The Linguistics of SLA

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Transcript The Linguistics of SLA

The Nature of Language
 Languages are systematic
- We understand the principles by which the words are
combined to express meaning
 Languages are symbolic
- Sequences of sounds or letters don’t inherently possess
meaning.
- The meanings of symbols in a language come through
the tacit agreement between the speakers
 Languages are social
- Each language reflects the social requirements of the
society that uses it.
- Language is the expressive dimension of culture
Lexicon
(vocabulary)
Phonology
(sound
system)
Morphology
( word
structure)
Syntax
(grammar)
Discourse
• word
meaning
•Pronunciatio
n
•Grammatical
category/
parts of
speech
•Possible
occurences in
combination
with other
words and in
idioms
•Speech
sounds that
make a
difference in
meaning
•Possible
sequences of
consonants
and vowels
• intonation
patterns(stres
s, pitch and
duration) and
tone
•Rhythmic
patterns
•Parts of
words that
have meaning
(morphemes)
•Inflections
•Prefixes and
suffixes
•Word order
•Agreement
between
sentence
elements
•Ways to form
questions,
negate
assertion and
focus
structure
information
within stcs
•Ways to
connect
sentences
•Structure for
telling stories,
engaging in
conversation
•Scripts for
interacting
and for events
Early Approaches to SLA
 Contrastive Analysis (Hypothesis) (CAH)
- Approach to the study of SLA which involves
predicting and explaining learner problems based on a
comparison of L1 and L2 to determine similarities and
differences.
- Got the influence from linguistics and psychology,
Structuralism and Behaviorism
- The goal of CAH is to increase efficiency in L2
teaching and testing.
- The focus is on the surface forms of both L1 and L2
systems and describing an comparing the languages
one level at a time.
- Early proponents of CAH assumed that language
acquisition involves habit formation in a process of SR-R
- There will be transfer in learning, of elements acquired
(habituated) in L1 to the target L2. (Positive or
negative (interference))
- The CAH approach was not adequate for the study of
SLA because:
1. The behaviorist learning theory to which it is tied
can’t explain the logical problem of language
learning
2. CAH analysis were not always validated by evidence
from actual learner errors.
3. Many of the L2 problems which CAH predicts do not
emerge, it doesn’t account for many learner errors, and
much predicted positive transfer doesn’t materialize.
Error Analysis
 The first approach to the study of SLA which includes
an internal focus on learners’ creative ability to
construct language.
 Based on the description and analysis of actual learner
errors in L2, rather than on idealized linguistic
structures attributed to native speakers of L1 and L2.
 EA augmented/replaced CAH in the early 1970w
because:
1. Prediction made by CAH did not always materialize
in actual learner errors.
2. The exclusive focus on surface level forms and
patterns by structural linguists shifted to concern on
the underlying rules.
3. There was a shift from behaviorism to mentalism in
explaining language acquisition, with emphasis on the
innate capacity of the language learner rather than on
external influences.
4. The study of SLA was no longer motivated by teaching
concerns as it had been for CAH. Researchers began to
separate issues in SLA from pedagogical concerns.
 No 2 and 3 were mostly influenced by Chomsky’s
Transformational-Generative Grammar.