Psychology and SLA: Looking at Interlanguage processes

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Psychology. Psychology has undoubtedly influenced what we think about SLA.Rather than look at linguistic products, we can look at psycholinguistic processing.There are several psycholinguistic approaches to SLA:Competition ModelMonitor Modelmodes of knowledge representationConnectionism. Compe

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Psychology and SLA: Looking at Interlanguage processes

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1. Psychology and SLA: Looking at Interlanguage processes Gass & Selinker Chapter 8 DB hosts for this chapter: Becky, Josh, Natalie, Ali

2. Psychology Psychology has undoubtedly influenced what we think about SLA. Rather than look at linguistic products, we can look at psycholinguistic processing. There are several psycholinguistic approaches to SLA: Competition Model Monitor Model modes of knowledge representation Connectionism

3. Competition Model

4. Competition model Bates & MacWhinney 1982 To account for the ways monolingual speakers interpret sentences Concerned with how language is used Assumes that form and function are inseparable The forms of natural languages are created, governed, constrained, acquired and used in the service of communicative functions. Speakers use language-specific cues to determine relationships among elements of a sentence English speakers, for example, use word order, knowledge of lexical items/meanings, animacy criteria, morphology. Other languages rely on other cues and/or in a different order of importance.English speakers, for example, use word order, knowledge of lexical items/meanings, animacy criteria, morphology. Other languages rely on other cues and/or in a different order of importance.

5. Competition model & SLA How does one adjust ones internal speech-processing mechanisms from those needed in the NL to those appropriate for the TL? Do learners use the same cues in the TL as the NL? Are cues weighted the same in the NL and the TL? English speakers, for example, use word order, knowledge of lexical items/meanings, animacy criteria, morphology. Other languages rely on other cues and/or in a different order of importance.English speakers, for example, use word order, knowledge of lexical items/meanings, animacy criteria, morphology. Other languages rely on other cues and/or in a different order of importance.

6. Competition model & SLA Learners may begin hypothesizing that sentence interpretation in the TL is consistent with the NL. Are universal tendencies involved? Research in this field attempts to determine what learners do when confronted with conflicts between TL and NL cues and cue strengths. Usually presents learners (whose L1 uses certain cues/strengths) with sentences in L2 (that uses different cues/strengths) and asks them to determine the subject, if theyre acceptable, etc.

7. Competition model & SLA Findings of such studies indicate that meaning-based comprehension strategies may take precedence over grammar-based strategies. There is also evidence that learners first look for correspondence in their NL and only when that fails do they adopt the strategy of using meaning to interpret sentences. This may happen even before the learner knows anything about whether there is or isnt correspondence.

8. Competition model & SLA However, within this research, individual variation plays a large role. The presentation of sentences (methodology) can also influence outcomes and needs to be controlled. As always, a correct answer doesnt always tell us what assumptions the learner has.

9. Monitor Model

10. Monitor Model Krashen, 1970s Consists of 5 hypothesis: Acquisition-Learning Hypothesis Natural Order Hypothesis Monitor Hypothesis Input Hypothesis Affective Filter Hypothesis

11. Acquisition-Learning Two independent methods of developing L2 knowledge: Acquisition: like how children develop their L1; subconscious; emphasis on communication; intuitions about acceptability but not metalinguistic knowledge Learning: conscious knowledge; knowing the rules, and being aware of them; Learners internalize and access knowledge differently depending on whether it was learned or acquired: Acquired system used to produce language, focus on meaning Learned system inspects the acquired system and checks for accuracy based on what it knows

12. Natural Order Claims that elements of a language (or language rules) are acquired in a predictable order. Order is invariable whether or not explicit instruction is involved. In other words, order is acquired and cannot be affected by learning.

13. Monitor Hypothesis Acquired knowledge generates utterances and learned knowledge monitors these utterances for correctness, and changes them if necessary. (At least) Three conditions must be met, though, for the Monitor to work: Time to think about the system Focus on form Knowledge of the rule Even when all these conditions are met, though, the Monitor isnt guaranteed.

14. Input Comprehensible input is the essential factor needed to move acquisition along. Comprehensible input is language that is heard/read that is slightly ahead of a learners current state of knowledge i + 1 Krashen assumed UG/Language Acquisition Device, but i + 1 input is what activates this structure. Speaking is a result of acquisition, not its cause. If sufficient i + 1 is understood, grammar is automatically provided so there is no need to teach specific things.

15. Affective Filter Affect includes factors such as motivation, attitude, self-confidence, anxiety. Krashen proposes viewing these as a Filter. If the filter is up, or high, input is prevented from passing through. If the filter is down, or low, input gets through and input is comprehensible. And thus reaches the LAD and acquisition takes place. The Filter is only present in SLA, not in child L1 acquisition.

16. Monitor Model: Critiques

17. Critiques Krashens model is important for many reasons. First unified theory of SLA. Attempts to explain many factors which others had not been able to. Spawned extensive research on and interest in the field of SLA. However, there are some problems with it, both in its conceptualization and its validity as borne out by empirical research. Each Hypothesis of the Model is treated in turn

18. Acquisition-Learning If evidence of acquired system is fluent, unconscious speech, it is counterintuitive to hypothesize that nothing learned formally can be used in this way. We would have to suppose to different housing areas for linguistic knowledge, a highly inefficient idea. We would have to assume that learners who were taught L2 through the L1 would never be able to produce language (speaking is done through acquired knowledge) Impossible to falsify we have no evidence that acquisition and learning are two separate systems.

19. Natural Order Weve already seen the problems with the morpheme order studies that are the basis for this hypothesis. Circular logic: We need the Monitor Hypothesis to explain problems with the Natural Order Hypothesis (differences with respect to morpheme acquisition), but we need the Learning-Acquisition distinction to justify the use of the Monitor etc.

20. Monitor The Monitor, as described, would be useful only in production, never in comprehension. But evidence and anecdotes tell us that learned knowledge can be used in decoding the TL. Further, how do learners in an L2 classroom ever comprehend anything, since they have only learned knowledge? Impossible to disprove

21. Input Hypothesis provides insufficient detail as to how to define levels of input or sufficient quantity of input. Krashen does not explain how extralinguistic information aids in actual acquisition. We can comprehend beyond our level, but does that really move us up to that level in terms of production?

22. Affective Filter We dont really know HOW the filter works. The filter is supposed to account for what parts of the language we attend to and in what order. But how can an affective filter be selective in terms of grammatical structures? How can the filter let most of the information regarding certain structures in but selectively keep out one morpheme or one tense, etc.?

23. Alternate modes of representation

24. Alternative modes OK, so Krashen may not have had all the answers. What are the answers? One way of looking at knowledge representation is from an input-processing perspective. This framework assumes that SL learning is like other types of cognitive learning. In this approach, we can look at linguistic knowledge as belonging to a continuum, ranging from implicit to explicit. Implicit unconscious, natural, native Explicit conscious, learned

25. The nature of knowledge Bialystok & Sharwood Smith (1985) distinguish between the representation of knowledge and the control we have over that knowledge. L1 and L2 speakers knowledge is different quantitatively and qualitatively (what they know, how much they know) Increased ability to analyze linguistic elements does not (necessarily) imply increased correctness of utterances Reanalysis of IL grammar doesnt (necessarily) mean the learner is getting closer to the TL or even increasing in complexity Increasing competence or increasing analysis does not necessarily imply an increase in conscious awareness of the structure

26. The nature of learning Ellis (1994) focuses also on implicit and explicit learning. Implicit learning often based on memory Memory based on hearing/reading particular instances of a structure Simple and salient features most targeted (although complex structures possible too) Green & Hecht (1992) found that explicit instruction is best suited to simple structures ????

27. The nature of learning What role does working memory play? What feeds into memory? Classroom explanations? Output from the explicit system? Memories of specific events? What do learners do with memory? Identify patterns in working memory Store patterns in long-term memory Statements of rules or patterns can be accessed for regulation of output This is unconscious, of course, but generally slow and burdensome

28. Automaticity & Restructuring McLaughlin (1990) Automaticity = control over ones linguistic knowledge; more frequent use implies easier access and use Restructuring = changes made to internalized representation as a result of new learning Underlying assumption is that humans have a limited capacity for processing we can only attend to, deal with and organize so much new information. The more we use the system, the more automatized it is, and the more automatic the system is, the more resources are available for new learning.

29. Automaticity Consistent and regular association between input I and output O i.e., an associative connection Crookes (1991) discussed the significance of planning and monitoring Where decisions are made as to what to say and how to say it Learner can practice, and with enough practice, automatize Bialystok (1978) also claimed that learners can convert implicit knowledge to explicit by practicing

30. Automaticity If information is not processed automatically, it is processed through controlled processing. Attentional control is necessary because associations have not been built up by repeated use. Results in slower reaction time. Learning thus involves moving information from working memory to long-term memory, building associations and freeing up attentional resources.

31. Restructuring Restructuring takes place when qualitative changes occur in mental representations of the L2 Restructuring happens because language is complex and hierarchical and not (necessarily) linearly represented Each new stage involves a new internal organization, rather than the simple addition of new information Restructuring doesnt necessarily happen all at once, but over time

32. Restructuring U-shaped behavior is often evidenced during restructuring

33. Connectionism

34. Connectionist approaches Learning is viewed as simple instance learning not implicit or explicit, no hypothesis formation, not restructuring Learning proceeds based on input only Resultant knowledge is a network of interconnected exemplars and patterns, not abstract rules

35. Connectionist approaches Parallel Distributed Processing (PDP) Basis of learning is a neural network Nodes are connected by pathways Pathways are strengthened or weakened with activation or use Learning occurs as associations are made More frequent associations result in stronger associations New associations formed between larger and larger units until complexes of networks are formed Associations depend on input Can age interfere in ability to create associations?

36. Conclusion Pscyhological approaches to language acquisition examine the mental processes involved in learning (second/foreign) languages How learners interpret language cues How learners mentally arrange knowledge What personality and environmental factors may influence language acquisition Etc. Chapter 9 extends this discussion to focus on social and contextual variables that affect the learning and production of second languages.

37. Discussion Question #5, page 219-20 Review the 5 hypotheses Krashen proposed in the Monitor Model and answer the questions regarding each. Data analysis Question #8, page 220-1

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