2 theoretical approaches to l2

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Explaining Second Language Learning  Contexts for Language Learning  Behaviorism  Innatism  Cognitive/developmental perspective  Information Processing  Connectionism  The Competition Model  The Sociocultural Perspective 1/43 Contexts for Language Learning  A child or adult learning a second language is different from a child acquiring a first language in terms of both 1) learner characteristics and 2) learning conditions 2/43 Differences in Learning L1 & L2 Learner Characteristics Knowledge of another language Cognitive maturity Metalinguistic awareness World Knowledge Anxiety about speaking L1 Child L2 Child (informal ) Adolescent (formal) ? + - - + + - ? + + - - + + - - + + - 3/47 Adult (informal ) + Differences in Learning L1 & L2 Learning Conditions Freedom to be silent Ample time & contact Corrective feedback: (grammar and pronunciation) Corrective feedback: (meaning, word choice, politeness) 10 Modified input L1 L2 Child Child (informal) Adolescent (formal) + + - + + - ? - - + - + + + + + + + + Child-directed speech Adult (informal ) - Foreigner talk or Teacher talk 4/47 Differences in Learning L1 & L2  Summary: SLA (Second Language Acquisition) theories need to account for language acquisition by learners with a variety of characteristics and learning in a variety of contexts 5/43 Behaviorism  Four characteristics of behaviorism: 1) imitation, 2) practice, 3) reinforcement, and 4) habit formation  Brooks (1960) & Lado (1964): - emphasizing mimicry and memorization (audiolingual teaching methods) 6/43 Behaviorism / CAH  A person learning an L2 starts off with the habits formed in the L1 and these habits would interfere with the new ones needed for the L2  Behaviorism was often linked to the Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis (CAH): It predicts that where there are similarities between the L1 and the target language, the learner will acquire target-language structures with ease; where there are differences, the learner will have difficulty 7/43 Behaviorism / CAH  Criticisms about the CAH: Though a learner’s L1 influences the acquisition of an L2, researchers have found that L2 learners not make all the errors predicted by the CAH Many of their errors are not predictable on the basis of their L1 (e.g ‘putted’; ‘cooker’ meaning a person who cooks; ‘badder than’) Some errors are similar across learners from a variety of L1 backgrounds (e.g he/she; “th” sound; the use of the past tense; the relative clauses) 8/43 Behaviorism / Summary  The L1 influence may not simply be a matter of the transfer of habits, but a more subtle and complex process of - identifying points of similarity, - weighing the evidence in support of some particular feature, and - reflecting (though not necessarily consciously) about whether a certain feature seems to ‘belong’ in the L2  By the 1970s, many researchers were convinced that behaviorism and the CAH were inadequate explanations for SLA 9/43 Innatism  Universal Grammar (UG) in relation to second language development  Competence vs Performance  Krashen’s “monitor model” 10/43 Connectionism (I)  Connectionists attribute greater importance to the role of the environment than to any specific innate knowledge  They argue that what is innate is simply the ability to learn, not any specifically linguistic principles  They emphasize the frequency with which learners encounter specific linguistic features in the input and the frequency with which features occur together 29/43 Connectionism (II)  Connectionists suggest that learners gradually build up their knowledge of language through exposure to the thousand of instances of the linguistic features they hear or see  Eventually, learners develop stronger mental ‘connections’ between the elements they have learned; thus, the presence of one situational or linguistic element will activate the other(s) in the learner’s mind  Evidence comes from the observation that much of the language we use in ordinary conversation is predictable or formulaic Language is often learned in chunks larger than single words 30/43 Connectionism (III)  Findings of connectionist Research :  Research has shown that a learning mechanism, simulated by a computer program, can not only “learn” what it hears but can also “generalize”, even to the point of making overgeneralization errors  These studies have dealt almost exclusively with the acquisition of vocabulary and grammatical morphemes, that is, aspects of the language which innatists will grant may be acquired largely through memorization and simple generalization How this model can lead to knowledge of complex syntactic structure is still under investigation 31/43 The Competition Model  The competition model is closely related to the connectionist perspective It is based on the hypothesis that language acquisition occurs without the necessity of a learner's focused attention or the need for any innate capacity specifically for language  This model takes into account not only language form but also language meaning and language use  Through exposure to thousands of examples of language associated with particular meanings, learners come to understand how to use the ‘cues’ with which a language signals specific function  Most languages make use of multiple cues, but they differ in the primacy of each Therefore, SLA requires that learners learn the relative importance of the different cues appropriate in the language they are learning 32/43 L2 Applications  The interaction hypothesis  The noticing hypothesis  Input processing  Processability theory 33/43 The Interaction Hypothesis  SLA takes place through conversational interaction  Long (1983) argued that modified interaction is the necessary mechanism for making language comprehensible  What learners need is not necessarily simplification of the linguistic forms but rather an opportunity to interact with other speakers, working together to reach mutual comprehension  Research shows that native speakers consistently modify their speech in sustained conversation with non-native speakers 34/43 The Interaction Hypothesis  Long’s original formulation (1983) of the Interaction Hypothesis: Interactional modification makes input comprehensible; Comprehensible input promotes acquisition; Therefore, Interactional modification promotes acquisition 35/43 The Interaction Hypothesis  Modified interaction involves linguistic simplifications and conversational modifications  Examples of conversational modifications: elaboration, slower speech rate, gesture, additional contextual cues, comprehension checks, clarification requests, and self-repetition or paraphrase  Research has demonstrated that conversational adjustments can aid comprehension in the L2 36/43 The Interaction Hypothesis  Long’s revised version (1996) of the Interaction Hypothesis: - more emphasis is placed on the importance of corrective feedback during interaction - “negotiating for meaning” is seen as the opportunity for language development  “Comprehensible output hypothesis” (Swain, 1985) The demands of producing comprehensible output “push” learners ahead in their development 37/43 The Noticing Hypothesis  Noticing Hypothesis (Schmidt, 1990, 2001) - Nothing is learned unless it has been noticed - Noticing does not itself result in acquisition, but it is the essential starting point - L2 learners could not begin to acquire a language feature until they had become aware of it in the input  Whether learners must be aware that they are “noticing” something in the input in order to acquire linguistic feature is considered debatable 38/43 Input Processing  Input processing (VanPatten, 2004) - Learners have limited processing capacity and cannot pay attention to form and meaning at the same time - They tend to give priority to meaning When the context in which they hear a sentence helps them make sense of it, they not notice details of the language form 39/43 Processability Theory  Processability theory (Pienemann, 1999, 2003) - The research showed that the sequence of development for features of syntax and morphology was affected by how easy these were to process - It integrates developmental sequences with L1 influence - Learners not simply transfer features from their L1 at early stages of acquisition - They have to develop a certain level of processing capacity in the L2 before they can use their knowledge of the features that already exist in their L1 40/43 The Sociocultural Perspective  Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory  Language development takes place in the social interactions between individuals  Speaking (and writing) mediate thinking  Zone of proximal development (ZPD): when there is support from interaction with an interlocutor, the learner is capable of performing at a higher level  L2 learners advance to higher levels of linguistic knowledge when they collaborate and interact with speakers of the L2 who are more knowledgeable than they are 41/43 The Sociocultural Perspective  The difference between Vygotsky’s socialcultural theory and the interaction hypothesis: Vygotsky - Language acquisition takes place in the interactions of learner and interlocutor Interaction hypothesis - Interaction needs to be modified and through negotiation for meaning - Greater importance is attached - Emphasis is on the individual to the conversations, with learning occurring through the social interaction cognitive processes in the mind of the learner 42/43 Summary  There is no agreement on a “complete” theory of second language acquisition yet  Each theoretical framework has a different focus and its limitations Behaviorism: emphasizing stimuli and responses, but ignoring the mental processes that are involved in learning Innatism: innate LAD, based on intuitions Information processing and connectionism: involving controlled laboratory experiments where human learning is similar to computer processing Interactionist position: modification of interaction promotes 43/43 language acquisition and development [...]... and available to L2 learners, but its exact nature has been altered by the prior acquisition of the first language L2 learners need to be given some explicit information about what is not grammatical in the L2 Otherwise, they may assume that some structures of the L1 have equivalents in the L2 when, in fact, they do not 13/43 Innatism: Competence vs Performance  Competence: It refers to the knowledge... Krashen’s “monitor model”  The acquisition-learning hypothesis  Acquisition: we acquire L2 knowledge as we are exposed to samples of the L2 which we understand with no conscious attention to language form It is a subconscious and intuitive process  Learning: we learn the L2 via a conscious process of study and attention to form and rule learning  Krashen argues that “acquisition” is a more important process... suggests there is a limit to how much information a learner can pay attention to or engage in at one time  Gradually, through experience and practice, information that was new becomes easier to process, and learners become able to access it quickly and even automatically  This can explain why L2 readers need more time to understand a text, even if they eventually do fully comprehend it 25 /43 Information... 18/43 Innatism: Krashen’s “monitor model”  The natural order hypothesis  L2 learners acquire the features of the TL in predictable sequences  The language features that are easiest to state (and thus to ‘learn’) are not necessarily the first to be acquired e.g the rule for adding an –s to third person singular verbs in the present tense 19/43 Innatism: Krashen’s “monitor model”  The input hypothesis... fluency in L2 performance is due to what we have acquired, not what we have learned 17/43 Innatism: Krashen’s “monitor model”  The monitor hypothesis  The acquired system acts to initiate the speaker’s utterances and is responsible for spontaneous language use, whereas the learned system acts as a “monitor”, making minor changes and polishing what the acquired system has produced  Such monitoring takes... hard to be tested by empirical evidence 22 /43 Information processing  Cognitive psychologists working in this model  compare language acquisition to the capacities of computers for storing, integrating, and retrieving information  do not think that humans have a language-specific module (i.e LAD) in the brain  do not assume that ‘acquisition’ and ‘learning’ are distinct mental processes  see L2 acquisition... on automatically for speaking and understanding (i.e., general theories of learning can account for SLA) 23 /43 Information processing 1 Attention-processing 2 Skill learning 3 Restructuring 4 Transfer appropriate processing 24 /43 Information processing  Attention-processing:  This model suggests that learners have to pay attention at first to any aspect of the language that they are trying to understand... in L1 and L2 acquisition Adult L2 learners, like children, neither need nor benefit from error correction and metalinguistic information These things change only the superficial appearance of language performance and do not affect the underlying competence of the new language (e.g., Krashen’s “monitor model”) 12/ 43 Innatism: Universal Grammar  How UG works in SLA: Two different views - 2 UG may be... specific claims about the implications of his theory for second language learning 2 Linguists working within the innatist theory have argued that UG offers the best perspective to understand SLA UG can explain why L2 learners eventually know more about the language than they could reasonably have learned (i.e UG can explain L2 learners’ creativity and generalization ability) 3 Other linguists argue that... judgments of grammaticality made by L2 and L1 learners, rather than observations of actual language performance (i.e., use of language) 15/43 Innatism: Krashen’s “monitor model” (19 82)  The acquisition-learning hypothesis  The monitor hypothesis  The natural order hypothesis  The input hypothesis  The affective filter hypothesis 16/43 Innatism: Krashen’s “monitor model”  The acquisition-learning
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