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How languages are learned


Luis Franco

on 9 March 2013

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Transcript of How languages are learned

LANGUAGE ACQUISITION First Language Acquisition The Behaviorist Perspective:
"Say What I say" The innatist perspective:
"It's all in your mind" Chomsky challenged the behaviorist explanation for language acquisition. He argued that children are biologically programmed for language and that language develops in the child in just the same way that walk as long as adequate nourishment and reasonable freedom of movement are provided.

Chomsky argued that the behaviorist theory failed to account for "the logical problem of language acquisition"- the fact that children come to know more about the structure of their language that they could reasonably be expected to learn on the basis of the samples of language they hear. Interactionist/developmental perspectives:
"Learning from inside and out" Constructivism is basically a theory -- based on observation and scientific study -- about how people learn. It says that people construct their own understanding and knowledge of the world, through experiencing things and reflecting on those experiences. When we encounter something new, we have to reconcile it with our previous ideas and experience, maybe changing what we believe, or maybe discarding the new information as irrelevant. In any case, we are active creators of our own knowledge. To do this, we must ask questions, explore, and assess what we know. LANGUAGE
The words, their pronunciation, and the methods of combining them used and understood by a community.

Merriam Webster Dictionary Behaviorism is the assumption that human and animal behaviors are determined by learning and reinforcement. Whether by classical conditioning or operant conditioning, species acquire new skills, deepening on the effects these skills have on the specie's environment. If an action proves to have a positive outcome (e.g., if by pressing a button, a rat receives food), the organism is more likely to continue to repeat this behavior. However, if the outcome is negative (e.g., if by pressing a button, a rat rat receives a shock), the organism is less likely to repeat the behavior. Randall (36 months) has a sore on his hand.
Mother: Maybe we need to take you to the doctor.
Randall: Why? So he can doc my little bump? Cindy (24 months, 16 days) is looking at a picture of a carrot in a book and trying to get Patsy's attention.
Cindy: Kawo? Kawo? Kawo?
Patsy: What are the rabbits eating?
Cindy: They eating ... Kando?
Patsy: No, that´s a carrot.
Cindy: Carrot (Pointing to each carrot on the page) The other... carrot. The other carrot.
(A few minutes later, Cindy brings Patsy a stuffed toy rabbit.)
Patsy: What does this rabbit like to eat?
Cindy: (incomprehensible) eat the carrots
(Cindy gets another stuffed rabbit)
Cindy: He (incomprehensible) eat carrots. The other one eat carrots. They both eat carrots.
(One week later, Cindy opens the book to the same page)
Cindy: here is the carrot (pointing) is that a carrot?
Patsy: Yes
(Lightbrown, 2006) An example of how positive and negative reinforcement work comes immediately to mind: they are portrayed in a very funny way during a scene of the popular TV sitcom "The Big Bang Theory". Behaviorists see imitation and practice as the primary process in which language is developed. Henceforth, the quality and quantity of the language the child hears combined with the immediate feedback (reinforcement) offered by others and the environment will be the determinative factors that shape the child's language behavior.

This is not, however, necessarily true in practice. Let us study some examples extracted from research that show how some of these affirmations should be reconsidered. Conclusion Behaviorism provides some basic principles of how children learn some mechanical aspects of language, in the early stages of development. It does not, however, provide a satisfactory explanation of how children acquire more complex grammar structures later on. Chomsky had hypothesized that children are born with a specific ability to discover the rules of a language system that they are constantly exposed to. This was seen as template that contained the principles to human languages. Provided that children have this Universal Grammar, then what they have to learn is the way in which the language they are acquiring make sense of these principles. The innatist perspective of language acquisition puts special emphasis in the fact that children acquire their native language successfully if they are raised in environments where people interact with them. These ideas are closely linked to the Critical Period Hypothesis that states that animals, including humans, have to get certain amount of knowledge and skills at specific times of life. Conversely, regarding language, if children are not given access to language in they early years they will never acquire language. The following is a rare documented example of this perspective. Conclusion The innatist perspective is seen as an explanation for the logical problem of language acquisition, that is, the question of how adults speakers know the complex structures of their first language on the basis of language that they are exposed to. Genie, a thirteen-year-old girl who had been isolated, neglected, and abused, was discovered in California (Rymer 1993). Because of the irrational demands of a disturbed father and the submission and fear of an abused mother, Genie had spent more that eleven years tied to a chair or a crib in a small darkened room. Her father had forbidden his wife and son to speak to Genie and had himself only growled and barked at her. She was beaten when she made any kind of noise, and sh had long since resorted to compete silence. Genie was undeveloped physically, emotionally, and intellectually. She had no language. http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/concept2class/constructivism/index.html The Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky concluded that language develops primarily from social interaction. He argued that in a supportive interactive environment, children are able to advance to a higher level of knowledge and performance. Vygotsky referred to his metaphorical place in which the children could do more than they would be capable of independently as the ZONE OF PROXIMAL DEVELOPMENT (ZPD). Second Language Acquisition These examples of children's speech provide us with a window on the process of language learning. Imitation and practice alone cannot explain some of the forms created by the children. They are no merely repetitions of sentences that they have heard from adults. Rather, children appear to pick our patterns and generalize them to new contexts. they create new forms or new uses of words. Their sentences are usually comprehensible and often correct. http://www.google.com.gt/imgres?q=zpd&hl=es&sa=X&tbo=d&biw=1280&bih=699&tbm=isch&tbnid=WpRcuUWz8SezuM:&imgrefurl=http://szdecastell.com/educ471/%3Fauthor%3D30&docid=ZCUCXFjCq1KU6M&imgurl=http://szdecastell.com/educ471/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/ZPD12.jpg&w=640&h=212&ei=tfS4UMiICo2q8ATtz4GQDQ&zoom=1&iact=hc&dur=7856&sig=100025030092924294766&page=1&tbnh=82&tbnw=248&start=0&ndsp=23&ved=1t:429,r:13,s:0,i:120&tx=181&ty=71&vpx=290&vpy=361&hovh=129&hovw=390 In adult second language L2 acquisition, the L2 is acquired later in adolescence or adulthood. There may be less input and a lower frequency of certain forms or structures. L2 learners may be, but are usually not, immersed in the L2 because they are in classes. Teacher's praise is not as consistent and focused as parental praise is, and L2 learners get far less individual teacher's attention.
How can we connect what we know about age-related learning to the classroom? Here are a few suggestions: Teachers can make sure there is a lot of L2 input in the classroom through their own speech (which provides language modeling), video and audio with activities, and language practice in groups and pairs. Teachers can provide opportunities for outside exposure to the L2. In ESL settings, teachers need to assign real-life tasks that involve extensive real-life listening and language activities.
In EFL settings, teachers can find L2 language opportunities, such as going to institutions where English is spoken. Any time there are events with a visiting writer or speaker from an English-speaking country, teachers should encourage students to attend. Teachers need to provide multiple opportunities for using a variety of language structures and vocabulary. Teachers should also be aware of the critical role of encouragement and praise in the classroom and learn how to do it effectively. Cognitive Differences Affective differences Differences between learners
The Affective Filter Hypothesis Krashen´s SLA Theory SLA FACTORS There is much research conducted to explain the role of brain lateralization in SLA. Many agree that there is a particular plasticity of the brain prior to puberty, which enables children to acquire a second language more easily. As brain functions become lateralized this learning process may become more difficult.
Functions are assigned to either the right or left hemisphere of the brain. As language learning becomes more focused on the left hemisphere, such aspects as pronunciation, social projection and fluency are affected. Neurological
SLA encompasses the ability to produce a particular language´s sounds. Much of this process involves mouth and throat positioning. As learners become older this process may increase in difficulty. This ‘muscle work’ may play an important factor in communicatively acceptable pronunciation. Psychomotor Language Automaticity

Meaningful Learning

The Anticipation of Rewards

Intrinsic Motivation

Strategic Investment Cognitive Factors Language teaching must follow a gradual process taking into account relevant stages.

Language learning must be conducted through meanginful context and a supportive environment.

Input plays an important role in language learning.

Language learning motivating factors are of utmost importance. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS
Native language language effect
Communicative Competence Linguistic Factors Krashen contrasts these two terms. We "acquire" as we are exposed to samples of the second language we understand in much the same way that children pick up their first language- with no conscious attention to language form. We "learn" on the other hand through conscious attention to form and rule learning. Monitor Hypothesis The acquired system initiates a speaker's utterances and is responsible for spontaneous language use. the learned system acts as an editor of "monitor", making minor changes and polishing what the acquired system has produced. Such monitoring takes place only when the speaker/writer has plenty of time, is concerned about producing correct language, and learned the relevant rules. Natural Order Hypothesis It was based on the finding that, as in first language acquisition, second language acquisition unfolds in predictable sequences. The language features that are easiest too state (and thus to learn) are not necessarily the first to be acquired. For example, the rule for adding an -s to third person singular verbs in the present tense is easy to state, but even some advance second language speakers fail to apply it in spontaneous conversation. Input Hypothesis Is that acquisition occurs when one is exposed to language that is comprehensible and that contains i+1. The "i" represents the level of language already acquired, and the "+1" is a metaphor for language (words, grammatical forms, aspects of pronunciation) that is just a step beyond that level. Affective filter Hypothesis Is a metaphorical barrier that prevents learners from acquiring language even when appropriate input is available. "Affect" refers to feelings, motives, needs, attitudes, and emotional states. A learner who is tense, anxious, or bored may "filter out" input, making it unavailable for acquisition. Conclusion Vygotsky observed the importance of interactions and conversation that children have with adults and other children. To him the origins of both language and thought were these conversations. Thought is essentially internalized speech, and speech emerges in social interaction.

One-to-one interaction gives the child access to language that is adjusted to his level of comprehension. When a child does not understand, the adult may repeat or paraphrase the response of the adult may also allow children to find out when their own utterances are understood. In this example, Cindy is working towards acquiring her first language. It takes a great deal of effort to produce correct utterances (Kawo - Carrot).
It is interesting to note, however, that even a week later she remembers what she was taught in the previous "lesson" and picks up from there.
This interaction supports the behaviorist explanation that language is a learned behavior such as brushing one's teeth or tying one's shoes.
Nevertheless, the decision of what to imitate seems to lie within each child rather than by some external motivation provided by the environment. Randall infers that the verb "doc" is what doctors do since his previous knowledge dictates that farmers, farm; swimmers, swim; and actors, act.

This is evidence that the amount of imitation that children do varies from one to another. Additionally, it shows that they are using the language in a creative manner not just repeating exactly what they had just heard. 1. Baker, C. (2001). Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. 3rd edition. Clevedon: Multilingual Matter.

2. Berko Gleason, J. (ed. 2005) The Development of Language. Allyn and Bacon and Longman Publishers. 6th edition.

3. Block, D. (2003) The Social Turn in Second Language Acquisition. Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press. 1st. edition.

4. Cummins, J. (2000) Language, Power and Pedagogy: Bilingual Children in the Crossfire. Clevedon: Multiligual Matters. 1st edition.

5. Krashen, S. D. (1982) Principles and Practice in the Second Lnanguage Acquisition. Oxford: Pergamon.

6. Ligthbown, Patsy M. and Nina Spada (2006) How Languages are Learned. Oxford University Press. England. 5th edition.

7. Piper, T. (1998). Language and Learning: The Home and School Years. 2nd. edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ. Cambride University Press.

8. Shekan, P. (1998) A Cognitive Approach to Lnaguage Learning. Oxford. Oxford University Press.

9. VanPatten, B. (2004) Processing Instruction: Theory, Research, and Commentary. Mahawah, NJ. Lawrence Erlbaum and Associates. Bibliography LUIS EDUARDO FRANCO MAURICIO
ID: UB20429HEN28440


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