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Second Language Acquisition

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Presentation on theme: "Second Language Acquisition"— Presentation transcript:

1 Second Language Acquisition
Lecs. 4 & 5

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.[1] 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 in L1 environment (Instruction) L2 environment (verbal contact with native speakers)

5 Acquisition or Learning? Krashen (1981)
Subconscious process of picking up a language through exposure Contact with natives Conscious process of studying it Formal setting

6 Research in SLA Attempts 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 approach The cognitive/ psychological approach The creative construction approach The sociological approach

8 Historical Perspective
1950s  pedagogic (the teacher) 1970s  pedagogic (the learner) External factors  internal factors Mental grammar processes of the speaker, NOT the linguistic structure Why? Research in linguistics, psychology, & L1 acquisition The 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 home In my way to home This is the house I live in it Open the light & close the light To drive a plane

11 1. The Behavioristic Approach & Contrastive Analysis
To identify the structural similarities & difference between languages The findings will aid in planning the language-teaching materials The 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-skill To take part in a conversation  a whole skill

15 B. Restructuring There is an interaction between the element the learner is learning & the knowledge he has already acquired This may restructure the system (language) the learner has or acquires An 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 & SLA What 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 SLA The order in which certain structures are acquired INPUT  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
INPUT Communication situations Natural processing strategies L2 exposure

19 SLA as a Creative Construction
Internal representations of L2 Learner’s actual utterances OUTPUT

20 Krashen & the monitor model (creative construction hypothesis)
The acquisition-learning hypothesis The monitor hypothesis The natural order hypothesis The input hypothesis The effective filter hypothesis

21 a. The acquisition-learning hypothesis
The processing of language input provided by information The processing of language input provided by explicit teaching of grammatical rules It 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 utterance BUT, there are 3 conditions Some knowledge of the acquired rule Sufficient time The 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 forms Exception: morphemes & conjunctions

24 d. The input hypothesis Input is the most important factor in SLA; it affects the progress of the learner in learning the L2. The characteristics of comprehensible input: Comprehensive Adequate to the level of learners Clear (pronunciation + grammar)

25 e. The affective filter hypothesis
Non-linguistic factors affecting SLA MOTIVES, 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 SLA Acculturation  the process of becoming adapted to the culture of the new or 2nd language understanding of the system of thoughts, beliefs, emotions, & system of communication of the new culture Degree of adaptation to L2 = extent of competence acquired in L2

27 social distance & psychological distance
Learners of L2  Social distance  native speakers of L2 Development towards L2 is dependent on the level of social distance between the learner & native speakers of L2 Social distance & the acquisition of Grammar Learners of L2  psychological distance  native speakers of L2 Psycho. Distance results from various affective factors concerning the learner as an individual Resolution 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

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