English Department
Post Graduate Program
Semarang State
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Three crucial issues in Second Language
Acquisition (SLA) identified by Rice (1986):
Is the nature of L2 learning similar or different to first
language acquisition?
Does the child bring something different to the process of
second language acquisition?
Is the linguistic environment the same for both first and
second language acquisition?
• First language refers to the first language people
learn in the life. (p.29)
• Second language acquisition is the learning of a
language by an individual who already has some
degree of control over another language. (p.12)
• Second language refers to any language learned later
in life and usually learned after the age of five. (p.29)
Discussion of SLA
Some factors influence in second language learning
(Lightbown and Spada, 1999):
Learner Characteristics:
Prior language knowledge (knowing another language),
Cognitive development,
Metalinguistic development, and
Personality factors, such as nervousness in speaking
to foreigners, etc.
Learner Conditions:
 Receiving instruction in the classroom learning,
 Doing structured homework or learning the language
through conversation with the family,
 Being required to speak up (in front of the class),
 The places where the children learn.
Theoretical Models in
Behaviorist model
The three influential
theoretical models for
explaining second
language acquisition
and how language,
the child and the
connected each other,
those models are:
Innatist model
Interactionist model
Behaviorism and SLA
• The basic principles still apply:
> Imitation > practice > reinforcement/ feedback, and > habit
formation following stimulus-response model,
• All learning is similar (both for L1 or L2 learning)
• However, in L2 learning, habits from first language are already
established, so part of L2 learning is leaning to eliminate bad
habits (i.e. errors) from the first language.
Behaviorism and SLA
• Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis (CAH) by Lado (1975):
> elements that are similar in the 1st & 2nd language will be easy
to learn, and elements that are different in two languages are
difficult to learn.
> buku = book
> air
= udara
> pensil = pencil
> Sunday = minggu
• CAH is too simplistic!
> differences are not necessary difficult and similarities are not
necessary easy.
 sometimes a startling new idea was easier to remember than
new information that was only slightly different from
something you already know!
 Queue
Behaviorism and
• Instructional approach called Audiolinguism (a name
coined by Prof. Nelson Brooks in 1964).
• “Grammars was taught through repetitive drills which
built up in length and complexity so that good habits were
developed. Grammatical rules did not have to be
explained because teachers were to “teach the language,
not about the language” Rivers (1981, p.42)
• Spoken language is more important than written
• Extensive use of dialogue memorization, repetition, and
Behaviorism and
Hello, good morning. I’m John. Are you Bill Jones?
Yes, I am.
Pleased to meet you.
Nice to meet you too.
How are you?
Fine, thanks.
How is Jane?
She’s very well, thank you.
Is automatic
Excuse me, I have to go now.
Good bye, John.
the same as
Good bye, Bill.
See you tomorrow.
Limitation of
Behaviorist Model
• No comprehension, only repetition or drills, so learners didn’t
know what they were hearing or saying.
• Structures of language were learned by memorization without
knowledge of how to adapt them in the real communication.
• The material used in audiolingual classes was controlled
completely by the teachers.
• The role of the learner is very limited because it has little to do
with learner interests.
• Markedness, this refers to the general idea that some linguistic
features may be more ‘basic’ or ‘natural’ than others.
• > ekstra = extra
• > sounds /x/, /z/, /v/.
Innatism and SLA
• According to innatist theory, children are born with a
special ability to systematically discover for
themselves the underlying rules of a language
system. This special ability enables them to learn the
complexities of language in a relatively short period
of time.
• This theory was proposed by Chomsky which
emphasized the role of mental or psycholinguistic
• He created the term Universal Grammar (UG), a kind
of blueprint that the child is born with; exposure to,
or to input from, a particular language sets the
specific rules of the child’s language.
Innatism and SLA
Two special issues in innatist model of SLA:
 Full Access:
The learner access UG in
the same way for both 1st
and 2nd language learning.
2nd Lang.
1st Lang.
 No Access:
The learner does not
access UG directly for the
2nd language learning but
must go through the 1st
language learning
1st Lang.
2nd Lang.
Innatism and SLA
Two special issues in innatist model of SLA:
 There is a critical period hypothesis (CPH) for language learning
(Lenberg, 1967). This states that target-language competence in an
L2 can only be achieved if learning commences before a certain
age (e.g. the onset of puberty age) is reached.
 However, some studies related to CPH and L2 learning found that:
 Adults and adolescents may learn more quickly than children in
the short term.
 Adult and adolescents who are good classroom learners may
learn more efficiently than young children in language classroom.
 Those who begin when they are younger and continue learning
may ultimately reach a higher level of proficiency than those who
begin as adults.
Innatism and
• Use ‘The Natural Approach’ proposed by Terrel (1997)
and the approach is supported by Krashen’s Hypothesis
for SLA.
• Those are:
– 1. the acquisition/learning hypothesis
– 2. the monitor hypothesis
– 3. the natural order hypothesis
– 4. the input hypothesis
– 5. the affective filter hypothesis
– 6. the reading hypothesis
the acquisition/learning
• Teachers must focus on communication rather
than memorization of rules
• Immersion in meaningful and comprehensible
contexts is a must
• Using the language in meaningful interactions
develops communicative competency
the acquisition/learning
• Language acquisition refers to the natural assimilation of
languages, by means of intuition and subconscious
• Language acquisition is the product of real interactions
between people in environments of the target language
and culture, where the learner, as an active player,
develops his communicative ability.
• Language learning refers to the analysis and study of the
language as a system, primarily in its written form. The
objective is to understand the structure of the language
and produce knowledge about it.
acquisition vs. learning
Priority on the written language
Theory (language analysis)
Deductive teaching (rule-driven;
Preset syllabus
Priority on the spoken language
Practice (language in use)
Inductive coaching (rulediscovery; bottom-up)
Improvised activities
Activities ABOUT the language
Activities IN the language
Focus on form
Focus on communication
Produces knowledge
Produces an ability
the monitor hypothesis
 When learners know language rules, they
can self-correct as needed
 In order to work, learners need:
1. Time to think about what they need to say or
have said
2. To focus on form (how do I say it correctly?)
3. Knowledge of rules and be able to apply them
the natural order
 language learners acquire (rather than
learn) the rules of language in a
predictable sequence.
 some early / some late with some
the input hypothesis
 The Input Hypothesis
 Input needs to be comprehensible, but slightly
above current level of competency
 Teachers must present materials in ways that are
not tied language
Parenthese (repeat, rephrase, slower speech)
Charts, etc.
the affective filter
 Most important affective variables favoring second
language acquisition:
1. Low-anxiety learning environment
2. Self-confidence
3. Self-esteem
 Students able to acquire language in an
environment where they feel accepted and free to
take risks; they know if they make mistakes, they
will not be fooled.
the reading hypothesis
 Reading acts as a kind of input which extends
acquisition especially for “reading comprehension,
writing style, vocabulary spelling, and advanced
grammatical competence.” (Krashen, 1994, p.46.)
Limitation of Innatist
• Some researchers argued that there is no specialised
capacity for language which is inborn, such as UG in
Chomskyan model, but that an inborn cognitive ability or
information-processing capacity is responsible.
• This assumes that language learning is not specialised,
biological capability.
• The issues about how language is used and how
language learning is influenced by social communication.
Interactionism and
• Influenced by sociolinguistic views of language and by
views of language use for communication.
• Addressed to linguistic environment-the way(s) that
language is used to, with and around the learner.
• The research has investigated possible roles for input,
negotiation, output, and interactional feedback in SLA.
• Those four aspects are related each other in L2 language
Interactionism and
• Input
• Krashen proposed that SLA is based on comprehensible
input. Input is essential.
• But, input alone might not be sufficient because the
learners also need feedback about errors in order to find
out what is not possible in the L2 learning.
It is a star fruit.
It is a banana.
Interactionism and
• Negation, Output, and Interactional feedback.
A: It’s a bona..
B: What? Bona..
A: It’s a fruit. Yellow..
B: Oh, fruit in yellow color.
A: Yes..
B: Is it a banana?
A: Yes. Banana.
B. It’s a banana.
It is a banana.
Interactionism and
• Communicative Language Teaching Approaches
(CLTAs) which includes a variety of different approaches
to teaching including functional-notional, thematic,
content based, task-based, etc.
• However, they all advocate a few common principles:
• More learner-centered,
• Less memorization, drill, and rule-based learning,
• Use of pair and group work,
• Contextualised teaching of vocabulary and grammar,
• Emphasized language for communication,
Limitation in
Interactionist theory
• The theory is still too limited since no consideration of
other aspects of the socio-cultural context that influence
language learning.
• A debate: innatist would argue that evidence from
interaction might show how language become
comprehensible but still cannot explain acquisition
without acknowledging an innate capacity.
• While interartionist might say that innatist ignore
language use, innatist might say that interactionist rely on
language use too much.
• Modeling, practice and reinforcement from
proficient L2 language user.
•Habits formed in first language can interfere with L2
•Instructional approach: Audiolingualism.
• UG is full access or no access or UG is partially available
for l2 learning – an unresolved question
• If UG is biological, there may be an optimal time period
for second language acquisition (prior to puberty) because
the adult mind learns language differently
• Instructional approach: The Natural Approach
• Input, negotiation, output, and interactional feedback maybe
necessary for L2 learning.
• Other sociocultural aspects may also need to be considered
• Instruction approach: CLATs
Thank You!
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