Xi linguistics and foreign languages teaching
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XI Linguistics and Foreign Languages Teaching. Contents. 11.1 Relation between linguistics and Language Teaching 11.2 Linguistics and language learning 11.3 Linguistics and language teaching 11.4 Linguistics and syllabus design 11.5 Contrastive analysis and error analysis

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XI Linguistics and Foreign Languages Teaching

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Xi linguistics and foreign languages teaching

XI Linguistics and Foreign Languages Teaching



11.1 Relation between linguistics and Language Teaching

11.2 Linguistics and language learning

11.3 Linguistics and language teaching

11.4 Linguistics and syllabus design

11.5 Contrastive analysis and error analysis

11.6 Corpus linguistics and language teaching

11 1 relation between linguistics and language teaching

11.1 Relation between linguistics and Language Teaching

  • Theoretical views of lg explicitly or implicitly inform the approaches and methods adopted in lg teaching.

  • Linguistics, as the science of lg, should be of fundamental importance for teachers of lg.

    1. Lg teachers need a theory of lg on order to teach lg effectively.

    2. Lg teachers must present the real lg and the entire lg, not merely its phonology, lexicon or syntax. To discover the real lg and to obtain some understanding of it, lg teachers may well turn to linguistics.

    3. Lg teachers should draw on linguists’ achievements.

11 2 linguistics and language learning

11.2 Linguistics and Language Learning

  • Linguistics has always played an important role in the studies of languages acquisition and learning.

  • Many lg learning theories are proposed based on certain linguistic theories.

  • Knowledge in linguistics lies at the root of understanding what lg learners can learn, how they actually learn and what they learn ultimately.

11 2 1 grammar and lg learning

11.2.1 Grammar and lg learning

  • Should we or how can we include grammar in second lg instruction?

  • Focus on forms vs. focus on meanings: two extremes.

  • Focus on form: a balanced view on the role of grammar.

  • Although lg learning should generally be meaning-focused and communication-oriented, it is still necessary and beneficial to focus on form occasionally.

Problems in the practice of focus on form

Problems in the practice of focus on form

  • What elements of lg are most amenable to focus on form?

  • Amenability: the possibility that a particular lg item can be changed with learning.

  • Two variables: 1.“Universal Grammar”

  • If a L2 structure is part of UG, the amenability is high, otherwise, it is low. In focus on form, different measures are taken depending on whether the amenability is high or low.

  • But the problem is, no one knows for sure what exactly is part of UG. It is here we need knowledge of linguistics.

  • Knowledge of linguistic universals may help shape L2 acquisition in a number of ways.

Xi linguistics and foreign languages teaching

  • 2. Complexity of lg structure

  • It can be assumed that less complex structures have higher amenability, but complexity is hard to define.

  • Formally simple structures can be functionally complex, and formally complex structures are not necessarily functionally complex. Thus we need to resort to linguistics for an explanation.

  • John is easy to please.

  • The book that I saw in the bookstore is very interesting for me.

Xi linguistics and foreign languages teaching

  • Grammar has its due value in lg learning. The problem is that we do not know enough about grammar or we even do not agree on what grammar is.

  • One possible reason why grammar-based lg learning and teaching fails is that no reliable model of grammar is available.

  • Despite the various theories, there is still no precise information obtained concerning how grammar can be learned.

  • Therefore, the problem is not that SLA researchers and teachers have been unable to make an informed choice among the grammar models but there is no satisfactory models.

11 2 2 input and lg learning

11.2.2 Input and lg learning

  • Lg learning can take place when the learner has enough access to input in the target lg.

    --Spoken and written form

  • What kind of input should be provided?

    --Meaning-focused lg instruction: authentic input: materials at all levels, rich in features

    --Strong views: any input must be comprehensible if it is to be effective.

  • Krashen’s INPUT HYPOTHESIS(输入理论)

Krashen s input hypothesis

Krashen’s INPUT HYPOTHESIS(输入理论)

  • Learners acquire lg as a result of comprehending input addressed to him or her.

  • “i+1”principle: the lg that learners are exposed to should be just far enough beyond their current competence so that they can understand most of it, but still be challenged to make progress. Input should neither be so far beyond their reach that they are overwhelmed, nor so close to their current stage that they are not challenged at all.

Xi linguistics and foreign languages teaching

  • Study of optimal input

  • Premodified input, materials that is finely tuned n advance to the learner’s current level

  • Interactively modified input: material that is modified when the teacher and the learners interact. –likely to do a better job.

  • The value of input is evident, but there are still problems, for example: the lack of linguistic analysis of different types of input.

  • Questions need to be asked:

    1. How is authentic input different from non-authentic input?

    2. “i +1”: how to evaluate the input?

    3. How should we modify the input?

11 2 3 interlanguage in lg learning

11.2.3 Interlanguage in lg learning

  • Output is also important in promoting lg acquisition.Correct production requires learners to construct lg for their message. When learners construct lg for expression, they are not merely reproducing what they have learned. Rather they are processing and constructing things.

  • Constructivism: lg is socially constructed. Learners learn lg by cooperating, negotiating and performing all kinds of tasks. In other words, they construct lg in certain social and cultural contexts.

Xi linguistics and foreign languages teaching

  • Interlanguage: the type of lg constructed by second or foreign lg learners who are still in the process of learning a lg. It is often understood as a lg system between the target lg and the learner’s native lg. It is imperfect compared to the target lg, but it is not merely translation from the native lg.

  • However, interlanguage is a dynamic lg system, which is constantly moving from the departure level to the native-like level.

Xi linguistics and foreign languages teaching

  • Two ways to study the interlangauge

    1. Psychological, biological and neurological mechanisms involved in the production of interlanguage.

    2. The linguistic features of interlanguage

  • Questions to be asked

    1. How is interlanguage different from the target or native lg?

    2. In what way is lower level interlangauge different from higher level interlanguage?

    3. How is interlanguage system used to convey meanings?

11 3 linguistic and language teaching

11.3 Linguistic and language teaching

  • All aspects of lg teaching can have implications from linguistics.

  • At the macro-level: linguistic theories influence our general orientation in approaches to lg teaching.

  • At the micro-level: linguistic knowledge helps teachers to better explain the specific lg items they teach.

11 3 1 discourse based view of lg teaching

11.3.1 Discourse-based view of lg teaching

  • Essential point: linguistic patterns exist across stretches of text, not as a form of isolated words, beyond words, clauses and sentences

  • Focus on complete spoken and written texts, and on the social and cultural contexts in which such lg operates.

  • Aim: developing discourse competence., similar to communicative competence

Communicative competence

Communicative Competence

  • communicative competence: what a learner knows about how a lg is used in particular situations for effective and appropriate communication.

  • It includes knowledge of grammar and vocabulary, rules of speaking, how to use and respond to different types of speech acts and social conventions, and how to use lg appropriately.

  • It is believed that lg learning will successfully take place when lg learners know how and when to use lg in various settings and when they have successfully cognized various forms of competence such as grammatical and pragmatic competence.



  • Communicative language teaching (交际教学法)

  • Task-based language teaching(任务型语言教学)

  • Two Tasks:

    --real world tasks: what we do in daily life

    --pedagogical tasks:composed of activities that students do in the classroom but that may not take place in real life.

    Students focus on meaning rather than on form. The purpose is help students to learn or review certain language knowledge or skills.



  • 1. Overemphasize the role of external factors in the process of lg acquisition and gives little importance to internal learning process.

  • 2. Similar to behavioristic view of lg acquisition that environmental factors and input are at the very center in attempting to explicate the acquisition process.

  • 3. Overstresses the role of knowledge of competence and functions in acquiring a lg, and hence fails to notice universal principles that guide lg acquisition.

11 3 2 the universal grammar and language teaching

11.3.2 The Universal Grammar and Language Teaching

  • Tries top explain the relatively quick acquisition of L1 on the basis of minimum exposure to external input.

  • Chomsky: a native speaker possesses a kind of linguistic competence. Child: linguistic universals

  • Learning process: In the acquisition of L1, the child compares his innate lg system with that of his native lg and modifies his grammar. Thus, lg learning is not a matter of habit formation, but an activity of building and testing hypothesis.

Xi linguistics and foreign languages teaching

  • Chomskyan view: the input is poor and deficient in two ways.

    1. Input is degenerate as a performance

    2.the input is devoid of grammar correction.

  • TG grammar is for L1 acquisition, it is also utilized in L2 acquisition

  • Criticism to TG grammar:

    1. Focus on how lg works, thus acquisition, however, acquisition is treated as secondary.

    2. Concerned only with the core grammar of English syntax, linguistic universals, neglecting the peripheral grammar.

    3. Discarded the communication part in TG

    4. Describing and explaining competence, thus empirical research not possible.

11 4 linguistics and syllabus design

11.4 Linguistics and syllabus design

  • Syllabus design is essential in that it serves as a bridge between linguistic theory and the practice of teaching.

  • It translates theoretical understanding into the operable step of lg learning and teaching process.

11 4 1 syllabus and curriculum

11.4.1 Syllabus and curriculum

  • Syllabus is a specification of what takes place in the classroom, which usually contains the aims and contents of teaching and sometimes contains suggestions of methodology.

  • A curriculum, provides (1) general statements about the rationale about lg, lg learning and lg teaching, (2) detailed specification of aims, objectives and target learning purpose, (3) implementation of a program.

  • Curriculum is broader, more general and syllabus is narrower and more specific.

  • Syllabus also refers to lg teaching approach while curriculum refers to lg program.

11 4 2 theoretical view behind syllabus design

11.4.2 Theoretical view behind syllabus design

  • The process of syllabus design: selecting and grading what to teach

  • Selecting: (1) a particular dialect or register (2) within the register according to certain criteria

    --Generally depending on the designer’s understanding of lg. (structural, functional)

  • Grading: to put the selected into certain order, two subdivisions:

  • Staging: to arrange the items into blocks of the right size for different time intervals

  • Sequencing: deciding the order of being taught

11 4 3 types of syllabus

11.4.3 Types of syllabus

  • The structural syllabus

  • A grammar oriented syllabus based on a selection of lg items and structures

  • Assumption: lg is a system with grammatical rules, learning a lg is learning these rules and applying them to lg use

  • Organization: grammatical rules and vocabulary ordered to certain factors such as frequency, complexity, and usefulness

  • Process: one item introduced at one time, move on after mastery.

  • Drawback: grammatical form and individual meaning, communicatively incompetent

The situational syllabus

The situational syllabus

  • Assumption: lg is used for communication.

  • Aim: specifying the situations in which the target lg is used.

  • Organization: based on situations

  • process: grammatical form and sentence patterns are introduced and practised, knitted in dialogues such as in the restaurant

  • Advantage: learner’s participation, meet learners’ needs.

  • Drawbacks: still grammatical essentially;not truly authentic situations; arrangement not systematic

The communicative syllabus

The communicative syllabus

  • Lg: express and understand different kinds of functions

  • Emphasizes the process of communication.

  • Yalden (1983) 10 components:

  • 1. Purpose 2. Setting

  • 3. Role 4. Communicative events

  • 5. Language functions in the events

  • 6. The notion involved

  • 7. Skills 8. Variety or varieties of the target lg

  • 9. Grammatical content

  • 10. Lexical content

Task based syllabus

Task-based syllabus

  • Concerned with classroom processes which simulates learning. It consists of a list of specification of the tasks and activities that the learners will engage in class in the target lg.

  • Two tasks: real-world, and pedagogical task

  • A task is an activity which requires learners to use lg, with emphasis on meaning, to attain an objective. Or, an activity in which students use the target lg to do sth, usu. With a non-linguistic purpose.

Principles to follow

Principles to follow

1. A task should have a clear purpose

2. Should have some degree of resemblance to real world events

3. Should involve information seeking, processing and conveying

4. Should involve the students in some models of doing things

5. should involve the meaning-focused use of lg.

6. Should end with a tangible products

11 4 4 components of syllabus

11.4.4 Components of syllabus

  • Aims /goals

  • Objectives/target/requirement

  • Non-language outcomes

  • Learning strategies, thinking skills, interpersonal skills

  • Implementation

  • Assessment/evaluation

11 4 5 current trend in syllabus design

11.4.5 Current trend in syllabus design

  • 1. The co-existence of the old and the new

  • 2. The emphasis on the learning process

  • 3. The inclusion of non-linguistic objectives in syllabus

  • 4. The emergence of the multi-syllabus

11 5 contrastive analysis and error analysis

11.5 Contrastive analysis and error analysis

  • The native lg plays important roles in the course of second lg acquisition

  • Language transfer: the psychological process whereby prior learning is carried over into a new learning situation; or the influence resulting from similarities and differences between the target lg and any other lg that has been previously acquired.

  • It studies the roles that native lg plays.

11 5 1 contrastive analysis

11.5.1 Contrastive analysis

  • It is a way of comparing lgs in order to determine potential errors for the ultimate purpose of isolating what need to be learned and what does not need to be learned in a L2 learning situation.

  • The goal is to predict what areas will be easy to learn and what will be difficult.

Assumptions of contrastive analysis

Assumptions of Contrastive Analysis

  • 1. Lg is a habit, learning involves establishment of new habits

  • 2. L1 interferes with L2 learning. Native lg:source of errors. The greater the difference, the more errors.

  • 3. Errors can be accounted for by considering the differences between L1 and L2.

  • 4. Transfer from L1 to L2 occur. Important part of learning: learn the difference

  • 5. Need to analyse the difference and similarities between L1 and L2

  • 6. Teacher should focus on negative transfer.

11 5 2 error analysis

11.5.2 Error analysis

  • Error: a result of lack of knowledge, grammatically incorrect form He putted the book there.

  • Mistakes: a failure in the performance of the competence, grammatically correct but improper in communication. 吃汤,喝馒头

  • Interlingual errors occur when the learner misuses an item because it shares features with an item in the native lg.

  • Intralingual errors are those within the target lg itself, overgeneralization

  • Overgeneralization, which occur when the learner applies a rule in a situation where the rule does not apply.

  • Types of errors: omission, addition, double marking, misformation and misordering. (p. 289)

The procedure of error analysis

The procedure of error analysis

  • Recognition: grammatically incorrect—an error

    --Grammatically correct—appropriate in context---no---mistakes

  • Description: correct sentence– native lg

  • Explanation: hypothesis about psychological process

  • Problems with error analysis: inadequate to study howL2 is learned, both errors and non-errors; difficult to determine what an error is; overstress production data and fails to account for error avoidance.

11 6 corpus linguistics and lg teaching

11.6 Corpus linguistics and lg teaching

  • Types of corpus:

    1. General corpus

    2. Specialized corpus

    3. Sample corpus

    4. Monitor corpus

  • The uses of corpora

    1. Frequency information

    2. Context and co-text information

    3. Grammatical information

    4. Collocation and praseology information

    5. Pragmatic information



  • Relation between linguistics and Language Teaching

  • Linguistics and Language Learning

  • Grammar and lg learning

  • Krashen’s INPUT HYPOTHESIS(输入理论)

  • Interlanguage

  • Discourse-based view of lg teaching

  • Communicative Competence

  • Types of syllabus

  • Contrastive analysis and error analysis

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