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The Nature of Language Learning

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Presentation on theme: "The Nature of Language Learning"— 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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