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Second Language Acquisition (L2)

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Steven Dizon

on 19 February 2014

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Transcript of Second Language Acquisition (L2)

Second Language Acquisition (SLA)
Theories/Models of SLA
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An important variable included in much SLA research, high self-esteem, or self-confidence, is believed to be an important construct for success in Second Language Learning.
Beebe (1983) finds that highly-motivated learners are often moderate risk-takers, preferring to make intelligent guesses. It is widely assumed that learners with high global self-esteem take more risks, that fossilization is due to unwillingness to take risks, and that teachers should encourage risk-taking behaviour (Brown, 1994).
What is a Second Language? (L2)
The process by which people learn a second language.
"Learn a new language today!"
What factors affect SLA?
"Some students learn a new language more quickly and easily than others."
So why learn a Second Language? :)
Second language refers to any language learned by a person in addition to his first.
Internal Factors
Internal factors are those that the individual language learner brings with him or her to the particular learning situation.
External Factors
External factors are those that characterize the particular language learning situation.
Second language acquisition is influenced by the age of the learner. Children, who already have solid literacy skills in their own language, seem to be in the best position to acquire a new language efficiently. Motivated, older learners can be very successful too, but usually struggle to achieve native-speaker-equivalent pronunciation and intonation.
Introverted or anxious learners usually make slower progress, particularly in the development of oral skills. They are less likely to take advantage of opportunities to speak, or to seek out such opportunities. More outgoing students will not worry about the inevitability of making mistakes. They will take risks, and thus will give themselves much more practice.
Intrinsic motivation has been found to correlate strongly with educational achievement. Clearly, students who enjoy language learning and take pride in their progress will do better than those who don't.
Learners who have acquired general knowledge and experience are in a stronger position to develop a new language than those who haven't. The student, for example, who has already lived in 3 different countries and been exposed to various languages and cultures has a stronger base for learning a further language than the student who hasn't had such experiences.
In general, it seems that students with greater cognitive abilities will make the faster progress. Some linguists believe that there is a specific, innate language learning ability that is stronger in some students than in others.
Students who are learning a second language which is from the same language family as their first language have, in general, a much easier task than those who aren't.
For ESL students in particular it is important that the totality of their educational experience is appropriate for their needs. Language learning is less likely to place if students are fully submersed into the mainstream program without any extra assistance or, conversely, not allowed to be part of the mainstream until they have reached a certain level of language proficiency.
Clearly, some language teachers are better than others at providing appropriate and effective learning experiences for the students in their classrooms.
Culture and Status
There is some evidence that students in situations where their own culture has a lower status than that of the culture in which they are learning the language make slower progress.
Access To Native Speakers
The opportunity to interact with native speakers both within and outside of the classroom is a significant advantage. Native speakers are linguistic models and can provide appropriate feedback. Clearly, second-language learners who have no extensive access to native speakers are likely to make slower progress, particularly in the oral/aural aspects of language acquisition.
Semantic Theory
For the second-language learner, the acquisition of meaning is arguably the most important task. Meaning it is the heart of a language, not the exotic sounds or elegant sentence structure.
Sociocultural Theory
Sociocultural theory was originally coined by Wertsch in 1985 and derived from the work of Lev Vygotsky and the Vygotsky Circle in Moscow from the 1920s onwards
Sociocultural theory is the notion that human mental function is from participating cultural mediation integrated into social activities.
Universal Grammar
The UG model of principles, basic properties which all languages share, and parameters, properties which can vary between languages, has been the basis for much second-language research.
Monitor Model
Concepts have also been influential in the speculation about the processes of building internal systems of second-language information. Some thinkers hold that language processing handles distinct types of knowledge. For instance, one component of the Monitor Model, propounded by Krashen, posits a distinction between “acquisition” and “learning.”According to Krashen, L2 acquisition is a subconscious process of incidentally “picking up” a language, as children do when becoming proficient in their first languages.
Some of the major cognitive theories of how learners organize language knowledge are based on analyzes of how speakers of various languages analyze sentences for meaning.
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Connectionism attempts to model the cognitive language processing of the human brain, using computer architectures that make associations between elements of language, based on frequency of co-occurrence in the language input.
Processability theory states that learners restructure their L2 knowledge systems in an order of which they are capable at their stage of development.
One idea is that learners acquire proficiency in an L2 in the same way that people acquire other complex cognitive skills. Automaticity is the performance of a skill without conscious control.
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Declarative Procedural Model
This model is consistent with a distinction made in general cognitive science between the storage and retrieval of facts, on the one hand, and understanding of how to carry out operations, on the other. It states that declarative knowledge consists of arbitrary linguistic information, such as irregular verb forms, that are stored in the brain’s declarative memory. In contrast, knowledge about the rules of a language, such as grammatical word order is procedural knowledge and is stored in procedural memory.
Michael T. Ullman
Anxiety caused by a competitive environment can be facilitative to success in Second Language Learning
Influencing the L2 Learning

The process of Second Language Learning could pose internal threats, such as learners judging themselves harshly for their mistakes, and external threats, where learners perceive others as judging them.
Anxiety, Extroversion and Empathy
The Prism model explains that this one-dimensional perspective does not apply to a school aged child because SLA is only one of the many processes that are occurring.
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