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Unformatted text preview: Chapter 17
Second Language Acquisition Second language acquisition &
L1= learner’s native language
L2= second language you learn
L2= Acquisition and learning
Acquisition: the gradual development of ability in a
language by using it naturally in communicative
Your native language is acquired.
Your Learning: a conscious process of accumulating
knowledge of the vocabulary and grammar of a
A second language that you study in school is acquired.
second 1 Acquisition
Language is unique. There is no other system of
knowledge that we can learn better at age 2 or 3
than at 15 or 25. Giving us another reason to
think that there is a genetic predisposition to
acquire language during that critical period from
birth to puberty. Barriers to second language learning
Lack of need: you already have a native language
that meets your daily communicative
requirements, so the urgency, the practical need
driving first language acquisition is not there.
Lack of time: trying to learn a second language is
difficult if you can only devote a few hours per
week. Language learning
Affective filter: the name of a barrier to language
acquisition (fear of making a mistake, lack of
motivation, stress, etc) that results in negative
feelings or experiences 2 Methods
GrammarTreats the language like an academic subject
Emphasizes written rather than spoken language
Involves memorization of vocabulary and
grammatical rules Methods
2. Audiological method
developed in the 1950s and led to all the “teach
yourself” language tapes
Emphasizes spoken language
Systematic presentation of language structures in
the form of drills that the listener repeats
Boring and no natural communicative interaction
3. Communicative approaches
The most modern methods
Emphasizes functional use of language rather than
learning the grammatical rules. 3 Learner
Along with the communicative approach, there
has been a shift in the focus of second language
learning away from the teacher and the method
to the learner and the process of acquisition.
One reflection of this shift in emphasis is
toleration of errors. Learner
The old approaches stressed avoiding errors, but
in the new approaches errors are seen as
evidence about how the learner is learning.
Errors are not barriers to progress.
One common process in second language
learning is transfer of expressions or structures
from the native language to the second language.
Some errors might be due to transfer of
expressions from L1 to L2.
Transfer can be beneficial or detrimental
depending upon how closely related the two are. 4 Learner
Two types of transfer:
Positive transfer: when a similarity between the two
languages helps with second language learning.
Negative transfer/interference: when a difference
between the two languages hinders second language
Interlanguage: a system of structures used by an
adult learning a second language that contains
features of both L1 and L2.
Thought to be the basis of second language
learning in adults Motivation
Motivation to learn a second language is a big
factor in your success.
A language-learning situation that encourages
languagesuccess and accomplishment must seems more
helpful than one that focuses on errors and
corrections. 5 Input and output
Input: the language that the learner is exposed
The input has to be comprehensible to aid the
person in learning the language.
Foreigner talk has a simplified syntax and
vocabulary, like caretaker speech, to help the learner
understand the message (“English class, you like it?”) Input and output
Negotiated input: L2 material that the learner
can acquire in interaction through requests for
clarification and active attention being focused
on what is said.
Drawing and gestures are often useful when a native
speaker and a non-native speaker are trying to
nonnegotiate the meaning of a word. Input and output
Output: L2 utterances produced by the learner.
The opportunity to produce comprehensible output in
meaningful interactions seems to be a crucial factor in
the learner’s development. 6 Communicative competence
There are 3 aspects of communicative competence in the
3. Grammatical competence: the accurate use of words
and structures in the second language.
Sociolinguistic competence: the ability to interpret or
produce language appropriately (pragmatic factors)
Strategic competence: the ability to organize a
message effectively and to compensate for difficulties. 7 ...
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- Fall '08