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Second Language Acquisition


Second Language Acquisition. Prepared By: Dr. Emma Alicia Garza. Assistant Professor ... by psychologists such as Watson (1924), Thorndike (1932), and Skinner ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Second Language Acquisition

Second Language Acquisition
  • Prepared By
  • Dr. Emma Alicia Garza
  • Assistant Professor
  • Texas AM University-Kingsville

What is Second Language Acquisition?
  • In second language learning, language plays an

  • institutional and social role in the
    community. It
  • functions as a recognized means of
  • among members who speak some other
    language as their
  • native tongue.
  • In foreign language learning, language plays no
  • role in the community and is primarily
    learned in the
  • classroom.
  • The distinction between second and foreign
    language learning
  • is what is learned and how it is learned.

What is the Study of Second Language Acquisition?
  • It is the study of
  • how second languages are learned
  • how learners create a new language system with
    limited exposure to a second language
  • why most second language learners do not achieve
    the same degree of proficiency in a second
    language as they do in their native language
  • why some learners appear to achieve native-like
    proficiency in more than one language.

How Do Learners Acquire a Second Language?
  • Learners acquire a second language by making use
    of existing knowledge of the native language,
    general learning strategies, or universal
    properties of language to internalize knowledge
    of the second language.
  • These processes serve as a means by which the
    learner constructs an interlanguage (a
    transitional system reflecting the learners
    current L2 knowledge).
  • Communication strategies are employed by the
    learner to make use of existing knowledge to
  • cope with communication difficulties.

The Language Learner
  • Individual differences affect L2 acquisition.
    These may include (1) the rate of development
    and (2) their ultimate level of achievement.
  • Learners differ with regard to variables relating
    to cognitive, affective and social aspects of a
    human being.
  • Fixed factors such as age and language learning
    aptitude are beyond external control. Variable
    factors such as motivation are influenced by
    external factors such as social setting and by
    the actual course of L2 development.
  • Cognitive style refers to the way people
    perceive, conceptualize, organize and recall
  • Field dependent learners operate holistically.
    They like to work with others. Field independent
    learners are analytic and prefer to work alone.

Learner Strategies
  • Learner strategies are defined as deliberate
    behaviors or
  • actions that learners use to make language
    learning more
  • successful, self-directed and enjoyable.
  • Cognitive strategies relate new concepts to prior
  • Metacognitive strategies are those which help
    with organizing a personal timetable to
    facilitate an effective study of the L2.
  • Social strategies include looking for
    opportunities to converse with native speakers.

Natural Order of Strategies of Second Language
  • Chesterfield Chesterfield (1985) identified a
    natural order of
  • strategies in the development of a second
  • 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
  • 6) talking to self (engaging in internal
  • 7) elaboration (information beyond what is
  • 8) anticipatory answers (completing anothers
    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).

Theories of Second Language Acquisition
  • Universalist Theory defines linguistic universals
  • two perspectives
  • The data-driven perspective which looks at
    surface features of a wide-range of languages to
    find out how languages vary and what principles
    underlie this variation. The data-driven approach
    considers system external factors or input as the
  • The theory-driven perspective which looks at
    in-depth analysis of the properties of language
    to determine highly abstract principles of
    grammar. System internal factors are those found
    in cognitive and linguistic processes.

Universalist Theory (Continued)
  • Several Characteristics of the data-driven
    approach include the following
  • It has language typology which delves into
    patterns which exist among languages and how they
    vary in human languages.
  • Language universals focus on what is common. For
    example, subject/verb/object.
  • Implicational universals which refer to the
    properties of language such as all languages
    have vowels without looking at any other
  • Several Characteristics of the theory-driven
    approach include the following
  • Language is acquired through innateness. Certain
    principles of the human mind are biologically
  • There are sets of principles and conditions where
    knowledge of language develops.
  • Universal grammar is seen as part of the brain.

Theories of Second Language Acquisition
  • Behaviorist Theory dominated both psychology and
    linguistics in the 1950s. 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.
  • The learning process has been described by S-R-R
    theorists as a process forming stimulus-response-r
    eward chains. These chains come about because of
    the nature of the environment and the nature of
    the learner.
  • The environment provides the stimuli and the
    learner provides the responses. Comprehension or
    production of certain aspects of language and the
    environment provide the reward.
  • The environment plays a major role in the
    exercise of the learners abilities since it
    provides the stimuli that can shape responses
    selectively rewarding some responses and not

Behaviorist Theory (Continued)
  • When the learner learns a language, this learning
    includes a set of stimulus-response-reward
    (S-R-R) chains.
  • Imitation provides the learner with a repertoire
    of appropriate, productive responses. The learner
    learns to imitate or approximate the productive
    responses provided by the environment.
  • The characteristics of human and non-human
    learners include the ability to
  • respond to stimuli in a certain way
  • intuitively evaluate the reward potential of
  • extract the important parameters that made up the
    stimulus response (positive reward chains) and
  • generalize these parameters to similar situations
    to form classes of
  • S-R-R chains.

Theories of Second Language Acquisition
  • 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.
  • This predisposition is a systematic perception of
    language around us, resulting in the construction
    of an internalized system of language.
  • Nativists are on the opposite end of the
    theoretical continuum and use more of a
    rationalist approach in explaining the mystery of
    language acquisition.
  • Chomsky (1965) claimed the existence of innate
    properties of language that explain a childs
    mastery of his/her native language in a short
    time despite the highly abstract nature of the
    rules of language.
  • This innate knowledge, according to Chomsky, is
    embodied in a little black box of sorts called
    a Language Acquisition Device (LAD).

Nativist Theory (Continued)
  • McNeill (1966) described the LAD as consisting of
    four innate linguistic properties
  • the ability to distinguish speech sounds from
    other sounds in the environment
  • the ability to organize linguistic events into
    various classes that can be refined later
  • knowledge that only a certain kind of linguistic
    system is possible and that other kinds are not
  • the ability to engage in constant evaluation of
    the developing linguistic system in order to
    construct the simplest possible system out of the
    linguistic data that are encountered.
  • Nativists have contributed to the discoveries of
    how the system of child language works. Theorists
    such as Chomsky, McNeill, and others helped us
    understand that a childs language, at any given
    point, is a legitimate system in its own right.

Theories of Second Language Acquisition
  • Cognitivist Theory views human beings as having
    the innate capacity to develop logical thinking.
    This school of thought was influenced by Jean
    Piagets work where he suggests that logical
    thinking is the underlying factor for both
    linguistic and non-linguistic development.
  • The process of association has been used to
    describe the means by which the child learns to
    relate what is said to particular objects or
    events in the environment. The bridge by which
    certain associations are made is meaning. The
    extent and accuracy of the associations made are
    said to change in time as the child matures.
  • Cognitivists say that the conditions for learning
    language are the same conditions that are
    necessary for any kind of learning. The
    environment provides the material that the child
    can work on.
  • Cognitivists view the role of feedback in the
    learning process as important for affective
    reasons, but non-influential in terms of
    modifying or altering the sequence of development.

Cognitivist Theory (Continued)
  • Language Learning as a Cognitive Process
  • Learning a language involves internal
    representations that regulate and guide
  • Automatic processing activates certain nodes in
    memory when appropriate input is present.
    Activation is a learned response.
  • Memory is a large collection of nodes.
  • Controlled processing is not a learned response.
    It is a temporary activation of nodes in a
  • Skills are learned and routinized only after the
    earlier use of controlled processes have been
  • Learner strategies contain both declarative
    knowledge i.e. knowing the what of the
    language-internalized rules and memorized chunks
    of language, and procedural knowledge i.e. know
    the how of the language system to employ

Theories of Second Language Acquisition
  • Social Interactionist Theory supports the view
    that the
  • development of language comes from the early
  • between infants and caregivers.
  • Social interactionists stress
  • the importance of a childs interactions with
    parents and other caregivers
  • the importance of motherese
  • contributions of context and world knowledge
  • the importance of goals
  • 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.

Social Interactionist Theory (Continued)
  • Comprehensible output provides opportunities for
    contextualized, meaningful use of language.
  • Social interactionists believe that
  • Human language emerged from the social role that
    language plays in human interaction
  • The environment plays a key role in language
  • Adults in the childs linguistic environment are
    viewed as instrumental in language acquisition.
  • Social interactions are the key element in
    language processing and input from social
    interactions provides a model for negotiation

Krashens Five Hypotheses for Second Language
  • The Acquisition-Learning Hypothesis
    claims that we have two
  • independent ways of developing
    language ability
  • Language Acquisition is a subconscious process.
    It occurs very naturally in a non-threatening
    environment. The research strongly supports the
    view that both children and adults can
    subconsciously acquire languages.
  • Language Learning is what occurs at school in an
    academic setting. It is a conscious process. When
    we talk about rules and grammar of language, we
    are usually talking about learning.
  • The Natural Order Hypothesis 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
  • acquired later.

Krashens 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 functionas 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
  • 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

Cummins Second Language Framework
  • Cummins makes a distinction between social
    language and
  • academic language.
  • 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 Sample
  • 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
  • developing survival vocabulary
  • following demonstrated directions
  • playing simple games
  • engaging in face-to-face interactions and
  • participating in art, music and physical
    education activities.

Context-Embedded Cognitively Demanding Sample
  • 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
  • context-embedded cues.
  • Examples of these tasks include
  • participating in hands-on science and mathematics
  • making maps, models, charts, and graphs
  • solving math computational problems
  • making brief oral presentations
  • understanding academic presentations through the
    use of visuals, demonstrations, active
    participation, realia, etc. and
  • writing academic reports with the aid of
    outlines, structures, etc.

Context-Reduced Cognitively Undemanding Sample
  • 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
  • engaging in telephone conversations
  • reading for personal purposes and
  • writing for personal purposes notes,
  • lists, sketches, etc.

Context-Reduced Cognitively Demanding Sample Tasks
  • Context-Reduced/Cognitively Demanding
    tasks are those that require more academically
    demanding language, are more abstract and are
  • Some examples of these tasks include
  • understanding academic presentations without
    visuals or demonstrations (lectures)
  • making formal oral presentations
  • solving math word problems without
  • writing compositions, essays, and research
    reports in content areas
  • reading for information in content areas and
  • taking standardized achievement tests.

Components of Communicative Competence
  • Canale and Swain (1983) identified four
    components of communicative competence
  • 1) grammatical competence
  • 2) sociolinguistic competence
  • 3) discourse competence
  • 4) strategic competence
  • Grammatical competence means understanding the
    skills and knowledge necessary to speak and write
    accurately. Grammatical competence includes
  • 1) vocabulary
  • 2) word formation
  • 3) meaning
  • 4) sentence formation
  • 5) pronunciation
  • 6) spelling
  • Sociolinguistic competence involves knowing how
    to produce and understand the language in
    different sociolinguistic contexts, taking into
    consideration such factors as
  • 1) the status of the participants
  • 2) the purpose of the interaction and
  • 3) the norms or conventions of the interaction.

Components of Communicative Competence (Continued)
  • Discourse competence involves the ability to
    combine and connect utterances (spoken) and
    sentences (written) into a meaningful whole.
    Discourse ranges from a simple spoken
    conversation to long written texts.
  • Strategic competence involves the manipulation of
    language in order to meet communicative goals. It
    involves both verbal and non-verbal behaviors.
    Speakers employ this competence for two main
  • 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.

Competence Vs. Performance
  • According to Chomsky (1965), competence consists
    of mental representations of linguistic rules
    that constitute the speaker-hearers internal
  • This internal grammar is implicit rather than
    explicit. It is evident in the intuitions, which
    the speaker-hearer has about the grammaticality
    of sentences.
  • Performance consists of the use of this grammar
    in the comprehension and production of the
  • Communicative competence is that aspect of the
    language users competence that enables them to
    convey and interpret messages and to negotiate
    meanings interpersonally within specific
  • Language is a form of communication that occurs
    in social interaction. It is used for a purpose
    such as persuading, commanding, and establishing
    social relationships. No longer is the focus on
    specific knowledge of grammatical form. Instead,
    the competent speaker is recognized as one who
    knows when, where, and how to use language

Language Learning
  • Behaviorists views of language learning and of
    language teaching were pre-dominant in the two
    decades following the second world war. These
    views drew on general theories of learning
    propounded by psychologists such as Watson
    (1924), Thorndike (1932), and Skinner (1957).
  • Dakin (1973) identifies three general principles
    of language learning derived from these
  • According to the law of exercise, language
    learning is promoted when the learner makes
    active and repeated responses to stimuli.
  • The law of effect emphasizes the importance of
    reinforcing the learners responses and
    correcting non-target-like ones.
  • The principle of shaping claims that learning
    will proceed most smoothly and rapidly if complex
    behaviors are broken down into their component
    parts and learned bit-by-bit.

Language Learning (Continued)
  • Underlying these principles was the assumption
    that language learning, like any other kind of
    learning, took the form of habit formation, a
    habit consisting of an automatic response
    elicited by a given stimulus.
  • Learning was seen to take place inductively
    through analogy rather than analysis.
  • According to behaviorist theories, the main
    impediment to learning was interference from
    prior knowledge.
  • Proactive inhibition occurred when old habits got
    in the way of attempts to learn new ones. In such
    cases, the old habits had to be unlearned so that
    they could be replaced by the new ones.
  • The notion of unlearning made little sense as
    learners did not need to forget their L1 in order
    to acquire an L2.
  • For this reason, behaviorist theories of L2
    learning emphasized the idea of difficulty.
    This is defined as the amount of effort required
    to learn an L2 pattern.
  • The degree of difficulty was believed to depend
    primarily in the extent to which the target
    language pattern was similar to or different from
    a native language pattern.

Input and Interaction
  • L2 acquisition can only take place when the
    learner has access to input in the second
    language. This input may come in written or
    spoken form.
  • Spoken input occurs in face-to-face interactions.
    Non-reciprocal discourse includes listening to
    the radio or watching a film.
  • Behaviorists claim that presenting learners with
    input in the right doses and then reinforcing
    their attempts to practice them can control the
    process of acquisition.
  • Chomsky pointed out that in many cases there was
    a very poor match between the kind of language
    found in the input that learners received and the
    kind of language they themselves produced.
  • Comprehensible input (Krashens, 1985 Input
    Hypothesis) proposed that learners acquire
    morphological features in a natural order as a
    result of comprehending input addressed to them.
    Long (1981a) argued that input which is made
    comprehensible by means of the conversational
    adjustments that occur when there is a
    comprehension problem is especially important for
  • Swain (1985) proposed the comprehensible output
    hypothesis which states that learners need
    opportunities for pushed output in speech or
    writing that makes demands on them for correct
    and appropriate use of the L2.

The Role of the Native Language in Second
Language Acquisition
  • The role of native language in second language
    acquisition has come to be known as language
  • It has been assumed that in a second language
    learning situation learners rely extensively on
    their native language.
  • According to Lado (1957) individuals tend to
    transfer forms and meanings, the distribution of
    the forms and meanings of their native language
    and culture to the foreign language and culture.
  • This transfer is productive when the learner
    attempts to speak the language.
  • This transfer is receptive when the learner
    attempts to grasp and understand the language and
    culture as practiced by native speakers.
  • Lados work and much of the work of that time
    (1950s) was based on the need to produce
    pedagogically relevant materials. A contrastive
    analysis of the native language and the target
    language was conducted in order to determine
    similarities and differences in the languages.

Framework for Explaining L1 Transfer
  • The L1 system is used for both comprehension
    and production.
  • The interlanguage system is also used in
    comprehending and
  • receiving messages.
  • The L1 system is used in hypothesis
    construction responsible for
  • interlanguage development.
  • Comprehensible input serves as a major source
    of information for
  • hypothesis construction.
  • L2 output may be used for hypothesis

Toward a Theory of First Language Transfer
  • An important distinction not always made in
    discussions of transfer is between transfer in L2
    communication and transfer in L2 learning.
  • Transfer in communication involves the use of the
    L1 either to receive incoming messages
    (reception) or to process output (production).
  • Transfer in learning occurs when the learner uses
    the L1 in an attempt to develop hypotheses about
    L2 rules.
  • There are several possibilities for transfer 1)
    it is primarily a characteristic of communication
    2) it is primarily a feature of learning 3) both
    communication and learning transfer are
    significant and interrelated aspects of L2

Language Transfer
  • Where the two languages were identical, learning
    could take place through positive transfer to the
    native-language pattern.
  • Where the two languages were different, learning
    difficulty arose and errors occurred resulting
    from negative transfer.
  • Chomsky (1959) set in motion a re-evaluation of
    many of the behaviorists claims. This
    re-evaluation included area such as
  • the dangers of extrapolating from laboratory
    studies of animal behavior to the language
    behavior of humans were pointed out
  • the terms stimulus and response were exposed as
    vacuous where language behavior was concerned
  • analogy could not account for the language users
    ability to generate totally novel utterances
  • studies of children acquiring their L1 showed
    that parents rarely corrected their childrens
    linguistic errors, thus casting doubt on the
    importance of reinforcement in language
  • All this led to the reconsideration of the role
    of L1 in L2 learning.

The Nature of the Interlanguage Continuum
  • Cognitive theories of interlanguage claim that
    with the assistance of
  • learning strategies, learners build
    mental grammars of the second
  • language.
  • Learners draw on the rules they have
    constructed to interpret and
  • produce utterances.
  • Learners utterances are only erroneous with
    reference to the target
  • language norms, not to the norms of their
    own grammars.
  • The interlanguage continuum consists of a
    series of overlapping
  • grammars. Each share some rules with the
    previously constructed
  • grammar, but also contains some new or
    revised rules.
  • A rule has the status of a hypothesis.

Selinkers Interlanguage Theory
  • Selinkers Interlanguage Theory maintains the
    separateness of a second language learners
    system and gives the system a structurally
    intermediate status between the native and target
  • According to Selinker, second language learners
    are producing their own self-contained linguistic
    system. The system is not a native language or
    target language system, rather it falls between
    the two.
  • Stages of Interlanguage Development include
  • 1) random errors (presystematic)
  • 2) experimentation and inaccurate guessing
  • 3) emergent-growing in consistency in linguistic
  • 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
    meaninglocal errors-close similarities in word
    form (i.e. spelling).

Identification of Learner Errors
  • An error can be defined as a deviation from the
    norms of the target language although questions
    are raised as to which variety of the target
    language should serve as the norm.
  • The general practice where classroom learners are
    concerned is to select the standard written
    dialect as a norm.
  • The distinction between errors and mistakes is a
    concern in this type of research. Errors take
    place when the deviation arises as a result of
    lack of knowledge. Mistakes occur when learners
    fail to perform their competence.
  • Overt errors are deviations in form i.e. I runned
    all the way. Covert errors occur in utterances
    that are superficially well-formed but which do
    not mean what the learner intended them to mean
    i.e. It was stopped. What does it refer to?
  • Should the analysis of errors examine only
    deviations in correctness or also deviations in
    appropriateness? Correctness errors involve rules
    of language use i.e. learner invites a stranger
    by saying I want you to come to the cinema with
    me. The code was used correctly it was not used
  • There are three types of interpretation of
    errors 1) normal- can assign a meaning to an
    utterance based on the rules of the target
    language 2) authoritative-involves asking the
    learner to say what the utterance means in order
    to make an authoritative reconstruction and 3)
    plausible-can be obtained by referring to the
    context in which the utterance was produced or by
    translating the sentence literally into the
    learners L1.

Learner Errors
  • Error Analysis is used for examining errors as a
    way of investigating learning processes.
  • Much of the early work on learner errors focused
    on the extent to which L2 acquisition was the
    result of L1 transfer or creative construction
    (construction of unique rules similar to those
    which children form in the course of acquiring
    the native language).
  • The presence of errors that mirrored L1
    structures was taken as evidence of transfer
    (interlingual), while those errors similar to
    those observed in L1 acquisition were indicative
    of creative construction (intralingual).
  • The study of learner errors showed that although
    many errors were caused by transferring L1
    habits, many more were not.
  • It was found that learners went through stages of
    acquisition and the nature of errors varied
    according to their level of development.
  • Error analysis could not show when learners
    resorted to avoidance and it ignored what
    learners could do correctly.

Error Analysis
  • The conceptualization and significance of
    errors took on a different
  • 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
  • themselves.
  • Errors provide evidence of a system (learners
    attempt to figure out
  • some system). This evidence can provide
    information on the state of a
  • learners knowledge of the L2. They are
    not to be viewed solely as a
  • product of imperfect learning.
  • The distinction of error and mistake is also
    important in EA. Mistakes
  • are slips of the tongue. The speaker who
    makes a mistake is able to
  • recognize it as a mistake and correct it
    if necessary.

Error Analysis(Continued)
  • An error is systematic. It is likely to occur
    repeatedly and is not recognized by the learner
    as an error. The learner has incorporated a
    particular erroneous from the perspective of the
    target language into his/her own system.
  • The learner has created a systematic entity
    called an interlanguage.
  • Errors are only errors with reference to some
    external norm such as the target language. For
    example, if a learner produces No speak. or No
    understand. and if we assume that these are
    consistent deviations and form a part of a
    learners system, then it is only possible to
    think of them as errors with regard to English,
    but not with regard to the learners system.
  • Error analysis is a type of linguistic analysis
    that focuses on the errors learners make. The
    comparison made in EA is between the errors a
    learner makes producing the target language and
    the target language form itself.
  • Research in EA was carried out within the context
    of the classroom. The goal was pedagogical

Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis
  • Contrastive analysis is a way of comparing
    languages in order to determine potential errors
    for the ultimate purpose of isolating what needs
    to be learned and what does not need to be
    learned in a second language learning situation.
  • Lado detailed that one does a structure-by-structu
    re comparison of the sound system, morphological
    system, syntactic system and even the cultural
    system of two languages for the purpose of
    discovering similarities and differences.
  • The ultimate goal of contrastive analysis is to
    predict areas that will be either easy or
    difficult for learners.
  • There are two positions that developed with
    regard to CA (1) strong (2) weak.
  • The strong version (predictive) maintained that
    one could make predictions about learning and
    hence about the success of language teaching
    materials based on a comparison between two
  • The weak version (explanatory) starts with an
    analysis of learners recurring errors (error
    analysis). It begins with what learners do and
    then attempts to account for those errors on the
    basis of native language-target language

Language Acquisition for School The Prism
ModelThomas Collier, 1997
Social and Cultural Processes
L1 L2 Academic Development
L1 L2 Language Development
L1 L2 Cognitive Development
Cognitive Development
  • The cognitive dimension is a natural subconscious
    process that occurs developmentally from birth to
    the end of schooling and beyond.
  • An infant initially builds thought processes
    through interacting with loved ones in the
    language of the home.
  • This is an important stepping-stone to build on
    as cognitive development continues.
  • It is important that cognitive development
    continue through a childs first language at
    least through the elementary years.
  • Extensive research has demonstrated that children
    who reach the threshold in L1 by around age 11 to
    12 enjoy cognitive advantages over monolinguals.

Academic Development
  • Academic development includes all school work in
    language arts, math, the sciences, and social
    studies for each grade level, K-12.
  • With each succeeding grade, academic work
    dramatically expands the vocabulary,
    sociolinguistic, and discourse dimensions of
    language to higher cognitive levels.
  • Academic knowledge and conceptual development
    transfer from first language to second language.
  • It is most efficient to develop academic work
    through the students first language, while
    teaching second language during other periods of
    the school day through meaningful academic
  • In earlier decades, schools in the United States
    emphasized teaching second language as the first
    step and postponing the teaching of academics.
  • Research has shown that postponing or
    interrupting academic development is likely to
    promote academic failure.

Language Development
  • Linguistic processes consist of the subconscious
    aspects of language development, an innate
    ability all humans possess for acquisition of
    oral language, as well as the metalinguistic,
    conscious, formal teaching of language in the
    school and acquisition of the written system of
  • This includes the acquisition of the oral and
    written systems of the students first and second
    languages across all language domains, such as
    phonology, vocabulary, morphology, syntax,
    semantics, pragmatics and discourse.
  • To assure cognitive and academic success in a
    second language, a students first language
    system, oral and written, must be developed to a
    high cognitive level at least through the
    elementary school years.

Sociocultural Processes
  • At the heart of the figure is the individual
    student going through the process of acquiring a
    second language at school.
  • Central to that students acquisition of language
    are all of the surrounding social and cultural
    processes occurring through everyday life within
    the students past, present, and future, in all
    contexts-home, school, community, and the broader
  • Sociocultural processes may include individual
    student variables such as self-esteem, anxiety,
    or other affective factors.
  • At school the instructional environment in a
    classroom or administrative program structures
    may create social and psychological distance
    between groups.
  • Community or regional social patterns such as
    prejudice and discrimination expressed towards
    groups or individuals in personal and
    professional contexts can influence students
    achievement in school, as well as societal
    patterns such as the subordinate status of a
    minority group or accuturation vs. assimilation
  • These factors can strongly influence the
    students response to a new language, affecting
    the process positively only when the student is
    in a socioculturally supportive environment.

In ConclusionThe Learner/The Teacher
  • The learner needs
  • expectations of success
  • the confidence to take risks and make mistakes
  • a willingness to share and engage
  • the confidence to ask for help and
  • an acceptance of the need to readjust.
  • The teacher needs
  • respect for and interest in the learners
    language, culture, thought and intentions
  • the ability to recognize growth points, strengths
    and potential
  • the appreciation that mistakes are necessary to
  • the confidence to maintain breadth, richness and
    variety, and to match these to the learners
    interests and direction
  • to stimulate and challenge and
  • a sensitive awareness of when to intervene and
    when to leave alone.

  • Cummins, J. (1979a). Cognitive/academic language
    proficiency, linguistic interdependence, the
    optimal age question and some other matters.
    Working Papers in Bilingualism. No. 19 (pp.
    197-205). Toronto Ontario Institute for Studies
    in Education.
  • Ellis, R. (2003). The study of second language
    acquisition (10th ed.). Oxford Oxford University
  • Gass, S., Selinker, L. (2001). Second language
    acquisition (2nd ed.). Mahwah, NJ Lawrence
    Erlbaum Associates.
  • Krashen, S. D. (1981). Second language
    acquisition and second language learning. Oxford
    Pergamon press.
  • Thomas, W., Collier, V. (1997). School
    effectiveness for language minority students.
    National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education
    Resource Collection Series, No. 9.

For More Information Contact
Dr. Frank Lucido Program Director Institute for
Second Language Achievement flucido_at_falcon.tamu 361-825-2672 Graphics and slide design
by JoAnn McDonald and Sheryl Roehl