Notes from reading on Second Language Acquisition


Source: Second language acquisition in children: Vol. 2. School age children (second edit.) Barry Mc Laughlin, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, 1985.

I.    Demands of the classroom (Chp. 1)
       Issue: What do LEP children need to learn in a second language?
      A.    Context: child comes to school with a fair development of the home language.    Classroom presents new social, cognitive and language complexity.
            1.    Forms of speaking and discourse used in school: two:
                   a - natural
                   b - formal (Robert Colfnee, Sarah, 1980. Understanding
                    and Comprehending,  Center for the Study of Reading,
          2.    Characteristics     natural formal
     B.    Linguistic Interdependence Hypothesis (p. 9-11)(Cummins, Jim, 1979/80)    Dual task of child: learning the language of the school through the secondlanguage.
         1.    LI Hypothesis suggests success or failure in school may reflect lack of competencies attained by the child in the home language.
                a.    use of certain language functions
                b.    vocabulary development plus concepts
         2.    Three general aspects of child's knowledge of language are closely related     needed basic skills in bilingual contexts.
                a.    Vocabulary concept knowledge (Becher, 1977)
                b.    Metalinguistic insights especially:     1) that print is meaningful - importance for meaning     2) that written and spoken language are different - structure and     predictability to written language     3) ability to decontextualize language.     School experience exposes child to decontextualized, "disembedded"language     (also, bound to new, unfamiliar, cultural contexts).
        3.    Cummins refers to two kinds of language proficiency.
               a.    Basic Interpersonal Communicative Skills (BICS)= normal communicative skills that all children acquire.
               b.    Cognitive/Academic Language Proficiency (CALP) - proficiency related primarily to reading and writing.
               c.    CALP is a similar dimension of the home language.
               d.    LI Hypothesis: CALP. Success in second language instruction reflects prior CALP development in home language.
               e.    Cummins's revision of BICS and CALP:    a continuum between context-imbeddedand context-reduced communication.
               f.    In classroom much "formal" language may reflect context-imbedded communication by being ritualized and indicating much student-teacher interaction.
               g.    Skills in informal context are relevant to classroom interactions.

II.    Second Language Learning Process.
       A.    Second language learning in preschool children and contrast between natural and classroomL2 learning. (See Hirsh)
               1.    Influence of the home (1st) language;     Research findings:
                      a.    Interference not inevitable vs supposition.     1) learners from different language background make same L2 mistakes     (Dulay and Burh, 1973 - Chinese and Norwegian Children).     2) Child's approach to second language very similar to that used for learning the     home language (innate strategies).
                     b.    Developmental sequences     1) formulation of hypotheses and subsequent reconstruction of rules for special     results in INTERLANGUAGE.     2) interlanguage = separate linguistic system reflecting attempts to match home     language with target language.     3) congruity between the language facilitates the approach of using home language     to resolve confusion about L2 and its context of use.
                    c.    Individual and sociolinguistic factors     1) needs of individual learners - different language learning styles (Peters, 1977)     - piece by piece     - holistic strategy displayed     2) differences, also, reflect sociolinguistic and cultural facets.     3) different routes to target language     iv) May reflect just personality factors
                   d.    Differences in

III. Chp 1
        A.    Strategies and tactics of children in L2 learning
                1.    processes universal to all languages < innate cognitive mechanisms
                2.    Idiosyncratic problem solving techniques (based on being thwarted in using innate     ability due to classroom presentation)

A. Communicative approach - Germany (p.46-8)
   1. Language used to transmit meaning    2.Uses analysis of language situations    3.Focus:concrete situations    4.Rationale:more natural communication    5.Problem:oral focus > weak reading and writing    6.Creative approach:fairy tales oral written    7.Also, visual media    8.Other teacher needs:sensitive to child linguistic needs.

V. Chp. 5. Instructional practice. A. Bilingual approaches, pp. 108-112. B. Methods of instruction in English (112-121)    1. ESL methods (112-113)    2.Individual instruction (113-114)    3.TPR (114-116)    4.Natural approach (116-118. Principles 117)    5.Functional (118-121; 119) C. Teacher language input    1. Use of first language (121-124 - agenda - English only - p.123)     a. Rodrigues - Brown and Elias Olivares (1981)     More comfort in asking questions in L1.     b. Possibilities     1) used more English     2) Hidden agenda Eng. only (p.123)     c. Political position of L2 very powerful     d. Recommendation: Use L1 in early grades.  nbsp;Otherwise, could fall behind other students in subject matter understanding (relevant human competence based on the subject) development of cognitive /academic proficiency (more later)  nbsp; 2.teacher modifier language short sentences and repeated information plus indirect     requests. D. Instruction and Literacy related skills    1. Reading (128-135) 4 points    2.When should reading begin in L2 (132-135)     a. Literacy L1 importance     b. oral language (L2) importance     c. Empirical research E. Two instructional models (135-144)  nbsp; Immersion (136-140) and reverse immersion (140-144) VI. Chp. 6 Classroom organization and interaction patterns A. Classroom organization - 2 points (145-149) B. Classroom interaction patterns - 3 points (149-153) C. Ethnographics and needs (153-56) D. Teaching as a linguistic process. VII. Chp. 7. Individual difference variables. A. Cognitive style (164-170 - cognitive style)    1. Table of variables    2.Field dependence and independence (table p. 167)  nbsp; 3.Other variables B. Learner characteristics (170-175) 3 pints C. Age 3 points VIII. Social Factors - Chp 8 A. Child's social background    1. social factors affecting language use - 2 points    2.attitudes IX. Chp. 11 Conclusion A. Difference between L1 and L2 learning in different settings and interlanguage    1.Language abilities needed for school    2.Best instructional model    3.Most effective method    4.Role of individual differences    5. Effectiveness of bilingual education Excerpts by David W. Gurney, Ph.D. and Dr. Antonio Pinna