Showing posts with label ELT Terms Difined. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ELT Terms Difined. Show all posts

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Language Acquisition: A Habit Formation or Role Formation?

Habit Formation

Habit is a pattern of behaviour that is regular and which has become almost automatic as a result of repetition. Linguists and psychologists disagree about how much habit formation is involved in language learning. The behaviourists hold that language acquisition is a product of habit formation. Habits are constructed through the repeated association between some stimulus and some response. Second language learning, then, is viewed as a process of overcoming the habits of the native language in order to acquire the new habits of the target language. This is to be accomplished through the pedagogical practices of dialogue memorization and pattern practice. Over learning and thus automatically is the goal. The contrastive analysis hypothesis is important to this view of language learning.

Role Formation-

Chomsky posits a theory in which he claims that everybody learns a language not because they are subject to the same conditioning process but because they possess an inborn capacity which permits then to induce the rules of the intended language as a normal maturational process. Once acquired, these rules will allow learners to create and comprehend novel utterances, utterances they neither have understood nor have produced if they are limited to imitating input from the environment. Thus the rational for Chomsky’s theory of language acquisition as a process of role formation lies in what known as “the poverty of the stimulus(input).”

To justify Chomosky’s theory of language acquisition we will take the following two errors into account committed by children acquiring English as their L1.

  1. She doesn’t wants to go.
  2. I eated it.

These wrong sentences suggest that these children have internalized rules for sub-verb agreement and past tense formation in English respectively but have not yet mastered the limitations of the rules. Thus such original errors indicate that the children are not simply repeating forms from the input they encountered.

Again in relation to SLA, SL learners are found to commit similar “developmental” errors which are not apparently due to L1 interference.

Thus the process of SLA is also thought to be one rule formation, in which rules are inculcated through a process of hypothesis formation and testing. If the learner traces any mismatch between his own language production and the forms/ functions of the target language to which he/ she is being exposed, he/ she will modify his/ her hypothesis about the nature of the TL rules so that his/ her utterances increasingly conformed to the TL.

Mistake and Error in SLA

Mistake and Error

Corder, in his 1967 paper has made a distinction between a “mistake” and an “error.” Error results from incomplete knowledge of a learner and a “mistake” is made by a learner when writing or speaking and which is caused by lack of attention, fatigue, carelessness, or some other aspects of performance.

In other words, a ‘mistake” is a random performance slip caused by fatigue, excitement etc and therefore can be readily self-corrected and an error, on the other hand, is a systematic deviation made by.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What is Morpheme Study?

Morpheme studies

The masterminds behind morpheme studies are Dulay and Burt. They fashioned a scoring scheme that awarded different point values depending upon whether a morpheme was correctly supplied in an obligating context, occupied but not well formed, or omitted altogether. They applied this scheme to their “subjects” “speech” by Bilingual Syntax Measure (BSM). Their research is an approach to the study of a learner’s competence in a language; based on the study of a learner’s total linguistic performance (i.e. what the learner is able to say and do is the language and not just the learner’s errors.

What is Performance Analysis in Language Teaching?

Performance Analysis

Performance Analysis refers to the approaches to study the competence of the learners based on the study of their linguistic performance. So, operationally it has a very wide perspective. The components of Performance analysis are;

1)      Morpheme studies
2)      Developmental Sequence
3)      Learner Strategies
4)      Formulaic utterances
The acquisition of forms and function

What is Motivation in SLA?


Motivation is the degree and type of desire experienced by the learner to acquire the L2. According Schuman and other SLA researchers motivation has a significant part in the successful SLA. It is one of the main components in Schuman’s theory psychological distance . In Schumann's model high levels of motivation, both integrative and instrumental contributes positively to second language acquisition.

What is Poverty of Stimulus?

Poverty of stimulus 

Poverty of stimulus is a key concept in Chomsky’s theory of UG. According to him human brain is pre-programmed with some LADS, which make it possible to learn a language. Contrary to the environmentalist theory of language acquisition, Chomsky puts forward the argument that it is impossible for the humans to learn a language only on the basis of the linguistic data  that they derive from outside. He termed this as ‘poverty of the stimulus’. According to him the stimulus or the linguistic data are insufficiently rich to make the language learning possible. He said that the stimulus is poor in mainly two ways. At, first they lack the negative evidence. Secondly, they are marred by the performance features.

What is Projection Problem?

Projection Problem 

Projection problem is the term used for the theory of “Poverty of the Stimulus” which has been given by Chomsky. “Poverty of the Stimulus” is the theory which claims that children cannot possibly arrive at a grammar of the native language on the basis of input alone. This means that input is degenerate and therefore cannot provide an inadequate data basis for setting the parameter of language. To solve this projection problem, the theory argues that children acquire first language so effortlessly because the crucial abstract principles of UG are available to them innately. UG consists of innate, abstract, linguistic principles, which govern what is possible in human languages, thereby helping to alleviate the learning problem created by poverty of the stimulus.

Why is Negative Evidence important in UG?

Negative Evidence

‘Negative evidence’ refers to the wrong or ungrammatical expressions. Negative evidence is a part of Chomsky’s universal grammar theory. According to him the input is degenerate in the sense that it does not usually contain ’negative evidence’ ,information from which the learner could work out what is not possible in a given language. Speakers proficient in a language know what expressions are acceptable in their language and what expressions are unacceptable. The key puzzle is how speakers should come to know the restrictions of their language, since expressions which violate those restrictions are not present in the input. This absence of negative evidence—that is, absence of evidence that an expression is part of a class of the ungrammatical sentences in one's language proves that a language is not learnable from input only. There are two kinds of negative evidences such as overt and covert.

Overt negative evidence is unavailable to a child because caretakers react to the truth value,not from,of children’s utterances and rarely correct the ungrammatical speech.Covert negative evidence is also unavailable ,since all that learners hear is grammatical utterances. 

In order to understand the negative evidence we can study the following two examples:
For example, in English one cannot relate a question word like 'what' to a predicate within a relative clause (1):
 (1) *What did John meet a man who sold?
Such expressions are not available to the language learners, because they are, by hypothesis, ungrammatical for speakers of the local language. Speakers of the local language do not utter such expressions and note that they are unacceptable to language learners. 

We can also study the following two sentences to learn about the negative evidence.

1,We gave the book to the girl.
2,We explained the answer to the girl.
Apparently these two sentences have the same surface structures,but whereas (1) contains an indirect object and can be rewritten as (3),
3,We gave the girl the book.
(2) contains a prepositional phrase and cannot be rewritten as (4):

4,We explained the girl the answer.

How does the child find out that ’give’ takes an indirect object and ’explain’ a prepositional phrase?How does the child discover  that (4) is ungrammatical?

One possible answer is that the adults correct the children , but the research does show the different thing. It seems logical to assume ,therefore , that there must be some innate principle which prevents the child from producing sentences like (4).

What is Superstrate Language?

Superstrate language

In a pidginization situation the language which affects another less prestigious or socially and culturally dominated language is called the superstrate language.

The term superstrate language is often used to label the target language of a creole or in the context of second language acquisition.

With Atlantic Creoles, "superstrate" usually means European and "substrate" non-European or African.
A post-creole continuum is said to come about in a context of decreolization where a creole is subject to pressure from its superstrate language. Speakers of the creole feel compelled to conform their language to superstrate usage introducing large scale variation and hypercorrection.

What is Acculturation in SLA Research?


Acculturation is a process in which members of one cultural group adopt the beliefs and behaviors of another group. Acculturation is the exchange of cultural features that results when groups come into continuous firsthand contact Although acculturation is usually in the direction of a minority group adopting habits and language patterns of the dominant group, accult uration can be reciprocal--that is, the dominant group also adopts patterns typical of the minority group. Assimilation of one cultural group into another may be evidenced by changes in language preference, adoption of common attitudes and values, members hip in common social groups and institutions, and loss of separate political or ethnic identification.

J. H. Schumann's acculturation model of SLA contends that learners will succeed in SLA only to the extent they acculturate into the group that speaks the target language natively. Schumann separates instruction from acculturation, and claims that instruction is a minor variable in the SLA process compared to acculturation. The acculturation process can, to some extent, take place in the second language classroom as well as the naturalistic setting. Despite Schumann's assertions, it is argued that a responsive teacher can do much to alleviate psychological and sociological distance factors between the students and the target culture, and responsive teaching may increase learner receptivity to the target language.

What is Pidginization?


The development of a pidgin, which a simplified form of speech that is usually a mixture of two or more languages, is called the pidginization.This is usually a temporary stage in language learning.
The creation of a pidgin usually requires:

Prolonged, regular contact between the different language communities.
A need to communicate between them.
An absence of a widespread, accessible interlanguage.

Also, Keith Whinnom suggests that pidgins need three languages to form, with one (the superstrate) being clearly dominant over the others.

It is often posited that pidgins become Creole languages when a generation whose parents speak pidgin to each other teach it to their children as their first language. Creoles can then replace the existing mix of languages to become the native language of a community (such as Krio in Sierra Leone and Tok Pisin in Papua New Guinea). However, not all pidgins become creole languages; a pidgin may die out before this phase would occur.

Other scholars, such as Salikoko Mufwene, argue that pidgins and creoles arise independently under different circumstances, and that a pidgin need not always precede a creole nor a creole evolve from a pidgin. Pidgins, according to Mufwene, emerged among trade colonies among "users who preserved their native vernaculars for their day-to-day interactions". Creoles, meanwhile, developed in settlement colonies in which speakers of a European language, often indentured servants whose language would be far from the standard in the first place, interacted heavily with non-European slaves, absorbing certain words and features from the slaves' non-European native languages, resulting in a heavily basilectalized version of the original language. These servants and slaves would come to use the creole as an everyday vernacular, rather than merely in situations in which contact with a speaker of the superstrate was necessary.

What is Pidgin?


A pidgin is a simplified language that develops as a means of communication between two or more groups that do not have a language in common, in situations such as trade. Pidgins are not the native language of any speech community, but are instead learned as second languages. Pidgins usually have low prestige with respect to other languages. A pidgin usually has a simplified grammar and a restricted, often polyglot vocabulary. The earliest documented pidgin is the Lingua Franca (or Sabir) that developed among merchants and traders in the Mediterranean in the Middle Ages; it remained in use through the 19th cent.

If a pidgin becomes established as the native language of a group, it is known as a creole. Pidgins such as Chinese Pidgin English and Melanesian Pidgin English arose through contact between English-speaking traders and inhabitants of East Asia and the Pacific islands. Other pidgins appeared with the slave trade in Africa and with the importation of West African slaves to Caribbean plantations.

Whay is Pied-piping and Prepositional Stranding?

Pied-piping and prepositional stranding

Pied-piping describes the situation where a phrase larger than a single wh-word occurs in the fronted position. In the case where the wh-word is a determiner such as which or whose, pied-piping refers to the wh-determiner's appearance sentence-initially along with its complement. For instance, in the following example, the entire phrase "which car" is moved:

Which car does he like t?

In the transformational analysis, the wh-word which moves to the beginning of the sentence, taking car, its complement, with it, much as the Pied Piper of Hamelin attracted rats and children to follow him, hence the term pied-piping.

In the case of determiners, pied-piping is obligatory. For instance, the following sentence would be ungrammatical:

*Which does he like t car?
However, there are cases where pied-piping can be optional. In English, this is often the case when a wh-word or phrase is the object of a preposition. For instance, the following two examples are both grammatical:

To whom did she reveal her secret t?
Who did she reveal her secret to t?

The second example is a case of preposition stranding, which is possible in English, but not allowed in Latin or other Romance languages. For languages that use postpositions rather than prepositions, stranding is not allowed either.

What is Halo Effect?

Halo Effect

The halo effect refers to a cognitive bias whereby the perception of a particular trait is influenced by the perception of the former traits in a sequence of interpretations.

Edward L. Thorndike was the first to support the halo effect with empirical research. People seem not to think of other individuals in mixed terms; instead we seem to see each person as roughly good or roughly bad across all categories of measurement.

Positive or negative opinion about a person based on an impression formed from performance in one area. For example, an interviewer might judge an applicant's entire potential for job performance on the basis of a single characteristic such as how well the applicant dresses or talks.

For example, a teacher who is rating a child according to ‘interest in learning English’ may give the child a higher rating because he or she is well behaved in class.

What is Pro-drop Parameter in UG?

Pro-drop parameter

One of the important parameters in UG is pro-drop parameter. A pro-drop language is a language in which certain classes of pronouns may be omitted when they are in some sense pragmatically inferable. The phenomenon of "pronoun-dropping" is also commonly referred to in linguistics as zero or null anaphora.
In everyday speech there are often instances when who or what is being referred to can be inferred from context. Proponents of the term "pro-drop" take the view that pronouns which in other languages would have those referents can be omitted, or be phonologically null. Among major languages, what might be called a pro-drop language is Japanese (featuring pronoun deletion not only for subjects, but for practically all grammatical contexts). Chinese, Slavic languages, and American Sign Language also exhibit frequent pro-drop features.

Some languages might be considered only partially pro-drop in that they allow deletion of the subject pronoun. These null subject languages include many Romance languages such as Spanish, Italian, Occitan, Catalan, Portuguese, and Romanian (French is the most notable exception), as well as all the Balto-Slavic languages.

What is Unmarked and Markedness in UG?

Unmarked and Markedness

According to UG there are certain innate principles in human mind, by which a child gradually develops its language. The principles that are universal and most common are known as core grammar and the uncommon rules are known as the periphery. But the core grammar is unmarked.

Related to the concepts of core and periphery is Chomsky’s theory of markedness .Core rules are unmarked ,that is, they accord with the general tendencies of language .Periphery rules are marked ;that is, they are exceptional in some way.Thus ,the adjectives big,long,and fast are unmarked in relation to small,short,and slow,because they occur in both declarative and interrogative sentences ,while the latter occur only in the declarative sentences.

UG is maximally relevant to the core elements that can be described through its principles and parameters ,such as Binding Theory and pro-drop, minimally relevant to other aspects of language such as constructions ’the more the merrier’.The elements that do not fit into the system of UG are considered as peripheral. Outside the core grammar, the set of "peripheral" or marked properties of a language include exceptions or relaxations of the settings of core grammar and the idiosyncratic features of the language governed by particular lexical items.

The principles and the parameters are not aquired from outside since they are already present as part of our UG inside the mind.The principles and parameters are not itself sufficient to create language.They have to be ’triggered ’ by something in the language input the child hears.This is seen predominantly as caused by positive evidence-things that actually present in the input.So,the word order parameters for English(SVO) may be triggered by hearing sentence such ’Lucy reads a book”.The role of language input is therefore to trigger the appropriate setting for each parameter.So,the setting for the parameters is a must. There might be no initial setting, so a child who begins to learn a language can adopt any setting with equal ease. Or there might be a default setting consisting of one or other of the possible settings. Two possible settings are non-pro-drop and pro-drop settings.

Setting can be of two kinds namely initial default setting and the learnt setting called ’markedness’.The initial setting is said to be the unmarked setting;the setting that can be learnt through experience is marked.

What is Core and Peripheral Grammar in UG?

Core and Peripheral Grammar

In UG core and peripheral grammar can be defined as a set of rules that a child learns as a part of its language acquisition. According to UG there are certain universal principles and parameters that form the framework of our mind. With the help of this framework a child develops its language. The universal rules that a child discovers form the core grammar of its language. And the principles which are unique are known as peripheral. The whole complex apparatus is concerned with the crucial central area of syntax defined as core grammar .But much of language is peripheral, idiosyncratic and linked to UG in a looser way.

Chomsky developed the idea that each sentence in a language has two levels of representation — a deep structure and a surface structure. The deep structure represented the core semantic relations of a sentence, and was mapped on to the surface structure via transformations. Chomsky believed that there would be considerable similarities between languages' deep structures, and that these structures would reveal properties, common to all languages, which were concealed by their surface structures. According to him the rules that the child discovers in a language with help of UG form the core grammar of his language.Not all rules are core rules. Every language also contains elements that are not constrained by UG. These comprise the periphery. Usually the peripheral rules are those that are derived from the history of language, that have been borrowed from other languages, or that have arisen accidentally. Thus,the child’s knowledge of his mother tongue is made up of rules determined by UG(the core) and those that have to be learnt without the help of UG(the periphery).

What are Principles and Parameters in UG?

Principles and parameters

In UG principles and parameters can be defined as a framework in hunan brain and help the acquisition of the L1.According to UG a finite set of fundamental principles are common to all languages; e.g., that a sentence must always have a subject, even if it is not overtly pronounced. The principles are unchanging regardless of the actual language involved. These principles form part of the language faculty of the mind-UG.The claim is that it is impossible for a human mind to know a language without knowing these principles, since they are already present inside it.

UG explains the variation between languages through parameters.According to Chomsky a finite set of parameters determines syntactic variability amongst languages; e.g., a binary parameter that determines whether or not the subject of a sentence must be overtly pronounced. Languages can only vary within pre-set limits for a particular parameter.The parameter itself is universal but the values it may take vary from one language to another. For example any language a human being knows must ,among other things be either pro-drop or non-pro-drop.So,all languages must have a setting for each of the parameters affecting word order and must have one of possible settings for the governing category parameter of Binding Theory. The language knowledge of human minds takes the form of universal principles and variable parameters of ,whatever the language they have learnt.So,UG holds a set of principles and parameters arranged into modules such as Binding Theory and it is a computation system that ranges from the component of Phonological Form to the component of Logical Form ,that is ,from ’sound’ to ’meaning’.

As such, principles and parameters do not need to be learned by exposure to language. Rather, exposure to language merely triggers the parameters to adopt the correct setting.

What is LAD (Language Aqcuisition Device)?


Language acquisition device or LAD is the innate human ability to learn a language.It is the key concept in Chomsky’s theory of UG. According to Chomsky we the humans have the innate capacity called DAD to learn a language. It is considered as a sort of mechanism or apparatus .The key features of the LAD are as follows.

The LAD is specis-specific. That means it distinguishes man from other primats.

The LAD is specific for language learning only and is opposed to the acquisition of other forms of behaviour or knowledge.

The LAD prestructures the properties of grammar to a large extent.

The LAD is like a biological organ. Like the physical organs of the body ,LAD also grows with the maturation of a child’s mind. That is, in its fundamental character it is innate and determined by the genetic structure of the organism. Of course, they grow under particular environmental conditions, assuming a specific form that admits of some variation.The comparatively crude structures of the child’s sentences may be that the language faculty in the mind has not yet fully come into being.LAD itself develops over the time rather than being constant from birth.

Thus, the LAD box is an inventory of principles and parameters. According to this framework, principles and parameters are part of a genetically innate universal grammar (UG) which all humans possess, barring any genetic disorders. As such, principles and parameters do not need to be learned by exposure to language. Rather, exposure to language merely triggers the parameters to adopt the correct setting.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

What is Universal Grammar (UG)?

Universal grammar

Universal grammar can be simply defined as a set of universal innate principles of grammar shared by all languages.That a child will not be able to learn its mother tongue without a set of innate principles ,because the linguistic data it is exposed to are too poor is the central point of the UG.The theory given by the American linguist Chomsky, attempts to explain language acquisition in general, not describe specific languages.The key features of the UG are given below.

UG consists of different kinds of universals.Chomsky identifies two types:substantive and formal.Substantive universals consist of fixed features such as the distinctive phonetic features of which sounds are made or syntactic categories such as noun,verb,and object.Formal universals are more abstract.They are statements about what grammatical rules are possible in languages.
Formal and substantive universals are constrains and therefore delimit the options by setting parameters which must then be fixed according to the particular input data that the child obtains.
So,the principles and parameters which can be defined as a framework in hunan brain make UG possible. UG holds a set of principles and parameters arranged into modules such as Binding Theory and it is a computation system that ranges from the component of Phonological Form to the component of Logical Form ,that is ,from ’sound’ to ’meaning’.
The rules the child learns can be unmarked or marked.The universals that the child learns form the core grammar and the distinctive features are termed as peripheral.
To sum up, there are some innate universal principles without which a child cannot master his mother tongue.But the input data are also a must as the input triggers the LAD.