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Theories of Second language Acquisition

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1 Theories of Second language Acquisition

2 Different models have been proposed:
The behaviorist perspective The innatist perspective The cognitive/developmental perspective The sociocultural perspective

3 The Behaviorist Perspective
Learning is explained in terms of imitation, practice, reinforcement, and habit formation It had a powerful influence on second and foreign language teaching between the 1940s and the 1970s. The Audiolingual method of second language teaching stemmed out of behaviorism: emphasis on mimicry and memorization

4 Students memorized dialogues and sentence patterns by heart.
Learning a language is a process of habit formation: habits of L1 will surely interfere with the new habits of L2 that the learner wants to form=} Contrastive hypothesis

5 The Innatist Perspective
Humans are born with innate knowledge of the principles of Universal Grammar: UG UG allows all children to acquire the language of their environment during a critical period of their development.

6 Researchers are divided on the applicability of UG to second language acquisition:
A. Some think that the UG provides an adequate explanation only for first language acquisition.

7 B.UG provides the best explanation for second language acquisition
UG is equally available to second language learners as it was for first language learners Instruction and corrective feedback change only superficial appearance of language UG has been altered; it is not the same after acquiring L1 Learners may need some explicit information and instruction

8 Application: Krashen’s Model
It is one of the models that adopt the innatist perspective It was quite influential in the 1970s. It emphasizes the role of exposure to comprehensible input in second language acquisition.

9 It is based on 5 hypotheses:
1. Acquisition/learning hypothesis 2. Monitor hypothesis 3. The natural order hypothesis 4. The input hypothesis 5. The affective filter hypothesis

10 The Cognitive/Developmental Perspective: Information Processing
Second language acquisition is building up of knowledge that can be eventually called on automatically for speaking and understanding. No need for UG Learning is achieved through paying attention to any aspect of language Gradually, by practice, those items become old information and can be accessed automatically, so learner will start paying attention to other items Transfer appropriate processing: Information is best retrieved in situations that are similar to those in which they were acquired. Second language acquisition is seen as skill learning Skill learning starts with declarative knowledge: knowledge that. With practice, decalarative knowledge may become procedural knowledge: knowledge how Connectionism Learner develops stronger networks of connections between linguistic features and the specific linguistic and situational context in which they occur

11 Application: The Interaction Hypothesis
It is one of the hypotheses that have emerged within the cognitive developmental perspective. Claims of the hypothesis: According to this hypothesis, conversational interaction is an essential, if not sufficient, condition for second language acquisition. Interactional modification, i.e. modified speech, promotes acquisition.

12 It makes claims not only about comprehension (processing input), but also about production (output): Corrective feedback during interaction forces learners to produce comprehensible output.

13 The Sociocultural Perspective
Vygotsky’s theory proposes: Cognitive development, including language development, arises as a result of social interaction. Learning occurs how? When an individual interacts with an interlocutor within his ZPD ( a situation where the learner is capable of performing at a higher level because there is support from the interlocutor.

14 According to the theory, second language learners acquire language when they collaborate and interact with other speakers. Interlocutors co-construct knowledge collaboratively. Through collaborative dialogues, learners co- construct knowledge while engaging in production tasks that draw their attention to both form and meaning. It is cognitive activity as well as social activity.

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