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Factors in second language acquisition: opportunity, exposure, uptake and retention Rob Waring.

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1 Factors in second language acquisition: opportunity, exposure, uptake and retention
Rob Waring

2 Essential questions How much language do students need to meet?
What kinds of vocabulary do they need to learn? How many times do they need to meet words to learn them? What are the optimal conditions for learning vocabulary?

3 Types of vocabulary Individual words: book, table, life, chance, walk, airplane… Affixes: used, user, usefulness, user-friendly, disuse… Multi-part words: traffic jam, the day after tomorrow, lunch box… Lexical phrases: by the way, to and fro, a kind of,… Idioms: let the cat out of the bag, raining cats and dogs Sentence heads: Do you mind if I…, If I were you,.. Could you…? Collocations: High season, mild cheese, blonde hair… Colligations: agree to do x, agree on X, rely on someone, have an effect on x, x affects y... Others: SONY, Paul, twenty-seven, etc. , UNESCO…

4 How much to learn: vocabulary
Learners need words to know 98% of the vocabulary in native novels, magazines and most general reading Intermediate learners need at least a vocabulary of 2000 words receptively and 1000 productively to be able to build fluency rapidly Advanced learners will need words An average high frequency word has about 8-15 common collocations There are common phrasal verbs There are common idioms There are hundreds of common sentences heads and formulaic phrases

5 How much to learn: collocations
fast / quick meal train food shower yellow / blonde hair car flower regular / normal guy fries day exercise a round / circle of friends drinks golf wagons hate Types Adverb + Adjective: completely satisfied (NOT downright satisfied) Adjective + Noun: excruciating pain (NOT excruciating joy) Noun + Noun: a surge of anger (NOT a rush of anger) Noun + Verb: lions roar (NOT lions shout) Verb + Noun: commit suicide (NOT undertake suicide) Verb + Expression With Preposition: burst into tears (NOT blow up in tears) Verb + Adverb: wave frantically (NOT wave feverishly)

6 How much to learn: Grammar
He walked to the station Did he see the man? Who did he go with? He ate with his mother He didn’t buy anything She wasn’t given anything Were they seen? Why did he mistrust them? You bought it, didn’t you? They were being shown the …. What were you doing when the phone rang? If I were you, I’d… If I won the lottery, I’d … Could I have that? Was he going to be there at 12?

7 How much to learn: grammar
The grammar takes a long time The main tenses have many different forms I have been given. You have been given. He/she/it has been given. We have been given. They have been given. Have I been given? Have you been given? Has he/she/it been given? Have we been given? Have they been given? I haven’t been given. You haven’t been given. He/she/it hasn’t been given. We haven’t been given They haven’t been given. What have I been given? What have you been given? What has he/she/it been given? What have we been given? What have they been given? I have been giving. You have been giving. He/she/it has been giving. We have been giving. They have been giving. Have I been giving? Have you been giving? Has he/she/it been giving? Have we been giving? Have they been giving? I haven’t been giving. You haven’t been giving. He/she/it hasn’t been giving. We haven’t been giving They haven’t been giving. Yes, I have. No, I haven’t. Yes, you have. No, you haven’t. Yes, he/she/it has. No, he/she/it hasn’t. Yes, we have. No, we haven’t. Yes, they have. No, they haven’t ……, have I? ….., haven’t I? ……, have you? ……, haven’t you? ….., has he/he/it? ….., hasn’t he/she/it? ….., have we? ..…, haven’t we? ….., have they? ….., haven’t they? I have given. You have given. He/she/it has given. We have given. They have given. Have I given? Have you given? Has he/she/it given? Have we given? Have they given? I haven’t given. You haven’t given. He/she/it haven’t given. We haven’t given They haven’t given. What have I given? What have you given? What has he/she/it given? What have we given? What have they given?

8 Two levels of word knowledge
Initial ‘form-meaning’ level ‘Deeper’ knowledge Learning how the meaning is connected to its spelling and pronunciation Learning how the word works in communicative situations and with its co-text pencil  = /pensil/ = WHAT collocation, colligation, multiple meaning senses and nuances, topic area, register, frequency, spoken or written etc. Quite easy to learn Fast (if done well) Restricted only to the meaning level HOW Takes a long time Requires massive exposure Can’t realistically be taught – too much to do. ‘Concrete stuff’: Individual words, affixes, lexical phrases, idioms, multi-part words, sentence heads etc. WHICH ‘Abstract stuff’: collocations, colligations, spoken/written, register etc.

9 Intentional vs. Incidental learning
Intentional learning Incidental learning Direct focus on learning when the focus is to learn words FOCUS Learning ‘by accident’ - as a result of focusing on something else wordlists, word cards, vocabulary exercises, dictionary use E.G. from reading or listening, watching movies, listening to songs, casual conversation Can be learnt systematically Meanings are learnt 16 times faster than with incidental learning Retention high if learnt well Decontextualized or ‘local’ learning level LEARNING Slow and fragile learning Input tends to be random and unpredictable, unsystematized Contextualized (chances for integrative learning) Best for ‘form-meaning’ level learning USE Best for ‘deeper aspects’ of vocabulary learning

10 Terms Opportunity: the chance that students have to meet words
Exposure: the texts/ language that students actually meet Uptake: the rate at which things are learnt Retention: the rate at which words are learnt or forgotten

11 Uptake and retention Intentional learning -fast – (Mukoyama 2005) -retention is good if the quality of learning is good -can’t learn the deeper aspects of vocabulary this way -each collocation is too infrequent -too many to learn -necessarily need to be learnt in context Incidental learning meetings to learn a word’s meaning -knowledge is fragile as the meeting is often fleeting

12 The Forgetting Curve Number of words Knowledge

13 No. of words to read to meet it x times
Occurrence rates No. of words to read to meet it x times Frequency Word No. % of corpus 1 5 10 20 50 1st BE 10,387 4.989% 100 200 401 1,002 2nd THE 10,027 4.816% 21 104 208 415 1,038 Top 25 SOME 1,192 0.573% 175 873 1,747 3,493 8,733 Top 50 SENTENCE 606 0.291% 344 1,718 3,436 6,871 17,178 Top 100 OUT 323 0.155% 645 3,223 6,446 12,892 32,230 Top 500 PREDICT 0.024% 4,164 20,820 41,641 83,281 208,203 Top 1000 ORGANIC 18 0.009% 11,567 57,834 115,668 231,337 578,342 Top 1500 TIMETABLE 9 0.004% 23,134 462,673 1,156,683 Top 2000 COMMERCE 4 0.002% 52,051 260,254 520,507 1,041,015 2,602,538 Top 2500 BIOCHEMICAL 2 0.001% 104,102 520,508 2,082,030 5,205,075 Top 3000 REFUND

14 Opportunity In EFL environments: Natural opportunity is low
Natural opportunity takes time, effort and commitment Opportunities have to be sought For many, creating language opportunities can only be done realistically through course requirements

15 Exposure How frequently do learners meet words? How much text do learners meet? What kinds of words do learners typically meet?

16 Exposure Data from a ‘typical’ 4 skills 5–level course book series for Mexican High Schools (Sequences by Heinle Cengage) -Includes all the units, instructions, exercises, workbook material, supplementary teacher’s material and listening texts -Teachers say students complete about 70% of the material -Only 20% of the class is taught in English -Little homework other than the course book materials are given -Data do not include out of class exposure -Data do not include student to student talk, student writings

17 Exposure Number of words in a typical 5 level course by frequency 50+
30-49 20-29 10-19 5-9 1-4 Total Function 84671 1k 92390 6465 3986 2021 309 105171 2k 1942 1291 1434 4302 3414 189 12572 Other 42 175 160 2496 2873 179003 7756 5462 6498 3883 2685 205287 Names 2106 616 812 1527 1131 953 7145 41.25% 45.01% 3.15% 1.94% 0.98% 0.15% 0.00% 51.23% 0.95% 0.63% 0.70% 2.10% 1.66% 0.09% 6.12% 0.02% 0.08% 1.22% 1.40% 87.20% 3.78% 2.66% 3.17% 1.89% 1.31% 100.00%

18 Different words (types) in a typical 5 level course by frequency
Exposure Different words (types) in a typical 5 level course by frequency 50+ 30-49 20-29 10-19 5-9 1-4 Total Function 40 1k 434 167 163 131 42 937 2k 22 35 60 322 506 52 997 Other 2 13 27 1263 1305 456 202 225 466 575 1315 3239 Names 14 16 34 109 177 367 717 1.23% 13.40% 5.16% 5.03% 4.04% 1.30% 0.00% 28.93% 0.68% 1.08% 1.85% 9.94% 15.62% 1.61% 30.78% 0.06% 0.40% 0.83% 38.99% 40.29% 15.31% 6.24% 6.95% 14.39% 17.75% 40.60% 100.00%

19 Uptake What uptake can we expect from a typical course? How much text do learners meet? -Possibly ,000 words over a typical 5 level course. How frequently do learners meet words? -Function words - very very frequently -De-lexical words - (have, be, do etc.) - very very frequently words (25-27%) are met enough times for acquisition (10-15%) words will be partially known words (over 65-70%) will probably not be learnt

20 Cautions ‘Acquisition’ assumes meeting the words enough times over 3 years is sufficient The data do not include multiple meanings, collocations, idioms, multiple-meaning senses, multi-part words, grammar, etc. The above data are for possible uptake rates from a typical course (individual results will vary) The data are calculated on input frequency (receptive vocabulary) Productive vocabulary size is typically 1/4 to 1/5th of the receptive. We can expect a productive vocabulary of easy-to-access words and another partial-access

21 What to do? Courses in general tend not to recycle vocabulary enough to allow for deep acquisition Most courses are linear in design – always teaching new things in each unit / lesson Learners need a good balance of intentional vs. incidental learning Start with lots of words, phrases, lexical chunks, sentence heads first. Focus on communicability. Grammar later Continue the coursework to provide the framework and initial knowledge of words, grammar etc. Massive text exposure to build incidental learning

22 Course book plus Extensive Reading
Uptake if they add 1 graded reader per week 50+ 30-49 20-29 10-19 5-9 1-4 1k 707 93 44 68 47 32 2k 223 107 90 162 125 168 Other 83 116 309 398 1125 Total 1023 283 250 539 570 1325 3990 17.72% 2.33% 1.10% 1.70% 1.18% 0.80% 5.59% 2.68% 2.26% 4.06% 3.13% 4.21% 2.08% 2.91% 7.74% 9.97% 28.20% 25.64% 7.09% 6.27% 13.51% 14.29% 33.21% 100.00% Data includes all of sequences plus foundations plus 11Pt and 65 GRs

23 Course book plus Extensive Reading
Significant improvement in vocabulary ( >1600 words) More of the words in their course book reach the ‘acquisition’ level (27% ---> 40%) They will have a better sense of how the vocabulary and grammar fit together They will have a better sense of collocation, and other deeper aspects of vocabulary acquisition.

24 Take home: We can learn lots of words at the form-meaning level quickly Initial word knowledge decays quickly unless learnt well Deeper aspects of word knowledge grow over time We can expect students exposed to normal levels of input from a course to acquire less than a thousand words receptively and a few hundred productively Adding a Extensive Reading almost doubles their vocabulary learning

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