Second Language Acquisition

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Second Language Acquisition
Major questions in SLA
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
Is there an optimal age for starting SLA?
How long does it take to learn L2?
Do optimal conditions exist for acquiring L2?
What are the characteristics of excellent or unsuccessful L2 learners?
To what extent does SLA resemble first language acquisition?
Can learners function as efficiently and as competently in communicating, learning,
and reading in L2 as in L1?
7. To what extent is performance in L2 interact with L1? (additive bilingualism vs.
subtractive bilingualism)
Pedagogical Approaches to SLA
1. Language Setting: SLA vs. FLA
2. Teaching Methods:
a. Grammar translation method: taught in L1, reading/writing intensive,
grammar-oriented, direct translation from L1 to L2
b. Audiolingual method: speaking and listening, rote learning
c. Direct method: taught in L2, listening/speaking/conversation skills
emphasized, explicit grammar rule teaching avoided
d. Communicative approach (immersion method): taught exclusively through
L2, no explicit feedback, authentic language input
e. Submersion method: Learner is exclusively by speakers of L2 usually in a
social setting or foreign country
3. Predicting errors caused by language transfer
a. Contrastive analysis (phonological, lexical, syntactic)
b. Positive transfer vs. Negative transfer (interference errors)
c. Criticism: There are errors that are predicted by CA but do not occur, and
that are not predicted but do occur.
4. Motivation
a. Integrative motivation (motivation to "belong" to the target group, intrinsic
motivation with its emphasis on learning the target language because one
wishes to associate with or integrate with the speaker of the language)
b. Instrumental motivation (extrinsic motivation to acquire some advantages by
learning a second language, i.e. learning a second language for practical
reasons such as getting better grades in the exams or getting a better job or a
promotion)
5. Learners Learning Style, Personality, Aptitude etc.
2
Linguists’ Approach to SLA
1. Influenced by UG school (Principles and parameters)
2. Language Transfer (L1 to L2)
a. Phonological
b. Syntactic rules
3. Order of acquisition: comparison between L1 and L2 development, comparison
among learners with different language background
4. Interlanguage grammar (independent of L1)
Psychologists’ Approach to SLA
1. Critical Period Hypothesis (large-scale studies vs. case studies)
2. Competence and Performance
3. Brain Studies
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