Assignment No.



Psycholinguistics and Language Teaching Methodology (5655)

The Project Report


Mr. TahseenAfreen
MA (English); MA (TEFL); B.Ed.

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Course Code:5655

The Project Question What is the difference between first language acquisition and second language learning? Observe two children of secondary level in their English language classroom for a week and note down in your diary or observation sheet: a. How they are learning second language? b. What similarities are there in acquisition of first language and learning of second language? c. What are the factors which are hindrance in the way of their learning of second language?

Prepared by Zeeshan Nawaz Bhalli SSE(Govt. H/S Kammanwala, Sialkot) Roll # AH 526472 VPO Kapoorwali Sialkot

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Introduction of the Topic The topic on which I am going to make a research is a very interesting one for me. In Pakistan, the system of language learning is both very stimulating and complicated. In Pakistan, a child has to counter many problems while trying to acquire orlearn a language. Now a days, a Pakistani child, is expected to learn three languages simultaneously at very early stages of his life i-e the mother tongue, the national language ( Urdu) and the English language. Thus, the language learning process for a Pakistani kid is very painstaking. At the very first stage, he acquires his mother tongue. In some modern families, the elders try to make their children talk in Urdu language. Thus , for a few families, Urdu acts as their mother tongue. However, mostly, the mother tongue for Pakistanis is the regional or local language and not Urdu. Punjabi, Pushto, Siraiki, Sindhi, Kashmiri, Gujrati etc. are some of the regional languages that are being used as mother tongues in Pakistan. Thus, a Pakistani child first tries to make sounds or utter some broken words in his or her local/ regional/ mother language. In some families, the children have to use both regional and Urdu languages because they listen to both these languages form their elders. Some very interesting sentences can be heard from the mouth of a child when he tries to utter a sentence using a mixture of both the regional tongue (say Punjabi) and Urdu language. Examples: 1. Mama, tukithaygaee thee? 2. Meritaanggaaraymeinphassgaee thee. 3. Papa, Ali nay mujay watta marahai. 4. Kall ma naalymein dig giyatha. 5. Dekho, meri pent aaj gitton say oooparhai. etc. etc. The following examples clearly show that the elders are producing a lot many problems for their young ones who are trying to acquire their first language. Instead of facilitating them, the elders are making their task more and more difficult and mysterious. In comparison to this situation, the acquiring of a single language (either the mother tongue or Urdu) is a lot easier for a kid. This
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mixture of language forces a child to commit more and more language mistakes and errors in acquiring his or her first language. After having acquired the mother tongue, a Pakistani child proceeds further for leaning Urdu and English languages. When the child is admitted to some school, he or she has to learn two languages Urdu and English. AT home, the child uses local language and Urdu and English at school, thus facing challenge of structuring patterns of three languages simultaneously. This question becomes even more puzzling when we keep in mind the fact that the structures of all these languages differ a lot. Thus, we baffle the child by forcing him to try his little innocent mind with these three languages. However, it is a matter of satisfaction that a Pakistani child, by the grace of Allah Almighty, behaves very nicely leaning Urdu and English language to some extent. The learning of English language creates some problems in a child s life. The child uses his experience of Punjabi and Urdu languages while learning English language.Thus, the interference of the mother tongue can create real problem for a Pakistani child in learning English language. We can safely say that for Pakistanis L1 is the main hindrance in leaning L2. Another main problem in Pakistan is that majority of the students think that learning English language is very difficult. This thinking is prevalent in our Society since ages. I have often seen that most of the pe rsons who are good at English language, instead of encouraging the students to learn, they are seen rather discouraging the students. This thing really puts the students in the back gear. We should try to understand the gravity of the situation and try to encourage and convince the young learners to learner foreign languages. We should make things simple for young learners who are already afraid of learning a foreign language. In spite of all the problems faced by Pakistani learners, they work really hard and are able to express themselves in English as some stage of their educational careers. Now a days, the Pakistani government and the Pakistani community are trying their level best to remove the hindrances that stop a person from performing well in English language. For this, the latest methods of teaching and learning are being applied in schools.
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I am, as a learner of English language, quite hopeful that we will be able to get the required results by applying new methods and techniques. Such strategies should be adopted that will turn these hindrances into leaning opportunities for English language learning. Literature Review According to linguists there is an important distinction be tween language acquisition and language learning. As we see that children acquire their mother tongue through interaction with their parents and the environment that surrounds them. Their need to communicate paves the way for language acquisition to take place. As experts suggest, there is an innate capacity in every human being to acquire language. By the time a child is five years old, he can express ideas clearly and almost perfectly from the point of view of language and grammar. Although, parents never sit with children to explain to them the workings of the language, their utterances show a superb command of intricate rules and patterns that would drive an adult crazy if he tried to memorize them and use them accurately. This suggests that it is throug h exposure to the language and meaningful communication that a first language is acquired, without the need of systematic studies of any kind. The acquiring of the first language is a biological process. There is very little variation from this timetable. Just as almost all human babies start walking at between 12 to 18 months, puppies open their eyes few days after their birth, many trees shed their leaves in autumn, according to some biological timetable, similarly human babies acquire their mother tongue. Learning of the mother tongue is certainly a natural process, biologically controlled. If the onset of language had not been pre-ordained, but only when the need arose, then the speech would have been learnt at different times within different cultures, with different degrees of proficiency. Most children acquire more or less the same degree of language competence within almost same period of time. The same cannot be said about learnin g a second language. Learning his mother tongue is not the child s own decision, but if he decides to learn to ride a bicycle, it is purely his own decision. Similarly, if an adult decides
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to learn a foreign language, it is purely his personal decision and may be the result of some need or interest. There are thousands of people in the world who don t feel any need to learn a foreign language and lead their whole lives with just their mother tongue. It is said that language is badly affected by linguistically impoverished environment. For example, the children who are brought up in orphanages tend to lag behind in speech development though they started to speak on schedule. Aitcheson gives the following approximate schedule of the onset of language among the children. The age of onset is approximate, but the order of events is fixed. Crying Cooing Babbling Intonation Patterns One-word utterances Two-word utterances World inflections Questions, negatives Rare or complex structures Mature speech Birth 6 weeks 6 months 8 months 1 year 18 months 2 years 2.5 years 5 years 10 years

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The major differences between first language acquisition and second language learning 1) Children normally achieve perfect L1 mastery, whereas adult L2 learners are unlikely to achieve perfect L2 mastery. 2) In L1, success is guaranteed, but in L2 learning complete success is very rare. 3) There is little variation in degree of success or route in L1 learning, whereas L2 learners vary in overall success and route. 4) The goals of L1 and L2 learners differ completely. In L1, target language competence is guaranteed, but L2 learners may be content with less than target language competence and they may be more concerned with fluency than accuracy. 5) Children develop clear intuitions about correctness in L1, but L2 learners are often unable to form clear grammatical judgments. 6) Correction is not found and not necessary in L1 learners, whereas in L2 learners, correction is generally helpful and necessary. 7) In L1, usually instruction is not needed, but in L2 learning it is necessary. So, we can say that there is a great difference between first language acquisition and second language learning. Much of second language learning centers on issues of the nature of learnability. First language acquisition is somewhat a mystery and relies mostly on innate universal principles of constraints and assumptions, whereas second language learning seems to rely more on cognitive mechanism in order to fashion general problem solving learning strategies to cope with the material. It goes without saying that children naturally acquire their first language, but adults do not naturally acquire their second language, as a number of fundamental differences appear in their rationale towards learning.
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Observations (My Diary) Since I am working as a Teacher at a Public school, and fortunately, teaching English language to secondary class students. I chose two average stude nts for my observation sheet. I will mention not only my observation of those two boys, namely MuhamamdShoaib and TayyabAli (Class 9th B, Govt. High School, Kammanwala, Sialkot), but also my overall experience of teaching and learning English to secondary class stude nts. How are the students learning second language The education system or the traditions have made the educational and learning process a very intricate and complex phenomenon. Cramming things has become a fashion in our edu cational institutions. Even in Urdu, the students are seen digesting things by cramming. I observed Shoaib and Tayyab cramming Urdu and English subjects. Thus, for them, learning a mother tongue or the foreign language is the same thing. They learn the foreign language the way they acquire first language. The traditional method of teaching through GT Method is there in our Pakistani classrooms. A strange situation prevails in the country. Ridiculously, in Public institutions, the teachers can't help speaking L1 while teaching L2 to the class. The students studying in Public schools generally do not understand communication in English. If the teacher uses English as a medium of instruction in the classroom while teaching L2 to the class, the students will not be able to pick anything. Shaoib and Tayyab are also no exceptions. Shoaib and Tayyab speak Punjabi at home and then they have to learn English langauge which happens to be totally different in structure as compared to L1 structure. Both these students particularly and the whole class in general, find this scenario very serious and demanding. Thus, we can safely say that our students try to learn L2 through L1. Sometimes, L1 helps the students in learning L2 but most of the times their L1 experience forces them to commit errors. Both these students, Shoaib and Tayyab were taught grammar deductively in the previous classes. They were made to learn the rules by heart and then applying these rules, they were asked to give examples. Unfortunately, they found this method unhelpful for them. Thus, deductive method for them did
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not work. I am now trying to teach them through inductive metho d, and I hope it will work for them. These are the ways in which our students are learning second language in Pakistan. Similarities in acquisition of first language and learning of second language.. In the process of learning a second language, the learner can use his mother tongue experience as a means of organizing the second language data. If the system of the L1 resembles that of the L2, we speak of facilitation. In this case, the L1 helps the learner in learning second language. There are a number of words in Urdu (and Punjabi) which are actually taken from English language like car, fridge, computer, machine, TV, remote control, copy, pencil, rubber, marker, wiper, board, glass, VCR, CD, laptop, dish, plate, packet, chocolate, cricket, hockey, volleyball, stand, bus, truck, mobile, transformer, regulator etc. A Pakistani learner may find the t ranslation of these words in English an easy task because he is to simply write the spelling of these words. Thus these words of L1 are helping the learner in learning L2 (English). In Pakistan, our secondary class students, especially studying in the Public sector, have less previous second language knowledge; therefore, they make more use of their first language knowledge. There are many ways in which we can use a "present tense" structure for the identification of a future event...e.g. "I am going to Lahore tomorrow." In case of a "Pakistani" student whose mother tongue is Urdu will also translate or produce the sentence inthe same way. i.e. "makalLahore jarahahoon". Similarly, if a sentence in L1 (Urdu) is in "present perfect" and the time is also "present", we can easily translate it into L2 (English) as "present perfect". e.g. "maLahore say aayahoon" "I have come from Lahore" "maaajheeLahore say aayahoon"
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"I have come from Lahore today" But if the same sentence is accompanied by a "past time" in L1, it can be written or spoken in "present perfect" in L1, but as far as L2 is concerned, it should be in the "past indefinite". It is here that the L2 learner is liable to make an error. Here, owing to the interference of L1, the L2 learner commits an error. e.g. "makalheeLahore se aayahoon" The L2 learner translates the above sentence wrongly in the light of his experience of L1....... "I have come from Lahore yesterday" The factors which are hindrance in the way of learning second language... In my humble opinion, there are a number of factors which really hinder the way of a L1(Urdu) learner while learning L2. These factors are discusse d below one by one:
The Social background

Both the students, Shoaib and Tayyab belong to rural areas. Their families are middle class families. Their means of earning is agriculture. They hardly meet both ends meet. The parents are illiterate. They do not pay attention to the study of their sons. Theparents lack of interest in their education had a bad effect on them. They, somehow, had some zeal and therefore, came upto the level of secondary class. If they were born in a n educated family, their educational career must have been good. Thus, the poor social background is a hindrance in learning . whether it is 1st or 2nd language learning.
L1 as a hindrance in learning L 2

For a Pakistani leaner, L1(Urdu) acts as the main hindrance in learning L2 (English). Here, the errors are mainly due to the interference of the mother tongue. Such errors are called Interlingual errors. Sometimes, L1 interference helps a learner learning L2 but most of the time L1 acts as a hindrance in the way of leaning L2. Almost 60 percent of the total errors committed in learning
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L2 by a Pakistani leaner are the result of the first language interference. 1)Shoaib and Tayyab in particular and the Pakistani secondary class students in general,try to translate the Urdu language word to word in the target language and it leads them to commit errors. Consider this sentence in Urdu.. "woLahore jatayhain" In urdu, we use plural verb for plural subject. When a Pakistani student translates a sentence into English, he keeps the following rule of Urdu in his mind and translates this sentence this way...... "They goes to Lahore" They think that because the subject is plural, therefore an "es" is a must for making the verb "go" plural. They do this because they are applying L1 rules in learning and translating L2. In the same way, a Pakistani learner might translate the sentence " wodoobrahahai" in the following way.... "He is sinking". This is also because of first language interference. However, if we try the Direct Method in our English classroom, it might improve the situation. 2) There is no article in Urdu language. Shoaib and Tayyab tried this sentence without any article burrhaaadmiaahistaaahistachalrahatha Instead of translating it . "The old man was walking slowly". They translated it like "Old man was walking slowly" (leaving out the article owing to L1 interference) 3)TheUrdu meaning of "stand" is "adda" in the expression "bus stand". I was checking the English papers when I had the following sentence by a student of
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mine . "The aeroplane was standing on the air stand" 4)The Englishlanguage is very rich. The translation of the Urduword "dekhna" was generalized by Shoaib and Tayyab. They used the English word see for all the expressions whether it was TVdaikhna or ekaadmikodekhna or ekaadmikoghurna or khirrki say baharjhankna . They wrote to see TV to see a man for To see a man for for for TV dekhna ekaadmikodekhna ekaadmikoghurna khirrki say baharjhankna

To see out of a window

5)I observed the two of them learning the meanings of the individual words. That s why they made mistakes. I asked them to learn the meanings in phrases so that they are mentally clear of the usage of that word. This will help them in using the words in contexts. 6)Both Shoaib and Tayyab always searched for the equivalents while translating Urdu language into English. For example, both of them translatedthe sentence Amjadkee Ayesha k saathshadihuee like . Amjad married with Ayesha (They used the word with for saath as its equivalent) And India nay pakistan per hamlakiya India attacked on/ over Pakistan .................. without knowing that no preposition is used in Enlgish after attack. Shoaibwote on and Tayyab wrote over for per as its equivalent.

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Thus , L1 causes unbelievable hindrances in the way of learning L2 language for Pakistani learners.
Deductive Method as a hindrance in L2 learning

As it has already been stated, I use inductive method in the class. Shoaib and Tayyab were taught through deductive method but they failed to follow this method. In fact, this rule puts much emphasis on memorization. The students forget the rules and are, therefore, unable to give an examples. Thus, deductive method can be seen as a hindrance in the way of L2 learners. AS a substitute, inductive method can be used in order to get fruitful results.
More emphasis on correction and tenses rather than communication

We, the Pakistani teachers, put much emphasis on correction and tenses rather than encouraging the students to communicate in English. Now-a-days, attempts have been made by the government of Pakistan to spread awareness among educational communities of the importance of communication method of teaching. The students should be encouraged to express themselves and talk in English. Their mistakes should be ignored considering them as learning opportunities for the learners. They should be encouraged by the teachers to communicate in English. This method of teaching, the Communicative Method, is becoming popular now-a-days in Pakistan. Thus, emphasis on correction and tenses can be seen as a hindrance in learning a foreign language.
Negative feedback from the teacher s

If the teachers give positive feedback to their students, the students can be made to work harder. The morale of the students gets higher if he is given positive feedback from his teacher. Negative feedback from the teacherswill worsen the overall atmosphere of teaching learning process. The student will never try to say anything which he considers wrong. This situation might create dangerous results for the student. Therefore, negative feedback from the teachers can be taken as a hindrance in way of learning L2.

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Suggestions for improving the L2 learning process in Pakistan 1) The Communicative Method should be used more and more in the English language classrooms. 2) The use of GT Method should be minimized in the English language classrooms. 3) Interactive learning and the group work should be initialized in the English language classrooms. 4) Inductive Methods should be given a chance. If we are able to use this method efficiently in the English language classrooms, we will take much benefit out of this method. 5) The use of audio-visual aids must be increased in order to make the language learning process interesting for the students. 6) The government should establish the language laboratories in the Public schools. 7) The teachers should try to encourage the students to speak English. They must not point out the errors and mistakes of the students. Positive feedback from the teacher may really motivate the students to work even harder. Conclusion Concluding this brief report, this can be said that acquiring the first language and learning a second language are the quite different things. A man learns the first language mysteriously and perfectly through imitation. He does not have to attend any classes in order to get mastery over L1. Learning L2 needs hard work, planning and the use of latest methods. Learning of L2 has always been a challenge for all the societies in general and the Pakistani society in particular. In Pakistan, the interference of L1 is very much realized in learning L2 (English). Both Urdu and English languages differ a lot in structure. The parts of speech differ in both these languages. The English language is a very rich language in comparison to Urdu language. The Urdu languag e is, in fact, a mixture of many languages which mars the overall beauty this language. The discussion in this report shows that we need to work really hard and we need to devise the latest and approved methods of teaching English as a foreign language to Pakistani students. The teachers should try to make the L2 (English) learning process easy and simple for the Pakistani students. Fortunately, our government (especially the Punjab government) is also making serious efforts in order to improve the overall L2 learning process in Pakistan. May our dream of improving the L2 learning process fulfills! AAmeen.
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