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CLL lecture: The role of input in SLA. November 2004 Florencia Franceschina. Types of evidence. Positive evidence Do you like pasta?. Types of evidence. Negative evidence Direct Explicit(correction, instruction) ‘ Like you pasta? ’ is wrong.

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cll lecture the role of input in sla

CLL lecture: The role of input in SLA

November 2004

Florencia Franceschina

types of evidence
Types of evidence

Positive evidenceDo you like pasta?

types of evidence3
Types of evidence

Negative evidence

  • Direct
    • Explicit(correction, instruction)‘Like you pasta?’ is wrong.
    • Implicit (recasts)A: Do he likes pasta?B: Does he like pasta? I think so.
  • IndirectAbsence of x
type amount of input
Type / amount of input
  • Delayed input
  • Bilingual/multilingual input
  • Modified input (motherese, foreign talk, etc.)
  • Classroom/naturalistic input
how do learners make use of the l2 input
How do learners make use of the L2 input?

For learners to be able to make use of the L2 input in learning they need to be able to parse it first. That is, they have to be able to assign a structure to the strings of speech they hear.

This happens at many levels:- phonological- syntactic- semanticetc.

failure driven learning
Failure-driven learning

The assumption is that learners parse the (L2) input on the basis of their existing grammar. If this grammar is insufficient/inadequate for parsing some input, this motivates restructuring of the grammar in an attempt to accommodate to the available input. This process is what drives development according to researchers such as:

  • Berwick and Weinberg (1984)
  • Carroll (2001)
  • Gibson and Wexler (1994)
  • Schwartz and Sprouse (1994, 1996)
  • White (1987)
theories of the role of input in sla
Theories of the role of input in SLA
  • Input Hypothesis (Krashen, 1982, 1985)
  • ‘Less is more’ (Newport, 1990)
  • Processability Theory (Pienemann, 1998)
  • Input Processing (Van Patten and Cadierno, 1993)
  • Autonomous Induction Theory (Carroll, 2001)
morpheme studies
Morpheme studies
  • Brown (1973)
  • deVilliers and deVilliers (1973)
  • Burt and Dulay (1973)
  • Bailey, Madden and Krashen (1974)
  • Staubler (1984)



Poverty of the stimulus

Plato’s problem

Underdetermination of knowledge by the input

(Orwell’s problem)

the l1 grammar as a filter
The L1 grammar as a filter

Brown (2000):

  • L1 Chinese, L1 Japanese / L2 English
  • can they learn to perceive the difference between /p/ vs /f/, /f/ vs /v/ and /l/ vs /r/?
  • findings: the features of the L1 determine what is achievable; no signs of development in problematic areas
the role of negative evidence
The role of negative evidence

1. Short-lived effects of instructionTrahey (1996), Trahey and White (1993), White (1990/1991), and White, Spada, Lightbown and Ranta (1991):- L1 French / L2 English- Can L1 French speakers learn that the following is ungrammatical? *Cats catch often mice.- different types of input: direct instruction, indirect instruction and input flood- findings: direct instruction was the most effective in the short term, but none of the three methods had any long-term effects (after 1-year)

2. L2 learners can override instructionBruhn-Garavito (1995):- L1 French, L1 English / L2 Spanish- study of the acquisition of pronoun reference in subjunctive clauses in L2 Spanish- teachers and textbooks usually teach learners about a rule about pronoun co-reference that applies to subjunctive clauses across the board- however, NSs do make a difference between different types of clauses- findings: L2 learners appear to behave like NSs, despite misleading instruction
Subjunctive rule (as taught to L2 learners):

The subject of an embedded subjunctive clause must have disjoint reference from the subject of the matrix clause:

[I] want [me/he/she] to go to the party.

However, there are some subjunctive clauses (namely those containing modal verbs or adjuncts) where this doesn’t hold:

[I] hope that [I/he/she] will be able to speak to John today.

[I] will call you when [I/he/she] arrive(s).

input vs intake
Input vs intake

Corder (1967)

Krashen (1982, 1985)

and many others

focus on form
Focus on form

A definition:

“treatment of form in the context of performing a communicative task”

(Ellis et al. 2002: 419)

form forms and meaning long 1991
Form, forms and meaning(Long, 1991)
  • Focus on forms = structuralist approach
  • Focus on meaning = non-interventionist approach
  • Focus on form = communicative approach with occasional shift of attention to form
the role of output
The role of output

Swain’s (1985, 1993, 1995) Output Hypothesis proposes that output can be used to:

  • test hypotheses about structures and meaning
  • get feedback for the verification of these hypotheses
  • develop automaticity
  • shift from meaning- to form-focused mode
interaction hypothesis long 1996
Interaction Hypothesis(Long, 1996)

“negotiation for meaning, and especially negotiation work that triggers interactional adjustments by the NS or more competent interlocutor, facilitates acquisition because it connects the input, internal learner capacities, particularly selective attention, and output in productive ways” (pp. 451-452)

  • Doughty, C. 2001: Cognitive underpinnings of focus on form. In Robinson, P. (ed.): Cognition and second language instruction. Cambridge: CUP. Pp. 206-257.
  • White, L. 2003: Second language acquisition and Universal Grammar. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (Chapter 5)