Explaining Second Language Learning. Contexts for Language Learning Behaviorism Innatism Cognitive/developmental perspective Information Processing Connectionism The Competition Model The Sociocultural Perspective. Contexts for Language Learning.
1) learner characteristics
2) learning conditions
1. Knowledge of another language
2. Cognitive maturity
3. Metalinguistic awareness
4. World Knowledge
5. Anxiety about speaking
6. Freedom to be silent
7. Ample time & contact
8. Corrective feedback: (grammar and pronunciation)
9. Corrective feedback: (meaning, word choice, politeness)
10. Modified input
SLA (Second Language Acquisition) theories need to account for language acquisition by learners with a variety of characteristics and learningin a variety of contexts.
1) imitation, 2) practice, 3) reinforcement, and
4) habit formation
- emphasizing mimicry and memorization
(audiolingual teaching methods)
It predicts that where there are similarities between the L1 and the target language, the learner will acquire target-language structures with ease; where there are differences, the learner will have difficulty.
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.
- 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.
(*Note: See Chapter 3: Age of acquisition and CPH)
Two different views -
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”).
Two different views -
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.
It refers to the knowledge which underlies our ability to use language.
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.
e.g. the rule for adding an –s to third person singular verbs in the present tense
e.g. “I saw” → “I seed” or “I sawed” –
overapplying the general rule.
1. Interactional modification makes input comprehensible;
2. Comprehensible input promotes acquisition;
3. Interactional modification promotes acquisition.
elaboration, slower speech rate, gesture, additional contextual cues, comprehension checks, clarification requests, and self-repetition or paraphrase.
- more emphasis is placed on the importance of
corrective feedback during interaction.
- “negotiating for meaning” is seen as the opportunity for
The demands of producing comprehensible output “push” learners ahead in their development.
- Nothing is learned unless it has been noticed.
- Noticing does not itself result in acquisition, but it is the
essential starting point.
- L2 learners could not begin to acquire a language
feature until they had become aware of it in the input.
- Learners have limited processing capacity and cannot
pay attention to form and meaning at the same time.
- They tend to give priority to meaning. When the
context in which they hear a sentence helps them
make sense of it, they do not notice details of the
- The research showed that the sequence of development
for features of syntax and morphology was affected by
how easy these were to process.
- It integrates developmental sequences with L1 influence.
- Learners do not simply transfer features from their L1
at early stages of acquisition.
- They have to develop a certain level of processing
capacity in the L2 before they can use their knowledge
of the features that already exist in their L1.