target language and the degree to which they are open to the input that is available. and behavior. for his analysis of impressions. acculturation – and hence second-language acquisition – is determined by the degree of social and psychological ‘distance’ between the learner and the target-language culture. The acquisition of a second language is also the acquisition of a second culture. the learner will fail to utilize available input.more than the sum of its parts. 1973). Schumann lists the various factors which determine social and psychological 12 . becomes highly important in the learning of a second language. A language is a part of a culture and a culture is a part of a language. most of which remain below the threshold of consciousness. the learner will receive little input in the second language. Culture. It can be summed up as follows: the background linguistic system of each language is not merely a reproducing instrument for voicing ideas but rather is itself the shaper of ideas. Sapir-Whorf hypothesis It refers to the idea that language shapes (rather than reflect) one’s world view. The overall process of acculturation demands both social and psychological adaptation. 1956). the program and guide for the individual’s mental activity. In a negative social situation.
acculturation is the causal variable in the second language learning process. An example of a ‘good’ learning situation is when (1) the target language and L2 groups view each other as social equal. that successful learners may be more positively disposed toward the target language group because of their positive experience with the language. (7) the L2 group envisages staying in the target language area for an extended period.distance. Schumann documented this process in a case study of a 33-year-old Costa Rican immigrant. and (4) ego boundaries. Their success may be more a function of intelligence. the line of causality is bi-directional. It is possible. (2) culture shock. Alberto’s interlanguage was characterized by many simplifications and reductions. He argued that the early stages of second language acquisition are characterized by the same processes that are responsible for the formation of pidgin languages. Alberto. is seen to control behavior. (3) motivation. which leads to fossilization when the learner no longer revises the interlanguage system in the direction of the target language. and language learning ability than of perceived distance form the target language group. however. These simplifications and reductions Schumann saw to be a form of pidginization. Pidginization is characteristic of all early second language acquisition. 13 . In Schumann’s model. but because of a minimal amount of acculturation to the target language group. Attitude. This process occurred not because of a cognitive deficit. or the perception of distance between the learner and the target group. The question of causality: The acculturation hypothesis assumes a causal model in which attitude affects access to input which in turn affects second language acquisition. The psychological factors are affective in nature. When there are hindrances to acculturation – when social and/or psychological distance is great – the learner will not progress beyond the early stages and the language will stay pidginized. (5) the L2 group’s culture is congruent with that of the target language group. Evaluation: 1. (6) both groups have positive attitudes to each other. Most likely. They include (1) language shock. (3) both the target language and L2 groups expect the L2 group to share social facilities with the target language group. (2) the target language and L2 groups are both desirous that L2 group will assimilate. social skills. (4) the L2 group is small and not very cohesive. Perceived distance affects second language acquisition and is affected by success in second language acquisition.
and cognitive domains merge in learning style. Instruction does not subvert the natural sequence of acquisition but rather helps to speed up learners’ passage through it. (learning styles and learning strategies) Learning styles and strategies Learning styles Learning styles might be thought of as cognitive. affective. and respond to the learning environment (Keefe. Teachers tend to judge mistakes too harshly. His contention was that it is not particularly relevant what the actual distance is between cultures since it is what learners perceive that forms their own reality.2. One of the difficulties in Schumann’s hypothesis of social distance is the measurement of actual social distance. 1979). and since that internalization process is not strictly cognitive. William Acton (1979) devised a measure of perceived social distance. interact with. 1. affective. 1. and physiological traits that relatively stable indicators of how learners perceive. The same instructional option is not equally effective for all L2 learners. especially in the case of a learner with an impulsive style who may be more willing than a reflective 14 . Reflectivity and impulsivity Reflective learners are slower but more accurate than impulsive learners in reading. Learners’ styles are determined by the way they internalize their total environment. Instruction can only promote language acquisition if the interlanguage is close to the point when the structure to be taught is acquired in the natural setting (so that sufficient processing requirements are developed). Whether teaching learners grammar has any effect on their interlanguage development. we find that physical.) 2. Learners learn better if the kind of instruction they receive matches their preferred ways of learning an L2. Instruction and second language acquisition Researchers have studied what impact teaching has on L2 learning. (Teachers are not likely to know which learners in their class are ready to be taught a particular structure and will have no easy way of finding out. Do learners learn the structure they are taught? (Initial gains in grammar accuracy disappear over time) Teachability hypothesis: Second language learners follow a fairly rigid route in their acquisition of certain grammatical structures.
g. Field dependence is the tendency to be “dependent” on the total field so that the parts embedded within the field are not easily perceived. In second language learning a great amount of contradictory information is encountered. Korean students were significantly more visually oriented than native English-speaking Americans. a gradual but marked shift in the focus of language research and instruction 15 . but slight preferences one way or the other may distinguish one learner from another. while an auditory style is characterized by a preference for listening to lectures and audiotapes.) 3. social outreach. although that total field is perceived more clearly as a unified whole. On the other hand. Field independence and field dependence A field independent style enables you to distinguish parts from a whole. too much field independence may result in cognitive “tunnel vision”: you see only the parts and not their relationship to the whole.learner to gamble at a correct answer. attention to details. to analyze separate variables without the contamination of neighboring variables. listen to TV or read captions. and other graphic information. and mastering of exercises. 2. who must allow more time for the student to struggle with responses. (e. a reflective learner may require patience from the teacher. and perception of other people. Ambiguity tolerance It refers to the degree to which you are cognitively willing to tolerate ideas and propositions that run counter to your own belief system or structure of knowledge. be successful in learning the communicative aspects of a second language. to concentrate on something. Field independence is closely related to classroom learning that involves analysis. within the field of second /foreign language education. Learning strategies Over the last few decades. Most successful learners utilize both visual and auditory input. Visual and auditory styles Visual learners tend to prefer reading and studying charts. excess tolerance has the effect of hampering or preventing meaningful subsumption of ideas. and other focused activities. drills. during which time ambiguous items are given a chance to become resolved. Primarily field dependence persons will. at least for interim periods or stages. On the other hand. Successful language learning necessitates tolerance of such ambiguities. by virtue of their empathy. 4. However. drawings.
including identifying one’s feelings. faster. and social strategies. including metacognitive. Memory strategies are devices that help learners link new information with something already known. She divided learning strategies into two major classes that can be further subdivided into six strategy categories. particularly in research on language learning strategies. and these include memory. students are often being encouraged to “learn how to learn English”. The relationship of the use of language learning strategies to success in learning a foreign language has been a focus in the area of language learning strategy research. monitoring and evaluating of the language learning process and production. Examples include practicing. cognitive strategies involve manipulation or transformation of learning materials or tasks in order to enhance comprehension. The first class refers to direct strategies that involve the language itself in a variety of tasks and situations. such as creating mental linkages. Then. and values that relate to language learning. affective. or reorganizing information.has taken place. self-regulated. Affective strategies enable learners to control over their personal emotions. Generally speaking. There has been less stress on teachers’ teaching and greater emphasis on students’ learning. Most research findings indicate that successful learners tend to use appropriate 16 . resulting in improving their progress in developing foreign language skills. social strategies facilitate learning with other people and help learners develop cultural understanding. Learning strategies are defined by Oxford (1990) as “specific actions taken by the learner to make learning easier. Compensation strategies help learners make up for inadequate knowledge in the target language through guessing or using gestures or a circumlocution. or empathizing with others. and compensation strategies. analyzing. These strategies encompass a wide range of learning behaviors that can help learners become more autonomous. reasoning. motivations. attitudes. More and more foreign language educators have now recognized that effective learning strategies can enhance students’ efforts to reach their language goals. cognitive. more self-directed. more effective. Oxford’s (1990) has developed a learning strategies system as well. rather than to depend heavily on their teachers’ instructions. Examples are asking questions for clarification. cooperating with peers or more proficient learners. This change has been reflected in increasing numbers of studies undertaken from the learners’ perspectives. and goal-oriented. using imagery or physical responses. Thus. The second class refers to indirect strategies that deal with the general management of learning. or lowering learning anxiety. using a language learning diary. more enjoyable. Metacognitive strategies refer to higher order executive skills that involve planning. and more transferable to new situations”.
tend to use more and better strategies than poorer learners do. 17 . We must have some innate predisposition to expect natural languages to be organized in particular ways. Appendices Key concepts in second language acquisition A. It is also impossible for English teachers to follow the learning path of each of their students either inside or outside of classroom. Fossilization Learners seem to cease to make any visible progress. nurture How much of human language learning derives from innate predispositions (genetic pre-programming) and how much of it derives from social and cultural experiences which influence us as we grow up? Skinner: Language could be learned primarily by imitating caretakers’ speech. and no amount of effort and study can recreate them. Nature vs. Chomsky: Human language is too complex to be learned. partly because of the processing complications which are involved in speaking or other forms of language production. since most of them lack enough exposure to authentic English at school. or how actively they continue to use their second language for communicative purposes. B. vocabulary). C. One of the possible ways to turn this situation around is to help students develop effective learning strategies and become selfdirected learners. no matter how many classes they attend. and more research based on Taiwan’s learning context is needed. with its potential to create and understand original utterances in a given language (e. Competence and performance Competence refers to the abstract and hidden representation of language knowledge held inside our heads.g.g. Performance is an imperfect reflection of competence.strategies leading to improvement. and are able to combine effective strategies to meet the requirements of the language task Learning strategies are especially important to Taiwan’s English learners. rules of grammar. In fact. both teachers and students can benefit from the use of learning strategies. Psycholinguistic explanation: The language-specific learning mechanisms available to the young child simply cease to work for older learners. and which lead to errors and slips (e. four language skills).
and phonology”. (1) Grammatical competence is that aspect of communicative competence that encompassed ‘knowledge of lexical items and of rules of morphology. the ‘linguistic’ 18 . A rather similar proposal is made by Krashen (1981). BICS. a sociolinguist who was convinced that Chomsky’s (1965) notion of competence was too limited. In Canale and Swain’s (1980). The first two subcategories reflect the use of the linguistic system itself. E. syntax. research on communicative competence distinguished between linguistic and communicative competence (Hymes 1967) to highlight the difference between knowledge ‘about’ language forms and knowledge that enables a person to communicate functionally and interactively. L1 interference as a learner strategy: Corder (1978) outlines one way in which “interference” can be recast as a learner “strategy” He suggests that the learner’s L1 may facilitate the developmental process of learning a L2. on the other hand. Both Corder’s and Krashen’s proposals view the L1 as a resource which learners can use for ad hoc translation to overcome their limitations.Sociolinguistic explanation: Older L2 learners do not have the social opportunities. It is the competence that we associate with mastering the linguistic code of a language. D. CALP is that dimension of proficiency in which the learner manipulates or reflects upon the surface features of language outside of the immediate interpersonal context. when he suggests that learners can use the L1 to initiate utterances when they do not have sufficient acquired knowledge of the target language for this purpose. When learners experience difficulty in communicating an idea because they lack the necessary target language resources. Seminal work on defining communicative competence was carried out by Michael Canale and Merrill Swain (1980). In the 1970s. sentence-grammar semantics. they will resort to their L1 to make up the insufficiency. and later in Canale’s (1983) definition. is the communicative capacity that all children acquire in order to function in daily interpersonal exchange. This explains why the L1 is relied on more at the beginning of the learning process than later. or the motivation. four different components make up the construct of communicative competence. Cummins (1981) proposed a distinction between cognitive/academic language proficiency (CALP) and basic interpersonal communicative skills (BICS). Communication Competence The term ‘communicative competence’ was coined by Dell Hymes (1967). to identify with the native speaker community.
(2) Discourse competence: it is the ability we have to connect sentences in stretches of discourse and to form a meaningful whole out of a series of utterances. productively and receptively. F.competence of Hymes. as well as shifts in register and style’ (Savignon 1983). repetition. Organizational language forms are not the central focus but rather aspects of language that enable the learner to accomplish those purposes. to cope with imperfect knowledge. authentic. students ultimately have to use the language. Students are given opportunities to focus on their own learning process through an understanding of their own styles of learning and through the development of appropriate strategies for autonomous learning. in unrehearsed contexts. 19 . (4) Strategic competence: “ the verbal and nonverbal communication strategies that may be called into action to compensate for breakdowns in communication due to performance variables or due to insufficient competence” (Canale and Swain1980). hesitation. Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) CLT is best understood as an approach not a method. While grammatical competence focuses on sentence-level grammar. The last two subcategories define the more functional aspects of communication. Language techniques are designed to engage learners in the pragmatic. and guessing. (3) Sociolinguistic competence is the knowledge of the sociocultural rules of language and of discourse. and to sustain communication through ‘paraphrase. It is the competence underlying our ability to make repairs. discourse competence is concerned with intersentential relationship. and the function of the interaction. Brown (1993) offers the following four interconnected characteristics as a definition of CLT: Classroom goals are focused on all of the components of communicative competence and not restricted to grammatical or linguistic competence. functional use of language for meaningful purposes. circumlocution. At times fluency may have to take on more importance than accuracy in order to keep learners meaningfully engaged in language use. Only in a full context of this kind can judgments be made on the appropriateness of a particular utterance’ (Savignon 1983). This type of competence ‘requires an understanding of the social context in which language is used: the roles of the participants. Fluency and accuracy are seen as complementary principles underlying communicative techniques. In the communicative classroom. avoidance. the information they share.
such as ‘approximative system’ (Nemser 1971) and ‘transitional competence’ (Corder 1967). Strategies of second-language communication. drills. (1975) argued that an analysis of the children’s speech revealed a definite systematicity in the interlanguage. Interlanguage and learning strategy: Selinker et al.The role of the teacher is that of facilitator and guide. no matter how long there is exposure. 1972) to refer to the interim grammars constructed by second-language learners on their way to the target language. The interlanguage is thought to be distinct from both the learner’s first language and form the target language. 2. 3. Interlanguage The term ‘interlanguage’ was coined by Selinker (1969. CLT often makes it difficult for a nonnative speaking teacher who is not very proficient in the second language to teach effectively. CLT suggests that grammatical structure might better be subsumed under various functional categories. Overgeneralization of the target language linguistic material. Strategies of second-language learning. 4. not an all-knowing bestower of knowledge. 5. Fossilization is the state of affairs that exists when the learner ceases to elaborate the interlanguage in some respect. G. Selinker (1972) argued that the interlanguage. It evolves over time as learners employ various internal strategies to make sense of the input and to control their own output. and discussions of grammatical rues are much simpler for the average nonnative speaking teacher to contend with. was the product of five central cognitive processes involved in second-language learning: 1. which he saw to be a separate linguistic system resulting form the learner’s attempted production of the target language norm. For Selinker interlanguage referred to an interim grammar that is a single system composed of rules that have been developed via different cognitive strategies – for 20 . Transfer of the training process used to teach the second language. new data. In CLT we pay considerably less attention to the overt presentation and discussion of grammatical rules than we traditionally did. rehearsed exercises. Since the early 1970s ‘interlanguage’ has come to characterize a major approach to second-language research and theory. The term won favor over similar constructs. or new teaching. The development of the interlanguage was seen by Selinker as different from the process of first-language development because of the likelihood of fossilization in the second language. Dialogues. Language transfer from the first language.
ranging from the careful to the vernacular. similar to that demonstrated to exist in the speech of native speakers. which in turn is a reflection of social factors and personal style. but a set of styles that can be used in different social contexts. and the correct understanding of the target language. Interlanguage systems are thought to be by their nature incomplete and in a state of flux. however. interlanguage grammars are seen to obey universal linguistic constraints and evidence internal consistency. Interlanguage as rule-governed behavior: In contrast to Selinker’s cognitive emphasis. Whereas Selinker’s use of interlanguage stressed the structurally intermediate nature of the learner’s system between the first and the target language. The style used in a particular situation is determined by the degree of attention paid to language form. (Capability continuum assumes that the learner’s competence is made up of a continuum of styles. For Tarone.example. Like any language system. She went beyond Adjemian in claiming that language production show systematic variability. The more careful superordinate style shows the intervention of a consciously learned rule system. Like Adjemian. Thus she added to Adjemian’s linguistic perspective a sociolinguistic point of view. Slinkier and Adjemian stressed the influence of the first-language on the emerging interlanguage. which includes a set of styles ranging from a stable subordinate style virtually free of first-language influence to a characteristically superordinate style where the speaker pays a great deal of attention to form and where the influence of the first language is more likely to be felt.) More specifically. their permeability. the views of interlanguage that guides early research saw secondlanguage learners as possessing a set of rules of intermediate grammars. Interlanguage as a set of styles: Tarone (1979) maintained that the interlanguage could be seen as analyzable into a set of styles that are dependent on the context of use. simplification. interlanguage is not a single system. Tarone proposed a capability continuum. Tarone (1983) proposed that variability in the interlanguage can be accounted for by a system of variable and categorical rules based on particular contexts of use. Adjemian (1976) argues that the systematicity of the interlanguage should be analyzed linguistically as rule-govern behavior. To summarize. overgeneralization. Adjemian focused on the dynamic character of interlanguage systems. Tarone assumed that the interlanguage is a natural language. in that Selinker hypothesized that interlanguages are the product of different psychological mechanisms than native languages and hence are not natural language. The authors differed. transfer. Adjemian and Tarone viewed interlanguages as operating on the 21 . obeying the constraints of the same language universals and subject to analysis by means of standard linguistic techniques.
but Tarone differed form Adjemian in that she stressed the notion of variability in use and the pragmatic constraints that determine how language is used in context. The first language does affect the course of interlanguage development. infrequent. the question of how the emerging system develops and the role of transfer from the first language in this process. 22 . Evaluation: Interlanguage theory concerned with describing a limited range of second-language phenomena. These include the question of systematicity and variability in the performance of language learners. More marked structures are those that the person thinks of as irregular. but this influence is not always predictable. and semantically opaque. Jordens 1977. Interlanguage theory has had a relatively minor impact on pedagogy.same principles as natural languages. More regular (unmarked) forms are viewed by learners as transferable to the target language. The role of the first language: Transfer as process: The end result was the same. assuming that the two languages are thought to be similar. but the processes differed because of differences in first language. Rutherford 1982) support these predictions. A number of studies (Gass 1979. Transfer is predicted to occur when the perceived similarity between the two languages is great and when the structures involved are unmarked. Speakers of some languages take longer to learn certain forms than do speakers of other languages because their own first languages have similar forms.
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