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Elaine Tarone University of Minnesota Am. Assoc of Teachers of Korean 2004
Learner Language: A Brief Personal History
1968, Edinburgh University - Scotland - Diploma in Applied Linguistics. On faculty: Larry Selinker, S.P. Corder, Alan Davies. Fellow student: H.G. Widdowson Times: Contrastive Analysis (Robt Lado, Charles Fries) “ALL learning difficulties of ALL second-language learners are caused by native language transfer” Revolution: let‟s study learners‟ language! 1. Error Analysis: “Do errors LOOK like they‟re all caused by native language transfer, or something else?” 2. Language Acquisition Device: “do adult second-language learners have a „built-in syllabus‟ similar to that of children acquiring their first language?” (Corder) For first time in history (that we know), people interested in teaching second language stopped talking about what TEACHERS do, and began to look systematically at what second-language LEARNERS do, and know, and think about the learning enterprise. SLA research was born.
Different Views of Learner Language
Corder: Transitional competence. Learner has a “built-in syllabus” that he follows no matter what the teacher‟s syllabus is. Input does not equal intake. Larry Selinker: Adult second-language learners do not have the same language acquisition device children do. We know this because:
… second-language learning is so difficult for adults (cf Selinker 1972)
While every young child acquires a native languages perfectly, and without instruction, … adults never acquire a second language perfectly, and seem to need instruction. The result of early child acquisition is a perfect native language; the result of adult SLA is always an interlanguage.
Interlanguage is defined by Selinker (1972) as:
The unique linguistic system evidenced when an adult second-language learner attempts to USE the language to express meanings. This linguistic system is created from generalizations made by the learner. It is not just the native language rules and not just the target language rules. Learner generates and tests hypotheses. A fossilized system: never develops to point of identity with the target language. Selinker felt this was because of cognitive loss, with age, of the language acquisition device.
Hallmarks of the Interlanguage Claim
Applies to adults, not children. Characteristics derive in part from the native language, in part from the target language (overgeneralization of target language rules), in part from instruction, and in part from strategies (communication strategies and learning strategies) Learner makes interlingual identifications (hypotheses about what is the same and what is different across languages) Fossilization is central and inevitable, for adults
What is the target of interlanguage development?
The learner‟s target is not necessarily native speaker competence in the target language. Interlanguage doesn‟t always develop linearly; it could be influenced by more than one target. The target of learning is selected by the learner. The target might be the learner‟s model of Indian English, or of Hong Kong English. Whatever the learner‟s target, the interlanguage hypothesis suggests that the adult learner will not achieve it because the LAD is gone.
English (L1)-Korean(L2) interlanguage?
consider some features of interlanguage in turn:
1. IL is formed by learner generalizations that come from many sources 2. IL is only used when learner expresses meaning 3. Learners need form-focused feedback when they use IL 4. IL fossilizes
Examples of English-Korean IL
Give Korean examples (?!) Papers at this conference:
Jin Hong Kim, on Korean learner corpora K. Seon Jeon, on L2 lexical learning Helen Kim, on processing transfer and strategies Yoo Sang Rhee, on speech acts produced by Korean learners Jeonyi Lee, conversation patterns of learners of Korean
Data for this presentation
Journals of two American learners of Korean at a large Midwest University (ER and TF), who wrote down their reflections about their learning of Korean, in journals addressed to their teacher, Jihyeon Jeon (1995, 1996) I‟d like to identify (w/Hye-Sook‟s help) some features of Korean-English interlanguage that these learners refer to in their journals, and … … consider, with you, what classroom teachers can learn from these learners‟ reflections.
1. The learner creates his or her own IL rules and generalizations. IL is a separate linguistic system: not the native language system and not the target language system.
These generalizations are created by the learner, sometimes but not always based on native language rules. Adults do not transfer ALL their old grammar and pronunciation patterns into their new language. Adults do not immediately produce the EXACT grammar or pronunciation of the new language, sounding exactly the way native speakers do. Their learner rules may be over-generalized parts of Korean rules they‟ve learned. Adults combine elements of their native language, elements of the new language, and other elements when they try to speak the new language.
TF on interlanguage generalizations (Jihyeon Jeon, 1995, 1996)
I still, though, feel the need to find generalization when there can be. Othe rwise I f eel bogged down by the sense that I have to learn every possible situat ion I co uld be in, and memorize the c orrect respond to t hat situation. (I stress that I want to find generalizations if there can be any. If not, then I w on't need them, I will just have to memorize.) For examp le, if there any subtle things in common between the use of -¥Ÿ•Ì in V.S. ¥Ÿ•Ì šœ¥Ÿ and V.S. + ¥Ÿ•Ì «œ¥Ÿ ? If so, can I usua lly expect other cases of multiple verbs where that same subtlety ex ists to also use ¥Ÿ•Ì in connec ting ve rbs ? Another case is that the s truct ure V.S. + æ² / æÓ / ø© •ª ¿œ ¿÷¥Ÿ made a l ot more sense, felt more comfortable, was easier to remember, and gave me a slight insight into the logic of Korean language after we talked about V.S. + æ² / æÓ /ø© ¥Ÿ and I realized that the first struct ure •ª is also probably derived from ¥Ÿ ( it also helped to understand ¿œ as well.)
TF on Korean word structure (part 1)
I was trying to read a bil ingual copy of ƒ·¡„ ²œ¡„ , just to practice reading in «—±€ . A lot of the grammatical struct ures I didn't know, so I could understood bits and pieces of it. But parts that I t hought I understood a little often turned out that I didn't. Part of this, I r ealized, came from my seeing, at the beginning of a word, for instance the syllable ¿œ , and I would think this has something to do w/work, or t he sun, or some such meaning of t he word ¿œ . As it happened, ¿œ w as just the first syllable of some longer word. Of course, I wouldn't do t his in German or English. Part of it is knowing that post position particle and othe r such grammatical struct ures are often attached directly to a wo rd in Korean, and so longer words can sometimes be b roken down into constituen t particles. But even though German often uses long compound words, I would never assume to do this w/a word I d idn't r ecognize. Or English fo r that matter. I wouldn't assume that the word manage has anyt hing to do with a man or his age, quite apart fr om th e fact that kno w this already. But English isn't as often struct ured that way anyway.
TF on Korean word structure (part 2)
But I think what causes me to do this in Korean more has to do with the structure of the writing as well - the grouping of letters into individually, immediately recognizable syllables. It is as if somewhere in the back of my mind. I have convinced myself that Korean is made of several thous and individual syllables w/distinct meanings, and which are combined into words in a way that combines the meaning of the constituent syllables - in a wa y like Orwell's New speak. Suc h as wh en I compared ¿žžƒ and ¿žæ« to myself and thought that žƒ meant food, æ« meant music, and ¿ž must be some sort of particle meaning "general".
Korean/English interlanguage: Native language transfer
Errors in phonology due to native language transfer (Jeon, p.c.): 1. pronouncing the consonant sounds (e.g. ka (with a little aspiration), kka (without aspiration), kha (with more aspiration), etc.) 2. pronouncing vowel sounds (particularly, vowel length) 3. having appropriate rhythm in the language. Korean sounds „flatter‟ than English because every syllable in a sentence is more or less equally stressed, whereas English sounds rhythmic because some syllables are more stressed than others. Americans try to use English rhythm patterns in Korean.
Korean/English Interlanguage: Native language transfer
Syntactic errors due to native language transfer (Jeon, p.c.): 1. Not using subject markers and object markers (which clarify meaning in a Korean sentence) appropriately. 2. Supplying sentence parts that are not required in context. Since Korean language is based on highcontext culture, whenever they are understood from the context, the subject and the object of the sentence are omitted. On the other hand, the subject and object are required sentence parts in an English sentence. And thus, English speakers often use the subject and the object even though they are not required in context for Korean.
TF on pronouncing Korean vowels: sliding between two Korean sounds (not English transfer)
Between meeting w/¡§øÓ this afternoon and š¹ º±ªð¥‘ th is evening, I th ink I a m able to clarify a fe w things about my feelings of i nadequacy regarding Korean. When talking ¡§øÓ about our recent lessons, I mentioned the - •Ø /-¿••Ø structur e. He thought I was saying -Œ /-¿Œ . Although I don't think I have too much trouble pronouncing ø¿ i n most cases, my æÓ seems to slide back and forth between æ² and ø¿ , as if the latter two are solid objects with a li quid æÓ floating between them. Consequently, I n ever feel completely comfortable saying anything with æÓ i n it. Lately, out o f fear of it sounding too æ² , I have &&&&&&&ed heavily toward ø¿ . So I tend to sound like -Œ instead of •Ø . T his confuses others, and sometimes even me - I think that was I was confuse d w/ ¿Ã ªÛſŽ last week when he said •Ø , I partially thought I heard ŽÛ .
TF on separating sounds from meaning in Korean
I discovered something rather unusual about how I pe rceive Korean - perhaps how I perceive it, I should say. With English, I do not se parate a word - a series of sounds from its meaning. The word + meaning are one and same - the meaning is concrete in the word. And yet w/Korean - most definitely w/single words, or when spoken by us students, so that the inflection doesn't sound particularly language related - I am more able to make that separation. It sounds at times like a series of phonemes with which I equate some conceptual meaning. So a new wo rd does not strike me as a word I don't understand, but a phoneme s tring with which I equate no meaning - more melodious than linguistic (Actually, I think in a way I wou ld hear native Korean speakers in this way, too.) So hearing some Korean that I know only a few words of would sound more like a vocalize, or an opera - an occasional glimpse of meaning interspersed with a lot of music. Hmn. We ird.
TF on length in vowels and consonants
Ever since you t old me early this summer that some of my vowels were too short (especially, after ¿Ø»Ò ke pt mistaking my ±• fo r ±š b ecause my øÏ was so short), I've been working on keeping my vowels a m ore comfortable length (although not always successfully). One reason I ten d to shorten the vowels is that I natura lly talk too fast - another is that I want to get my Korean speed up a li ttle so that I won't lose track of w hat I am trying to say it ( a habit I have even in English.) But I also have had si milar trouble several times with consonants as well - par ticularly involving ƒ¹ . The pronunciation of Œ and ¿ðŽÛµµ are often confusing to K orean friends because my pronunciation of the two §© together is too short - at least, I think that's the problem; when I listen to them repeat the word, that is the only difference I hear. ( I don't seem to have that problem w/ §§ in æ»•Á or æ¾¥œ for some reason.) But even single §© gives me p roblems sometimes, which makes me wonder if I am too loose with my pronunc iation of it. You and some people like ¿Ø»Ò don't have trouble with my p ronunciation of i t, but perhaps its because you are used t o it as an American pronunciation. But I want to improve it.
Implications for Teaching
Expect learners to draw on multiple sources for their generalizations and rules: English, Korean, instructional rules, personal perceptions and preferences, strategies. Expect learners‟ rule systems to change over time according to their own internal syllabus. Be patient; input does not equal intake. Teach inductively: give students examples of Korean target structures and ask them to create generalizations; then show them the correct rule. Have interested students keep journals for you to read, so you can understand their perspective, and the generalizations they are making about Korean.
2. Interlanguage system is revealed when learner tries to express meaning
We only see the the language the learner has really internalized (IL) when he tries to express an original meaning in the new language. We do not see this when she is repeating something after the teacher, or copying what is on the board, or reciting memorized sequences. Such activities do not draw on the interlanguage rules. Can such activities help the interlanguage develop? These learners don‟t think so …
ER on copying from the board
I‟m finding that we have to do a lot of copying from the board in this class. I don‟t really like it, because it takes a lot of time. … Last week Li had us practice a little reading selection. However, she “gave” us the reading selection by writing it on the board first, and then we had to copy it down. So, is that legitimate “reading?” “copying?”
ER on copying grammar rules
teacher] simply stops talking, turns her back to us, and starts writing [grammar rules on the board]. We‟re expected to copy it all down, and to learn it that way. She will, then, when most of us are finished writing, orally talk through it again, and that is when she‟ll go through examples to illustrate what we‟re learning. Usually, the best part of the lesson is the time spent on examples.
TF on value of meaningful use of Korean interlanguage
Afterwards, however, we w ent for dinner to «— ±š•¸ than I have ever been. (Mayb e it was the Ò ˆſÈ .I
suddenly became much more comfortable speaking some Korean ). Most of
what I sa id consisted of sh ort sentences or question, or one word remarks (e.g. •Êæ²ææ øˆ has stomach problems, so ¥œš´
w as said a l ot.) It might have been easier for me because I
am not around these two women very much, and so they don't expect much of my Korean - in fact, they are amazed that I can s ay anyt hing - and also they don't laugh. While driving home, I wa s able to give •Êæ²ææ directions almost entirely in Korean from Rivers ide on.
The nice thing was that I didn't have to think - exc ept for my usual dyslexia concerning left and right, from which I suffe r even in Eng. (but even here, I didn't have to decide "left and then of the Korean word - I just thought of which hand to turn toward and immediately said ø¼¬ )
Implications for teaching
your goal is to have students who can USE Korean to transmit meaning, then give them opportunities in the classroom to practice using the Korean they know to transmit real meaning (e.g., to tell you or one another something new, give and follow directions, etc. using Korean). They can do this with you, in front of class, or in pairs with each other.
3. Students need form-focused feedback (Doughty & Williams 1998)
Learner notices and responds to implicit and explicit negative feedback provided when errors are made in the course of communicating meaning. When the learner does this, many researchers claim that acquisition results. Thus, feedback (correction) in the midst of communicative activity is extremely important.
ER on need for feedback
I got my tape back from Park. She only corrected one sentence of mine for pronunciation. However, I didn‟t clearly understand what my mistake was. Sometimes I can‟t hear the correct differences between words and sounds. I‟ve never received any feedback regarding my writing. The quizzes, too, often seem random. I never quite know what they are testing.
Implications for Teaching
Find ways to correct student performance WHILE they are using Korean to communicate: * provide explicit correction * recast errors; ask students to recast each other * correct student writing and ask for rewrites * correct students‟ pronunciation & make them practice (have them tape sentences with pauses between the sentences, listen to the tapes, and provide correct pronunciations in the pauses)
4. Interlanguage is fossilized
Adults always stop developing their new language before they reach their goal (whatever that is). Their grammar and pronunciation and vocabulary always sound “foreign” to speakers of the target variety.
TF on pronouncing Korean vowel (pt 2)
Perhaps this æÓ f loats around because no matter how I try it every possible fractional differentiation between ø¿ a nd æ² - it doesn't sound right. In ta lking to š¹ º±ªð¥‘ tonight I said that I kn ew I was saying the vowels right. But thinking about it more, I realize I should probably say that I m ust be saying them right somewhere, because I try every possibly shading I c an create with my mouth, voice, etc. But even when I h it on a sound that seems to right- sounds pretty much the same as I he ar from my Korean friends. It st ill doesn't sound Korean convincingly. ( I don't know how to explain why it sounds right but still doesn't sound right.) but as I said the shape of the inside of my mouth, my thro at, nose, sinuses, etc. all conspire against being able to sound Korean. I will never sound Korean to my e ars.
Implications for Teaching
Model native behavior in Korean use but be strategic in what you correct. Correct first for intelligibility, not 100% nativeness, in learners‟ Korean language use Encourage students when you see progress
Summary: Teaching Suggestions consistent with research on learner language
Teach inductively: give students examples of target structures, invite them to make generalizations, then tell them the correct rule. Give students opportunities to practice using the Korean they know to transmit real meaning: e.g. to tell you or one another something new, using Korean. Expect errors to come from several sources: learners‟ reliance on English, their overgeneralizations of Korean rules they‟ve learned, and strategies they use. Find ways to correct student performance in speech and writing, ideally their performance transmitting MEANING in Korean.
We need studies on English-Korean interlanguage
What is the built-in syllabus of Korean L2? What are the stages of its acquisition? What is the role of native language transfer in shaping a Korean IL? What sorts of overgeneralizations of Korean rules do learners of Korean make? What is the role of meaningful use of Korean IL in SLA? Can IL develop from memorization and copying tasks? Does negative feedback in the midst of communicative activity have an impact on the development of Korean L2? Can students provide this feedback effectively to each other? Are there learners of Korean L2 whose ILs do not fossilize?
Doughty, C., & Williams, J. (Eds.). (1998). Focus on Form in Classroom Second Language Acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Jihyeon Jeon (1996). Instructed L2 acquisition and learners‟ motivation, English Teaching, 51(1), p. 59-81. Jihyeon Jeon Park (1995). Adult learners‟ motivation in learning a non-cognate foreign language, Ph.D. Thesis, University of Minnesota. Selinker, L. (1972). Interlanguage. IRAL 10:209-241. Tarone, E. (1994). Interlanguage. In R. Asher & S. Simpson (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics (Vol. 4, pp. 1715-1719). Oxford: Pergamon.
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