FOURTH EDITION. How Languages Are Learned (HLAL) started out as a series of professional called a 'drip feed' approach (Lightbown and Spada ). In subsequent subiecte.info Toohey, K. ary level and striving with adolescents working to learn a second/ foreign .. correction, usually in formal language classrooms (Lightbown & Spada, ). Chapter 1 Extract PDF ( KB) Questions for Reflection PDF (53 KB) Patsy Lightbown and Nina Spada on How Languages are Learned, fourth edition.
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Popular idras about language learning reuisitedway that learners working together can discover how to express or interpret Resmeaning in the. Fourth Edition How Languages are Learned OXFORD UNIVERSITY . The 3 Secrets To Your Bulimia Recovery ◇◇◇ subiecte.info . Patsy M. Lightbown, Harwich, MA, USA Nina Spada, Toronto, ON. How Languages are Learned, by Patsy Lightbown and Nina Spada. second language acquisition research can make you a better judge of.
Automatic and controlled processes La in the first- and second-language reading of fluent bilinguals. Two of the most famous cases are those of 'Victor' and 'Genie'. The emphasis in this chapter is on theories that have been proposed to explain the aspects of language acquisition that are common to all second language learners and contexts. Specialissue of seminnrc i, speerh and Language,NY: By the Is, many researchers were convinced that behaviourism and the contrastive analysis hypothesis were inadequate explanations for second language acquisition.
However, at a later point, the word may be generalized to other furry creatures as well, indicating that connections have been made to characteristics of the cat and not to an entiry that adults know as 'cat'. Then there is another learning process involved in 'pruning' the connections so that 'cat' applies only to felines-at least until more metaphorical meanings are learned later in life.
It is also a process of associating words and phrases with the other words and phrases that occur with them, or words with grammatical morphemes that occur with them. For example, children learning languages in which nouns have grammatical gender learn to associate the appropriate article and adjective forms with nouns. Similarly, they learn to associate pronouns with the verb forms that mark person and number. They learn which temporal adverbs go with which verb tenses. According to connectionist theory, all this is possible because of the child's general abiliry to develop associations between things that occur together.
Of particular importance to the connectionist hypothesis is the fact that children are exposed to many thousands of opportunities to learn words and phrases. Learning takes place gradually, as the number of links between language and meaning are built up. They argue that acquisition of language, while remarkable, is not the only remarkable feat accomplished by the child.
They compare it to other cognitive and perceptual learning, including learning to 'see'. Language disorders and delays Although most children progress through the stages of language development without significant difficulry or delay, there are some children for whom this is not the case. A discussion of the various types of disabilitiesincluding deafness, articulatory problems, dyslexia, erc.
It is essential that parents and teachers be encouraged to seek professional advice if they feel that a child is not developing language normally, keeping in mind that the range for'normal' is wide indeed.
While most children produce recognizable first words by twelve monrhs, some may not speak before the age of three years. In very young children, one way to determine whether delayed language reflects a problem or simply an individual difference within the normal range is to determine whether the child responds to language and appears to understand even if he or she is not speaking.
For older children, delays in learning to read that seem out of keeping with a child's overall intellectual functioning may suggest that there is a specific problem in that domain. Some children seem to begin reading almost by magic, discovering the mysteries of print with little direct instruction. For most children, instruction that includes some systematic attention to sound-letter correspondences allos's them to unlock the treasure chest of reading.
Both groups fall with a normal range. For some children, however, reading presents such great challenges that they need expert help beyond what is available in a typical classroom. Langaage learning in early childhood fu Jim Cummins , and others have pointed out, one particular group of children who have often been misdiagnosed as having language delays or disorders are children who arrive at their first day of school without an age-appropriate knowledge of the language of the school.
This includes immigrant children who speak another language at home, minoriry language children whose home language is different from the school language, and children who speak a different variety of the school language. Unfortunately, it often happens that these childrent knowledge ofa different language or language variety is interpreted as a lack ofknowledge oflanguage in general.
It is often the case that the school is not equipped to provide an adequate assessment of childrent ability to use their home language. Schools may not have programmes for second language learners that allow them to continue to use their home language. The development of bilingual or second language learning children is of enormous importance. Indeed, the majoriry of the world's children are exposed to more than one language, either in early childhood or from the time they enter school.
Researchers have recently made important progress in providing guidelines that can help educators distinguish between disabiliry and diversity Seymour and Pearson Childhood bilingualism E"tly childhood bilingualism is a realiry for millions of children throughout the world.
Some children learn multiple languages from earliest childhood; others acquire additional languages when they go to school. The acquisition and maintenance of more than one language can open doors to many personal, social, and economic opportunities. Children who learn more than one language from earliest childhood are referred to as 'simultaneous bilinguals', whereas those who learn another Ianguage later may be called 'seqtrential bilinguals'.
There is a considerable b"dy of research on children's abiliry to learn more than one language in their earliest years. They fear that the children will be confused or will not learn either language well. However, there is little suppoft for the myth that learning more than one language in early childhood is a problem for children Genesee, Crago, and Paradis Although some studies show minor early delays for simululneous bilinguals, there is no evidence that learning two languages substantially slows down their linguistic development or interferes with cognitive and academic development.
Indeed many simultaneous bilinguals achieve high levels of proficiency in both languages. Ellen Bialystok , Limitations that may be observed in the language of bilingual individuals are more likely to be related to the circumstances in which each language is learned than to any limitation in the human capacity to learn more than one language.
For example, ifone language is heard much more often than the other or is more highlyvalued in the communiry that language may eventually be used better than, or in preference ro, the other. There may be reason to be concerned, however, about situations where children are cut off from their family language when they are very young. Eventually they may srop speaking the family language altogether. It can have negative consequences for childrent self-esteem, and their relationships with family members are also likely to be affected by such early loss of the family language.
In these cases, children seem to continue to be caught berween rwo languages: During the transition period, they may fall behind in their academic learning. UnfortunarcIy, the 'solution educarors somedmes propose to parents is that they should stop speaking the family language at home and concentrate instead on speakirtg th.
The evidence suggests that a better solution is to strive for enorrrvE BTLTNGU the maintenance of the home language while the second language is being learned. This is especially true if t[. Using their own language in family settings is also away for parents to maintain their own self-esreem, especially as they may be struggling with the new language outside the home, ar work, or in the community. Maintaining the family language also creares opportunities for the children to continue both cognitive and affective development in a language they understand easily while they are still learning the second language.
As Virginia Collier and others have shown, the process ofdeveloping a second language takes years. But teachers, parents, and students need to know that the benefits ofadditive bilingualism will reward patience and effort. In Chapter 2, we will look at the theoretical perspectives that have been proposed to explain second language acquisition.
Sources and suggestions for further readirg Baker, C. Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism 3rd edn. Multilingual Matters. Berko Gleason, J. The Deuelopment of Language 6th edn. Allyn and Bacon and Longman Publishers.
Cummins, J. Language, Power and Pedagogy: Bilingual Children in the Crossf re. Elman, J. Bares, M. Johnson, A. Karmiloflsmirh, D. Rethinking fnnateness: A Connectionist Perspectiue on Dnelopment.
Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Genesee, F. Educating Second Language Children: Cambridge Universiry Press. Ginsburg, H. Piaget' s Theory of Intellectual Deueloprnent: An Introductioz. Englewood cliffs, NJ: Eilers eds. Language and Literacy Danlopment in Bilingual children.
Multiling,rJ M",r. Pinker, S. The Language Instincr. Piper, T. Language and Learning: The Home and SchoolYears 2nd edn. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Schieffelin, B. Ochs eds. Cam bridge: Camb ridge University Press. V I Vygotsky and the Social Formation ofMind. Others emphasize the role of the environment, especially opportunities to interact with speakers who adapt their language and interaction patterns to meet learners' needs.
Still others focus on learners' engagement with the broader social conrexr. Contexts for language learning A second language learner is different from a. This is true in terms of both the learnert characteristics and the environments in which first and second language acquisition typically occur. Think about how the characteristics and learning conditions of the following learners may differ: Now askyourself the following questions about these different learners, and complete the chart in Thble 2.
I Do they already know at least one language? Are they able to engage in problem solving, deduction, and complex memory tasks? Can they define a word, say what sounds make up that word, or state a rule such as 'add an -sto form the plural'? Does this knowledge enable them to make good guesses about what a second language interlocutor is probably saying?
Do they have plenry of time available for language learning, plenry of contact with proficient speakers of the language? That is, do interlocutors adapt their speech so that learners can understand..
Using the chart inTable 2. Use the following notation: L earn er c lt aracteris ti cs By definition, all second language learners, regardless of age, have already acquired at least one language. This prior knowledge may be an advantage in the sense that they have an idea of how languages work.
On the other hand, knowledge of other languages can lead learners to make incorrect guesses about how the second language works, and this may result in errors that first language learners would not make. Very young language learners begin the task of first language acquisition without the cognitive maturiry or metalinguistic awareness that older second language learners have. Although young second language learners have begun to develop these characteristics, they will still have far to go in these areas, as well as in the area of world knowledge, before they reach the levels already attained by adults and adolescenrs.
On the one hand, cognitive maturity and metalinguistic awareness allow older learners to solve problems and engage in discussions about language. Exp laining se cond language learnirug 3T First language Second language Youngchild othome Youngchild ployground Adolescent clossroom Adult on the job Learner characteristics Another language Cognitive maturity Metalinguistic awareness World knowledge Anxiety about speaking Learning conditions Freedom to be silent Ample time Corrective feedback grammar and pronunciation Corrective feedback meaning, word choice, politeness Modified input Photocopiable Oxford University Press Thble 2.
Their hypothesis is that successful language acquisition draws on different mental abilities, abilities that are specific to language learning. This view is related to the idea that there is a critical period for language acquisition. It has been suggested that older learners draw on their problem solving and metalinguistic abilities precisely because they can no longer access the innate language acquisition abiliry they had as young children.
In addition ro possible cognitive differences, there are also attitudinal and cultural differences between children and adults. Most child learners are willing to rry ro use the language-even when their proficiency is quite limited.
Nevertheless, even very young pre-school children differ in their willingness to speak a language they do not know well. Some children happily chatter away in their new language; others prefer to listen and participate silently in social interaction with their peers.
Young children in informal settings are usually exposed to the second language for many hours every day. Older learners, ispecially students in language classrooms, are more likely to receive only limited exposure to the second language. Classroom learners not only spend less time in contact Yjrh the language, they also tend to be. For example, classroom learners are often taught l"ng". In many foreign language. As we saw in Chapter 1, parents tend to respond to their children's language in terms of its meaning rather than in terms of its grammarical a..
Similarly, in second language learning outside of clasirooms, errors that do not interfere with meaning are usually overlooked. Most people would feel theywere being impolite if they interrupted and corrected ro-. Nevertheless, interlocutors may react to an error if they cannot understand what the speaker is trying ro say.
Thus, errors of grammar and pronunciarion -"y roi b. In a situation where a second language speaker "pp. In this case too, especially bemeen adults, it is unlikely that the second language speaker would be told that something had gone wrong. The only place where feedback on error is rypically pt. Even there, it is-not always prorridld consistently.
One condition that appears to be common ro learners of all ages-though perhaps nor in equal qualiry or quanrity-is exposure to modifi. This adjusted speech rtyl. Exp hining second language learning intuitive sense of what adjustments they need to make to help learners understand.
Of course, some people are much better at this than others. Some Canadian friends told us of an experience they had in China. They were visiting some historic temples and wanted to get more information about them than they could glean from their guidebook. They asked their guide some questions about the monuments. Unfortunately, their limited Chinese and his non-existent English made it difficult for them to exchange information.
The guide kept speaking louder and louder, but our friends understood very little. Finally, in frustration, the guide concluded that it would help if they could see the information-so he took a stick and began writing in the sand-in Chinese characters!
A general theory of second language acquisition needs to account for language acquisition by learners with a variety of characteristics in a variety of contexts. The emphasis in this chapter is on theories that have been proposed to explain the aspects of language acquisition that are common to all second language learners and contexts. Behaviourism fu we saw in Chapter 1, behaviourist theory explained learning in terms of imitation, pracrice, reinforcement or feedback on success , and habit formation.
Much of the early research within behaviourist theory was done with laboratory animals, but the learning process was hypothesized to be the same for humans. Second language applications: Mimicry and memorization Behaviourism had a powerful infuence on second and foreign language teaching, especially in North America, berween the s "nJ the t-gl1t.
Classroom activities emphasized mimicry and memorizarion, and students learned dialogues and sentence patterns by heart. Because language development was viewed as the formation of habits, it was assumed that a person learning a second language would start offwith the habits formed in the first languagl and that these habits would interfere with the new ones needed fo-r tf,.
According to the CAH, where th. However, researchers have found that learners do not make all the errors predicted by the CAH. Instead, many of their actual errors are not predictable on the basis of their first language. Adult second language learners produce sentences that sound more like aihild's. Also, many oirh. In Chapter 4,wewill see ample evidence that second language learners draw on what they already know.
However, we will also see thaithey are sometimes reluctant to transfer certain first language parrerns, even when the '. AIso, first language infuence may become more apparent as more is learned about the second language, leading learners to see similarities that ,h.
By the Is, many researchers were convinced that behaviourism and the contrastive analysis hypothesis were inadequate explanations for second language acquisition. Some of these criticisms arose as a result of the growing infuence of innatist views of language acquisition.
The innatist perspective: Universal Grammar fu we saw in Chapter 1, the rejection of behaviourism as an explanation for first language acquisition was pardy triggered by Chomslcy's critique of it. Cho of the principles of Universal Gramma its all children to acquire idl-period oithErr 1 did not make specific claims about the implications o TS ry for second language learning, fZ4i" WhS e a a Universal Gra 35 t.
Others, and Jacquelyn Schachter framework for understandin anition for the acquisition of for example Robert Bley-Vroman argue that, although4l-;is'rg'ood n iod In their Ylew, ries described below. That is, we need to find an r the evidence rs eventuallv know more a nablv have had to entirely on ths-input they are expo This suggests that knowledge of. Some of the theorists who re and availabiliwT rst and second ulsltlon. Exp laining second knguage learning Researchers working within the UG framework also differ in their hypotheses about how formal instruction or the availabiliry of feedback on their learning will affect learners' knowledge of the second language.
Bonnie Schwartz , for example, concludes that such instruction and feedback change only the superficialappearance of language performance and do not really affect the underlying systematic knowledge of the new language.
Rather, language acquisition is based on the availabiliry of natural language in the learner's environment. Lydia -White and others who think that the nature of UG is altered by the acquisition of the first language suggesr that second language learners may sometimes need explicit information about what is not grammatical in the second language. Otherwise, they may assume that some structures of the first language have equivalents in the second language when, in fact, they do not.
Second hnguage app lications: Kras h en's 'monitor model' One model of second language acquisition that was influenced by Chomsky's theory of first language acquisition was Stephen lftashen's tUoaitor. He first described this model in the early Is, at a time when there was growing dissatisfaction with language teaching methods based on behaviourism.
Krashen described his model in terms of five hypotheses. First, in the acquisition-learning hypothesis, I rashen contrasrs these two terms. E atti ma. Exp laining s econd knguage learning Next, according to the monitor hypothesis, the acquired system initiates a speaker's utterances and is responsible for spontaneous language use.
The learned system acts as an editor or'monitor', making minor changes and polishing what the acquired system has produced. The natural order hypothesis was based on the finding that, as in first language acquisition, second language acquisition unfolds in predictable sequences.
The language features that are easiest to state and thus to learn are not necessarily the first to be acquired. For example, the rule for adding an -. The fact that some people who are exposed to large quantities of comprehensible input do not necessarily acquire a language successfully is accounted for by Krashens ffictiue flter hypothesis. Exp laining s econd language learning Both psychologists and linguists challenged lirashen's model.
Linguist Lydia 'White questioned one of his hypotheses in a paper called Against Comprehensible Input'. Psychologist Barry Mclaughlint articl,e was one of the first to raise the question ofwhether the five hypotheses could be tested by empirical research. For example, distinguishing between 'acquired' and 'learned' knowledge can lead to circular definitions if itt acquired, it's fluent; if itt fuent, it's acquired and to a reliance on intuition rather than observable differences in behaviour.
In spite of lively criticism and debate, Krashent ideas were very influential during a period when second language teaching was in transition from approaches that emphasized learning rules or memo rizing dialogues to approaches that emphasized using language with a focus on meaning. Classroom research has confirmed that students can make a great deal of progress through exposure to comprehensible input without direct instruction.
Studies have also shown, however, that students may reach a point from which they fail to make further progress on some features of the second language unless they also have access to guided instruction see Chapter 6. Some insights from learning theories developed in psychology help to explain why this may be so.
Current psycholo gical theories: Some of these theories use rhe computer as a metaphor for the mind, comparing language acquisition to the capacities of computers for storing, integrating, and retrieving information. Some draw on neurobiology, seeking to relate observed behaviour as directly as possible to brain activiry.
As in first language acquisition, cognitive and developmental psychologfsts argue that there is no need to hypothesize that humans have a languagespecific module in the brain or that 'acquisition and 'learning' are distinct mental processes. In their view, general theories of learning can accounr for the gradual development of complex syntax and for learners' inability to spontaneously use everything they know about a language at agiven time. As noted above, some linguists have also concluded that, while UG provides a plausible explanation for first language acquisition, something else is required for second language acquisition since it so often falls short of full success.
Exp laining s eco nd language learnirug 39 Info rm ati o n p ro c ess ing Cognitive psychologists working in an information-processing model of human learning and performance see second language acquisition as the building up of knowledge that can eventually be called on automatically for speaking and understanding.
Norman Segalowitz and others have suggested that learners have to pay attention at first to any aspect of the language that they are trying to understand or produce.
However, there is a limit to how much information a learner canpay attention to. Thus, learners at the earliest stages will use most oftheir resources to understand the main words in a message. In that situation, they may not notice the grammatical morphemes attached to some of the words, especially those that do not substantially affect meaning.
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 frees them to pay attention to other aspects of the language that, in turn, gradually become automatic. For proficient speakers, choosing words, pronouncing them, and stringing them together with the appropriate grammatical markers is essentially automatic.
Such automatic responses do not use up the kind of resources needed for processing new information. Thus, proficient language users can give their full attention to the overall meaning of a text or conversation, whereas learners use more of their attention on processing the meaning of individual words. This helps to explain why second language readers need more time to understand a text, even if they eventually do fully comprehend it Favreau and Segalowitz 19S3.
The information processing model suggests that there is a limit to the amount of focused mental activitywe can engage in at one time. Note that the 'practice' needed for the development of automaticity is not something mechanical, and it is not limited to the production of language.
Exposure to, and comprehension of, a language feature may also be counted as practice. In information processing, practice involves cognitive effort on the part of the learner, but it need not necessarily be available for the learnert introspection. It can occur below the level of awareness. Similar'information processing' approaches to second language acquisition have been explored by other researchers. Drawing on J. Andersont work, Robert DeKeyser , and others have investigated second language acquisition as 'skill learning'.
LEDGE, also referred to as knowledge that. Indeed, once skills become proceduralized and automatized, thinking about the declarative knowledge while trying to perform the skill actually disrupts the smooth performance of it.
In second language acquisition, the path from declarative ro procedural knowledge is sometimes associated with the kind of learning that takes place in a classroom, where rule learning is followed by practice. For this reason, fluent speakers may not even realize that they once possessed the declarative knowledge that set the process in motion.
Sometimes changes in language behaviour do nor seem to be explainable in terms of a gradual build-up of fluency through practice. They seem to be based on some qualitative change in the learnert knowledge. Restructuring may account for what appear to be sudden bursts ofprogress, when learners suddenly seem to 'put it all togerher', even though they have not had any new instruction or apparently relevant exposure to th.
It may also explain apparent backsliding, when ". Thus, after months of saying 'I saw a film', the learner may say'I seed' or even 'I sawed'.
Such errors "r. According to 'transfer appropriare processing', information is best retrieved in situations that are similar to those in which it was acquired Blaxton This is because when we learn something our memories also record something about the context in which it was learned and even about the way we learned it, for example, by reading or hearing it.
To date, most of the research on transfer appropriate processing has bien done in laboratory experimenrs, for example, comparing the liarning of word lists under different conditions. However, the hypothesis seems to offer a plausible way of explaining a widely observed phenomenon in second language learning: On the other hand, if, during learning, the learnert cognitive resources are completely occupied with a focus on meaning in communicative activities, retrieval of specific language features such as grammatical markers or word order on a test of those features may be more difficult.
Co tu con. Exp laining s eco nd language learning Connectionism As seen in the discussion of first language acquisition in Chapter 1, connectionists, unlike innatists, see no need to hypothesize the existence of a neurological module dedicated exclusively to language acquisition.
Like most cognitive psychologists, connectionists attribute greater importance to the role of the environment than to any specific innate knowledge in the learner, arguing that what is innate is simply the ability to learn, not any specifically linguistic principles.
Connectionists also attribute less importance to the kind of declarative knowledge that characterizes some theories of skill learning. As Nick Ellis explains, the emphasis is on the frequency with which learners encounter specific linguistic features in the input and the frequency with which features occur together.
Connectionists argue that learners gradually build up their knowledge of language through exposure to the thousands of instances of the linguistic features they eventually hear.
After hearing language features in specific situational or linguistic contexts over and over again, learners develop a stronger and stronger network of 'connectionst between these elements. Eventually, the presence of one situational or linguistic element will activate the other s in the learner's mind. For example, learners might get subjectverb agreement correct, not because they know a rule but because they have heard examples such as 'I say' and 'he says' so often that each subject pronoun activates the correct verb form.
Evidence for the connecdonist view comes from the observation that much of the language we use in ordinary conversation is predictable, in some cases to the point of being formulaic. As suggested by Nick Ellis , and others, language is at least partly learned in chunks larger than single words and not all sentences or phrases are put together one word at a time.
These studies have so far dealt almost exclusivelywith the acquisition ofvocabulary and grammatical morphemes, that is, aspects of the language that even innatists will grant may be acquired largely through memorization and simple generalization.
How this model of cumulative learning can lead to knowledge of complex syntactic structures is an important area for continued research. It is also based on the hypothesis that language acquisition occurs without the necessity of a learnert focused attention or the need for any innate brain module that is specifically for language. The competition model is proposed as an explanation for both first and second language acquisition.
Through exposure to thousands of examples of language associated with particular meanings, learners come to understand how to use the 'cues' with which a language signals specific functions.
For example, the relationship between words in a sentence may be signalled by word order, grammarical markers, and the animacy of the nouns in the sentence. Most languages make use of multiple cues, but they differ in the primacy of each. This becomes clear in a situation where the meaning of a sentence is not immediately obvious. English uses word order as the mosr common indicator of the relationships between sentence componenrs.
That is, the rypical English sentence mentions the subject first, then the verb, then the object. Two- and three-year old English speaking children use cues of animacy and their knowledge of the way things work in the world to interpret odd sentences. Thus, if they hear a string of words such as 'Box push bol , they will act it out by making a boy doll push a dny box, focusing on the fact that the 'boy is the natural agent of action in this situation. However, the SVO paftern is so strong in English that, before they are four years old, children will give an SVO interpretation to such strings of words.
They will ignore the fact that boxes dont normally move on their own, and carefully demonstrate how the box pushes the boy. Furthermore, at this age, they may attribute the SVO relationship to sentences in the passive voice. That is, 'The box was pushed by the boy' may be interpreted as 'The box pushed the boy. Other languages, for example, Spanish and Italian, have more flexible word order. Exp kining s econd language learning it confusing to hear sentences such as'Ilgiocattoh guarda il bambina' the toy -is looking at-the boy.
An Itdian speaker, accustomed to more fexible word order, focuses on the animacy ofthe two nouns and concludes that the most reasonable interpretation is that the boy is looking at the toy. Tlessresearchers have studied the ways in which s modifu their and tmi rners partlcrDate nYersailon or agreed with n that comprehensible input is necessary for language acquisition.
However, h. In the original formulation of the Interaction Hypothesis, Long ilferred that modified interaction is necessary for language acquisition, mmmarizing the relationship as follows: I Interactional modification makes input comprehensible. Therefore, t lnteractional modification promotes acquisition. These requesrs from the learner lead modifications by the native speaker. She was walking home from school.
She got lost. Research has shown that conversational adjustments can aid comprehension. Modification that takes place during interaction leads to beit. In Longt revised version of the Interaction Hypothesis, more emphasis is placed on the importance of corrective feedback during interaction.
She observed that it is when learners must produce language that their interlocutor can understand that they are most likely to see the limits of their second language ability and the need to find better ro express their meaning. The demands of producing comprehensible output, she hypothesized, push learners ahead in their development.
The noticing hypothesis Richard Schmidt , proposed the 'noticing hypothesis', suggesting that nothing is learned unless it has been noticed. Noticing does not itself result in acquisition, but it is the essential starring point. Schmidt's original proposal of the noticing hypothesis came from his own experience as a learner of Portuguese.
After months of taking classes, living in In In lar PI. Exp hining second language learning Brazll, and keeping a diary, he began to realize that certain features of Ianguage that had been present in the environment for the whole time began to enter his own second language system only when he had noticed them, either because they were brought to his attention in class or because some oF.
Drawing on psychological learning theories, Schmidt hypothesized that second language learnirs could not begin to acquire a language feature until they had become aware of it in the input. Susan Gass also described a learning process that begins when learners notice something they hear or see in the second language that is different from what they expected or that fills a gap in their knowleJge of the Ianguage.
The question of whether learners musr be aware that ihey are hoticing' something in the input is the object of considerable debate. According to information processing theories, anyrhing that uses up our mental 'processing space', even ifwe are not aware of it or attending to it 'on qurgose', can contribute to learning.
These questions about the importance of awareness and atrention have been the object of debate and research. Several researchers have found ways to track learners' attention as they engage in second language interaction or lctivity Alison Mackey, Susan Gass, and Kim McDonough have described techniques, for example, having learners see and hear themselves in videotaped interactions, to explore what they were thinking as they participated in conversations.
Ron Leow developed crossword puzzles that learners had to solve while speaking aloud. Meirill Swain and Sharon Lapkin recorded learners in pair work and kept track of the language features they mendoned. These reiearch designs. The extent to which learners' awareness of language f. For example, as predicted by the competition model, when these English speakers heard sentences such as'La sigue el sefioi , they interpreted it as 'She subject pronoun follows the man'.
The correcr interpretation is 'Her object pronoun follows the man' subject of the sentence. In other words, the correct English translation would be 'The Fxp ki n i ng s econd lnnguage le arning man follows her'.
In order to understand that, students need to learn that in Spanish, a pronoun object precedes the verb and that it is essential to pay attention to whether the pronoun is a subject or an object rather than to the word order alone.
See the discussion ofthe competirion model earlier in this chapter. VanPatten argued that the problem arose in part from the fact that learners have limited processing capacity and cannot pay artenrion to form and meaning at the same time. Not surprisingly, they tend to give prioriry to meaning. In Chapter 6 we will see how VanPatten developed instructional procedures rhar require learners to focus on the language itself in order to interprer rhe meaning.
Processability theory Jtrgen Meisel, Harald Clahsen, and Manfred Pienemann 1 98 1 studied the acquisition of German by a group of adult migrant workers who had little or no second language instruction. They analysed large samples of their speech and described the details of developmental sequences in their ptodu. Ease of processing was found to depend to a tent on th-e positio ically urred at t d of a sentence those that were tn t e. All learners acquired the features in the same sequence, even though they progressed at different rares.
They also found that some languase features did not seem to he affecterl h.
One imforln, aspec of his theory is the integration of developmental sequences with firit language influence.. Exp kining s econd language learning 47 The sociocultural perspective As we saw in Chapter 1, Vygotskyt theory assumes that cognitive development, including language development, arises as a result of social interactions.
Primary among these interactions are those between individuals. Unlike the psychological theories that view thinking and speaking as related but independent processes, sociocultural theory views speaking and thinking as tightly interwoven.
Speaking and writing mediate thinking, which means that people can gain control over their mental processes as a consequence of internalizing what others say to them and what they say to others.
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To the teachers and students from whom we have learned somuch 1 t 4. More than justpronunciation? Intuitions of grammaticality Rate oflearning Age and second language instruction Summary Suggestions for further reading 75 75 77 79 80 83 84 87 88 89 90 92 92 94 95 96 96 99 4 Explaining second language learning Preview The behaviourist perspective Second language applications: Mimicry and memorization The innatist perspective Second language applications: Krashen's 'Monitor Model' The cognitive perspective Information processing Usage-based learning The competition model Language and the brain Second language applications: Interacting, noticing, processing, and practising The sociocultural perspective Second language applications: Learning by talking Summary Suggestions for further reading 6.
Contents lX 5 Observing learning and teaching in the second language classroom Preview Natural and instructional settings In natural acquisition settings In structure-based instructional settings In communicative instructional settings Observation schemes Classroom comparisons: Teacher-student interactions Classroom comparisons: Student-student interactions Corrective feedback in the dassroom Questions in the dassroom Ethnography Summary Suggestions far further reading 6 Second language learning in theclassroom Preview Proposals far teaching 1Get it right from the beginning 2 Just listen Learning from research Conclusion Glossary Bibliography lndex 7.
Three editions of the book have now travelled far from those origins. When we were working on the first edition in the s and s we were still in the early days of remarkable growth of research in second language acquisition. In updating the research for each new edition, the decisions about what to include have grown more diflicult. Keeping the book to a reasonable length has often meant choosing between classics in the field and important new studies, of which there are now so many.
In this edition, we have annotated sorne 'Suggestions for further reading' at the end of each chapter. We encourage readers to follow these readings and the refer ence list to deepen their understanding of topics that we can only introduce here. In this fourth edition of HLAL, we have added 'Questions for reflection' at the end of each chapter, and we have included sorne new 'Activities' that give readers opportunities to explore sorne of the topics.
Another new feature of this edition is a companion website which contains additional activi ties, readings, and other web-based material and resources to enhance your reading and understanding of the contents of the book. It will also provide opportunities for readers to interact with others and to share their ideas for teaching and learning languages. The website for How Languages are Learned can be accessed at www. We are currendy working on a new series of books for teachers, the Oxford Key Conceptsfar the Language Classroom.
Each volume, written by a different author, will focus on a specific topic such as assessment, content-based lan guage teaching, literacy, and oral interaction , reviewing the relevant research and linking the findings to classroom practice.
We hope that the books in this series will encourage teachers to continue learning about sorne of the topics that are introduced in HLAL.
We hope that both new readers and those who have read the previous edi tions of HLAL will find ideas and information that will challenge and inspire them to make their own contributions to second language learning, teach ing, and research.
Patsy M. Teachers are told that they will be more effective than those that have gane befare. In many cases, the new approaches are prescribed for immediate implementation in a school or region.
Sometimes, the new materials come with opportunities for extensive training in their implementation. Sometimes, they are simply ordered and distributed to teachers who have to do their best to use them effectively.
Many approaches to language teaching have been proposed and imple mented. One approach requires students to learn rules of grammar and lists of vocabulary to use in translating literary texts. Another emphasizes the value of having students imitate and practise a set of correct sentences and memorize entire dialogues.
Yet another encourages 'natural' communication between students as they engage cooperatively in tasks or projects while using the new language.
In sorne classrooms, the second language is used as the medium to teach subject matter, with the assumption that the language itself will be learned incidentally as students focus on the academic content.
How are teachers to evaluate the potential effectiveness of different instruc tional practices? To be sure, the most important influence on teachers' decisions is their own experience with previous successes or disappointments, as well as their understanding of the needs and abilities of their students.
We believe that ideas drawn from research and theory in second language acquisition are also valuable in helping teachers to evaluate claims made by proponents of various language teaching methods. The goal of this book is to introduce teachers-both novice and experienced-to sorne of the language acquisition research that may help them not only to evaluate existing text books and materials but also to adapt them in ways that are more consistent with our understanding of how languages are learned.
The book begins with a chapter on language learning in early childhood. This background is important because both second language research and second language teaching have been influenced by our understanding of how children acquire their first language. Several theories about first language LI learning are presented in this chapter and they are revisited later in the book in relation to second language L2 learning.
InChapter 3, we turn our attention to how individual learnercharacteristics may affect success. In Chapter 4, several theories that have been advanced to explain second language learning are presented and discussed.
Chapter 5 begins with a comparison of natural and instructional environments for second language learning. We then examine sorne different ways in which researchers have observed and described teaching and learning practices in second language classrooms. In Chapter 6, we examine six proposals that have been made for second language teaching. Examples of research related to each of the proposals are presented, leading to a discussion of the evidence available for assessing their effectiveness.
The chapter ends with a discussion of what research findings suggest about the most effective ways to teach and learn a second language in the classroom.
In Chapter 7, we will provide a general summary of the book by looking at how research can inform our response to sorne 'popular opinions' about lan guage learning and teaching that are introduced below.
A Glossary provides a quick reference for a number of terms that may be new or have specific technical meanings in the context of language acquisition research. Glossary words are shown in bold letters where they first appear in the text.
For readers who would like to find out more, an annotated list of suggestions for further reading is included at the end of each chapter. The Bibliography provides full reference information for the suggested readings and all the works that are referred to in the text. We have tried to present the information in a way that does not assume that readers are already familiar with research methods or theoretical issues in second language learning.
Examples and case studies are included through out the book to illustrate the research ideas.
Many of the examples are taken from second language classrooms. We have also included a number of activi ties for readers to practise sorne of the techniques of observation and analysis used in the research that we review in this book. At the end of each chapter are 'Questions for reflection' to help readers consolidare and expand their understanding of the material. Before we begin Take a moment to reflect on your views about how languages are learned and what you think this means about how they should be taught.
The statements in the activity below summarize sorne popular opinions about language Introduction 3 learning and teaching. Think about whether you agree or disagree with each opinion. Keep these statements and your reactions to them in mind as you read about current research and theory in second language learning. We will then consider several theories that have been offered as explanations for how language is learned.
There is an immense amount of research on child language. Although much of this research has been done in middle-class North American and European families, there is a rich body of cross-linguistic and cross-cultural research as well. Our purpose in this chapter is to touch on a few main points in this research, primarily as a prepa ration for the discussion of second language acquisition SLA , which is the focus of thisbook.
First language acquisition Language acquisition is one of the most impressive and fascinating aspects of human development. We listen with pleasure to the sounds made by a three-month-old baby. We laugh and 'answer' the conversational 'ba-ba-ba' babbling of older babies, and we share in the pride and joy of parents whose one-year-old has uttered the first 'bye-bye'. Indeed, learning a language is an amazing feat-one that has attracted the attention oflinguists and psycholo gists for generations.
How do children accomplish this? What enables a child not only to learn words, but to put them together in meaningful sentences? What pushes children to go on developing complex grammatical language even though their early simple communication is successful for most pur poses?
Does child language develop similarly around the world? How do bilingual children acquire more than one language? Milestonesand developmentalsequences One remarkable thing about first language acquisition is the high degree of similarity in the early language of children all over the world.
Researchers have described developmental sequences far many aspects of first language acquisition. The earliest vocalizations are simply the involuntary crying that babies do when they are hungry or uncomfartable.
Soon, however, we hear the cooing and gurgling sounds of contented babies, lying in their beds looking at fascinating shapes and movement around them. Even though they have little control over the sounds they make in these early weeks of life, infants are able to hear subde differences between the sounds of human languages.
Not only do they distinguish the voice of their mothers from those of other speakers, they also seem to recognize the language that was spoken around their mother befare they were born. Furthermore, in cleverly designed experiments, researchers have demonstrated that tiny babies are capable of very fine auditory discrimination. For example, they can hear the difference between sounds as similar as 'pa' and 'ha'.
Janet Werker, Patricia Kuhl, and others have used new technologies that allow us to see how sensitive infants are to speech sounds. What may seem even more remarkable is that infants stop making distinctions between sounds that are not phonemic in the language that is spoken around them.
Far example, by the time they are a year old, babies who will become speakers of Arabic stop reacting to the difference between 'pa' and 'ha' which is not pho nemic in Arabic. Babies who regularly hear more than one language in their environment continue to respond to these differences far a longer period Werker, Weikum, and Yoshida One important finding is that it is not enough far babies to hear language sounds from electronic devices. In arder to learn-or retain-the ability to distinguish between sounds, they need to interact with a human speaker Conboy and Kuhl The Internet abounds with remarkable videos of infants reacting to language sounds.
Whether they are becoming monolingual or bilingual children, however, it will be many months befare their own vocalizations begin to reflect the characteristics of the language or languages they hear and longer still befare they connect language sounds with specific meaning.
However, by the end of their first year, most babies understand quite a few frequently repeated words in the language or languages spoken around them. They wave when someone says 'bye-bye'; they clap when someone says 'pat-a-cake'; they eagerly hurry to the kitchen when 'juice and cookies' are mentioned. At 12 months, most babies will have begun to produce a word or two that everyone recognizes.
By the age of two, most children reliably produce at least 50 different words and sorne produce many more. About this time, they begin to combine words into simple sentences such as 'Mommy juice' and -j F Language learningin earlychildhood 7 'baby fall down'. These sentences are sometimes called 'telegraphic' because they leave out such things as anides, prepositions, and auxiliary verbs. We recognize them as sentences because, even though function words and gram matical morphemes are missing, the word order reflects the word order of the language they are hearing and the combined words have a meaningful relationship that makes them more than just a list of words.
Thus, for an English-speaking child, 'kiss baby' does not mean the same thing as 'baby kiss'. Remarkably, we also see evidence, even in these early sentences that children are doing more than imperfectly imitating what they have heard. Their two- and three-word sentences show signs that they can creatively combine words. For example, 'more outside' may mean 'I want to go outside again.
For sorne language features, these patterns have been described in terms of developmental sequences or 'stages'. To sorne extent, these stages in language acquisition are related to children's cognitive development. For example, children do not use temporal adverbs such as 'tomorrow' or 'last week' until they develop sorne under standing of time.
In other cases, the developmental sequences seem to reflect the gradual acquisition of the linguistic elements for expressing ideas that have been present in children's cognitive understanding for a long time. For example, children can distinguish between singular and plural long before they reliably add plural endings to nouns. Correct use of irregular plurals such as 'feet' takes even more time and may not be completely under control until the school years.
Grammatical morphemes In the s, severa! One of the best-known studies was carried out by Roger Brown and his colleagues and students. In a longitudinal study of the language development of three children called Adam, Eve, and Sarah they found that 14 grammatical morphemes were acquired in a similar sequence.
The list below adapted from Brown's book shows sorne of the mor phemes they studied.
Thus, there was evidence far a 'developmen tal sequence' or arder of acquisition. However, the children did not acquire the morphemes at the same age or rate. Eve had mastered nearly all the mor phemes befare she was two-and-a-half years old, while Sarah and Adam were still working on them when they were three-and-a-half or faur.
Brown's longitudinal work was confirmed in a cross-sectional study of 21 children. Jill and Peter de Villiers faund that children who correctly used the morphemes that Adam, Eve, and Sarah had acquired late were also able to use the ones that Adam, Eve, and Sarah had acquired earlier. The chil dren mastered the morphemes at different ages, just as Adam, Eve, and Sarah had done, but the arder of their acquisition was very similar. Many hypotheses have been advanced to explain why these grammatical morphemes are acquired in the observed arder.
Researchers have studied the frequency with which the morphemes occur in parents' speech, the cognitive complexity of the meanings represented by each morpheme, and the difficulty of perceiving or pronouncing them. In the end, there has been no simple satis factory explanation far the sequence, and most researchers agree that the arder is determined by an interaction among a number of different factors. To supplement the evidence we have from simply observing children, sorne carefully designed procedures have been developed to further explore chil dren'sknowledge ofgrammatical morphemes.
Oneof the first and best known is the so-called 'wug test' developed by Jean Berko Gleason In this 'test', children are shown drawings of imaginary creatures with novel names or people perfarming mysterious actions. Far example, they are told, 'Here is a wug. Now there are two of them. There are two ' or 'Here is a man who knows how to bod.
Yesterday he did the same thing. Yesterday, he '. By completing these sentences with 'wugs' and 'bodded', children demonstrate that they know the patterns far plural and simple past in English. Language learningin earlychildhood 9 What similarities and differences do you notice among the child ren at different ages? The acquisition of other language features also shows how children's language develops systematically, and how they go beyond what they have heard to create new forms and structures.
Negation Children learn the functions of negation very early. That is, they learn to comment on the disappearance of objects, to refuse a suggestion, or to reject an assertion, even at the single word stage.
However, as Lois Bloom's longitudinal studies show, even though children understand these func tions and express them with single words and gestures, it takes sorne time before they can express them in sentences, using the appropriate words and word order. The following stages in the development of negation have been observed in the acquisition of English. Similar stages have been observed in other languages as well Wode No cookie.
No comb hair. The neg ative word appears just before the verb. Sentences expressing rejection or prohibition often use 'don't'. Daddy no comb hair. Don't touch that! Stage3 The negative element is inserted into a more complex sentence. Children may add forms of the negative other than 'no', including words like 'can't' and 'don't'.
These sentences appear to follow the correct English pattern of attaching the negative to the auxiliary or modal verb.
However, children do not yet vary these forms for different persons or tenses. I can't do it. He don't want it. Stage4 Children begin to attach the negative element to the correct form of auxiliary verbs such as 'do' and 'be'. She doesn't want it. Even though their language system is by now quite complex, they may still have difficulty with sorne other features related to negatives.
I don't have no more candies. Questions The challenge oflearning complex language systems is also illustrated in the developmental stages through which children learn to ask questions.
There is a remarkable consistency in the way children learn to form ques tions in English. For one thing, there is a predictable order in which the 'wh- words' emerge Bloom It is often learned as part of a chunk.
Identifying and locating people and objects are within the child's understanding of the world. Furthermore, adults tend to ask children just these types of questions in the early days of language learning, for example, 'Where's Mommy? Children seem to ask an endless number of questions beginning with 'why', having discovered how effectively this little word gets adults to engage in conversation, for example, 'Why that lady has bluehair?
In contrast to 'what', 'where', and 'who' questions, chil dren sometimes ask the more cognitively difficult 'why', 'when', and 'how' questions without understanding the answers they get, as the following con versation with a four-year-old clearly shows. C H I L D ! Canwe go now? The ability to use these question words is at least partly tied to children's cog nitive development. It is also predicted in part by the questions children are asked and the linguistic complexity of questions with different wh- words.
Thus it does not seem surprising that there is consistency in the sequence of their acquisition. Perhaps more surprising is the consistency in the acquisi tion of word order in questions. This development is not based on learning new meanings, but rather on learning different linguistic patterns to express meanings that are already understood.
Langu,agelearning in early childhood 11 Stage 1 Children's earliest questions are single words or simple two- or three-word sentences with rising intonation: Mommy book? At the same time, they may produce sornecorrect questions-correct because they have been learned as chunks: Where's Daddy? Stage2 Asthey begin to ask more new questions, children use the word arder of the declarative sentence, with rising intonation.
You like this? I have sorne? They continue to produce the correct chunk-learned forms such as 'What's that?
Stage3 Gradually, children notice that the structure of questions is different and begin to produce questions such as: Can I go? Are you happy? Although sorne questions at this stage match the adult pattern, they may be right for the wrong reason. To describe this, we need to see the pattern from the child's perspective rather than from the perspective of the adult grammar.
We call this stage 'fronting' because the child's rule seems to be that questions are formed by putting something a verb or question word at the 'front' of a sentence, leaving the rest of the sentence in its statement form. Is the teddy is tired? Do I can have a cookie? Why you don't have one?
Why you catched it? The questions resemble those of Stage 3, but there is more variety in the auxilia ries that appear befare the subject. Are you going to play with me? At this stage, children can even add 'do' in questions in which there would be no auxiliary in the declarative version of the sentence. Do dogs like icecream? Even at this stage, however, children seem able to use either inversion or a wh word, but not both for example, 'Is he crying? Are these your boots?
Why did you do that? Does Daddy have a box? Negative questions may still be a bit too difficult. Why the teddy bear can't go outside? And even though performance on most questions is correct, there is still one more hurdle. When wh- words appear in subordinate clauses or embedded questions, children overgeneralize the inverted form that would be correct for simple questions and produce sentences such as: Ask him why can't he goout. Stage6 At this stage, children are able to correctly form all question types, including negative and complex embedded questions.
Passage through developmental sequences does not always follow a steady uninterrupted path. Children appear to learn new things and then fall back on old patterns when there is added stress in a new situation or when they are using other new elements in their language. But the overall path takes them toward a closer and closer approximation of the language that is spoken around them. Thepre-schoolyears By the age of four, most children can ask questions, give commands, repon real events, and create stories about imaginary ones, using correct word order and grammatical markers most of the time.
In fact, it is generally accepted that by age four, children have acquired the basic structures of the language or languages spoken to them in these early years. Three- and four-year-olds continue to learn vocabulary at the rate of several words a day. They begin to acquire less frequent and more complex linguistic structures such as passives and relative clauses. Much of children's language acquisition effort in the late pre-school years is spent in developing their ability to use language in a widening social environ ment.
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