5 Differences in Learning L1 & L2 Summary:SLA (Second Language Acquisition) theories need to account for language acquisition by learners with a variety of characteristics and learning in a variety of contexts.
6 Behaviorism Four characteristics of behaviorism: 1) imitation, 2) practice, 3) reinforcement, and4) habit formationBrooks (1960) & Lado (1964):- emphasizing mimicry and memorization(audiolingual teaching methods)
7 Behaviorism / CAHlearning an L2 starts off with the habits formed in the L1 and these habits would interfere with the new ones needed for the L2.Behaviorism was often linked to the Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis (CAH):CAH: where there are similarities between the L1 and L2 = easy,differences = difficult
8 Behaviorism / CAH Criticisms about the CAH: Though a learner’s L1 influences the acquisition of an L2, researchers have found that L2 learners do not make all the errors predicted by the CAH.Many of their errors are not predictable on the basis of their L1 (e.g. ‘putted’; ‘cooker’ meaning a person who cooks; ‘badder than’)Some errors are similar across learners from a variety of L1 backgrounds (e.g. he/she; “th” sound; the use of the past tense; the relative clauses)
9 Behaviorism / Critiques The L1 influence may not simply be a matter of the transfer of habits, but a more subtle and complex process of- identifying points of similarity,- weighing the evidence in support of some particular feature, and- reflecting (though not necessarily consciously) about whether a certain feature seems to ‘belong’ in the L2.By the 1970s, many researchers were convinced that behaviorism and the CAH were inadequate explanations for SLA.
10 InnatismUniversal Grammar (UG) in relation to second language developmentChildren are born with an innate capacity for learning human language. Humans are destined to speak. Children discover the grammar of their language based on their own inborn grammar. Certain aspects of language structure seem to be preordained by the cognitive structure of the human mind. This accounts for certain very basic universal features of language structure: every language has nouns/verbs, consonants and vowels. It is assumed that children are pre-programmed, hard-wired, to acquire such things.Competence vs. Performance
11 Innatism: Universal Grammar UG and SLAChomsky has not made specific claims about the implications of his theory for second language learning.Linguists working within the innatist theory have argued that UG offers the best perspective to understand SLA. UG can explain why L2 learners eventually know more about the language than they could reasonably have learned (i.e. UG can explain L2 learners’ creativity and generalization ability).Other linguists argue that UG is not a good explanation for SLA, especially by learners who have passed the critical period (i.e. CPH does not work in SLA).
12 Innatism: Universal Grammar How UG works in SLA:Two different views -The nature and availability of UG are the same in L1 and L2 acquisition.Adult L2 learners, like children, neither need nor benefit from error correction and metalinguistic information. These things change only the superficial appearance of language performance and do not affect the underlying competence of the new language (e.g., Krashen’s “monitor model”).
13 Innatism: Universal Grammar How UG works in SLA:Two different views –2. UG may be present and available to L2 learners, but its exact nature has been altered by the prior acquisition of the first language.L2 learners need to be given some explicit information about what is not grammatical in the L2. Otherwise, they may assume that some structures of the L1 have equivalents in the L2 when, in fact, they do not.
14 Innatism: Competence vs. Performance In what situations do you speak your second language really badly?In what situations do you speak your second language really well?
15 Innatism: Competence vs. Performance It refers to the knowledge which underlies our ability to use language.Performance:It refers to the way a person actually uses language in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Performance is subject to variations due to inattention, anxiety, or fatigue whereas competence (at least for the mature native speaker) is more stable.
16 Innatism: Competence vs. Performance SLA researchers from the UG perspective (innatism)more interested in the language competence (i.e., knowledge of complex syntax) of advanced learners rather than in the simple language of early stage learners.often compare judgments of grammaticality made by L2 and L1 learners, rather than observations of actual language performance (i.e., use of language).
19 Information processing Cognitive psychologists working in this modelcompare language acquisition to the capacities of computers for storing, integrating, and retrieving information.do not think that humans have a language-specific module (i.e. LAD) in the brain.do not assume that ‘acquisition’ and ‘learning’ are distinct mental processes.see L2 acquisition as the building up of knowledge that can eventually be called on automatically for speaking and understanding (i.e., general theories of learning can account for SLA).
20 Information processing Attention-processingSkill learningRestructuringTransfer appropriate processing
21 Information processing Attention-processing:This model suggests that learners have to pay attention at first to any aspect of the language that they are trying to understand or produce.It also suggests there is a limit to how much information a learner can pay attention to or engage in at one time.Gradually, through experience and practice, information that was new becomes easier to process, and learners become able to access it quickly and even automatically.This can explain why L2 readers need more time to understand a text, even if they eventually do fully comprehend it.
22 Information processing Skill Learning:Some researchers regard SLA as ‘skill learning’. They suggest that most learning, including language learning, starts with declarative knowledge (knowledge that).Through practice, declarative knowledge may become procedural knowledge (knowledge how).Once skills become procedualized and automatized, thinking about the declarative knowledge while trying to perform the skill disrupts the smooth performance of it.In SLA, the path from declarative to procedural knowledge is often like classroom learning where rule learning is followed by practice.
23 Information processing Restructuring:Sometimes changes in language behavior do not seem to be explainable in terms of a gradual build-up of fluency through practice.Restructuring may account for what appear to be sudden bursts of progress and apparent backsliding.It may result from the interaction of knowledge we already have and the acquisition of new knowledge (without extensive practice).e.g. “I saw” → “I seed” or “I sawed” –overapplying the general rule.
24 Information processing Transfer appropriate processing:This hypothesizes that Information is best retrieved in situations that are similar to those in which it was acquired. This is because when we learn something our memories also record something about the context and the way in which it was learned.This can explain why knowledge that is acquired mainly in rule learning or drill activities may be easier to access on tests that resemble the learning activities than in communicative situation.On the other hand, if learners’ cognitive resources are occupied with a focus on meaning in communicative activities, they may find grammar tests very difficult.
25 Connectionism (I)Connectionists attribute greater importance to the role of the environment than to any specific innate knowledge.They argue that what is innate is simply the ability to learn, not any specifically linguistic principles.They emphasize the frequency with which learners encounter specific linguistic features in the input and the frequency with which features occur together.
26 Connectionism (II)Connectionists suggest that learners gradually build up their knowledge of language through exposure to the thousand of instances of the linguistic features they hear or see.Eventually, learners develop stronger mental ‘connections’ between the elements they have learned; thus, the presence of one situational or linguistic element will activate the other(s) in the learner’s mind.Evidence comes from the observation that much of the language we use in ordinary conversation is predictable or formulaic. Language is often learned in chunks larger than single words.
27 Connectionism (III) Findings of connectionist Research : Research has shown that a learning mechanism, simulated by a computer program, can not only “learn” what it hears but can also “generalize”, even to the point of making overgeneralization errors.These studies have dealt almost exclusively with the acquisition of vocabulary and grammatical morphemes, that is, aspects of the language which innatists will grant may be acquired largely through memorization and simple generalization. How this model can lead to knowledge of complex syntactic structure is still under investigation.