In this view, learning is viewed as a process of recalling what people have already seen and absorbed. For Plato, teaching therefore is helping learners to remember. Locke, on the other hand assumed that humans are “biologically wired” but they need to experience in order to form knowledge and activate their capacities (Phillips & Soltis, 2004). Similar to Locke and Plato’s ideas, behaviorists also think that humans are equipped with innate knowledge and it is in the interaction with the environment that they can learn. Behaviorist account viewed learning in terms of imitation, reinforcement, and habit formation. In Phillips & Soltis’s words, behaviorist orientation “ is easy for educators to master and put to good use; rewarding desirable behavior, and extinguishing (or even punishing) poor behavior, are techniques that all teachers can master”(Phillips & Soltis, 2004 p.29). Chomsky: Chomsky (1959), in his critique emphasized that children have an innate capacity of learning language and they can reproduce new sentences they have never heard before (Mitchell & Myles, 1998). He rejected a learning theory, which compared animals’ learning simple tasks with children’s learning a language without direct teaching (Mitchell &Myles, 1998).
Contrary to Chomskian cognitive theories, this view implies that language is socially constructed rather than linguistically intrinsic. As discussed above, the linguistic theory of Chomsky, which asserts an “ideal speaker-listener in a completely homogenous speech community”(Chomsky, 1965, p.3), brought the terms such as ‘language acquisition devise’, ‘universal grammar’ and ‘transformational generative grammar’ to the field of SLA. However, Hymes criticized Chomsky as being ‘formalistic and context-free’ (Hymes, 1972).
Agenda, May 17thPart I (4:30-600)• Welcome and Introductions• Course Introduction• Introduction to the class blog• Course materials and assignments• Unpacking our assumptions on language learningPart II (6:20-8:00)• Common acronyms• Starting with a broader perspective: World Englishes and secondlanguage learning• Theoretical Framework in SLA/Learning Theories
Course ObjectivesThe main objectives of this course are as follows:• Explore fundamental concepts related to foreign and secondlanguage learning;• Learn interdisciplinary approaches to teaching and learning asecond language in diverse educational settings;• Learn how a second language is acquired from linguistic,socio-cognitive, and sociocultural approach;• Demystify stereotypes and mainstream understandingsconcerning second language learning and English languagelearners.
Course Materials1. Saville-Troike, M. (2006). Introducing Second LanguageAcquisition.2. Lightbown, P. & Spada, N. (2013). How languages arelearned. Oxford Handbook for teachers.3. Course blog and individual blog:http://theoreticalfoundationsintesol2013.blogspot.com/
Course Assignments• Class Discussion• Learning Logs• Exams
Unpacking our assumptions on language learning• Most of us have assumptions and ideas about how we learn andteach a second language. Before getting started withunderstanding research, it’s important to unveil some of our viewson how languages are learned.• Read the statements in the introduction of L&S book and indicatewhether you agree with each statement. After you complete yourlist, please discuss your results with a partner.
What is Second Language Acquisition (SLA)?• Gass and Selinker define SLA as the study of how learners create anew language system (p.1)• SLA has emerged from a field of study primarily from withinlinguistics and subfield such as Sociolinguistics and AppliedLinguistics.• SLA is an interdisciplinary research field that focuses on learnersand learning rather than teachers and teaching.• Questions we seek answers:1. What exactly does the L2 learner come to know?2. How does the learner acquire this knowledge?3. Why are some learners more successful than others?
Common distinctions in the field• A first language• A second language• A foreign language• A library language• An auxiliary language• Language for specific purposes• Simultaneous multilingualism• Sequential multilingualism
Discussion• List all the languages that you can use (at any proficiency level).• Do you think you are a “good” or a “poor” L2 learner? Why?• What are some of the characteristics of a good language learner?
The world of second languages and “WorldEnglishes”(Kachru)The Expanding CircleChinChina, Egypt, Indonesia,Israel, Japan, Korea,Nepal, Saudi Arabia,China, Egypt, Indonesia,Israel, Japan, Korea,Nepal, Saudi Arabia,Taiwan, Russia,Zimbabwe, South Africa,Caribbean Islands(EFL)Taiwan, Russia,Zimbabwe, South Africa,Caribbean Islands(EFL)a, Egypt, Indonesia,The Outer CircleBangladesh, IndiaGhana, Kenya,Nigeria, Malaysia,Pakistan,Philippines,Singapore, SriLanka, Tanzania,ZambiaThe InnerCircleUSAUKCanadaAustraliaNew Zealand
• Different varieties of Englishes around the globe--Linguisticdiversity in present-day English use (Total number of L1 and L2speakers of English is approximately 2.25 billion)• There are 350 million native English speakers living in the innercircle countries.• There are 700 million non-native English speakers in theexpanding and outer circle countries.• More non-native speakers than native ones: About 80% of theEnglish speakers of the world are non-native speakers (Braine,2006)• The concept of WE allows for varieties in English usage. It allowsus to pluralize English--EnglishesWORLD ENGLISHES
Who are English speakers today?• The group of speakers whose proficiency levels range fromreasonable to bilingual competence and who live outside of Innercircle countries. English has little or no official function: EFL• The group of speakers for whom English serves country-internalfunctions: ESL.• Growing English users who use English among themselves ratherthan with native English spreakers: English as a lingua franca (ELF)
How many Englishes are there?MacArthur’scircle ofEnglish
Questions TESOL educators and AppliedLinguists ask about world Englishes1. How are different world Englishes (socially)perceived?2. How recognizable are different world Englishes?what factors influence this recognition?3. How is English used in the world? how should it beused? (in part, code-switching and language policy)4. How do world Englishes differ from each other orhow are they similar (pidgins and creoles)?
The world of second languages: Complicatingthe term “native speaker”• Multilingualism/Bilingualism: ability to use two or more languages• Monolingualism• What are some of the main motivations for English languagelearning? (See the list on Saville-Troike, p.10)
What’s the scope of SLA?• The scope of SLA is to understand the process of learning asecond language within formal or informal learningenvironments.• Formal learning: Takes place in classroom settings (e.g. ESLclasses, ELI, ESP, EAP, ESL pull-out)• Informal learning (e.g. submersion, picking up the languagewithout specialized language instruction)
Frameworks of SLA• Linguistic• Psychological• Social
Brief Historical Sketch of the field50s and before: Focus was on foreign language teaching. Structuralism asthe dominant linguistic model: Emphasis on different levels of productionin speech (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics)60s and 70s: Behaviorist account of learning. What do learners bring the actof acquisition? How do learners transfer from L1?70s: Acquisition orders (e.g. morpheme studies). Error analysis. This periodwas marked by research on non-classroom learners. Inapplicable toclassroom learning.80s: Krashen’s ideas on acquisition (Monitor theory. Acquisition vs. learningand input hypothesis). Also, critical review of his ideas. One question leftunanswered: If all learners needed exposure to input, why were so manyL2 learners are still non-native-like?
Historical Sketch Cont.• 90s Application of linguistic theory and the application of psychologicalapproaches:Scholarship continued to focus on the nature of learners’ internal mentalrepresentation. Scholars said language is uniquely human, is encapsulatedin its own module in the brain (Black box), and it comes from birth with aset of language specific constraints, called Universal Grammar.• 2000s and beyond: The increasing influence of sociocultural theories,critical pedagogy and feminist perspectives on language learning:Microfocus and macrofocus. Focus on learner differences learnerenvironment, interactions (spoken and written), social and politicalcontext.IMPORTANT: We make no presumption that any one of these approaches(linguistic, psychological, socio-cultural, critical) are better or moreprivileged than the others. To gain a complete picture of languagelearning process, one needs to consider multiple aspects.
Behaviorist account of SLA• Learning is equated with habit formation (see the Pavlov’s dogexample). Learning means acquisition of new behavior. Onedevelop responses to environmental stimulus.• Classic conditioning through Stimulus-response (e.g. when thedogs heard the sound (the stimulus), they anticipated a meal, andthey would begin salivating (the response). Because of the repeatedassociation of the sound with food, after a series of trials the soundalone caused the dogs to salivate.)• Continuous repetition is a crucial factor for learning.• With reinforcement and punishment animals learn new behavior.• No mental process. Learning is a result of a respond to a stimulus.
Behaviorist approaches to SLA• Second language acquisition takes place if the learner:1. Imitate the language repeatedly.2. Reinforcement of accurate forms of language (e.g. catcats,dog dogs)3. “Good habits required repeated engagement in the targetbehavior-in this case, the production of the L2.”
Differences between L1 and L2 acquisition according tobehaviorist accounts• For L2 learning, individuals have already acquired certain set of languageskills.• Models should be accurate and abundant.• Reinforcement by a large number of language models.• Students imitating the model repeatedly.• Teachers giving positive feedback for accurate imitations, and correctionof inaccurate ones (negative evidence vs. positive evidence)• Differences between L1 and L2 were detected via Contrastive Analysis(CA)CA: Wherever languages were similar, there would be positive transfer;that is, learners would have little difficulty because they would simply beable to use their old habits in a new context. If the two languages weredifferent-or two seemingly comparable structures were different-therewould be negative transfer, resulting in learner difficulty and error.
Behaviorism applied in SLA• Second language learning is variable in its outcome: Learnerswho experience different environmental stimuli will experiencedifferent levels of eventual attainment. If learners havedifferent level of exposure or receive different levels offeedback, they may differ in their level of language attainment• Exposure to input is necessary for SLA: Input as stimulus forhabit formation. Environment was seen as a controlling factorin language learning.
Behaviorism applied to SLA• Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis focused on the similaritiesand differences of learners’ first and second language.• According to this perspective, learners whose L1 is similar toL2 will have less difficulty in learning in second language.• Larsen-freeman(1991) states where two languages aresimilar, positive transfer would occur; where they weredifferent negative transfer, or interference, would result.”
Structural LinguisticsThe main question that the structural linguists try to address:Why do the language operate as it doesLanguage is portrayed as based on a discrete and finite set ofpatterns (matches well with behaviorism, which viewedlearning as the acquisition of set of behaviors)• The field of SLA at this time viewed language learning as theimitation and internalization of language patterns.• Unsuccessful learning took place because of language transferfrom L1: Negative transfer resulted in learners’ committinglanguage errors.
Criticism towards behaviorism• Behaviorism is viewed as an ability to inductively discover patterns ofrule governed behavior from the examples provided by the learners’environment.• Comparing languages to predict learners’ errors did not help teachersin the class.• Corder (1967)—importance of errors: errors do not need to betreated or surprised as bad habits but they need to be analyzedcarefully since they are evidence of learning• Selinker (1972)– learners generate unique grammar: interlanguage.Unique linguistic system that learners create as they attempt toproduce the target language.• Chomsky’s revolutionary views on language: LAD includes UG whichis indispensible for the child’s ability to acquire his or her nativelanguage.
Reactions to behaviorism (habit formation,imitation, reinforcement)--Reactions to Behaviorism: Piage (field of psychology), Chomsky(linguistics) How can then children has an innate capacity oflearning language and can produce new sentences withoutimitation?• Cognitive/Mentalist views: Chomsky’s Language Acquisition Devise(LAD), Universal Grammar:Language as an innate process. children have an innate capacity oflearning language and they can reproduce new sentences they havenever heard before (Mitchell & Myles, 1998). He rejected a learningtheory, which compared animals’ learning simple tasks withchildren’s learning a language without direct teaching (Mitchell&Myles, 1998).
Innativism• Coined by Noam Chomsky in reaction to what he saw as theinadequacy of the behaviorist theory of learning.• In this approach, individuals are believed to be biologically wiredfor language (similar to other biological functions)• The child does not have to be taught. Although language aroundthe child may not be grammatical (incomplete sentences, slip oftongue etc.), they still acquire the language.• Children are born with a special ability: LAD• Child’s innate endowment: Universal Grammar : Set of principleswhich are common to all languages.
According to the innatist position• All children successfully learn the first language.• Even children with limited cognitive ability develop complexlanguage system.• Children successfully master basic structures of the native language.• Children accomplish the complex task of language acquisitionwithout having someone constantly point out to them which of thesentences they hear are correct.
The Critical period hypothesis (CPH)• Coined by Lenneberg: Language acquisition like other biologicalfunctions works successfully only when it is stimulated at theright time—this is called critical period hypothesis!• Animals, including humans are genetically programmed toacquire certain kinds of knowledge and skills ate specific timesof life (Saville-Trokie, p. 22).• Children who do not have access to language in infancy andchildhood will never acquire language (Examples: Victos, TheWild Child and Genie: Provide evidence in support of CPH).• Children control most of basic grammatical patterns before theyare 5 or 6. Complex patterns develop througut the school years.
Interactionist position• Language develops as a result of the complex interplaybetween the child and his/her environment.• Language development is largely independed of the child’scognitive development.• Strong proponent of Interactionist were Piaget and Vygotsky• Jean Piaget: He tried to understand the development of child’scognitive abilities of such things as object permanence(knowing that things that are hidden from sight are still there)and logic inferencing. The use of certain words such as“bigger”, “more” depend on the child’s understanding of theconcepts they represent.
Sociocultural Theory and Second LanguageLearning• “Language is not only a cognitive phenomenon, the product of theindividuals’ brain; it is also fundamentally social phenomenon,acquired and used interactively, in a variety of contexts for myriadpractical purposes.” Firth &Wegner, 1997, p.297• Attacks towards Chomsky’s “ideal speaker-listener in a completelyhomogeneous speech community”• Hymes criticized Chomsky for being formalistic and context free.‘heterogeneous speech community’ (p.57)• Language is not only viewed as codes but as ways of speaking, andthe structure of language is not grammar but speech act or speechevent.• Key words: Communicative competence, heterogeneous speechcommunity, speech events.
Agenda, May 18 2013Part 1 (9:00-10:30)• First language acquisition• Developmental sequence• Pre-school years and school yearsPart 2 (11:00-12:30)• L1 acquisition in behaviorist, innatist and interactionist perspective• Documentary: Secrets of wild child. The story of Genie.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmdycJQi4QA• Discussion
Important concepts about L1 acquisition from Saville-Troike• L1 as an innate capacity: language is programmed and eachhuman being is wired with a system to acquire language• The rate of progression in childhood can vary while theorder of acquisition is invariant.• Cut-off point for L1 acquisition: Critical Age Hypothesis
Discussion• What developmental stages do children go through as they learntheir first language?• Do you have any kids, nieces or nephews who are in the process ofacquiring their firs language? What observations do you have? Doany of the information in L&S resonate with you?
The first three yearsChildren go through a developmental sequence for many aspects of theirL1. Babies are designed to discriminate similar sounds early on in their lives(e.g. pa/ba)1. Cooing Stage:0-1: Mostly crying1-4: Intonational Patterns2.Babbling stage:5 Months-9 months Responding to sound and auditory discrimination3. One-word stage:10-12 months: Understanding frequently repeated words (e.g.juice, cookies, bye-bye)4.Two-word stage:12 months-24 months: Produce at least 50 different words (e.g. MommyJuice, Push truck). Telegraphic language where functional and grammaticalmorphemes are missing.
Age 3-5Fine-tuning stage:Children produce 2-3 word sentences (e.g.: Daddy fell down, Daddydropped something)Predictable developmental sequence: No use of abstract words suchas temporal space (e.g. tomorrow, yesterday)
Order of acquisition: Grammatical morphemesPresent progressive-ing (Mommy running)Plural-s (two birds)Irregular past verb forms (Baby went)Possessive-s (Mommy’s)Copula (Mommy is happy)Articles (the, a/an)Based on your experiences, what similarities do you notice amongthe children at different ages? Which grammatical morphemes dothey find easy and which ones more difficult?
Negation1. Stage one:Expressed by the word “no”, as a word in utterence: No cookie2. Stage two:Utterances grow longer. Negation appears just before the verb:Don’t touch that.3. Stage three:Negation is inserted in more complex sentences. Children learn howto add forms of negatives such as “don’t”, “can’t”: I can’t do it.4. Stage four:Learning the correct form of auxiliary verbs such as do and be: I don’twant supper. She doesn’t have candies.
Questions1. Stage one:Two-three word sentences with rising intonation. Cookie? Mommybook?2. Stage two:Use word order of declarative sentence to ask questions. You likethis? I have some?3. Stage three:Noticing the structure of a question. Can I go the restroom? Are youhappy?4. Stage four:Forming more varieties in the auxiliary forms. Are you going to playwith me?
The pre-school and school years• By age four, children can give commands, ask questions, createstories, using correct grammatical markers most of the time(L&S,P.12)• They begin to develop metalinguistic awareness.• They can understand what a “word” is.
Behaviorist perspective• Imitation:Mother: Shall we play with the dolls?Lucy: Play with dolls• Practice:Cindy: He eat carrot. They both eat carrot.See the other examples on page 15-16.
The innatist perspectives• Children’s minds are not blank slates to be filled by imitating thelanguage they hear in the environment.• Children are born with an innate ability to discover the rules bythemselves: Children are pre-equipped by Universal Grammar.E.g.: Jogn believes himself to be intelligent (John believes thathimself is intelligent.• Most school aged children recognize the ungrammatical forms.So, researchers who study L1 acquisition from innatist perspectiveargue that grammar could never be learned purely on the basis ofimitating and practicing the available input.
• Watching the story of Genie: The Secret of Wild Child• Discussion Facilitation Sign-up.