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General Overview
Two ways of learning: 1) Formal > learn languages through institutions (schools, classes, etc)
>these institutions try to teach through conscious learning
2) Informal > natural (family, friends, surroundings)
> exposure to lang & picking it up
> aka acquisitions aka unconscious learning
> wired from birth to learn languages
Children vs Adults >context is important (!) >children learn languages as a tool (essential for
socialization) >need to learn labels+context (aka concepts) >need to put labels >adults have limited time
to spend on learning languages >affective factors 1)pride 2)attitude >adults have ego, inhabitions and
barriers of unsure >all have own style of speaking (identity)/new language new identity
Reasons why adults learn a 2nd language:
>professional >integration >talent
>religious >social (marry into diff. culture forced to learn lang eng speaker+Italian=learn itallian)
First Language Learning
>occurs in natural context >unconscious and through exposure >constant exposure=max input
>start&progresses @own pace/time >lots of encouragement >need for socialization >no
preconceived ideas
Second Language Learning
>sometimes natural but usually forced >very little exposure >little encouragement
> personality traits
Language, Learning and Teaching
Second Language Acquisition can be broken down--
Learning Characteristics >who are you teaching >what do they speak @ home.
*focus attention on crucial variables affecting learners success & teachers’ ability to enable learners’
Linguistic factors > what they must learn >what is language >what is communication
*centralized to the discipline of linguistics. *teacher must know the system of language-its phonemes,
morphemes, words, sentences& discourse structures
Learning process >how does learning take place >how can one ensure success in language learning
*how the learner learns
Age and Acquisition >when in life is SLL taking place
*key issue in SL *many diff ques’n about children and adults
Instructional variables >in natural enviro. do all learners learn the same? >how active should they be
*focus on the how to teach
Context >how do cultural similarities + contrasts affect learning process >focusing on “foreign lang” only
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heard in artificial enviro.
*focus on the where the learning is taking place
Purpose >why learners are attempting to learn >what is the purpose
*broadest of all ques’n it is the motivation
Ways of learning:
1) Classic Method : focus on grammatical rules >memorizations >vocabulary+conjugations
>translation of text >doing written exercises
>NO real focus on oral learning
2) Grammar Translation Method (GTM) :
i) classes taught in mother tongue (little use of L2)
ii) much vocab taught in form of lists and words
iii) elaborate explanations of intricacies of grammar
iv) reading of difficult classic texts begins early
v) texts treated as exercises in grammatical analysis
vi) occasional drills+exercises in translating L1-->L2
vii) little or no attention to pronunciation
3) Audio lingual method (ALM): over emphasis on oral production drills
Applied Linguistics : any issue deal with language
WHO ->learner and teacher (aka ppl involved)
WHAT -> L2 teaching factors (what we are supposed to learn/teach >nature of subject matter
>definition varies on your POV >course content
WHERE-> formal/informal >natural
WHEN -> time factors >age of learner >time they have to learn >length of exposure
WHY -> motivation >vocab+material will change depending on the students goal >self-fulfilment
HOW -> teachers approach, passive/active learner >do ppl learn >do ppl develop their learning
Various learning theories --your theory determines the how you teach to make it better/faster/more efficient
humanistic psychology> factors that affect learner >focus is on learner >everything is there to aid
learner >encourage them to take initiative
habit creating > you learn through repetition and (+) reinforcement
cognitive aspects > what’s going on inside the learners’ mind >how they “file” it in their mind believe
> ppl believe learning is understanding
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First Language Acquisition
Tabula Rasa >clean slate OR >innate knowledge
Operant Conditioning :
>organism (humans) emits a response or operant (sentence or utterance) w/out obvious stimuli
>operant is maintained or learned through reinforcements
>behaviour controlled by consequences
Meditation theory
>claim linguistic stimulus elicits a “meditating” response that is self-stimulating
>lang acquisition is innately determined
>all born with genetic capacity to a systematic perception of world around us
>construction of an internalized system of languages
Language Acquisition Device (LAD)
1) ability to distinguish speech sounds from others
2) organize linguistic data into classes & later be refined
3) knowledge that only certain linguistic system is possible & others are not
4) ability engage in constant evaluation of developing linguistics
Comprehension >listening and reading >equated with competence
Production >speaking and writing >equated with performance
Universals >universally acquired >deep structure of languages @ deepest level may be common
>word order >agreement (of subject and verbs) >reduced reference (pronouns)
>nouns and nouns classes >verb and verb classes >predication >negation >question formation
Principles >invariable characteristics of human language that appear to apply to all languages
Structure dependency >organized in a way that is crucially depends on structural relationship b’tween
elements in a sentence
*understanding how ppl learn will give you insight on how they will learn L2
Demonstration (Total Physical Response)
>action >giving orders >having child act out what you say >important b/c it shows comprehension
>comprehension before production >children need to understand before speaking
Behaviourist Learning Theory
>reinforcement >repetition > R >lang acquisition is habit forming
>genetically equipped to learn langs. >moment you’re exposed you pick it up >no real evidence
(+) becomes habit
(-) Habit is dropped
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