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The Nature of Language Learning. Agenda  Questions from last week/information about Assignment #1  Review Activity  Preview next chapter- Essential.

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Presentation on theme: "The Nature of Language Learning. Agenda  Questions from last week/information about Assignment #1  Review Activity  Preview next chapter- Essential."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Nature of Language Learning

2 Agenda  Questions from last week/information about Assignment #1  Review Activity  Preview next chapter- Essential Questions  Babies, Children, and Learning  Personal Reflection  Nature versus Nurture in language learning

3 Essential Questions  How do we learn a language?  Why do we learn another language?  Are there any differences in the learning process between L1 and L2? If so, what are the differences?  How does our L1 interfere with learning L2?

4 Babies, Children, and Language  What do you notice about babies and young children and their language abilities?  What does this suggest about learning L1 for children?  How do you think these babies and children were able to communicate? Why did they communicate?

5 Interesting Facts about Children and Language Abilities  By the age of six months, an infant has produced all of the vowel sounds and most of the consonant sounds of any language in the world.  Before they are three years old, mastered most of the distinctive sounds of their first language and have an awareness of basic discourse patterns.  By the age of five or six, they can control most grammar patterns.

6 Personal Reflection  Think about a student you have in class that is having difficulties learning English.  Why do you think the student is having difficulties learning English?  What can you attribute the problem to? Students’ innate abilities? Social circumstances?

7 Nature versus Nurture  The role of nature (natural ability)  The role of nurture (social experience)

8 The Role of Natural Ability  Humans are born with a natural ability or innate capacity to learn another language.  Genetically “given” capability. (Since languages are complex, and children can learn languages quickly, there is no way they can “learn” the language.)  View children as being able to develop more abilities as they grow up. As children mature, so do their language abilities.

9 The Role of Natural Ability (continued)  Individual variation may occur in learning; the rate of learning can differ, but there are stages everyone goes through.  “Cut off point”- if the process does not happen at a young age, you’ll never learn the language. (Critical Period Hypothesis) What does this mean for us as teachers?

10 The Role of Social Experience  Will never acquire language unless that language is used with them and around them, no matter what is their language.  Immigrant children—no interaction with their background, they will never learn the language.

11 The Role of Social Experience (continued)  As long as children are experiencing input and social interaction, the rate and sequence of development doesn’t change.  The only thing that may change is pronunciation, vocabulary, and social function. What does this mean for us as teachers?

12 L1 versus L2 Learning  Initial State- knowledge about language structures and principles  Intermediate State- Basic language development  Final State- Outcome of learning

13 Initial State L1- Innate capacity L2- Innate capacity? L1 knowledge (transfer) World knowledge Interaction skills

14 Intermediate States- Processes L1= Maturation (As children mature, so do their language abilities) L2= Transfer of prior knowledge from L1 to L2  Positive transfer  Negative transfer

15 Transfer  Positive transfer- When an L1 structure is used in an L2 utterance and that use is appropriate or “correct”. -Subject, verb order -Vocabulary  Negative transfer/Interference- Opposite of Positive transfer; considered an “error”.

16 Example of Negative Transfer Can I assist to your class? I have been always to class on time.

17 Intermediate Stages- Necessary Conditions L1= Input, interaction with other people L2= Input (not necessarily interaction); radio, television, internet

18 Intermediate State- Facilitating Conditions L2 Rate and ultimate level of development can be determined by this:  Feedback- Types of correction  Aptitude- Abilities; memory capacity  Motivation- Need and desire to learn  Instruction- Explicit teaching

19 Personal Reflection Think how those four conditions impacted your learning another language. What role did those conditions had in your language learning?  Feedback  Aptitude  Motivation  Instruction

20 Personal Reflection-Part 2 Think how those four facilitating conditions appear in your teaching. What conditions do you think are impacting your students’ learning? Why or why not?  Feedback  Aptitude  Motivation  Instruction

21 Final State L1= Native competence (fluency like a native speaker) L2= Multilingual competence  Never be a “native speaker”  Level of proficiency is variable  Still face interference of L1 (“fossilization”


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