Chapter 10 Second Language acquisition What is SLA (second language acquisition)? new SLA is a new branch (1970s). acquired vs. learned Most second language is achieved by learning. SLA & LAD LAD (language acquisition device) exposure ( an L2 environment) acquisition (acquire the second language)
SLA (second language acquisition) It refers to any language acquired not as a mother tongue. e.g. Taiwanese students L1: Southern Min /Hakka /one of the Formosa languages L2: Mandarin (most literature on English learning in Taiwan refers to English as a second language) L3: English SLA ≈ LA (the early stage) At the early stage, the main methods of SLA essentially follow those on L1 studies: observations &experiments.
new term: interlanguage(Selinker, 1972) focus: SLA model ( L1 ) interlanguage( L2 ) main issues: (a) internal device (b) input, process& output (c) individual difference in cognition (d) personalities (e) the difference between L1 &L2 acquisition (f) teaching environments &pedagogical theories
outline 1. universal grammar and SLA 2. the role of mother tone 3. input and output 4. individual difference 5. personalities and strategies 6. a comparison between L1 and L2 acquisition 7. types of teaching 8. teaching approaches 9. summary
1. Universal grammar & SLA SLA lies in the LAD & UG in the brain. 1.1 Language Acquisition Device (LAD) 1.2 Universal Grammar (UG) 1.3 LA (L1) &SLA (L2)
1.1 LAD (Language Acquisition Device) LAD innate in the brain like other biological organs grow get matured fade away UG in the LAD LAD & LA / SLA LAD (language acquisition device) exposure ( an L1 / L2 environment) acquisition (acquire the language)
1.2 Universal Grammar (UG) There is Universal Grammar composed of universal principles & parameter settings in LAD. (1) universal principles the grammar unit of internal structure (2) parameter settings different parameter settings different grammatical configurations
(1) universal principles the grammar unit of internal structure English: NP (noun phrase) + VP (verb phrase) Japanese: NP (noun phrase) + VP (verb phrase)
(2) parameter setting basis Different parameter settings give rise to different tree configurations.
different parameter settings different tree configurations English: an SVO (subject + verb + object) language Japanese: an SOV (subject + object + verb) language
1. 3 LA (L1) & SLA (L2) L1: need not to learn (no grammar) UG fluently (V) the universal grammar would help generate all the possible grammatical structure of that language in accordance with the parameter setting L2: need to learn (L1 grammar) L1 grammar fluently (X) accent most SLA learners fail to speak the target language fluently foreign accents: transfer of the first language
SLA studies If two grammars (L1 &L2) are put in a language acquisition device (LAD), what would happen? LAD ? L1 grammar L2 grammar
2. The role of mother tone Three theories in SLA Learners got a grammar of mother tongue interference of L1 grammar 2.1 Contrastive Analysis (CA) 2.2 Marked Differential Hypothesis (MDH) 2.3 Speech Learning Model (SLM)
2.1 Contrastive Analysis (CA) compare L1 & L2 It emphasizes the importance in comparing the first language (L1) with the second language (L2) and the knowledge of which structure appears in the target language but absent from the mother tongue. core idea A structure present in the target language (L2) but absent from the first language (L1) will be difficult for SLA learners.
a support in phonetic contrast :[, , , t, ,d, r, v] CAH prediction: Chinese students acquire English consonants [, , , t, ,d, r, v] with more difficulties.
a support in phonology diphthong formation of five vowels [, , a, , ]
AC (Assimilatory Constraint) Only vowels sharing with the same backness can constitute a diphthong. DC (DissimilatoryConstraint ) Vowels sharing the same backnessare prohibited from forming a diphthong.
Mandarin diphthongs The four Mandarin diphthongs are either [+ back] or [- back].
Southern Min diphthong Vowels with different value in backness are allowed for a Southern Min diphthong, which is different from the constraint of Mandarin diphthong structure.
CAH prediction Southern Min speakers vs. English a problem with diphthongs [ou] & [ei] (violate the DC) a deletion (deleting the less sonorant vowel) Southern Min speakers vs. boat [bout] & bought[bt] (X)
Can CAH explain all errors or difficulties? (X) e.g. *He teaches students must be patient. (by a Taiwanese student, a direct translation from Chinese: 他教學生必須有耐心) In structure: a. He who teaches students must be patient. b. He teaches students to be patient.
Error Analysis (EA) Corder (1964) Corder proposed that we had to collect and examine student’s errors before CA was applied to account for the possible errors. CA predictions (V & X) CA cannot always make correct predictions The tenet of EA It is to collect and sort out the error data that SLA students have made in the production of the target language.
EA & CA EA (to collect & examine the errors) CA (to account for the possible errors) the procedure The procedure of error data collection (1) finding out the errors (2) pointing out why such errors emerge (3) sorting out the error data (4) trying to explain what causes errors to happen (5) evaluating the impact on SLA
EA (V) Errors are of patterns (the DC). e.g. Taiwanese students’ difficulties: diphthongs [ou] (boat), [ei] (day), [ie] (yes) contribution: preventing students from fossilizing the errors EA (X) Errors can hardly be sorted. e.g. (X) *John taked Mary to the park yesterday. the error: taked the short knowledge of past tense (?) the spelling of take suffixed with -ed (?)
CA & EA (two sides of a coin) From the perspective of speech production (V) have contributions in SLA (V) always make correct predictions (V & X) e.g. the consonants [, , , t, ,d, r, v] (X, absent from Chinese inventories) In CA, they are treated equally difficult, but which one is the most difficult to acquire? In EA, how many errors can constitute a pattern? How can teachers help prevent errors from happening in the class? To what extent can an error be?
2.2 Markedness Differential Hypothesis (MDH) Any component of a grammar can be divided into two types: marked & unmarked. (1) marked: It refers to those sounds or syntactic structures appearing in fewer languages. (2) unmarked: It is the part shared with most languages.
MDH rule: Between A and B, A is marked if A occurs then B occurs, while not vice versa. a linguistic data:[b, d, g] & [p, t, k]
MDH tenet: the unmarked components can be acquired with ease the marked components are acquired with difficulty : this consonant is highly marked (it does not appear in most languages) MDH:  > [, , , t, d, r, v] ( is the most difficult one) CAH:[, , , t, ,d, r, v] (equally difficult)
:the lax front vowel  of English is also marked. (It is not one of the Cardinal vowels. It is not phonemic in most languages.) MDH: For English learners in Taiwan,  is usually substituted with [e], resulting in the confusionbetween &[e] (get vs. gate). (unmarked ones easy to be acquired) (the more marked the more difficult to be acquired)
2.3 Speech Learning Model (SLM) perspective perception: SLM production: CA & EA 2 types (1) new sounds (X in L1) entirely absent from the inventories of the mother tongue (those ones absent from L1) (2) old sounds (= or ≈ in L1) identical with or similar to the sounds of the mother tongue (those ones similar or identical with L1)
a new sound: unfamiliar judged new put in a new category an old sound: familiar pass the L1 filter (equivalence classification) categorized into one of the mother tongue inventories
The Primary Idea of SLM The new sounds are difficult to acquire at first but can mastered at last, on the contrary, the old sounds, especially similar ones, are easy to be acquired at first but difficult to be mastered at last (Chung, 2006). • new: difficult to be acquired in the beginning, • but can be learned eventually • old: easy to be acquired in the beginning, • but difficult to be mastered eventually
Predictions: learning difficulties of CAH, MDH & SLM
, , , , , , , three predictions of a study on Taiwanese students’ acquisition of English fricatives & affricatives CAH: All the sounds of , , , , , , , are equally difficult because they are absent from Mandarin. MDH: is the most difficult, because it is marked. SLM: , , can be mastered, while , , , cannot, because , , , are similar (old) sounds.
The Findings (1) most students are able to produce , , , well to such an extent that there is no significant difference between Taiwanese students and American natives (2) there is no significant difference between junior and senior high school students in terms of English fricative and affricate production The findings fall in the prediction of SLM.
3. Input and output SLA processing works in the model of ( Input ) interlanguage( Output) 3.1 Input Hypothesis 3.2 Output Hypothesis 3.3 Interaction Hypothesis
3.1 Input Hypothesis Interlanguage(autonomous, independent) (1) A language system which is neither the first language nor of the second (target) language, but might share the specific properties of the first and the second language (the target language is not entirely captured or acquired). L1 ≠ interlanguage ≠ L2 (2) a stage children’s language is not clear enough to be comprehensible children’s language ??? (3) an analogy L1 (orange juice) + L2 (grape juice) = ?
Input Hypothesis (1) mother tongue & input Any LA is in need of input. Children acquire L1, mother tongue works as input. Parents usually provide children with simplified input. (2) one single manner for SLA The input should be comprehensible to the learners. incomprehensible input = unintelligible input helpless (3)i + 1 (Krashen): SLA works i : the starting point of comprehensible input + 1: every class helps improve a little bit (i) (+ 1): be comprehensible to learners
3.2 Output Hypothesis (1) background LA works in two ways: inputs & outputs. an input (comprehensible) ≠ an output (comprehensible) (2) the process The act of producing language (speaking or writing) constitutes, under certain circumstances, part of the process of second language. (3) the output (speak out) The output is one of the important factors for a successful SLA. open the mouth & speak it out SLA (V)
3.3 Interaction Hypothesis (1) Input + output Both input & output interact with each other in the whole process of SLA. (2) Negotiation (achieve the goal of i+1) comprehensible input (not necessarily) one may get the information by negotiation / discussion repetition + confirmation + clarification a successful negotiation (3) input + output + input-output Each of inputs, output, and input-output interaction plays a certain role in SLA.
4. Individual difference Individual difference plays a role in SLA. In terms of personality individuals are of two types: (1) Field Independence (2) Field Dependence
4.1 Field Independence (1) characteristics sensible & calm good at logical reasoning pictures / reading materials smaller components reading: fully devoted, ignoring what happens around (2) acquiring a second language (as mathematics) realize sentences can be constructed on the basic constituents vocabulary, categories & syntactic structure in no time.
(3) In different environments in traditional teaching & learning environment (V) good at grammar analysis & sentence structure in communicative approach environment (V) never discouraged happy with different activities in teaching devote themselves to the comprehension of the contexts
4.2 Field Dependence (1) characteristics (opposite to field independence) inclined to be distracted by activities around good at fast reading able to capture what is revealed in the text emphasize comprehension focus on the whole meaning of sentences / passage (2) acquiring a second language It seems that students of field independence are superior to those of field dependence in almost every respect save in SLA.
(3) in different learning environments field of independence (V) & field of dependence (V) In the SLA literature, both types have their own merits. proper environments Students of either type should be provided with proper teaching or learning environments. all learners SLA (V) All the students are potentially able to acquire a good second language.
5. Personalities & Strategies Language acquisition is subject to individual differences. There are other personalities, each of which has much to do with SLA. 5.1 Personalities 5.2 Learning Strategies
5.1 Personalities unique Personalities are just like faces, every individual is unique. 4 categories in SLA studies, four have been categorized: (1) aptitude (2) attitude (3) motivation (4) empathy
(1) aptitude (age, talents & out-spoken) age the earlier of exposure, the better talent some are inclined for languages, some mathematics being out-spoken (V) energetic & open-minded like to practice speaking / inclined to speak out whatever occurs to them successful SLA (speaking, the first step) (X) uncomfortable to speak spend a lot of time reading superior in memorizing good essays improve SLA
(2) Attitude positive attitude students with positive attitudes find ways out to solve possible difficulties better achievers in SLA relation of attitudes & SLA achievements The more positive attitude a learner has, the more chances for him to be successful in SLA.
(3) Motivation (integrative & instrumental) • high motivation successful learners • Whatever type of motivation it may be, students with high motivation are on a way to a successful learner of a second language.