Second Language Acquisition and Teaching; Final Quiz Study Guide.


  1. What are the fundamental beliefs of Behaviorism about language?  How do these translate into language teaching methods (think ALM)?  What are some critiques of Behaviorism?Fundamental beliefs of Behaviorism are that:
    (1) Knowledge is experience-based
    (2) Learning is the establishment of a stimulus response connection (learning being a stimulus-response).
    Behaviorism can only happen through habit formation.
    Behaviorism can only examine observable-phenomena, therefore making no non-existent speculation.
    Behaviorism focuses only on performance, rather than on what input is being acquired. This translates to teaching methods that lead to misunderstandings.
  1. What are Chomsky’s fundamental beliefs about language?  In particular, how do mentalists/generativists investigate linguistic knowledge of native speakers?Chomsky’s fundamental beliefs on language (and on syntax) marked an epoch in linguistic study. Instead of following the Behaviorism model, Chomsky argued to “identify competence” of mental grammar that allows one to make a sentence and “analyze performance”, which is what is said.
    Chomsky’s Mentalist approach differed from Behaviorism by performance being key.
    Chomsky’s fundamental beliefs about language are:
    Language Acquisition Device- Also known as the “Language Organ”, is a mental organ, which activates during the critical period to help a language learner to organize input and to see the patterns of language. Everything in a developmental sequence is due to this activation of the LAD.
    Universal Grammar- Chomsky suggests that some rules of grammar are “hard-wired” to the brain, allowing language to be learned without it being taught. Universal Grammar refers to a common structural basis of all languages.
    Poverty of the Stimulus- This theory is made up of 3 main ideas:
    (1) In ordinary speech, children aren’t exposed to enough speech to understand it fully, so a structure is needed (Universal Grammar).
    (2) Usually language learners are not given information on how to modify speech, which is fixed by Universal Grammar.
    (3) Teaching and correction have no measurable effect on the target language, and input only provides “positive evidence” of what is target-like. (But never explains what is not target-like.)
  1. Krashen’s approach to SLA is an outgrowth of the mentalist approach to language —what are the 5 key hypotheses in Krashen’s model?  Be prepared to critique each of Krashen’s hypotheses.The Mentalist approach to SLA follows the idea that the L2 must follow the Universal Grammar constraints, but Krashen’s SLA theory emphasizes the function of age and set parameters, known as the critical period.
    Krashen’s theory follows 5 hypotheses:
    (1) There is a difference between Acquisition (procedural) and Learning (declarative). Learned knowledge can’t ever transfer to acquired knowledge. This is also true neurologically, because different types of information are stored differently in the brain.
    (2) Natural Order Hypothesis- Elements of a language are acquired in a sequential order, also known as a morpheme order.
    (3) Monitor Hypothesis- Learned knowledge can act as a filter on one’s output, and fixes language-acquired errors. One must pay conscious attention to target-like speech and know the grammatical rules.
    (4) Input– Input must be only one level above the level known. (i+1) The LAD is activated by i+1 and Universal Grammar.
    (5) Affected Filter- Affection by motivation, attitude, self confidence and anxiety (cultural insecurities) prevents error input from being acquired, destroying SLA.
    Critiques of Krashen’s Hypotheses:
    Something to do with The Silent Period
  1. How does Krashen’s approach translate into language teaching methods (for examples, think Natural Method, TPR, immersion, sheltered-content ESL classes)?Krashen’s SLA theory translates in to 4 types of language teaching methods:
    (1) Total Physical Response (TPR)-
    (2) Immersion-
    (3) Sheltered-Content ESL-
    (4) Natural Method-
  1. Some critiques of Krashen’s model concern the establishment of acquired knowledge: by what process does input become acquired knowledge, and why does he claim that there is no process by which learned knowledge becomes acquired knowledge? If this is true, what are the implications for language teachers?Krashen’s theory states that learned knowledge never becomes acquired knowledge. The implication for language teachers would be, that classroom learning will never establish a L2 fluency.
  1. Know the difference between input and intake, and be prepared to discuss a range of factors that turn input into intake.  These factors should be organized around the issue of consciousness/attention (Krashen, Schmidt, Tomlin & Villa, Guion & Pederson, and Paradis).
  1. Be prepared to offer a loose characterization the entire interactionist paradigm, focusing on the role they claim interaction plays in turning input to intake.
  1. Name at least 5 characteristics of foreigner talk, or the way native speakers often modify their input when interacting with L2 learners.  Which of these (if any) do Interactionists consider to be facilitativeto acquisition?Foreigner Talk is when a native speaker modifies the input in an attempt to facilitate better communication with a L2 learner.
    5 Characteristics of Foreigner Talk include:

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