Second Language Acquisition. Prepared By: Dr. Emma Alicia Garza Assistant Professor Texas A&M University-Kingsville. What is Second Language Acquisition?. In second language learning, language plays an institutional and social role in the community. It
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Dr. Emma Alicia Garza
Texas A&M University-Kingsville
institutional and social role in the community. It
functions as a recognized means of communication
among members who speak some other language as their
role in the community and is primarily learned in the
is what is learned and how it is learned.
It is the study of:
cope with communication difficulties.
Learner strategies are defined as deliberate behaviors or
actions that learners use to make language learning more
successful, self-directed and enjoyable.
Chesterfield & Chesterfield (1985) identified a natural order of
strategies in the development of a second language.
1) repetition (imitating a word or structure);
2) memorization (recalling songs, rhymes or sequences by rote);
3) formulaic expressions (words or phrases that function as units i.e. greetings);
4) verbal attention getters (language that initiates interaction);
5) answering in unison (responding with others);
6) talking to self (engaging in internal monologue);
7) elaboration (information beyond what is necessary);
8) anticipatory answers (completing another’s phrase or statement);
9) monitoring (self-correcting errors);
10) appeal for assistance (asking someone for help);
11) request for clarification (asking the speaker to explain or repeat); and
12) role-playing (interacting with another by taking on roles).
Universalist Theory defines linguistic universals from
Behaviorist Theory dominated both psychology and linguistics in the 1950’s. This theory suggests that external stimuli (extrinsic) can elicit an internal response which in turn can elicit an internal stimuli (intrinsic) that lead to external responses.
Nativist Theory views language acquisition as innately determined. Theorists believe that human beings are born with a built-in device of some kind that predisposes them to acquire language.
Cognitivist Theory views human beings as having the innate capacity to develop logical thinking. This school of thought was influenced by Jean Piaget’s work where he suggests that logical thinking is the underlying factor for both linguistic and non-linguistic development.
Language Learning as a Cognitive Process
Social Interactionist Theory supports the view that the
development of language comes from the early interactions
between infants and caregivers.
Social interactionists stress:
Glew (1998) claims that learners have to be pushed in their negotiation of
meaning to produce comprehensible output. The classroom context needs to
provide adequate opportunities for target language use to allow learners to
develop competence in the target language.
2Krashen’s Five Hypotheses for Second Language Acquisition
The Acquisition-LearningHypothesis claims that we have two
independent ways of developing language ability:
The Natural OrderHypothesis claims that we acquire parts of a language
in a predictable order. Some grammatical items tend to come earlier in
the acquisition than others. For example, the –ing progressive is acquired
fairly early in first language acquisition, while third person singular –s is
3Krashen’s Five Hypotheses (Continued)
The Monitor Hypothesis attempts to explain how acquisition and learning are used. Language is normally produced using our acquired linguistic competence. Conscious learning has only one function…as the “Monitor” or “Editor.” After we produce some language using the acquired system, we sometimes inspect it and use our learned system to correct errors. This can happen internally before we actually speak or write, or as a self-correction after we produce the utterance or written text.
Comprehensible Input Hypothesis contends that more comprehensible input results in more acquisition.
The Affective Filter Hypothesis claims that affective variables do not impact language acquisition directly, but can prevent input from reaching what Chomsky called the Language Acquisition Device. The LAD is the part of the brain that is responsible for language acquisition.
Cummins makes a distinction between social language and
1. Social language refers to the everyday conversational language which is supported
by the use of illustrations, realia, demonstrations, etc. (Context Embedded). Studies
show that language learners acquire social language in approximately two years.
Social language deals with the here-and-now language, therefore second language
learners tend to acquire it faster.
2. Academic language is the language of school tasks which is more abstract and
decontextualized (Context Reduced).
Some second language learners who develop fluent spoken English have difficulties in
reading and writing because they may be at different levels of proficiency while they are
moving from social language (BICS) to academic language (CALP). It takes between five
to seven years for second language learners to acquire academic language.
Context-Embedded/Cognitively Undemanding tasks are supported by the use
of pictures, illustrations, demonstrations, connections with life experiences, etc.
Language learning is non-threatening and learners are able to depend on
environmental cues for assistance.
Some sample tasks include:
Context-Embedded/Cognitively Demanding tasks are those activities that
provide some environmental cues, but are more cognitively demanding.
Language learners are exposed to more complex tasks that include some
Examples of these tasks include:
Context-Reduced/Cognitively Undemanding tasks are those activities that are simple to carry out but do not contain any environmental cues to assist the language learner.
Some sample tasks include:
Context-Reduced/CognitivelyDemanding tasks are those that require more academically demanding language, are more abstract and are decontextualized.
Some examples of these tasks include:
1) grammatical competence
2) sociolinguistic competence
3) discourse competence
4) strategic competence
2) word formation
4) sentence formation
1) the status of the participants
2) the purpose of the interaction; and
3) the norms or conventions of the interaction.
1) to compensate for breakdowns in communication such as when the speaker forgets or does not know a term and is forced to paraphrase or gesture to get the idea across; and
2) to enhance the effectiveness of communication such as when a speaker raises or lowers the voice for effect.
TransferThe Role of the Native Language in Second Language Acquisition
TransferFramework for Explaining L1 Transfer
learning strategies, learners build mental grammars of the second
language norms, not to the norms of their own grammars.
grammars. Each share some rules with the previously constructed
grammar, but also contains some new or revised rules.
1) random errors (presystematic);
2) experimentation and inaccurate guessing;
3) emergent-growing in consistency in linguistic production;
4) backsliding-appears to have grasped but later regressed and unable to correct errors;
5) systematic stage-ability to correct errors on their own; rules may not be well-formed but display more internal self-consistency;
6) stabilization-few errors are made, have mastered the system to the point of fluency; and
7) intralingual-inconsistencies within the target language; Global errors-affect meaning;local errors-close similarities in word form (i.e. spelling).
Basilang Mesolang Acrolang
IdentificationIdentification of Learner Errors
role with the publication of an article by Pit Corder (1967) entitled
“The Significance of Learner Errors.” Errors are not just to be seen as
something to be eradicated, but rather can be important in and of
some system). This evidence can provide information on the state of a
learner’s knowledge of the L2. They are not to be viewed solely as a
product of imperfect learning.
are slips of the tongue. The speaker who makes a mistake is able to
recognize it as a mistake and correct it if necessary.
L1+ L2 Academic Development
L1+ L2Language Development
L1 + L2 Cognitive Development
The learner needs:
The teacher needs:
Dr. Frank Lucido
Institute for Second Language Achievement
Graphics and slide design by:
JoAnn McDonald and Sheryl Roehl