Children vs. Adults in second

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Children vs. Adults in
second-language learning
3308심리언어학 Chapter 6
1. Children are better: a common belief
2. Basic psychological factors affecting
second-language learning
-Intellectual processing
-Memory
-Motor skills
-Two other important psychological
variables
3. Social situations affecting second-language
learning
-The natural situation
-The classroom situation
-Who is better? Children or adults?
- ESL or EFL community context
4. Is there a critical age for secondlanguage learning?
What are the differences
between children and adults?
-
Age (critical period of learning)
Motivation
Attitude
Environment (ESL vs. EFL)
Theories on the second language acquisition
- During childhood, language learning is very easy. Our
brains are ready for language learning. As we are getti
ng older, people loose childhood ability (Lenneberg, 1
964).
- The attainment of second language is constrained by
the age at which learning begins (Birdsong & Molis, 2
001, p. 235).
- “Acquisition of a normal language is guaranteed for chil
dren up to the age of six, is steadily compromised fro
m then shortly after puberty, and is rare thereafter” (Pi
nker, 1994, p. 298).
Psychological factors:
Intellectual processing
1. Explication
- The process whereby the rules and structures
of a second language are explained.
- It is impossible for it to be learned entirely by
explication (e.g., tense, article).
- Explication is rarely applicable to young
children (e.g., dogs/z/-voiced consonant,
ducks/s/-unvoiced consonant).
- Simple rules can be learned by explication.
Psychological factors:
Intellectual processing
2. Induction
- Self-discovery of the rules
- For young learners:
(John danced then John sang->
John danced and then he sang)
It is able to use and understand the
complicated structures.
-For the second-language learners: beyond
the learner’s level of syntactic
understanding?
Psychological factors:
Memory
1. Syntax learning and episodic memory
- Memory is crucial for the learning of grammatical
structures and rules.
- Episodic memory: the learner must remember
the situations in which the sentences are uttered
in order to derive the meaning.
2. Children’s memory ability
- 7 to 12 years old: cognitive ability
- Under 7 years old: rote memorization
Psychological factors:
Motor skills
1. Articulators of speech
- Motor skills: the use of muscles in performing
certain skills(e.g., walking, writing, speech).
2. Decline in general motor skills
- Around at the age of 12 years: due to some change
in central functioning in the brain.
3. Decline in ability for new articulations
- Children have the flexibility in motor skills that
adults generally have lost.
Three important psychological factors
1. Induction and Explication
2. Memory
3. Motor skills
Psychological factors:
Motivation
1. Motivation (according to the situation)
- At the age of 1-2: no motivation.
- At the age of 4-5: need motivation
- The planned learning situation(classroom) : need
motivation
 the amount of attention+ effort
2. Other variables involved in second
language learning: personality, social situation,
intergroup attitude, self-confidence, desire etc.
Psychological factors:
Attitude
1. Attitude: negative vs. positive
 determination, persistence.
2. Other variables involved in second
language learning: status, cultural
background.
Social situations
1. Natural situation:
it is similar to that in which the first language is
learned.
2. Classroom situation:
it involves the social situation of the school
classroom.
3. Community context:
it allows students to have access to a natural
situation and thereby supplement their classroom
learning.
Social situations:
the natural situation
1. Characteristics of the natural situation
2. With age, language is more essential for
social interaction
3. Older children can have problems
Social situations:
the classroom situation
1. The classroom is isolated from other
social life
2. Learning languages as part of a group
and not as an individual
Social situations:
who is better? children or adults?
- In a natural situation
Memory
Motor skills
Induction
Natural situation
Children
high
high
high
high
Adults
medium
low
high
low
Social situations:
who is better? children or adults?
- In the classroom situation
Cognitive
experience
Memory
Motor skills
Older child
low
high
high
Adults
high
medium
low
Environment for the second
language learning
1. ESL: English as a second language
2. EFL: English as a foreign language
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