Presentation on theme: "Cross-Linguistic Modules of Discovering and Comparing Languages: A case study from Germany Helmut Johannes Vollmer (University of Osnabrück) Amsterdam,"— Presentation transcript:
Cross-Linguistic Modules of Discovering and Comparing Languages: A case study from Germany Helmut Johannes Vollmer (University of Osnabrück) Amsterdam, January 31, 2008
2 Structure of Presentation 1. L2 as the basis for plurilingual education 2. The critical role of L1 for plurilingual education 3. Didactic approaches to plurilingual education 4. Cross-linguistic modules of discovering and comparing languages (a case study from Germany) 5. Selected practical examples from the case study 6. Curricular relevance and embedding
3 1. L2 as the basis for Plurilingual Education ? Human beings are potentially plurilingual (by nature) (Second) Language Acquistion Theory does not focus on the ONE mother-tongue and its relation to the ONE foreign language any more; rather it looks at the specific role(s) of different MTs and different foreign /second languages in the biography of an individual It is generally agreed that the FIRST FOREIGN LANGUAGE learned (L2) is very influential for L3...Ln It is right to assume that any additional (foreign) language (L3….Ln) is learned differently than L2. The assumption of an innate Lang. Acquistion Device as a motor for SLA is questionable (even for L1)?
4 English as L2 If the second language is so influential as a model for additional/future language learning, we have to acknowledge and analyse its model character and make its influences more explicit And if this second language is English, we have to positively deal with the potentials of „English before another language (see the presentation of Neuner) as a base for plurilingualism Independent of that, the acquisition of another L2 (e.g. French) before English seems to be much more effecient and economical: English will more or less take care of itself! The acquistion/ use of English as L2/or as a lingua franca often leeds to a „self-sufficient “ (closed) mind towards plurilingualism
5 Degrees of language proficiency The concept of learning a language maximally (= mastering it completely, like a native speaker) has to be replaced by acknowledging and describing different levels and functions from a user‘s/learner‘s point of view Goal 1: Activating, topicalising and certifying whatever language experiences there are which are developed either inside the classromm or can be used/brought into it Goal 2: Developing foreign languages as means of comm. Goal 3: Receptive/functional skills in many languages
6 2. The role of L1/School Language It is an unresolved issue whether the MT/L1 occupies an area of its own in the brain of a human being The role of L1 seems to be equally prominent as L2, if not more crucial: Do learners reserve separate areas in their neural system for the L1 as opposed to L2 and other foreign languages? Why do they not transfer? We would like to think that the L1/school language forms the basis for all future language learning Any approach for plurilingual education postulates this relationship and the possibilities of linking/transfering
7 Compound vs Coordinate Minds From research into bilingualism we distinguish between compound (integrated) and coordinate (separated) neurolinguistic structures in the minds of human beings/learners. Compound structures are based on one identical concept codified in different languages; coordinate ones store different languages related to different ideas and (semantic) concepts. Plurilingual approaches normally assume „compoundedness“, e.g the possibilities and likehood of linking knowledge, processes, techniques and awareness between all languages.
8 Awareness and Transfer Room for „playing“ with language forms+sounds Helping to activate prior knowledge and experience in discovering and explaining (new) lexical items, (new) grammatical constructions, new texts/text types and unknown content Putting more active demands on and more re- sponsibility into the hands of learners themselves Training transfer activities and capacities/skills
9 3. Didactic Approaches to Plurilingual Education (1.) L3 after L2 (Hufeisen/Neuner: DaFnE) (see the presentation by Gerd Neuner) (2.) EuroCom-Projects (F.-J. Meißner): Quick development of text comprehension within languages of the same family (Romance, Slavic, Germanic or subgroups: Scandinavian) (3). Whole school language education planning (based on explicit competence definitions+transfers) (4.) Cross-linguistic modules of discovering, comparing and transferring: A case study in Thuringia (Germany) In the following, I will focus on approach No 4 as case study
4. Cross-linguistic modules of discovering and comparing languages: A case study from Thuringia (Germany)
11 Goals Develop synergies between L1/LS + FLs Sensitise for cross-linguistic language learning Perceive existing ling,sociocult+strategic knowl Reflect on it and make use of it for understand. + being understood in new lang.learn.contexts Offer practical steps towards these goals Support discovery learning + reflective action Initiate cooperation among language teachers
12 Challenges Perceiving + reflecting on the relationship and the neighbourhood between languages and cultures Discovering functionalities of grammatical and morphological features Constructing meaning based on comparisons Gaining insights into linguistic and non-lingustic ways of expression and of sociocultural rituals Developing and applying transfer strategies
13 Content and Structure Sequence of tasks and exercises/modules Apart from any text book or course materials Focussing simultaneously on 5 languages: German, English, French, Russian and Latin Designed contrastively: cross-ling comparison Sub-units with internal cohesion+progression Selective usage + enlargements possible: incl. other lang./heritage lang., comprehen. projects
14 Comparing as a cognitive activity Initiating/Activating students mentally by Observing, Identifying, Analysing Distinguishing, Ordering, Contrasting Inferencing, feature-based guessing Forming analogies, reflecting, speculating All this in relation to several phenomena with a changing focus, on diff. levels, in diff. social forms
15 Evaluation / (Self-)Control Piloted for 2 years in 16 schools / Thuringia Minimal teacher in-service training necess. Answering keys added at end of material Suggestions for (self-)control and tests Including a sugg. point system (weighing) Strongly knowledge-based, no qualitative evaluat. Commentaries of teachers + alternatives included
16 5. Selected Practical Examples Creating your own dictionary - Internationalisms Lexis (Word Fields, Semantic networks, Morphology) Common European Fairy Tales (Comparing/Sounds) Speech acts and linguistic means of realisation Grammar: Word Classes + Positioning/Constituents Socioculturarl Insights Names and Terms of Address Strategies: Inferring word meaning (interlingually) Reading/understanding unknown texts Reference/Copyright: Behr, U. (ed.), Sprachen entdecken – Sprachen vergleichen. Kopiervorlagen. Berlin: Cornelsen Verlag.
27 6. Curricular Relevance Focus on year 1 and 2 of third lang. programs, but also in LS (lang. as a subject) and in L2 lesson Examples related to this age group (12-13) Independent of school type or form/track Primarily geared to the development of language awareness and language learning awareness Also: reflective observation + consideration Increase understanding in the functioning of lang. First experience of poss. transfer in lang. learning
28 Curricular Embedding Resource material for teachers - for copying Necessary focus on several languages Decision: in-/exclusion of lang. not „learned“ Experience so far: students like „new“ lang.s Using it in L3: linking it back to L1/LS+L2 Using it in L2: English as (first) foreign lang. Using it in L1: German as a subject/school lang. NO time limits / recommendations so far
29 Perspectives LS (German) as the necessary working language Contributions from students learning different L3s Extensions into cross-curricular projects of diffe- rent scope and nature (lang. day/ lang. projects) Requires cooperation + agreement between lang. teachers, consent+support of head/administration Beginning of a profile/ whole school lang. policy (Low key: also usable in „substitute“ lessons).