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Copy of Theories in L2 Acquisition

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Maya Boukadi

on 24 November 2011

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Transcript of Copy of Theories in L2 Acquisition

Researchers attempt to describe the rules of the learner’s idiosyncratic grammar.
Idiosyncratic utterances are described by means of a comparison between L1 and L2.

Corder presents us with four categories to describe errors:

“Classifying errors in these ways can help us to diagnose learners’ learning problems at any stage of their development and to plot how changes in error patterns occur over time.” Ellis (1997)

Omission: occurs at the level of morphology or syntax
Addition: occurs at the level of morphology, syntax and lexicon
Selection: syntax and morphology
Ordering: pronunciation, syntax, morphology, lexicon
L2 Acquisition CAH
Hypothesis EAH
Hypothesis ILT
Theory Conclusion Split New Absent Coalesced Mariem Boukadi
Cirine Zouaidi The Advent
of the
Error Analysis Hypothesis The Error Analysis Hypothesis was introduced by P.S. Corder in the late 1960's. He foregrounded the importance of errors in the study of the second language learning process.

The general purpose of the Error Analysis Hypothesis was to define what is a severe error and how these errors should be dealt with in the most efficient way in order to enhance the learner's progress.

LS LT IL Outline Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis (CAH) I. Contrastive Analysis (CA) II. CAH- A Predictive Theory III. Behavioristic Influence IV. Structuralist Influence V. Procedure of CAH 1) Description 2) Comparison 3) Prediction VI. Criticism of CAH VII. Strong vs. Weak Versions of CAH Error Analysis Hypothesis (EAH) I.

The Advent of EAH II.

Definition and Types of Errors


Sources of Errors 1) Interlingual Errors 2) Intralingual Errors IV. Stages of EAH 1) Recognition of Errors 2) Description of Errors 3) Explanation of Errors V. Criticism of EAH Interlanguage Theory (ILT) I. Definition: What is Interlanguage? III. Characteristics of IL IV. Cognitive Processes of IL II. Stages of Interlanguage 1) Random Errors/Orders 2) Emergent Stage 3) Systematic Stage 4) Stabilization Stage V. Variability VI. Criticism of ILT Correspondence Types of errors First, Corder proceeded to define the term error as a deviancy from L2 rules. He then distinguished between mistakes, lapses and errors:

• Mistakes (pre-systematic errors): They are in fact “performance errors” (Brown 2000: 217), namely casual errors which are due to lack of attention and can be corrected by the learner.

• Lapses (post-systematic errors): Like mistakes they are of no consequential importance and do not indicate a deficiency of the leaner’s mastery of the TL grammar.

• Errors (systematic errors): These were known as “competence errors” and were revealing of the learner’s L2 learning stage. Accordingly, EA was mainly concerned with systematic errors and placed the focus on them.
• The belief that the linguistic differences can be used to predict difficulties gave rise to the extendable notion of CA called Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis.
• CAH is the capacity to extract a hypothesis from comparing 2 languages; the predictive version.
• It is also founded on the theory of transfer.
Lado believes that ”Individuals tend to transfer the forms and meanings and the distribution of forms and meanings of their native language and culture to the foreign language and culture”
(Lado, Linguistics across cultures 1957. P2)
L1 = L2 positive transfer
L1 = L2 negative transfer

Lado concentrated mostly on differences (problems) which, according to him : ” require massive practice”

Two types of errors: global or local

• Global errors are errors that include a whole sentence or paragraph and make the learner’s utterance unintelligible. The utterance is globally ungrammatical and unintelligible.

• Local errors are errors limited to a word or a morpheme and as such do not disrupt the intended meaning. The utterance is locally ungrammatical but interpretable.
According to Corder, deviant utterances are either:

• Overtly erroneous: the deviancy shows on the surface
• Covertly erroneous: Seemingly correct but misused by the learner in terms of meaning

x x y for Sources of Errors:
Interlingual vs. Intralingual por para 1) Interlingual Errors: The aforementioned weak version of CAH was the starting point of EAH. Interlingual errors arise from L1 interference and are explained by means of the weak version of CAH.

It was believed that second learners’ errors resulted from an unconscious transfer of L1 structures to the Target Language (i-e negative transfer).

EA consisted in undertaking a contrastive analysis of the two languages in order to explain and detect the source of errors that occurred.

2) Intralingual/Developmental Errors: O X Marking grammatical gender X O

Do as a tense carrier Errors which do not have as their source L1 interference.

Corder was influenced by Chomsky’s view of language acquisition as rule formation. It was indeed discovered that L2 learners too make what is known as “developmental errors”.
Second language learners followed the same process of rule formation as L1 learners when learning the target language. [Hypothesis formation ---hypothesis testing (where the errors arise) ----correction]

Error Analysis was subsequently used to analyze those errors and detect their sources.

This changed the perspective on errors not as something to be avoided but as a vital component of the language learning process.

“Learner’s errors … are significant in that they provide to the researcher evidence of how language is learned or acquired, what strategies or procedures the learner is employing in the discovery of the language.” (Corder in Brown 2000:217)

y X his/ her is realized as a single form: SU x x -ing = ndo as a complement with verbs of reception L1: English L2: Spanish Stages of Error Analysis Hierarchy of Difficulty 1) Recognition of Errors:
Recognition of errors mainly consists in finding errors in learners' utterances then figuring out what the learner originally meant to say, either by asking them (authoritative reconstruction) or by making an interpretation based on the context in which the sentence was uttered (plausible interpretation).

This process results in the discovery of the learner’s interlanguage grammar or Idiosyncratic Dialect as Corder calls it.

• The hypothesis is linked to behaviorism with Skinner.

• Language learning is a habit formation and learning a new language is simply learning new habits.

• These new habits are responses from stimuli.

• We learn through imitation, memorization and reinforcement.

L1 habit = L2 habit facilitation

L1 habit = L2 habit interference
Contrastive Analysis is a system /a procedure laid down to compare two languages with the perspective of identifying the differences and the similarities in terms of phonology, grammar, writing systems as well as culture.

It was adopted in the 50’s and early 60’s.

It was advocated and rose from the study of P.S. Lado (Linguistics Across Cultures 1957) who describes the impact of L1 on L2.
Lado’s main view: ” The plan of the book rests on the assumption that we can predict and describe the patterns that will cause difficulty in learning, and those that will not cause difficulty, by comparing systematically the language and the culture to be learned with the native language and culture of the student”( Lado, Linguistics Across Cultures 1957, Preface) 2) Description of Errors: “Those elements that are similar to this native language will be simple for him, and those elements that are different will be difficult" Lado (1957, P2) Stokwell, Bowen and Martin gave a sophisticated version in 1965 The Grammatical Structures of English and Spanish; the hierarchy of difficulty.

3) Explanation of Errors:
• The model of CAH is structuralism explained by Bloomfield (1933)

• Language is believed to have a set of finite structures.

• In its formal method of description and comparison, CA focuses on the structure in the language; we can describe the structures of two languages and compare them.

• Language is a rule governed system that can be separated into sub-systems that each have their own internal structures.

Bloomfield’s (1933: 140) “the statement of meanings is therefore the weak point in language study, and will remain so until human knowledge advances very far beyond its present state”
"The most efficient materials are those that are based upon a scientific description of the language to be learned, carefully compared with a parallel description of the native language of the learner."(1945 P9)

“Our object in error analysis is to explain errors linguistically and psychologically in order to help the learner to learn. “ (Corder, 1971)

In this stage researchers attempt to explain the psychological and linguistic reasons behind the errors the learner has made.

Two explanations have been put forth:

• Interference of L1 (transfer of L1 habits to L2)
• Hypothesis formation and testing

1) Description:
Make a formal description of the 2 languages.

2) Comparison:
Identify the parts of differences and similarities.

3) Prediction:
Identify the areas that are going to cause errors.
The procedures of CAH Criticism
of the
Error Analysis Hypothesis Schachter and Celce-Murcia discovered that six areas of EAH were dysfunctional:

1) The analysis of errors in isolation, namely without taking into account the context in which they occurred.
2) The classification of identified errors
3) Statements of error frequency
4) The identification of points of difficulty (avoidance)
5) The ascription of causes to systematic errors
6) The biased nature of sampling procedures

These shortcomings made EA inefficient.
Random errors/orders The learner is aware that there must be a system, but he is not sure about it. Stage2
Emergent Stage The learner starts to identify the system and internalize the rules; they are not a 100% exact but the best that the learner has at this level. Stage3
Systematic Stage A system of rules close to L2 rules, learners make mistakes more than errors. Stage4
Stabilization Stage
Less errors and closer to L2.
Appearance of the problem of fossilization. Fossilization: According to Selinker “Fossilizable linguistic phenomena are linguistic items, rules and subsystems which speakers of a particular NL will tend to keep in their IL relative to a particular TL, no matter what the age of the learner or amount of explanation and instruction he receives in the TL. (NL - Native Language; IL - Interlanguage; TL - Target Language)

Some IL rules become unchangeable and fixed in the learner’s interlanguage. That does not necessarily mean that the learner’s progress will be completely arrested but that they will keep making specific errors which have at their origin those fossilized rules. The phenomenon of fossilization accounts for the fact that most learners never achieve full competence in the TL.
Interlanguage Continuum Contrastive Analysis (CA) CAH
A Predictive Theory 1) Simplistic Prediction: 2) Sophisticated Prediction: Behavioristic Influence Structuralist Influence CAH Criticism In the early 1970’s problems started to appear since CAH becomes subject to empirical test.

1) Chomsky

Chomsky’s review of Skinner’s verbal behavior (1959) challenged the behaviorist view of language acquisition.
• The critique of Chomsky has led to the fall of behaviorism and consequently the collapse of CAH

Structuralism is criticized; the structures of any given language are infinite and therefore they can’t be compared
Structuralism is “as an impoverished and thoroughly inadequate conception of language” Chomsky

2) Not all errors are found because of L1 transfer only

3) Buteau ‘the French sentences that correspond literally to their English equivalents are not necessarily the easiest to learn'(1970 P 138) led to the critique of Lado’s simplistic prediction.

4) Mispredictions

• CAH underpredicted: errors that occurred CAH had failed to predict
• CAH overpredicted: errors that failed to occur

CA lists similarities and differences (ease/difficulty) for lado, unlike the hierarchy of difficulty built by Stockwell and Co.
The subjects vary in age which makes the hypothesis doubtful. Attitude, aptitude and motivation are considered potentially relevant for such comparison.
The contribution of the learner is neglected.
This is the fall of CAH but not of CA (the mechanism; because the influence of l1 upon L2 is undeniable)
Strong vs. Weak
Versions of CAH
• Strong: a priori
Predict errors in l2 based upon a priori CA of L1 and L2.

• Weak: a posteriori
Explanation of errors in l2 after the fact; a shift from a predictive power to an explanatory one
This version develops later into Error Analysis.
Definition: What is Interlanguage? Interlanguage is the term coined by Selinker(1972) also referred to as:

• Idiosyncratic dialect Corder (1971)
• Approximative system Nemser (1971)

It is neither the L1 nor the L2 but rather a system in between; the output of the learner’s attempt to produce L2.

“Language system that the learner constructs out of the linguistic data to which [s/he] has been exposed” (LF&L, p. 60).

It is believed to be the learner’s own version of L2 that evolves over time near L2; the learner progresses on the interlanguage continuum.
Characteristics of IL Interlanguage is: systematic and dynamic

Systematic: Interlanguages are characterized by a system of rules specific to them.

Dynamic: The most important feature of interlanguage is that it is dynamic; ILs keep evolving until the learner acquires the target language.

The learner tests a hypothesis and sees if it is correct; then he revises his system accordingly (gradual improvement)

‘By a gradual process of trial & error + hypothesis testing, learners slowly and tediously succeed in establishing closer & closer appropriateness to the system used by Native Speakers of the language. (Principles of Language Learning & Teaching, Brown P.168)
The Cognitive Processes of IL 1) Language transfer: transfer of some L1 features into L2
2) Overgeneralization: use of L2 rules in a not allowed structure
3) Transfer of training: transfer of certain element through the teaching procedure
4) Strategies of L2 learning: certain IL rules result from learning strategies; ex: simplification “as a tendency on the part of the learners to reduce the TL [target language] to a simpler system” (Selinker, 1972 P 219)
5) Communication strategies: learner omits certain redundant features like “it was nice, nice film”
Variability Interlanguages are characterized by variability, namely the learner’s intermediate grammar, while remaining the same, takes on different forms and styles in different social contexts.

IL variations can be explained by:

Individual learner factors: age, aptitude, motivation, personality and cognitive style.
Contextual factors: involves social and linguistic context.

Social context: learners use different variations of the same interlanguage in different situations, they adapt the style to the social context they are faced with.

Linguistic context: learners produce errors in a certain type of sentences and not in others, ex: they make no errors in single clauses but they make errors in the 2nd clause of a complex sentence. This is the example:
He buys her a bunch of flowers

He visits her everyday and buy her flowers
Criticism of ILT IL theories are derived from the studies following EA which is a mode of inquiry. EA is limited in its scope and concentrated on the errors rather than how the learners succeeded. So, IL theories are limited in the process of explanation.

Researchers focus on the psycholinguistic aspects of L2 learning and do not take into account the social context. It is believed that L2 learners are taught in an artificial setting (classroom).

"IL is governed by a unitary competence; learners perform differently in different situations with different interlocutors." Brown 2007: 218-222 for a review

IL focuses mostly on psycholinguistic aspects and ignores the social factors

Nowadays, researchers prefer to call it “language learner language”

Key Concepts CAH Transfer
Describe, compare and predict.
Differences/ similarities=difficulty/ ease
Positive transfer Vs. Negative transfer
Facilitation/ interference
Language is habit formation/ a rule governed system
A priori/ a posteriori
EAH Weak version of CAH
Developmental Errors
Mistakes/ lapses/ errors
Idiosyncratic Dialect
Global/local errors
Overt/covert errors
Language as rule formation
ILT Language transfer
Transfer of training
Strategies of L2 learning
Communication strategies
Random errors/emergent stage/systematic stage/ stabilization stage.
Idiosyncratic dialect/ approximative system
Dynamic/ develops

References Motoko Ueyama, Prosodic Transfer: an acoustic study of L2 English VS. L2 Japanese; UCLA,2000
Yang, Byung-gon, A Review of the CAH, 1992.2.PPA 133-149
Heejeong Ko, Interlanguage Grammar in second language acquisition, MIT
Selinker, L, Interlanguage, International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language teaching, 10:3(1972)P.209
Contrastive analysis: An overview, Graham Thurgod
Contrastive Analysis, Error Analysis, Interlanguage1
Paul Lennon
Error analysis as a tool for measuring second language development , Felicity de Vries , August 2009

In Annual Review of Applied Linguistics20 (2000) 182-198,Still wrestling with 'context' in interlanguage theory ; Elaine Tarone

Classification of Errors Types of Error Interlingual Interference Intralingual Overgeneralization Simplification (Redundancy reduction) Communication-based Induced Errors Example *Is the book of my friend. *I wonder where are you going. *I studied English for two year. *The learner uses 'airball' for balloon (word coinage, Tarone 1980) *She cries as if the baby cries FOR 'She cries like a baby'. (Stenson 1974) Explanation The omission of the subject pronoun and the use of the 'of the' possessive appear to be due to Spanish interference. The speaker has perhaps overgeneralized the rule of subject-auxiliary inversion and applied it here to an embedded WH-question incorrectly. The learner incorrectly labels an object but successfully communicates a desired concept. The teacher had given the student a definition of 'as if' meaning 'like' without explaining the necessary structural change. The omission of the plural marker following the noun year could be termed redundancy reduction as no information is lost, i-e. the cardinal number already signals plurality. Source: Error Taxonomy Table 3.2- An Introduction to Second Language Acquition Research, 263. Wardaugh (1970)
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