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Lecture 11

LING 3Q91 Lecture Notes - Lecture 11: Connectionism, Noam Chomsky, Behaviorism


Department
Linguistics
Course Code
LING 3Q91
Professor
David Hayes
Lecture
11

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Lecture 12: More on theories and models of SLA
Lack of a single model of SLA
-“On the one hand, there are those who argue that SLA needs to engage in the
careful elimination of theories to demonstrate its maturity as a discipline. On the
other hand, there are those who argue that L2 acquisition is a highly complex
phenomenon and that, therefore, multiple theories are both inevitable and desirable
-the types of enquiry that characterize SLA and the types of explanation provided
re#ect the di$erent purposes of researchers
Ellis on models/theories
-some researchers have been primarily concerned with language pedagogy and
have seen SLA as contributing to more e$ective language teaching
-others have been more concerned with linguistics and have seen SLA as a way of
testing hypotheses about the nature of language
-still others have been concerned with the sociology of multilingual communities
and are interested in SLA because it serves to illustrate how social context a$ects
and is a$ected by language
-for this reason alone we are likely to see SLA continue to o$er multiple
perspectives
Impact on practice
-this lack of agreement in SLA can be frustrating, especially for anyone concerned
with interpreting theories for practical purposes
-“Researchers and educators who are hoping for language acquisition theories
which give them insight into language teaching practice are often frustrated by the
lack of agreement among the ‘experts’
-the complexities of second language acquisition, like those of *rst language
acquisition, represent a puzzle that scientists will continue to work on for a long
time
-agreement on a ‘complete’ theory of language acquisition is probably, at best, a
long way o$. Even if such agreement were reached, there would still be questions
about how the theory should be interpreted for language teaching
Some theories of SLA
-in the end, what all theories of language acquisition are intended to account for is
the ability of human learners to acquire language within a variety of social and
instructional environments
-this entails research into the workings of the human mind
-ethics as well as technology place limits on our methods of investigation
-most previous and current theories have been criticised and found wanting in one
way or another
-Behaviourist theory was based on experiments with animals learning a variety of
responses to laboratory stimuli
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