Current issues in second language acquisition (SLA) 1-Who? Who does the learning and teaching? Questions about learners and teachers. 2-What? -What must the leaner learn and the teacher teach? -What is communication ? -What is language? 3-How - How does learning take place? -How can a person ensure
-success in language learning? 3- When? -When does second language learning take place? -Questions about age & time. 4 Where? • Within the cultural and linguistic situation. • Or within artificial situation. • 5 Why?
-Why are learners attempting to acquire the second language ? -What are their purposes ? -Are they motivated by the achievement of a successful career. -by passing a foreign language requirement. -by wishing to be identified closely with the culture and people of the target language.
Language • The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia defines language as a system of communication by vocal symbols. • Pinker’s definition (p.5) • Possible definitions: • a system of communication operates in speech community or culture. • It’s essentially human although possibly not limited to humans. • It’s acquired by all people in which the same way. Language and language learning both have universal characteristics. • Language is a set of arbitrary symbols which are primarily vocal and visual. These symbols have conventionalized meaning to which they refer.
Fields of Language study related to each definition • ** Learning: It is acquiring or getting of knowledge of a subject or a skill by study, experience, or instruction. 1- Learning is acquiring or getting. 2- Learning is retention of information or skill. 3- Retention implies storage system, memory, cognitive organization. 4- Learning involves active, conscious focus on and acting upon events outside or inside the organism 5- Learning is relatively permanent but subject to forgetting. 6- Learning involves some form of practice, perhaps reinforced practice. 7- Learning is a change in behavior * Related fields of study. ** Teaching: It is showing or helping someone to learn how to do something, giving instructions, guiding in the study of something, providing with knowledge causing to know or understand.
Schools of Thought in Second Language Acquisition. Rationalism Constructivism Structuralism
Structural Linguistics and Behavioral Psychology The structural or descriptive school uses the scientific principle of observation of human language. * Only the publicly observable responses could be studied. -It described human languages and their structural characteristics -It explained that languages differ from each others without limit. -It ignored attitudes ,mind, spirit (unobservable=metalistic). -It explained that languages can be divided into pieces or units. -Behaviorists and structuralists use the empirical approaches to studying human language and behavior.
Rationalism and Cognitive Psychology -In the decade of the 1960s, the generative transformational school of linguistics emerged through the influence of Noam Chomsky. What was his idea? He was interested not only on describing language (achieving the level of descriptive adequacy) but also arriving at an explanatory level of adequacy in the study of language.
Chomsky’s distinction Competence Performance What is the difference between competence and performance?
What did the Cognitive Psychologists assert? Meaning,understanding &knowing were important data for psychological study. -Both Cognitive and generative linguists sought to discover underlying motivations and deeper structures of human behavior. How?.. By using a rational approach. * What is the difference between empirical and rational approaches?
Constructivism -It emerged in the last part of the 20th C. -Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky are names often associated with constructivism. -Constructivists argue that all human beings construct their own version of reality. They focus on individuals engaged in social practices. --Piaget stressed the importance of individual cognitive development as a relatively solitary act. Social interaction only trigger development. -Vygotsky maintained that social interaction was fundamental in cognitive development and rejected the notion of predetermined stages.
Grammar Translation Method The major characteristics of this method: 1-The student takes the class in the mother language and little in the second language. 2-The vocabulary taken as a list of individual words. 3-In grammar subject: The learner learns how to put the words together, it focuses on the form of the word and the order of the sentence.
Grammar Translation Method 4-Long explanation of grammar. 5- Reading a difficult context and little attention is paid to the content of texts. 6-There are drills and exercises on translating from TL to the mother tongue. 7-Little attention is given to pronunciation.
Disadvantages of this Method • It depends on the teacher's skill. • It doesn’t help the student to communicate in the language. • It is a method where there is no theory. • It has an endless list of vocabulary and grammar rules.