Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Handout: Fundamentals of Language Acquisition


Fundamentals of Language Acquisition
S Krashen:  sdkrashen.com, twitter = skrashen

The Acquisition-Learning Hypothesis:
ACQUISITION – subconscious = "picking up" a language
- While it is happening, we are not aware that it is happening.
- Once we have acquired something, we are not usually aware that anything has happened;
Everybody can acquire. The language acquisition device never shuts off.
Both oral and written language can be acquired.
Acquisition - What the brain does well.

LEARNING – conscious = "rules", "grammar": What we did in school.
Error correction helps learning. When we make a mistake and are corrected, we are supposed to change our conscious version of the rule.
Learning – What the brain does poorly.

The Natural Order Hypothesis
We acquire (not learn) aspects of language in a predictable order.
-       Not based on simplicity/complexity.
-       Cannot be changed.
-       NOT the syllabus.

The Monitor Hypothesis: Consciously learned language only available as Monitor, or editor. 
Conditions (severe) for Monitor use:  (1) Know the rule; (2)  Think about correctness (focus on form) (3) Time.

The Comprehension Hypothesis: The centerpiece of the theory: We acquire language when we understand messages.
AMAZING FACTS about language acquisition:
Effortless: no energy, no work.
Involuntary:  Given comprehensible input, you must acquire.

Corollary: Talking is not Practicing.
1) we acquire language by input, not output.
2) ability to speak: the RESULT of language acquisition
3) correction? (real cure: More comprehensible input – accuracy EMERGES

The Affective Filter Hypothesis:
Affective variables: motivation, anxiety, self-esteem
The FILTER (block) prevents input from reaching the Language Acquisition Device.
COMPELLING comprehensible input
   Compelling: so interesting you are not aware of the language, sense of time diminishes, sense of self diminishes = Flow (Csíkszentmihályi)
   Compelling input destroys the affective filter (temporarily), eliminates need for "motivation"
   Case histories: language acquisition never the goal, but a by-product. It was the story.
1.    Jack, a Mandarin heritage language speaker: The Stories of A Fanti led to improvement, but only when stories were available (Lao & Krashen, IJFLT, 2008).
2.    Paul: Cantonese and English speaker, acquired Mandarin from cartoons and lots of TV shows and movies, with no particular motivation to acquire Mandarin.

APPLICATION TO LANGUAGE TEACHING

Role of the class:  Class is ideal for beginners!  Goal: Intermediate level

Beginning level:
TPR: Total Physical Response (Asher): Website: http://www.tpr-world.com/
Natural Approach (Terrell)
TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling; Blaine Ray)

Underlying principles      class: filled with comprehensible input
organized, but not around points of grammar: but around activities that students will find comprehensible and interesting (compelling)
speech not forced but encouraged (indirect contribution)
grammar: not for children, as linguistics, for editing
compelling input > stories, personalzization

Research: CI wins in method comparisons
Isik (2000: ITL: Rev of Applied Linguistics) High school EFL, Turkey, intermediates; 29 hours per week, 36 weeks:
CI = Communication-based, minimal correction, graded readers, 75% CI, 25% grammar.
Grammar = 24 hrs/week form-based, 20% CI, 80% grammar

comprehensible input
Grammar
Oxford grammar test
67.6 (5.0)
45.6 (9.6)
Reading
22.25 (1.07)
14.5 (4.26)
Listening compr.
24.9 (2.29)
17.5 (3.3)
Writing
19.4 (2.6)
7.5 (3.3)



The rise of TPRS (Blaine Ray) -  stories, personalization, graded readers
Varguez (2009: IJFLT.com)  Beginning Spanish in high school in US
TPRS significantly better than comparisons (t = 10.56, p < .0001).
Low SES TPRS class = comparisons. (Had TPRS teacher for part of year)
group
N
mean (sd)
TPRS
22
32 (4.7)
TPRS low SES
13
22.3 (38.2)
Comp
48
23.45 (21.2)
Measure: combination of listening and reading

Intermediate methods: 
Sheltered subject matter teaching: based on comprehensible input/immersion methods
Characteristics: (1) intermediates only; (2) focus on subject-matter, not language
Research: When compared to intermediate foreign language classes:
(1) as much or more language development (2) subject matter knowledge at the same time (3) academic language

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