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Ferhad M. Asad Variability versus uniformity of language development MA Student in Applied Linguistics – English Language Dept. in College of Languages.

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Presentation on theme: "Ferhad M. Asad Variability versus uniformity of language development MA Student in Applied Linguistics – English Language Dept. in College of Languages."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ferhad M. Asad Variability versus uniformity of language development MA Student in Applied Linguistics – English Language Dept. in College of Languages at Salahaddin University Nov. 2011

2 Variability versus uniformity of language development The nativist position is that every child is programmed to construct a grammar for his native language, containing the universal categories and relations of which he has knowledge. Though in its pure form, the claim is about knowledge not about performance it has seemed to many people that the identical and invariant knowledge that all children have should be reflected in their performance; in the way they understand and produce utterances in the course of their development. The claim about innate knowledge has no necessary implication for performance.

3 If the knowledge is to have any psychological reality, the performance data should be in conformity with what can be predicted from the postulated knowledge. Regardless of theoretical models, if the innate component is large, the effect of the child’s general cognitive capacities and of his environment should be comparatively small, and there should be a large degree of uniformity for all children both in the way the development takes place, and in the general standard reached.

4 Conversely, if any variation is found it should be predictable from consideration of associated factors, such as the general learning ability of the children and the kind of environment they grow up in. Or it could be a matter of individual variations, children taking different paths for no obvious external reasons.

5 Associated Factors: 1. General Cognitive Capacities: 2. The Environment: General Cognitive Capacities General Cognitive Capacities: Beginning to speak early is popularly taken as a sign of intelligence, and cross-sectional studies have confirmed over and over again the relationship between early language development and general learning ability. The disparity between children can be very large. Graham (1968) showed in an experiment the importance of memory for sentence processing. He found that children who could repeat correctly two unconnected items could also repeat correctly There is a bird flying in the air. but they could not repeat The dog that chased the duck is black. The children who could repeat five unconnected items could also manage the second sentence.

6 Demonstrations that language development and general cognitive development are closely related can be interpreted in two ways: 1.Nativists will argue that Graham experiment shows that it is only the limitation on memory span which prevents a child from applying his knowledge of the structure of sentences. 2.Non-nativists would take the findings to show that children can begin to learn to process structures such as inserted relative clauses only when they have developed the cognitive capacity for dealing with them.

7 Second language acquisition What is second language acquisition? L2 acquisition research focuses on the developing knowledge and use of language by children and adults. This field of research has both: 1.1.Theoretical importance, which is related to our understanding of how language is represented in the mind. 2. The practical importance related to an understanding of how languages are learned will lead to more effective teaching practices.

8 Theories of second language learning There is two (linguistic and psychological) theories that influenced research and theory in L2 acquisition: *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.

9 Linguistic perspectives Universal Grammar The UG of human language originated with Chomsky’s (1968) view on L1 acquisition. He argued that, the kind of information which mature speakers of a language eventually have of their L1could not have been learned from the language they hear round them. This problem came to be called the ‘logical problem of language acquisition’. Some language researchers noted that parents did not provide systematic feedback when young children produced speech that did not match the adult language. Chomsky inferred that children must have an innate language faculty, this faculty originally referred to LAD, and later as UG.

10 Linguistic perspectives Universal Grammar UG: was described as a specialized module of the brain, pre- programmed to process language. It contains general principles underlying all languages. Chomsky’s theory of UG explains L1acquisition, there is a question of whether it explains L2 learning, and the question is controversial. One of the reason of this is the claim that there is a critical period for language acquisition. That is, it suggests that while UG permits a young child to acquire language during a particular development period, referred to as the ‘critical period’ for language acquisition, UG is no longer available to older learners. UG is no longer available after puberty and that older L2 learners must make use of more general learning processes.

11 Linguistic perspectives Universal Grammar Other researchers have suggests that language acquisition continues to be based on UG but that, once a first language has been learned, UG is no longer neutral and open to the acquisition of any language. That is although L2 grammars are still consistent with universal of all human languages, learners tend to perceive the L2 in a way that is shaped by the way their L1 realizes these principles.

12 Monitor Theory Krashen developed this theory in the (1970s) and presented in terms of five ‘hypotheses’ The fundamental hypothesis of Monitor Theory is that there is a difference between ‘acquisition’ and ‘learning’. Acquisition similar to L1 acquisition that is, with the learner’s focus on communicating messages and meanings, learning is described as a conscious process

13 Monitor Theory Krashen proposed ‘the natural order hypothesis’. The ‘comprehensible input hypothesis’ reflects his view that L2 learning,like L1 learning occurs as a result of exposure to meaningful and varied linguistic input.

14 Psychological Perspectives behaviourism Behaviourism was based on the view that all learning- including language learning-occurs through the process of imitation, practice, reinforcement, and habit formation. Behaviourism came under the attack when Chomsky (1968)questioned the notion that children learn their L1 by repeating what they hear in the surrounding environment. He argued that children produce novel and creative utterances ones that they would never have heard before

15 Psychological Perspectives behaviourism One of the ideas that associated with behaviorism was the notion that the L1 habits which learners had already established would interfere with the formation of new habits in the L2. The contrastive analysis hypothesis (CAH) was proposed to account for the role of the L1in L2 learning. CAH predicted that were similarities existed between L1and L2 structures, there would be no difficulty for L2 learning.

16 Applied linguistic Second Language Acquisition Prepared by: Narmin Abdullrahman 4. th lecture

17 Cognitive psychology Cognitive psychologists hypothesized the second language acquisition, like other learning, requires the learners attentions and effort. Theorists make similar contrast between controlled and automatic processing. Controlled processing is not necessarily intentional. Controlled processing accurse when a learner is accessing information that is new or complex. It requires mental effort and takes attention away from other controlled processes. Automatic processing accurse quickly and with minimal attention and effort. We cannot prevent automatic processing and have little awareness or memory of its occurrence.language itself is largely automatic, attention can be focused on the content. According to the information processing model, learning accurse through repeated practice, controlled knowledge becomes automatic.

18 Restructuring is cognitive process in which previously acquired information that has been somehow in separate categories integrated and this integration expand the learners competence, some of the restructuring can led learners to make errors that had not been previously present. Some researchers working within information processing models of second language acquisition have argued that nothing is learned without (noticing).it is not enough for the learner to be exposed to it through comprehensible input.the Lerner must actually notice what it is in that input that makes the meaning.

19 Connectionism Another psychological approach to understanding language learning is that taken in connectionist, emergentist and parallel distributed processing models (Ellis, 1999: Rumel hart and McClelland, 1986) According to these views the brain creates net works which connect words or phrases to other words or phrases as well as to events and events and objects which occur at the same time. It is suggested that these connections are strengthened when the learner are repeatedly exposed to linguistic stimuli in specific contexts. For example, when L2 learners produce I go and she goes, the letter does not reflect an underlying knowledge of a rule for the placement of (s) with the third person singular the pronoun she activates goes because the learner has heard these forms in combination many times.

20 Multidimensional Model Multidimensional model was originally developed as a result of the acquisition of German word order and on the basis of research with L2 learners of English. (Pienemann, 1989). L2learners acquire certain syntactic and morphological features of the l2 in predictable stages. These features were referred to as developmental, variation: appeared to be learned by some of the learners. Each stage reflected an increase in complexity; a learner had to grass one stage before moving to the next. One of the pedagogical implications drawn from the research related to the multidimensional model is the (teach ability hypothesis) that learners can only be taught what they are psycholinguistic ally ready to learn.

21 Integrationist perspectives A great deal of language learning takes place through social interaction because interlocutors adjust their speech to make it more accessible to learners. Some of the l2 research is based on l1 research in to children’s interaction with their caregivers and peers. L1 studies showed that children are exposed to a specialized variety of speech which is tailored to their linguistic and cognitive abilities. When l2 learners interact with each other or with native speakers they use a variety of interaction techniques in their efforts to negotiate meaning.these adjustments include simplification in all aspects of language, like (phonology, vocabulary, syntax and discourse). Interactional adjustments improve comprehension and comprehension allows acquisition.

22 Sociocultural perspectives Theorists working within a sociocultural perspective of l2 learning, that there is relationship between culture and mind, and that all learning is first social then individual. It is argued that dialogic communication, learners jointly construct knowledge and this knowledge is internalized by individual. Sociocultural theorists emphasize the integration of the social, cultural and biological elements.

23 Learner language The language produced by l2 learners did not conform to the target language, the (errors) that learners made were not random, but reflected a systematic, knowledge of the l2. Interlanguage (seliker, 1972) was coined to characterize this developing linguistic system of the l2 learner. Several error analysis studies in the 1970s classified l2 leaner errors and found that many errors could not be attributed to l1 influence. For example, both l1 and l2 learners of English make similar over-generalization errors such as two mouses and she goed. The association between contrastive analysis and behaviorist explanations of language learning, the influence of l1 in l2 learning was either minimized or completely ignored by some researchers.


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