LIN 5700 Applied Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition Session Notes Dr. Elia Vázquez-Montilla The Big Question “How are we to account for the fact that virtually every child, without special training, exposed to surface level language data in interaction, builds for himself --- in a short period of time, and at a pre-logical stage in his development -- a deep level, abstract and highly complex system of linguistic structure?” J. W. Lindfors, Children’s Language and Learning, 1980. Basic Ideas about Language: First one is acquired swiftly, efficiently, and without instruction. It has rules. It has a sound system, a vocabulary, and a grammar system. Languages have private codes. Change is essential. Languages are shaped by the needs of the speakers. Writing is a derivative of speech. Developmental Sequence Crying Communicative Dance Cooing Babbling Echolalic babbling 1 word stage (holophrastic) pivot words (2 word stage) telegraphic stage overgeneralizations Acquistion vs. Learning Acquisition Similar to first language acqusition “Picking up” a language May not be in conscious awareness Implicit knowledge Errors accepted Formal teaching does not necessarily help Learning Formal knowledge of a language Knowing about a language Deliberate and conscious efforts Explicit knowledge Errors corrected Formal teaching helps Theories about language acquisition Behavioristic: Children are born with a genetic inheritance for learning. Learning occurs entirely through the action of the environment shaping the individual’s behavior. Behavior is shaped through reinforcement. Nativistic: Structures and functions in the biological makeup cause language to be learned. Regardless of environment, child can learn language if biologically equipped. Environment affects the rate of learning. More theories... Cognitivist: cognitive development (and thus language) is a product of interaction between child and environment. There is a fixed sequence of development determined biologically. Children are born with innate capacity to develop logical thought. From this thinking, they develop language. Social Interactionist: Language and cognition develop together with verbalized thought produced around 2 years of age. Social interaction at base of language development. Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) is range of possibility for higher learning or language development.
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