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Language Acquistion

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Frances Osborne

on 25 November 2013

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Transcript of Language Acquistion

Language Acquisition

The next step.
When we understand it!"
"We acquire language in one way only...
What is First Language Development?
First language development is the process by which a child acquires the ability to communicate through semantics, phonetics, and syntax. Phonetics being the sounds used to produce speech, semantics being construction and comprehension of word meanings, and syntax is concerned with how these sounds and words are combined together to construct cohesive sentences.

Most children develop language through a number of predictable stages, however the duration of each stage and the age at which it is reached is variable depending on the comprehensible socio-cultural, cognitive, academic and linguistic input that the child receives throughout the development process.
The Stages of Development are:
the formation of vowels sounds
the addition of consonant sounds and cadence
One-word speech
The use of single words to communicate entire phrases. E.g. “up!” may be used by some infants in this stages to communicate “pick me up!”
Telegraphic speech -
toddles create simple sentences
generally consisting of only two words
e.g. “up mummy”
Critical Period
- a continuous process o acquisition in which the learner greatly extends and refines their use of language

An individual’s necessity, motivation and capacity for learning in all stages of language acquisition is influenced by their quality of life in terms of their health and well being, the individual’s sense of belonging, esteem for self and from others, and ultimately, the attainment of self-actualization by achieving one’s individual potential.
Physiological Needs
Maslow´s Hierachy of Needs
The need for food, water,
sleep, physical activity etc.
The need to achieve,
be competent, to gain recognition and approval
The need to affiliate with
others, to be accepted and belong
The need for safety, protection,
security, and stability
The realization of ones' full potential through the achievement of personal goals and the attainment of problem solving skills, morality, creativity, independence etc.
How to apply Maslow’s Humanist theory to an L1 classroom environment (with young children):
The first step is to address the physiological and security needs of the students:

Create a comfortable and safe space where the children are away from harm. This can be a clean, uncluttered, and sheltered area with regulated temperature, no hazardous sharp objects, or small items that could be ingested, no cables or toys on the floor that could become a trip-hazard and so forth.

Moreover, it is essential that the children have access to sanitary bathroom facilities, clean drinking water, and food (either brought from home or provided by the school canteen). It is also strongly advised that the children are provided with supervised breaks at regular intervals to allow the students time for alimentation, to use the facilities, relax, play, and interact with the other children.

The stages of acquisition for a second language acquirer are;
(the parroting stage, most Language learned here is mere cognitive copy and paste answers),
Early Production
(similar to the pre-productive stage, however, with a bigger vocabulary),
Speech emergence
(ability to ask questions for the purpose of needs outlined by Marlow's theory),
Intermediate fluency
(this stage sees the individual asking more comprehensible and complex questions, and being able to hold a simple, short conversation),
Advanced Fluency
(this stage can take up to 10 years to reach, depending on the motivation and exposure towards the language.

Second Language Acquisition
Second language acquisition is simply the process of which an individual learns an additional language different to their original language.
The next step is to develop a sense of community with activities that encourage language development through social interaction.
At the beginning of the lesson/day/week, the teacher should organise group activities that focus on developing respectful relationships and self-esteem. For example, the children could sit in a trust circle and start by singing a song which provides them with relevant vocabulary, such as:

Hello, how are you? Hello, how are you? Hello, how are you?
I’m great! I’m fine! I’m Okay
I’m Happy, I’m wonderful today
I’m tired! I’m Bored! I’m Okay
I’m angry! I’m very sad today… (Dream English)

After which each student is individually asked (by the teacher AND the other students) “how are you today?” The students have to respond to the question and then tell everything something about themselves. Students should also be encouraged to bring in photos and things to assist them to communicate their news (Show and Tell).
This process will positively motivate the students’ need for language growth as a way of expressing themselves and building relationships with those around them.

Self-attainment can be realised in this educational context by achieving and demonstrating an advanced level of first-language proficiency, which can take some time. To do this, the learning environment should adhere to Maslow’s hierarchical guidelines for human needs, while also being exposed to socio-cultural, cognitive, academic and linguistic input through a range of dynamic activities applicable to all types of learning styles (audio, visual, cognitive, social, logical, solitary, verbal, and physical).

Similarities and differences
Their Needs:
individuals from both categories find themselves learning certain vocabulary of basic needs. This progresses as needs progress.
Making Errors:
Languages come equipped with rules, syntax, phonics, semantics and more. When the students start to learn the language it is impossible for comprehension of these rules.
Specific area of expertise
Everyone has their own particular interests. It is this which leads people to form groups and friendships. Through these groups and participation in the them, individuals gain a stronger vocabulary in that field.
SLA is usually learn at a faster rate than their FLA counterparts.This is due to their practiced ability to recap and revise the vocabulary and rules. They are, theoretically, more likely to understand and accept the rules of the language better because of their stronger cognitive ability, this is obviously more so with older learners.

Those learners of the FLA are usually surrounded by their language. Whereas those students of a SLA may only have short periods of times to listen or devote their time to the language. Whereas, the FLA will pick up the rules just simply by listening and being corrected throughout their life.
For this to be implemented within the classroom the learners need to feel, as noted, relaxed and motivated to learn.
The first step would be through an open discussion about our self, or a show a tell. The Johari Window approach, gives the children a chance to get to know each other and bond better for a more cohesive environment.
Secondly, give the learner the power to learn. Set up group exercises where the groups learn a specific area of the module and teach it back to the class.
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