2 Linguistics, Psychological Theories, & SLA Second language acquisition (SAL)Second language acquisition research focuses on the developing knowledge and use of a language by children & adults who know at least one language.Understanding how languages are learned will lead to more effective teaching practices.
3 First Language Acquisition & Second Language Acquisition Second-language acquisition or second-language learning is the process by which people learn a second language. Second-language acquisition (often abbreviated to SLA) is also the name of the scientific discipline devoted to studying that process. Second language refers to any language learned in addition to a person's first language; although the concept is named second language acquisition, it can also incorporate the learning of third, fourth or subsequent languages. Second-language acquisition refers to what learners do; it does not refer to practices in language teaching. (
4 Acquisition & L2 L2 may be learned simultaneously with L1, or successively with L1 (Childhood/ adolescence/ adulthood)L2 may be learned inL1 environment (Instruction)L2 environment (verbal contact with native speakers)
5 Acquisition or Learning? Krashen (1981) Subconscious process of picking up a language through exposureContact with nativesConscious process of studying itFormal setting
6 Research in SLAAttempts have been made to answer the following question:How do individuals acquire an L2?What are the different thoughts & premises that have been offered in order to explain the process of SLA?What needs to be taught in L2 classes?
7 Approaches to the study of SLA The behavioristic approachThe cognitive/ psychological approachThe creative construction approachThe sociological approach
8 Historical Perspective 1950s pedagogic (the teacher)1970s pedagogic (the learner)External factors internal factorsMental grammar processes of the speaker, NOT the linguistic structureWhy?Research in linguistics, psychology, & L1 acquisitionThe need to understand the mechanisms underlying SLA.Are these mechanisms similar to those involved in FLA?
9 1. The Behavioristic Approach (Skinner, 1957)SLA is a process of imitation & reinforcement(Lado, 1957)The acquisition of L2 is essentially a task of overcoming the L1 habits & learning (in their place) the habits of the L2. Only the different elements between L1 & L2 are to be learned.
10 1. The Behavioristic Approach & Contrastive Analysis Positive vs. negative transfer (Arabic & English)I’m going to homeIn my way to homeThis is the house I live in itOpen the light & close the lightTo drive a plane
11 1. The Behavioristic Approach & Contrastive Analysis To identify the structural similarities & difference between languagesThe findings will aid in planning the language-teaching materialsThe main aim of behavioristic teaching is to (i) form new correct linguistic habits through intensive practice, & (ii) eliminate errors in the process of SLA
12 Critical evaluation of the behavioristic approach The learning process is more complex than imitation & habit-formation.Transfer alone doesn’t fulfill the function of explaining the learner’s behavior in the L2.L2 learners know that certain features of their L1 are less likely to be transferable than others (idiomatic expressions).
13 2. Cognitive / Psychological Approach Cognitive factors involve the mechanics of how an individual acquires something.SLA = the acquisition of a complex cognitive skill (sub-skills)A complex cognitive skill /Performance A (pattern) + Performance B (tense) = Fluent Performance
14 A. Part skill & full skill E.g. learning to express a communicative function (may I …) sub-skillTo take part in a conversation a whole skill
15 B. RestructuringThere is an interaction between the element the learner is learning & the knowledge he has already acquiredThis may restructure the system (language) the learner has or acquiresAn L2 learner’s performance improves & develops through constant reorganizing & restructuring of information contained in this system.An L2 learner will simplify & unify linguistic information, & gain increasing control of language performance.
16 3. Creative Construction Hypothesis Chomsky & SLAWhat is the creative construction hypothesis ?The learner constructs a series of internal representations of the L2 system which result from natural processing strategies:(generalization, transfer, exposure to the L2 in communication situations)
17 Creative Construction Approach The analysis of learners’ errors at various points in their SLAThe order in which certain structures are acquiredINPUT OPERATION OF INTERNAL PROCESSING STRATEGEIS / (not the learner’s attempts to produce the language)SLA takes place internally via HEARING & READING not SPEAKING & WRITING
18 SLA as a Creative Construction INPUTCommunication situationsNatural processing strategiesL2 exposure
19 SLA as a Creative Construction Internal representations of L2Learner’s actual utterancesOUTPUT
20 Krashen & the monitor model (creative construction hypothesis) The acquisition-learning hypothesisThe monitor hypothesisThe natural order hypothesisThe input hypothesisThe effective filter hypothesis
21 a. The acquisition-learning hypothesis The processing of language input provided by informationThe processing of language input provided by explicit teaching of grammatical rulesIt is knowing the rules; having a conscious knowledge about grammar
22 b. The monitor hypothesis Monitor is a device that learners use to edit their own language performance by modifying utterances which are generated from the acquired knowledge (competence)It occurs just before or after an utteranceBUT, there are 3 conditionsSome knowledge of the acquired ruleSufficient timeThe learner’s attention location + nature of the grammatical form
23 c. The natural-order hypothesis Language learners acquire properties of an L2 in a predictable order through a series of common transitional stages in moving towards target/ 2nd language formsException: morphemes & conjunctions
24 d. The input hypothesisInput is the most important factor in SLA; it affects the progress of the learner in learning the L2.The characteristics of comprehensible input:ComprehensiveAdequate to the level of learnersClear (pronunciation + grammar)
25 e. The affective filter hypothesis Non-linguistic factors affecting SLAMOTIVES, NEEDS, ATTITUDES, EMOTIONAL STREES, ETC.
26 The Sociological Approach, OR ACCULTURATION Model The focus in the late 1970s & early 1980s the social context of the adult SLAAcculturation the process of becoming adapted to the culture of the new or 2nd languageunderstanding of the system of thoughts, beliefs, emotions, & system of communication of the new cultureDegree of adaptation to L2 = extent of competence acquired in L2
27 social distance & psychological distance Learners of L2 Social distance native speakers of L2Development towards L2 is dependent on the level of social distance between the learner & native speakers of L2Social distance & the acquisition of GrammarLearners of L2 psychological distance native speakers of L2Psycho. Distance results from various affective factors concerning the learner as an individualResolution of language shock, culture shock, stress, integrated vs. instrumental motivation
28 4. The Sociological Approach, OR ACCULTURATION Model This model explains why L2 learners often fail to develop/ achieve native-like competence due to social and/ or psychological factors