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school of thought in second language acquisition

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Bahar_Rashin JR

on 13 May 2013

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Transcript of school of thought in second language acquisition

What is the School of thought
in second language acquisition? we can explain it in three possible levels: Structural Linguistics &
Behavioral Psychology Language Teaching in 19th century Constructivism Behavioral Psychology Generative or Generative-
Linguistics structural linguistics : Structural/
Behaviorism constructivism Rationalism
& Cognitive School of
Thoughts -Generative transformational school of linguistics: Noam Chomsky.
-Human language cannot be scrutinized simply in terms of observable stimuli and responses or the volumes of raw data gathered by field linguists.
-Interested not only in describing language but also in arriving at an explanatory level of adequacy in the study of language.
-Important distinction between the observable aspects of language and the hidden levels of meaning and thought that give birth or generate observable linguistic performance.
-Cognitive psychologies sought to discover underlying motivations and deeper structure of human behavior by using a rational approach (empirical study) -Jean Piaget and Lev Vigotsky. They differ in the
extent to which each emphasizes social context.
-Piaget stressed the importance of individual cognitive development as a relatively solitary act.
-Biological timetables and stages of development; social interaction was claimed only to trigger development at the right moment in time.
-Vygotsky: social interaction was foundational in cognitive development and rejected the emotion of predetermined stages. Goals:
-To describe human languages
-to identify the structural characteristics of human languages

beliefs :
Language can be dismantled to small units (which could be described scientifically, contrasted, and added up again to form the whole)

focus :
Surface structure of language (languages are unltimitedly distinctive and there could not be any preconception parallel) Approaches
Scientific and empirical method (mentalistic approaches are unacceptable, e.g. consciousness and intuition)

-classical and operant conditioning
-rote verbal learning
-instrumental learning
-discrimination learning

Prominent Figure
B.F. Skinner Area of interest :
Descriptive adequacy
Arriving at a descriptive level of adequacy

Prominent figures:
-Noam Chomsky
-Ferdinand de Saussure He ascertained the differences between parole and langue;

Langue: competence Parole:performance and what can be seen Focus:
- Social interaction
- Construction of meaning and integration of linguistic, psychological and sociological paradigms

Prominent figures:
- Jean Piaget ; believed in cognitive constructivism
- Lev Vygotsky ; believed in social constructivism 1. view of structural linguistics and behavioral
psychology that they are in the same way.
2.generative linguistics and cognitive psychology.
3.constructivism -Structural or descriptive school of linguistics
-Leonard Bloomfield, Edward Sapir, Charles Hockett, Charles Fries
-Scientific principle of observation of human languages
-Subject to investigation: only publicly observable responses
-Language could be dismantled into small pieces or units and these units could be
described scientifically, contrasted, and added up again to form the whole. Generative or Generative-transformational
Linguistics and Cognitive Psychology Saussure’ View: Chomsky’s view: He believes in UG (Universal Grammar) that every human are born with an ability to learn language. Cognitive Psychology Stressed Importance for Psychological study
Significance of 1. meaning;
2. understanding
3. knowing
Rational and logical towards human behavior

(the generative linguistics and cognitive psychologists seek for reasonable factors which may cause precise behaviors in human being)

- Classical Method

- Grammar Translation Method

The most dominant language : Latin

Focus :

- Grammatical rules ( grammar was taught inductively)

- Memorization vocabulary

- Translation of text

- Doing written exercises

- reading and writing were in the center of focus


Achieving learning proficiency in SLA rather than oral communication skills

Late in the 19th century it came to be known as Grammar Translation Method Classical Method: Grammar Translation Method Major characteristics of Grammar Translation Method ;
Prator and Celce-Murcia (1979, p.3) :
1. Classes taught in the mother tongue; little use of the L2
2.Much vocabulary taught in the form lists isolated words
3. Elaborate explanations of the intricacies of grammar
4. Reading of difficult classical text begun early
5. Texts treated as exercises in grammatical analysis
6. Occasional drills and exercises in translating sentences from L1 to L2
7. Little or no attention to pronunciation Language teaching in the 20th century The most prominent characteristics of language teaching;

Mitchell and Vidal (2001):

number of opposing options:
-Focus on accuracy vs. focus on fluency,
-Separation of skills vs. integration of skills,
-Teacher-centered vs. learner- centered approaches The most significant methods -Audio Lingual Method (ALM)

-Direct Method

- Communicative Language Teaching (CLT)
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