APPLIED LINGUISTICS: BASIC CONCEPTS BOOK OF REVIEWS
Organization: Johwyson S. Rodrigues – Belém, PA, Brazil: UFPA, FALEM,
What is Applied Linguistics? Márcia Alves and Nathália Guedes................................2 Linguistic Society of America. Camila Barreto and Simone Siqueira..........................4 What is Applied Linguistics? Amanda de Oliveira Palheta...........................................5 Applied Linguistics. Anderson Costa and Daiana Ramos………………….....…...….6 Steps to Learn a New Language & Design a Learning Management System. Johnes Ruan..................................................................................................................................8 Languages in the contemporary world. Glauco Maurício Oliveira, Meg Caroliny dos Santos Silva, and Rianne Moura Roque......................................................................10 Second language learning: key concepts and issues. Frederico Carvalho and Fabrícia Albuquerque ..................................................................................................................11 Second Language Acquisition. Diego Ferreira and Fábio Carneiro...........................13 Input and interaction in Second Language. William Pereira and Suzete Silva............19 Socio-cultural perspectives on second language learning. Rafaela Campos and Roberta Silva..................................................................................................................23 Focus on the language learner: Motivation, styles, and strategies. Liliana Barbosa and Quezia…………………………………………………………………………………26
<http://www.cal.org/resources/digest/cal00001.html>. Acesso em: 05 de agosto de 2009.
Reviewers: Márcia Alves and Nathália Guedes – UFPA. What is Linguistics? Linguistics is the study of language. A linguist can know and understand the internal structure of a language without actually speaking it. A linguist is concerned with a language as a human phenomenon. Linguists study grammar, the social and psychological aspects of language use, and the relationships among languages, both historical and present-day. The field of linguistics, like any complex field, includes several major divisions: Formal Linguistics; Sociolinguistics; Psycholinguistics; Applied Linguistics. Formal Linguistics: is the study of the structures and processes of language, that is, how language works and is organized. There are three main schools of thought in formal linguistics. The traditional, or prescriptive it is grammar and how its typically prescribe rules of correct or preferred usage; Structural linguistics are primarily concerned with phonology, morphology, and syntax; The generative/transformational was introduced by Chomsky in 1957, and he had traced a relationship between the “deep structure” of sentences (what is in the mind) and their “surface structure” (what is spoken or written). From transformational/generative grammar arose the theory of Universal Grammar. This widely accepted theory starts from the perception that all languages share certain linguistic features (universals). Sociolinguistics: is the study of language as a social and cultural phenomenon. The major divisions: Language Variation describes the relationship between the use of linguistic forms and factors such as geography, social class, ethnic group, age, sex, occupation, function, or style. The combination of these various factors results in an individual’s idiolect. When a variety of language is shared by a group of speakers, it is known as a dialect. Language and Social Interaction is the province of language and its function in the real world. Three subfields of sociolinguistics investigate this relationship. (1) Pragmatics looks at how context affects meaning. As a function of context, the intended meaning of an utterance is often different form its literal meaning. (2) Discourse
analysis examines the way in which sentences relate in larger linguistic units, such as conversational exchanges or written texts. (3) Ethnography of communication uses the tools of anthropology to study verbal interaction in its social setting. Language Attitudes studies explore how people react to language interactions and how they evaluate others based on the language behavior they observe. Language Planning is the process of implementing major decisions regarding which languages should be used on a societal scale. Psycholinguistics: is the study of the relationship between linguistic and psychological behavior. Psycholinguistics study first and second language acquisition and how humans store and retrieve linguistics information, referred to as verbal processing. Language Acquisition. The study of how humans acquire language begins with the study of child language acquisition. There are two hypotheses. The first, deriving from the structuralism school of linguistics, holds that children learn language through imitation and positive-negative reinforcement. This is known as the behaviorist approach. The second, or innateness hypothesis, proposes that the ability to acquire language is a biologically innate capacity. Verbal processing involves speaking, understanding, reading, and writing, and therefore includes both the production of verbal output and reception of the output of others. Applied Linguistics: the findings of linguistics, like the findings of any other theoretical study, can be applied to the solution of practical problems, as well as to innovations in everyday areas involving language. This is the mandate of applied linguistics. Applied linguists draw from theories of language acquisition to develop first and second language teaching methodologies and to implement successful literacy programs. Applied linguists may also engage in language planning by developing alphabets and grammars for unwritten languages and by writing dictionaries. In short, applied linguistics applies the theories and tools of formal linguistics, sociolinguistics, and psycholinguistics in a wide variety of socially useful ways.
http://www.lsadc.org/info/ling-fields-applied.cfm>. Acesso em: 05 de agosto de 2009.
Reviewers: Camila Barreto and Simone Siqueira – UFPA.
This text is about the history of the term “applied linguistics”, and it’s referred to a broad range of activities that involve solving some language problems. In the early days, the term as used both in the USA and in the Great Britain to refer to applying a so-called ‘scientific approach’ to teaching foreign languages, including English for nonnative speakers. During the late 50’s and the beginning of the 60’s, the use of the term was include what was then referred to as automatic translation. In 1964, following two of preparatory work financed by the Concil of Europe, the Association Internationale Appliqué, was founded and it’s first international congress as held in Nancy, France. Papers for the congress were solicited in two distinct strands--- foreign language teaching and automatic translation. During the years , the focus on attention have continued to broaden . The mean goal is to apply the findings and the techniques from research in linguistics and related disciplines to solve practical problems. To an observer, the most notable change in applied linguistics has been its rapid growth as an interdisciplinary field. In foreign language teaching and translation, a partial sampling of issues was considered central to the field of applied linguistics today includes topics such as language for special purposes( e.g. language and communication problems related to aviation, language disorders, law, medicine, science), language policy and planning, and language and literacy issues. Other applied linguists have been concerned with developing the most effective programs possible to help adult newcorners to the US or other countries, many of whom have limited if any prior education, develop literacy in the languages which they will need for survival and for occupational purposes. Other topics currently of concern to applied linguists are the broad issue of the optimal role of the mother tongue in the education of culturally and linguistically diverse students, the language of persuasion and politics, developing effective tools and programs for interpretation and translation, and language testing and evaluation.
COOK, V. What is Applied Linguistics? Newcastle University. Disponível em:< http://homepage.ntlworld.com/vivian.c/Writings/Shorts/WhatisALl.htm>. Acesso em: 05 de agosto de 2009. Reviewers: Amanda de Oliveira Palheta – UFPA.
What is Applied Linguistics?
Vivian Cook shows us in her text the dificulties to define what applied linguistcs is, what it is “made of” and what the teacher's role is. Moreover, there are too many doubts about whether applied linguistics is related with languague teaching, linguistics or description of language. However, the author makes clear that, in fatc, all of these views exist among applied linguistics.Cook continues the text showing that some applied linguists agree that improving teaching and linguistics are important, as long as teachers keep up-to-date; that other applied linguists believe that other diciplines are very importante while many others do not; also that many others think that applied linguistics is applying theorical linguistics to actual data (e.g.: dictionaries) and so on. In conclusion, applied linguistics are all the strategies that teachers can use in class to solve specific language problems although applied linguistics means many things to many people. In other words, there are a lot of ideas going on in applied linguistics and the teacher needs to use them carefully, according to the class specific needs and even creating new things in order to achieve the class goals.
COOK, G. Applied Linguistics. Oxford, England: OUP, 2003. Reviewers: Anderson Costa and Daiana Ramos – UFPA. This text is an introduction to applied linguistics, with the most frequent questions and what problems emerge with this language area and how to promote their solutions. It's divided in topics or questions about applied linguistic.
1 – The need for Applied Linguistics: In this topic there are an explanation about the dependency of human beens to develop his natural activities in relation to the language. The author says that the language is at the heart of human life, and that it's possible to do some activities without language but this same are frequently developed through the language. They do them without know about structure, without had read something about them, so the language is a natural phenomenon beyond conscious control.
2 – Why Applied Linguistics? According to Cook, we need to investigate and understand the facts of the language use, to organize and formalize what we know to develop our rational consideration and critical analysis. It is a relation about the problems in the world in which language is implicated both educational and social.
3 – The history of Applied Linguistics: The author explains that applied linguistics has been defined in different ways over the years (1950s, 1960...), but the common definition is that the insights of structural and functional linguists could be applied directly to second language teaching and also in first language or literacy. Applied linguistics is, in 1970s, viewed as a problem-solving and real-world language-based problems. In the final of the 1980s, applied linguistics was related giving support in many disciplines like psychology; sociology etc.
4 – Questions Applied Linguistics try to answer: This topic is about discussions of the focus of applied linguistics, to whom it is directed (learners, teachers, supervisors, lawyers, ...) and social services (test takers,
policy developers, dictionary markers, translators...). At the same topic is made a list of fields and subfields which are domain of Applied Linguistics (problems with language learning, literacy, language contact, language inequality, language policy, language assessment, language use, language and technology, translation and interpretation and language pathology.).
5 – Defining Applied linguistics: We find in this topic some definitions about the fields and what is related Applied Linguistic, there are some examples of academic disciplines like professional journals, funding resources for research projects and others. Here says too, that applied linguistics is not simply to 'apply' linguistics to achieve solutions. Applied linguistics is grounded in language use in the real world. These topics were developed to clarify the ideas about what is applied linguistic and what is related to. Still in question what problems it needs to interfere and how to apply the solutions.
Education Director. Steps to Learn a New Language & Design a Learning Management System. Disponivel em:
<HTTP://www.lumana.com/education_director_website/language_learning/AL006.pdf >. Acesso em: 22 de agosto de 2009.
Reviewer: Johnes Ruan – UFPA.
The text said about the concept or definition of a language. Talking about its definition, about its Grammar rules, sounds and others in a general way, without forgetting the specific ones. Then it’s listed some things that we know about the language, such as: language has a grammatical system, language is meaningful, language has social meaning and so on. After that there are some closer looks through words, sentences, texts, listening and speaking and communication. It said that words have different meaning depending on the context. About sentences, it said that is easily to get the general idea than specific one and a learner can communicate with a less knowledge about grammatical structure. About the texts you might obtain the general idea.
COOK, G. Languages in the contemporary world. In: COOK, G. Applied Linguistics. Oxford, England: OUP, 2003. Reviewers: Glauco Maurício Oliveira, Meg Caroliny dos Santos Silva, and Rianne Moura Roque – UFPA.
This text talks about the language, how it is a complex and adaptive system. The language has a social function, it is used to human social interaction, its origins and capacities are dependent on its role in our social life. Language is a combined effect of many interacting constraints, including the structure of thought processes, cognitive limitations, and socio pragmatic factors. The usage of the language is based in grammar, in which the cognitive organization of language is based directly on experience with it; they see grammar as a network built up from the categorized instances of language use. Since the grammar is based on usage, it contains many details of co-occurrence as well as a record of the probabilities of occurrence and co-occurrence. The evidence for the impact of usage on cognitive organization includes the fact that language users are aware of specific instances of constructions that are conventionalized and the multiple ways in which frequency of use has an impact on structure. There is indeed evidence from multiple sources that such cognitive changes occur, and contribute to the shape of grammar. They consider three phenomena: Speakers do not choose randomly from among all conceivable combinatorial possibilities we produce utterances; Articulatory patters in speech indicates that as words co-occur on speech, they gradually come to be retrieved as chunks; Historical changes in language point toward a model on which patterns of co-occurrence must be taken into account. For them, language is a cultural evolutionary process that takes place a two linked levels: replication and selection. Replicators are replicated, but with cumulating errors resultant from mutation and recombination and in these ways variation is generated. Selection is a process by which interactors in interaction. With their environment cause replication to be differential: Some replicators are replicate more than others, which in the extreme case lead to fixation of the former and extinction of the latter. Talking about of language acquisition usage-based theories, they hold that we learn constructions while engaging in communication, through the “interpersonal
communicative and cognitive processes that everywhere and always shape language. The complete body of psycholinguistic research, which demonstrates language users´ exquisite sensitivity to the frequencies of occurrence of different constructions in the language input and to the contingencies of their mappings of form and meaning I clear testament of the influence of each usage event, and the processing of its component constructions, upon the learners’ system . There are some characteristics of language as a complex adaptive system: Two levels of existence (as idiolect and as a communal language); Adaptation through competing factors: Language adapts to the human brain. Cognition, consciousness, experience, embodiment, brain, self, and human interaction, society, culture, and history are all inexplicably intertwined in rich, complex, and dynamic ways in language acquisition. Everything is connected. We cannot understand these phenomena unless we understand their interplay.
MITCHELL, R; MYLES, F. Second language learning theories: Second language learning: key concepts and issues. Second edition. London: Hodder Arnold, 2004. 5-28 p. Reviewers: Frederico Carvalho and Fabrícia Albuquerque – UFPA.
This text is only the first chapter of the book Second Language Learning Theories (second edition) called Second Language learning: key concepts and issues, who is divided in seven main topics: 1.1 Introduction; 1.2 What makes for a good theory?; 1.3 Views on the nature of the language; 1.4 The language learning process; 1.5 Views of the language learner; 1.6 Links with social practice; 1.7 Conclusion.
On The beginning of the chapter the author provides an overview of the key concepts that he will analyze, getting some perspectives and definitions about second language learning (SLL). Clarifying that the “second language” is any other language that someone learn that is not his “fist language” or “mother tonge”, and shows his interest about all the process of learning: formal or informal. To understand how the process of learn a language takes place is vital to be conscious about how complex is this phenomenon and observe some aspects of the language, like its nature, its culture, the way that people communicate, as well as how all these aspects are interrelated and affect each other, in order to reach a property theory of learning. However, it is clearly not enough to understand how the process happens. In order to achieve this goal there are some notions that are the base of this complex communication system, that’s why is important to analyze some levels of language, like: phonology, syntax, morphology, semantics and lexis, pragmatics, and discourse. Competence and performance take part of this analyzes because they have attested samples of language in use, in spite of some contradictions between them.
After having obtained this base, the author starts the analysis of the language learning process in it self, observing aspects of: Nature and nurture, that discuss about how much the innate predispositions derives from human learning, and how much it derives from our social and cultural experiences; Modularity, that discuss about how the learning process takes place in our mind, through a modular or a unitary system; Modularity and second language learning, that discuss about the existence of an innate mechanism that helps in the SLL; “Systematicity” and variability in SLL, where can be observed some variables and systems that are part of the learning process, like errors and the influence of the first language; Creativity and routines in SLL, when can be analyzed the way that the learner’s start to produce utterances and how they apply it to establish communication; Incomplete success and fossilization, an analysis about why some older second language learners have difficulties of learning; Cross-linguistic influences in SLL, when can be seen a phenomenon called language transfer, as a result of the influence of the fist language on the second and vice-versa. The relationship between second language use and SLL, a discussion about what kind of benefits it can develop, observing aspects like competence and performance, comprehensible input, comprehensible output, interaction, negotiation of meaning, etc. All of these concepts are very important for the process of learning, however as important as the aspects of the learning process are the views of the language learner, taking account his needs and purposes, the differences between individual learners, observing cognitive and affective aspects, the learner as social being, observing aspects like social class, gender, ethnicity, and others.
SPADA, N. Second Language Acquisition. In N. Schmitt (Ed.), An introduction to applied linguistics. London: Arnold, 2002.
Reviewers: Diego Ferreira and Fábio Carneiro – UFPA.
What is Second Language Acquisition? Second language acquisition research focuses on the developing knowledge and use of a language by children and adults who already know at least one other language. The theoretical importance is related to our understanding of how languages is represented in the mind and whether there is a difference between the way language is acquired and processed and the way other kinds of information are acquired and processed.
Theories of L2 Learning. Both linguistic and psychological theories have influenced research and theory in second language acquisition. One of the fundamental differences between theories developed in these discipline in the role they hypothesize for internal and external factors on the learning process. Some linguistics have suggested that language acquisition is based on the presence of a specialized module of the human mind containing innate knowledge of principles common to all languages. In contrast, most psychologists have argued that language is processed by general cognitive mechanisms that are responsible for a wide range of human learning and information processing and requires no specialized module.
Linguistic Perspectives Universal Grammar. The idea that these exists a universal grammar (UG) of human languages originated with Chonsky's (1968) view on first language (L1) acquisition. He was looking for an explanation of the fact that virtually all children learn language at a time in their cognitive development when they experience difficulty grasping other kinds of knowledge which appear to be far less complex than language. Furthermore, it was observed that even children with impaired intellectual ability were usually successful in
acquiring the language they heard around them. Chomsky argued, furthermore, that the kind of information which mature speakers of a language eventually have of their L1 could not have been learned from the language they hear around then. This problem came to be called the logical problem of language acquisition. Chomsky pointed out that children were exposed to samples of language that were incomplete and sometimes degenerate ( for example, slips of the tongue, false starts, etc.). Chomsky's theory of UG was offered as an explanation for L1 acquisition and, although it has been questioned in that context, it is widely accepted as at least a plausible explanation for L1 acquisition. The question of whether UG can also explain L2 is controversial. One of the reason for this controversy is the claim that there is a critical period for language acquisition. Researches who study second language acquisition from a UG perspective seek to discover a language user's underlying linguistic competence (what a language user knows) instead of focusing on his or her linguistic performance ( what a language user actually says or writes).
Monitor Theory This theory shares a number of the assumptions of the UG approach but its scope is specifically second language acquisition. As with UG, the assumption is that human being acquire language without instruction or feedback on errors. Krashen developed this theory in the 1970 and presented it in terms of five hypotheses. The fundamental hypothesis of monitor theory is that there is a difference between acquisition and learning. Acquisition is hypothesized to occur in a manner similar to L1 acquisition, that is, with the learner's focus on communicating messages and meanings, learning is described as a conscious process, one in which the learner's attention is directed to the rules and forms of the language. The monitor hypothesis suggests that, although spontaneous speech originates in the acquired system, what has been learned may be used as a monitor to edit speech if the L2 learner has the time and the inclination to focus on the accuracy of the message.
Behaviourism. For much of the first half of the twentieth century, behaviourism dominated psychology and education and, consequently, theories of L2 learning and teaching. Behaviouriam was based on the view that all learning- including language learningoccurs through a process of imitation, practice, reinforcement and habit formation. According to behaviourism, the environment is crucial not only because it is the source of the linguistic stimuli that learners need in order to form associations between the words they hear and the objects and events they represent but also because it provides feedback on learner's performance. Behaviourists claimed that when learners correctly produce language that approximates what they are exposed to in the input, and these efforts receive positive reinforcement, habits are formed (Skinner, 1957). Behaviourism came under attack when Chomsky (1968) questioned the notion that children learn their first language by repeating what they hear in the surrounding environment. He argued that children produce novel and creative utterances- one that they would never have heard in their environment.
Cognitive Psychology Since the late 1980s,there has been a revival of interest in psychological theories of language learning. McLaughlin(1987)and others argued Thar, contrary to the hypotheses of linguistic theories,there is no reason to assume that language acquisition requires specific brain structures used uniquely for language acquisition. Cognitive psychologists hypothesized that second language acquisition, like other
learning,requires the learner,s attention and effort-whether or not the learner is fully aware of what was being attended to. Some information processing theories suggested that language,like other skilled activity,is first acquired through intentional learning of what is called declarative knowledge and that,through practice,the declarative knowledge can become procedural knowledge. Other theorists make a similar contrast trolled processing is not necessarily intentional. Controlled processing occurs when a learner is acessing information that is new or rare or complex. Controlled processing requires mental effort and takes attention away from other controlled processes.
Another psychological approach to understanding language learning is that taken in connectionist, emergentist and parallel distributed processing models (Ellis, 1999, Rumelhart and MacClelland, 1986). These approaches are like the behaviourist approach in the same that are frequently encountered together. According to these views, the brain creates networks which connect words or phrases to other words or phrases ( as well as to events and objects) which occur at the same time. It is suggested that these links (or connections) are strengthened when learners are repeatedly exposed to linguistic stimuli in specific contexts. For example, when L2 learners produce I go and She goes, the latter does not reflect an underlying knowledge of a rule for the placement of 's' with the third person singular. Rather, the connection between She and goes is thought to be established through high-frequency exposure to these co-occurring structures in the linguistic input. The pronoun she activates goes and the pronoun I triggers go because the learner has heard these forms in combination many many times.
Multidimensional Model. One of the central question within psychological accounts of second language acquisition is why it is that L1 and L2 learners go through a series of predictable stages in their acquisition of grammatical features. Slobin (1973) proposed operating principles to help explain what L1 learners found easier or harder to process and learn. Within second language acquisition, the Multidimensional Model represents a way to relate underlying cognitive process to stages in the L2 learner's development. The Multidimensional Model was originally developed as a result of studies of the acquisition of German word order and later, on the basis of research with L2 learners of English (Pienemann, 1989). In this research, L2 learners were observed to acquire certain syntactic and morphological features of the L2 in predictable stages. These features were referred to as developmental. Other features, referred to as variational, appeared to be learned by some but not all learners and, in any case, did not appear to be learned in fixed sequence.
Interactionist Perspectives. Some theorists who work primarily within a second language acquisition framework assume that a great deal of language learning takes place through social
interaction, at least in part because interlocutors adjust their speech to make it more accessible to learners. Some of the L2 research in this framework is based on L1 research into children's interaction with their caregivers and peers. L1 studies showed that children are often exposed to a specialized variety of speech which is tailored to their linguistic and cognitive abilities. When native speakers engage in conversation with L2 learners, they may also adjust their language in ways intended to make it more comprehensible to the learner. Furthermore, when L2 learners interact with each other or with native speaker they use a variety of interaction techniques and adjustments in their efforts to negotiate meaning. These adjustments include modifications and simplifications in all aspects of language, including phonology, vocabulary, syntax and discourse.
Sociocultural Perspectives Theorists working within a sociocultural perspective of L2 learning operate from the assumption that there is an intimate relationship between culture and mind, and that all learning is first social then individual. It is argued that through dialogic communication, learners jointly construct knowledge and this knowledge is later internalized by the individual. Like cognitive psychologists, sociocultural theorists assume that the same general learning mechanisms apply to language learning as with other forms of knowledge.
Developmental Sequence In the late 1960s and especially in the 1970s, a number of researches studied second language acquisition in ways that were based on previous work in L1 acquisition. This was reflected in the methods which were used to investigate interlanguage, the specific linguistic features under investigation, and as we saw earlier in this chapter, the theories proposed to explain language development. One of the most influential studies of the acquisition of L1 English was Brown's (1973) longitudinal research on the language development of three children. One part of that study focused on how the children acquired grammatical morphemes such as possessive' S and past tense -ed. Brown and colleagues (1973) found that children acquired these forms in a similar order. Other L1 studies showed that children acquired syntactic
patterns such as interrogative and negative sentences of the L1, in a series of stages that are common to all children learning the same L1.
Conclusion Since the 1960s, second language acquisition research has, in some ways, become a field in its own right, with numerous conferences and journals devoted entirely to studies of L2 learning. In 1980 it was possible to read almost everything that had been written about second language acquisition theory and research and to keep up to date on new studies. Today, the field of second language acquisition has enormous scope and depth both in terms of the variety of topics under investigation and the research approaches used to investigate them.
MITCHELL, R; MYLES, F. Input and interaction in Second Language Learning In: Second Language Learning Theories. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. Reviewers: William Pereira and Suzete Silva – UFPA.
Mitchell investigates through 21 text parts and subparts the role of input and interaction in the development of learner’s interlanguage through reviews of many approaches and researches which investigate input-interaction relationship in first and second language acquisition through hypothesis and empirical/descriptive experiments. Furthermore, she reviews the importance of output, its the role and effectiveness of error interventions (feedback, recasts, requests, negative and positive evidences), as well as the turning process of input to intake (attention, consciousness-raising, focus on form) In the first main topic, Mitchell reviews the possible relationships between Interaction and Input. According to Krashen, humans acquire a language by understanding messages or receiving a comprehensible input. In the process to turn input to intake, the researcher proposes three stages, among them he describes the understanding of a second language as “I” (the learner’s current stage) plus “1” (the next level by understanding input containing). However, this hypothesis is not easily testable and seems to be likely mere empirical evidence; it also does not demonstrate clearly the nature of “I” in its characteristics and language aspects application. The further two stages described by Krashen are: i the notion of a gap between second language I + 1 form and the interlanguage rules and; ii the reappearance of I + 1 form with minimal frequency. Empirical experiments bring us outcomes relating linguistic/conversational adjustments, as linguistic modifications, as a promoting feature to comprehension of input, consequently providing acquisition through an initial interaction. According to Long’s ideas, the modification of the interactional structure of conversation – i.e: negotiation – helps people to comprehend input, thus promotes the conditions to language acquisition. Long’s further ideas on interaction hypothesis state input and linguistic environment with “learner’s internal factors” as facilitative features to language development. Pica et alii, through a dyadic research, have found that interactional adjustments are more effective in promoting comprehensible input than linguistic adjustments alone.
Pica and colleagues propose, as their research findings, that interaction “results in an input that was more complex than input that was modified according to conventional criteria of linguistic simplification”. During their experiment, they perceived learners who were allowed to negotiate the meaning of an unmodified script increased their comprehension hence interaction modifications of input. According to Mackey, second language development can be facilitated through interaction. However, it seems necessary a stronger theoretical basis to make clear the relation between interaction and acquisition. As the second main topic, Mitchell treats on error interventions and its relationship with input. In first language acquisition, it is not certain the necessity of feedback to the acquisition of the core aspect of the language, as well as it is not clear the relation of recasts in promoting grammatical development. In Oliver’s research on recast, learners incorporated 10% of the recasts into their following utterances. The researcher conceived recast as a tool students use in their following utterances, using as an opportunity to produce more target-like utterances. Researchers describe the possibility of corrections produced by learners after negative evidence can be forgotten and do not affect interlanguage. In spite of, the main assumptions on negative evidence describe its possibilities to benefit students developmentally ready. The experience in teaching career lead us to believe interaction as an important tool to make increase students language development likely it may happens in acquisition of the first language, and also the recasts and negative evidence can provide interest results, in long terms, if done continually, even to lower level students.
MITCHELL, R; MYLES, F. Socio-cultural perspectives on second language learning. In: Second Language Learning Theories. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. Reviewers: Rafaela Campos and Roberta Silva – UFPA.
This text is going to talk about some theorists who research the language learning in social terms, and show target language interaction not only as autonomous and internal learning mechanism. In this chapter, the author present a little about Vygotsky theory’s called ‘socio-cultural’. Nowadays some interpretations and modifications to his original idea are called ‘neo-Vygotskyan’. Lantolf (2000), one of Vygotsky’s successors, said that the human forms to mental activity are mediated according to Vygotsky (1987). For Vygotsky, the human don’t act directly on the physical world, but using some tools and activities as artifacts, like symbolic tools (e.g.: numbers, music and language) or signs to mediate and regulate relationships. Based on Thorne (2000) and Warschauer (2007), Lantolf exemplified the mediated learning with contemporary example that is the use of computer, it means a new written communication through technology, like chats and so on. According to socio-cultural theory, learning is a mediated process, or better, a socially mediated which the learner can interact and share with others, solving problem and discussion. For this, some process are claimed like other-regulation (the process which someone that knows more and have skills, like a teacher, will correct and help a beginner learner), self-regulation (when the learner shared knowledge and informations, worked in collaborative way and appropriate, he/she will able to selfregulation), scaffolding (a process of learn step by step), ZPD (the “place” where the learner is more productive), microgenesis (is the local learning process for acquiring new knowledge or skill), private and inner speech (the children or a learner talk to and for themselves without external partner’s presence; for Piaget it’s a kind of ‘children’s egocentrism’; for Vygotsky private speech becomes inner speech) and activity theory (it’s the same collaborative interaction, and according to Donato and McCornick, contain a subject, an object, actions and operations). After that, the text shows how the socio-cultural theory is applied with some situations to exemplify. The private speech is viewed in naturalistic studies of child SLL. The author says how happens the appropriation by the child of new lexical items, the process of encoding and transmission message, object and self-regulation
(information process models) and so on. Amy Ohta (2000) had a research using individual microphones to recorder learner’s private second language speech, and identifies three main types of this speech: the most common was the repetition (which learners repeated privately some things like new lexical items), vicarious responses (which they respond privately a question from the teacher) and manipulation (when they construct their own SL utterances). How new language knowledge is supposed to arise in social interaction? How is it internalized by the learner? According to the text, naturalistic studies work on sharing and transferring knowledge between speakers. A child, for example, appropriate and use a new word that was offered by an adult. An input or interaction perspective defend the negotiation of meaning or conversational repair as facts which contribute to the leaner's acquisitional stage. However, Vygostskyan perspective says that second language system is build up through the appropriation of a new lexical item from a native speaker. This process is called microgenesis. Following the view of the Zone of Proximal Development, there is an interaction between an "expert" who can be the teacher, or a native speaker; and the "novice" who may be the learner. Based on this theory, Aljaafreh and Lantolf worked on the idea of one-to-one feedback from a language tutor on weekly writing assignments. the main point is that the tutor identify the error and the learner scaffold the learner to correct it, there is a sentence from the text that summarizes this idea: " the idea is to offer just enough assistance to encourage and guide the learner to participate in the activity and to assume increased responsibility for arriving at the appropriate performance" (Aljaafreh and Lantolf, p. 469) p. 210. The study of Nassaji and Swain is follows this previous theory, but in this case, if the learner doesn't respond, the tutor has to provide a more explicit feedback until the learner identify the error. Socio-cultural theorists have expanded Vygotsky's formulation of the Zone of Proximal Development. Vygotsky defends the interaction between "novice" and "expert" but the current socio-cultural theorists include the idea of collaborative activities, they can be pair work or group work. Second language learning researchers taking into consideration the sociocultural view attempt to apply a general theory of cognition. First, the dissociation of
social and psychological aspects is no accepted. Learning is seen as a social and intermental activity which happens in the ZPD. This idea is associated to Chomsky concepts of language competence and performance. Competence is related to the knowledge people already carry in mind and performance is how this learner is going to use it, that's why social and psychological aspects cannot be separated, one process depends on the other. Social-cultural theory sees language as a tool for thought, in this case, language itself is not the main point, learners will not focus their attention to structure or form, but they will use the language to solve problems. Communication is seen as the principal fact to construct knowledge which is first developed inter-mentally, and then appropriated and internalized by individuals. According to social-cultural perspectives, language learning is seen as first social, then individual, first inter-mental then intra-mental. The learner can construct the leaning environment which they control through their choices and goals during the learning process. There is an integration of social-cultural and cognitives aspects, according to Ohta, she sees private speech giving opportunities for repetition and rehearsal of new language items. In spite of that, there are some researchers who believe that new language is not only co-constructed but internalized and re-used. To sum up, all these theories are factors that contribute to a better understanding SLL, these ideas contribute to learner and teachers choose better strategies during the learning process and going deeper, they are able to understand what is behind the process of learning a language.
COHEN, A. D; DÖRNYEI, Z. Focus on the language learner: Motivation, styles, and strategies. In N. Schmitt (Ed.), An introduction to applied linguistics. London: Arnold, 2002. 170-190 p.
Reviewers: Liliana Barbosa and Quezia – UFPA.
In order to reach the success in learning a foreign or second language there are some factors to take in consideration such as the duration of the course, the abilities of the teacher, the quality of the textbook and so on. But the authors emphasize the chapter on the characteristics of the language learner and the three factors that increase the effectiveness of instruction. Cohen & Dörnyei start discussing about the characteristics that are out of the teacher’s control that are age, gender and language aptitude. The relation between language learning and age is traditionally viewed through “the younger the better principle” which theorizes that the language learning has a critical period where the person need to start young to learn the language and consequently reach the native-like pronunciation. However, the authors inform that there are researches that show that this principle is only valid in environments where the exposure is constant and natural to the L2 (for example, learning French in France). The principle does not work in typical classroom environments where the exposure is relatively small. The second factor that is beyond the teacher’s control is the gender. The authors do not discuss very much about it. It is only said that researches show that the girls outdo the boys in language learning. The third factor out of the teacher’s control is the language aptitude. This factor is known as the main one that makes the difference among the learners. Someone with high aptitude will pick up the L2 relatively easily, whereas for another person the same level of proficiency can only be achieved by means of hard work and persistence. However, the language aptitude is not a determinant factor to learn a language. From now on, Cohen & Dörnyei discuss the factors that can increase the effectiveness of instruction: motivation, learning styles and learner strategies. The authors start the discussion by motivation. It is usually said that without it nothing really happens. This factor has a social nature because L2 is not only a communication code but also the culture where it is spoken. This is an interesting point because how can anti-
American person can learn the English language if he or she dislike the people of this country. In other words, if you like Japanese people and culture, probably it will be easier to learn Japanese language than English. The authors also describe the motivation as a dynamic process. This means that motivation is in continuous process. It is cited that motivation undergoes a cycle that has three phases. Respectively, the motivation needs to be generated (choice motivation); the generated motivation needs to be actively maintained and protected while the particular action lasts (executive motivation); and the third one deals with the learners’ retrospective evaluation of how thing went (motivational retrospection). The authors discuss the motives to learn an L2 such as the desire to interact with L2 group and potential pragmatic gains of L2 as better job. Moreover, they add another aspect of choice motivation that is the expectancy of success and perceived coping potential. The most important aspect of executive motivation is related to the perceived quality of the learning experience. Another aspect is autonomy. The last main phase of the motivational process, motivational retrospective, involves the process whereby learners look back and evaluate how things went. Cohen & Dörnyei describe the learning styles as relatively stable and so the teachers may not have much influence on this learner variable. However, they can modify the learning tasks they use in their classes in a way that may bring the best out of the particular learners with particular learning style preferences. There are numerous identified styles such as visual, auditory, global, particular, extroverted, introverted and so on. Moreover, the authors discuss the learner strategies that it is factor whose characteristics is the active and creative participation of the student in the learning process through the application of individualized learning techniques. The learner strategies can be categorized in language learning strategies and language use strategies. The first one refers to the conscious and semi-conscious thoughts used by the learner to reach some aspect of the target language. And the second one refers to the strategies for using the language that has been learned not completely. The language use strategies is subdivided in retrieval strategies, rehearsal strategies, communication strategies, cover strategies. The authors emphasize the communication strategies (strategies used to convey a meaningful message) because the students can use them to steer the conversation away from problematic area or subject that he or she does not know.
Moreover, Cohen & Dörnyei call the attention that the communication strategies may or not have impact on learning. The authors classify the strategies according to skill areas. In this way, there are receptive skills represented by listening and reading, and productive ones, speaking and writing. However, there are other skills to take in consideration: strategies related to translation and vocabulary also are important to mention. According to the authors, there is a set of strategies which learners can use to increase their commitment to the language learning. This set is called ‘self-motivating’ strategies, and it refers to the mechanisms used by the learners to motivate themselves to learn a language. The authors believe that learners have to be aware of this process and self- motivation strategies are essential to learn a language. After the classification, the authors suggest some steps for Style and Strategiesbased instruction, that is try to help the learners be more conscious and systematic to the use of strategies that they already use or the ones that they will use (Dörnyei, 1995; weaver and Cohen, 1997; Cohen, 1998). Taking into consideration the learners styles preferences to select the strategies which fit better to accomplish the tasks. As a conclusion the authors emphasize the fact that the style and strategies are interrelated. The teacher’s role is to make the student aware of the existence of learning strategies, and on the other side the learners have to use them according to which style they have. The learner who is conscious about his learning style have more chances to develop the learning strategies, in this way beaming more productive.