Table of Contents 1. Background: Influences in SLA 2. Grammatical Morphemes 3. Stages of Development 3.1 Negations 3.2 Questions 3.2.1 Activities 3.3 Relative Clauses 4. Movement through Developmental Sequences 5. More about First Language Influence 6. Conclusion
Background: Influences in SLA High level of cognitive development Mental lexicon of real-world concepts Knowledge of L1 structures Different learning environments and conditions → Learners develop an interlanguage: Various levels of success in their L2 acquisition
Concept of Grammatical Morphemes What is a morpheme? “ smallest meaningful segment of a language “ What is a grammatical morpheme? “ a word that functions to specify the relationship between one lexical morpheme and another “
Obligatory Contexts “ Obligatory contexts “ in which specific grammatical morphemes must occur: ‘ Yesterday I listened to that song three times. ‘
irregular past regular past – ed third person singular – s possessive ‘ s -ing (progressive) plural copula ( ‘ to be ’ ) auxiliary (progressive as in ‘ He is going ’ ) article Stephen Krashen ‘ s Natural Order Hypothesis Source: Lightbrown, Patsy M. and Nina Spada. How Languages are Learned. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2006. 84.
Reception of Accuracy Order learners may only use morphemes correctly in certain contexts Morphemes placed in wrong positions not taken into considerations Results may depend on task construction
What this means for L2 acquisition... developmental sequences identified in L2 acquisition are similar to those in L1 acquisition Similarities in L2 acquisition of learners cannot be traced back exclusively to L1 transfer
1 st stage Dog? Four Children? Single words, formulae, or sentence fragments 2 nd stage It’s a monster in the right corner? Declarative word order, no inversion, no fronting with rising intonation 3 rd stage Where the children are playing? Does in this picture there is four astronauts? Fronting: do-fronting; wh-fronting, no inversion; other fronting
Questions 4 th stage Where is the sun? Is there a fish in the water? Inversion in wh- + copula; yes/no questions with other auxiliaries 5 th stage How do you say proche? What’s the boy doing? Inversion in wh-questions with both an auxiliary and a main verb 6 th Stage Question tag: It’s better, isn’t it? Negative question: Why can’t you go? Embedded question: Can you tell me what the date is today?
Questions 1st Stage Single words, formulae, or sentence fragments 2nd Stage Declarative word order, no inversion, no fronting with rising intonation 3rd Stage Fronting: do-fronting; wh-fronting, no inversion; other fronting 4th Stage Inversion in wh- + copula; yes/no questions with other auxiliaries 5th Stage Inversion in wh-questions with both an auxiliary and a main verb 6th Stage Question tag, Negative question, Embedded question
Part of speechRelative clause SubjectThe girl who was sick went home. Direct objectThe story that I read was long. Indirect object The man who[m] Susan gave the present to was happy. Object of prepositionI found the book that John was talking about. PossessiveI know the woman whose father is visiting. Object of comparisonThe person that Susan is taller than is Mary. Source: Lightbrown, Patsy M. and Nina Spada. How Languages are Learned. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2006. 90.
Movement through Developmental Sequences Stages in language learning are not like “ closed rooms “ Stress situations may cause learners to fall back into an earlier stage Learners may have difficulty moving beyond a stage when facing similarities between first and interlanguage patterns
More about First Language Influence First language interacts with developmental sequences When learners reach a certain stage and perceive a similarity to their first language, they may linger longer at that stage Addition of a substage May learn a second language rule but restrict its application
Phenomenon of “ Avoidance “ Feature in the target language too distant and different from their first language → don’t try it Extent of transfer has do to with the L2 learner’s beliefs about the distance between the L1 and the L2 Language acquirer will typically avoid those structures that he is not sure are grammatical in the L2 knows that idiomatic or metaphorical uses of words are often unique to a particular language
Conclusion The idea of developmental sequences greatly facilitates our understanding of L2 acquisition However, the concept of L1 transfer should always be taken into consideration when looking at L2 acquisition processes
List of References Lightbrown, Patsy M. and Nina Spada. How Languages are Learned. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2006. Saville-Troike, Muriel. Introducing Second Language Acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2006. Cook, Vivian. Second Language Learning and Language Teaching. 3rd ed. London: Arnold, 2001.
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