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Machrosin 091 0302 102 5th Afternoon Class TEFL 2

Summary and Response


Chapter I

Second Language Learning

Key concepts and issues

Introduction The main themes to be dealt with in this section are: a. What makes for a good explanation or theory b. Views on the nature of language c. Views of language learning process d. Views of the language learner e. Links between language learning theory and social practice What makes for a good theory? Second language learning is a complex comprehension toward all the human life, since we have experienced it during the time of ours. Then, why should we learn a theory about second language learning? As its stated that it is a need for us to learn for 2 basic reasons: a. Improved knowledge in this particular domain is interesting in itself. It also can contribute to more general understanding about the nature of language. b. The knowledge will be useful. If we become better at explaining the learning language process, and are better able to account for both success and failure in second language learning, there will be a pay-off for millions of teachers and others who learn who are struggling with the task. Then, comes to the theory, there is an idea shows that a theory of second language learning may deal only with a particular stage or phase of learning of learning or with the learning of some particular sub-aspects of language; or it may propose learning mechanism which are much more general in scope. But, the theory is developed. The development itself in that theory leads to the need to collect new information and explore different phenomena and different patterns in the potentially infinite world of facts and data. Whatever the particular focus of a given theory, whether it focuses on a general one or even just pays on sub-aspect of a theory, we would expect to find the following: a. Clear and explicit statements of the ground the theory is supposed to cover, and the claims which it is making.


b. Systematic procedures for confirming/ disconfirming the theory,

through data gathering and interpretation. c. Not only description of second language phenomena, but attempts to explain why they are so, and to propose mechanism for change. d. Last but not least, engagement with other theories in the field, and serious attempts to account for at least some phenomena which are common ground in ongoing public discussion. 1.3. Views on the nature of language 1.3.1. Level of language Linguists agree that language can be seen from its levels. We have phonology, syntax, morphology, semantics and lexis, pragmatics, and discourse. Another linguist views language from lexis and grammar. We will find then that the control of syntax is commonly seen as somehow central to language learning and the most general SLL theories try to account for development in this area. 1.3.2. Competence and Performance Noam Chomsky has argued that the business of theoretical linguistics to study and model underlying language competence rather than the performance data of actual utterances which people have produced. By the competence, Chomsky is referring to the abstract and hidden representation of language knowledge held inside our heads, with its potential to create and understand original utterances in a given language. As we shall see, this view has been influential in much second language learning research. However, this theory has been committed to a dualist position, since there are difficulties in studying competence. Language performance data are believed to be an imperfect reflection of competence, partly because of the processing complications which are involved in speaking or other forms of language production and which lead to errors and slips. The split between competence and performance has never been accepted by linguists. Firth and Halliday has a different view about this. They both argue that the distinction between competence and performance doesnt appear. The only option for linguist is to study language in use, and there is no opposition between language system, and observed instances of language behavior, the only difference is one of perspective. Theorists finally view this phenomena as a closely linked between competence and performance or simply they push on the language

in use (speaking or writing) can contribute to language learning (development grammatical or lexical competence in the language). 1.4. The language learning Process 1.4.1. Nature and Nurture The discussion of the process of learning a language is debatable. In the early period of twentieth century the most debated theory is nature and nurture theory. Some theorists are Noam Chomsky and B.F. Skinner. Skinner argues that the process of learning a language could be a natural one, such as when a child imitates s/he caretakers speech. This theory becomes the behaviouristical theory. While Chomsky debates that this theory was unpredictable for language has its own word classes, such as noun, verb adverb, etc, and it is a complex process. Chomsky also gives new core knowledge of a language which soon will be called as Universal Grammar to support his theory about the process of learning a language from the essential one, from the word comes to a sentence. So, how it happens? Finally, we have to open our mind to convey both theories that language is a process to learn and acquire. During the process we need the supported environmental and, time, circumstance, and motivation to learn it as much as we could. 1.4.2. Modularity The next discussion about the process of learning a language is the modularity of our brain. Our brain is a single, flexible organism with one general set of procedures for learning and storing different knowledge or information or skill. Some experts said that language was a simple one like Jean Pigeat said. While Chomsky still argued that it is a complex one so it needs a big effort to learn it. Finally, as we shall see that language is a distinctive one where it needs process to share and convey it toward the learner, and we could see it also from the modularity of our brain point of views. 1.4.3. Modularity and second language learning The four logical possibilities in learning a second language: a. They continue to operate during second language learning, and make key aspects of second language learning possible, in the same way that they make first language learning possible. b. After the acquisition of the first language in the early childhood. these mechanism cease to b operable, and second languages must be learned by other means, c. The mechanisms themselves are no longer operable, but that first language provides a model of a natural language and how it

works, which can be copied in some way when learning a second language. d. That distinctive learning mechanism for language remains available, but only in part, and must be supplemented by other means. 1.4.4. Systematically and variability in second language learning Some second language learners have their own mistakes when they produce the sentence using their second language. This term may be discussed as a result under the influence of their first language. This systematicity provides the same rule as a parallel toward the comprehension of their first language. But, during the process of learning a second language we could also see the variability of erasing the error during the time. The second language learners will be so much careful with their utterance since their first error. 1.4.5. Creativity and routines in second language learning This phenomenon comes when the second language learners try to maintain their first language toward the second language which is being learned. After having a good treatment of using the second language as much as they can have (routine) shows that it gives a big impact toward the learners. They learn a lot in using the grammar, word choice and so on. 1.4.6. Incomplete success and fossilization Second language learning is typified by incomplete success which means as the claimed systematic evolution of our underlying interlanguage rules toward the target language system seems doomed, most often, never to integrate completely with its goal. The term of fossilization is described to show the phenomena when second language learner seems to freeze or become struck at some or more deviant stage no matter how much classes they attend or how active they use that language. 1.4.7. Cross- linguistic influences in L2 learning Study shows that the learners performance of second language learning is influenced by the language or language that they already know. This is routinely obvious from learners foreign accents, such as pronunciation. This term is known as language transfer. From a universal grammar view, the language transfer problem is looked at somewhat differently. If second language learners have continuing direct access to their underlying Universal Grammar, first language influence will affect only the more peripheral areas of second language development. 1.4.8. The relationship between language learning second language use and second

Some theories argue that through language production such as speaking helps the second language learners learn about the language. However, the contemporary theories said that the practice of a language helps them in building and making fluency in using the language which is being learned. We see that theories can hold different views on the contribution both of language input and language output to language learning. However, another way of distinguishing among the current theories of second language learning from a performance perspective has to do with their view of second language interaction when the speaking and listening in which the learners engaged are viewed as an integral and mutually influential whole. 1.5. Views of the language learner Second language learner is learner who embarks on the learning of an additional language at least some years after they have started to acquire their first language. This may happen in formal education field or somehow in an informal one.

1.5.1. The learner as language processor This deal with the age at what age should the learner learns about their second language? Do we have to put them at the critical stage? We could know that younger is better in learning the language especially for a second one. 1.5.2. Differences between individual learners This may deal with: a. Cognitive factors which may be influenced by: 1) Intelligence 2) Language aptitude 3) Language learning strategies b. Affective factors which relates to: 1) Language attitude 2) Motivation 3) Language anxiety 1.5.3. The learner as social being The learner as social being contains a comprehension that they are learning a lot to a language also being influenced or under reflected to the social aspect such as gender, place, etc. The perspective between the relation of individually and the relation between the social one will be seen as a dynamic one, need progress and full of changing.

Links with social practice The process of learning second language applies a broad chance in using that language socially in the society; it is useful for them to

learn that language or just getting known about learning a language widely, with a wider perspective. Learning a second language is a process which we need learn much about some factors supported that field. As a student of a teacher training faculty we need learn a lot about what factors support the students acquisition in learning a language, such as the modularity of our mind. The next comprehension about this chapter is the wide knowledge about some past theories which is still being used in the development of learning second language theories, such as the behaviouristic theory about this. The views toward the learner give a broad knowledge about treating the learner as a social being and the phases.