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Language Acquisition, Early Literacy, & Phonetics

by: Eulalia Fay

Language Acquisition, Early Literacy, & Phonetics EDRG 4010

Marketplace > Southern Utah University > Reading > EDRG 4010 > Language Acquisition Early Literacy Phonetics
Eulalia Fay
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Linda Marriott

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Linda Marriott
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This 13 page Class Notes was uploaded by Eulalia Fay on Tuesday October 20, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to EDRG 4010 at Southern Utah University taught by Linda Marriott in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 18 views. For similar materials see /class/225500/edrg-4010-southern-utah-university in Reading at Southern Utah University.

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Date Created: 10/20/15
2 Written and Second Language Acquisition 0 ls written language acquired normally or learned consciously 0 Can people acquire a second language Even though researchers debate whether language is innate or whether humans have a special cognitive capacity for language most researchers agree that chil dren acquire their rst language They do this rapidly and without formal instruction It appears that children don t have to be taught language the way they are taught to button a shirt But what about written language Can children acquire written language in the same way they acquire oral languages7 There are clear differences between oral language and written language As Halliday and Hassan 1989 have shown what appears in a book is not simply oral language written down Written language contains a different kind of vocabulary and dife ferent grammatical structures than oral language Questions also arise over whether second languages can be acquired espe cially by older students Once a person has developed one language can that person develop a second language in the same way as the rst Older second language learners often struggle especially with pronunciation Most students who study a second or foreign language in high school or college fail to develop a high degree of pro ciency in the languages ls that because of the methods used to teach language or is it because people acquire a rst language and then learn subsequent languages in the same way they learn other subjects in sc 00 In this chapter we address these questions Insights from linguistics sug gest that both written and second languages can be acquired rather than learned This has important implications for teaching because the role of the teacher is quite different in an acquisition classroom than in a learning classroom ESSENTIAL LINGUISTICS Written Language There is a debate over whether written language is learned or acquired The ques tion is Is the ability to develop written language pro ciency an innate property of the brain or do people learn to read in the same way that they learn other things through a cognitive process that involves hypothesis testing As we dis cussed earlier most researchers agree that humans have a special capacity for oral language development and much of the debate is over how much of language is built in and how much is learned But the proposition that humans may also have an innate ability to acquire written language is more controversial Some researchers claim that written language is not natural language but a secondary representation of language that the brain is not prepared to acquire Others hold that written language can be acquired in the same way as oral language or sign langJage because people have an innate ability for making meaning and they can do this with different language systems The question of whether written language is acquired or learned is not merely academics A teacher s belief about how writ ten language is developed helps determine how he will teach reading and writing Two Views of Reading There is little disagreement that reading success is the key to academic achieve menti However there is a great deal of disagreement about what the reading process consists of and how children should be taught to read Two current views of read ing correspond to the distinction between learning and acquisition We refer to these two views as a word recognition View and a sociapsychulinguistic view The word recognition view is consistent with the belief that written language must be learned In contrast the sociopsycholinguistic view is consistent with the claim that the ability to use written language is to some degree innate and can be acquired Those who hold a word recognition view believe that the main task during reading is to identify words Readers learn a set of skills that allows them to make a connection between the black marks on the page and words in their oral vo cabulary Teaching reading involves helping students develop the necessary skills to make this Connection For example students might learn to sound out letters and then blend the sounds to pronounce and identify wordsr Once students dee code printed words they recognize them as words in their oral language Readers combine the meanings of individual words to make sense of what they read The sociopsycholinguistic view on the other hand emphasizes that reading is a process of constructing meaning Readers use their background knowledge and cues from three linguistic systems to make sense of texts This theory holds that readers acquire literacy in the same way they acquire oral language by 24 Written and Second Language ACquISit lD n focusing on meaning Krashen 1993 1999 argues that people acquire the abila ity to read and write in the same way they acquire a rst or second langiage by receiving messages they understand When people read texts that are compre hensible and interesting they become more pro cient readers and writers Teach ers make written language comprehensible when they read to students from big books with illustrations or have students read familiar songs or engaging poetry As students follow along they begin to make connections between the oral read ing and the print Eventually they acquire enough knowledge of written language to read independently Figure 271 contrasts these two views of reading Both those who hold a word recognition View and those who hold a sociov psycholinguistic View would probably agree that good readers comprehend texts The two views might be seen simply as different routes to this common end How ever these different routes translate into very different classroom practices As Figure 2 1 shows they involve different goals and different methods of teaching as well as different classroom reading activities In the next sections we discuss these differences brie y Then in the chapters that follow we explain in more detail the linguistic concepts that underlie each aspect of reading Evidence from linguistics lends strong support to a sociopsycholinguistic model of reading Word Recognition View Sociopsycholinguistic View Goal Use background knowledge Goal Identify words to get to the and cues from three language systems meaning of a text to construct meaning from a text Method Use graphophonics as just one of three langmage cueing systems to gain meaning from a text Method Use phonics rules to sound out words and learn a set of sight words to identify words that do not follow phonics rules Study word parts only during linguisv tics investigations Learn to break words into parts to identify them Classroom activity Read to acquire vocabulary by encountering words in context Classroom activity Learn vocabuv lary in advance of reading Read silently using the strategies the teacher has helped students intemal ize to construct meaning from a text Read orally so the teacher can help students learn to identify words and can supply words students don t know Figure 2 1 Two views of reading BSENTIAL LiNoulerCS Goal Word Recognition The goal for a teacher who takes a word recognition view of reading is to help stua dents learn to identify words Word identi cation involves recoding the marks on the paper into words readers already know in their oral vocabulary and then com bining the meanings of individual words to get at the meaning of the text The assumption is that any word a student can pronounce is a word the student can understand Following Goodman 1996 we refer to this process of identifying words as recoding rather than decoding Recoding involves changing from one code to another In this case readers change written language into oral language Decoding in contrast involves getting at the meaning Spies decode secret mes sages they don t simply recode them There is a possibility with recoding that readers may change written lan guage to oral language without ever getting at the meaning For example many students who begin to study linguistics can pronounce the word morphaphonemict They can recode this word from written to oral form However these students can t decode the word because they don t know what the word means Even though there is an assumption that word recognition will lead to meaning con struction there is a danger that students will simply learn to say the words with out knowing what they mean This is most likely to occur with English language learners Goal Sociopsycholinguistics The goal of reading from a sociopsycholinguistic perspective is to construct meanv ing Readers are focused on making meaning not on identifying the individual words To construct meaning readers use their background knowle ge and cues from three linguistic systems graphophonics syntax and semantics They go through a process of sampling the text predicting what will come next lling in unstated information by inferring con rming or discon rming their predictions and integrating the new information with what they already know This process occurs rapidly Readers combine cues from the text with their own knowledge of the world to make sense of what they are reading Every text has a certain mean ing potential but different readers construct different meanings depending on their background knowledge and their purpose for reading However the goal is always to construct meaning Method Word Recognition If the goal of reading is to recognize written marks through a process of recoding a text then readers can use several methods to do this One is learning phonics 26 l i Written and Second Language Acquisition rules By applying phonics rules readers can determine the pronunciation of a string of letters and change the written marks to words in their oral vocabulary Phonics is the primary tool for word identi cation Some common words such as the and of however do not follow regular phonics rules so readers also need to develop a set of sight words These are words students recognize automatically Teachers might use flash cards to help students develop their sight words The teacher shows a card and students say the wor For longer more complex words phonics rules do not work well especially for English Students can identify longer words by breaking them down into their component parts For example they can divide a word into its pre x root and suf x Students can combine the meanings of word parts to determine the mean ing of a long word like transportation or reconcepmalize Teachers sometimes tell students to nd the little words inside the big word This approach to word recog nition is called structural analysis Method Saciopsydwlinguistics If the goal of reading is to construct meaning then readers should use all availv able information including background knowledge and cues from all three cue ing systems The graphophonic system is just one source of information readers can use Rather than being the principal means of identifying words the letters and sounds serve as an important source of information to be combined with inv formation from other sources Pro cient readers learn to sample the visual display and to use visual and sound information as they make and con rm predictions However they also use their background knowledge and cues from the syntax and semantics of the written language Readers may make use of their knowledge of word parts to construct mean ing However there are limits on the usefulness of this knowledge Although studying words is an important part of the language arts curriculum especially if the word study is undertaken from a linguistic perspective the ability to break words into component parts and use that information to help construct meaning has only limited value during normal reading If a student is taking a vocabulary test knowledge of pre xes and suf xes can help in choosing from a list of possi ble meanings However in the same way that the meaning of a sentence can t eas ily be determined by combining the meanings of individual words the meaning of a word can t easily or reliably be determined by combining the meanings of the component parts For example it is dif cult to decide on the meaning of a word like transportation by combining the meanings of its parts across carry state of Studying word parts can be fascinating but it may not be too useful for deter mining the meaning of a word during actual reading 27 ESSENTIAL LINGLusncs Classroom Practices Word Recognition Beliefs about reading lead naturally to instructional practices In word recognition classes teachers often preteach words that they think students may not be able to gure out using phonics sight word skills or structural analysis In some cases teachers may preteach vocabulary that they think is not part of their students oral vocabulary Although it is dif cult to decide which words most of the stu dents will not know teachers who have a word recognition view of reading at tempt to help students with words that many of them might not know so that when they encounter those words during reading they will be able to recognize them Preteaching often consists of de ning words for students or giving students a list of words and having them look the words up and write de nitions Another classroom practice consistent with a word recognition view is to have students read aloud on a regular basis and help students with dif cult words During roundrobin reading teachers or other students usually correct students if they mispronounce a word They also supply words when the reader does not recr ognize themi The belief is that giving a student the word helps the student learn that word Classroom Practices Sociopsycholinguistics The approach to vocabulary from a sociopsycholinguistic view is to have students read extensively so that they can acquire vocabulary as they encounter words in a variety of contexts When vocabulary is pretaught students might learn a de nition for the word but knowing a word involves much more than that By see ing the word several times in slightly different contexts students can figure out its properties including what endings it can take its morphology what role it plays in the sentence its syntax whether it is formal or informal its pragmatics along with its meaning its semantics Students acquire this information in the process of reading In classes in which teachers have a sociopsycholinguistic view of reading most reading is done silently Reading aloud is reserved for activities such as readers theatre For that reason teachers help students develop strategies to use during silent reading These strategies are designed to improve comprehension Teachers often talk with students about different things they can do if they come to a part of a text that they don39t understand Students need a variety of strategies that they can use exibly to construct meaning The goal of this instruction is to improve students abilities to develop higher levels of reading pro ciency 6 goals methods and classroom practices of teachers with these two views of reading differ As a result the way students develop reading pro ciency in these 28 Written and Second Language Acquisition two kinds of classes also varies The two views have very practical consequences In subsequent chapters we will look closely at the phonology orthography mor phology and syntax of English As teachers better understand these linguistic sysa tems they can make more informed decisions about which view of reading to adopt and how to go about helping all their students become pro cient readers Two Views of Writing In the same way that there are two views of reading there are also two views of writ ing These two views again correspond to the distinction we have made between learning and acquisition From a learning point of view writing like reading must be taught directlyi From an acquisition perspective writing like speaking is a form of output that reflects the language competence an individual has acquired Teach ers from both points of View include writing in their language arts curriculum but several aspects of their instruction are different Figure 272 shows these two views of writing Learning View Acquisition View Traditional Writing Classroom Process Writing Classroom Goal Learn how to produce a good Goal Produce good writing and piece of writing acquire knowledge of the writing process Method Begin with the parts and Method Begin with a message and build up to writing a whole text develop the skills needed to produce the message Teacher directly instructs students in Teacher creates conditions for how to form letters then words then authentic written responses and then how to combine words into sentences helps students express themselves in and then sentences into paragraphs writing Approach to correctness Writing Approach to correctness Writing product must be conventional from moves naturally from invention to the beginning convention The teacher corrects each piece of Classmates and others including the writing teacher respond to dra ts Figure 2 2 Two approaches to the teaching of writing 29 ESSENTIAL LlNGUISTICS Figure 2 2 is adapted from an earlier book Teaching Reading and Whiting in Spanish in die Bilingual Classroom Freeman and Freeman 1996 199813 in which we describe in detail how writing develops in both Spanish and English when teachers use a pmcess approach Here we brie y describe the major differences between a leamim and an acquisition approach to teaching writing Goals and Methods Traditional Classroom In a traditional class teachers want students to be able to produce a good story report or other piece of writing To accomplish this goal teachers break writing down into its component parts and teach each one For example teachers of young children Show them how tn form letters Students learn to write Words senv tences paragraphs and then whale Stories or reports In many traditional classes students learn how to produce a ve39paragrapli essay that follows a clearly defined structure Usually students are given the topics for writing and they are expected to complete the writing in a fairly short time This approach can help students perform well on typical tests of writing Goals and Methods Process Classroom One goal in a process writing class is the production of good pieces of writing l39lOWEtter teachers also want students to internalize the process involved This includes choosing a topic writing drafts conferencing to get feedback on the writing doing nal editing and sharing the nished piece with others Teachers provide many opportunities for students to produce different kinds of writingia story a letter to ri friend a list of books they have read Rather than giving stu dents topics teachera help students understand that there are many situations in which they can express their ideas most effectively by using written language For example students who investigate a topic during a theme study might accompany their oral report with a written handout for classmates Teachers set aside time on a regular basis for writing During writers workshop they teach muiilessons to help students express their ideas more effectively Teach A L 1 irim 3 ma c L1 m unmrtl The read ing provides the input needed for written output As they read students come to understand the different organizational structures writers use to communicate ideas Approach to Correctness Traditional Classroom Teachers in traditional classrooms emphasize the importance of producing writing that follows conventiom in handwriting spelling punctuation and organization Often handwriting and spelling are major components of the writing program Students memorize lists of words and are tested each week an their spelling words 30 Written and Second Language Acquisition To help students learn to produce correct writing teachers correct each piece a student writes In many traditional classes the form of the writing becomes much more important than the content Students who focus on form may not even try to use new words for fear of misspelling them Approach to Correctness Pmcess Classrovm Process writing teachers believe that writing will more from individual invention to conventional forms For example students may hegin by spelling most words the way they sound Over time they begin to produce more conventional spellings Teachers help students keep the focus on the content of what they are Writing not just the form A the same time as writers chare their writing with classmates and the teacher they realize that some ways of spelling words or punt mating sentences Confuse their audience so they start to use more conventional forms to communicate more effectively When students have written something they want others to read they are motivated to put their writing in a form that follows social conventions Teachers give minilesccns on all areas of writing in cluding spelling and punctuation Rather than giving students lists of words to memorize they help them discover the patterns in the spellings of English words Conventional writing is a goal of a process classroom but teachers emphasize that the content of the message is more important than the form The Reading and Writing Connection from an Acquisition View A teacher39s View of whether written language is learned or acquired determines to a great extent the classroom practices the teacher follows If teachers believe that reading and writing are learned they divide the skills into their component parts and teach each of the parts directly and systematically Reading is accom plished by recognizing words so teachers teach phonics rules sight words and structural analysis Writing consists of producing words so teachers lDCuS on handwriting spelling punctuation grammar and conventional organizational forms such as the veparagraph essay When teachers view reading and writing from an acquisition standpoint they do a number of things to make written language comprehensible They read 0 and with students and reach rim can use 39 texts They believe that written language like oral language develops best when stu dents focus on the message not the form They recognize that reading provides the input needed for writing output They provide many opportunities for stu dents to pmduce and share their writing They help students undemtand all the steps involved in the writing process Essrmiu LINGULWCS From an acquisition standpoint reading and writing are closely related Stw dents acquire much of their ability to write by reading However writing and talk ing about what they have written play an important role in students writing develr opment Brown and Camboume 1987 describe a method teachers can use to help students become more pro cient in reading and writing This method is called read and retell Students read a number of articles or stories from a single genre For ex ample they might read several different fairy tales over time After reading a short fairy tale they would turn the paper over and do a written retelling Then working in pairs or small groups they would share and compare their rerellings Brown and Camhoume found that many of the features from the readings showed up in the children s writing Not only did children use some of the same phrasing and vocabulary but they also usad punctuation and spellings they had never used before Brown and Camhourne refer to this effect as direct spillover When the interviewed the children they discovered that this inclusion of text features was not conscious Children were focused on representing the meaning of the story and in the process they used several of the text features in fact these features also showed up in other writing much later a phenomenon the authors call delayed spillover Brown and Camhoume conclude that spillover is the result of the retelling process They write The retelling procedure as we define it coerces learners to bring to their conscious awareness many features of text structure on which they would not typically focus or upon which they would not typically re ect p 27 Doing a written retelling and discussing how one retelling is similar to or different from another helped these students internalize features of written text that they later used This suggests that while input from reading is necessary for students to acquire written language output in the form of writing and talking brings some as pects of written language to the conscious level and enables students to use these features later Teachers in an acquisition class may not directly teach spelling and vocabulary but they plan activities such as read and retell that require students 0 focus on language forms as pain of a meaningful language activity Teachers who take an acquisition View of reading and writing have different goals use different methods and respond to errors differently from teachers who take a learning view ln the same way teachers who adopt an acquisition view of second or foreign language teaching approach their task differently from teachers who believe that a second or foreign language must he learned Two Views of Second or Foreign Language Development In the same way that there are two views of how people develop literacy there are also two views of how people develop a second or foreign language One view is that 32 Wntwi and Second We Acquisition Traditional Learning View Current Acquisition View Goal Teach language directly so Goal Make larguage comprehensible students can produce correct so students can use language for language forms different purposes Method Break language into compo Method Use various techniques to nent parts and teach each part make the linguistic input understand Classroom activities Students do Classroom activities Students use drills and exercises to practice language in communicative situations language Am39tude toward errors Teachers Attitude toward errors Errors are correct errors to help students natural so teachers keep the focus develop good language habits on meaning and help students under stand and express ideas Figure 2 3i Two views of language teaching a second language is learned Traditional methods of second and foreign language teaching follow the learning model The second view is that second languages are acquired Current methods incorporate more activities designed to foster acquisi tion Even though traditional practices prevail in many classroom current theory supports methods based on an acquisition View Figure 2 3 lists some of the differ ences between learning and acquisition views of second language teaching Gnals and Methods Learning View The goal of instruction is to produce students who speak and understand the lan guage This is best accomplished by teaching each part of the language he pro nunciation grammar and vocabulary directly and systematically Teachers break each language area into parts to make learning easieri For example early lessons might all be in present teox to teach that part of language Later lessons might introduce past or future tense Goals and Methods Acquisition View The goal of instruction is to enable students to use language for a variety of pur poses Sruderits should be able to understand speak read and write the language in different settings For example they should be able to read a menu and order food in a restaurant quot T this goal 4 all a great 33 ESSENTIAL LrNouis39ncs deal of language input and use various techniques to make the new language com prehensible These techniques might include using gestures pictures and real things or reading a book with a predictable pattern and clear pictures of key words Classroom Activities Learning View Students practice language by engaging in oral drills and written exercises They might also learn dialogues and practice them in pairs or small groups Each drill exercise or dialogue would reinforce the grammar and vocabulary the students are learning Classroom Activities Acquisition View At rst students listen and read to build up a store of language They focus on making sense out of the new language Later they use the language to accomplish different things For example they might introduce a new student to the class or retell a story the teacher has read to them Attitude Tourard Errors Learning View Since the emphasis is on dEVElOping correct language forms teachers correct errors immediately They often do this directly This helps students avoid devel oping bad habits of grammar or pronunciation Much of the class focus is on pro ducing correct language forms Attitude Toward Errors Acquisition View All students make errors However if their intent is to express their ideas they will modify their language to make it more understandable to their listeners or readers Teachers help students say what students want to say and also give them strategies so they can continue to communicate when they don t have the lin guistic resources yet For example teachers might show students how they can use circumlocution to talk around a word they have not yet acquired using words they do know and still get their idea across ese two views of second language teaching are much like the two views of written language development In each case the traditional view is based on a model of learning that comes from behavioral psychology and the current view is based on a model of acquisition that is consistent with cognitive psychology and also assumes that at least some parts of language may be innate There is still de bate over how much of language is acquired and what has to be learned but cur rent methods are based on the belief that to a great degree a second language can be acquired in the same way that a rst language is acquired In the sections that follow we explain the most widely known theory of second language acquisition 34 Written and Second Language Acquisition and also examine the role that the social context plays in the language vauisi tion process Krashen39s Theory of Second Language Acquisition Krashen 2003 has developed a theory of second language acquisition that forms the basis for much of the teaching methodology in ESL EFL and bilingual classes as well as mainstream classes with second language students Krashen has written and spoken extensively to show how his ideas about language acquisition trans late into classroom practice Across the country teachers have attended worle shops and staff development sessions in which Krashen s ideas were presented Coursework for preservice teachers in states with high numbers of English leam39 ers usually includes Krashen39s theory Many teachers have adopted methods cona sistent with Krashen s theory because it makes sense to them and works with their students Krashen s theory of second language acquisition consists of five inter related hypotheses In the sections that follow we explain each of these hypothe39 ses briefly For a more extensive discussion of Krashen and other second language theorists see Between Worlds Access to Second Language Acquisition Freeman and Freeman 2001 The LearningAcquisition Hypothesis Krashen makes a distinction between two ways of developing a second language The rst which he calls learning is what many students experienced in high school or college foreign language classes Learning is a conscious process that in volves studying rules and vocabulary Students who attempt to learn a language approach language study in the same way they might approach the study of any other school subject They break the subject down into manageable chunks and try to memorize and practice the different parts of the language with the goal of being able to use the language to communicate A student might study vocabu lary lists or verb conjugations Students would practice using this knowledge by doing different exercises and drills Learned knowledge can be tested Unfortu nately many students who are able to pass quizzes in French or Spanish are not able to use the new language to communicate with native speakers or to under stand TV shows or movies in the language In addition this learned knowledge is quickly forgotten if it is not use r The second way of developing language is what Krashen calls acquisition In contrast to learning acquisition is subconscious Students acquiring a language may not even be aware that they are picking up vocabulary or sentence stmc tures Acquisition occurs as students use language for a variety of purposes For 35 ESSENTIAL LLNGUKSTK learning Acquisition Conscious We are aware we are Subconscious We are not aware we learning are acquiring It s what happens in school when we It s what happens in and out of study rules and grammar school when we receive messages we understand Figure 2 4 Learning and acquisition example students can acquire a language at the same time that they are learn ing some academic subject area content if the teacher uses techniques to help make the instruction understandable While learning is usually restricted to the school context acquisition can take place in or out of schnol Acquisition is what happens when someone goes to another country and picks up the language in the process of dayvroday living and interacting with native speakers of the language Figure 2 4 summarizes the key differences between acquisition and learning The Natural Order Hypothesis Krashen reviews research that shews that language both rst language and sec ond language is acquired in a natural order Simply put some aspects of language appear in the speech of language learners before other features For example bar hies acquiring English rst produce sounds with Vowels usually the low back ah sound and later add consonanm beginning with consonants formed with the lips like 1 and m This helps explain why the rst word of many infants is something like mm much to the delight ofa parent Sounds like r come later That s why young children might say like Elmer Fudd wahbit instead of rabbit Other parts of language also appear in a natural order Statements come before ques tions Positive statements come before negatives and so on Researchers in secoacl language found the same phenomenon The natural order of second language acquisition differs slightly om that of rst language but there is a de nite order Dulay and Butt 1974 studied Spanish and Chinese speakers acquiring English They looked at the order in which certain morphemes appeared They noted that the plurals in a word like toys showed up in children s speech earlier than the third petsm s of presenttense verbs in sentences like He plays Whether researchers look at the acquisition of sounds word parts or sen tencc patterns they nd an order of acquisition that is the same even for children 36 Written and Second language Acquisiu on whose rst languages are different The order seems to be determined by the lan guage being acquired not by a transfer of features from the rst language When languages are taught and students attempt to learn language the se quence seldom matches the natural order of acquisition This heips explain why students can produce correct sentences in class or do well on a written test but have trouble wring the same forms correctly 3 short time later Students may have learned the form but they have not acquired it so it is not a part of their long terrn ability to use the language in addition since language is so complex linguists have not been able to de scribe the order of acquisition of the different parts of language in suf cient detail so that teachers could use the order to create a sequence of lessons that follows the natural sequence of acquisition Even if linguists were able to specify the nat ural order trying to teach it would probably fail because different students in any class are at different levels of acquisition Besides any attempt to sequence and teach parts of language is consistent with a model of language learning not with language acquisition It is helpful for teachers to be aware of normal develop mental patterns of acqmsition so they can support students but teachers can t change the sequence through direct teaching The Monitor Hypothesis This hypothesis helps explain the role of learning in the process of language ac quisition Acquired language forms the basis for the ability to understand and pro duce language The phonology morphology and syntax are acquired Acquisition is what enables native English speakers to tell what sounds right in the language They may not be able to explain why He is married to herquot sounds better than He is married with herquot but because native speakers have acquired the language they can make these kinds of judgments Learned knowledge also plays a roie in language competence The rules that people learn can be used to monitor spoken or written output In other words people can use these rules to check what they say or write In order for monitor use to be effective language users must have time they must focus on language form and they must know the rules Even in the rst language most people monitor their speech in formal situations such as giving a speech to a large group of people However there are effective and ineffective ways to use the monitor in the flow of rapid conversation speakers generally don t have time to check what they are saying and correct themselves In addition monitoring involves for cusing on how something is being said rather than on what is being said Unfor tunately it is almost impossible to concentrate on both the ideas and the correct 3 ESSEtmu UNGUISTICS pnmunciation or grammar at the same time The more a speaker thinks about the message the less the speaker can concentrate on the language Further to use the monitor effectively one must know the rules ls ll dillerent from or different thanquot Unless the speaker knows the right answer he can t monitor the output very we Effective monitor users steer a middle course Overusers try to correct every thing and the result is halting speech or even a hesitation to enter a conversa tion Underusers charge ahead but at times their errors make their discoch incomprehensible Optimum use of the monitor involves checking to avoid major errors all the while keeping the focus on the message Spoken language is more dif cult to monitor than written language Editing during the writing process represents an ideal situation to apply the monitor hecause there is time and one can focus speci cally on the correctness of the language to be sure rim t A r w r I right How ever if writers monitor while their are drafting the focus on form may interrupt the flow of their ideas The input Hypothesis flow does acquisition take place According to Krashen the key is comprehemi ble input vmessages either oral or written that students understand A teacher s job is to find ways to melee the input comprehensible Not all input leads to acquisition Krashen says that students acquire language when they receive input that is slightly beyond their current level He refers to this as i1 input plus one ll students receive input that is below or at their current level lid0 there is nothing new to acquire However if the input is too much beyond their current level 6 10 for example it no longer is comprehensible Providing comprehensible input is not an exact science Teachers can t possibly ensure that everything they say or write will be exactly at the 11 level for every student The students in a class are all at different levels of pro ciency Nevertheless as long as students understand most of what they hear or read in a new language they will acquire the language Different students will acquire different parts of the language depending on their current level To ensure that the input is comprehensible teachers can use pictures gestures tone of voice and handsvon activities Teachers can also avoid using idioms they can pause often to slow down the rate of speech and they can recycle vocabulary by planning curriculum around themes so that certain words are repeated naturally in the process of studying the theme through different academic content areas These techniques give students comprehensible input at the M1 level Freeman and Freeman 19983 Krashen is an especially strong advocate of reading for lane guage acquisition He cites research showing that reading provides excellent 38 Written and Second Language Acquisition comprehensible input and is the source of one s knowledge of vocabulary gram mar and spelling Krashen 1993 Output It should be noted thar while Ktashen argues that acquisition is the result of receiving comprehensible input other researchers have claimed that students also nee opportunities to produce comprehensible outputquot Swain 1985 Van Lier s 1988 model of second language acquisition includes meaningful langme use It may he that speaking and writing a second language help bring aspects of the language to a conscious level and as a result Students can use those language forms in the future This would parallel what Brown and Camboume 198 found with rst language writing One of the bene ts of output is that it produces more input In fact good so quirers learn how to that rhesr get input from others These acquirers have developed what is called strategic language cm pecence They use dillerent strategies both to understand a second language and also to make themselves understood For example a person trying to Communiv care in another language might learn or use phrases such as Could you repeat please and l donquott understand exactlyquot and Could you show mequot These lands of strategies encourage the native speakers to respond with language that the act quire can better understand in other words the language becomes Comprehenr sible input The Affective Filter Hypothesis How do affective factors such as nervousness boredom and anxiety in uence lan guage acquisition If language is acquired when a person receives comprehensible input that input has to reach the part of the brain that processes language 39lhat part of the brain is what Chomsky calls the language acquisition device Boredom and anxiety are alllactive factors that can serve as a kind of filter to block out lnr coming messages and prevent them from reaching the language acquisition device As a result even though a teacher may present a very comprehensible lesson some students may not acquire the language if the presentation because their affective filter operates to block the input Students cannot acquire language that never teaches the language acquisition device On the other hand when the lter is open when students are relaxed and engaged in a lesson even messages that are not easy to comprehend will trigger the acquisition process This is why for exanm ple students often acquire language when singing or when involved in an lnterr esting handout activity such as cooking or an interesting science experiment Ktashen s hypotheses help explain why many people who had trouble learning language in school were able to acquire a language living abroad They acquired the language in a natural setting in which they received 1015 of meaningful and 39 ESSENTIAL LlNGUlSTiCS relevant comprehensible input Nevertheless schools can be good places for acquisition if teachers recognize that there is a natural order and thus support stuv dents at different levels if they encourage students to use their learned rules appropriately especially when they edit their writing when they use various tech niques to make sure each lesson contains comprehensible input and when they create classroom conditions that lower students affective lters When teachers do these things students acquire a second language in much the same way they acquired their rst language Schumann s Theory of Second Language Acquisition Krashen s theory of second language acquisition accounts for the psychological process of language development Other researchers have considered the broa er social context Schumann 1978 for example studied one adult immigrant whose English acquisition was very limited Schumann found that a number of social fac tors helped explain the low rate of acquisition These factors created a consider able social distance between the student and members of the mainstream society Schumann has identi ed several factors that contribute to social distance For example distance is greater when there is only limited integration of the two cul tural groups when the minority group itself is large enough to be self suf cient when the group is very tightvknit when the group has characteristics very differ ent from those of the mainstream culture when the majority group has a negative attitude toward the minority group and when the learner intends to stay only a short time in the country One example might help illustrate social distance The Hmong a nomadic people from Laos came to the United States after the war in Vietnam to escape persecution for helping the United States The rst generation settled mainly in Minnesota and central California Their numbers there were so large that they were able to support one another buy at stores that catered to them and live with minimal contact with the mainstream All these factors con tribute to social distance and the greater the social distance between the minor ity group and the mainstream the less likely that minority group members will acquire the language of the mainstream culturer At rst then many adult Hmong people did not acquire English quickly As the next generations have attened US schools and come into closer contact with the US culture this social distance has descreased and not only have they learned English but many are losing their ability to speak Hmong uently Schumann also considered psychological factors such as motivation atti tude and culture shock Students with low motivation and a negative attitude toward members of the mainstream culture are less apt to acquire the langiage of the mainstream especially when students are going through culture shock as they 40 Written and Second Language Acquisition adjust to living in a new country Many Hmong teens arriving after the war were adjusting to the huge change in lifestyle from an agrarian society to the modern life of cities in the US They felt resentment because of the persecution of their people and the lack of understanding they perceived from both teachers and other students Many dropped out of school joined gangs or did both Psychological factors can create psychological distance which combined with social distance helps explain a slow rate of acquisition Social and psychological distance helped explain why the student Schumann studied developed very limited English de spite being an intelligent and capable personr Schumann s concepts of social and psychological distance complement Krashen s theory Social distance limits opportunities for students to receive the comprehensible input needed for acquisition Psychological distance serves to raise the affective filter and prevent input from reaching the language acquisition device Immigrants who have limited contact with native English speakers are not likely to develop high levels of English pro ciency Vald s 2001 has shown that many middle school and high school students are segregated from native English speakers much of the day and as a result they fail to develop the aca demic English required for school success If these students also have limited con tact with native speakers outside school then they will not develop the language of everyday communication either The Critical Period Hypothesis Krashen has developed a theory of second language acquisition But is there a time limit on acquisition Researchers from a number of elds have debated this issue for both rst language and second language acquisition In the case of rst lana guages there have been cases of children who have been brought up under very unusual circumstances that included isolation from other humans Such children have often exhibited considerable dif culty in developing language later in life However in almost every case the children have experienced physical and psy chological trauma that may account for their later language learning dif culties Although cases of someone failing to develop a rst language are rare there is a general belief that children are better language learners than adults Children are able to speak a second language with little or no foreign accent but adults usuv ally retain an accent This has led researchers to investigate the possibility that there is a critical period during which language can be acquired Once past that period people are not able to acquire a second language Before examining the idea of a critical period more closely it is important to point out that the discussion is generally limited to accent or pronunciation There are two reasons that children appear to be better language learners than 41 Emu Lmoum adulmi in the rst place adults have more to learn If an adult went to a new country and learned to speak the language like a competent six year old most people would rate the adult as deficient in the language Adults are expected to have a much more developed vocabulary and adults frequently use complex syn taxr Nobody expects this of a sixvyearold Not only do adults have more to learn but they usually have less time to learn it Most adults who go to live in a foreign country go there to work Usually at work the adult speaks his or her native language Outside work the adult may socialize with others who speak the native language as well For many adults living in a fort eign country opportunities to use the foreign language are limited An English speaker will spend much of the day in contexts where Engl39wh is the medium of communication Children acquiring a second language though have fewer respon sibilities and many more chances to interact with speakers of the foreign language As a result children receive more comprehensible input in the foreign language than adults do Even though adults are good language learners they usually retain an accent Does this mean there is a critical period for the acquisition of phonology Re searchers from different disciplines have investigated this question and although no de nitive amwers have emerged there are several possible explanations The three most common explanations as to why most although not all adults speak a second language with a foreign accent are based on neurological facrors cogni tive factors and affective factors Neurological Factors Studies of the brain have shown that different areas of the brain are associated with different lunctionsi Brown 1994 notes that there is evidence in neurologr ical research that as the human brain matures certain functions are assigned or latemlized wto the left hemisphere of the brain and other functions to the right hemisphere Intellectual7 logical and analytic functions appear to be largely lo cated in the left hemisphere while the right hemisphere controls functions related to emotional and social needsquot p 53 Language is one of the functions located in the left hemisphere lateralizarion of the brain begins at about age we Not all researchers agree about when latcralization is complete However many researchers have concluded that by puberty the diiiereni functions of the brain have been lateralized to the two hemispheres Children who acquire a second language before puberty usually speak the new language without an accent Older lcamers however generally speak the second language with an accent Since people who learn a second lan guage after puberty generally retain an accent researchers have hypothesized that 42 Winter and Second language Acqmsirieri people are no longer able to acquire some aspects of language such as the phonoh ogy once the brain is laremlized and language is located in the left hemisphere They hypothesize that the critical period for the acqursrtion of phonology is the period prior to Changes in the brain associated with lateralization Cognitive Factors Young children who develop a second language with nativelilrc pronunciation have not yet reached what Piaget identi ed as the formal operational stage This stage begins for most children at around age eleven and it is the point at which more abstract thought is possible Perhaps the ability for more abstract thought changes the way people go about the task of learning a second language Children in the concrete operational stage may be able to acquire the language without need ing to analyze the structure of the language Older learners may not be able to suppress formal thought processes To use Krashen39s terms younger children have not reached a point where learning is possible learning involves knowing and ap39 plying abstract rules about language so they develop a second language through a process of acquisition Older learners have dif culty turning learning off They use cognitive processes to analyze language and as a result they have more dif culty acquiring a language particularly nuances of pronunciation Affective Factors The fact that most adults retain an accent may be due more to affective factors than to neurological or cognitive factors For one thing adolescents or adults learning a second language may he more selhconscious than children Older learners may be hesitant to try out a new language for fear of appearing incompe tenL Krashen hypothesizes clot affective factors may lter out input and prevent it from reaching the language acquisition device There may also he a kind of out put lter Nervousaess for example could inhibit an older learner from produce ing the new language Guiora a psychologist has suggested that each person has a language egor A person s language forms an important part of that person s identity The way someoae talks helps de ne who she is Learning a new language at a subcon scious level may threaten the language ego By remining an accent a person keeps part of her identify A British English speaker for example who speaks Spanish with a British accent sends the message that she is still a person from England The idea of a language ego is related to general attitudinal factors Older learners who acquire a second language and speak with little or no foreign accent are often people who admire and identify with people who live in a country where 43 ESSENTIAL LINoUisncs the language is spoken On the other hand if a person has a somewhat negative attitude toward people who speak a certain language that attitude might serve to block the acquisition of a nativelike accent in the language The learner might not want to be identi ed as a native of a counn y where the language is spoken A great deal has been written about a critical period For an excellent review see Brown 1994 However it is important to recognize that the critical period applies primarily to pronunciation Adults can acquire a second language and some adults also develop a nativelike accent In some cases though adult learna ers also make persistent errors in vocabulary and syntax when they speak in the second language Fossilization The presence of certain kinds of errors that persist in the speech of adult second language learners is referred to as fossilization For these learners some errors seem to have become a permanent part of their new language In many cases these older learners are highly educated and they may have spent years in the country in which the language is spoken Instruction doesn t seem to solve the problem A good example of fossilization comes from an older Japanese student This student studied and taught English in Japan He came to the United States and completed an MA degree in English teaching He has lived in the United States for several years Yet consider this excerpt from an email he sent I miss a cozy sunny weather in Fresno I have to put on a heavy down jacket a glove and a cap The strong chilly wind attacks me I am in the process to get used to a mean wea Even though this student has advanced vocabulary and syntax his writing has a number of errors He could probably explain the rule for each error but when he uses English errors like this keep coming up Fossilization is characteristic of the language of many adults who have acquired a second language Perhaps the best explanation for this phenomenon is that people like this student have ac quired enough of the language to communicate any idea The language serves their needs very well Although they may say that they want to speak English per fectly at a subconscious level at least they may feel that their English is good enoug A Note on Bilingual Programs If students acquire English primarily by receiving comprehensible input in English when their affective lter is low one might conclude that structured English immersion programs such as the ones that Ron Unz and other antibilingial education campaigners advocate would be the solution to the poor academic 44 Written and Second Language Acquisition performance of many English language learners In these programs English learn ers are given all their instruction in English Krashen 1996 and many others have pointed out the problems with structured English immersion and the bene ts of bilingual education The debate over bilingual programs tends to be more emotional than peda gogical Often parents of English language learners want their children in all English classes because they recognize the importance of learning English How ever students who continue to receive instruction in and develop their rst language while they are learning English do much better in school than those who are placed in stmctured English immersion programs English immersion is not supported by theories of second language acquisition and such programs ul timately disadvantage English language learners Some students do make short term gains in English but their test scores and academic performance fall rapidly as they move up through the grades Thomas and Collier 2001 English language learners need to develop both their rst language and English Unfortunately children in structured English immersion seldom develop either their rst lan guage or English to the levels needed for academic success Bilingual programs promote English acquisition in several ways First native language instruction when used appropriately enhances English instruction by making the English more comprehensible When teachers preview a lesson in the student s native language and then review it using the rst language again stu dents are more apt to understand the English instruction that makes up the major part of the lesson Preview view review is a technique that many bilingual teach ers use Freeman and Freeman 1998a Secondly students in bilingual programs receive some content area instruction in their rst language This instruction builds the necessary background for under standing lessons in the content areas given in English For example a student who has learned about the water cycle during native language instruction can better understand a lesson in English that builds on the concept that water passes through different states as it is heated and cooled For students without that background the English instruction might be incomprehensible Teachers have often noted how quickly some recent immigrants acquire English In many cases these stur dents have already built strong academic content knowledge in their first language and this knowledge makes the English instruction more comprehensi e A third way in which bilingual programs contribute to English language ac quisition is that students in these programs more fully develop their rst language Studies have shown that when students have full native language pro ciency in cluding the ability to do academic reading and writing they can transfer this knowledge from their rst language to the second Cummins 2000 This helps explain why older students with adequate schooling in their native countries do 45 ESSEN39I39iAL LINGUISTICS quite well in school while students who do not develop their rst language tend to struggle Freeman and Freeman 2002 Bilingual programs have other advantages but they directly supnort English language acquisition by making the input more comprehensible Students in well designed and wellvimplemented bilingual programs succeed in school at higher rates than students in structured English immersion programs Collier 1995 Effective bilingual programs provide the comprehensible input students need for second language acquisition Conclusion We began this chapter by posing two questions 1 Is written language acquired naturally or learned consciously 2 Can people acquire a second language In our discussion of each question we pointed out that there is a debate over two views of language development One view is that language is leamedi Teachers who hold a learning view break language into its component parts and teach them directly They correct errors to help students develop good language habits They esp e lanmvaoe mm and pay 39 quoti V How students say or write things is more important than what they say or write This ap proach applies to both written and second or foreign language teaching The second view is that language is acquired Teachers who hold an acquisir ion View attempt to make written or oral language comprehensible They use dilv ferent techniques to help students understand what they read or hear The focus always stays on making meaning Students develop conventional language forms once they have messages they wish to communicate Current research supports an acquisition View although there is still debate over how much of language can be acquired and what can be learned In the fol lowing chapters we present relevant aspects of phonology orthography morphol ogy and syntax Concepts from these areas of linguistics can help inform readers as they decide what their View of language development is and how they can or ganize instruction to help all their students become pro cient users of oral and written languages Agplications 1 In this chapter we distinguish between learning a language and acquiring a language If you have studied a second language evaluate your experience 46 i i s i a z


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