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L2 acquisition
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L2 acquisition


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  • 2. SLA: multidisciplinary field1. Linguistics – gives us an accurate description of what people are trying to learn (L2) and what we already know (L1)3. Psychology – privides us with the learning theory to account for how people acquire knowledge.5. L1 Acquisition – offers findings that can be applied to SLA.
  • 3. Mainquestionin SLA
  • 4. Secondquestion inSLA
  • 5. Factors to consider in L2Acquisition The L1 – second language learner production always resembles their L1 in one way or another. (TRANSFER). The INTERLANGUAGE – contains features of the L1 as well as the L2. The FINAL STATE – what is to be acquired (Communicatice competence). VARIATION in performance – competence (linguistic knowledge the learner has) vs. performance (actual language used by the learner)
  • 6. Communicative competence
  • 7. Variation: ExampleI didn’t like that movie so I told her I no want togo there.QUESTIONS:Why is there such variation?Have these learners acquired the English negationor not?
  • 8. Variation: some explanations When learners are only focusing on the form of the L2 utterance, they may be able to produce it accurately.HOWEVER, When there are other factors such as communicating a complex thought, errors may occurA matter of PROCESSING? Need to shift processing from controlled to automatic (because of fixed processing capacity in humans).
  • 9. Interlanguage GrammarsGeneral question:What is the structure of an interlanguage?Investigate the mental representations ofinterlanguage grammars within the differentdomains of linguistic theory.
  • 10. L2 phonology The L2 learner will have to learn to perceive and produce some new sounds when learning an L2. Segmental phonology Prosodic phonology
  • 11. L2 Phonology: Question Why are some sounds easier to acquire than others in an L2? What is the role of the L1?The role ofMarkedness – The Markedness Differential Hypothesis. Investigates L2 acquisition by comparing the relative markedness in the L1 and the L2.
  • 12. L2 Syntax Two facets of syntactic structure that L2 learners must acquire: the null subject parameter and verb movement.THE NULL SUBJECT PARAMETER Languages with overt subjects vs. languages in which the subject can be omitted. Languages with null subjects also:  Allow declarative sentences with flexible word order  Speakers of null subject languages are more likely to permit that trace sequences).
  • 13. L2 SyntaxVERB MOVEMENTSome languages do not allow verb movement,while others do.For example,English does not allow it, but French does.
  • 14. L2 Morphology  Is the developmental sequence in L2 learning the same as it is in L1 learning?Developmental Order in L1 Developmental Order in L2
  • 15. Factors affecting SLA Does the onset age of L2 acquisition cause different levels of final proficiency? Is there an optimal time or a “critical period” to acquire an L2? Discussion focuses in the area of phonology  Fairly certain predictions:  People who start learning the L2 before the age of 7, will have native like L2 speech.  People who start learning after the age of 14 or 15 will have non-native speech. It is much more difficult to predict knowledge or ability in the area of syntax, sociolinguistics, etc.
  • 16. Individual differences Question asked: if learners have a particular quality “x”, does this make them better second language acquirers?Three main points that need to be well explained:5. How doe we define “x”?6. What does it mean to be a “better” acquirer?7. What aspect of communicative competence are we referring to?
  • 17. Affective factors: motivation Will a person that is more motivated be more successful at acquiring an L2? Two types of motivation:  INSTRUMENTAL (having a specific goal or reason to learn the L2).  INTEGRATIVE (wanting to learn more about a culture or to fit in better). Some findings: The degree of integrative motivation, correlates with the degree of success in learning a target language.
  • 18. Cognitive factors The mechanics of how an individual learns something new. Contrast between field dependence and field independence.Some SLA conclusions: field-independent learners do better on tests that focus on analytic tasks such as providing the correct grammatical form in a given sentence. Field-dependent learners do better in tasks that involve synthesizing their knowledge. (better communicative commpetence – more concerned with getting the message across than with the correctness)
  • 19. The l2 classroomThree relevant characteristics of a second language classroom:  Modified input (teacher talk)  Modified interaction (recast)  Focus on form (instructions about the language and explicit correction).
  • 20. Bilingual education Minority language maintenance programs French immersion