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Topic 6 – Contributions of linguistics to the teaching of foreign languages. The process of linguistic learning: Similarities and differences between the acquisition of the first school language and foreign language.

1-INTRODUCTION.

2-SHORT REVIEW OF THE CONTRIBUTION OF LINGUISTICS TO THE TEACHING OF FOREIGN LANGUAGES.

2.1.TRADITIONAL APPROACH

A) GRAMMAR-TRANSLATION.

B) DIRECT METHOD.

C) STRUCTURAL APPROACH.

D) FUNCTIONAL-NOTIONAL APPROACH.

3.THE PROCESS OF LANGUAGE ACQUISITION.

3.1.DEFINITION OF LANGUAGE ACQUISITION DEVICE.

3.2. STAGES IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF LANGUAGE ACQUISITION IN CHILDREN

A) EARLY STAGES

B) TELEGRAPH TO INFINITY

3.3. THEORIES ON THE ORDER OF ACQUISITION

3.4. THE CRITICAL PERIOD

3.5 MAIN THEORIES OF CHILD LANGUAGE ADQUISITION.

A) IMITATION

B) POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT

C) CREATIVE CONSTRUCTION

4-SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION THEORIES

4.1. IDENTITY HYPOTHESIS

4.2.CONSTRASTIVE HYPOTHESIS

4.3. THE MONITOR MODEL

A) THE ACQUISITION-LEARNING HYPOTHESIS

B) THE NATURAL ORDER HYPOTHESIS

C) THE MONITOR HYPOTHESIS

D) THE INPUT HYPOTHESIS

E) THE AFFECTIVE FILTER HYPOTHESIS

5-ASPECTS OF LANGUAGE ACQUISITION IN L1 AND L2

5.1. DIMENSIONS OF LANGUAGE ACQUISITION

A) PROPENSITY

B) LANGUAGE FACULTY

C) ACCESS

1-INTRODUCTION.

In this topic we are going to deal with three different parts.

In the first one , we are going to talk about the different contributions of the linguistic to the teaching process , named the traditional approach as Grammar. Translation , Direct method and Structural method. From the current method we are going to talk about the Functional -Notional Approach.

Following, the define of Language Acquisition Device , and the stages in the development of language acquisition in children , dividing the process into Early stages and Telegraph to infinity. To complete this part , we propose , the different theories on the order acquisition.

Finally, we will see the similitaries and differences in the acquisition of L1 and L2, where Krashen and Klein are the authors more relevant. Then we will see what the current trends posit about the second language acquisition.

2-SHORT REVIEW OF THE CONTRIBUTION OF LINGUISTICS TO THE TEACHING OF FOREIGN LANGUAGES.

2.1.TRADITIONAL APPROACH

The emphasis lies on the teaching process.

A) GRAMMAR-TRANSLATION.

Inherited from the teaching of Latin, it was based on linguistic analysis. Grammar structures and vocabulary were learned by heart and practised through translation.

B) DIRECT METHOD.

It became popular throughout the early years of the twentieth century and emphasized aural-oral skills and rejected the use of the student’s mother tongue. Of reading and writing.

C) STRUCTURAL APPROACH.

In the 40s, Skinner ideas began to be used as a way of explaining what happens when we teach and learn languages. Bloomfield and Fries started to apply the ideas of structural linguistics to language teaching.

According to this, language learning was viewed as habit formation, through repetition.

The contrast between the structures of the mother tongue and those of the target language were supposed to cause interference.

D) THE AUDIO-LINGUAL METHOD.

It emerged between about 1950 and 1965.It used long dialogues, usually centred on one or more carefully graded structures. There was a lot of repetition in order to get perfect pronunciation. There was either communication or interaction

E) FUNCTIONAL-NOTIONAL APPROACH.

It is the first method, which aims to use real language to communicate and interact with others in the target language.

It is based on the studies carried out by the Council of Europe in the 1960s and the 1970s.It states that language should be best classified in term of what people want to do with the language, that is the functions, and of what meanings people want to convey, that is to say, which notions, they want to express.

3.THE PROCESS OF LANGUAGE ACQUISITION.

Current research in foreign language instruction claims many resemblances in the process of both, first and second language acquisition. For this reason, we consider relevant here to carry out a study of the child’s acquisition of his first language, in order to be able to understand the process of second language acquisition.

3.1.DEFINITION OF LANGUAGE ACQUISITION DEVICE.

In 1967 Lenneberg already emphasized the biological prerequisites of language only homo sapiens was capable of learning language.

It is clear that the child is equipped from birth with the necessary neutral conditions for language and language use. This is what Chomsky called the language acquisition device, which has three characteristic according to him:

-It distinguishes man from primates

-It is specific for language learning as opposed to other forms of behaviour or knowledge.

-Many structural properties of grammar are innate.

Also, according to Chomsky, the language acquisition device enables the child to acquire linguistic competence; that is to say, he is born with the ability to acquire the complex rules of his language.

But, in addition to acquiring linguistic competence, the child must also learn to use the complex social rules in the appropriate moment, for example, the greetings which are to be used, the taboo words, the polite forms of address, the various styles which are appropriate to different situations and so on. This what we call communicative competence.

3.2. STAGES IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF LANGUAGE ACQUISITION IN CHILDREN

Psycholinguists divide the child’s acquisition of a language into prelinguistic and linguistic stages.

A) EARLY STAGES.

The babbling can be considered the L1 uttered by the child. It usually happens around the six month. Auditory input is necessary for the child to develop in language.

The holophrastic stage happens sometime after one year. Then, children begin to use the same word to mean the same thing.

The two words stage happens around the time of their second birthday. Children begin to produce two words utterances, without any syntactic or morphological markers: ‘dirty sock’.

B) TELEGRAPH TO INFINITY.

Children start stringing two, three or more words together. These utterances are not strung at random. From a very early stage, children’s utterances reveal their grasp of the principles of sentence formation. However, the small function words are missing.

Only the content words occur. This is why children sound as if the were reading telegrams.

3.3. THEORIES ON THE ORDER OF ACQUISITION

There seems to be a natural order of L1 acquisition, language is acquired in a rather fixed order. So, when children more closely approximate the adult grammar, they not only begin to use function words but they also acquire the inflectional and derivational morphemes of the language. For example, the suffix -ing and the plural are acquired relatively early. The third person singular –s on verbs in the present tense or the possessive’s marker, on the contrary, are acquired late.

3.4. THE CRITICAL PERIOD

This theory is related to the controversy on the issue of the neurology of language acquisition.

Lenneberg has posited that between the age of two and puberty, the human brain shows a plasticity which allows a child to acquire his L1: this would be the critical period, that is, the ideal moment for acquiring second languages as well as the first.

At the end of the critical period cerebral dominance would be completed.

This is to say; it is thought that language acquisition is related to the development of the cerebral dominance, which means that each side of the brain performs different functions, in the adult.

Bogen has even speculated that the two sides of the brain utilize two different cognitive modes: one analytic and digital the other, synthetic and analogic.

The left hemisphere is responsible for most linguistic performance in adults, not so in children until the end of the development of cerebral dominance.

Lenneberg hypothesized that the end of cerebral dominance happens in puberty and it concludes with the close of the critical period for language acquisition, and that foreign accents are not overcome easily after puberty.

3.5 MAIN THEORIES OF CHILD LANGUAGE ADQUISITION.

A) IMITATION

Some psycholinguistic who follow behaviourist psychologist think that children learn that children learn their first language by mere imitation.

Although imitation is involved, the sentences produced by children show they are not imitating adult speech.

B) POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT

This is also a behaviourist theory and it posits that children learn to produce correct sentences because they are positively reinforced when they say something right.

However, corrections made by mothers and caretakers are base more on the contents of the message than on its form. Besides, empirical research shows that all attempts to correct a child’s language are doomed to failure until a time comes when he has internalised the rules.

C) CREATIVE CONSTRUCTION.

This theory follows Chomsky´s mentalist views and posits that different rules govern the construction of the sentences during the different moments of the period in which the grammar is learnt.

Because the imperfect sentences children use are perfectly regular, they reflect their grammar at certain stage of development. The child seems to form the simplest and most general rule he can from the input he receives and then he uses the rules whenever he can.

4-SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION THEORIES

4.1. IDENTITY HYPOTHESIS

Klein asserts that first and second language acquisition is basically one and the same process, governed by the same laws. But there are both similarities and differences:

-The first language is an intrinsic component of the child’s overall cognitive and social development.

-L1 is usually acquired with perfect pronunciation.

-There are substantial variations with respect to the acquisition order of structures in L1 and L2.

4.2.CONSTRASTIVE HYPOTHESIS

It was first posited by Lado and gave rise to contrastive analysis. It asserts that the acquisition of a L2 is largely determined by the structure of L1.

L1 can have a positive influence, when the structures of both languages are similar. This is called positive transfer and facilitates the easy assimilation of the structures of the target language.

On the other hand, contrasting structures cause interference or negative transfer and hamper the acquisition.

However current research claims that, although the learner’s knowledge of his first language influences how he approaches the second, this does no necessarily conditions the actual production and comprehension.

4.3. THE MONITOR MODEL

Posited by Krashen, it comprises five hypothesis. It highlights the importance of communication in L2 instruction.

A) THE ACQUISITION-LEARNING HYPOTHESIS

Acquisition occurs subconsciously, as a result of participating in natural communication, where the focus is on meaning.

Learning occurs as a result of conscious study of the formal properties of the language.

Acquired knowledge is stored in the left hemisphere of the brain, in the languages areas, and so it is available for automatic processing.

Learnt knowledge is metalinguistic in nature, so it is stored in the left hemisphere but not in the language areas and it is only available for controlled processing.

In performance, acquired knowledge serves as the major source for initiating the comprehension and production of utterances. Learnt knowledge is available only for use by the Monitor.

B) THE NATURAL ORDER HYPOTHESIS

It affirms that learners may follow a more or less invariable order in the acquisition of formal grammatical features.

-We do not know the order of acquisition of every structure in every language.

-The existence of a natural order of L1 acquisition does not imply we should teach second languages along the same order.

C) THE MONITOR HYPOTHESIS

It speaks about the manner in which language acquisition can be influenced by conscious awareness.

The Monitor is the device learners use to edit or revise their language performance. It utilizes learnt knowledge to modify utterances generated from acquired knowledge. So it is based on the previous distinction between subconscious acquisition and conscious learning. According to Krashen, learning is always effected through a Monitor, which can be effect in communication only if:

-There is enough time

-If the speaker is concerned with the correctness of his production

-If he knows the correct rule.

The Monitor, while fostering accuracy, is likely to hamper fluency.

D) THE INPUT HYPOTHESIS

In order to acquire language, the learners needs input. Acquisition takes place as a result of the learner having understood input that is a little beyond the current level of his competence (I + 1)

In order to make the input more accessible, it is convenient to provide the suitable context and as much extra-linguistic information as possible. Devices such as simplified speech, visual clues, key words, gestures or familiar topics can be used for this purpose

Input should be interesting and comprehensible for students. Themes should be chosen according to the student’s needs and interest.

Early speech is typically not accurate. Direct error correction should be avoided as useless, as self-correction will arrive in due time.

Speaking fluency emerges on its own time. We cannot teach it directly.

E) THE AFFECTIVE FILTER HYPOTHESIS

Dulay and Burt first proposed this notion. The factor which constitute the affective Filter are anxiety, motivation and self-confident, which are affective variants and have an effect on L2 acquisition.

If the Affective Filter is raised it produces a mental block which prevents input to enter. If it is lowered, lots of input are obtained and let in.

5-ASPECTS OF LANGUAGE ACQUISITION IN L1 AND L2

Current research is trying to find out the differences and similarities existing between the acquisition of the mother tongue and the learning of L2.That are why term acquisition is being increasingly used in the literature related to this topic

Klein, think that second language acquisition is a process of enormous complexity, in which a variety of factors are at work and which cannot fully described or explained as yet.

However, as Klein points out, there are some important considerations to be kept in mind with regard to a later comparison of L1 and L2 acquisition:

-L1 acquisition occurs when the learner has been without a language.

-L1 acquisition is intimately bound up with the Childs cognitive and social development.

5.1. DIMENSIONS OF LANGUAGE ACQUISITION

Klein consider that has three components:

A) PROPENSITY

It is the inner force or need that urges , the learner to learn the language. It is necessary for the acquisition to take place. It is different from motivation , which are external.

The factors that constitute this propensity are:

-Social integration, little significant in L2 learning at intuitional levels.

-The communicative needs , which vary very much according to different learners and influence the vocabulary acquired.

-Attitude which is considered to be an important factor to favour second language acquisition.

-Educational which may be effective in foreign language instruction in schools if combined with other propensity factors , such a social advancement , represented by good marks and passed exams , avoidance of punishment.

B) LANGUAGE FACULTY

Human beings are endowed with a natural capacity for processing language, both as speaker and listener , the language capacity.

Klein posits that this faculty , which enables human beings to acquire their first language , can be also used to acquired a L2

C) ACCESS

It is the possibility of obtaining input, without which the language processor can not operate because it is its raw material.

The problem of access has two aspects:

-The amount of input available.

-The range of opportunities to use the input for communication



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