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Sla Cognitive

  1. 1. The Cognitive Tradition Helena I. R. Agustien Universitas Negeri Semarang
  2. 2. Chomsky’s Theory of Universal Grammar <ul><li>After rejection of behaviorism and structuralism, the field of SLA embraced the cognitive tradition. </li></ul><ul><li>This trend is linguistically based – owing to its heavy reliance on Noam Chomsky’s linguistic theory of first language acquisition (1965, 1980) </li></ul><ul><li>Chomsky’s argument: the existence of an innate domain-specific language faculty called language acquisition device (LAD) </li></ul>
  3. 3. LAD <ul><li>LAD includes universal grammar (UG) which is responsible for a child’s L1 acquisition. </li></ul><ul><li>In Chomsky’s tradition, language is seen as a set of formal properties inherent in any natural language grammar. </li></ul><ul><li>Chomsky acknowledges pragmatic competence that places language in the institutional setting of its use, relating intentions and purposes to the linguistic means at hand (1980,225) </li></ul>
  4. 4. Universal Grammar <ul><li>L1 acquisition is based on the operation of UG, but it is exclusively limited to the child’s acquisition of grammatical competence (GC). </li></ul><ul><li>The theory does not attempt to explain the child’s ability to use grammatical knowledge in real life situations. </li></ul><ul><li>It does not deal with pragmatic competence . </li></ul>
  5. 5. Competence <ul><li>The term competence is formulated within the framework that understands linguistics to be a part of psychology, ultimately human biology (Chomsky 1992,3). </li></ul><ul><li>In this approach, language learning is not seen as something that a child does, it is something that happens once a child is placed in an appropriate environment. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Implicit Grammar <ul><li>For Chomsky, GC is confined to the domain of syntax, with some references to semantics and phonology. </li></ul><ul><li>The knowledge of GC is implicit (unconscious, intuitive) </li></ul><ul><li>The theory of linguistic competence refers to the native speaker’s implicit rather than explicit knowledge of the formal properties of L1 grammar. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Pragmatic vs. communicative <ul><li>Chomsky uses pragmatic competence rather than communicative competence . </li></ul><ul><li>“ It seems that either we must deprive the notion “communication” of all significance, or else we must reject the view that the purpose of language is communication” (Chomsky 1980, 230) </li></ul><ul><li>He considers the separation of linguistic competence from pragmatic competence indispensable in order to discover the formal properties of genetically preprogrammed UG that assists a child in the acquisition of “core grammar”. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Formalist Linguistic Theory (language as a system of rules) <ul><li>Language is a set of sentences. </li></ul><ul><li>Description shows which sentences are in the set and which out. </li></ul><ul><li>Explanation reveals why the line between in and out falls where it does in terms of innate neurological speech organism (Martin 1992,3) </li></ul>
  9. 9. Innatistm and SLA <ul><li>What is language? </li></ul><ul><li>Language is not a behavior learned through imitation and conditioning. It is rule-based and generative in nature, processed and produced complicated cognitive processes and mechanism (Goh and Silver 2004,19) </li></ul>
  10. 10. Two underlying assumptions <ul><li>Human beings possess an innate mental capacity for language . This is unique to humans, is distinct from cognitive abilities necessary fro other kinds of learning. It is a special language mechanism or organ in which individuals are hard-wired with syntactic principles, or rules about grammar. Because of its universal nature , anybody can learn any language they are exposed to. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Two underlying assumptions <ul><li>2. Language development follows a biological and chronological program . Normal children go through distinct and predictable phases of psychomotor development at different times during their early years, various grammatical features are acquired according to a natural order or program. </li></ul>
  12. 12. L1 and L2 acquisitions <ul><li>The principles of L1 and L2 acquisitions are basically the same. </li></ul><ul><li>Language learning is based on discovering the underlying abstract representations (rules) of the specific language from among all possible rules of languages universally. </li></ul><ul><li>The role of environment is given minimal consideration other than providing language specific input. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Two major issues <ul><li>1.Do L2 learners still have access to UG as they did for learning their first language? </li></ul><ul><li>Learners access UG in the same way for both L1 and L2 learning (full access). </li></ul><ul><li>Learners have no access to UG. They must go through the L1. </li></ul><ul><li>Learners have a partial, but incomplete access to UG. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Two major issues <ul><li>2. Since UG is seen as essentially biological and biological factors can change with age, is learning different for older and younger learners? </li></ul><ul><li>* Critical Period Hypothesis (CPH) –Lennenberg 1967 – biological changes at puberty make it impossible for the learners to develop complete mastery of L2 in the same way that they do in their L1. </li></ul>
  15. 15. First Language Second Language Child’s mind (UG) First Language Second Language Child’s mind (UG) ‘ Full Access’ ‘ No Access’
  16. 16. Findings <ul><li>Adults and adolescents may learn more quickly than children in short term (Larsen-Freeman & Long, 1991). </li></ul><ul><li>Adults and adolescents who are good classroom learners may learn more efficiently than young children in language classrooms (McLaughlin, 1992). </li></ul><ul><li>Those who begin when they are younger and continue learning may ultimately reach a higher level of proficiency than those who begin as adults (Oyama 1976, Patkowski 1980) </li></ul>
  17. 17. Approaches to Teaching <ul><li>Teaching approaches based on innatist models start with a basic assumption that UG is still usable by learners. </li></ul><ul><li>Some morpheme studies suggest that UG is still available. Brown (1973) identified a sequence of acquisition of English morpheme among L1 children without explicit learning. Krashen (1977) shows similar finding among L2 learners regardless their L1 backgrounds. </li></ul>
  18. 18. ‘ ing’ Plural copula Auxiliary article Irregular past Regular past 3 rd person singular possessive Late learning Early learning
  19. 19. Krashen’s hypothesis and findings <ul><li>He hypothesized that an in-born language acquisition device (LAD) allowed L1 as well as L2 learning. </li></ul><ul><li>Although morphemes are not the features usually considered to be a part of UG, Krashen’s findings on natural order do seem to be a feature L1 and L2 learning. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Larsen-Freeman & Long (1991) and Mackay & Silver (unpublished) <ul><li>Findings show developmental sequences. </li></ul><ul><li>This supports the idea that L2 learners with different L1 background follow this same order of acquisition. They are not simply going through L1. </li></ul><ul><li>There seems to be simila sorts of universals at work in both L1 and L2 learning. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Singaporean adult, female, approx. 20,speaks Mandarin Why didn’t you ask your brother Analyzed don’t This table is based on Larsen-Freeman and Long, 1991, and unpublished data from Mackay and Silver (Goh and Silver 2004,38) Chinese, male, age 7 I don’t know how to say . Auxiliary+negation Don’t Can’t Won’t Chinese, male, age 8 No got Pre-verbal Chinese, female, age 7 No cars? External Speaker Example Stage
  22. 22. Is trash where you put the stuff? (A, Spanish) What do you think the story tell you to be? (Adult) Complex questions Did the boys went to picnic? (Adult, Rusian) May I have a lot of the scale? (6) Two verbs Is this his house? What’s happen? (A,Jp.) Is it the old house? (2:10) Who wants this towel ? (3:2) Inversion for yes/no Inversion with Wh Why they should. Why why they need money? (Adult, Chinese) What you watching, Daddy? (Child, 2:10) Wh without inversion This table is based on Pienemann&Mackay 1993 in Goh and Silver 2004,38 What’s that? What’s this? (Child, 2:2) What at the beginning Two boys uh ride bikes? (Adult, Korean) Carrot? (child, 1:11, meaning “Is this carrot?”) Intonation English L2 examples English 1 st language examples Stages
  23. 23. Innatism and Instruction <ul><li>Innatist concepts of L2 learning have been used as a basis for “the Natural Approach” (Terrel 1977, and Krashen and Terrel 1983) </li></ul><ul><li>The approach is an attempt to incorporate naturalistic learning into classroom contexts. </li></ul><ul><li>Theoretically supported by Krashen’s hypotheses for L2 acquisition (1985) </li></ul>
  24. 24. The Acquisition/Learning hypothesis <ul><li>L1s and L2s are consciously acquired rather than consciously learned as in most classroom situations. </li></ul><ul><li>Rule-based, explicit teaching results in learning, not acquisition. </li></ul><ul><li>To encourage acquisition, learners need to be exposed to an input rich environment with plentiful opportunities for meaning-based communication. </li></ul>
  25. 25. The Monitor Hypothesis <ul><li>Conscious learning can beused as a monitor to check our language production if conditions are right. </li></ul><ul><li>Use of the monitor requires adequate time, a knowledge of the rules and a focus on the necessary form. </li></ul><ul><li>Monitoring does not lead to acquisition. </li></ul>
  26. 26. The Natural Order Hypothesis <ul><li>L2 acquisition, like L1 acquisition follows a natural order. </li></ul><ul><li>Differences from adult first language grammar are nor ‘errors’, but indication of natural development. </li></ul>
  27. 27. The Input Hypothesis <ul><li>Acquisition is fostered by plentiful input that is at a level just beyond the learner’s level of comprehension (i+1), where i equals the current level of comprehension and +1 indicates one stage beyond that. </li></ul><ul><li>In comprehensible input is plentiful, acquisition will result. </li></ul>
  28. 28. The Affective Filter Hypothesis <ul><li>There is an affective component that influences LA indirectly. </li></ul><ul><li>It acts as a barrier (if the affective filter is high) or an open gate (if the affective filter is low). </li></ul><ul><li>This AF can be raised if learners are anxious, lack confidence, or poorly motivated. </li></ul>
  29. 29. The Reading Hypothesis <ul><li>Reading acts as a kind of input which extends acquisition especially for “reading comprehension, writing style, vocabulary, spelling, and advanced grammatical competence” (Krashen 1994,46). </li></ul><ul><li>Explicit teaching is discouraged except in limited instances where the monitor might be useful. </li></ul>
  30. 30. Pedagogical Implications (Krashen and Terrel, 1983) <ul><li>Teachers should: </li></ul><ul><li>Set goals according to communicative needs rather than structures or forms. </li></ul><ul><li>Determine appropriate situations and topics for use of the L2 for a particular groups of students. </li></ul><ul><li>Allow student to be silent until they are ready to speak. </li></ul><ul><li>Provide plentiful input at appropriate levels (i+1) </li></ul><ul><li>Create a positive classroom atmosphere that lowers the affective filter. </li></ul>
  31. 31. Arguments against the innatist model <ul><li>Arguments against the innatist model have to do with what is innate . </li></ul><ul><li>Some researchers argue that there is no specialized capacity for language which is inborn, such as UG. It is the inborn cognitive ability (Johnson, 1996) or information-processing capacity that is responsible for acquisition (McLaughlin & Heredia, 1996) </li></ul><ul><li>These interpretations do not see language as a specialized, biological capability (unlike Chomsky who claims that autonomy is evident in the child’s ability to acquire L1 despite cognitive immaturity). </li></ul>
  32. 32. SLA Issues: distinctions between development and acquisition <ul><li>Cook (1985, 4-5) defines development as “the real-time learning of language by children” and acquisition as “language learning unaffected by maturation”. </li></ul><ul><li>Development points to the interaction among various cognitive mechanisms such as cognition, UG, and social contexts. The claim that UG is autonomous excludes the possibility of such an interaction. Development is not the focus of Chomsky’s theory of UG. </li></ul>
  33. 33. SLA Issues: distinctions between development and acquisition <ul><li>Acquisition is an idealized state, a formal abstraction, an innate knowledge of formal grammatical properties of language unaffected by time and experiences. </li></ul><ul><li>Cook raises a question regarding the internal development of UG: is UG available in its entirety from the very beginning or does it unfold gradually? </li></ul>
  34. 34. SLA Issues: distinctions between development and acquisition <ul><li>White (1981) claims that UG is available to a child in its entirety from the very beginning. </li></ul><ul><li>Others, such as Felix, 1984) claim UG unfolds in stages in predetermined sequence. </li></ul><ul><li>Studies show that development cannot be separated from acquisition since a child does not produce all sentences with the same degree of complexity at the same time. </li></ul>
  35. 35. Studying acquisition? Or development? <ul><li>Chomsky claims that studies that investigate performance fall under the category of development rather than acquisition (Cook, 1985). </li></ul><ul><li>Studying UG (acquisition) is studying certain elements that are obligatory in all natural languages and other elements that are free to vary within a well-established system of degrees of freedom. </li></ul>
  36. 36. <ul><li>Thus, UG consists of a set of principles and parameters that represent the properties of all natural languages. </li></ul><ul><li>Although parameters may vary, UG sets the limit within which grammars of all natural languages can vary </li></ul><ul><li>Example: pro-drop parameters (Cook 1985, 1988, 1994) </li></ul>
  37. 37. Chomsky’s UG theory <ul><li>UG theory has undergone many changes. First, it was given the name of transformational-generative grammar (Chomsky and Redford 1988) </li></ul><ul><li>Then it came under the name of Government and Binding theory (Chomsky 1981a; Haegeman 1991). </li></ul><ul><li>Currently, it is being revised and examined under the name of minimalist program (Chomsky 1995). </li></ul>