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Psychology of Teaching
Foreign Languages

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As we all know, Psychology studies animal and human behavior.
When we talk about human, it is impossible to separate language Irom
human behavior. ThereIore, it is natural that psychology has a lot to do with
language. In Iact, many psychologists have studied mother tongue and
Iound some learning principles. As D.A. Wilkins (1972) stated: '.. iI there
really are general language learning principles involved, this can not be
without interests Ior Foreign Language Learning
In our opinion to get better results in language acquisition, both
native and Ioreign, one must Iirst oI all be competent in Psychological side
oI process named as language acquisition. This statement can also be
addressed to the teachers oI Foreign language.
This tutorial will be useIul Ior teachers oI Foreign language, students
oI Ioreign language department, who in their Iuture proIessional activity
will deal with teaching Ioreign languages and Ior all readers who are
interested in Psychology oI Foreign language teaching.
This book observes such complicated questions oI Ioreign language
teaching and acquisition as - Psychological content oI Ioreign languages
teaching and its relationship with psycholinguistics, psychology and
pedagogy; Foreign language as a school subject, its Ieatures and contents;
Psychological and pedagogical Ieatures oI teaching Ioreign languages;
Theories and types oI teaching Ioreign languages; Styles and strategies oI
learning Ioreign languages; Personality and speech; Speech development at
various age stages; Psychological Ieatures oI diIIerentiation in Iirst and
second language acquisition; Linguistic ability`s Iormation, it`s diagnosing
and development.
This book Iully reIlects the content oI typical course oI the discipline
- Psychology oI Ioreign language teaching ( Ior specialty 5B011900
Foreign language: two Ioreign languages), which is discipline oI basic
component oI National Commonly obligatory standard oI Education.
Structurally this book is subdivided into three main paragraphs,
every paragraph consist oI two parts. Every part has theoretical material,
which observes diIIerent points oI view on the stated theme, aIter
theoretical part are given 'Glossary and new concepts which reader may
Iace As a practical material Topics and questions for study and
discussion are given. Items listed in Topics and questions for study and
discussion are coded Ior either individual (I) work, group/pair (G) work,
(E) essay writing or whole-class (C) discussion, as suggestions to the
instructor on how to incorporate the topics and questions into a class
1 Psychological features of teaching foreign languages
1.1 Psychological content of teaching foreign languages and its
relationship with psycholinguistics, psychology and pedagogy
IF we take into consideration the experience oI teaching 'dead
languages such as Latin and Ancient Greece and the experience oI
teaching modern languages through natural communication oI learners with
native speakers the history oI teaching Ioreign languages has long history.
Although the need to learn Ioreign languages is almost as old as
human history itselI, the origins oI modern language education are in the
study and teaching oI Latin in the 17th century. Latin had Ior many
centuries been the dominant language oI education, commerce, religion,
and government in much oI the Western world, but it was displaced by
French, Italian, and English by the end oI the 16th century.
John Amos Comenius was one oI
many people who tried to reverse this
trend. He composed a complete course Ior
learning Latin, covering the entire school
curriculum, culminating in his Opera
Didactica Omnia, 1657.
In this work, Comenius also
outlined his theory oI language
acquisition. He is one oI the Iirst theorists
to write systematically about how
languages are learned and about
pedagogical methodology Ior language
acquisition. He held that language
acquisition must be allied with sensation and experience. Teaching must be
oral. The schoolroom should have models oI things, and Iailing that,
pictures oI them. As a result, he also published the world's Iirst illustrated
children's book, Orbis Sensualim Pictus. The study oI Latin diminished
Irom the study oI a living language to be used in the real world to a subject
in the school curriculum. Such decline brought about a new justiIication Ior
its study. It was then claimed that its study developed intellectual abilities,
and the study oI Latin grammar became an end in and oI itselI.
"Grammar schools" Irom the 16th to 18th centuries Iocused on
teaching the grammatical aspects oI Classical Latin. Advanced students
continued grammar study with the addition oI rhetoric.
18th century
The study oI modern languages did not become part oI the
curriculum oI European schools until the 18th century. Based on the purely
academic study oI Latin, students oI modern languages did much oI the
same exercises, studying grammatical rules and translating abstract
sentences. Oral work was minimal, and students were instead required to
memorize grammatical rules and apply these to decode written texts in the
target language. This tradition-inspired method became known as
the 'grammar-translation method.
19th20th century
Henry Sweet was a key Iigure in
establishing the applied linguistics tradition
in language teaching
Innovation in Ioreign language
teaching began in the 19th century and
became very rapid in the 20th century. It led
to a number oI diIIerent and sometimes
conIlicting methods, each trying to be a
major improvement over the previous or
contemporary methods. The earliest applied
linguists included Jean Manesca, Heinrich
GottIried OllendorII (18031865), Henry Sweet (18451912), Otto
Jespersen (18601943), and Harold Palmer (18771949). They worked on
setting language teaching principles and approaches based on linguistic and
psychological theories, but they leIt many oI the speciIic practical details
Ior others to devise.
Those looking at the history oI Ioreign-language education in the
20th century and the methods oI teaching (such as those related below)
might be tempted to think that it is a history oI Iailure. Very Iew students in
U.S. universities who have a Ioreign language as a major manage to reach
something called "minimum proIessional proIiciency". Even the "reading
knowledge" required Ior a PhD degree is comparable only to what second-
year language students read and only very Iew researchers who are native
English speakers can read and assess inIormation written in languages
other than English. Even a number oI Iamous linguists are monolingual.
However, anecdotal evidence Ior successIul second or Ioreign
language learning is easy to Iind, leading to a discrepancy between these
cases and the Iailure oI most language programs, which helps make the
research oI second language acquisition emotionally charged. Older
methods and approaches such as the grammar translation method or
the direct method are dismissed and even ridiculed as newer methods and
approaches are invented and promoted as the only and complete solution to
the problem oI the high Iailure rates oI Ioreign language students.
Most books on language teaching list the various methods that have
been used in the past, oIten ending with the author's new method. These
new methods are usually presented as coming only Irom the author's mind,
as the authors generally give no credence to what was done beIore and do
not explain how it relates to the new method. For example, descriptive
linguists seem to claim unhesitatingly that there were no scientiIically-
based language teaching methods beIore their work (which led to
the audio-lingual method developed Ior the U.S. Army in World War II).
However, there is signiIicant evidence to the contrary. It is also oIten
inIerred or even stated that older methods were completely ineIIective or
have died out completely when even the oldest methods are still used (e.g.
the Berlitz version oI the direct method). One reason Ior this situation is
that proponents oI new methods have been so sure that their ideas are so
new and so correct that they could not conceive that the older ones have
enough validity to cause controversy. This was in turn caused by emphasis
on new scientiIic advances, which has tended to blind researchers to
precedents in older work.
There have been two major branches in the Iield oI language
learning; the empirical and theoretical, and these have almost completely
separate histories, with each gaining ground over the other at one point in
time or another. Examples oI researchers on the empiricist side are
Jesperson, Palmer, and Leonard BloomIield, who promote mimicry and
memorization with pattern drills. These methods Iollow Irom the basic
empiricist position that language acquisition basically results Irom habits
Iormed by conditioning and drilling. In its most extreme Iorm, language
learning is seen as basically the same as any other learning in any other
species, human language being essentially the same as communication
behaviors seen in other species.
On the theoretical side are, Ior example, Francois Gouin, M.D.
Berlitz, and Elime de Sauze, whose rationalist theories oI language
acquisition dovetail with linguistic work done by Noam Chomsky and
others. These have led to a wider variety oI teaching methods ranging Irom
the grammar-translation method to Gouin's "series method" to the direct
methods oI Berlitz and de Sauze. With these methods, students generate
original and meaningIul sentences to gain a Iunctional knowledge oI the
rules oI grammar. This Iollows Irom the rationalist position that man is
born to think and that language use is a uniquely human trait impossible in
other species. Given that human languages share many common traits, the
idea is that humans share a universal grammar which is built into our brain
structure. This allows us to create sentences that we have never heard
beIore but that can still be immediately understood by anyone who
understands the speciIic language being spoken. The rivalry oI the two
camps is intense, with little communication or cooperation between them.
Rahmanov I.V., one oI the leading researchers in history oI methods
oI teaching Ioreign languages points out that ' the most ancient and at the
same time the most primitive method oI teaching Ioreign languages was
natural method, which was called the method of governess. Through the
history oI teaching Ioreign languages a lot oI diIIerent methods changed
each other, excluding and supplementing each other, but the principle about
ambiguity, diIIiculty and spottiness oI this process Iormulated by great
didactics John Amos Comeniusand I.G. Pestalocij is actual till nowadays.
Disterverg considered the learner as the subject oI education process and he
put the educational subject on the second place, said that its particularity
must be taken into account completely.
All scientists who deal with teaching Ioreign languages emphasize
that in teaching Ioreign languages importance oI the teacher`s proIessional
language competence, Iactors oI accounting oI educational subject`s
particularities and individual peculiarities oI learners, especially
motivation in learning Ioreign languages are equal. The process oI teaching
Ioreign languages consists oI three equal components:
- the teacher and his proIessional skills;
- the learner and his aspiration;
- the subject which learner must acquire.
It is natural that in psychological-pedagogical analyses oI education
we must consider Iactors-components mentioned above. Thereupon in our
opinion important Iactors and components oI educational system are
psychological particularities oI Ioreign language teachers; psychological
peculiarities oI learners oI various age stages; psychological Ieatures oI
Ioreign language as educational subject; psychological analysis oI speech
activity as an object oI mastering; pupil`s educational activity in the process
oI learning Ioreign languages and the Iorm oI education.
Speaking about the Iactors which inIluence on successIul learning
Ioreign language it is necessary to note a close connection oI psychology oI
teaching Ioreign language with psychological and pedagogical disciplines,
particularly, with pedagogical psychology. All mentioned Iactors and
components oI education are the research subject oI pedagogical
Pedagogical psychology are the most important branches oI
psychology. The basis Ior allocation oI this branch oI psychology is the
psychological aspect oI concrete activity oI teaching and studying.
Pedagogical psychology is in close relationship with developmental
and age psychology, which study age dynamics oI person`s mental
development, ontogenesis oI mental process and psychological quality oI
developing person`. Ontogenesis reIers to the sequence oI events involved
in the development oI an individual organism Irom its birth to its death.
This developmental history oIten involves a move Irom simplicity to higher
complexity. So all problems oI development and age psychology are
considered on the basis oI accounting person`s age Ieatures. Pedagogical
and age psychology in their researching base on the theories oI General
Psychology, which opens the general psychological laws, studies mental
processes, mental conditions and person`s individual-psychological
Pedagogical psychology as independent branch started to Iorm in
the end oI XIX century collecting experiences and achievements oI
pedagogical, psychological and psychophysical experiments and
Pedagogical psychology includes Educational Psychology,
Upbringing Psychology and Teacher`s Psychology.
In America this Iield oI psychology is mainly called Educational
Educational psychology is the study oI how humans learn
in educational settings, the eIIectiveness oI educational interventions, the
psychology oI teaching, and the social psychology oI schools as
organizations. Educational psychology is concerned with how students
learn and develop, oIten Iocusing on subgroups such as giIted children and
those subject to speciIic disabilities. Although the terms "educational
psychology" and "school psychology" are oIten used interchangeably,
researchers and theorists are likely to be identiIied in the US and Canada
as educational psychologists, whereas practitioners in schools or school-
related settings are identiIied as school psychologists. This distinction is
however not made in the UK, where the generic term Ior practitioners is
"educational psychologist".
Educational psychology can in part be understood through its
relationship with other disciplines. It is inIormed primarily by psychology,
bearing a relationship to that discipline analogous to the relationship
between medicine and biology. Educational psychology in turn inIorms a
wide range oI specialties within educational studies, including instructional
design, educational technology, curriculum development, organizational
learning, special education and classroom management. Educational
psychology both draws Irom and contributes to cognitive science and
the learning sciences. In universities, departments oI educational
psychology are usually housed within Iaculties oI education, possibly
accounting Ior the lack oI representation oI educational psychology content
in introductory psychology textbooks.
To understand the characteristics oI learners in childhood,
adolescence, adulthood, and old age, educational psychology develops and
applies theories oI human development. OIten represented as stages
through which people pass as they mature, developmental theories describe
changes in mental abilities (cognition), social roles, moral reasoning, and
belieIs about the nature oI knowledge.
For example, educational psychologists have researched the
instructional applicability oI Jean Piaget's theory oI development,
according to which children mature through Iour stages oI cognitive
capability. Piaget hypothesized that children are not capable oI abstract
logical thought until they are older than about 11 years, and thereIore
younger children need to be taught using concrete objects and examples.
Researchers have Iound that transitions, such as Irom concrete to abstract
logical thought, do not occur at the same time in all domains. A child may
be able to think abstractly about mathematics, but remain limited to
concrete thought when reasoning about human relationships. Perhaps
Piaget's most enduring contribution is his insight that people actively
construct their understanding through a selI-regulatory process.
Piaget proposed a developmental theory oI moral reasoning in which
children progress Irom a nave understanding oI morality based on
behavior and outcomes to a more advanced understanding based on
intentions. Piaget's views oI moral development were elaborated by
Kohlberg into a stage theory oI moral development. There is evidence that
the moral reasoning described in stage theories is not suIIicient to account
Ior moral behavior. For example, other Iactors such as modeling (as
described by the social cognitive theory oI morality) are required to
explain bullying.
RudolI Steiner's model oI child
development interrelates physical, emotional,
cognitive, and moral development in
developmental stages similar to those later
described by Piaget.
Developmental theories are sometimes
presented not as shiIts between qualitatively
diIIerent stages, but as gradual increments on
separate dimensions. Development
oI epistemological belieIs (belieIs about
knowledge) have been described in terms oI
gradual changes in people's belieI in: certainty and permanence oI
knowledge, Iixedness oI ability, and credibility oI authorities such as
teachers and experts. People develop more sophisticated belieIs about
knowledge as they gain in education and maturity.
Each person has an individual proIile oI characteristics, abilities and
challenges that result Irom predisposition, learning and development. These
maniIest as individual diIIerences in intelligence, creativity, cognitive
style, motivation and the capacity to process inIormation, communicate,
and relate to others. The most prevalent disabilities Iound among school
age children are attention-deIicit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning
disability, dyslexia, and speech disorder. Less common disabilities
include mental retardation, hearing impairment, cerebral palsy, epilepsy,
and blindness.
Although theories oI intelligence have been discussed by
philosophers since Plato, intelligence testing is an invention oI educational
psychology, and is coincident with the development oI that discipline.
Continuing debates about the nature oI intelligence revolve on whether
intelligence can be characterized by a single Iactor known as general
intelligence, multiple Iactors (e.g., Gardner's theory oI multiple
intelligences), or whether it can be measured at all. In practice,
standardized instruments such as the StanIord-Binet IQ testand the WISC
are widely used in economically developed countries to identiIy children in
need oI individualized educational treatment. Children classiIied
as giIted are oIten provided with accelerated or enriched programs.
Children with identiIied deIicits may be provided with enhanced education
in speciIic skills such asphonological awareness. In addition to basic
abilities, the individual's personality traits are also important, with people
higher in conscientiousness and hope attaining superior academic
achievements, even aIter controlling Ior intelligence and past perIormance.
Learning and cognition
Two Iundamental assumptions that underlie Iormal education
systems are:
a) students retain knowledge and skills they acquire in school;
b) students can apply them in situations outside the classroom.
But are these assumptions accurate Research has Iound that, even
when students report not using the knowledge acquired in school, a
considerable portion is retained Ior many years and long term retention is
strongly dependent on the initial level oI mastery. One study Iound that
university students who took a child development course and attained high
grades showed, when tested 10 years later, average retention scores oI
about 30, whereas those who obtained moderate or lower grades showed
average retention scores oI about 20. There is much less consensus on the
crucial question oI how much knowledge acquired in school transIers to
tasks encountered outside Iormal educational settings, and how such
transIer occurs. Some psychologists claim that research evidence Ior this
type oI far transfer is scarce, while others claim there is abundant evidence
oI Iar transIer in speciIic domains. Several perspectives have been
established within which the theories oI learning used in educational
psychology are Iormed and contested. These include behaviorism,
cognitivism, social cognitive theory, and constructivism. This section
summarizes how educational psychology has researched and applied
theories within each oI these perspectives.
Behavioral prespective
Applied behavior analysis, a set oI techniques based on the
behavioral principles oI operant conditioning, is eIIective in a range oI
educational settings. For example, teachers can alter student behavior by
systematically rewarding students who Iollow classroom rules with praise,
stars, or tokens exchangeable Ior sundry items. Despite the demonstrated
eIIicacy oI awards in changing behavior, their use in education has been
criticized by proponents oI selI-determination theory, who claim that praise
and other rewards undermine intrinsic motivation. There is evidence that
tangible rewards decrease intrinsic motivation in speciIic situations, such as
when the student already has a high level oI intrinsic motivation to perIorm
the goal behavior. But the results showing detrimental eIIects are
counterbalanced by evidence that, in other situations, such as when rewards
are given Ior attaining a gradually increasing standard oI perIormance,
rewards enhance intrinsic motivation. Many eIIective therapies have been
based on the principles oI applied behavior analysis, including pivotal
response therapy which is used to treat autism spectrum disorders.
Cognitive prespective
Among current educational psychologists, the cognitive perspective
is more widely held than the behavioral perspective, perhaps because it
admits causally related mental constructs such as traits, belieIs, memories,
motivations and emotions. Cognitive theories claim that memory
structures determine how inIormation is perceived, processed,
stored, retrieved andIorgotten. Among the memory structures theorized by
cognitive psychologists are separate but linked visual and verbal systems
described by Allan Paivio's dual coding theory. Educational psychologists
have used dual coding theory and cognitive load theory to explain how
people learn Irom multimedia presentations.
The spaced learning eIIect, a cognitive phenomenon strongly
supported by psychological research, has broad applicability within
For example, students have been Iound to perIorm better on a
test oI knowledge about a text passage when a second reading oI the
passage is delayed rather than immediate (see Iigure). Educational
psychology research has conIirmed the applicability to education oI other
Iindings Irom cognitive psychology, such as the beneIits oI
using mnemonics Ior immediate and delayed retention oI inIormation.
Problem solving, regarded by many cognitive psychologists as
Iundamental to learning, is an important research topic in educational
psychology. A student is thought to interpret a problem by assigning it to
a schema retrieved Irom long term memory. When the problem is assigned
to the wrong schema, the student's attention is subsequently directed away
Irom Ieatures oI the problem that are inconsistent with the assigned
schema. The critical step oI Iinding a mapping between the problem and a
pre-existing schema is oIten cited as supporting the centrality
oI analogical thinking to problem solving.
Developmental prespective
Developmental psychology, and especially the psychology oI
cognitive development, opens a special perspective Ior educational
psychology. This is so because education and the psychology oI cognitive
development converge on a number oI crucial assumptions. First, the
psychology oI cognitive development deIines human cognitive competence
at successive phases oI development. Education aims to help students
acquire knowledge and develop skills which are compatible with their
understanding and problem-solving capabilities at diIIerent ages. Thus,
knowing the students' level on a developmental sequence provides
inIormation on the kind and level oI knowledge they can assimilate, which,
in turn, can be used as a Irame Ior organizing the subject matter to be
taught at diIIerent school grades. This is the reason why Piaget's theory oI
cognitive development was so inIluential Ior education, especially
mathematics and science education. In the same direction, the neo-
Piagetian theories oI cognitive development suggest that in addition to the
concerns above, sequencing oI concepts and skills in teaching must take
account oI the processing and working memory capacities that characterize
successive age levels.
Second, the psychology oI cognitive development involves
understanding how cognitive change takes place and recognizing the
Iactors and processes which enable cognitive competence to develop.
Education also capitalizes on cognitive change, because the construction oI
knowledge presupposes eIIective teaching methods that would move the
student Irom a lower to a higher level oI understanding. Mechanisms such
as reIlection on actual or mental actions vis--vis alternative solutions to
problems, tagging new concepts or solutions to symbols that help one recall
and mentally manipulate them are just a Iew examples oI how mechanisms
oI cognitive development may be used to Iacilitate learning.
Finally, the psychology oI cognitive development is concerned with
individual diIIerences in the organization oI cognitive processes and
abilities, in their rate oI change, and in their mechanisms oI change. The
principles underlying intra- and inter-individual diIIerences could be
educationally useIul, because knowing how students diIIer in regard to the
various dimensions oI cognitive development, such as processing and
representational capacity, selI-understanding and selI-regulation, and the
various domains oI understanding, such as mathematical, scientiIic, or
verbal abilities, would enable the teacher to cater Ior the needs oI the
diIIerent students so that no one is leIt behind.
ocial cognitive perspective
Social cognitive theory is a highly inIluential Iusion oI behavioral,
cognitive and social elements that was initially developed by educational
psychologist Albert Bandura. In its earlier, neo-behavioral incarnation
called social learning theory, Bandura emphasized the process
oI observational learning in which a learner's behavior changes as a result
oI observing others' behavior and its consequences. The theory identiIied
several Iactors that determine whether observing a model will aIIect
behavioral or cognitive change. These Iactors include the learner's
developmental status, the perceived prestige and competence oI the model,
the consequences received by the model, the relevance oI the model's
behaviors and consequences to the learner's goals, and the learner's selI-
eIIicacy. The concept oI selI-eIIicacy, which played an important role in
later developments oI the theory, reIers to the learner's belieI in his or her
ability to perIorm the modeled behavior.
An experiment by Schunk and Hanson, that studied grade 2 students
who had previously experienced diIIiculty in learning subtraction,
illustrates the type oI research stimulated by social learning theory. One
group oI students observed a subtraction demonstration by a teacher and
then participated in an instructional program on subtraction. A second
group observed other grade 2 students perIorming the same subtraction
procedures and then participated in the same instructional program. The
students who observed peer models scored higher on a subtraction post-test
and also reported greater conIidence in their subtraction ability. The results
were interpreted as supporting the hypothesis that perceived similarity oI
the model to the learner increases selI-eIIicacy, leading to more eIIective
learning oI modeled behavior. It is supposed that peer modeling is
particularly eIIective Ior students who have low selI-eIIicacy.
Over the last decade, much research activity in educational
psychology has Iocused on developing theories oI selI-regulated
learning (SRL) and metacognition. These theories work Irom the central
premise that eIIective learners are active agents who construct knowledge
by setting goals, analysing tasks, planning strategies and monitoring their
understanding. Research has indicated that learners who are better at goal
setting and selI-monitoring tend to have greater intrinsic task interest
and selI-eIIicacy; and that teaching learning strategies can increase
academic achievement.
Psychology oI Education and Upbringing are considered in such
sections oI age psychology as psychology oI pre-school, junior school,
high school, middle school children and psychology oI student age. Any oI
this branches may be diIIerentiated to smaller parts according to the
educational subject or discipline.
We pointed out the part in which we are interested Psychology of
Teaching Foreign Languages (PTFL)
II we want to compare this two disciplines, Psychology oI Teaching
Foreign Languages and Pedagogical Psychology, Iirst oI all we must
delimit two notions the research subject and object.
Pedagogical Psychology and Age Psychology have common research
objects growing, developing and Iorming person (child, teenager, young
The research subject oI Pedagogical Psychology is psychological
laws oI education and upbringing. So Pedagogical Psychology studies laws
in mastering knowledge and skills and individual peculiarities in these
As any other branch oI scientiIic knowledge PTFL has not deIined
at once complexity and versatility oI the research subject. At Iirst times the
research subject oI PTFL were process oI memorizing and mastering.
Gradually expanding area oI study PTFL includes a problem oI the
psychological analysis oI general didactic signs, e.g. consciousness and
problem oI accounting speciIicity oI Ioreign language in comparison with
native language. At that time the necessity oI studying person`s motivation
sphere was noted.
The research methods used in educational or pedagogical psychology
tend to be drawn Irom psychology and other social sciences. There is also a
history oI signiIicant methodological innovation by educational
psychologists, and psychologists investigating educational problems.
Research methods address problems in both research design and data
analysis. Research design inIorms the planning oI experiments and
observational studies to ensure that their results
have internal, external and ecological validity. Data analysis encompasses
methods Ior processing both quantitive (numerical) and qualitative (non-
numerical) research data. Although, historically, the use oI quantitative
methods was oIten considered an essential mark oI scholarship, modern
educational psychology research uses both quantitative and qualitative
!uantitative methods
Perhaps Iirst among the important methodological innovations oI
educational psychology was the development and application oI Iactor
analysis by Charles Spearman. Factor analysis is mentioned here as one
example oI the many multivariate statistical methods used by educational
psychologists. Factor analysis is used to summarize relationships among a
large set oI variables or test questions, develop theories about mental
constructs such as selI-eIIicacy or anxiety, and assess the reliability and
validity oI test scores. Over one hundred years aIter its introduction by
Spearman, Iactor analysis has become a research staple Iiguring
prominently in educational psychology journals.
Because educational assessment is Iundamental to most quantitative
research in the Iield, educational psychologists have made signiIicant
contributions to the Iield oI psychometrics. For example, alpha, the widely
used measure oI test reliability was developed by educational
psychologist Lee Cronbach. The reliability oI assessments are routinely
reported in quantitative educational research. Although, originally,
educational measurement methods were built on classical test theory, item
response theory and Rasch models are now used extensively in educational
measurement worldwide. These models aIIord advantages over classical
test theory, including the capacity to produce standard errors oI
measurement Ior each score or pattern oI scores on assessments and the
capacity to handle missing responses.
Meta-analysis, the combination oI individual research results to
produce a quantitative literature review, is another methodological
innovation with a close association to educational psychology. In a meta-
analysis, eIIect sizes that represent, Ior example, the diIIerences between
treatment groups in a set oI similar experiments, are averaged to obtain a
single aggregate value representing the best estimate oI the eIIect oI
treatment. Several decades aIter Pearson's work with early versions oI
meta-analysis, Glass published the Iirst application oI modern meta-
analytic techniques and triggered their broad application across the social
and biomedical sciences. Today, meta-analysis is among the most common
types oI literature review Iound in educational psychology research.
Other quantitative research issues associated with educational
psychology include the use oI nested research designs (e.g., a student
nested within a classroom, which is nested within a school, which is nested
within a district, etc.) and the use oI longitudinal statistical models to
measure change.
!ualitative methods
Qualitative methods are used in educational studies whose purpose is
to describe events, processes and situations oI theoretical signiIicance. The
qualitative methods used in educational psychology oIten derive
Irom anthropology, sociology or sociolinguistics. For example, the
anthropological method oI ethnography has been used to describe teaching
and learning in classrooms. In studies oI this type, the researcher may
gather detailed Iield notes as a participant observer or passive observer.
Later, the notes and other data may be categorized and interpreted by
methods such as grounded theory. Triangulation, the practice oI cross-
checking Iindings with multiple data sources, is highly valued in qualitative
Case studies are Iorms oI qualitative research Iocusing on a single
person, organization, event, or other entity. In one case study, researchers
conducted a 150-minute, semi-structured interview with a 20-year old
woman who had a history oI suicidal thinking between the ages oI 14 to 18.
They analyzed an audio-recording oI the interview to understand the roles
oI cognitive development, identity Iormation and social attachment in
ending her suicidal thinking.
Qualitative analysis is most oIten applied to verbal data Irom sources
such as conversations, interviews, Iocus groups, and personal journals.
Qualitative methods are thus, typically, approaches to gathering, processing
and reporting verbal data. One oI the most commonly used methods Ior
qualitative research in educational psychology is protocol analysis.
this method the research participant is asked to think aloud while
perIorming a task, such as solving a math problem. In protocol analysis the
verbal data is thought to indicate which inIormation the subject is attending
to, but is explicitly not interpreted as an explanation or justiIication Ior
behavior. In contrast, the method oI verbal analysis does admit learners'
explanations as a way to reveal their mental model or misconceptions (e.g.,
oI the laws oI motion). The most Iundamental operations in both protocol
and verbal analysis are segmenting (isolating) and categorizing sections oI
verbal data. Conversation analysis and discourse analysis, sociolinguistic
methods that Iocus more speciIically on the structure oI conversational
interchange (e.g., between a teacher and student), have been used to assess
the process oI conceptual change in science learning. Qualitative methods
are also used to analyse inIormation in a variety oI media, such as students'
drawings and concept maps, video-recorded interactions, and computer log
The analysis oI possibility oI reaching the Iirst educational aim all-
around development oI child`s personality expects consideration oI one oI
the main conceptions oI pedagogical psychology. According to this
conception education is considered not only as condition, but also as base,
Iacility oI child`s psychological and personal development.
This concept was accepted not only by Soviet scientists but also by
cognitive psychologist J. Bruner.
L.S. Vygotsky wrote ' .. education and development are always in
close relationship. Herewith education overtakes development, stimulates it
and at the same time leans on actual development. Consequently education
must be oriented not Ior past, but Ior Iuture child`s development.`
L.S. Vygotsky basing on the close relationship between education
and development and Iormulated important Ior pedagogy and psychology
concept about two levels oI child`s mental development: level oI actual
development and level (zone) oI nearest development. According to L.S.
Vigotskij, child reaches this level oI psychological development in
cooperation with adults not only by direct imitation his activities, but also
by solving problems which are in child`s zone oI intellectual possibilities.
On this basis in pedagogical psychology the principle oI overtaking
education` was Iormulated. This principle deIines eIIective organization oI
education which is aimed at strengthening, developing intellectual activities
oI children, Iormation their abilities in selI-development and abilities
independently to produce knowledge in collaboration with other children.
Characteristics oI child`s mental development necessarily includes an
analysis oI the driving Iorces oI this process. These are all sorts oI
- between child`s need`s and circumstances;
- between increasing opportunities and old Iorms oI activities;
- between requirements generated by the new activity and
opportunities oI their satisIaction;
-between new perIormance requirements and unIormed skills.
In other words, driving Iorces oI child`s mental development are
contradictions between achieved level oI knowledge, skills and abilities
development and types oI person`s relationships with environment.
According to L.S. Vygotsky mental development is a quality oI
personality changes during which in diIIerent dynamics age new entities
() are Iormed. Development can proceed slowly and
gradually or violently and rapidly.
L.S. Vygotsky also introduced the concept social situation oI
development`, which deIines content, direction oI this process and
Iormation oI the central line oI development associated with new entities.
Social situation oI development` is a system oI relationship
between child and environment. Changes in the Iollowing system are
deIined by main law oI age dynamics. According to this law Iorce which
move child`s development at the deIined age leads to the denial and
destruction oI age`s developmental basis..`
L.S. Vygotsky always noted that mental development is a holistic
personal development. But in our analysis we will proceed Irom the
understanding that development may be considered as structural notion. So
in personal development we can point out Iollowing lines oI development:
- cognitive sphere (mental development, development oI
consciousness mechanisms);
- psychological activity structure(Iormation oI goals and motives and
development oI their relationships);
- personality (directivity oI value orientations, selI-consciousness,
L.I. Aidarova classes with Iollowing lines oI personal development
such lines as mental, personal and, what is really important Ior us,
linguistic development.
Next we are going to consider in detail mentioned lines oI child`s
personal development (mental, activity, personality).
Development oI child`s mentality, cognitive sphere and
consciousness may be treated in the context oI L.S. Vygotsky`s
developmental theory oI higher mental Iunctions. In this theory
personality`s social essence and mediated character oI his activity are
noted. Mental development is carried out on three planes:
- Irom direct to mediated;
- Irom concrete, unit to a whole;
- Irom involuntary to an arbitrary.
In the process oI child`s mental development qualitative changes in
mental cognitive process occur. They change in quantity, e.g. Irom
involuntary memorization to an arbitrary memorization, Irom visual-active
Iorm oI thinking to abstract-logical Iorm oI thinking.
Development oI child`s according to his Iormation as personality,
Iirst oI all, relates with origin, emergency and complexity oI child`s
motivational sphere and Iormation oI 'I image. This development side is
characterized as contradictory and heterogeneous.
In child`s personality development as well as in mental development
the process is carried out Irom involuntary, impulsivity oI behavioral
reactions and behavior to its arbitrariness and adjustability. This tendency is
shown in child`s ability to manage his behavior, to consciously set goals, to
overcome diIIiculties and obstacles.
In research works oI L.S. Vygotsky, A.N. Leontiev, D.B. Elkonin,
L.I. Bojovich child`s personality development is deIined by consistent
Iormation oI personal entities. L.I. Bojovich analysis mentioned entities
through Iive periods oI child`s personality development.(Illustration 1.1)
Illustration 1.1 - Child`s personality development by L.I. Bojovich
The age periods considered by L.I. Bojovich match personal liIe
crisis oI 1
, 3
and 7
year and two phases oI teenage. General and the
most important Ior pedagogical psychology deduction is that during
educational process teacher must take into consideration particularities oI
personal development. It will help to overcome age crisis oI pupil and
prevent Irustration and nervous breakdowns.
For better understanding oI child`s personal development in special
interest are the early periods under 7 years. It is called personal genesis, i.e.
Iormation and development oI personality. One oI the leading researchers
oI this matter V.S. Muhina considers this process as consistent, level, step-
by-step Iormation oI child`s consciousness` structure.
Evolving as a person child Iorms as a subject oI activity process. It is
the 3
line oI child`s mental development. During activity development,
Iirst oI all, child learns how to arbitrarily set the link between motive and
purpose, aim. Child learns to plan, organize his activity. On the basis oI
reIlection selI-veriIication and selI-regulation skills are worked out.
The analysis oI child`s mental development shows that all tree
mentioned lines are closely interconnected. Only in their correlated
realization such complicated progressive process called personal, mental
development is possible. At the same time all pointed concepts oI
pedagogical psychology pays attention on such important thing as
developing education with the help oI all teaching subjects and also oI
Ioreign language.
All oI the above shows that PTFL as the branch oI pedagogical
psychology has its own research subject which bases on common to all
pedagogical psychology`s methodological and theoretical principles. At the
same time, speciIics oI the Ioreign language as an educational discipline
assumes determination oI psychological principles, such as:
- communicability oI education, i.e. inclusion communication as a
Iorm oI relationship in educational process;
- personal signiIicance oI communicational subject, i.e.
signiIicance oI communicational problem and subject Ior the student;
- satisIaction oI a student with communicational situation;
- student`s reIlexivity;
- positive experience oI the student`s success oI communication;
One more moment which we have to mention when talking about
language learning is such comparatively young branch and connecting link
between person (psychology) and speech (linguistics) is Psycholinguistics.
Psycholinguistics P!) - the science that studies the psychological
and linguistic aspects oI people`s speech activities, social and
psychological aspects oI language use in the processes oI verbal
communication and personal speech-thinking activities.
The subject oI the study oI PL is primarily a verbal activity as a
speciIically human activity, its psychological content, structure, types
(methods), in which it occurs, the Iorms in which it is implemented,
perIormed, its Iunctions. As noted by the Iounder oI the national school oI
psycholinguistics A.A. Leontiev, "the subject oI psycholinguistics is the
speech activity as a whole and the laws oI its integrated simulation".
Another major subject oI psycholinguistics study serves language as
the primary means oI speech and individual speech-thinking activities,
Iunctions oI the main characters oI languages in speech communication.
"In psycholinguistics the relationship between content, motive and Iorm oI
speech and between the structure and elements oI the language used in the
speech utterance are always in Iocus".
Finally, another major subject oI research is human speech,
considered as a way to implement speech activities (speech as a psycho-
physiological process oI generation and perception oI speech utterances,
various types and Iorms oI verbal communication).
The presence oI not one but several subjects oI PL research due to
the speciIics oI this area oI scientiIic knowledge, that psycholinguistics is
"synthetic", a complex science that has arisen on the basis oI a peculiar and
unique association, the partial merger oI two ancient sciences oI human
civilization - Psychology and the science oI language (Linguistics).
Allocation as a major and independent subject oI PS`s -
psychophysiological process oI generation and perception oI speech occurs
in the works oI a number oI domestic and Ioreign researchers, and the most
complete scientiIic justiIication Ior such approach is presented in works oI
I.A. imnija.
In one oI his works oI the last period, A.A. Leontiev points out that
the goal oI psycholinguistics is "considering the Ieatures oI the mechanisms
oI generation and perception oI speech in connection with the Iunctions oI
speech activity in society and the development oI personality". According
to this the subject oI PL "is the structure oI the speech production
processes and speech perception as they relate to the structure oI language".
In turn, psycholinguistic research Iocuses on the analysis oI human
language ability in relation to the verbal activity, on the one hand, and the
system oI language - on the other.
There is still no single, universally accepted deIinition oI the
research subject oI psycholinguistics in domestic and Ioreign science, in
diIIerent directions and schools oI psycholinguistics, it is determined
diIIerently. However, some domestic researchers and many teachers oI high
schools use a generalized deIinition oI the subject oI psycholinguistics, as
proposed by Leontiev A.A: "The sub"ect of psycholinguistics is the
relationship between personality structure and functions of verbal activity#
on the one hand# and language as the main $image$ the image of the
world%s people & with another $.
The object oI psycholinguistics study a person as a subject oI
speech and language supporter, the process oI dialogue and communication
in human society (the principal means oI which speech activity serves), as
well as the Iormation oI speech and language acquisition in ontogenesis (in
the course oI person`s individual development). As pointed out by A.A.
Leontiev, the object oI psycholinguistics is always a set oI speech events
and speech situations. In this case, the most important object oI PL research
is the subject oI verbal activity - people using these activities to master the
surrounding reality (ideal and material). Methods Ior studying
psycholinguistics, as well as other methods oI linguistic sciences, can be
divided into three broad groups: general methodology, a special (i.e.,
concrete-scientiIic) methodology, speciIic (concrete-scientiIic) research
Communication oI psycholinguistics (as the theory oI speech
activity) with the other sciences are diverse, as the speech activity is
directly connected with all kinds oI nonverbal activity, and a man, like his
diverse and multiIaceted activity, - the object oI so many sciences. Let`s
note the most important and Irequently perIormed in practice
communications. Psycholinguistics "organically" and inextricably linked
- philosophy which promotes the general direction oI research;
- psychology (general, age, social, special psychology and many
other areas oI it). Without data oI practical psychology psycholinguistics,
as some researchers point (A. A. Leontiev, L. Sugar, P. M. Frumkin, etc.)
can not be suIIiciently independent science;
- linguistics (general linguistics, philosophy oI language, a language
grammar, sociolinguistics, etc.);
- semiotics - the science oI language signs and their meaning;
- logics (the problems oI psycholinguistic research is most oIten elect
to host a logic oI scientiIic inquiry);
- sociology. Here we should mention, in particular, a studies in
psycholinguistics oI a very important Ior the identity relations: speech
activity - diIIerent levels oI socialization (personal, group, global, etc.);
- medicine, mainly Irom neurology, which helped a lot in studies and
rules oI speech pathology, and psychiatry, otolaryngology, and several other
medical sciences, with logopathology, speech therapy and other sciences
supplying a lot oI valuable data Ior understanding the processes oI
generation and perception oI speech;
- some technical sciences (in particular, those that allow hardware
and computer soItware research oI speech and language signs) with the
acoustics and psychoacoustics, etc.
Visualized Illustration oI these links is presented in Illustration 1.2
Illustration 1.2 - Links oI psycholinguistics with other science
One oI the Iounders oI the Soviet psycholinguistics, A. A. Leontiev
believes that psycholinguistics at the present stage oI its development is an
organic part oI the system oI psychological sciences. The very notion oI
speech activity dates back to the general psychological interpretation oI the
structure and Ieatures oI all - speaking activity regarded as a special case
oI, as one oI its species (along with employment, educational, gaming,
etc.), with its own speciIic quality, but subject to the general laws oI
Iormation, structure and Iunctioning oI any business. One or another
interpretation oI the individual and is directly reIlected in
psycholinguistics. But mostly signiIicant, that through one oI its basic
concepts - the concept oI value - Psycholinguistics is directly related to the
problems oI mental reIlection oI the world by person. In this case,
psycholinguistics, on the one hand, uses the Iundamental concepts and
research results provided by diIIerent areas oI psychological science on the
other hand, PL enriches the subject areas oI psychology as a theoretical
level (by introducing new concepts and approaches in a diIIerent, more
deeply treating the common notion etc.) and in the applied direction,
allowing you to solve practical problems inaccessible to others,
traditionally psychological disciplines. The most closely related to the
overall psycholinguistics psychology, particularly the psychology oI
personality and cognitive psychology. Because it is directly relevant to the
study oI communication, one more, very close to PS psychological
discipline is social psychology and communication psychology (including
the theory oI mass communication). Since the Iormation and development
oI language ability and speech activity is also included in the object oI
study oI psycholinguistics, the PL is closely linked to developmental
psychology (child and developmental psychology).
Finally, it is closely linked with ethnic psychology. In its practical
aspect oI psycholinguistics is associated with various applications oI
psychology: Irom educational psychology, special psychology (in
particular, pathopsychology, medical psychology, neuropsychology), the
psychology oI work, including engineering, space and military psychology,
the judicial and legal psychology, and Iinally with political psychology,
psychology oI mass culture, the psychology oI advertising and propaganda.
These applied problems that social development has set to the psychology,
are served as the trigger Ior the emergence oI psycholinguistics as an
independent scientiIic Iield".
"he relationship o# psycholinguistics and linguistics
In addition to psychology, psycholinguistics (and within it - the
theory oI speech activities) closely connected with the second generator oI
science - linguistics.
Linguistics has traditionally been understood as the science oI
language - main means oI communication, social interaction. Moreover, its
subject, as a rule, is not clearly deIined. It is obvious that the object oI
linguistics is speech activity (speech acts, speech reaction). But the linguist
distinguishes in it a common thing, which is in organization oI speech oI
any person in any situation, that is, those Iunds without which one cannot
imagine the internal structure oI the speech act. The subject oI linguistics is
the system oI linguistic means used in speech communication. In general
linguistic Iocuses on the systematic characteristics oI these Iunds,
characterizing the structure oI any language, as in applied linguistics - on
an individual speciIicity oI a particular language (Russian, German,
Chinese, etc.).
The main tendencies in modern linguistics are as Iollows.
First oI all, interpretation oI the concept "language" has changed. II
previously at the center oI linguist`s interest were linguistic resources (i.e.,
sound, grammar, vocabulary), now it appeard that all these linguistic
resources are "Iormal statements" by which a person carries out the
communication process, attaching them to the sign meaning system oI
language and receiving a meaningIul and coherent text (message). But this
concept oI meaning is beyond the verbal communication: it acts as a major
cognitive unit, Iorming the perception oI the world shaped by man and in
this capacity is a member oI various cognitive schemes, reIerence images,
typical cognitive situations.
Thus, being beIore one oI the many concepts oI linguistics, has
become a major, a key concept oI it.
Another important object oI study oI modern linguistics is the
"nature" oI the text - the basic and universal unit oI speech
communication. Psycholinguistics is increasingly interested in particular
texts, their speciIic structure, variability, Iunctional specialization.
As pointed out by A.A. Leontiev, psycholinguistics has the closest
relationship with general linguistics. More over, it constantly interacts with
sociolinguistics, ethnolinguistics and applied linguistics, especially with the
part which deals with issues oI computational linguistics.
Thus, psycholinguistics is an interdisciplinary Iield oI knowledge
about the laws oI Iormation in ontogenesis and Iormed processes oI speech
activity in the diIIerent types oI human activity.
Psycholinguistics is a relatively young science, most recently (in
2003), it was IiIty years since it become independent. For science, it is
almost "childish" age, the initial period oI Iormation and
development. However, despite such a "young age" and the inevitable Ior
this period oI development oI any science "growing diseases",
psycholinguistics at the beginning oI the new millennium is already Iairly
complex area oI scientiIic knowledge. This is determined by two main
First, the Ioundation oI this new science was two ancient Iield oI
scientiIic knowledge, sending it their achievements on the most important
sections oI the study. So, Irom psychology to psycholinguistics (oI course,
in a transIormed Iorm) goes in such sections oI human psychology as the
psychology oI speech, communication psychology, partly - developmental,
educational and social psychology, as well as Iundamental theoretical
concepts: the theory oI activity, the theory oI signs and symbolic activity,
communication theory, and others. From linguistics in psycholinguistics
used "arsenal" oI scientiIic knowledge oI structural linguistics, general
linguistics, practical linguistics (theory and methods oI teaching native and
Ioreign languages), semiotics and (almost Iull) text linguistics.
Secondly, psycholinguistics, beIore its inception and approval as an
independent Iield oI scientiIic knowledge, has a Iairly long and eventIul
The term "psycholinguistics" was Iirst proposed by American
psychologist N. Pronk in 1946. As an independent science oI
psycholinguistics Iormed in 1953 as a result oI inter-university seminar
organized by the Committee on Linguistics and Psychology Research
Council oI Social Science at Indiana University (USA, Bloomington). The
organizers oI this seminar were the two most Iamous American
psychologist - Charles Osgood, and John Carroll and linguist, ethnographer
and literary critic Thomas Sibeok. As published in 1954 book
"Psycholinguistics" were compiled basic theoretical positions taken during
the workshop and the main directions oI experimental research based on
these provisions (322). The appearance oI the book "Psycholinguistics"
played the role oI a stimulus to the deployment oI numerous
interdisciplinary psycholinguistic research.
Summing up all inIormation and points mentioned above, we can say
that, psychology oI teaching Ioreign languages is comparatively young
scientiIic branch which was organized at the junction oI such science as
psychology, pedagogy, psycholinguistics and methods oI teaching Ioreign
Glossary & New Concepts
Teaching foreign languages
Second language acquisition
*ducational psychology *P(
The +rammar&translation
method +T,(
The method of governess
The Direct method of teaching
foreign languages
-ommunicative language
teaching -!T(
teaching and acquisition oI the second, third and
etc. languages
is the process by which people oI a language
can learn a second language in addition to
their native language(s)
is the study oI how humans learn
in educational settings, the eIIectiveness oI
educational interventions, the psychology oI
teaching, and the social
psychology oI schools as organizations.
the science that studies the psychological and
linguistic aspects oI speech activities oI human,
social and psychological aspects oI language
use in the processes oI verbal communication
is a Ioreign language teaching method derived
Irom the classical (sometimes called traditional)
method oI teaching Greek and Latin.
is the most primitive method oI teaching Ioreign
sometimes called the natural method, reIrains
Irom using the learners' native language and
uses only the target language.
is an approach to the teaching oI second
and Ioreign languages that emphasizes
interaction as both the means and the ultimate
goal oI learning a language.
The propriospective language
learning method
The silent way
The .atural )pproach
The total physical )pproach
Pedagogical psychology
The epistemological beliefs
The /erbal activity
is a language learning technique which
emphasizes simultaneous development oI
cognitive, motor, neurological,
and auditory Iunctions as all being part oI a
comprehensive language learning process.
is a discovery learning approach, invented
by Caleb Gattegno in the 1950s.
was a method that experienced popularity
especially in past years, with both staunch
supporters and very strong critics, some
claiming it is based on pseudoscience.
is a language teaching method deleoped
by Stephen Krashen and Tracy D. Terrell. They
emphasise the learner receiving large amounts
oI comprehensible input.
the instructor gives the students commands in
the target language and the students act those
commands out using whole-body responses.
is the study oI how humans learn
in educational settings, the eIIectiveness oI
educational interventions, the psychology oI
teaching, and the social
psychology oI schools as organizations
means belieIs about knowledge
is something that has a distinct,
separate existence, although it need not be a
material existence
people use these activities to master the
surrounding reality
Topics & Questions for Study and Discussion
.ote0 1tems listed below are coded for either individual 1( work#
group2pair +( work# or whole&class -( discussion# as suggestions to the
instructor on how to incorporate the topics and questions into a class
1. (G) Second language learning is a complex, long-term eIIort that
requires much oI the learner. In small groups oI three to Iive, share your
own experiences in learning, or attempting to learn, a Ioreign language.
Describe your own (a) commitment, (b) involvement, and (c) eIIort to
learn. This discussion should introduce you to a variety oI patterns oI
2. (I/G) Write your own "twenty-Iive-words-or-less" deIinitions oI
language, learning, and teaching. What would you add to or delete Irom the
deIinitions given in this chapter Share your deIinitions with another class-
mate or in a small group. Compare diIIerences and similarities.
3. (G) Consider the eight subIields oI linguistics and, assigning one
subIield to a pair or small group, discuss brieIly the type oI approach to
second language teaching that might emerge Irom emphasizing the
exclusive importance oI your particular subIield. Report your thoughts to
the whole class.
4. (C) Discuss in class with what science does the Psychology oI
teaching Ioreign language is in the closest relation. JustiIy your point oI
5. (C) Considering the productive relationship between theory and
practice, think oI some examples (Irom any Iield oI study) that show that
theory and practice are interactive. Next, think oI some speciIic types oI
activities typical oI a Ioreign language class you have been in (choral drills,
translation, reading aloud, using a vocabulary word in a sentence, etc.).
What kind oI theoretical assumptions underlie these activities How might
the success oI the activity possibly alter the theory behind it
References & Suggested Readings
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. ]. . . . . .,
1977. - 25.
2 A B. A. ut ]nt n//
u , 85-m
x . . V. , 1973. - .56-61.
3 A A. ., B.A. u
u t//B .
1. ., 1978. - . 68-87.
4 A u u /
. .. . ., 1982. - 198.
5 A] t u / . . .
. A. A. ., 1983. - 567.
6 A . B. u u
]. ., 1975. - 247.
7 A . B. En u , ut,
x u //H u
m . ., 1985. - 145.
8 B. . /Vu.
. ., 2005. - 347.
9 H. . B u t. ,
1987. - 124.
10 H.., .. . H. 2-
. ., 2001. - 365.
11 m E.H. . .: H
A, 2002. - 496.
12 m F.., B.H.
mt n
u utm // ]. 1988.
3. - .45 - 56.
13 t B. H m.
., 1984. - 184.
14 Bloom L. Language Development. Cambridge (Mass.), 1970.
15 Braine M.D.S. The insuIIiciency oI a Iinite state model Ior verbal
reconstructive memory // Psychonomic Science. 1965. V. 2. - p.132-
16 Braine M.D.S. Children's Iirst word combination// Monographs
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17 Bruner J.S. From communication to language // Cognition. V. 33.
18 Carroll J.B. The Study oI Language. Cambridge (Mass.), 1953.
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20 Chomsky N. A Review oI Verbal Behavior, by B.F. Skinner //
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21 Chomsky N. Aspects oI the Theory oI Syntax. Cambridge
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22 Chomsky The Acquisition oI Syntax in Children Irom 5 to
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23 Clark H.N., Clark E. V. Psychology oI Language. An
Introduction to Psycholinguistics. New ork, 1977. 165p.
24 Cramer R.L. Writing, Reading, and Language Growth.
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25 Deese J. The Structure oI associations in language and
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26 Diller, Karl Conrad. The Language Teaching Controversy.
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27 Meddings, L and Thornbury, S Teaching Unplugged: Dogme in
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28 Luke, Meddings (26 March 2004). "Throw away your
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29 Michel Thomas: The Learning Revolution, by Jonathan Solity.
30 Eter Horst and J. M. Pearce, 'Foreign Languages and the
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Educator, pp. 52-56, October, 2008.
31 J. M. Pearce and E. ter Horst 'Appropedia and Sustainable
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Ior the Advancement oI Sustainability in Higher Education 2008.
32 Joshua M. Pearce and Eleanor ter Horst, 'Overcoming Language
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Development in AIrica, Journal oI Sustainable Development in
AIrica, 11(3), 2010. pp.230-245,.
33 Richards, Jack C.; Theodore S. Rodgers (2001). Approaches and
Methods in Language Teaching. Cambridge UK: Cambridge University
Press. ISBN0-521-00843-3.
34 Universiteit Antwerpen James L. Barker lecture on November 8,
2001 at Brigham oung University, given by WilIried Decoo. 83p.
1.2 Foreign language as a school subject, its features and
contents. Psychological and pedagogical features of teaching foreign
Learning a second language is a long and complex undertaking. our
whole person is aIIected as you struggle to reach beyond the conIines oI
your Iirst language and into a new language, a new culture, a new way oI
thinking, Ieeling, and acting. Total commitment, total involvement, a total
physical, intellectual, and emotional response are necessary to successIully
send and receive messages in a second language. Many variables are
involved in the acquisition process. Language learning is not a set oI easy
steps that can be programmed in a quick do-it-yourselI kit. So much is at
stake that courses in Ioreign languages are oIten inadequate training
grounds, in and oI themselves, Ior the successIul learning oI a second lan-
guage. Few iI any people achieve Iluency in a Ioreign language solely
within the conIines oI the classroom.
SpeciIicity oI Ioreign language as an educational subject is
determined by the Iact that it being characterized by the Ieatures inherent to
the language as sign system, at the same time is denoted by diIIerent Irom
native languages peculiarities oI possession and acquisition. At the same
time, on a number oI characteristics Ioreign language signiIicantly diIIers
Irom any other educational subject. This educational peculiarity oI Ioreign
language as educational subject is intuitively Ielt by students and
understood by teachers. It can serve as a base Ior Iolding bias and attitude
to the subject.
Foreign language as any language system is socially-historical
product, in which nation`s history, culture, system oI social relationships,
traditions are reIlected.
Language lives and develops in social conscious and in nation`s
conscious speaking on this language.
According to V. Gumbold language is nation`s soul in which all
its 'national character reIlects. Being socially-historical product language
links diIIerent generations speaking one language.
One more signiIicant characteristic oI language is that it is the Iorm
oI conscious` existence.
All mentioned characteristics oI language Iully can be classiIied to
the Ioreign language. From the methodological point oI view these
characteristics elicit public, socially-historical nature oI language and
suggest the necessity oI greater attention oI Ioreign language teacher to the
meaningIul and conceptual part oI studied language.
Here it will be appropriate to remember B.V. Beljaev and his words
about the necessity to develop students` meaningIul, notional thinking in
Despite the Iact that we paid a lot oI attention to the methodological
views on language we must not Iorget that Ior the Ioreign language teacher
language is Iirst oI all a way oI expressing thoughts.
Thought is connection oI at least two concepts and embodied in
In consideration oI Ioreign languages peculiarities we will talk about
it through the analysis oI particularities oI acquisition oI Ioreign language
in comparison with native language. Foreign language acquisition diIIers
Irom native language in Iollowing items:
1) according to the direction oI language acquisition by L.S.
2) according to the density oI communication;
3) according to the existence oI language in subjective-
communicative activity;
4) according to the collection oI Iunctions realized by language;
5) according to the coincidence oI Ioreign language acquisition with
sensitive period oI speech development.
Now we are going to consider Ioreign language acquisition
particularities according to the Iollowing items in details.
L.S. Vygotsky was the Iirst scientist who characterized diIIerent
ways or direction oI Ioreign language acquisition and native language
acquisition. He deIined this way to the native language as 'Irom bottom to
top and to the Ioreign language inversely 'Irom top to bottom. 'We can
say that Ioreign language acquisition goes by the way opposite to the native
language acquisition. A child posses native language unconsciously and
without any purpose, but Ioreign language starting with purpose and setting
goals. Because oI it we can say that native language acquisition goes by the
direction 'Irom bottom to top and Ioreign language acquisition 'Irom top
to bottom. The concept about diIIerent direction oI language acquisition
must be Iirst oI all taken into account in Ioreign language teaching in
school education. But awareness among students learning Ioreign
languages ways oI Iormulating thoughts in Ioreign language must be
mandatory component does not mean, that they always must exist beIore
using language. The major question is what place in FLT process does
awareness oI linguistic recourses lead. In the process oI communication in
Ioreign languages only plan oI speech content, i.e. what and in what order
to say, is controlled by consciousness. Form oI thought expression is
realized on level oI background mechanisms, automatically it is almost
incognizable. The need Ior awareness oI language means not contrary to
the assertion in the process oI the Ioreign language communication
consciousness is controlled by only plan Ior content, that is, what and in
what order to say.
The second important issue in diIIerences between acquisition oI
Ioreign and native language is that density oI communication diIIers a lot.
Density oI child`s communication with adults and other in native language,
which can be measured by the number oI speech contacts and volume oI
expression in native speech incomparably higher than in Ioreign language
in terms oI school education. It must be taken into account during
comparative analysis oI ways oI language acquisition. Herewith in terms oI
Ioreign language communication scope oI communication narrows,
decreases number oI partners. Under the conditions oI communication in a
Ioreign language also narrowed the scope oI communication is reduced
(oIten to one person - a teacher oI Ioreign languages), the number oI
partners, communication is recorded enough Iree overlay their thoughts and
understanding oI the stranger, in connection with a small number have
already learned, are updated linguistic resources ( lexical, grammatical,
phonetic), and stiIIness, by insuIIicient methods oI Iorming and
Iormulating ideas Ior using these Iunds.
Reduction in the density oI communication depends on Iew hours per
week given to the FLT in high school and prolixity oI educational material
in educational process. Foreign languages cannot be 'learned in one hour
per week even iI we study it 7-8 years. It means that child is not provided
by the most important condition oI FLT - density of communication in
foreign language3
No less important distinguishing Ieature oI mastery and possession
oI a Ioreign language is its unilateral "inclusion" only in a communicative,
rather than subject-communicative activities. Being born child, as
emphasized by Elkonin D.B., "enter into relations oI two systems: the
child-an object, a thing", "child-adult." Both these systems are
implemented links to them in their native language. In the process oI
mastering a Ioreign language in school child only communicates with the
language, instead oI using it in its immediate objective activity. This, as
shown by research oI Kasparova and Kopteva, leads to the Iact that, Ior
example, the word oI a Ioreign language lives in linguistic consciousness oI
the child as iI only in their abstract, logical, conceptual side, outside the
sensory component. Denoted by the word oI a Ioreign language subjects
are deprived oI the characteristics oI smell, color, shapes, size. This can be
one oI the reasons Ior the instability oI the conservation oI Ioreign words
into the memory oI his diIIiculty updating.
The Ioregoing corresponds with such a Ieature as the possibility oI
implementing a Ioreign language the entire set oI Iunctions that implements
the native language. "Learning the native language is a spontaneous
process by which a man possessed, not because it deliberately wants to
know the language, but by the spontaneous process oI mental development
in ontogenesis''. Mother tongue, speaking in the unity oI the Iunctions oI
communication and synthesis, Iirst is the primary means oI "assigning" a
child oI social experience, and only then, and together with the
implementation oI this Iunction - a means oI expression, creation and
Iormulation oI his own thoughts. ''By acquisition oI native language, people
"assign" an instrument oI knowledge oI reality. In this process, naturally
met and Iormed his speciIic human (cognition, consequently,
communicative and other social) needs.''
Foreign language in school can no longer be the same extent as a
native, to serve as a means oI "appropriation" oI social experience, an
instrument oI cognition oI reality. Mastering a Ioreign language is most
oIten determined by the 'satisIaction oI learning and cognitive needs, or
needs oI understanding expressions oI his own thought.'' As noted by L.
Sherba, "Observation oI the tongue are the observations oI thinking ..." and
"does this premise, compelling a person to stop the Ilow oI his speech, and,
thereIore, thinking, making the penis it apart to try to understand the
relation these parts and compare them with each other and deepen their
understanding oI it.". And Iurther assertion that learning a Ioreign language
is a means oI "development oI dialectical thinking", which correlates with
the intrinsic human need analysis Iorm oI expression, speaking as a tool Ior
Conditionally it is possible to allocate at least three groups oI
characteristics oI the "language" (broadly deIined), providing: social,
intellectual and personality Iunctions oI man. The Iirst group comprises the
characteristics oI language as means:
- communication (a Iorm oI social interaction);
- entry into the linguistic community, identiIication
- assignment oI socio-historical, social experience, i.e., the
socialization oI the developing person;
- admission oI the individual to the cultural and historical values
(comprehensive Iunction oI language).
"This group oI characteristics oI the language reIers to the actual
social Iunctions oI person. Included in it the characteristics oI language
Iorm two major subgroups. The Iirst and second characteristics deIine
language as a means oI social interaction, social communication. The third
and Iourth language Ieatures deIine it as a means oI social development oI
our personality in the process oI communication that is based on a
Iundamental premise: the language - an essential means oI human
"The second large group oI characteristics includes such language
characteristics which determine it as a Iorm oI intelligence, language
awareness oI a person. Modern psychology and linguistics notes the active
role that language plays in knowledge, when talking about "a kind oI
linguistic apperception", i.e. about linguistic conditioning.
This group includes the characteristics oI language as means oI:
- correlating the individual with the objective reality, through its
nomination, indication, designation oI the objects and phenomena oI the
world by words;
-generalization in the Iormation oI the person`s conceptual apparatus;
- expansion, diIIerentiation, clariIication oI concepts and categorical
- mediation oI person`s higher mental Iunctions;
- development oI cognitive interest;
- satisIaction oI the communication needs (expressing thoughts,
Ieelings, volition), and cognitive needs (this includes interpretation oI
language in the narrow sense as a means oI Iorming and articulating ideas);
The third group consists oI characteristics oI language as means oI:
- awareness oI one's own ego;
- reIlection, and then, the expression itselI (oI selI-expression) and
ReIlection as a reIlection oI one`s selI, one`s interests, motives,
states includes the reIlection oI one`s own actions. This process includes
and is based on verbalization. Taking this Iunction, language, in the
broadest sense, as a sign system, is the only Iorm oI emergence,
development and existence oI personal reIlection.
It is also important that these last two characteristics oI language are
related to the Iormation oI selI-identity, which is perhaps the most
important place the Iormation oI "I-image" and reIlection as a mechanism
Ior the treatment oI consciousness to itselI, reIlect on their mental
consciousness. However, considering this image as a sophisticated
installation system which means "as a system oI cognitive, emotional and
behavioral characteristics", the researchers did not emphasize here that
language serves as a means oI Iorming the I-image and I as ego.
We must also pay attention to the characterization oI language as a
means oI satisIaction oI the communication needs oI expressing thoughts,
Ieelings and will. The native and Ioreign language act in this capacity.
However, the native language Iirst becomes a biological, natural Iorm oI
awareness oI the existence and symbolization oI person`s emotional
motivational sphere. Any other language (not native), surviving, do not
replace even displace native language in this Iunction. This is reIlected in
the Iact that the most intimate, involuntary things, people who know
several languages, express only the native language.
The essential distinguishing Ieature oI Ioreign language acquiring in
school Irom native language is that this process takes place not in sensitive
period (period sensitive to language acquisition (learning)) oI speech
development. It is commonly known that this period lasts Irom 1.5 year till
5 year. It is a period oI awareness oI language rules, Iormation oI total net
oI everyday concepts, situationally detailed statements. Some
psychologists when talking about the most Iavorable period Ior Ioreign
language acquisition say that this process must be started at a very young
ages, because by this we can take into consideration particularities oI
child`s age development. But, on the other hand many scientists point out
that the process oI Ioreign language acquisition must be started on the
bases oI already Iormed knowledge oI native language, i.e. at 5-6 years.
One more point, is that the process oI Ioreign language acquisition started
at young ages must be consistently continue in school.
This is the main particularities oI Ioreign language as linguistic
phenomenon. Now we are going to analyze speciIic points oI Ioreign
language as a school subject.
Foreign language, unlike other subjects studied at school, is both a
goal and learning tool. The diIIiculty lies in the accuracy oI the transition
Irom what is now the goal, but tomorrow will be the means oI achieving
the other, more complex goals. It means Ior teachers and textbook authors
need to distribute educational material (linguistic resources, the alleged
actions oI students learning to solve educational problems) over time based
on "objective-means", i.e. the sequence oI the inclusion oI linguistic
phenomena. Then the problems oI taking into account language diIIiculties,
the interIerence oI native language use and so on must be solved.
Let us dwell on the consideration oI three very signiIicant Ieatures
oI speciIic language: "irrelevance", "inIinity", "heterogeneity." As has been
repeatedly stressed, an essential Ieature oI a Ioreign language as a subject
in comparison with other subjects is that its absorption does not give a
person immediate knowledge oI reality (as opposed to mathematics,
history, geography, biology, chemistry and etc.) For example, the story
provides knowledge about the development oI human society and its laws,
physics - the laws oI existence and motion oI matter, etc. Language is a
means oI Iorming and then the Iorm oI thought`s existence and expression
about the objective reality, properties and regularities which are the subject
oI other disciplines. "The person Ieels and knows that the language Ior him
is just a mean, that outside the language there is an invisible world in
which people seek to settle only with its help". The language in this sense
as an academic discipline - is pointless. It is only the carrier oI inIormation,
the Iorm oI its existence in the individual and social consciousness. In the
process oI teaching Ioreign language a teacher Iaces the problem to initial
determination oI a speciIic, satisIying the students` need in Ioreign
language acquisition, the subject oI training activities. As such a subject
may be taken, Ior example, inIormation about the history, culture and
traditions oI the people who speak Ioreign language, or social, everyday,
scientiIic problems which must be solved. It is signiIicant that Strevens,
English linguist and a Methodist, points out that: "A Iurther consequence oI
the Iact that the language is a skill is the Iact that the Iullness and richness
oI content, in comparison with other school subjects low". In other words,
in the Teaching oI Foreign Languages there is a special problem oI
deIinition oI what (oI culture, ethics, history, art, etc.) to teach by means oI
Ioreign language, Ior the study oI linguistic resources (vocabulary,
grammar, phonetics), Ior the sake oI these Iunds does not meet the actual
cognitive and communicative needs. Here arises another problem - the
organization oI the object oI speech activity, i.e. its semantic content on this
SpeciIicity oI a Ioreign language as a subject is also in its immensity.
Indeed, iI we compare the language with any other academic subject, in
each oI them (history, literature, chemistry, biology, etc.) there are separate
themed sections, aIter mastering which students Ieel satisIaction. So, one
can say that he knows only the "history oI ancient Rome" as part oI history.
In this case, all as a positive Ieature observed individual personality
orientation oI student persistence and depth oI his interests. When learning
a Ioreign language in school, when the task oI mastering Ioreign language
is communication, this situation is impossible. Learning the language,
people can not only know the vocabulary, not knowing grammar, or the
section "gerund", not knowing the time oI partition, etc. One should know
all the grammar, all the vocabulary needed Ior the required by program
conditions oI communication. But all this is, Ior example, in the lexical
and stylistic plans in language has no practical limits. In this sense,
language as a subject is limitless.
An essential Ieature oI the phenomenon oI Ioreign language as an
academic subject is its heterogeneity. Language, in its broadest sense,
encompasses a number oI other phenomena, such as "language system",
"language ability", etc.
Considering the three aspects oI linguistic phenomena, L. Sherba
pointed out a very important Ior Ioreign language teaching position.
According to the author, language system and language material are just
diIIerent aspects oI this unique experience in speech activities". In other
words, L. Sherba, revealing the heterogeneity oI "linguistic phenomena,
identiIied a source that lies at their core - namely, person`s speech activity
Along with the heterogeneity, Ioreign language in comparison with
other academic disciplines is characterized by speciIic correlation oI
knowledge and skills. On this basis a Ioreign language takes an
intermediate position between the humanities, social and political
disciplines (e.g., history, geography, literature), natural sciences,
representing the exact sciences (e.g. mathematics, physics, chemistry) and
aesthetic disciplines, proIessional practical work, athletic training (e.g.,
music, typing, gymnastics). For example, a Ioreign language in the process
oI mastering them requires a large, as well as "practical" disciplines (sports,
craIts, etc.), the proportion oI the Iormation oI language skills. At the same
time, this process involves no less than Ior the exact sciences, the amount
oI linguistic knowledge in the Iorm oI rules, laws, programs, making a
variety oI communicative tasks.
A speciIic Ieature oI language as a school subject is also Iormed
negative, subjective attitude oI people to Ioreign language as a very
diIIicult, almost impossible to master in a school training. "Learning
Ioreign languages is oIten characterized as the most pointless exercise,
absorbing ... a man more time and eIIort than any other". Foreign
Language, indeed, requires daily and systematic work. It requires work,
which is motivated. The student must know why he learns, and have clearly
deIined purpose oI studying Ioreign language. The purpose may be to
learn the language so to read Shakespeare in the original, or be able to
directly communicate with British Iriends, etc. But this purpose must be
clear and understandable Ior students. Otherwise, the acquisition oI
language will not happen.
The experience oI many schools in our country shows that this
assimilation can be no less eIIective than any other academic subject.
However, the Ioreign language teacher and the whole school team must
solve a serious psychological problem to change students` negative
stereotypes Ior this academic discipline.
Concluding the consideration oI the speciIics oI a Ioreign language
as a school subject, we note again that it reIers primarily to the connection
oI Ioreign language and native language and only then comparison with
other subjects: 1) the purpose - a means, 2) objectivity, 3) limit 4)
homogeneity, and 5) a combination oI knowledge and linguistic activity.
A deIinition oI a concept or construct is a statement that captures its
key Ieatures. Those Ieatures may vary, depending on your own (or the
lexicographer's) understanding oI the construct. And, most important, that
understanding is essentially a "theory" that explicates the construct. So, a
deIinition oI a term may be thought oI as a condensed version oI a theory.
Conversely, a theory is simplyor not so simplyan extended deIinition.
DeIining, thereIore, is serious business: it requires choices about which
Iacets oI something are worthy oI being included.
Suppose you were stopped by a reporter on the street, and, in the
course oI an interview about your Iield oI study, you were asked: "Well,
since you're interested in second language acquisition, please deIine
language in a sentence or two." ou would no doubt dig deep into your
memory Ior a typical dictionary-type deIinition oI language. Such
deIinitions, iI pursued seriously, could lead to a lexicographer's wild-goose
chase, but they also can reIlect a reasonably coherent synopsis oI current
understanding oI just what it is that linguists are trying to study.
II you had had a chance to consult the -oncise -olumbia
*ncyclopedia, you might have responded to your questioner with an
oversimpliIied "systematic communication by vocal symbols." Or, iI you
had recently read Pinker's The !anguage 1nstinct (1994), you might have
come up with a sophisticated statement such as:
!anguage is a comple4# speciali5ed skill# which develops in the child
spontaneously# without conscious effort or formal instruction# is deployed
without awareness of its underlying logic# is qualitatively the same in every
individual# and is distinct from more general abilities to process
information or behave intelligently#
On the other hand, you might have oIIered a synthesis oI standard
deIinitions out oI introductory textbooks: "Language is a system oI
arbitrary conventionalized vocal, written, or gestural symbols that enable
members oI a given community to communicate intelligibly with one
another." Depending on how Iussy you were in your response, you might
also have included some mention oI
a) the creativity oI language;
b) the presumed primacy oI speech over writing;
c) the universality oI language among human beings.
A consolidation oI a number oI possible deIinitions oI language are
presented in Illustration 1.3
Illustration 1.3 - Various deIinitions oI 'language
These eight statements provide a reasonably concise "twenty-Iive-
word-or-less" deIinition oI language. But the simplicity oI the eightIold
deIinition should not be allowed to mask the sophistication oI linguistic
research underlying each concept. Enormous Iields and subIields, year-long
university courses, are suggested in each oI the eight categories. Consider
some oI these possible areas:
1) Explicit and Iormal accounts oI the system oI language on several
possible levels (most commonly phonological, syntactic, and semantic).
2) The symbolic nature oI language; the relationship between
language and reality; the philosophy oI language; the history oI language.
3) Phonetics; phonology; writing systems; kinesics, proxemics, and
other "paralinguistic" Ieatures oI language.
4) Semantics; language and cognition; psycholinguistics.
5) Communication systems; speaker-hearer interaction; sentence
6) Dialectology; sociolinguistics; language and culture; bilingualism
and second language acquisition.
7) Human language and nonhuman communication; the physiology
oI language.
8) Language universals; Iirst language acquisition.
Serious and extensive thinking about these eight topics involves a
complex journey through a labyrinth oI linguistic sciencea maze that
continues to be negotiated. et the language teacher needs to know
something about this system oI communication that we call language. Can
Ioreign language teachers eIIectively teach a language iI they do not know,
even in general, something about the relationship between language and
cognition, writing systems, nonverbal communication, sociolinguistics, and
Iirst language acquisition And iI the second language learner is being
asked to be successIul in acquiring a system oI communication oI such vast
complexity, isn't it reasonable that the teacher have awareness oI what the
components oI that system are
our understanding oI the components oI language determines to a
large extent how you teach a language. II, Ior example, you believe that
nonverbal communication is a key to successIul second language learning,
you will devote some attention to nonverbal systems and cues. II you per-
ceive language as a phenomenon that can be dismantled into thousands oI
discrete pieces and those pieces programmatically taught one by one, you
will attend careIully to an understanding oI the separability oI the Iorms oI
language. II you think language is essentially cultural and interactive, your
classroom methodology will be imbued with sociolinguistic strategies and
communicative tasks.
Learning and teaching
In similar Iashion, we can ask questions about constructs like
learning and teaching. Consider again some traditional deIinitions. A
search in contemporary dictionaries reveals that learning is "acquiring or
getting oI knowledge oI a subject or a skill by study, experience, or
instruction." A more specialized deIinition might read as Iollows: "Learning
is a relatively permanent change in a behavioral tendency and is the result
oI reinIorced practice" (Kimble Garmezy). Similarly, teaching, which is
implied in the Iirst deIinition oI learning, may be deIined as "showing or
helping someone to learn how to do something, giving instructions, guiding
in the study oI something, providing with knowledge, causing to know or
understand." How awkward these deIinitions are Isn't it curious that
proIessional lexicographers cannot devise more precise scientiIic
deIinitions More than perhaps anything else, such deIinitions reIlect the
diIIiculty oI deIining complex concepts like learning and teaching.
Breaking down the components oI the deIinition oI learning, we can
extract, as we did with language, domains oI research and inquiry. They are
presented in Illustration - 1.4
Illustration 1.4 - Various deIinitions oI 'learning
These concepts can also give way to a number oI subIields within the
discipline oI psychology: acquisition processes, perception, memory
(storage) systems, recall, conscious and subconscious learning styles and
strategies, theories oI Iorgetting, reinIorcement, the role oI practice. Very
quickly the concept oI learning becomes every bit as complex as the
concept oI language. et the second language learner brings all these (and
more) variables into play in the learning oI a second language.
Teaching cannot be deIined apart Irom learning. Teaching is guiding
and Iacilitating learning, enabling the learner to learn, setting the conditions
Ior learning. our understanding oI how the learner learns will determine
your philosophy oI education, your teaching style, your approach, methods,
and classroom techniques. II, like B.F. Skinner, you look at learning as a
process oI operant conditioning through a careIully paced program oI
reinIorcement, you will teach accordingly. II you view second language
learning as a deductive rather than an inductive process, you will probably
choose to present copious rules and paradigms to your students rather than
let them "discover" those rules inductively.
An extended deIinitionor theoryoI teaching will spell out gov-
erning principles Ior choosing certain methods and techniques. A theory oI
teaching, in harmony with your integrated understanding oI the learner and
oI the subject matter to be learned, will point the way to successIul
procedures on a given day Ior given learners under the various constraints
oI the particular context oI learning. In other words, your theory oI
teaching is your theory oI learning "stood on its head."
chools o# thought in second language ac$uisition
While the general deIinitions oI language, learning, and teaching
oIIered above might meet with the approval oI most linguists,
psychologists, and educators, points oI clear disagreement become apparent
aIter a little probing oI the components oI each deIinition. For example, is
language a "set oI habits" or a "system oI internalized rules" DiIIering
viewpoints emerge Irom equally knowledgeable scholars.
et with all the possible disagreements among applied linguists and
SLA researchers, some historical patterns emerge that highlight trends and
Iashions in the study oI second language acquisition. These trends will be
described here in the Iorm oI three diIIerent schools oI thought that Iollow
somewhat historically, even though components oI each school overlap
chronologically to some extent. Bear in mind that such a sketch highlights
contrastive ways oI thinking, and such contrasts are seldom overtly evident
in the study oI any one issue in SLA.
In the 1940s and 1950s, the structural, or descriptive, school oI
linguistics, with its advocatesLeonard BloomIield, Edward Sapir,
Charles Hockett, Charles Fries, and othersprided itselI in a rigorous
application oI the scientiIic principle oI observation oI human languages.
Only the "publicly observable responses" could be subject to investigation.
The linguist's task, according to the structuralist, was to describe human
languages and to identiIy the structural characteristics oI those languages.
An important axiom oI structural linguistics was that "languages can diIIer
Irom each other without limit," and that no preconceptions could apply to
the Iield. Freeman Twaddell (1935) stated this principle in perhaps its most
extreme terms:
7hatever our attitude toward mind# spirit# soul# etc3# as realities# we
must agree that the scientist proceeds as though there were no such things#
as though all his information were acquired through processes of his
physiological nervous system3 1nsofar as he occupies himself with
psychical# nonmaterial forces# the scientist is not a scientist3 The scientific
method is quite simply the convention that mind does not e4ist333
The structural linguist examined only the overtly observable data.
Such attitudes prevail in B.F. Skinner's thought, particularly in /erbal
6ehavior (1957), in which he said that any notion oI "idea" or "meaning" is
explanatory Iiction, and that the speaker is merely the locus oI verbal
behavior, not the cause. Charles Osgood (1957) reinstated meaning in
verbal behavior, explaining it as a "representational mediation process," but
still did not depart Irom a generally nonmentalistic view oI language.
OI Iurther importance to the structural or descriptive linguist was the
notion that language could be dismantled into small pieces or units and that
these units could be described scientiIically, contrasted, and added up again
to Iorm the whole. From this principle emerged an unchecked rush oI
linguists, in the 1940s and 1950s, to the Iar reaches oI the earth to write the
grammars oI exotic languages.
Among psychologists, a behavioristic paradigm also Iocused on
publicly observable responsesthose that can be objectively perceived,
recorded, and measured. The "scientiIic method" was rigorously adhered
to, and thereIore such concepts as consciousness and intuition were
regarded as "mentalistic," illegitimate domains oI inquiry. The unreliability
oI observation oI states oI consciousness, thinking, concept Iormation, or
the acquisition oI knowledge made such topics impossible to examine in a
behavioristic Iramework. Typical behavioristic models were classical and
operant conditioning, rote verbal learning, instrumental learning, discrimi-
nation learning, and other empirical approaches to studying human
behavior. ou may be Iamiliar with the classical experiments with Pavlov's
dog and Skinner's boxes; these too typiIy the position that organisms can be
conditioned to respond in desired ways, given the correct degree and
scheduling oI reinIorcement.
8ationalism and -ognitive Psychology
In the decade oI the 1960s, the generative-transformational school
oI linguistics emerged through the inIluence oI Noam Chomsky. Chomsky
was trying to show that human language cannot be scrutinized simply in
terms oI observable stimuli and responses or the volumes oI raw data gath-
ered by Iield linguists. The generative linguist was interested not only in
describing language (achieving the level oI descriptive adequacy) but also
in arriving at an explanatory level oI adequacy in the study oI language,
that is, a "principled basis, independent oI any particular language, Ior the
selection oI the descriptively adequate grammar oI each language"
(Chomsky 1964).
Early seeds oI the generative-transIormational revolution were
planted near the beginning oI the twentieth century. Ferdinand de Saussure
(1916) claimed that there was a diIIerence between parole (what Skinner
"observes," and what Chomsky called performance) and langue (akin to
the concept oI competence, or our underlying and unobservable language
ability). A Iew decades later, however, descriptive linguists chose largely to
ignore langue and to study parole# as was noted above. The revolution
brought about by generative linguistics broke with the descriptivists' preoc-
cupation with perIormancethe outward maniIestation oI languageand
capitalized on the important distinction between the overtly observable
aspects oI language and the hidden levels oI meaning and thought that give
birth to and generate observable linguistic perIormance.
Similarly, cognitive psychologists asserted that meaning, under-
standing, and knowing were signiIicant data Ior psychological study.
Instead oI Iocusing rather mechanistically on stimulus-response connec-
tions, cognitivists tried to discover psychological principles oI organization
and Iunctioning. David Ausubel (1965) noted:
'rom the standpoint of cognitive theorists# the attempt to ignore
conscious states or to reduce cognition to mediational processes reflective
of implicit behavior not only removes from the field of psychology what is
most worth studying but also dangerously oversimplifies highly comple4
psychological phenomena3
Cognitive psychologists, like generative linguists, sought to discover
underlying motivations and deeper structures oI human behavior by using a
rational approach. That is, they Ireed themselves Irom the strictly empir-
ical study typical oI behaviorists and employed the tools oI logic, reason,
extrapolation, and inIerence in order to derive explanations Ior human
behavior. Going beyond descriptive to explanatory power took on utmost
Both the structural linguist and the behavioral psychologist were
interested in description, in answering what questions about human
behavior: objective measurement oI behavior in controlled circumstances.
The generative linguist and cognitive psychologist were, to be sure,
interested in the what question; but they were Iar more interested in a more
ultimate question, why0 What underlying reasons, genetic and
environmental Iactors, and circumstances caused a particular event
II you were to observe someone walk into your house, pick up a
chair and Iling it through your window, and then walk out, diIIerent kinds
oI questions could be asked. One set oI questions would relate to what
the physical description oI the person, the time oI day, the size oI the
chair, the impact oI the chair, and so Iorth. Another set oI questions would
ask why the person did what he did: What were the person's motives and
psychological state, what might have been the cause oI the behavior, and so
on. The Iirst set oI questions is very rigorous and exacting: it allows no
Ilaw, no mistake in measurement; but does it give you ultimate answers
The second set oI questions is richer, but obviously riskier. By daring to ask
some diIIicult questions about the unobserved, we may lose some ground
but gain more proIound insight about human behavior.
Constructivism is hardly a new school oI thought. Jean Piaget and
Lev Vygotsky, names oIten associated with constructivism, are not by any
means new to the scene oI language studies. et constructivism emerged as
a prevailing paradigm only in the last part oI the twentieth century. What is
constructivism, and how does it diIIer Irom the other two viewpoints
described above
Constructivists, not unlike some cognitive psychologists, argue that
all human beings construct their own version oI reality, and thereIore
multiple contrasting ways oI knowing and describing are equally
legitimate. This perspective might be described as
an emphasis on active processes of construction 9of meaning:#
attention to te4ts as a means of gaining insights into those processes# and
an interest in the nature of knowledge and its variations# including the
nature of knowledge associated with membership in a particular group3
Spivey ;<<=(
Constructivist scholarship can Iocus on "individuals engaged in
social practices. ... on a collaborative group, |or| on a global community"
(Spivey 1997).
A constructivist perspective goes a little beyond the
rationalist/innatist and the cognitive psychological perspective in its
emphasis on the primacy oI each individual's construction oI reality. Piaget
and Vygotsky, both commonly described as constructivists (in Nyikos
Hashimoto 1997), diIIer in the extent to which each emphasizes social
context. Piaget (1972) stressed the importance oI individual cognitive
development as a relatively solitary act. Biological timetables and stages oI
development were basic; social-interaction was claimed only to trigger
development at the right moment in time. On the other hand, Vygotsky
(1978), described as a "social" constructivist by some, maintained that
social interaction was Ioundational in cognitive development and rejected
the notion oI predetermined stages.
Researchers studying Iirst and second language acquisition have
demonstrated constructivist perspectives through studies oI conversational
discourse, sociocultural Iactors in learning, and interactionist theories. In
many ways, constructivist perspectives are a natural successor to
cognitivist studies oI universal grammar, inIormation processing, memory,
artiIicial intelligence, and interlanguage systematicity.
All three positions must be seen as important in creating balanced
descriptions oI human linguistic behavior. Consider Ior a moment the
analogy oI a very high mountain, viewed Irom a distance. From one direc-
tion the mountain may have a sharp peak, easily identiIied glaciers, and
distinctive rock Iormations. From another direction, however, the same
mountain might now appear to have two peaks (the second Iormerly hidden
Irom view) and diIIerent conIigurations oI its slopes. From still another
direction, yet Iurther characteristics emerge, heretoIore unobserved. The
study oI SLA is very much like the viewing oI our mountain: we need
multiple tools and vantage points in order to ascertain the whole picture.
Table 1.1 - A summarize oI concepts and approaches described in the three
perspectives above. The table may help to pinpoint certain broad ideas that
are associated with the respective positions
Time frame Schools of thought Typical themes
Early 1900s &
1940s & 1950s
Description, observable perIormance
scientiIic method, empiricism surIace
structure, conditioning, reinIorcement
1960s & 1970s Rationalism
Cognitive Psychology
generative linguistics acquisition,
innateness interlanguage systematicity
universal grammar competence deep
1980s & 1990s
Early 2000s
Constructivism interactive discourse socio-cultural
variables cooperative group learning
interlanguage variability interactionist
Language teaching methodologu
One oI the major Ioci oI applied linguistic scholarship Ior the last
halI a century has been the Ioreign or second language classroom. A glance
through the past century or so oI language teaching gives us an interesting
picture oI varied interpretations oI the best way to teach a Ioreign language.
As schools oI thought have come and gone, so have language teaching
trends waxed and waned in popularity. Pedagogical innovation both
contributes to and beneIits Irom the kind oI theory-building described in
the previous section.
Albert Marckwardt (1972) saw these "changing winds and shiIting
sands" as a cyclical pattern in which a new paradigm (to use Kuhn's term)
oI teaching methodology emerged about every quarter oI a century, with
each new method breaking Irom the old but at the same time taking with it
some oI the positive aspects oI the previous paradigm. One oI the best
examples oI the cyclical nature oI methods is seen in the revolutionary
Audiolingual Method (ALM) oI the late 1940s and 1950s. The ALM bor-
rowed tenets Irom its predecessor by almost halI a century, the Direct
Method, while breaking away entirely Irom the Grammar-Translation para-
digm. (See "hi the Classroom" vignettes to Iollow, Ior a deIinition oI these
methods.) Within a short time, however, ALM critics were advocating more
attention to rules and to the "cognitive code" oI language, which, to some,
smacked oI a return to Grammar Translation ShiIting sands indeed.
Since the early 1970s, the relationship oI theoretical disciplines to
teaching methodology has been especially evident. The Iield oI psychology
has witnessed a growing interest in interpersonal relationships, in the value
oI group work, and in the use oI numerous selI-help strategies Ior attaining
desired goals. The same era has seen linguists searching ever more deeply
Ior answers to the nature oI communication and communicative
competence and Ior explanations oI the interactive process oI language.
The language teaching proIession responded to these theoretical trends with
approaches and techniques that have stressed the importance oI selI-
esteem, oI students cooperatively learning together, oI developing
individual strategies Ior success, and above all oI Iocusing on the commu-
nicative process in language learning. Today the term "communicative lan-
guage teaching" is a byword Ior language teachers. Indeed, the single
greatest challenge in the proIession is to move signiIicantly beyond the
teaching oI rules, patterns, deIinitions, and other knowledge "about" lan-
guage to the point that we are teaching our students to communicate gen-
uinely, spontaneously, and meaningIully in the second language.
This book is intended to give you a comprehensive picture oI the the-
oretical Ioundations oI language learning and teaching. But that theory
remains abstract and relatively powerless without its application to the
practical concerns oI pedagogy in the classroom. In an attempt to help to
build bridges between theory and practice, I have provided at the end oI
each oI the chapters oI this book exercises and questions Ior individual,
group and class work. These exercises are designed to acquaint you
progressively with some oI the major methodological trends and issues in
the proIession.
Today, language teaching is not easily categorized into methods and
trends. Instead, each teacher is called on to develop a sound overall
approach to various language classrooms. This approach is a principled
basis upon which the teacher can choose particular designs and techniques
Ior teaching a Ioreign language in a particular context. Such a prospect may
seem Iormidable. There are no instant recipes. No quick and easy method is
guaranteed to provide success. Every learner is unique. Every teacher is
unique. Every learner-teacher relationship is unique, and every context is
unique. our task as a teacher is to understand the properties oI those
relationships. Using a cautious, enlightened, eclectic approach, you can
build a theory based on principles oI second language learning and
Glossary & New Concepts
The direction of language
The density of communication
The sensitive period
The sensitive period of speech
L.S. Vigotskij was the Iirst scientist who
characterized diIIerent direction oI Ioreign
language acquisition and native language
acquisition. He deIined this way to the native
language as 'Irom bottom to top and to the
Ioreign language inversely 'Irom top to
is the number oI speech contacts and volume oI
expression in a language.
is a phase during childhood development as
deIined by early childhood educator Maria
Montessori. According to Montessori's
sensitive period hypothesis, children go
through a number oI sensitive periods, during
which they are particularly receptive to certain
types oI stimuli. Montessori believed that the
emotional, intellectual, physical and
social development oI children could be
enhanced by providing the right kinds oI stimuli
during particular sensitive periods.
Is the most Iavourable period Ior language
acquisition (approximately 1.5-5 years)
is a philosophy oI psychology based on the
proposition that all things that organisms do
including acting, thinking and Ieelingcan and
should be regarded as behaviors.
is a philosophy oI learning Iounded on the
premise that, by reIlecting on our experiences,
we construct our own understanding oI the
world we live in.
means spoken word. is the concrete use oI the
language, the actual utterances. It is an external
maniIestation oI langue. It is the usage oI the
system, but not the system.
is the whole system oI language that precedes
and makes speech possible.
Topics & Questions for Study and Discussion
.ote0 1tems listed below are coded for either individual 1( work#
group2pair +( work# or whole&class -( discussion# as suggestions to the
instructor on how to incorporate the topics and questions into a class
1. (G) Second language learning is a complex, long-term eIIort that
requires much oI the learner. In small groups oI three to Iive, share your
own opinion on (a) the most Iavorable period Ior second language
acquisition, (b) Iactors inIluencing on eIIectiveness oI language learning.
Share opinions in groups and class.
2. (I/G) List individually peculiarities oI Ioreign language as a
school subject. Share your list with another classmate or in a small group.
Compare diIIerences and similarities.
3. (C) Look at the two deIinitions oI language, one Irom an
encyclopedia and the other Irom Pinker's book. Why are there diIIerences
between these two deIinitions What assumptions or biases do they reIlect
on the part oI the lexicographer How do those deIinitions represent
"condensed theories"
4. (C) What did Twaddell mean when he said, "The scientiIic
method is quite simply the convention that mind does not exist" What are
the advantages and disadvantages oI attending only to "publicly observable
responses" in studying human behavior Don't limit yourselI only to
language teaching in considering the ramiIications oI behavioristic
5. (G) Richards and Rodgers said the Grammar Translation Method
"is a method Ior which there is no theory." Why did they make that
statement Do you agree with them Share in a group any experiences you
have had with Grammar Translation in your Ioreign language classes.
6. (C) Considering the productive relationship between theory and
practice, think oI some examples (Irom any Iield oI study) that show that
theory and practice are interactive. Next, think oI some speciIic types oI
activities typical oI a Ioreign language class you have been in (choral drills,
translation, reading aloud, using a vocabulary word in a sentence, etc.).
What kind oI theoretical assumptions underlie these activities How might
the success oI the activity possibly alter the theory behind it
References & Suggested Readings
; Andersen, Roger W. Expanding Schumann's pidginiuation
hypothesis. !anguage !earning ><0105-119. 1979.
> Andersen, Roger W. (Ed.). .ew Dimensions in Second
!anguage )cquisition 8esearch Rowley, MA: Newbury House. 1981.
? Andersen, Roger W. Determining the linguistic attributes oI
language attrition. In Lambert Freed 1982.
@ Anderson, Neil J. Individual diIIerences in strategy use in second
language reading and testing. ,odern !anguage Aournal =B0 460-472.
B Anderson, Richard C. and Ausubel, David A. (Eds.). 8eadings in
the Psychology of -ognition3 New ork: Holt, Rinehart Winston. 1965.
C Andres, Veronica. SelI-esteem in the classroom or the
metamorphosis oI butterIlies. In Arnold 1999.
= Angelis, Paul and Henderson,Thelma (Eds.). Selected papers
Irom the proceedings oI the BAAL/AAAL joint seminar "Communicative
Competence Revisited." )pplied !inguistics ;D Oune). 1989.
E Anivan, S. (Ed.). -urrent Developments in !anguage Testing3
Singapore: SEAMEO Regional Language Center. 1991.
< Anthony, Edward M. -Approach, method and technique. *nglish
!anguage Teaching ;=0CB&C=3 1963
;D Augustine, St. -onfessions3 Translated by Edward B. Pusey.
OxIord: J.C. Parker Company. 1838.
;; Austin, John L. Fow to Do Things with 7ords3 Cambridge:
Harvard University Press. 1962.
;> Ausubel, David A. - Cognitive structure and the Iacilitation oI
meaningIul verbal learning. Aournal of Teacher *ducation ;@0 217-221.
;? Ausubel, David A. Adults vs. children in second language
learning: Psychological considerations. ,odern !anguage Aournal @E0
@>D&@>@3 1964.
;@ Ausubel, David A. Introduction to part one. In Anderson
Ausubel .6ibliography 303. 1965.
;B Bachman, Lyle F. The TOEFL as a measure oI communicative
competence. Paper delivered at the Second TOEFL Invitational
ConIerence, Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ, October 1984.
;C Bachman, Lyle F. 'undamental -onsiderations in !anguage
Testing3 New ork: OxIord University Press. 1990.
;= Bachman, Lyle F. What does language testing have to oIIer
T*SO! Guarterly >B0 671-704. 1991.
;E Bachman, Lyle F. and Palmer, Adrian. The construct validation oI
the FSI oral interview. !anguage !earning ?;067-86. 1981.
;< Bachman, Lyle F. and Palmer, Adrian. The construct validation oI
some components oI communicative proIiciency. T*SO! Guarterly
;C0@@<&@CB3 1982.
>D Bacon, Susan M. The relationship between gender,
comprehension, processing strategies, and cognitive and aIIective response
in Ioreign language listening. ,odern !anguage Aournal =C0160-178.
>; Bailey, Kathleen M. Competitiveness and anxiety in adult
second language learning: Looking at and through the diary studies. In
Seliger Long 1983.
>> Bailey, Kathleen M. Classroom-centered research on language
teaching and learning. In Celce-Murcia 1985.
>? Bailey, Kathleen M. Class lecture, Spring 1986. Monterey
Institute oI International Studies. 1986.
>@ Baldwin,AlIred. The development oI intuition. In Bruner 1966a.
>B Banathy, Bela,Trager, Edith C, and Waddle, Carl D. The use oI
contrastive data in Ioreign language course development. In Valdman 1966.
>C Bandura, Albert and Walters, Richard H.. Social !earning and
Personality Development3 New ork: Holt, Rinehart Winston. 1963
>= Ausubel David Adults vs Children in second language learning:
Psychological considerations. Modern Language journal, 1964.
>E Chomsky Noam Linguistic theory. In Mead. 1966.
>< -oncise -olumbia *ncyclopedia, third edition. New ork:
Columbia University Press, 1994
?D Kimble, Gregory A. and Garmezy, Norman. Principles of
+eneral Psychology3 Second Edition. New ork:The Ronald Press 1963.
?; Osgood, Charles E. ,ethod and Theory in *4perimental
Psychology3 New ork: OxIord University Press. 1953.
?> Osgood, Charles E. -ontemporary )pproaches to -ognition3
Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 1957.
?? Pinker, Stephen. The !anguage 1nstinct0 Fow the ,ind -reates
!anguage3 New ork: William Morrow, 1994.
?@ Piaget, Jean. The Principles of +enetic *pistemology3 New ork:
Basic Books. 1972.
?B Piaget Jean and Inhelder B. The Psychology of the -hild3 New
ork: Basic Books. 1969.
?C Skinner, B.F. Science and Fuman 6ehavior3 New ork:
Macmillan. 1953
?= Skinner, B.F. /erbal 6ehavior3 New ork: Appleton-Century-
CroIts. 1957.
?E Skinner, B.F. The Technology of Teaching3 New ork: Appleton-
Century-CroIts. 1968.
?< Spivey, N.N. The -onstructivist ,etaphor0 8eading# 7riting#
and the ,aking of ,eaning3 San Diego: Academic Press. 1997.
@D Twaddell, Freeman. On Defining the Phoneme3 Language
Monograph Number 166. 1935.
@; Twain, Mark. The 1nnocents )broad3 /olume ;3 New ork:
Harper Brothers. 1869.
@> Vygotsky, Lev S. Thought and !anguage3 Cambridge: MIT Press.
@? Vygotsky, Lev S. ,ind in Society0 The Development of
Figher1978. Psychological Processes3 Cambridge: Harvard University
@@ Nyikos, Martha and Hashimoto, Reiko. Constructivist theory
applied to collaborative learning in teacher education: In search oI PD.
,odern !anguage Aournal E;0 506-517. 1997.
@B imnjaja I.A. Psychology oI teaching Ioreign languages. M.,
2 Theoretical basis of Foreign language teaching
2.1 Theories and types of learning foreign languages
So Iar, in outlining a theory oI second language acquisition, we have
discovered that the cognitive domain oI human behavior is oI key impor-
tance in the acquisition oI both a Iirst and a second language. The processes
oI perceiving, attending, storing, and recalling are central to the task oI
internalizing a language. In this chapter we Iocus speciIically on cognitive
processes by examining the general nature oI human learning. In the Iirst
part oI the chapter, diIIerent learning theories are outlined. Then, we deal
with some other universal learning principles. Finally, some current
thoughts about aptitude and intelligence are presented.
Learning and training
How do human beings learn Are there certain basic principles oI
learning that apply to all learning acts Is one theory oI learning "better"
than another II so, how can you evaluate the useIulness oI a theory These
and other important questions need to be answered in order to achieve an
integrated understanding oI second language acquisition.
BeIore tackling theories oI human learning directly, consider the Iol-
lowing situation as an illustration oI sorting out cognitive considerations in
any task in which you are trying to determine what it means to conclude
that an organism has learned something. Suppose you have decided to train
your somewhat untalented pet dog to catch Irisbees in midair at a distance
oI thirty or more yards. What would you need to know about your dog and
how would you go about the training program
First, you will need to speciIy entry behavior0 what your dog already
"knows." What abilities does it possess upon which you, the trainer, can
build What are its drives, needs, motivations, limitations Next, you need
to Iormulate explicitly the goals oI the task. ou have a general directive;
what are your speciIic objectives How successIully and with what sort oI
"style points" must this dog perIorm In what diIIering environments ou
would also need to devise some methods of training3 Based on what you
know about entry behavior and goals oI the task, how would you go about
the training process Where would you begin Would you start at three
Ieet Place the Irisbee in the dog's mouth Would you use rewards
Punishment What alternatives would you have ready iI the dog Iailed to
learn Finally, you would need some sort oI evaluation procedure3 How
would you determine whether or not the dog had indeed learned what you
set out to teach ou would need to determine short-term and long-term
evaluation measures. II the dog perIorms correctly aIter one day oI training,
what will happen one month later That is, will the dog maintain what it
has learned
Already a somewhat simple task has become quite complex with
questions that require considerable Iorethought and expertise. But we are
talking only about a dog perIorming a simple trick. II we talk about human
beings learning a second language, the task is oI course much, much more
complex. Nevertheless, the questions and procedures that apply to you, the
language teacher, are akin to those that applied to you, the dog trainer. ou
must have a comprehensive knowledge oI the entry behavior oI a person, oI
objectives you wish to reach, oI possible methods that Iollow Irom your
understanding oI the Iirst two Iactors, and oI an evaluation procedure.
These steps derive Irom your conception oI how human beings learn, and
that is what this chapter is all about.
In turning now to varied theories oI how human beings learn, con-
sider once again the deIinition oI learning: "acquiring or getting oI
knowledge oI a subject or a skill by study, experience, or instruction," or "a
relatively permanent change in a behavioral tendency, . . . the result oI
reinIorced practice." When we consider such deIinitions, it is clear that one
can understand learning in many diIIerent ways, which is why there are so
many diIIerent theories, extended deIinitions, and schools oI thought on the
topic oI learning.
We now Iocus on how psychologists have deIined learning, and we
will look at these theories through the eyes oI Iour psychologists, two rep-
resenting a behavioristic viewpoint (Pavlov and Skinner), one representing
a rational/cognitive stance (Ausubel), and one that stretches into what could
be loosely deIined as a constructivist school oI thought (Rogers). The Iour
positions should illustrate not only some oI the history oI learning theory,
but also the diverse perspectives that Iorm the Ioundations oI varying
language teaching approaches and methods.
Pavlov%s classical &ehaviorism
Certainly the best-known classical behaviorist is the Russian
psychologist Ivan Pavlov, who at the turn oI the century conducted a series
oI experiments in which he trained a dog to salivate to the tone oI a tuning
Iork through a procedure that has come to be labeled classical
conditioning. For Pavlov the learning process consisted oI the Iormation oI
associations between stimuli and reIlexive responses. All oI us are aware
that certain stimuli automatically produce or elicit rather speciIic responses
or reIlexes, and we have also observed that sometimes that reIlex occurs in
response to stimuli that appear to be indirectly related to the reIlex. Pavlov
used the salivation response to the sight or smell oI Iood (an unconditioned
response) in many oI his pioneering experiments. In the classical experi-
ment he trained a dog, by repeated occurrences, to associate the sound oI a
tuning Iork with salivation until the dog acquired a conditioned response:
salivation at the sound oI the tuning Iork. A previously neutral stimulus (the
sound oI the tuning Iork) had acquired the power to elicit a response
(salivation) that was originally elicited by another stimulus (the smell oI
Drawing on Pavlov's Iindings, John B.Watson (1913) coined the term
behaviorism. In the empirical tradition oI John Locke, Watson contended
that human behavior should be studied objectively, rejecting mentalistic
notions oI innateness and instinct. He adopted classical conditioning theory
as the explanation Ior all learning: by the process oI conditioning, we build
an array oI stimulus-response connections, and more complex behaviors
are learned by building up series or chains oI responses. Pavlov's and
Watson's emphasis on the study oI overt behavior and rigorous adherence
to the scientiIic method had a tremendous inIluence on learning theories Ior
decades. Language teaching practices likewise Ior many years were
inIluenced by a behavioristic tradition.
'inner%s operant conditioning
In 1938 B.F. Skinner published his 6ehavior of Organisms and in so
doing established himselI as one oI the leading behaviorists in the United
States. He Iollowed the tradition oI Watson, but other psychologists have
called Skinner a neobehaviorist because he added a unique dimension to
behavioristic psychology. The classical conditioning oI Pavlov was,
according to Skinner, a highly specialized Iorm oI learning utilized mainly
by animals and playing little part in human conditioning. Skinner called
Pavlovian conditioning respondent conditioning since it was concerned
with respondent behaviorthat is, behavior that is elicited by a preceding
Skinner's operant conditioning attempted to account Ior most oI
human learning and behavior. Operant behavior is behavior in which one
"operates" on the environment; within this model the importance oI stimuli
is de-emphasized. For example, we cannot identiIy a speciIic stimulus
leading a baby to rise to a standing position or to take a Iirst step; we there-
Iore need not be concerned about that stimulus, but we should be concerned
about the consequencesthe stimuli that Iollow the response. Stressing
Thorndike's Law oI EIIect, Skinner demonstrated the importance oI those
events that Iollow a response. Suppose that another baby accidentally
touches a nearby object and a tinkling bell-sound occurs. The inIant may
look in the direction Irom which the sound came, become curious about it,
and aIter several such "accidental" responses discover exactly which toy it
is that makes the sound and how to produce that sound. The baby operated
on her environment. Her responses were reinIorced until Iinally a particular
concept or behavior was learned.
According to Skinner, the events or stimulithe reinIorcersthat
Iollow a response and that tend to strengthen behavior or increase the
probability oI a recurrence oI that response constitute a powerIul Iorce in
the control oI human behavior. ReinIorcers are Iar stronger aspects oI
learning than is mere association oI a prior stimulus with a Iollowing
response, as in the classical conditioning model. We are governed by the
consequences oI our behavior, and thereIore Skinner Ielt we ought, in
studying human behavior, to study the eIIect oI those consequences. And iI
we wish to control behavior, say, to teach someone something, we ought to
attend careIully to reinIorcers.
Operants are classes oI responses. Crying, sitting down, walking,
and batting a baseball are operants. They are sets oI responses that are
emitted and governed by the consequences they produce. In contrast,
respondents are sets oI responses that are elicited by identiIiable stimuli.
Certain physical reIlex actions are respondents. Crying can be respondent
or operant behavior. Sometimes crying is elicited in direct reaction to a
hurt. OIten, however, it is an emitted response that produces the
consequences oI getting Ied, cuddled, played with, comIorted, and so Iorth.
Such operant crying can be controlled. II parents wait until a child's crying
reaches a certain intensity beIore responding, loud crying is more likely to
appear in the Iuture. II parents ignore crying (when they are certain that it is
operant crying), eventually the absence oI reinIorcers will extinguish the
behavior. Operant crying depends on its eIIect on the parents and is
maintained or changed according to their response to it.
Skinner believed that, in keeping with the above principle, punish-
ment "works to the disadvantage oI both the punished organism and the
punishing agency" (1953). Punishment can be either the withdrawal oI a
positive reinIorcer or the presentation oI an aversive stimulus. More com-
monly we think oI punishment as the lattera spanking, a harsh reprimand
but the removal oI certain positive reinIorcers, such as a privilege, can
also be considered a Iorm oI punishment. Skinner Ielt that in the long run,
punishment does not actually eliminate behavior, but that mild punishment
may be necessary Ior temporary suppression oI an undesired response,
although no punishment oI such a kind should be meted out without
positively reinIorcing alternate responses.
The best method oI extinction, said Skinner, is the absence oI any
reinIorcement; however, the active reinIorcement oI alternative responses
hastens that extinction. So iI a parent wishes the children would not kick a
Iootball in the living room, Skinner would maintain that instead oI pun-
ishing them adversely Ior such behavior when it occurs, the parent should
reIrain Irom any negative reaction and should instead provide positive rein-
Iorcement Ior kicking Iootballs outside; in this way the undesired behavior
will be eIIectively extinguished. Such a procedure is, oI course, easier said
than done, especially iI the children break your best table lamp in the
absence oI any punishment
Skinner was extremely methodical and empirical in his theory oI
learning, to the point oI being preoccupied with scientiIic controls. While
many oI his experiments were perIormed on lower animals, his theories
had an impact on our understanding oI human learning and on education.
His book The Technology of Teaching (1968) was a classic in the Iield oI
programmed instruction. Following Skinner's model, one is led to believe
that virtually any subject matter can be taught eIIectively and successIully
by a careIully designed program oI step-by-step reinIorcement.
Programmed instruction had its impact on Ioreign language teaching,
though language is such complex behavior, penetrating so deeply into both
cognitive and aIIective domains, that programmed instruction in languages
was limited to very specialized subsets oI language.
The impact oI Skinnerian psychology on Ioreign language teaching
extended well beyond programmed instruction. Skinner's /erbal 6ehavior
(1957) described language as a system oI verbal operants, and his under-
standing oI the role oI conditioning led to a whole new era in language
teaching around the middle oI the twentieth century. A Skinnerian view oI
both language and language learning dominated Ioreign language teaching
methodology Ior several decades, leading to a heavy reliance in the class-
room on the controlled practice oI verbal operants under careIully
designed schedules oI reinIorcement. The popular Audiolingual Method
was a prime example oI Skinner's impact on American language teaching
practices in the decades oI the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s.
There is no doubt that behavioristic learning theories have had a
lasting impact on our understanding oI the process oI human learning.
There is much in the theory that is true and valuable. There is another side
to the coin, however. We have looked at the side that claims that human
behavior can be predicted and controlled and scientiIically studied and val-
idated. We have not looked at the side that views human behavior as essen-
tially abstract in nature, as being composed oI such a complex oI variables
that behavior, except in its extreme abnormality, simply cannot be predicted
or easily controlled. We turn next to two representatives oI this side oI the
coinDavid Ausubel's meaningIul learning theory and Carl Rogers's
humanistic psychology.
(usu&el%s meaning#ul learning theory
David Ausubel contended that learning takes place in the human
organism through a meaningIul process oI relating new events or items to
already existing cognitive concepts or propositionshanging new items on
existing cognitive pegs. Meaning is not an implicit response, but a "clearly
articulated and precisely diIIerentiated conscious experience that emerges
when potentially meaningIul signs, symbols, concepts, or propositions are
related to and incorporated within a given individual's cognitive structure
on a nonarbitrary and substantive basis" (Anderson Ausubel 1965). It is
this relatability that, according to Ausubel, accounts Ior a number oI phe-
nomena: the acquisition oI new meanings (knowledge), retention, the psy-
chological organization oI knowledge as a hierarchical structure, and the
eventual occurrence oI Iorgetting.
The cognitive theory oI learning as put Iorth by Ausubel is perhaps
best understood by contrasting rote learning and meaningful learning. In
the perspective oI rote learning, the concept oI meaningIul learning takes
on new signiIicance. Ausubel described rote learning as the process oI
acquiring material as "discrete and relatively isolated entities that are
relatable to cognitive structure only in an arbitrary and verbatim Iashion,
not permitting the establishment oI |meaningIul| relationships" (1968).
That is, rote learning involves the mental storage oI items having little or
no association with existing cognitive structure. Most oI us, Ior example,
can learn a Iew necessary phone numbers and IP codes by rote without
reIerence to cognitive hierarchical organization.
MeaningIul learning, on the other hand, may be described as a
process oI relating and anchoring new material to relevant established
entities in cognitive structure. As new material enters the cognitive Iield, it
interacts with, and is appropriately subsumed under, a more inclusive
conceptual system. The very Iact that material is subsumable, that is,
relatable to stable elements in cognitive structure, accounts Ior its
meaningIulness. II we think oI cognitive structure as a system oI building
blocks, then rote learning is the process oI acquiring isolated blocks with
no particular Iunction in the building oI a structure and no relationship to
other blocks. MeaningIul learning is the process whereby blocks become an
integral part oI already established categories or systematic clusters oI
Any learning situation can be meaningIul iI (a) learners have a mean-
ingIul learning setthat is, a disposition to relate the new learning task to
what they already know, and (b) the learning task itselI is potentially mean-
ingIul to the learnersthat is, relatable to the learners' structure oI knowl-
edge. The second method oI establishing meaningIulnessone that Frank
Smith (1975) called "manuIacturing meaningIulness"is a potentially
powerIul Iactor in human learning. We can make things meaningIul iI nec-
essary and iI we are strongly motivated to do so. Students cramming Ior an
examination oIten invent a mnemonic device Ior remembering a list oI
items; the meaningIul retention oI the device successIully retrieves the
whole list oI items.
Frank Smith (1975) also noted that similar strategies can be used in
parlor games in which, Ior example, you are called upon to remember Ior a
Iew moments several items presented to you. By associating items either in
groups or with some external stimuli, retention is enhanced. Imagine
"putting" each object in a diIIerent location on your person: a saIety pin in
your pocket, a toothpick in your mouth, a marble in your shoe. By later
"taking a tour around your person," you can "Ieel" the objects there in your
imagination. More than a century ago William James (1890) described
meaningIul learning:
1n mental terms# the more other facts a fact is associated with in the
mind# the better possession of it our memory retains3 *ach of its associates
becomes a hook to which it hangs# a means to fish it up by when sunk
beneath the surface3 Together# they form a network of attachments by which
it is woven into the entire issue of our thought3 The $secret of good
memory$ is thus the secret of forming diverse and multiple associations
with every fact we care to retain3333 6riefly# then# of two men 9sic: with the
same outward e4periences and the same amount of mere native tenacity#
the one who thinks over his e4periences most# and weaves them into
systematic relation with each other# will be the one with the best memory3
The distinction between rote and meaningIul learning may not at Iirst
appear to be important since in either case material can be learned. But the
signiIicance oI the distinction becomes clear when we consider the relative
eIIiciency oI the two kinds oI learning in terms oI retention, or long-term
memory. We are oIten tempted to examine learning Irom the perspective oI
input alone, Iailing to consider the uselessness oI a learned item that is not
retained. Human beings are capable oI learning almost any given item
within the so-called "magic seven, plus or minus two" units Ior perhaps a
Iew seconds, but long-term memory is a diIIerent matter. We can remember
an unIamiliar phone number, Ior example, long enough to dial the number,
aIter which point it is usually extinguished by interIering Iactors. But a
meaningIully learned, subsumed item has Iar greater potential Ior retention.
Try, Ior example, to recall all your previous phone numbers (assuming you
have moved a number oI times in your liIe). It is doubtIul you will be very
successIul; a phone number is quite arbitrary, bearing little meaningIul
relationship to reality (other than perhaps area codes and other such
numerical systematization). But previous street addresses, Ior example, are
sometimes more eIIiciently retained since they bear some meaningIul
relationship to the reality oI physical images, directions, streets, houses,
and the rest oI the town, and are thereIore more suitable Ior long-term
retention without concerted reinIorcement.
Systematic 'orgetting
Ausubel provided a plausible explanation Ior the universal nature oI
Iorgetting. Since rotely learned materials do not interact with cognitive
structure in a substantive Iashion, they are learned in conIormity with the
laws oI association, and their retention is inIluenced primarily by the
interIering eIIects oI similar rote materials learned immediately beIore or
aIter the learning task (commonly reIerred to as proactive and retroactive
inhibition). In the case oI meaningIully learned material, retention is inIlu-
enced primarily by the properties oI "relevant and cumulatively established
ideational systems in cognitive structure with which the learning task
interacts" (Ausubel 1968). Compared to this kind oI extended interaction,
concurrent interIering eIIects have relatively little inIluence on meaningIul
learning, and retention is highly eIIicient. Hence, addresses are retained as
part oI a meaningIul set, while phone numbers, being selI-contained,
isolated entities, are easily Iorgotten.
We cannot say, oI course, that meaningIully learned material is never
Iorgotten. But in the case oI such learning, Iorgetting takes place in a much
more intentional and purposeIul manner because it is a continuation oI the
very process oI subsumption by which one learns; Iorgetting is really a
second or "obliterative" stage oI subsumption, characterized as "memorial
reduction to the least common denominator" (Ausubel 1963). Because it is
more economical and less burdensome to retain a single inclusive concept
than to remember a large number oI more speciIic items, the importance oI
a speciIic item tends to be incorporated into the generalized meaning oI the
larger item. In this obliterative stage oI subsumption, the speciIic items
become progressively less identiIiable as entities in their own right until
they are Iinally no longer available and are said to be Iorgotten (Table-2.1).
It is this second stage oI subsumption that operates through what we
have called "cognitive pruning" procedures (Brown 1972). Pruning is the
elimination oI unnecessary clutter and a clearing oI the way Ior more mate-
rial to enter the cognitive Iield, in the same way that pruning a tree ulti -
mately allows greater and Iuller growth. Using the building-block analogy,
one might say that, at the outset, a structure made oI blocks is seen as a Iew
individual blocks, but as "nucleation" begins to give the structure a per-
ceived shape, some oI the single blocks achieve less and less identity in
their own right and become subsumed into the larger structure. Finally, the
single blocks are lost to perception, or pruned out, to use the metaphor, and
the total structure is perceived as a single whole without clearly deIined
Table 2.1 - Theories oI learning
Classical Operant
elicited response
governed by
emitted response
R S (reward)
no punishment
rote weak
Iully Iunctioning
learn how to learn
community oI
Note: S stimulus, R response-reward
An example oI such pruning may be Iound in a child's learning oI the
concept oI "hot"that is, excessive heat capable oI burning. A small child's
Iirst exposure to such heat may be either direct contact with or verbally
mediated exposure to hot coIIee, a pan oI boiling water, a stove, an iron, a
candle. That Iirst exposure may be readily recalled Ior some time as the
child maintains a meaningIul association between a parent's hot coIIee and
hurting. AIter a number oI exposures to things that are very hot, the child
begins to Iorm a concept oI "h otness" by clustering experiences together
and Iorming a generalization. In so doing the bits and pieces oI experience
that actually built the concept are slowly Iorgottenpruned in Iavor oI
the general concept that, in the years that Iollow, enables the child to
extrapolate to Iuture experiences and to avoid burning Iingers on hot
An important aspect oI the pruning stage oI learning is that
subsumptive Iorgetting, or pruning, is not haphazard or chanceit is
systematic. Thus by promoting optimal pruning procedures, we have a
potential learning situation that will produce retention beyond that normally
expected under more traditional theories oI Iorgetting.
Research on language attrition has Iocused on a variety oI possible
causes Ior the loss oI second language skills. Some oI the more common
reasons center on the strength and conditions oI initial learning, on the kind
oI use that a second language has been put to, and on the motivational
Iactors contributing to Iorgetting. Robert Gardner (1982) contended that in
some contexts a lack oI an "integrative" orientation toward the target
culture could contribute to Iorgetting.
Native language Iorgetting occurs in some cases oI subtractive
bilingualism (members oI a minority group learn the language oI the
majority group, and the latter group downgrades speakers oI the minority
language). Some researchers have suggested that "neurolinguistic blocking"
and leIt-/right-brain Iunctioning could contribute to Iorgetting (Obler
1982). And it appears that long-term Iorgetting can apply to certain
linguistic Ieatures (lexical, phonological, syntactic, and so on) and not to
others (Andersen 1982). Finally, Olshtain (1989) suggested that some
aspects oI attrition can be explained as a reversal oI the acquisition process.
Research on language attrition usually Iocuses on long-term loss and
not on those minute-by-minute or day-by-day losses oI material that
learners experience as they cope with large quantities oI new material in the
course oI a semester or year oI classroom language learning. It is this
classroom context that poses the more immediate problem Ior the language
teacher. Ausubel's solution to that problem would lie in the initial learning
process: systematic, meaningIul subsumption oI material at the outset in
order to enhance the retention process.
Ausubel's theory oI learning has important implications Ior second
language learning and teaching. The importance oI meaning in language
and oI meaningIul contexts Ior linguistic communication has been dis-
cussed in the Iirst three chapters. Too much rote activity, at the expense oI
meaningIul communication in language classes, could stiIle the learning
Subsumption theory provides a strong theoretical basis Ior the rejec-
tion oI conditioning models oI practice and repetition in language teaching.
In a meaningIul process like second language learning, mindless repetition,
imitation, and other rote practices in the language classroom have no place.
The Audiolingual Method, which emerged as a widely used and accepted
method oI Ioreign language teaching, was based almost exclusively on a
behavioristic theory oI conditioning that relied heavily on rote learning.
The mechanical "stamping in" oI the language through saturation with little
reIerence to meaning is seriously challenged by subsumption theory. Rote
learning can be eIIective on a short-term basis, but Ior any long-term
retention it Iails because oI the tremendous buildup oI interIerence. In those
cases in which eIIicient long-term retention is attained in rote-learning
situations like those oIten Iound in the Audiolingual Method, maybe by
sheer dogged determination, the learner has somehow subsumed the
material meaningIully in spite oI the method
The notion that Iorgetting is systematic also has important implica-
tions Ior language learning and teaching. In the early stages oI language
learning, certain devices (deIinitions, paradigms, illustrations, or rules) are
oIten used to Iacilitate subsumption. These devices can be made initially
meaningIul by assigning or "manuIacturing" meaningIulness. But in the
process oI making language automatic, the devices serve only as interim
entities, meaningIul at a low level oI subsumption, and then they are sys-
tematically pruned out at later stages oI language learning. We might thus
better achieve the goal oI communicative competence by removing unnec-
essary barriers to automaticity. A deIinition or a paraphrase, Ior example,
might be initially Iacilitative, but as its need is minimized by larger and
more global conceptualizations, it is pruned.
While we are all Iully aware oI the decreasing dependence upon such
devices in language learning, Ausubel's theory oI learning may help to give
explanatory adequacy to the notion. Language teachers might consider
urging students to "Iorget" these interim, mechanical items as they make
progress in a language and instead to Iocus more on the communicative use
(comprehension or production) oI language.
)oger%s humanistic psychology
Carl Rogers is not traditionally thought oI as a "learning"
psychologist, yet he and his colleagues and Iollowers have had a signiIicant
impact on our present understanding oI learning, particularly learning in an
educational or pedagogical context. Rogers's humanistic psychology has
more oI an aIIective Iocus than a cognitive one, and so it may be said to Iall
into the perspective oI a constructivist view oI learning. Certainly, Rogers
and Vygotsky (1978) share some views in common in their highlighting oI
the social and interactive nature oI learning.
Rogers devoted most oI his proIessional liIe to clinical work in an
attempt to be oI therapeutic help to individuals. In his classic work -lient&
-entered Therapy (1951), Rogers careIully analyzed human behavior in
general, including the learning process, by means oI the presentation oI
nineteen Iormal principles oI human behavior. All nineteen principles were
concerned with learning Irom a "phenomenological" perspective, a
perspective that is in sharp contrast to that oI Skinner. Rogers studied the
"whole person" as a physical and cognitive, but primarily emotional, being.
His Iormal principles Iocused on the development oI an individual's selI-
concept and oI his or her personal sense oI reality, those internal Iorces that
cause a person to act. Rogers Ielt that inherent in principles oI behavior is
the ability oI human beings to adapt and to grow in the direction that
enhances their existence. Given a nonthreatening environment, a person
will Iorm a picture oI reality that is indeed congruent with reality and will
grow and learn. "Fully Iunctioning persons," according to Rogers, live at
peace with all oI their Ieelings and reactions; they are able to reach their
Iull potential.
Rogers's position has important implications Ior education . The
Iocus is away Irom "teaching" and toward "learning." The goal oI
education is the Iacilitation oI change and learning. Learning how to learn
is more important than being taught something Irom the "superior" vantage
point oI a teacher who unilaterally decides what shall be taught. Many oI
our present systems oI education, in prescribing curricular goals and
dictating what shall be learned, deny persons both Ireedom and dignity.
What is needed, according to Rogers, is Ior teachers to become Iacilitators
oI learning through the establishment oI interpersonal relationships with
learners. Teachers, to be Iacilitators, must Iirst be real and genuine,
discarding masks oI superiority and omniscience. Second, teachers need to
have genuine trust, acceptance, and a prizing oI the other personthe
studentas a worthy, valuable individual. And third, teachers need to
communicate openly and empathetically with their students and vice versa.
Teachers with these characteristics will not only understand themselves
better but will also be eIIective teachers, who, having set the optimal stage
and context Ior learning, will succeed in the goals oI education.
We can see in Carl Rogers's humanism quite a departure Irom the
scientiIic analysis oI Skinnerian psychology and even Irom Ausubel's
rationalistic theory. Rogers is not as concerned about the actual cognitive
process oI learning because, he Ieels, iI the context Ior learning is properly
created, then human beings will, in Iact, learn everything they need to.
Rogers's theory is not without its Ilaws. The educator may be
tempted to take the nondirective approach too Iar, to the point that valuable
time is lost in the process oI allowing students to "discover" Iacts and
principles Ior themselves. Also, a nonthreatening environment might
become so non-threatening that the Iacilitative tension needed Ior learning
is absent. There is ample research documenting the positive eIIects oI
competitiveness in a classroom, as long as that competitiveness does not
damage selI-esteem and hinder motivation to learn.
One much talked-about educational theorist in the Rogersian
tradition is the well-known Brazilian educator Paolo Freire, whose seminal
work, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1970), has inspired many a teacher to
consider the importance oI the empowerment oI students in classrooms.
Freire vigorously objected to traditional "banking" concepts oI education in
which teachers think oI their task as one oI "Iilling" students "by making
deposits oI inIormation which |they| consider to constitute true knowledge
deposits which are detached Irom reality" (1970). Instead, Freire has
continued to argue, students should be allowed to negotiate learning out-
comes, to cooperate with teachers and other learners in a process oI dis-
covery, to engage in critical thinking, and to relate everything they do in
school to their reality outside the classroom. While such "liberationist"
views oI education must be approached with some caution (Clarke 1990),
learners may nevertheless be empowered to achieve solutions to real prob-
lems in the real world.
The work oI Rogers (1983), Freire (1970), and other educators oI a
similar Irame oI mind has contributed signiIicantly in recent years to a
redeIinition oI the educational process. In adapting Rogers's ideas to lan-
guage teaching and learning, we need to see to it that learners understand
themselves and communicate this selI to others Ireely and nondeIensively.
Teachers as Iacilitators must thereIore provide the nurturing context Ior
learners to construct their meanings in interaction with others. When
teachers rather programmatically Ieed students quantities oI knowledge,
which they subsequently devour, they may Ioster a climate oI defensive
learning in which learners try to protect themselves Irom Iailure, Irom
criticism, Irom competition with Iellow students, and possibly Irom pun-
ishment. Classroom activities and materials in language learning should
thereIore utilize meaningIul contexts oI genuine communication with stu-
dents engaged together in the process oI becoming "persons."
"ypes o# learning
Theories oI learning oI course do not capture all oI the possible
elements oI general principles oI human learning. In addition to the Iour
learning theories just considered are various taxonomies oI types oI human
learning and other mental processes universal to all. The educational
psychologist Robert Gagne, Ior example, ably demonstrated the importance
oI identiIying a number oI types oI learning that all human beings use.
Types oI learning vary according to the context and subject matter to be
learned, but a complex task such as language learning involves every one
oI Gagne's types oI learningIrom simple signal learning to problem
solving. Gagne identiIied eight types oI learning:
1. Signal learning. The individual learns to make a general diIIuse
response to a signal. This is the classical conditioned response oI Pavlov.
2. Stimulus-response learning. The learner acquires a precise
response to a discriminated stimulus. What is learned is a connection or, in
Skinnerian terms, a discriminated operant, sometimes called an
instrumental response.
3. Chaining. What is acquired is a chain oI two or more stimulus-
response connections. The conditions Ior such learning have also been
described by Skinner.
4. Verbal association. Verbal association is the learning oI chains
that are verbal. Basically, the conditions resemble those Ior other (motor)
chains. However, the presence oI language in the human being makes this a
special type oI chaining because internal links may be selected Irom the
individual's previously learned repertoire oI language.
5. Multiple discrimination. The individual learns to make a number
oI diIIerent identiIying responses to many diIIerent stimuli, which may
resemble each other in physical appearance to a greater or lesser degree.
Although the learning oI each stimulus-response connection is a simple
occurrence, the connections tend to interIere with one another.
6. Concept learning. The learner acquires the ability to make a
common response to a class oI stimuli even though the individual members
oI that class may diIIer widely Irom each other. The learner is able to make
a response that identiIies an entire class oI objects or events.
7. Principle learning. In simplest terms, a principle is a chain oI two
or more concepts. It Iunctions to organize behavior and experience. In
Ausubel's terminology, a principle is a "subsumer"a cluster oI related
8. Problem solving. Problem solving is a kind oI learning that
requires the internal events usually reIerred to as "thinking." Previously
acquired concepts and principles are combined in a conscious Iocus on an
unresolved or ambiguous set oI events.
It is apparent Irom just a cursory deIinition oI these eight types oI
learning that some types are better explained by certain theories than
others. For example, the Iirst Iive types seem to Iit easily into a
behavioristic Iramework, while the last three are better explained by
Ausubel's or Rogers's theories oI learning. Since all eight types oI learning
are relevant to second language learning, the implication is that certain
"lower"-level aspects oI second language learning may be more adequately
treated by behavioristic approaches and methods, while certain "higher"-
order types oI learning are more eIIectively taught by methods derived
Irom a cognitive approach to learning.
The second language learning process can be Iurther eIIiciently cate-
gorized and sequenced in cognitive terms by means oI the eight types oI
1. Signal learning in general occurs in the total language process:
human beings make a general response oI some kind (emotional, cognitive,
verbal, or nonverbal) to language.
2. Stimulus-response learning is evident in the acquisition oI the
sound system oI a Ioreign language in which, through a process oI
conditioning and trial and error, the learner makes closer and closer
approximations to native-like pronunciation. Simple lexical items are, in
one sense, acquired by stimulus-response connections; in another sense
they are related to higher-order types oI learning.
3. Chaining is evident in the acquisition oI phonological sequences
and syntactic patternsthe stringing together oI several responses
although we should not be misled into believing that verbal chains are
necessarily linear. Generative linguists have wisely shown that sentence
structure is hierarchical.
4. The Iourth type oI learning involves Gagne's distinction between
verbal and nonverbal chains, and is not really thereIore a separate type oI
language learning.
5. Multiple discriminations are necessary particularly in second lan-
guage learning where, Ior example, a word has to take on several meanings,
or a rule in the native language is reshaped to Iit a second language context.
6. Concept learning includes the notion that language and cognition
are inextricably interrelated, also that rules themselvesrules oI syntax,
rules oI conversationare linguistic concepts that have to be acquired.
7. Principle learning is the extension oI concept learning to the Ior-
mation oI a linguistic system, in which rules are not isolated in rote
memory, but conjoined and subsumed in a total system.
8. Finally, problem solving is clearly evident in second language
learning as the learner is continually Iaced with sets oI events that are truly
problems to be solvedproblems every bit as diIIicult as algebra problems
or other "intellectual" problems. Solutions to the problems involve the
creative interaction oI all eight types oI learning as the learner siIts and
weighs previous inIormation and knowledge in order to correctly deter-
mine the meaning oI a word, the interpretation oI an utterance, the rule that
governs a common class oI linguistic items, or a conversationally appro-
priate response.
It is not diIIicult, upon some reIlection, to discern the importance oI
varied types oI learning in the second language acquisition process.
Teachers and researchers have all too oIten dismissed certain theories oI
learning as irrelevant or useless because oI the misperception that language
learning consists oI only one type oI learning. "Language is concept
learning," say some; "Language is a conditioning process," say others. Both
are correct in that part oI language learning consists oI each oI the above.
But both are incorrect to assume that all oI language learning can be so
simply classiIied. Methods oI teaching, in recognizing diIIerent levels oI
learning, need to be consonant with whichever aspect oI language is being
taught at a particular time while also recognizing the interrelatedness oI all
levels oI language learning.
"rans#er* inter#erence and overgenerali+ation
Human beings approach any new problem with an existing set oI
cognitive structures and, through insight, logical thinking, and various
Iorms oI hypothesis testing, call upon whatever prior experiences they have
had and whatever cognitive structures they possess to attempt a solution. In
the literature on language learning processes, three terms have commonly
been singled out Ior explication: transIer, interIerence, and
overgeneralization. The three terms are sometimes mistakenly considered
to represent separate processes; they are more correctly understood as
several maniIestations oI one principle oI learningthe interaction oI
previously learned material with a present learning event. From the
beginning oI liIe the human organism, or any organism Ior that matter,
builds a structure oI knowledge by the accumulation oI experiences and by
the storage oI aspects oI those experiences in memory. Let us consider
these common terms in two associated pairs.
Transfer is a general term describing the carryover oI previous per-
Iormance or knowledge to subsequent learning. Positive transIer occurs
when the prior knowledge beneIits the learning taskthat is, when a pre-
vious item is correctly applied to present subject matter. Negative transIer
occurs when previous perIormance disrupts the perIormance oI a second
task. The latter can be reIerred to as interference, in that previously
learned material interIeres with subsequent materiala previous item is
incorrectly transIerred or incorrectly associated with an item to be learned.
It has been common in second language teaching to stress the role oI
interIerencethat is, the interIering eIIects oI the native language on the
target (the second) language. It is oI course not surprising that this process
has been so singled out, Ior native language interIerence is surely the most
immediately noticeable source oI error among second language learners.
The saliency oI interIerence has been so strong that some have viewed
second language learning as exclusively involving the overcoming oI the
eIIects oI the native language. It is clear Irom learning theory that a person
will use whatever previous experience he or she has had with language to
Iacilitate the second language learning process. The native language is an
obvious set oI prior experiences. Sometimes the native language is nega-
tively transIerred, and we say then that interIerence has occurred.
It is exceedingly important to remember, however, that the native
language oI a second language learner is oIten positively transIerred, in
which case the learner beneIits Irom the Iacilitating eIIects oI the Iirst
language. In the above sentence, Ior example, the correct one-to-one word
order correspondence, the personal pronoun, and the preposition have been
positively transIerred Irom French to English. We oIten mistakenly
overlook the Iacilitating eIIects oI the native language in our penchant Ior
analyzing errors in the second language and Ior overstressing the
interIering eIIects oI the Iirst language.
In the literature on second language acquisition, interIerence is
almost as Irequent a term as overgeneralization, which is, oI course, a
particular subset oI generalization. Generalization is a crucially important
and pervading strategy in human learning. To generalize means to inIer or
derive a law, rule, or conclusion, usually Irom the observation oI particular
instances. The principle oI generalization can be explained by Ausubel's
concept oI meaningIul learning. MeaningIul learning is, in Iact, generaliza-
tion: items are subsumed (generalized) under higher-order categories Ior
meaningIul retention. Much oI human learning involves generalization. The
learning oI concepts in early childhood is a process oI generalizing. A child
who has been exposed to various kinds oI animals gradually acquires a
generalized concept oI "animal." That same child, however, at an early
stage oI generalization, might in his or her Iamiliarity with dogs see a horse
Ior the Iirst time and overgeneralize the concept oI "dog" and call the horse
a dog. Similarly, a number oI animals might be placed into a category oI
"dog" until the general attributes oI a larger category, "animal," have been
In second language acquisition it has been common to reIer to over-
generalization as a process that occurs as the second language learner acts
within the target language, generalizing a particular rule or item in the
second languageirrespective oI the native languagebeyond legitimate
bounds. We have already observed that children, at a particular stage oI
learning English as a native language, overgeneralize regular past-tense
endings (walked, opened) as applicable to all past-tense Iorms (goed, Ilied)
until they recognize a subset oI verbs that belong in an "irregular" category.
AIter gaining some exposure and Iamiliarity with the second language,
second language learners similarly will overgeneralize within the target
language. Typical examples in learning English as a second language are
past-tense regularization and utterances like "John doesn't can study"
(negativization requires insertion oI the do auxiliary beIore verbs) or "He
told me when should I get oII the train" (indirect discourse requires normal
word order, not question word order, aIter the wh& word). Unaware that
these rules have special constraints, the learner overgeneralizes. Such over-
generalization is committed by learners oI English Irom almost any native
language background.
Many have been lead to believe that there are only two processes oI
second language acquisition: interIerence and overgeneralization. This is
obviously a misconception. First, interIerence and overgeneralization are
negative counterparts oI the Iacilitating processes oI transIer and
generalization. (Illustration - 2.1).
Illustration 2.1 - TransIer, overgeneralization and interIerence.
Second, while they are indeed aspects oI somewhat diIIerent
processes, they are represent Iundamentals and interrelated components oI
all human learning, and when applied to SLA are simply extensions oI
general psychological principles. InterIerence oI the Iirst language is
simply a Iorm oI generalizing that takes prior the Iirst language experience
and applies them incorrectly. Overgeneralization is an incorrect application
negative transIer oI previously learned second language material to a
present second language context. All generalizing involves transIer and all
transIer involves generalizing.
,nductive and deductive reasoning
Inductive and deductive reasoning are two polar aspects oI the
generalization process. In the case oI inductive reasoning, one stores a
number oI speciIic instances and induces a general law or rule or
conclusion that governs or subsumes the speciIic instances. Deductive
reasoning is a movement Irom a generalization to speciIic instances:
speciIic subsumed Iacts are inIerred or deduced Irom a general principle.
Second language learning in the "Iield" (natural, untutored language
learning), as well as Iirst language learning, involves a largely inductive
process, in which learners must inIer certain rules and meanings Irom all
the data around them.
Classroom learning tends to rely more than it should on deductive rea-
soning. Traditionalespecially Grammar Translationmethods have
overemphasized the use oI deductive reasoning in language teaching. While
it may be appropriate at times to articulate a rule and then proceed to its
instances, most oI the evidence in communicative second language learning
points to the superiority oI an inductive approach to rules and
generalizations. However, both inductively and deductively oriented
teaching methods can be eIIective, depending on the goals and contexts oI
a particular language teaching situation.
An interesting extension oI the inductive/deductive dichotomy was
reported in Peters's (1981) case study oI a child learning a Iirst language.
Peters pointed out that we are inclined, too oIten, to assume that a child's
linguistic development proceeds Irom the parts to the whole, that is, chil-
dren Iirst learn sounds, then words, then sentences, and so Iorth. However,
Peters's subject maniIested a number oI "Gestalt" characteristics, per-
ceiving the whole beIore the parts. The subject demonstrated the perception
oI these wholes in the Iorm oI intonation patterns that appeared in his
speech well beIore the particular words that would make up sentences.
Peters cited other evidence oI Gestalt learning in children and concluded
that such "sentence learners" (versus "word learners") may be more
common than researchers had previously assumed.
The implications oI Peters's study Ior second language teaching are
rather tantalizing. We should perhaps pay close attention to learners' pro-
duction oI overall, meaning-bearing intonation patterns. Wong (1986) capi-
talizes on just such a concept in a discussion oI teaching communicative
oral production.
(ptitude and ,ntelligence
The learning theories, types oI learning, and other processes that have
so Iar been explained in this chapter deal with mental perception, storage,
and recall. Little has been said about two related and somewhat
controversial issues in learning psychology: aptitude and intelligence. In
brieI, the questions are:
- Is there such a thing as Ioreign language aptitude II so, what are its
properties Can they be reliably measured Are aptitudinal Iactors
predictive oI success in learning a Ioreign language
- What is intelligence How is intelligence deIined in terms oI the
Ioreign language learning process What kinds oI intelligence are related to
Ioreign language learning
Do certain people have a "knack" Ior learning Ioreign languages
Anecdotal evidence would suggest that, Ior a variety oI causal Iactors,
some people are indeed able to learn languages Iaster and more eIIiciently
than others. One perspective oI looking at such aptitude is the identiIication
oI a number oI characteristics oI successIul language learners. Risk-taking
behavior, memory eIIiciency, intelligent guessing, and ambiguity tolerance
are but a Iew oI the many variables that have been cited.
A more traditional way oI examining what we mean by aptitude is
through a historical progression oI research that began around the middle oI
the twentieth century with John Carroll's (Carroll Sapon 1958) con-
struction oI the Modern Language Aptitude Test (MLAT). The MLAT
required prospective language learners (beIore they began to learn a Ioreign
language) to perIorm such tasks as learning numbers, listening, detecting
spelling clues and grammatical patterns, and memorizing, all either in the
native language, English, or utilizing words and morphemes Irom a
constructed, hypothetical language. The MLAT was considered to be
independent oI a speciIic Ioreign language, and thereIore predictive oI suc-
cess in the learning oI any language. This test, along with another similar
one, the Pimsleur Language Aptitude Battery (PLAB) (Pimsleur 1966), was
used Ior some time in such contexts as Peace Corps volunteer training pro-
grams to help predict successIul language learners.
In the decade or so Iollowing their publication, these two aptitude tests
were quite well received by Ioreign language teachers and administrators.
Since then, their popularity has steadily waned, with Iew attempts to
experiment with alternative measures oI language aptitude (Skehan 1998;
Parry Child 1990). Two Iactors account Ior this decline. First, even
though the MLAT and the PLAB claimed to measure language aptitude, it
soon became apparent that they simply reIlected the general intelligence or
academic ability oI a student. At best, they measured ability to perIorm
Iocused, analytical, conte4t&reduced activities that occupy a student in a
traditional language classroom. They hardly even began to tap into the
kinds oI learning strategies and styles that recent research (Cohen 1998;
Reid 1995; Ehrman 1990; OxIord 1990b, 1996, Ior example) has shown to
be crucial in the acquisition oI communicative competence in conte4t&
embedded situations. As we will see in the next chapter, learners can be
successIul Ior a multitude oI reasons, many oI which are much more related
to motivation and determination than to so-called "native" abilities (Lett
O'Mara 1990).
Second, how is one to interpret a language aptitude test Rarely does
an institution have the luxury or capability to test people beIore they take a
Ioreign language in order to counsel certain people out oI their decision to
do so. And in cases where an aptitude test might be administered, such a
test clearly biases both student and teacher. Both are led to believe that they
will be successIul or unsuccessIul, depending on the aptitude test score, and
a selI-IulIilling prophecy is likely to occur. It is better Ior teachers to be
optimistic Ior students, and in the early stages oI a student's process oI
language learning, to monitor styles and strategies careIully, leading the
student toward strategies that will aid in the process oI learning and away
Irom those blocking Iactors that will hinder the process.
Only a Iew isolated recent eIIorts have continued to address Ioreign
language aptitude and success (Harley Hart 1997; Sasaki 1993a, 1993b,
Ior example). Skehan's (1998) bold attempts to pursue the construct oI
aptitude have exposed some oI the weaknesses oI aptitude constructs, but
unIortunately have not yielded a coherent theory oI language aptitude. So
today the search Ior veriIiable Iactors that make up aptitude, or "knack," is
headed in the direction oI a broader spectrum oI learner characteristics.
Some oI those characteristics Iall into the question oI intelligence and Ior-
eign language learning. How does general cognitive ability intersect with
successIul language learning
Intelligence has traditionally been deIined and measured in terms oI
linguistic and logical-mathematical abilities. Our notion oI IQ (intelligence
quotient) is based on several generations oI testing oI these two domains,
stemming Irom the research oI AlIred Binet early in the twentieth century.
Success in educational institutions and in liIe in general seems to be a cor-
relate oI high IQ. In terms oI Ausubel's meaningIul learning model, high
intelligence would no doubt imply a very eIIicient process oI storing items
that are particularly useIul in building conceptual hierarchies and system-
atically pruning those that are not useIul. Other cognitive psychologists
have dealt in a much more sophisticated way with memory processing and
recall systems.
In relating intelligence to second language learning, can we say
simply that a "smart" person will be capable oI learning a second language
more successIully because oI greater intelligence AIter all, the greatest
barrier to second language learning seems to boil down to a matter oI
memory, in the sense that iI you could just remember everything you were
ever taught, or you ever heard, you would be a very successIul language
learner. Or would you It appears that our "language learning IQs" are
much more complicated than that.
Howard Gardner (1983) advanced a controversial theory oI intelli-
gence that blew apart our traditional thoughts about IQ. Gardner described
seven diIIerent Iorms oI knowing which, in his view, provide a much more
comprehensive picture oI intelligence. Beyond the usual two Iorms oI
intelligence (listed as 1 and 2 below), he added Iive more:
1) linguistic;
2) logical-mathematical;
3) spatial (the ability to Iind one's way around an environment, to
Iorm mental images oI reality, and to transIorm them readily);
4) musical (the ability to perceive and create pitch and rhythmic pat-
5) bodily-kinesthetic (Iine motor movement, athletic prowess);
6) interpersonal (the ability to understand others, how they Ieel, what
motivates them, how they interact with one another);
7) intrapersonal intelligence (the ability to see oneselI, to develop a
sense oI selI-identity).
Gardner maintained that by looking only at the Iirst two categories we
rule out a great number oI the human being's mental abilities; we see only a
portion oI the total capacity oI the human mind. Moreover, he showed that
our traditional deIinitions oI intelligence are culture-bound. The "sixth-
sense" oI a hunter in New Guinea or the navigational abilities oI a sailor in
Micronesia are not accounted Ior in our Westernized deIinitions oI IQ.
In a likewise revolutionary style, R. Sternberg has also been shaking
up the world oI traditional intelligence measurement. In his "triarchic" view
oI intelligence, Sternberg proposed three types oI "smartness"(illustration
Illustration 2.2 - Three types oI smartness by Robert Stenberg
Sternberg contended that too much oI psychometric theory is obsessed
with mental speed, and thereIore dedicated his research to tests that
measure insight, real-liIe problem solving, "common sense," getting a
wider picture oI things, and other practical tasks that are closely related to
success in the real world.
Finally, in another eIIort to remind us oI the bias oI traditional deIini-
tions and tests oI intelligence, Daniel Goleman's *motional 1ntelligence
(1995) is persuasive in placing emotion at the seat oI intellectual Iunc-
tioning. The management oI even a handIul oI core emotionsanger, Iear,
enjoyment, love, disgust, shame, and othersdrives and controls eIIicient
mental or cognitive processing. Even more to the point, Goleman argued
that "the emotional mind is Iar quicker than the rational mind, springing
into action without even pausing to consider what it is doing. Its quickness
precludes the deliberate, analytic reIlection that is the hallmark oI the
thinking mind" (Goleman 1995). Gardner's sixth and seventh types oI
intelligence (inter- and intrapersonal) are oI course laden with emotional
processing, but Goleman would place emotion at the highest level oI a hier-
archy oI human abilities.
By expanding constructs oI intelligence as Gardner, Sternberg, and
Goleman have done, we can more easily discern a relationship between
intelligence and second language learning. In its traditional deIinition,
intelligence may have little to do with one's success as a second language
learner: people within a wide range oI IQs have proven to be successIul in
acquiring a second language. But Gardner attaches other important attri-
butes to the notion oI intelligence, attributes that could be crucial to second
language success. Musical intelligence could explain the relative ease that
some learners have in perceiving and producing the intonation patterns oI a
language. Bodily-kinesthetic modes have already been discussed in
connection with the learning oI the phonology oI a language.
Interpersonal intelligence is oI obvious importance in the
communicative process. Intrapersonal Iactors will be discussed in detail in
Chapter 6 oI this book. One might even be able to speculate on the extent
to which spatial intelligence, especially a "sense oI direction," may assist
the second culture learner in growing comIortable in a new environment.
Sternberg's experiential and contextual abilities cast Iurther light on the
components oI the "knack" that some people have Ior quick, eIIicient,
unabashed language acquisition. Finally, the EQ (emotional quotient)
suggested by Goleman may be Iar more important than any other Iactor in
accounting Ior second language success both in classrooms and in
untutored contexts.
Educational institutions have recently been applying Gardner's seven
intelligences to a multitude oI school-oriented learning. Thomas Armstrong
(1993, 1994), Ior example, has Iocused teachers and learners on "seven
ways oI being smart," and helped educators to see that linguistics and
logical-mathematical intelligences are not the only pathways to success in
the real world. A high IQ in the traditional sense may garner high scholastic
test scores, but may not indicate success in business, marketing, art,
communications, counseling, or teaching.
Quite some time ago, Oiler suggested, in an eloquent essay, that intel-
ligence may aIter all be language-based. "Language may not be merely a
vital link in the social side oI intellectual development, it may be the very
Ioundation oI intelligence itselI" (1981a). According to Oiler, arguments
Irom genetics and neurology suggest "a deep relationship, perhaps even an
identity, between intelligence and language ability". The implications oI
Oiler's hypothesis Ior second language learning are enticing. Both Iirst and
second languages must be closely tied to meaning in its deepest sense.
EIIective second language learning thus links surIace Iorms oI a language
with meaningIul experiences, as we have already noted in Ausubel's
learning theory. The strength oI that link may indeed be a Iactor oI
intelligence in a multiple number oI ways.
We have much to gain Irom the understanding oI learning principles
that have been presented here, and oI the various ways oI understanding
what intelligence is. Some aspects oI language learning may call upon a
conditioning process; other aspects require a meaningIul cognitive process;
others depend upon the security oI supportive co-learners interacting Ireely
and willingly with one another; still others are related to one's total
intellectual structure. Each aspect is important, but there is no consistent
amalgamation oI theory that works Ior every context oI second language
learning. Each teacher has to adopt a somewhat intuitive process oI
discerning the best synthesis oI theory Ior an enlightened analysis oI the
particular context at hand. That intuition will be nurtured by an integrated
understanding oI the appropriateness and oI the strengths and weaknesses
oI each theory oI learning.
Glossary & New Concepts
) skill
is acquiring new knowledge, behaviors,
skills, values, or preIerences and may involve
synthesizing diIIerent types oI inIormation.
The ability to learn is possessed by humans,
animals and some machines.
is the learned capacity to carry out pre-
1ntelligenceintelegence quautiate 1G(
-lassical conditioning
Fumanistic psychology
8ote learning
MeaningIul learning
subtractive bilingualism
deIensive learning
Signal learning
Stimulus-response learning
determined results oIten with the minimum
outlay oI time, energy, or both.
is deIined by the OxIord English Dictionary as
(i) expertise, and skills acquired by a person
through experience or education; the
theoretical or practical understanding oI a
subject; (ii) what is known in a particular Iield
or in total; Iacts and inIormation; or (iii)
awareness or Iamiliarity gained by experience
oI a Iact or situation.
is an innate, acquired or learned or developed
component oI a competency (the others
being knowledge# understanding and attitude)
to do a certain kind oI work at a certain level.
Aptitudes may be physical or mental.
is an umbrella term describing a property oI
the mind including related abilities.
a series oI experiments in which Ivan Pavlov
trained a dog to salivate to the tone oI a tuning
Iork through a procedure
are classes oI responces
is a psychological perspective which rose to
prominence in the mid-20th century, drawing
on the work oI early pioneers like Carl
Rogers and the philosophies oI existentialism
and phenomenology
Ausubel described rote learning as the process
oI acquiring material as "discrete and relatively
isolated entities that are relat-able to cognitive
structure only in an arbitrary and verbatim
Iashion, not permitting the establishment oI
|meaningIul| relationships"
it is a process oI relating and anchoring new
material to relevant established entities in
cognitive structure.
members oI a minority group learn the
language oI the majority group, and the latter
group downgrades speakers oI the minority
it`s a kind oI learning in which learners try to
protect themselves Irom Iailure, Irom criticism,
Irom competition with Iellow students, and
possibly Irom punishment.
The individual learns to make a general diIIuse
response to a signal. This is the classical
conditioned response oI Pavlov
The learner acquires a precise response to a
discriminated stimulus.
Verbal association
Multiple discrimination
Concept learning

Principle learning
Problem solving
inductive reasoning
Deductive reasoning
is the learning oI chains that are verbal.
Basically, the conditions resemble those Ior
other (motor) chains.
The individual learns to make a number oI
diIIerent identiIying responses to many
diIIerent stimuli, which may resemble each
other in physical appearance to a greater or
lesser degree.
The learner acquires the ability to make a
common response to a class oI stimuli even
though the individual members oI that class
may diIIer widely Irom each other.
is a chain oI two or more concepts. It Iunctions
to organize behavior and experience.
is a kind oI learning that requires the internal
events usually reIerred to as "thinking."
is a general term describing the carryover oI
previous perIormance or knowledge to
subsequent learning.
previously learned material interIeres with
subsequent materiala previous item is
incorrectly transIerred or incorrectly associated
with an item to be learned.
is a crucially important and pervading strategy
in human learning.
is regular a past-tense endings (walked,
opened) as applicable to all past-tense Iorms
(goed, Ilied) until they recognize a subset oI
verbs that belong in an "irregular" category.
It is when one stores a number oI speciIic
instances and induces a general law or rule or
conclusion that governs or subsumes the
speciIic instances.
is a movement Irom a generalization to
speciIic instances: speciIic subsumed Iacts are
inIerred or deduced Irom a general principle.
Topics & Questions for Study and Discussion
.ote0 1tems listed below are coded for either individual 1( work#
group2pair +( work# or whole&class -( discussion# as suggestions to the
instructor on how to incorporate the topics and G( questions into a class
1. (G) The class should be divided into Iour groups, with one oI the
Iour learning theorists discussed in the chapter assigned to each group.
Tasks Ior the groups are to "deIend" their particular theory as the most
insightIul or complete. To do so, each group will need to summarize
strengths and to anticipate arguments Irom other groups.
2. (C)The results oI the Iour groups' Iindings can be presented to the
rest oI the class in a "debate" about which learning theory has the most to
contribute to understanding the SLA process.
3. (C) Tease apart the distinction between elicited and emitted
responses. Can you speciIy some operants that are emitted by the learner in
a Ioreign language class And some responses that are elicited SpeciIy
some oI the reinIorcers that are present in language classes. How eIIective
are certain reinIorcers
4. (I) Skinner Ielt that punishment, or negative reinIorcement, was
just another way oI calling attention to undesired behavior and thereIore
should be avoided. Do you think correction oI student errors in a classroom
is negative reinIorcement How can error treatment be given a positive
spin, in Skinnerian terms
5. (G) List some activities you consider to be rote and others that are
meaningIul in Ioreign language classes you have taken (or are teaching).
Do some activities Iall into a gray area between the two Evaluate the
eIIectiveness oI all the activities your group has listed. Share your
conclusions with the rest oI the class.
6. (G) In pairs, quickly brainstorm some examples oI "cognitive
pruning" or systematic Iorgetting that occur in a Ioreign language
classroom. For example, do deIinitions Iall into this category Or
grammatical rules Cite some ways that a teacher might Ioster such
7. (C) In one sense Skinner, Ausubel, and Rogers represent quite diI-
Ierent points oI viewat least they Iocus on diIIerent Iacets oI human
learning. Do you think it is possible to synthesize the three points oI view
In what way are all three psychologists expressing the "truth" In what way
do they diIIer substantially Try to Iormulate an integrated understanding
oI human learning by taking the best oI all three points oI view. Does your
integrated theory tell you something about how people learn a second
language about how you should teach a second language
8. (G) Look back at the section on Ioreign language aptitude. From
what you have learned, what Iactors do you think should be represented in
a comprehensive test oI aptitude Compare your group's suggestions with
those oI other groups.
9. (G/C) The class should be divided into at least seven groups or
pairs. To each group/pair, assign one oI Gardner's seven multiple intelli-
gences. In your group, brainstorm typical language classroom activities or
techniques that Ioster your type oI intelligence. Make a list oI your
activities and compare it with the other lists.
References & Suggested Readings
; Ausubel, David A. Introduction to part one. In Anderson
Ausubel Bibliography 303. 1965.
> Andersen, Roger W. Expanding Schumann's pidginiation
hypothesis. !anguage !earning ><0105-119. 1979.
? Armstrong, Thomas. Seven Hinds of Smart3 New ork:
Penguin Books. ;<<?
@ Armstrong, Thomas. ,ultiple 1ntelligences in the
-lassroom 1994.
B Brown, H. Douglas. Children's comprehension oI relativized
English sentences. -hild Development 1971.
C Bachman, Lyle F. The TOEFL as a measure oI communicative
competence. Paper delivered at the Second TOEFL Invitational
ConIerence, Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ, October 1984.
= Bachman, Lyle F. Fundamental Considerations in Language
Testing. New ork: OxIord University Press. 1990.
E Bachman, Lyle F. What does language testing have to oIIer
TESOL Quarterly 25: 671-704. 1991.
< Bacon, Susan M. The relationship between gender,
comprehension, processing strategies, and cognitive and aIIective response
in Ioreign language listening. Modern Language Journal 76:160-178. 1992.
;D Bailey, Kathleen M. Classroom-centered research on language
teaching and learning. In Celce-Murcia 1985.
;; Bailey, Kathleen M. Class lecture, Spring 1986. Monterey
Institute oI International Studies. 1986.
;> Baldwin,AlIred. The development oI intuition. In Bruner 1966a.
;? Banathy, Bela,Trager, Edith C, and Waddle, Carl D. The use oI
contrastive data in Ioreign language course development. In Valdman 1966.
;@ Bandura, Albert and Walters, Richard H.. Social Learning and
Personality Development. New ork: Holt, Rinehart Winston. 1963
;B Bloom L. Language Development. Cambridge (Mass.), 1970.
;C John B. (Ed.). !anguage# Thought# and 8eality0 Selected
7ritings of 6en"amin !ee 7horf3 Cambridge: M.I.T. Press. 1956.
;= Carroll, John B. 'undamental -onsiderations in Testing for
*nglish !anguage Proficiency of 'oreign Students3 Washington, DC:
Center Ior Applied Linguistics. 1961.
;E Cohen, Andrew D. and Aphek, Edna. EasiIying second
language learning. Studies in Second !anguage )cquisition ?0 221-236.
;< Chomsky Noam Linguistic theory. In Mead. 1966.
>D Concise Columbia Encyclopedia, third edition. New ork:
Columbia University Press, 1994
>; Gagne, Robert M. The -onditions of !earning3 New ork:
Holt, Rinehart Winston. 1965.
>> Goleman, Daniel. *motional 1ntelligence3 New ork: Bantam
Books. 1995.
>? Harley, Birgit and Hart, Doug. Language aptitude and second
language proIiciency in classroom learners oI diIIerent starting ages.
Studies in Second !anguage )cquisition ;<0 379-400. 1997.
>@ Kimble, Gregory A. and Garmezy, Norman. Principles oI
General Psychology. Second Edition. New ork:The Ronald Press 1963.
>B Krashen, Stephen. 1973. Lateralization, language learning, and
the critical period: Some new evidence. !anguage !earning >?0 63-74.
>C Krashen, Stephen. 1976. Formal and inIormal linguistic
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Modern Language Journal 81: 506-517. 1997.
2.2 Styles and strategies of learning foreign languages
THEORIES OF learning, Gagne's "types" oI learning, transIer
processes, and aptitude and intelligence models are all attempts to describe
universal human traits in learning. They seek to explain globally how
people perceive, Iilter, store, and recall inIormation. Such processes do not
account Ior the plethora oI diIIerences across individuals in the way they
learn, or Ior diIIerences within any one individual. While we all exhibit
inherently human traits oI learning, every individual approaches a problem
or learns a set oI Iacts or organizes a combination oI Ieelings Irom a unique
Process* style and strategy
BeIore we look speciIically at some styles and strategies oI second
language learning, a Iew words are in order to explain the diIIerences
among process, style, and strategy as the terms are used in the literature on
second language acquisition. Historically, there has been some conIusion in
the use oI these three terms, and so it is important to careIully deIine them
at the outset.
Process is the most general oI the three concepts. All human beings
engage in certain universal processes. Just as we all need air, water, and
Iood Ior our survival, so do all humans oI normal intelligence engage in
certain levels or types oI learning. Human beings universally engage in
association, transIer, generalization, and attrition. We all make stimulus-
response connections and are driven by reinIorcement. We all possess, in
varying proportions, abilities in the seven intelligences. Process is
characteristic oI every human being.
Style is a term that reIers to consistent and rather enduring
tendencies or preIerences within an individual. Styles are those general
characteristics oI intellectual Iunctioning (and personality type, as well)
that pertain to you as an individual, and that diIIerentiate you Irom
someone else. For example, you might be more visually oriented, more
tolerant oI ambiguity, or more reIlective than someone elsethese would
be styles that characterize a general pattern in your thinking or Ieeling.
Strategies are speciIic methods oI approaching a problem or task,
modes oI operation Ior achieving a particular end, planned designs Ior con-
trolling and manipulating certain inIormation. They are contextualized
"battle plans" that might vary Irom moment to moment, or day to day, or
year to year. Strategies vary intraindividually; each oI us has a number oI
possible ways to solve a particular problem, and we choose oneor several
in sequenceIor a given problem.
As we turn to a study oI styles and strategies in second language
learning, we can beneIit by understanding these "layers oI an onion," or
points on a continuum, ranging Irom universal properties oI learning to
speciIic intra-individual variations in learning.
Learning style
Suppose you are visiting a Ioreign country whose language you don't
speak or read. ou have landed at the airport and your contact person,
whose name you don't know, is not there to meet you. To top it oII, your
luggage is missing. It's 3:00 A.M. and no one in the sparsely staIIed airport
speaks English. What should you do There is obviously no single solution
to this multiIaceted problem. our solution will be based to a great extent
on the styles you happen to bring to bear. For example, iI you are tolerant
of ambiguity# you will not easily get Ilustered by your unIortunate
circumstances. II you are reflective# you will exercise patience and not
jump quickly to a conclusion about how to approach the situation. II you
are field independent# you will Iocus on the necessary and relevant details
and not be distracted by surrounding but irrelevant details.
The way we learn things in general and the way we attack a problem
seem to hinge on a rather amorphous link between personality and cogni-
tion; this link is reIerred to as cognitive style. When cognitive styles are
speciIically related to an educational context, where aIIective and
physiological Iactors are intermingled, they are usually more generally
reIerred to as learning styles.
Learning styles might be thought oI as "cognitive, aIIective, and
physiological traits that are relatively stable indicators oI how learners
perceive, interact with, and respond to the learning environment" (KeeIe
1979). Or, more simply, as "a general predisposition, voluntary or not,
toward processing inIormation in a particular way" (Skehan 1991: 288). In
the enormous task oI learning a second language, one that so deeply
involves aIIective Iactors, a study oI learning style brings important
variables to the IoreIront. Such styles can contribute signiIicantly to the
construction oI a uniIied theory oI second language acquisition.
Learning styles mediate between emotion and cognition, as you will
soon discover. For example, a reIlective style invariably grows out oI a
reIlective personality or a reIlective mood. An impulsive style, on the other
hand, usually arises out oI an impulsive emotional state. People's styles are
determined by the way they internalize their total environment, and since
that internalization process is not strictly cognitive, we Iind that physical,
aIIective, and cognitive domains merge in learning styles. Some would
claim that styles are stable traits in adults. This is a questionable view. It
would appear that individuals show general tendencies toward one style or
another, but that diIIering contexts will evoke diIIering styles in the same
individual. Perhaps an "intelligent" and "successIul" person is one who is
"bicognitive"one who can manipulate both ends oI a style continuum.
II I were to try to enumerate all the learning styles that educators and
psychologists have identiIied, a very long list would emerge. From early
research byAusubel (1968) and Hill (1972), to recent research by Reid
(1995), Ehrman (1996), and Cohen (1998), literally dozens oI diIIerent
styles have been identiIied. These include just about every imaginable sen-
sory, communicative, cultural, aIIective, cognitive, and intellectual Iactor.
A select Iew oI those styles have emerged in second language research as
potentially signiIicant contributors to successIul acquisition.
'ield 1ndependence '1(
Do you remember, in those coloring books you pored over as a child,
a picture oI a Iorest scene with exotic trees and Ilowers, and a caption
saying, "Find the hidden monkeys in the trees." II you looked careIully, you
soon began to spot them, some upside-down, some sideways, some high
and some low, a dozen or so monkeys camouIlaged by the lines oI what at
Iirst sight looked like just leaves and trees. The ability to Iind those hidden
monkeys hinged upon your field independent style: your ability to
perceive a particular, relevant item or Iactor in a "Iield" oI distracting
items. In general psychological terms, that "Iield" may be perceptual, or it
may be more abstract and reIer to a set oI thoughts, ideas, or Ieelings Irom
which your task is to perceive speciIic relevant subsets. Field dependence
is, conversely, the tendency to be "dependent" on the total Iield so that the
parts embedded within the Iield are not easily perceived, although that total
Iield is perceived more clearly as a uniIied whole. Field dependence is
synonymous with field sensitivity, a term that may carry a more positive
A Iield independent (FI) style enables you to distinguish parts Irom a
whole, to concentrate on something (like reading a book in a noisy train
station), to analyze separate variables without the contamination oI neigh-
boring variables. On the other hand, too much FI may result in cognitive
"tunnel vision": you see only the parts and not their relationship to the
whole."ou can't see the Iorest Ior the trees," as the saying goes. Seen in
this light, development oI a Iield dependent (FD) style has positive eIIects:
you perceive the whole picture, the larger view, the general conIiguration
oI a problem or idea or event. It is clear, then, that both FI and FD are
necessary Ior most oI the cognitive and eIIective problems we Iace.
The literature on FI/D has shown that FI increases as a child matures
to adulthood, that a person tends to be dominant in one mode or the other,
and that FI/D is a relatively stable trait in adulthood. It has been Iound in
Western culture that males tend to be more FI, and that FI is related to one
oI the three main Iactors traditionally used to deIine intelligence (the ana-
lytical Iactor), but not to the other two Iactors (verbal-comprehension and
attention-concentration). Cross-culturally, the extent oI the development oI
a FI/D style as children mature is a Iactor oI the type oI society and home
in which the child is reared. Authoritarian or agrarian societies, which are
usually highly socialized and utilize strict rearing practices, tend to produce
more FD. A democratic, industrialized, competitive society with Ireer
rearing norms tends to produce more FI persons.
AIIectively, persons who are more predominantly FI tend to be
generally more independent, competitive, and selI-conIident. FD persons
tend to be more socialized, to derive their selI-identity Irom persons around
them, and are usually more empathic and perceptive oI the Ieelings and
thoughts oI others.
How does all this relate to second language learning Two
conIlicting hypotheses have emerged. First, we could conclude that FI is
closely related to classroom learning that involves analysis, attention to
details, and mastering oI exercises, drills, and other Iocused activities.
Indeed, recent research supports such a hypothesis. Naiman et al. (1978)
Iound in a study oI English-speaking eighth, tenth, and twelIth graders who
were learning French in Toronto that FI correlated positively and
signiIicantly with language success in the classroom. Other studies (L.
Hansen 1984, Hansen StansIleld 1983, StansIield Hansen 1981) Iound
relatively strong evidence in groups oI adult second language learners oI a
relationship between FI and cloze test perIormance, which in some respects
requires analytical abilities.
Chapelle and Roberts (1986) Iound support Ior the correlation oI a FI
style with language success as measured both by traditional, analytic,
paper-and-pencil tests and by an oral interview. (The latter Iindingthe
correlation with the oral interviewwas a bit surprising in light oI the
second oI our two hypotheses, to be taken up below.) Abraham (1985)
Iound that second language learners who were FI perIormed better in
deductive lessons, while those with FD styles were more successIul with
inductive lesson designs. Still other studies (Chapelle Green 1992,
Alptekin Atakan 1990, Chapelle Abraham 1990) provide Iurther
evidence oI superiority oI a FI style Ior second language success. More
recently, Elliott (1995a, 1995b) Iound a moderate correlation between FI
and pronunciation accuracy. And in a review oI several decades oI research
on FI/D, HoIIman (1997) concluded that "Iurther research .. . should be
pursued beIore the hypothesis that there is a relationship between FD/I and
SLA is abandoned."
The second oI the conIlicting hypotheses proposes that primarily FD
persons will, by virtue oI their empathy, social outreach, and perception oI
other people, be successIul in learning the communicative aspects oI a
second language. While no one denies the plausibility oI this second
hypothesis, little empirical evidence has been gathered to support it. The
principal reason Ior the dearth oI such evidence is the absence oI a true test
oI FD. The standard test oI FI requires subjects to discern small geometric
shapes embedded in larger geometric designs. A high score on such
embedded-Iigures tests indicates FI, but a low score does not necessarily
imply relatively high FD. (This latter Iact has unIortunately not been recog-
nized by all who have interpreted results oI embedded-Iigures tests.) So we
are leIt with no standardized means oI measuring FD, and thus the second
hypothesis has been conIirmed largely through anecdotal or observational
The two hypotheses could be seen as paradoxical: How could FD be
most important on the one hand and FI equally important The answer to
the paradox would appear to be that clearly both styles are important. The
two hypotheses deal with two diIIerent kinds oI language learning. One
kind oI learning implies natural, Iace-to-Iace communication, the kind oI
communication that occurs too rarely in the average language classroom.
The second kind oI learning involves the Iamiliar classroom activities:
drills, exercises, tests, and so Iorth. It is most likely that "natural" language
learning in the "Iield," beyond the constraints oI the classroom, requires a
FD style, and the classroom type oI learning requires, conversely, a FI
There is some research to support such a conclusion. Guiora et al.
(1972b) showed that empathy is related to language acquisition, and though
one could argue with some oI their experimental design Iactors (see H.D.
Brown 1973), the conclusion seems reasonable and also supportable by
observational evidence and intuition. Some pilot studies oI FI/D (Brown
1977a) indicated that FI correlated negatively with inIormal oral interviews
oI adult English learners in the United States. And so it would appear that
FI/D might provide one construct that diIIerentiates "classroom" (tutored)
second language learning Irom "natural" (untutored) second language
FI/D may also prove to be a valuable tool Ior diIIerentiating child
and adult language acquisition. The child, more predominantly FD, may
have a cognitive style advantage over the more FI adult. Stephen Krashen
(1977) has suggested that adults use more "monitoring," or "learning,"
strategies (conscious attention to Iorms) Ior language acquisition, while
children utilize strategies oI "acquisition" (subconscious attention to
Iunctions). This distinction between acquisition and learning could well be
explicated by the FI/D dichotomy.
FI/D has been conceived by psychological researchers as a construct
in which a person is relatively stable. UnIortunately, there seems to be little
room in such research Ior considering the possibility that FI/D is
contextualized and variable. Logically and observationally, FI/D is quite
variable within one person. Depending upon the context oI learning,
individual learners can vary their utilization oI FI or FD. II a task requires
FI, individuals may invoke their FI style; iI it requires FD, they may invoke
a FD style. Such ambiguities Iueled GriIIiths and Sheen's (1992: 133)
passionate attempt to discredit the whole FI construct, where they
concluded that this "theoretically Ilawed" notion "does not have, and has
never had, any relevance Ior second language learning."
Carol Chapelle (1992; see also Chapelle Green 1992), in a more
balanced and optimistic viewpoint on the relevance oI FI to communicative
language ability, exposed Ilaws in GriIIiths and Sheen's remarks and sug-
gested, as did HoIIman (1997), avenues oI Iuture research. I surmise Irom
Chapelle's comments that her optimism springs Iromamong other things
our acceptance oI the view that FI and FD are not in complementary
distribution within an individual. Some persons might be both highly FI
and highly FD as contexts vary. Such variability is not without its parallels
in almost every other psychological construct. A generally extroverted
person might, Ior example, be relatively introverted at certain times. In
second language learning, then, it may be incorrect to assume that learners
should be either FI or FD; it is more likely that persons have general
inclinations, but, given certain contexts, can exercise a suIIicient degree oI
an appropriate style. The burden on the learner is to invoke the appropriate
style Ior the context. The burden on the teacher is to understand the pre-
Ierred styles oI each learner and to sow the seeds Ior Ilexibility.
!eft& and 8ight&6rain 'unctioning
We have already observed that leIt- and right-brain dominance is a
potentially signiIicant issue in developing a theory oI second language
acquisition. As the child's brain matures, various Iunctions become lateral&
i5ed to the leIt or right hemisphere. The leIt hemisphere is associated with
logical, analytical thought, with mathematical and linear processing oI
inIormation. The right hemisphere perceives and remembers visual, tactile,
and auditory images; it is more eIIicient in processing holistic, integrative,
and emotional inIormation. Torrance (1980) lists several characteristics oI
leIt-and right-brain dominance. (Illustration - 2.3).
While we can cite many diIIerences between leIt- and right-brain
characteristics, it is important to remember that the leIt and right
hemispheres operate together as a "team." Through the corpus collosum#
messages are sent back and Iorth so that both hemispheres are involved in
most oI the neurological activity oI the human brain. Most problem solving
involves the capacities oI both hemispheres, and oIten the best solutions to
problems are those in which each hemisphere has participated optimally.
We must also remember Scovel's (1982) warning that leIt- and right-brain
diIIerences tend to draw more attention than the research warrants at the
present time.
Illustration 2.3 - LeIt- and right-brain characteristics
Nevertheless, the leIt-/right-brain construct helps to deIine another
useIul learning style continuum, with implications Ior second language
learning and teaching. Danesi (1988), Ior example, used "neurological
bimodality" to analyze the way in which various language teaching
methods have Iailed: by appealing too strongly to leIt-brain processes, past
methods were inadequately stimulating important right-brain processes in
Remembers names
Responds to verbal
instructions and
Experiments systematically
and with control
Makes objective judgments
Planned and structured
PreIers established, certain
Analytic reader
Reliance on language in
thinking and remembering
PreIers talking and writing
PreIers multiple-choice tests
Controls Ieelings
Not good at interpreting body
Rarely uses metaphors
Favors logical problem
Remembers Iaces
Responds to demonstrated,
illustrated, or symbolic
instructions Experiments
randomly and with less
Makes subjective judgments
Fluid and spontaneous
PreIers elusive, uncertain
Synthesizing reader
Reliance on images in
thinking and remembering
PreIers drawing and
manipulating objects
PreIers open-ended questions
More Iree with Ieelings
Good at interpreting body
Frequently uses metaphors
Favors intuitive problem
the language classroom. Krashen, Seliger, and Hartnett (1974) Iound sup-
port Ior the hypothesis that leIt-brain-dominant second language learners
preIerred a deductive style oI teaching, while right-brain-dominant learners
appeared to be more successIul in an inductive classroom environment.
Stevick (1982) concluded that leIt-brain-dominant second language
learners are better at producing separate words, gathering the speciIics oI
language, carrying out sequences oI operations, and dealing with abstrac-
tion, classiIication, labeling, and reorganization. Right-brain-dominant
learners, on the other hand, appear to deal better with whole images (not
with reshuIIling parts), with generalizations, with metaphors, and with
emotional reactions and artistic expressions. The role oI the right
hemisphere in second language learning was noted above. This may
suggest a greater need to perceive whole meanings in those early stages,
and to analyze and monitor oneselI more in the later stages.
ou may be asking yourselI how leIt- and right-brain Iunctioning
diIIers Irom FI and FD. While Iew studies have set out explicitly to
correlate the two Iactors, intuitive observation oI learners and conclusions
Irom studies oI both hemispheric preIerence and FI show a strong
relationship. Thus, in dealing with either type oI cognitive style, we are
dealing with two styles that are highly parallel. Conclusions that were
drawn above Ior FI and FD generally apply well Ior leIt- and right-brain
Iunctioning, respectively.
)mbiguity Tolerance
A third style concerns the degree to which you are cognitively
willing to tolerate ideas and propositions that run counter to your own
belieI system or structure oI knowledge. Some people are, Ior example,
relatively open-minded in accepting ideologies and events and Iacts that
contradict their own views; they are more content than others to entertain
and even internalize contradictory propositions. Others, more closed-
minded and dogmatic, tend to reject items that are contradictory or slightly
incongruent with their existing system; they wish to see every proposition
Iit into an acceptable place in their cognitive organization, and iI it does not
Iit, it is rejected.
Again, advantages and disadvantages are present in each style. The
person who is tolerant oI ambiguity is Iree to entertain a number oI inno-
vative and creative possibilities and not be cognitively or aIIectively dis-
turbed by ambiguity and uncertainty. In second language learning a great
amount oI apparently contradictory inIormation is encountered: words that
diIIer Irom the native language, rules that not only diIIer but that are inter-
nally inconsistent because oI certain "exceptions," and sometimes a whole
cultural system that is distant Irom that oI the native culture. SuccessIul
language learning necessitates tolerance oI such ambiguities, at least Ior
interim periods or stages, during which time ambiguous items are given a
chance to become resolved. On the other hand, too much tolerance oI
ambiguity can have a detrimental eIIect. People can become "wishy-
washy," accepting virtually every proposition beIore them, not eIIiciently
subsuming necessary Iacts into their cognitive organizational structure.
Such excess tolerance has the eIIect oI hampering or preventing meaningIul
sub-sumption oI ideas. Linguistic rules, Ior example, might not be
eIIectively integrated into a whole system; rather, they may be gulped
down in meaningless chunks learned by rote.
Intolerance oI ambiguity also has its advantages and disadvantages.
A certain intolerance at an optimal level enables one to guard against the
wishy-washiness reIerred to above, to close oII avenues oI hopeless possi-
bilities, to reject entirely contradictory material, and to deal with the reality
oI the system that one has built. But intolerance can close the mind too
soon, especially iI ambiguity is perceived as a threat; the result is a rigid,
dogmatic, brittle mind that is too narrow to be creative. This may be par-
ticularly harmIul in second language learning.
A Iew research Iindings are available on this style in second
language learning. Naiman et al. (1978) Iound that ambiguity tolerance was
one oI only two signiIicant Iactors in predicting the success oI their high
school learners oI French in Toronto. Chapelle and Roberts (1986)
measured tolerance oI ambiguity in learners oI English as a second
language in Illinois. They Iound that learners with a high tolerance Ior
ambiguity were slightly more successIul in certain language tasks. These
Iindings suggestthough not strongly sothat ambiguity tolerance may
be an important Iactor in second language learning. The Iindings have
intuitive appeal. It is hard to imagine a compartmentalizera person who
sees everything in black and white with no shades oI grayever being
successIul in the overwhelmingly ambiguous process oI learning a second
8eflectivity and 1mpulsivity
It is common Ior us to show in our personalities certain tendencies
toward reflectivity sometimes and impulsivity at other times.
Psychological studies have been conducted to determine the degree to
which, in the cognitive domain, a person tends to make either a quick or
gambling (impulsive) guess at an answer to a problem or a slower, more
calculated (reIlective) decision. David Ewing (1977) reIers to two styles
that are closely related to the reIlectivity/impulsivity (R/I) dimension:
systematic and intuitive styles. An intuitive style implies an approach in
which a person makes a number oI diIIerent gambles on the basis oI
"hunches," with possibly several successive gambles beIore a solution is
achieved. Systematic thinkers tend to weigh all the considerations in a
problem, work out all the loopholes, and then, aIter extensive reIlection,
venture a solution.
The implications Ior language acquisition are numerous. It has been
Iound that children who are conceptually reIlective tend to make Iewer
errors in reading than impulsive children (Kagan 1965); however,
impulsive persons are usually Iaster readers, and eventually master the
"psycholinguistic guessing game" (Goodman 1970) oI reading so that their
impulsive style oI reading may not necessarily deter comprehension. In
another study (Kagan, Pearson Welch 1966), inductive reasoning was
Iound to be more eIIective with reIlective persons, suggesting that
generally reIlective persons could beneIit more Irom inductive learning
situations. Virtually all research on R/I has used the Matching Familiar
Figures Test (Kagan 1965; revised by Cairns Cammock 1989), in which
subjects are required to Iind, among numerous slightly diIIerent drawings
oI Iigures (people, ships, buildings, etc.), the drawing that matches the
criterion Iigure. And most oI the research to date on this cognitive style has
looked at American, monolingual, English-speaking children.
A Iew studies have related R/I to second language learning. Doron
(1973) Iound that among her sample oI adult learners oI ESL in the USA,
reIlective students were slower but more accurate than impulsive students
in reading. In another study oI adult ESL students, Abraham (1981) con-
cluded that reIlection was weakly related to perIormance on a prooIreading
task. Jamieson (1992) reported on yet another study oI adult ESL learners.
She Iound that "Iast-accurate" learners, or good guessers, were better
language learners as measured by the standardized Test oI English as a
Foreign Language, but warned against assuming that impulsivity always
implies accuracy. Some oI her subjects were Iast and inaccurate.
R/I has some important considerations Ior classroom second
language learning and teaching. Teachers tend to judge mistakes too
harshly, especially in the case oI a learner with an impulsive style who may
be more willing than a reIlective person to gamble at an answer. On the
other hand, a reIlective person may require patience Irom the teacher, who
must allow more time Ior the student to struggle with responses. It is also
conceivable that those with impulsive styles may go through a number oI
rapid transitions oI semigrammatical stages oI SLA, with reIlective persons
tending to remain longer at a particular stage with "larger" leaps Irom stage
to stage.
/isual and )uditory Styles
et another dimension oI learning styleone that is salient in a
Iormal classroom settingis the preIerence that learners show toward
either visual or auditory input. Visual learners tend to preIer reading and
studying charts, drawings, and other graphic inIormation, while auditory
learners preIer listening to lectures and audiotapes. OI course, most suc-
cessIul learners utilize both visual and auditory input, but slight preIerences
one way or the other may distinguish one learner Irom another, an
important Iactor Ior classroom instruction.
In one study oI adult learners oI ESL, Joy Reid (1987) Iound some
signiIicant cross-cultural diIIerences in visual and auditory styles. By
means oI a selI-reporting questionnaire, the subjects rated their own
preIerences. The students rated statements like "When I read instructions, I
learn them better" and "I learn more when I make drawings as I study" on a
Iive-point scale ranging Irom "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree."
Among Reid's results: Korean students were signiIicantly more visually
oriented than native English-speaking Americans; Japanese students were
the least auditory students, signiIicantly less auditorily inclined than
Chinese and Arabic students. Reid also Iound that some oI the preIerences
oI her subjects were a Iactor oI gender, length oI time in the US, academic
Iield oI study, and level oI education. Such Iindings underscore the
importance oI recognizing learners' varying style preIerences, but also oI
not assuming that they are easily predicted by cultural/linguistic
backgrounds alone.
We now turn to the second oI our principal categories in this chapter,
the level at which activity varies considerably within individuals as well as
across individuals. Styles are general characteristics that diIIerentiate one
individual Irom another; strategies are those speciIic "attacks" that we
make on a given problem. They are the moment-by-moment techniques
that we employ to solve "problems" posed by second language input and
output. The Iield oI second language acquisition has distinguished between
two types oI strategy: learning strategies and communication strategies.
The Iormer relate to inputto processing, storage, and retrieval, that is, to
taking in messages Irom others. The latter pertain to output, how we pro-
ductively express meaning, how we deliver messages to others. We will
examine both types oI strategy here.
First, a brieI historical note on the study oI second language learners'
strategies. As our knowledge oI second language acquisition increased
markedly during the 1970s, teachers and researchers came to realize that no
single research Iinding and no single method oI language teaching would
usher in an era oI universal success in teaching a second language. We saw
that certain learners seemed to be successIul regardless oI methods or
techniques oI teaching. We began to see the importance oI individual
variation in language learning. Certain people appeared to be endowed with
abilities to succeed; others lacked those abilities. This observation led
Rubin (1975) and Stern (1975) to describe "good" language learners in
terms oI personal characteristics, styles, and strategies. Rubin (Rubin
Thompson 1982) later summarized Iourteen such characteristics. Good
language learners
1) Iind their own way, taking charge oI their learning;
2) organize inIormation about language;
3) are creative, developing a "Ieel" Ior the language by experi-
menting with its grammar and words;
4) make their own opportunities Ior practice in using the language
inside and outside the classroom;
5) learn to live with uncertainty by not getting Ilustered and by
continuing to talk or listen without understanding every word;
6) use mnemonics and other memory strategies to recall what has
been learned;
7) make errors work Ior them and not against them;
8) use linguistic knowledge, including knowledge oI their Iirst lan-
guage, in learning a second language;
9) use contextual cues to help them in comprehension;
10) learn to make intelligent guesses;
11) learn chunks oI language as wholes and Iormalized routines to
help them perIorm "beyond their competence";
12) learn certain tricks that help to keep conversations going;
13) learn certain production strategies to Iill in gaps in their own
14) learn diIIerent styles oI speech and writing and learn to vary their
language according to the Iormality oI the situation;
Such lists, speculative as they were in the mid-1970s, inspired a
group oI collaborators in Toronto to undertake a study oI good language
OI particular interest in both prongs oI research and practice is the
extent to which cross-cultural variables may Iacilitate or interIere with
strategy use among learners. General conclusions Irom studies conducted
in China, Japan, Israel, Egypt, and Russia, among others, promise more
than a glimmer oI hope that SBI and autonomous learning are viable
avenues to success, cultural diIIerences notwithstanding.
Table - 2.2 Learning strategies
Cognitive Strategies
Auditory Representation
Consciously applying rules to produce or understand
the second language
Constructing a meaningIul sentence or larger
language sequence by combining known elements in
a new way
Relating new inIormation to visual concepts in
memory via Iamiliar, easily retrievable visualizations,
phrases, or locations
Retention oI the sound or a similar sound Ior a word,
phrase, or longer language sequence
Remembering a new word in the second language by
(1) identiIying a Iamiliar word in the Iirst language
that sounds like or otherwise resembles the new word
(2) generating easily recalled images oI some
relationship between the new word and the Iamiliar
Placing a word or phrase in a meaningIul language
Relating new inIormation to other concepts in
Using previously acquired linguistic and/or
conceptual knowledge to Iacilitate a new language
learning task
Using available inIormation to guess meanings oI
new items, predict outcomes, or Iill in missing
Socioaffective Strategies
Question Ior ClariIication
Working with one or more peers to obtain Ieedback,
pool inIormation, or model a language
Asking a teacher or other native speaker Ior
repetition, paraphrasing, explanation, and/or example
-ommunication Strategies
While learning strategies deal with the receptive domain oI intake,
memory, storage, and recall, communication strategies pertain to the
employment oI verbal or nonverbal mechanisms Ior the productive com-
munication oI inIormation. In the arena oI linguistic interaction, it is some-
times diIIicult, oI course, to distinguish between the two, as Tarone (1983)
aptly noted, since comprehension and production can occur almost simul-
taneously. Nevertheless, as long as one can appreciate the slipperiness oI
such a dichotomy, it remains a useIul distinction in understanding the
nature oI strategies, especially Ior pedagogical purposes.
The speculative early research oI the 1970s (Varadi 1973 and others)
has now led to a great deal oI recent attention to communication strategies
(see, Ior example, McDonough 1999; Dornyei 1995; Rost Ross 1991;
Bialystokl 1990a; Bongaerts Poulisse 1989; OxIord Crookall 1989).
Some time ago, Faerch and Kasper (1983a) deIined communication
strategies as "potentially conscious plans Ior solving what to an individual
presents itselI as a problem in reaching a particular communicative goal."
While the research oI the last decade does indeed Iocus largely on the
compensatory nature oI communication strategies, more recent approaches
seem to take a more positive view oI communication strategies as elements
oI an overall strategic competence in which learners bring to bear all the
possible Iacets oI their growing competence in order to send clear messages
in the second language. Moreover, such strategies may or may not be
"potentially conscious"; support Ior such a conclusion comes Irom observa-
tions oI Iirst language acquisition strategies that are similar to those used
by adults in second language learning contexts (Bongaerts Poulisse
Perhaps the best way to understand what is meant by communication
strategy is to look at a typical list oI such strategies. Illustration - 6 oIIers a
taxonomy that reIlects accepted categories over several decades oI research
(adapted Irom Dornyei 1958).
Dornyei's classiIication is a good basis Ior some Iurther comments
on communication strategies. We will elaborate here on a Iew oI the
(voidance trategies
Avoidance is a common communication strategy that can be broken
down into several subcategories. The most common type oI avoidance
strategy is syntactic or lexical avoidance within a semantic category.
Consider the Iollowing conversation:
L: I lost my road.
NS: ou lost your roadI
L: Uh,... I lost. I lost. I got lost.
The learner avoided the lexical item road entirely, not being able to
come up with the word way at that point. Phonological avoidance is also
common, as in the case oI a Japanese tennis partner oI mine who avoided
using the word rally (because oI its phonological diIIiculty) and instead
opted to say, simply, "hit the ball."
Illustration 2.4 - Communication strategies (adapted Irom Dornei)
A more direct type oI avoidance is topic avoidance, in which a whole
topic oI conversation (say, talking about what happened yesterday iI the
past tense is unIamiliar) might be avoided entirely. Learners manage to
devise ingenious methods oI topic avoidance: changing the subject, pre-
tending not to understand (a classical means Ior avoiding answering a ques-
tion), simply not responding at all, or noticeably abandoning a message
when a thought becomes too diIIicult to express.
Compensatory trategies
Another common set oI communication devices involves
compensation Ior missing knowledge. We will elaborate here on just three
oI the eleven strategy types in Illustration - 2.4
Typical oI rock-bottom beginning-level learners, Ior example, is the
memorization oI certain stock phrases or sentences without internalized
knowledge oI their components. These memorized chunks oI language,
known as prefabricated patterns, are oIten Iound in pocket bilingual
phrase books, which list hundreds oI sentences Ior various occasions:
"How much does this cost""Where is the toilet" "I don't speak English."
"I don't understand you." Such phrases are memorized by rote to Iit their
appropriate context. PreIabricated patterns are sometimes the source oI
some merriment.
Code-switching is the use oI a Iirst or third language within a stream
oI speech in the second language. OIten code-switching subconsciously
occurs between two advanced learners with a common Iirst language, but
in such a case, usually not as a compensatory strategy. Learners in the early
stages oI acquisition, however, might code-switchuse their native lan-
guage to Iill in missing knowledgewhether the hearer knows that native
language or not. Sometimes the learner slips in just a word or two, in the
hope that the hearer will get the gist oI what is being communicated. It is
surprising that context oI communication coupled with some oI the
universals oI nonverbal expression sometimes enables learners to
communicate an idea in their own language to someone unIamiliar with
that language. Such marvels oI communication are a tribute to the
universality oI human experience and a balm Ior those who Ieel the utter
despair oI attempting to communicate in a Ioreign tongue.
et another common compensatory strategy is a direct appeal Ior
help. Learners may, iI stuck Ior a particular word or phrase, directly ask a
native speaker or the teacher Ior the Iorm ("How do you say"). Or they
might venture a possible guess and then ask Ior veriIication Irom the native
speaker oI the correctness oI the attempt. Also within this category are
those instances where the learner might appeal to a bilingual dictionary Ior
help. The latter case can also produce some rather amusing situations. Once
a student oI English as a second language, when asked to introduce himselI
to the class and the teacher, said, "Allow me to introduce myselI and tell
you some oI the . . ." At this point he quickly got out his pocket dictionary
and, Iinding the word he wanted, continued, "some oI the headlights oI my
The list oI potentially useIul communication strategies is not limited
to the thirteen listed in Illustration - 6. Cohen and Aphek (1981) Iound that
successIul learners in their study made use oI word association and
generating their own rules. ChesterIield and ChesterIield (1985) reported
instances oI selI talk as learners practiced their second language. Rost and
Ross (1991) discovered that learners beneIited Irom asking Ior repetition
and seeking various Iorms oI clariIication. Huang and Van Naerssen (1987)
attributed the oral production success oI Chinese learners oI English to
Iunctional practice (using language Ior communication) and, even more
interesting, to reading practice. And the research continues.
trategies &ased instructions
Much oI the work oI researchers and teachers on the application oI
both learning and communication strategies to classroom learning has come
to be known generically as strategies-based instruction (SBI)
(McDonough 1999, Cohen 1998), or as learner strategy training. As we
seek to make the language classroom an eIIective milieu Ior learning, it has
become increasingly apparent that "teaching learners how to learn" is
crucial. Wenden (1985) was among the Iirst to assert that learner strategies
are the key to learner autonomy, and that one oI the most important goals oI
language teaching should be the Iacilitation oI that autonomy.
Teachers can beneIit Irom an understanding oI what makes learners
successIul and unsuccessIul, and establish in the classroom a milieu Ior the
realization oI successIul strategies. Teachers cannot always expect instant
success in that eIIort since students oIten bring with them certain precon-
ceived notions oI what "ought" to go on in the classroom (Bialystok 1985).
However, it has been Iound that students will beneIit Irom SBI iI they (a)
understand the strategy itselI, (b) perceive it to be eIIective, and (c) do not
consider its implementation to be overly diIIicult (Maclntyre Noels
1996). ThereIore our eIIorts to teach students some technical know-how
about how to tackle a language are well advised.
Several diIIerent models oI SBI are now being practiced in language
classes around the world.
1. As part oI a standard communicative methodology, teachers help
students to become aware oI their own style preIerences and the strategies
that are derived Irom those styles (Thompson Rubin 1996, OxIord
1990a). (See also the "In the Classroom" vignette at the end oI this chapter
Ior some details.) Through checklists, tests, and interviews, teachers can
become aware oI students' tendencies and then oIIer advice on beneIicial
in-class and extra-class strategies.
2. Teachers can embed strategy awareness and practice into their
pedagogy (Rubin Thompson 1994; Brown 1989,1990; Ellis Sinclair
1989). As they utilize such techniques as communicative games, rapid
reading, Iluency exercises, and error analysis, teachers can help students
both consciously and subconsciously to practice successIul strategies.
3. Certain compensatory techniques are sometimes practiced to help
students overcome certain weaknesses. Omaggio (1981) provided
diagnostic instruments and procedures Ior determining students'
preIerences, then outlined exercises that help students to overcome certain
blocks or to develop successIul strategies here they are weak.
4. Finally, textbooks (Brown 1998, Chamot, O'Malley Kupper
1992) include strategy instruction as part oI a content-centered approach.
One oI the most useIul manuals oI SBI available is Rebecca OxIord's
(1990a) practical guide Ior teachers. She outlined a host oI learning and
communication strategies that have been successIul among learners. Her
taxonomy is both comprehensive and practical.
These suggestions Ior bringing strategies-based instruction into the
classroom oI course only begin to provide an idea oI what can be done to
sensitize learners to the importance oI taking charge oI their own learning
oI taking some responsibility Ior their eventual success and not just
leaving it all up to the teacher to "deliver" everything to them. II teachers
everywhere would do no more than simply Iollow the above suggestions,
signiIicant steps could be made toward encouraging students to make a
strategic investment in their own language learning success.
Glossary & New Concepts
cognitive style3
'ield dependence
) field independent '1( style
'ield dependent 'D( style
communication strategies
learning strategies
is a term that reIers to consistent and rather enduring
tendencies or preIerences within an individual.
are speciIic methods oI approaching a problem or task,
modes oI operation Ior achieving a particular end,
planned designs Ior controlling and manipulating
certain inIormation.
characteristic oI every human being.
The way we learn things in general and the way we
attack a problem seem to hinge on a rather amorphous
link between personality and cognition.
is, conversely, the tendency to be "dependent" on the
total Iield so that the parts embedded within the Iield
are not easily perceived, although that total Iield is
perceived more clearly as a uniIied whole.
enables you to distinguish parts Irom a whole, to
concentrate on something (like reading a book in a
noisy train station), to analyze separate variables
without the contamination oI neighboring variables.
has positive eIIects: you perceive the whole picture,
the larger view, the general conIiguration oI a problem
or idea or event.
pertain to the employment oI verbal or nonverbal
mechanisms Ior the productive communication oI
deal with the receptive domain oI intake, memory,
storage, and recall
Topics & Questions for Study and Discussion
.ote0 1tems listed below are coded for either individual 1( work#
group2pair +( work# or whole&class -( discussion# as suggestions to the
instructor on how to incorporate the topics and G( questions into a class
1. (I) In order to make sure you understand the continuum oI
process, style, and strategy, make a list oI some oI the universal processes
you have read in previous chapters, then a list oI styles and strategies Irom
this chapter. How do they diIIer
2. (G) In a small group, share what each oI you perceives to be your
more dominant cognitive style along the continua presented here: FI/D,
right/leIt brain, ambiguity tolerance, reIlective/impulsive, and visual/audi-
tory. Talk about examples oI how you maniIest those styles both in your
approach in general to problems and in your approach to SLA.
3. (I) Look at the list oI diIIerences between right- and leIt-brain
processing in Illustration-2. Check or circle the side that corresponds to
your own preIerence, and total the items on each side. Are you right- or
leIt-brain dominant Does this result match your general perception oI
4. (G) Form Iive groups, with one oI the Iive cognitive styles
assigned to each group. Each group will list the types oI activities or
techniques in Ioreign language classes that illustrate its style. Then, decide
which list oI activities is better Ior what kinds oI purposes. Share the results
with the rest oI the class.
5. (L) Someone once claimed that FD is related to Iarsightedness.
That is, Iarsighted people tend to be more FD, and vice versa. II that is true,
how would you theoretically justiIy such a Iinding
6. (C) Look at the list oI "good language learner" characteristics as
enumerated by Rubin and Thompson. Which ones seem the most
important Which the least Would you be able to add some items to this
list, Irom your own or others' experiences
=3 (C) Discuss any instances in which you have used any oI the
thirteen communication strategies listed in Illustration-3. Are there some
other strategies that you could add
References & Suggested Readings
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Ausubel Bibliography 303. 1965.
> Andersen, Roger W. Expanding Schumann's pidginiation
hypothesis. !anguage !earning ><0105-119. 1979.
? Armstrong, Thomas. Seven Hinds of Smart3 New ork:
Penguin Books. ;<<?
@ Armstrong, Thomas. ,ultiple 1ntelligences in the
-lassroom 1994.
B Brown, H. Douglas. Children's comprehension oI relativized
English sentences. -hild Development 1971.
C Bachman, Lyle F. The TOEFL as a measure oI communicative
competence. Paper delivered at the Second TOEFL Invitational
ConIerence, Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ, October 1984.
= Bachman, Lyle F. Fundamental Considerations in Language
Testing. New ork: OxIord University Press. 1990.
E Bachman, Lyle F. What does language testing have to oIIer
TESOL Quarterly 25: 671-704. 1991.
< Bacon, Susan M. The relationship between gender,
comprehension, processing strategies, and cognitive and aIIective response
in Ioreign language listening. Modern Language Journal 76:160-178. 1992.
;D Bailey, Kathleen M. Classroom-centered research on language
teaching and learning. In Celce-Murcia 1985.
;; Bailey, Kathleen M. Class lecture, Spring 1986. Monterey
Institute oI International Studies. 1986.
;> Baldwin,AlIred. The development oI intuition. In Bruner 1966a.
;? Banathy, Bela,Trager, Edith C, and Waddle, Carl D. The use oI
contrastive data in Ioreign language course development. In Valdman 1966.
;@ Bandura, Albert and Walters, Richard H.. Social Learning and
Personality Development. New ork: Holt, Rinehart Winston. 1963
;B Bloom L. Language Development. Cambridge (Mass.), 1970.
;C John B. (Ed.). !anguage# Thought# and 8eality0 Selected
7ritings of 6en"amin !ee 7horf3 Cambridge: M.I.T. Press. 1956.
;= Carroll, John B. 'undamental -onsiderations in Testing for
*nglish !anguage Proficiency of 'oreign Students3 Washington, DC:
Center Ior Applied Linguistics. 1961.
;E Cohen, Andrew D. and Aphek, Edna. EasiIying second
language learning. Studies in Second !anguage )cquisition ?0 221-236.
;< Chomsky Noam Linguistic theory. In Mead. 1966.
>D Concise Columbia Encyclopedia, third edition. New ork:
Columbia University Press, 1994
>; Gagne, Robert M. The -onditions of !earning3 New ork:
Holt, Rinehart Winston. 1965.
>> Goleman, Daniel. *motional 1ntelligence3 New ork: Bantam
Books. 1995.
>? Harley, Birgit and Hart, Doug. Language aptitude and second
language proIiciency in classroom learners oI diIIerent starting ages.
Studies in Second !anguage )cquisition ;<0 379-400. 1997.
>@ Kimble, Gregory A. and Garmezy, Norman. Principles oI
General Psychology. Second Edition. New ork:The Ronald Press 1963.
>B Krashen, Stephen. 1973. Lateralization, language learning, and
the critical period: Some new evidence. !anguage !earning >?0 63-74.
>C Krashen, Stephen. 1976. Formal and inIormal linguistic
environments in language acquisition and language learning. T*SO!
Guarterly ;D0157-168.
>= Macnamara, John. 1975. Comparison between Iirst and second
language learning. 7orking Papers on 6ilingualism =0 71-94.
>E Madsen, Harold S. 1982. Determining the debilitative impact oI
test anxiety.
>< !anguage !earning ?>0 133-143.
?D NeuIeld, Gerald G. 1979. Towards a theory oI language learning
ability. !anguage !earning ><0 227-241. Obler, Lorraine K. 1981. Right
hemisphere participation in second language acquisition. In Diller 1981
?; Osgood, Charles E. Method and Theory in Experimental
Psychology. New ork: OxIord University Press. 1953.
?> Osgood, Charles E. Contemporary Approaches to Cognition.
Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 1957.
?? Obler, Lorraine K. Right hemisphere participation in second
language acquisition. In Diller 1981
?@ Pimsleur, Paul. Pimsleur !anguage )ptitude 6attery3 New
ork: Harcourt, Brace World. 1966.
?B Pinker, Stephen. The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates
Language. New ork: William Morrow, 1994.
?C Piaget, Jean. The Principles oI Genetic Epistemology. New ork:
Basic Books. 1972.
?= Piaget Jean and Inhelder B. The Psychology oI the Child. New
ork: Basic Books. 1969.
?E Patkowski, Mark S. 1990. Age and accent in a second language:
A reply to James Emil Flege. )pplied !inguistics ;;0 73-89. Morris, Beth
S.K. and Gerstman, Louis J. 1986. Age contrasts in the learning oI
language-relevant materials: Some challenges to critical period hypotheses.
!anguage !earning ?C0 311-352.
?< Rosansky, Ellen J. 1976. Methods and morphemes in second
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Macnamara, John. 1973.The cognitive strategies oI language learning. In
Oiler Richards 1973.
@D Scovel, Thomas. 1988. ) Time to Speak0 ) Psycholinguistic
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3 Psychological features of speech activity and learning foreign
languages at various age stages
3.1 Personality and speech. Speech development at various age
THE marvelous capacity Ior acquiring competence in one's native
language within the Iirst Iew years oI liIe has been a subject oI interest Ior
many centuries. "Modern" research on child language acquisition dates
back to the latter part oI the eighteenth century, when the German philoso-
pher Dietrich Tiedemann recorded his observations oI the psychological
and linguistic development oI his young son. For a century and a halI, Iew
iI any signiIicant advances were made in the study oI child language; Ior
the most part research was limited to diary like recordings oI observed
speech with some attempts to classiIy word types. Not until the second halI
oI the twentieth century did researchers begin to analyze child language
systematically and to try to discover the nature oI the psycholinguistic
process that enables every human being to gain Iluent control oI an
exceedingly complex system oI communication. In a matter oI a Iew
decades, some giant strides were taken, especially in the generative and
cognitive models oI language, in describing the acquisition oI particular
languages, and in probing universal aspects oI acquisition.
This wave oI research in child language acquisition led language
teachers and teacher trainers to study some oI the general Iindings oI such
research with a view to drawing analogies between Iirst and second
language acquisition, and even to justiIying certain teaching methods and
techniques on the basis oI Iirst language learning principles. On the surIace,
it is entirely reasonable to make the analogy. AIter all, all children, given a
normal developmental environment, acquire their native languages Iluently
and eIIiciently; moreover, they acquire them "naturally," without special
instruction, although not without signiIicant eIIort and attention to
language. The direct comparisons must be treated with caution, however.
There are dozens oI salient diIIerences between Iirst and second language
learning; the most obvious diIIerence, in the case oI adult second language
learning, is the tremendous cognitive and aIIective contrast between adults
and children.
This chapter is designed to outline issues in Iirst language learning as
a Ioundation on which you can build an understanding oI principles oI
second language learning. A coherent grasp oI the nature oI Iirst language
learning is an invaluable aid, iI not an essential component, in the con-
struction oI a theory oI second language acquisition. This chapter provides
an overview oI various theoretical positions in Iirst language acquisition,
and a discussion oI some key issues that are particularly signiIicant Ior an
understanding oI second language learning.
peech as psycholinguistic notion
Speech is one oI the most complex Iorms oI the highest
psychological Iunctions. The speech activity (SA) is characterized with the
polysemy, the multilevel structure, the mobility and the communication
with the rest psychological Iunctions. An implementation oI the speech
activity is provided with the range oI complex psychological mechanisms
at all phases (levels) oI its realization. These mechanisms were and they
still are subjects oI study Ior many psychologists and psycholinguists (74,
81, 95, 98, etc.). The most complete characterization oI psychological
mechanisms oI speech activity (SA) is presented in researches oI a national
psycholinguistic school ('school by V.A. Artemov - N. I. hinkin - I.A.
imnaya). In researches by N.I. hinkin and I.A. imnaya, the holistic
scientiIic concept oI psychological mechanisms (PMs) oI speech activity is
presented. According to this concept, the main PMs oI speech activity are:
the comprehension mechanism of mnemonic arrangement of S) (Iirst oI all
it`s the mechanism oI speech memory(# also the mechanism oI the
predictive analysis and speech synthesis(the mechanism oI the speech
prediction or, what`s the same, the prediction of speech(3 The most
complete variant oI this concept is reviewed in researches by I.A. imnaya,
which is titled 'Linguistic psychology oI speech activity.
The most important mechanism oI SA undoubtedly is the
comprehension mechanism. This mechanism provides intellectual analysis
as Irom the content side oI speech (Iirst oI all) so the structural arrangement
and language processing. The comprehension mechanism is implemented
through analytic-synthetic activity oI cerebral cortex, by basing on
recruitment oI all essential mental activities and operations (comparison,
matching, general conclusion, grading, analysis and synthesis). First oI all
the sub"ect of speech (reIlected in SA with fragment# occurrence, event oI
surrounding reality) is to be comprehended. On basis oI the mechanism,
motives and purposes oI speech communication are realized in Iull
measure, orientation in condition oI speech activity happens (particularly,
complex overall analysis oI speech communication situations). It`s
impossible to implement planning and programming oI speech activity
without recruitment of this mechanism. Due to the operation oI this
mechanism, the control oI speech activity processing and its outcomes
takes plece.
No less important Iunction is given to the 'mnemonic mechanism in
realization oI speech activity, including mechanism oI speech memory3 It
also provides all aspects oI speech activity, including and 'the content
aspect oI speech and the aspect oI language processing. ReIlection oI its
subject in speech one or other Iragments oI surrounding reality - is
impossible without actualization oI knowledge and conceptions, which are
existed in the memory, about the surrounding part oI the world. Like this
it`s impossible without actualization oI image-conceptions, existing in
consciousness, about signs oI language and rules oI its application in the
process oI speech communication. Both items are provided by the
operational mechanisms oI permanent memory. For example, processes oI
actualization and appropriate use oI statements oI the active vocabulary in
speech. Besides that, here is other Iunctions speech memory:
actualization oI knowledge and conceptions about realization
approaches oI speech activity (Iirst oI all, about ways oI realization oI
speech communication);
knowledge oI social rules ('norms) oI speech communication in
diIIerent situations oI SA realization;
actualization and applying traditionally well-established Ior this
language norms and rules oI speech statements (orthoepic, grammatical,
stylistic, orthographic items, used in writing speech), appropriate to the
'language norms deIinition;
actualization ('retrieving Irom memory) oI speech, language and
social 'etalons oI those units and items, Irom which appropriate aspects
oI speech activity are piled up (Ior example, etalons oI standard sound
image oI separate words and word combinations, 'grammatical etalons oI
word-Iorms, speech-motive ethalons, which are necessary Ior the process
oI speech realization due to pronunciation plan, etc.).
No less important role in SA realization is given to the processes oI
short-time operational memory. The process oI direct generation (creation)
and perceptions oI any speech statements, the realization oI actions, piling
up this process and operations, are not possible without keeping in memory
oI all components, creating this statement (during the period oI its
generation and analysis).
The psychological mechanism oI 'anticipatory analysis and
synthesis (speech predicting) became the subject oI an active study in the
national psycholinguistics only in the 70 years oI the XX century. However
the predicting mechanism oI speech activity is not yet studied suIIiciently
up to the present time.
According to the opinion oI A.A. Leontev an action oI this
mechanism can be described Irom the view point oI 'heuristic principle as
arrangement oI speech activity. According to this principle speech activity
must Ioresee the link, in which the strategy choice oI speech attitude would
be done, also admit diIIerent handling ways by making statements at
individual stages oI speech generation (perception). Thereupon the
important thing is application oI theory oI psycho-physiologic arrangement
oI movement ('models oI Iuture), created by N.A. Bernstein.
While considering appearance and realization oI an arbitrary
movement, N.A. Bernstein conceive its sequence in the Iollowing stages:
1) perception and estimation oI a situationJ
2) deIining outcomes oI a situation as a result oI activity;
3) what ought to be done to come to this outcome
4) what way it should be accomplished by (last two stages piles up
the programming oI the given task solution).
Obviously, 'to extrapolate the Iuture (the second stage) brain must
be able not only to reIlect existing, but to construct a model oI a Iuture
situation ('the model oI desirable Iuture). It diIIers Irom 'the model oI
present time: 'There are two categories (Iorms) oI perceptible world
constructing in brains, which exist as a kind oI unity. These models are: the
model oI past-present time, or become time, and the model oI the
Iorthcoming time. The second one crossIlows as a continuous stream into
the Iirst one., they suIIiciently diIIer Irom each other First oI all the Iirst
model is unique and categorical whereas the second one can rely only on
extrapolation with either probability measure.. An outcome is picked up
out oI possible predictable outcome, and an action is programmed with
only reIerence to the outcome. The notion which N.A. Bernstein denoted
with the 'extrapolation deIinition, nowadays deIined as 'probabilistic
Iorecasting oI the highest nerve activity in psychology and physiology.
So, SA in all its kinds is provided by means oI complex mechanism
oI the human nerve activity. Processes oI comprehensions, keeping in
memory, advance reIlection serve as internal mechanisms, which are
necessary to realize an activity oI the primary operating mechanism oI
speech, which is deIined by N.I. hinkin as an unity oI two links - the
mechanism oI words composition out oI elements and composition oI
phrase-announcements out oI words. Psychological and speech
mechanisms are complex multilink Iormation, each oI whose links are
tightly related with others.
-eneral #orms o# speech activity.
Speech activity is provided with such kinds as speaking# listening#
writing ability and reading (I.A. imnaya). These Iorms oI SA are
represented as main Iorms oI people communication in verbal
According to the opinion oI I.A. imnaya, the deIinition oI
translation as a Iorm oI SA isn`t selI-obvious. At any rate, it can`t be graded
as a main Iorm oI SA, because it isn`t directly related with neither Iorming
processes and thought Iormulating (as a subject oI SA), nor activity due to
its analysis and processing. It mainly provides a possibility oI joint speech
activity oI people, speaking and writing in diIIerent languages (e.g. using
diIIerent system oI language signs in speech communications).
Especially we should mention such a Iorm oI conscious human
activity as thinking ability. I.A. imnaya says that thinking ability is
lawIully denoted as a SA Iorm, iI it is considered as a peculiar kind oI
intercommunication, communication oI a human with himselI. However
unique grading oI thinking ability as a Iorm oI speech activity, in our
opinion, is not quite lawIully. The simplest, but unprejudiced analysis oI
thinking process indicates that it`s concerned equally with as speech
activity (particularly, generation and perception processes oI speech
statements) so thinking processes oI analytic synthesis human activity.
Interpretation oI thinking process in contemporary psychology also
provides nonverbal, so-called non-vocal Iorms oI its implementation (on
basis oI visual eIIicient and visual Iigurative thinking). Although non-
verbal approaches oI thinking process realization (in comparison with
approaches oI speech thinking) in analytic synthesis oI human activity are
not ranked so high (as major psychologist think, not more then 10), it
can`t be ignored completely. Hence thinking process ought to be considered
as an approach oI speech&thinking, but not as person`s speech activity. With
reIerences to the conditions and Iorms oI realization oI SA, thinking
process, is directly related with internal human speech. According to the
conception by I.A. imnaya, thinking process oIten precedes main Iorms oI
personal communication with other people (speaking, listening, reading
and writing ability), by carrying out a role oI mental 'draIt, preparation oI
speech activity 'in internal plan, selI-examination oI execution
correctness oI such SA Iorms as speaking and writing ability.
All kinds oI speech activity have many common things and at the
same time diIIer Irom each other according to several parameters. Due to
I.A imnaya, the most important parameters are:
a) the nature of verbal speech( intercommunicationJ
b) the role of speech activity in verbal intercommunicationJ
c) the direction of S) to receive or to send messagesJ
d) the link with means of thought formation and formulationJ
e) the nature of outer e4pressionJ
I) the nature of feedback, enabled in S) processes3
Let`s consider distinctive Ieatures oI various Iorms oI speech activity
on the assumption oI these parameters.:
1. According to the nature oI speech intercommunication, SA can be
divided into Iorms, realizing verbal communication# and Iorms, realizing
written communication. Speaking and listening Iall into Iirst category3
Exactly these Iorms oI SA, in the Iirst instance, develop in ontogenesis as
realization approaches oI personal communication with other people. A
human has heritable predisposition to these Iorms oI SA ('readiness). It is
based on the Iollowing points.
First oI all, people have a unique speciIic apparatus to realize
psychological intellectual activity ( the outcome oI which is - SA), namely
availability oI cerebral hemispheres oI the cerebral cortex. The highest
(cortical) sections oI cerebrum, providing human ability to become
proIicient in speech activity, have been already Iormed to a considerable
extent (approximately at two-thirds) by birth moment. Its intensive
Iormation take place Ior the Iirst year oI a baby liIe, so-called 'pre-speech
period oI SA Iormation, and by the moment oI acquiring expressive outer
speech, cerebrum cortex have already been Iormed as morphoIunctional
thing to a considerable extent.
Secondly, 'heritable readiness is determined by a special structure
oI individual anatomic parts oI human organism, 'responsible Ior acquiring
oI sounding articulate speech and taken aIter 'the peripheral speech
system. By the moment oI a baby birth, this speech system have Iormed to
a considerable extent, and during the 'pre-speech period (the Iirst year oI
liIe), its 'psychic physiological tuning takes place. 'Breakage oI
Iormation oI speciIied structural systems oI speech activity in the pre-natal
development period or during the childbirth, always brings to the breaches
oI speech Iormation (SA). ThereIore diagnosing a condition oI the
peripheral speech system and a neurophysiologic inspection along with
psychological-pedagogic 'testing certainly are included to the program oI
complex special-pedagogic (logopaedics) examinations.
Reading and writing ability belong to the second Iorms oI speech
activity. These Iorms oI SA are being Iormed on the basis oI two Iirst ones -
speaking and listening (writing ability unseldom is deIined as the reIlection
oI spoken language 'in written Iorm). By being secondary ones due to
appearing, reading and writing abilities represent more complex Iorms oI
SA. The pedagogical practice indicates that to possess this kinds oI SA a
special purposeful training (systemic education according to the speciIied
program) is necessary .
According to the role carried out during the communication
process, Iorms oI SA are divided to reactive and initial ones. Speaking and
writing ability are initial processes oI speech communication, which
stimulate listening and reading. Listening and reading act as responsive
reactive processes, and, at the same time, they are necessary conditions oI
processes oI speaking and writing ability. I.A imnaya pays our attention
on the Iact that listening and speaking in the psychological view are as
active as initial Iorms oISA. In the regular version, they represent processes
oI 'internal psychological activity. The last circumstance has an important
meaning in 'the methodical plan and must be taken into account by
correction pedagogues who work with children, having problems in
According to the direction oI speech activity, provided by person, to
receive or to send speech messages, Iorms oI SA are deIined as receptive
ones (e.g. based on perception processes, 'receptions) and productive
ones3 By means oI productive Iorms oI SA (speaking, writing ability), a
person provides the creation and sending oI a speech message. By means oI
receptive Iorms oI SA (listening, reading), the receiving and Iurther
processing oI a speech message are provided. These two pairs oI SA`s
Iorms diIIers among themselves according to approaches oI its
psychological-physiological arrangement. While providing receptive Iorms
oI SA, Iirst oI all, acoustic and optic analyzers operate, in productive ones
speech-motive and speech-acoustic analyzers are mainly equipped.
Receptive Iorms oI SA in many respects are deIined by a condition and
particulars oI acoustic and optic perception, but productive ones are deIined
by a condition and a development grade oI the motion sphere.
- DiIIerent Iorms oI speech activity suggest diIIerent ways oI
Iormation and Iormulation oI a thought (the subject oI SA), various Iorms
oI arrangement oI speech communication and appropriate speech forms3
There are three Iorms, according to I.A. imnaya`s deIinition, which are
outer verbal# outer writing and internal speech. Speech, being mainly a
Iacility and a Iorm oI speech, provides this Iunction by means oI various
kinds and Iorms oI speech. Three main speech Iorms can be distinguished:
1) verbal (outer speech) - expressive (colloquial) speech and
impressive speech (e.g. perception and speech comprehension);
2) written speech, including writing and reading abilities;
3) internal speech, providing and mediating both Iirst two Iorms oI
speech, which are verbal and written ones.
At the same time, thinking can be considered as a process oI thought
Iormation by means oI internal speech, speaking and writing abilities as
outer approaches oI Iormation and Iormulation oI a thought in verbal and
written ways oI communication. (Writing ability serves to Iixing purposes
oI written ways, and sometimes verbal ways oI Iormation and Iormulation
oI a thought.)
The main Iorms oI verbal expressive speech are monologic, dialogic
and group speech (polylogue), which can be deIined with the common
notion 'spontaneous speech. Indicated kinds and Iorms oI speech
'constitute live colloquial speech. However there are such Iorms oI verbal
speech, which don`t take the direct part in colloquial speech, although they
are its essential conditions. It`s repeatable and so-called nominative speech.
Similar Iorms oI speech activity diIIer Irom each other according to
the character oI feedback# realizing these processes. So in both productive
Iorms oI SA (speaking and writing abilities) nerve-muscular Ieedback is
realized Irom organ-perIormer (an articulation device oI a writing hand ) to
cerebrum section, 'organizing the program oI this activity. This Ieedback
(by mechanism oI 'reverse aIIerentation ) executes the Iunction oI internal
control and adjusyment. At the same time in regulating writing abilities at
initial stages oI its comprehension by children both Iorms oI muscle
control take part (internal 'scoring oI a word which is planned to be
written or its pronunciation in outer speech and aIIerent nervous impulses
Irom arm muscles, executing both motions).
Alongside with an internal Ieedback productive kinds oI SA are
regulated also by an external Ieedback (acoustical perception). In both
receiptive kinds oI SA - hearing and reading - the Ieedback is carried out
mainly on internal channels oI the semantic control and the semantic
analysis, its mechanism is still insuIIiciently studied and clear. II during
reading the Ieedback eIIect can be noticed in regressive movements oI eyes
and pauses oI look Iixing, at hearing this eIIect in general doesn`t observed
and controlled by internal nervously-muscular communication. It deIines
great complexity oI management and a data structure oI kinds oI SA.
Special experimental researches (L.A.Chistovich, A.. Sokolov,
V.I.Beltjukov, etc.) established, that the Ieedback mechanism oI speaking
process is used in receiptive kinds oI SA, Iirst oI all in hearing processes. It
has been established, that the Ieedback mechanism oI speaking process is
used and in receiptive kinds oI SA, Iirst oI all in hearing processes. During
perception oI speech 'motor-speaking activity is maniIested in two basic
Iorms: in increase oI a muscular tone in peripheral organs (mainly
articulation) oI the speech device and in the Iorm oI speciIic
micromovements oI these bodies (Iirst oI all movements oI language).
According to 'the kinematic scheme these micromovements almost
completely correspond to movements oI articulation bodies oI speaker,
whose speech the listener perceives. Thus, listener as though reproduces (in
internal motor speaking plan) aIter the speaker his speech statement. Such,
minimally delayed reproduction oI perceived speech provides its more
exact and Iull perception. Experts, who deal with children`s speech
Iormation (or its restoration at adults), must consider this Ieature oI process
oI hearing as kind oI SA. Here it is possible to allocate two basic aspects.
First, a methodical substantiation oI use oI loud and whispered
pronunciation oI the text during reading, repetition oI the speech statement
Ior the best perception oI the turned speech.
Secondly - interpretation oI "phenomenon" of a correct
pronunciation not only Irom the point oI view oI conIormity to phonetic
norms oI the native language, but also Irom the point oI view oI a
qualitative level oI Iormation oI universal psychology physiological
mechanisms oI "Ieedback", which provides realization oI speech activity.
The Logopaedist in his correctional work should make a start Irom
Iollowing methodical position: the better the child speaks# the better he
perceives the speech of people addressed to him3
All kinds oI speech activity diIIer Irom each other according to the
character of e4ternal e4pressiveness3 Speaking and writing act as external
clearly deIined processes oI creation and expression oI a mental problem
(and also transIers oI the inIormation) Ior others. Hearing and reading (in
its typical variant oI reading silent reading ) are externally not expressed
- by language means - processes oI internal mental activity. This
circumstance, must be considered by correctional teachers during lessons
with children having deviations in development. The constant
("continuous") monitoring by teacher the speech activity oI hearing and
reading can be carried out by means oI adjusting reIerences and the
instructions, "speciIying" questions, the educational and game tasks,
activating children`s attention and perception process, etc.
The analysis oI qualitative Ieatures oI the basic kinds oI SA shows,
that this activity in all cases is carried out by two subjects: on the one hand,
speaking and writing (the individual who is carrying out an initial,
productive kinds oI SA), and with another - listening and reading (the
person perceiving and analyzing speech, speech statements speaking or
At the same time Ior speech activity in all its kinds there is a number
oI general characteristics. According to concept I.A iminya such
characteristic are:
1) the structural organization including phase or level structure and
operational structure;
2) the subject (psychological) content;
3) the unity oI the internal and external parts;
4) unity oI its content and realization Iorms.
The major characteristic oI SA is the unity oI the internal and
external maintenance - the external e4ecutive# reali5ing part and internal,
externally not observable part.
Recently the Ieature oI speech Iormation in ontogenesis were studied
by many researchers - psychologists, linguists, teachers, deIektologists,
physiologists, representatives oI other sciences within the Iramework oI
which speech activity was studied Irom various positions. Among works oI
domestic scientists it is necessary to name, Iirst oI all such researchers as
L.S. Vygotsky, D.B. Elkonin, S.L. Rubinstein, F.A. Sohin, G.L. Rozengard,
P.M. Boskis, etc. In research works oI scientists on linguistics oI children's
speech the certain sequence oI speech Iormation was deIined: Irom a stage
oI babble till seven-nine years (A.N. Gvozdev, N.I.Lepskaja, S.N.Tsejtlin,
In psycholinguistic laws oI speech activity`s Iormation in
ontogenesis are the subject oI special research works; recently they have
made separate area oI this science developmental psycholinguistics3 For
some decades oI existence oI psycholinguistics in diIIerent scientiIic
schools several theoretical concepts were worked out in which Irom the
psycholinguistic positions were identiIy common patterns
oI Iirst language acquisition and development oI child`s skills oI
speech activity.
The most objective and scientiIically proved concept about laws oI
Iormation oI speech activity in ontogenesis, in our opinion, is the
theoretical model developed by A.A. Leontiev. In his works the detailed
critical analysis oI psycholinguistic models oI speech ontogenesis,
developed by Ioreign scientists.
Ontogenesis oI linguistic ability represents the most complicated
interaction, on the one hand, process oI dialogue oI adults with the child,
on the other hand - development oI child`s subjective and cognitive
Periodi+ation o# speech development. Characteristics o# the
successive stages o# speech development in childhood
In the psycholinguistic concepts oI speech ontogenesis A.A.
Leontiev leans on methodological approaches oI outstanding linguists and
psychologists oI XIX-XX centuries V. Humboldt, P.O. akobson, L.S.
Vygotsky, V.V.Vinogradova, A.N.Gvozdev, etc. As one oI basic conceptual
positions A.A. Leontiev points out the Iollowing statement oI V. Humboldt:
Children language acquisition is not an adaptation oI words, their Iolding
in memories and revival by means oI speech, but development oI linguistic
abilities in years and exercises.
Process oI speech activity Iormation (also acquisition oI the native
language system) in ontogenesis in the concept oI speech ontogenesis
A.A. Leontiev subdivides into a number oI the successive periods, or
1-st - preparatory (Irom the moment oI a birth till 1 year);
2-nd pre&preschool (Irom 1 year till 3 years);
?&rd & preschool from ? till = years(J
@&th & school from = till ;= years(3
The Iirst stage oI speech Iormation lasts Ior Iirst three years oI
child`s liIe. Development oI children's speech till three years (according to
the accepted in psychology traditional approach), is subdivided into three
basic stages:
1) pre&speaking stage (the Iirst year oI liIe) in which the periods oI
buzz and babble are distinguished.
2) the stage of primary development of language (pregrammar) - the
second year oI a liIe and
3) the stage of grammar mastering (the third year oI a liIe).
A.A. Leontev speciIies, that time Irameworks oI these stages are
extremely divergent (especially to three years); besides in development oI
children's speech we can distinguish the acceleration a shiIt oI age
characteristics on earlier age stages.
Language, being means oI realization oI SA as it was marked above,
represents system of special signs and rules of their combination3 Besides
the internal maintenance signs on language have also the external Iorm -
sound and writing. The child begins development oI language with
development oI the sound Iorm oI language sign`s expression.
Laws oI the speech phonetic part`s Iormation in ontogenesis oI
speech activity were an object oI research oI many authors: P.M. Boskis,
A.N. Gvozdev, G.A. Case, F.A Ray, etc. Data oI these researches are
generalized and analysed by E.M. Vereschagin, D. Slobina, A.A.Leontev,
A.M. Shahronovich, and others. We shall speciIy some oI these laws.
Development oI an articulation oI speech sounds is very
complicated problem, though the child starts "to practise" in pronouncing
sounds already Irom one and a halI-months, Ior mastering utter speaking
skills he needs Iour-Iive years. All normally developing children have a
certain sequence in development oI the language sound Iorm and in
development oI pre-speech reactions: bu55# $pipe$# babble and its
complicated variant - so called# modulated babble.
When a child is born, his appearance he marks by crying. Cry is the
Iirst voice reaction oI the child. Child`s crying stir up activity oI
articulatory, voice, respiratory parts oI speech apparatus.
For the child oI the Iirst year oI a liIe speech training in
pronouncing sounds is some kind oI game, involuntary action which gives
a pleasure to the child. The child persistently, during many minutes, can
repeat the same sound and thus practise in its articulation.
The period oI buzz is noted in all children. Already in 1,5 months,
and then - in 2-3months the child shows voice reactions in reproduction oI
such sounds as 9a&a&bm&bm# bl# u&gu# bu etc.| they later become basis Ior
Iormation oI articulate speech. Children oI all nations oI the world are
similar in buzz (under the phonetic characteristics).
In 4 months sound combinations become complicated: appear new,
type oI sounds | fn&agn# lya&alya# rn, etc.| Child while buzzing plays with
his articulation apparatus, sometimes repeats the same sound, getting
pleasure Irom it. Child usually buzz when he is dry, Ied and healthy. When
one oI relatives is near and starts ' talking" to the child, he with pleasure
listens to sounds and as though "picks up" them. On a background oI such
positive emotional contact child starts to imitate adults, tries to diversiIy his
voice expressive intonation.
According to oI some experimental researches, by 6 months sounds,
pronounced by children, start to remind sounds oI their native language. It
has been checked up in the Iollowing psycholinguistics experiment. The
examinee, were carriers oI diIIerent languages (English, German, Spanish,
Chinese) listened to the records oI crying, buzzing and babbling oI
children who were brought up in corresponding language environments.
Only at listening recordings oI six-seven-mouth children examinees could
distinguish with the big degree oI reliability sounds oI native language Ior
During buzz (the pronouncing oI separate sounds modulated by a
voice, under the characteristics corresponding vowels( the sound part oI
children's speech does not have Iour major Ieatures inherent in speech
a( correlationJ
b( the "Iixed" locali5ation (a "stable" articulation);
c( constant articulation positions;
d( relevance# i.e. conIormity oI these articulations orthopedic
(phonetic) norms oI the native language.
Only during babble (which is expressed in pronouncing
combinations oI the sounds corresponding a syllable, and various on
volume and structure oI syllabic numbers) these normative Ieatures oI
sound pronunciation gradually start to be shown. During this period the
syntagmatic organization oI speech is Iormed: structure oI a syllable
is Iormed (occurrence oI protoconsonant and protovowel), division oI
a stream oI speech into syllabic quantums which indicates the Iormation oI
child`s physiological mechanism oI syllable Iormation.
2-3 months child`s speech activity receives new "quality". There
appears a kind oI original equivalent oI a word, namely - the closed
sequence oI syllables incorporated by accenting, melody and unity oI way
oI articulation bodies. This structurally organized sound production
(Pseudo-words), as a rule, chorus: "words" have an accent on Iirst
"syllable", irrespective to the native language oI the child. Pseudo-words
does not have denotation (the Iirst and basic component of value oI a high-
grade word) and serve only Ior expression oI this or that vital to need or
yet completely realized "estimated" attitude to an external world.
At normal development oI the child in 6-7 months buzz gradually
passes in babble. At this time children say syllables like 9ba&ba# d"a&d"a#
da&da, etc.|, correlating them with the certain surrounding people. During
dialogue with adults the child gradually tries to imitate intonation, rate, a
rhythm, melody to reproduce numbers oI syllables; the volume oI babble
words which the child tries to repeat Ior adults extends.
In 8,5-9 months babble already has the modulated character with
various intonations. But not all children develop in this process is equally:
decrease in acoustical Iunction brings to the 'attenuation oI buzz, and this
can be granted as diagnostic symptom.
In 9-10 months there is a quantum leap in child`s speech
development. There appears Iirst "normative", "subjectively relevant"
words (corresponding lexical system oI the native language). The circle oI
articulations within two-three months does not extend, it is equal as there is
no reIerence oI sounds to new subjects or phenomena.
In 10-12 months child uses all nouns (which is the only part oI
speech presented in child`s "grammar") uses in the Nominative case in a
singular Iorm. Later child tries to connect two words in a phrase ,um#
giveK( (approximately in one and a halI year). Then the imperative mood oI
verbs is acquired +o&goK +ive&giveK(3 Traditionally it is considered, that
when child uses words in plural Iorms mastering oI grammar begins.
Depending on individual distinctions in rates oI psychophysical and
cognitive development all children diIIerently move ahead in language
(LINGUISTIC) development.
"Suspension" oI phonetic development during this period oI speech
ontogenesis (Ior 3-4 months) is connected with substantial growth oI
number oI words oI the active dictionary and, that is especially important,
with the advent oI the Iirst presence oI real generalizations, which
according to L.S. Vygotsky correspond, under the concept oI syncretic
coupling oI subjects to casual attributes . In child speech appears a
language sign. The word starts to act as structural unit oI language and
speech. II earlier separate pseudo-words arose on a background
semantically and articulation not diIIerentiated babble speech now all child
speech becomes verbal .
Child`s mastering oI sound sequence in a word is a result oI
development oI conditional communications` system. The child imitates by
borrows certain sound combinations (variants oI sound pronounce) Irom
surrounding people`s speech. Mastering language as complete system oI
signs, the child masters sounds at once as phonemes3 For example, the
phoneme || can be said by the child diIIerently - in a normative variant.
But in Russian these distinctions are not essential to dialogue because do
not conduct to Iormation oI diIIerent words on sense or diIIerent Iorms oI a
According to several researchers, the phonemic hearing is Iormed at
very early age. At Iirst the child learns to separate world around sounds (a
door scratch, rain noise, miaow oI a cat) Irom sounds oI the speech turned
to him. The child actively searches Ior a sound designation oI elements oI
surrounding world, catching them Irom lips oI adults. However, he uses the
borrowed Iunds in adult phonetic language "in his own way."
The presence oI such laws allows suggests to say that the child is in
the process oI language acquisition creates his own intermediate language
system. Subsequently, the voicing (deIined by sonority voices) becomes
diIIerential contrast oI the speech sound Ieature that allows your child to
double its supply oI classes oI consonants. Child can not borrow such rules
Irom adults. It is not because child cannot pronounce, say, the sound |d| -
he knows how to pronounce it, but thinks that the sound can only occur at
the beginning oI the word. Later, this "system oI rules" is corrected and the
child "brings" it to the adult`s system oI language. When we talk about the
phonetic part oI speech, it is clearl, thatchild must not be able to pronounce
sound adequately to perceive its diIIerential signs. This is illustrated by the
Iollowing example oI dialogue with an adult and a child:
- What is your name
- Malina ( Marina).
- Malina
- No, Malina.
- Well, I say - Malina
- Malina, Malina
- Oh, so your name is Marina
- es, Malina
These examples shows that a child who cannot pronounce the sound
|r|, adequately diIIerentiates it Irom the opposition sound. ThereIore he
rejects adult imitation oI the pronunciation though himselI can't express
diIIerentiation in pronunciation between correct and incorrect variant.
According to the Iacts mentioned above, we conclude that Iirst oI all
child masters purely external (i.e, sound) the structure oI the sign, which
subsequently, in the process oI operating with signs, causes the child to its
correct Iunctional use.
In the initial period oI language acquisition the scope oI bubble and
meaningIul words in the active vocabulary oI the child expands. This stage
is characterized by increase oI child`s attention to the surrounding speech,
in this period signiIicantly increases the activity oI child`s speech. Words
which child uses usually "ambiguous", "semantically polyphonic",
simultaneously by one word or word combination child represents several
concepts: the "bang" - has Iallen, lies, stumbled, "give" - give me, give,
oIIer, "Bibi" - walks, rides, car, airplane, and bicycle.
AIter one and a halI years growth oI child`s active vocabulary can be
noticed, there appears Iirst sentences consisting oI the whole words and
amorphous word-roots.
Pedagogical observations show that children do not immediately
acquire correct reproduction oI the language signs: some language Ieatures
assimilate earlier, others later. The easier word`s pronunciation and
structure, easier child remembers it. During this period, all oI the Iollowing
Iactors play particularly important role:
a) imitation (reproduction) oI surrounding speech;
b) Iormation oI a complex system oI Iunctional (psychophysical)
mechanisms Ior implementation oI speech;
c) conditions in which the child was brought up (the psychological
situation in the Iamily, caring attitude to the child, Iull speech environment,
adequate communication with adults).
Characteristic indicator oI children`s active speech development at
this stage is the gradual assimilation oI grammatical categories.
In this period we can point out a separate "sub stages" -
physiological grammar acquisition period - "when a child uses in
communication grammatical sentences without proper registration oI their
constituent words and phrases: Mom, give me a dolly ("Mom, give me the
doll "), Katy no ka ("Katy there is no cars "). In normal speech
development, this period lasts Irom several months to six months.
In preschool period oI speech development we can see various
phonetic inIringements children`s speech: they pass many sounds oI a
native language (don't say absolutely), rearrange, replace sounds with more
simple on an articulation sounds. These lacks oI speech (which are deIined
as physiological speech disorders) explain age imperIection oI the
articulation apparatus, and also an insuIIicient level oI phonemic
perception`s development (perception and diIIerentiation oI phonemes). At
the same time at this period coomonly seen reproduction by children oI
intonation-rhythmic, melodic contours oI words.
N.S.hukov noticed that the quantum leap in development oI child`s
speech occurs Irom the moment when he can correctly construct simple
sentences and change words in cases, numbers, persons and times. By the
end oI the preschool period children communicate among themselves and
people surrounding them, using simple sentences the simplest grammatical
categories oI speech.
Parents and educators must know that the optimum and intensive
period in child`s speech development is the 3
year oI liIe. During this
period all Iunctions oI the central nervous system, which provide the
Iormation oI system oI conditioned-reIlex communications, more easily
amenable to pedagogical inIluence. II conditions oI development are
adverse at this time, Iormation oI speech activity can delay in development
or even proceed in the "deIormed" variant.
Many parents evaluate their child's speech development only
according to the accuracy sound pronunciation . Such approach is incorrect
because the rate oI children's speech Iormation is a timely development oI
the child's ability to use their vocabulary in speech communication with
others in a diIIerent sentence structures. At 2,5-3 years children use
sentences oI three-Iour words using diIIerent grammatical Iorms (go - goes
we go I don`t go; doll to a doll - a doll).
Pre-school stage "oI the speech ontogenesis is characterized by the
most intensive children`s linguistic development. OIten a qualitative leap in
expanding oI active and passive vocabulary can be seen. Child begins to
use all parts oI speech in the structure oI Iormed during this period
linguistic ability gradually Iorm habits oI word Iormation.
The process oI language acquisition proceeds so rapidly that aIter
three years, children with a good level oI speech development Ireely
communicate not only with the help oI grammatically well-Iormed simple
sentences, but some types oI complex sentences. At this time, an active
vocabulary oI children reaches 3-4 thousand words, Iormed by more
diIIerentiated use oI words in accordance with their values, children master
the skill oI inIlection and word Iormation.
In the preschool period, phonetic aspects oI speech is Iormed
actively, children master the ability to reproduce the words oI varying
syllabic structure and sound pronounce. Even iI there exist individual
errors, they usually can be Iound in the most diIIicult in pronunciation
words, inIrequent or unIamiliar words. Adults have only once correct child
and to give a sample oI correct pronunciation and organize a small "speech
practice" in the normative pronunciation oI words as a child quickly
introduce a new word in their own independent speech.
By the end oI the preschool period oI speech development children
normally acquire phrase speech, which is phonetically, lexically and
grammatically correctly issued. Deviations Irom orthoepy norms oI oral
speech (separate "phonetic" and "grammatical" errors) have no Iixed
character and at corresponding pedagogical "updating" by adults are
quickly eliminated.
SuIIicient level oI phonemic hearing allows children to learn the
skills oI sound analysis and synthesis, which is a prerequisite Ior learning
literacy in the period oI schooling.
Analysis oI the Iormation oI diIIerent sides oI verbal activity in
children Irom the standpoint oI psychology and psycholinguistics has a
direct bearing on the problem oI connected speech during preschool
childhood. In preschool period the child's speech as a means oI
communication with adults and other children is directly related to the
speciIic situation oI visual communication. Being realized in dialogue
Iorm, it is pronounced situational (caused by a situation oI verbal
communication) in nature. With the transition to preschool age, the
emergence oI new activities, new relationships with adults are the
diIIerentiation oI Iunctions and Iorms oI speech. The child appears Iorm oI
speech messages in the Iorm oI story-monologue about what happened to
him is in direct contact with an adult. With the development oI independent
practice in the child there is a need to Iormulate their own plan, in the
argument about the method to practical action. There is a need Ior speech,
which is clear Irom the context oI the speech - a connected speech context.
The transition to this Iorm oI speech is determined primarily by
assimilation oI grammatical Iorms deployed statements. Simultaneously,
and the Iurther complication oI the dialogical Iorm oI speech, both in terms
oI its content and in terms oI increased language capabilities oI the child,
the activity and its involvement in the live speech communication.
Features oI the Iormation oI coherent monologic speech oI preschool
children with normal language development are considered by LP
Fedorenko, FA Sokhin, O. Ushakova and etc. Researchers note that at the
age oI 2-3 the elements oI monologue speech appear in the utterances oI
normally developing children. From 5-6 years child begins to acquire
rapidly monologic speech, as by this time the process oI phonemic speech
development is completed and children mostly learn morphological,
grammatical and syntactical structures oI the native language (A. Gvozdev,
GA Fomichev, V. C. Lotarev, O. Ushakov, etc.). From the age oI 4 children
acquire such types oI monologue speech as a description (a simple
description oI the subject) and the narrative, and in the seventh year oI liIe -
short arguments. Quotes Irom children oI Iive or six years now quite
inIormative, it has certain logic oI presentation. OIten, their stories are Iull
oI Iantasy, desire to invent episodes, which they did not have in their liIe
However, a complete acquisition oI monologue speech by children is
possible only in conditions oI aimed education. To the necessary conditions
oI successIul monologic speech acquisition the development oI special
reasons, the need Ior use oI monologic utterances; Iormation oI diIIerent
types oI control and selI-absorption oI the syntax are include. Acquisition
oI monologic speech is possible regulatory, planning Iunctions oI speech
appear (Vygotsky, Luria, A. Markov, etc.). Studies oI a number oI authors
have shown that preschool age children can learn skills oI planning
monologic utterances (L.R. Golubeva, N.A. Orlanova, etc.) This, in turn, is
largely determined by the gradual Iormation oI child`s inner speech.
According to A.A. Lublin and other authors, the transition oI Ioreign
"egocentric" speech to the internal normally occurs in 4 to 5 years.
It should be noted that the acquisition oI connected speech is
possible only iI there exists a certain level oI vocabulary and grammatical
structure oI speech Iormation.
Research works oI A.N. Gvozdev show that seven year old child
masters speech as a Iull means oI communication.
In the school period oI speech development improvement oI coherent
speech continues. Children consciously learn grammatical rules oI Iree
speech processing, Iully master the sound analysis and synthesis. At this
stage writing speech is Iormed.
The child's speech development - is a complex, diverse and Iairly
lengthy process. Children do not immediately take possession oI the
lexical-grammatical system, inIlection, word Iormation, sound
pronunciation and syllabic structure. Some groups oI linguistic signs
acquired much later than others. ThereIore, at various stages oI children's
speech development, some linguistic elements are already assimilated,
others acquired partly. At the same time mastering speech phonemic
structure is closely related to the progressive Iormation oI a common
vocabulary and grammatical structure oI the native language. In general,
the ontogenesis oI linguistic ability is a complex interaction with on the one
hand, the process oI adult-child communication and the process oI
subjective and cognitive activity development, on the other.
"heories o# #irst language ac$uisition
Everyone at some time has witnessed the remarkable ability oI
children to communicate. As small babies, children babble and coo and cry
and vocally or nonvocally send an extraordinary number oI messages and
receive even more messages. As they reach the end oI their Iirst year,
children make speciIic attempts to imitate words and speech sounds they
hear around them, and about this time they utter their Iirst "words." By
about 18 months oI age, these words have multiplied considerably and are
beginning to appear in two-word and three-word "sentences"commonly
reIerred to as "telegraphic" utterancessuch as "allgone milk," "bye-bye
Daddy," "gimme toy," and so Iorth. The production tempo now begins to
increase as more and more words are spoken every day and more and more
combinations oI two- and three-word sentences are uttered. By about age
three, children can comprehend an incredible quantity oI linguistic input;
their speech capacity mushrooms as they become the generators oI nonstop
chattering and incessant conversation, language thereby becoming a mixed
blessing Ior those around them This Iluency continues into school age as
children internalize increasingly complex structures, expand their
vocabulary, and sharpen communicative skills. At school age, children not
only learn what to say but what not to say as they learn the social Iunctions
oI their language.
How can we explain this Iantastic journey Irom that Iirst anguished
cry at birth to adult competence in a language From the Iirst word to tens
oI thousands From telegraphese at eighteen months to the compound
complex, cognitively precise, socioculturally appropriate sentences just a
Iew short years later These are the sorts oI questions that theories oI
language acquisition attempt to answer.
In principle, one could adopt one oI two polarized positions in the
study oI Iirst language acquisition. Using the schools oI thought reIerred to
in the previous chapter, an extreme behavioristic position would claim that
children come into the world with a tabula rasa# a clean slate bearing no
preconceived notions about the world or about language, and that these
children are then shaped by their environment and slowly conditioned
through various schedules of reinforcement3 At the other constructivist
extreme is the position that makes not only the rationalist/cognitivist claim
that children come into this world with very speciIic innate knowledge,
predispositions, and biological timetables, but that children learn to Iunc-
tion in a language chieIly through interaction and discourse.
These positions represent opposites on a continuum, with many pos-
sible positions in between. Now we are going to analyse main positions in
the study oI Iirst language acquisition.
The theory of imitation
The "oldest" one - is the theory oI imitation. It has adherents even
nowadays. The essence oI this theory: the child hears speech samples
around and imitates these designs.
This theory, in our opinion, is not convincing enough and
"exhaustive". We give only a Iew objections. Even Irom a large mass oI
diverse mono-sentences, which adults use, child among the Iirst sentences,
almost naturally, "selects" statements like "Mom", "Daddy," " Grandmom "
"Auntie", "Uncle," "Father," "Give, Take and some others. On this
objection the adepts oI the Imitation Theory give the Iollowing argument:
Iirst words, sentences reportedly consist oI the most common in the
articular pronunciation sounds and the articulation oI these sounds, the
child has the ability to perceive visually.
However, until now there is no clear deIinition oI criteria oI sounds`
articulatory complexity (simplicity) and their hierarchy according to this
Ieature. There is no evidence to suggest that, Ior example, the sound |d|
more diIIicult or easier to sound |b|, although the latter usually comes
beIore the sound |d|; just as there are no grounds to assert that the sound |l|
easier or harder then the sound |r| , |I| easier or harder then |h|, etc.
OI course, it does not depend on sounds` articulatory "simplicity" or
"complexity", especially in their "observability" and "unobservability"
(blind children without other anomalies, learn the sounds in the same
sequence as others). The point is in functional significance Ior the
Iormation oI language phonetic(or rather - phonemic) sounds system.
Sounds |a| |a|, |i|; |m|, |p|, |b|, |t|, |t|, |d|, |d|, |n| comes Iirst, not
because they are articulatory "easier" then others, but because they are
mostly pronounced (|a| - |o| |p| - |a| |p| - |m| |p| - |t|; |t| - |d|;, etc.)
and provide the necessary basis Ior the Iormation oI other sounds (or rather
- phonemes). With these basic sounds (phonemes) child is able to build the
Iirst words-sentences codiIied language to communicate, seeking to satisIy
their needs (biological or social).
Numerous targeted surveillance oI a language ontogenesis, and
experimental studies have shown invalidity oI Imitation Theory (275, 278,
284, etc.). In particular, it was proved that children usually do not use those
sentences (syntactic structures) which are heard Irom mother. II the
"average" child oI 18-20 months, is oIIered to repeat the word "doll", "sit",
'on, "table", he will do it (oI course, with a particular pronu
nciation oI most words). However, having the ability to repeat
isolated words, child can not repeat the sentence "The doll sits on the
table". He will say: "Doll" or "Doll sits", or "Dolly table" and not
otherwise, because in this age oI syntactic and semantic components oI its
linguistic mechanism "work" in that way, and any kinds oI imitation can
not change this mechanism (to special events children`s "repeating" phrases
are include). In addition, words which child repeats only at the insistence oI
adults, as a rule, would not be included into child`s independent speech.
6ehavioristic )pproaches
Language is a Iundamental part oI total human behavior, and
behaviorists examined it as such and sought to Iormulate consistent
theories oI Iirst language acquisition. The behavioristic approach Iocused
on the immediately perceptible aspects oI linguistic behaviorthe publicly
observable responsesand the relationships or associations between those
responses and events in the world surrounding them. A behaviorist might
consider eIIective language behavior to be the production oI correct
responses to stimuli. II a particular response is reinIorced, it then becomes
habitual, or conditioned. Thus children produce linguistic responses that are
reinIorced. This is true oI their comprehension as well as production
responses, although to consider comprehension is to wander just a bit out oI
the publicly observable realm. One learns to comprehend an utterance by
responding appropriately to it and by being reinIorced Ior that response.
One oI the best-known attempts to construct a behavioristic model oI
linguistic behavior was embodied in B.F. Skinner's classic, /erbal 6ehavior
(1957). Skinner was commonly known Ior his experiments with animal
behavior, but he also gained recognition Ior his contributions to education
through teaching machines and programmed learning (Skinner 1968).
Skinner's theory oI verbal behavior was an extension oI his general theory
oI learning by operant conditioning. Operant conditioning reIers to con-
ditioning in which the organism (in this case, a human being) emits a
response, or operant (a sentence or utterance), without necessarily
observable stimuli; that operant is maintained (learned) by reinIorcement
(Ior example, a positive verbal or nonverbal response Irom another person).
II a child says "want milk" and a parent gives the child some milk, the
operant is reinIorced and, over repeated instances, is conditioned.
According to Skinner, verbal behavior, like other behavior, is controlled by
its consequences. When consequences are rewarding, behavior is main-
tained and is increased in strength and perhaps Irequency. When conse-
quences are punishing, or when there is a total lack oI reinIorcement, the
behavior is weakened and eventually extinguished.
Skinner's theories attracted a number oI critics, not the least among
them Noam Chomsky (1959), who penned a highly critical review oI
/erbal 6ehavior3 Some years later, however, Kenneth MacCorquodale
(1970) published a reply to Chomsky's review in which he eloquently
deIended Skinner's points oI view. And so the battle raged on. Today vir-
tually no one would agree that Skinner's model oI verbal behavior ade-
quately accounts Ior the capacity to acquire language, Ior language
development itselI, Ior the abstract nature oI language, or Ior a theory oI
meaning. A theory based on conditioning and reinIorcement is hard-pressed
to explain the Iact that every sentence you speak or writewith a Iew
trivial exceptionsis novel, never beIore uttered either by you or by
anyone else These novel utterances are nevertheless created by the speaker
and processed by the hearer.
In an attempt to broaden the base oI behavioristic theory, some psy-
chologists proposed modiIied theoretical positions. One oI these positions
was mediation theory, in which meaning was accounted Ior by the claim
that the linguistic stimulus (a word or sentence) elicits a "mediating"
response that is selI-stimulating. Charles Osgood (1953, 1957) called this
selI-stimulation a "representational mediation process," a process that is
really covert and invisible, acting within the learner. It is interesting that
mediation theory thus attempted to account Ior abstraction by a notion that
reeked oI "mentalism"a cardinal sin Ior dyed-in-the-wool behaviorists
In Iact, in some ways mediation theory was really a rational/cognitive
theory masquerading as behavioristic.
Mediation theories still leIt many questions about language unan-
swered. The abstract nature oI language and the relationship between
meaning and utterance were unresolved. All sentences have deep structures
the level oI underlying meaning that is only maniIested overtly by
surIace structures. These deep structures are intricately interwoven in a
person's total cognitive and aIIective experience. Such depths oI language
were scarcely plumbed by mediational theory.
et another attempt to account Ior Iirst language acquisition within a
behavioristic Iramework was made by Jenkins and Palermo (1964). While
admitting that their conjectures were "speculative" and "premature," the
authors attempted to synthesize notions oI generative linguistics and
mediational approaches to child language.They claimed that the child may
acquire Irames oI a linear pattern oI sentence elements and learn the
stimulus-response equivalences that can be substituted within each Irame;
imitation was an important, iI not essential, aspect oI establishing stimulus-
response associations. But this theory, too, Iailed to account Ior the abstract
nature oI language, Ior the child's creativity, and Ior the interactive nature
oI language acquisition.
It would appear that the rigor oI behavioristic psychology, with its
emphasis on empirical observation and the scientiIic method, only began to
explain the miracle oI language acquisition. It leIt untouched genetic and
interactionist domains that could be explored only by approaches that
probed more deeply.
The theory of innate language knowledge
The theory oI innate linguistic knowledge, rather "young" and
popular in the last three or Iour decades. Supporters oI this theory (239,
275, etc.), believe that child is born with certain genetically determined
knowledge "oI language universals: universals oI semantic# syntactic#
le4ical# phonetic and other. Society also plays a role oI a "push" or
"activator" to "launch" oI innate linguistic mechanism.
It seems that the idea oI an innate capacity Ior various kinds oI
symbolization (landmark designation) in this theory is productive.
Probably, also productive is a thought oI innate universals oI language,
especially since some oI them (at least some semantic and syntactic
"rules") associated with mental universal (thinking, emotions, etc.).
At the same time, Ieatures oI diIIerent languages and diIIerent
cultures, "social environment" where child acquires language, show us the
uniqueness oI language acquisition as a whole system oI assimilation and
identity oI its individual components (syntactic, lexical, phonetic, etc.), by
children oI diIIerent nationalities. Consequently, not only congenital Iactors
determine the ontogenesis oI language and speech activities in general.
Considerable role in child`s speech development belongs to social Iactors,
in particular, the speciIics oI the language which child adopts.
The .ativist )pproach
Nativist approaches to the study oI child language asked some oI
those deeper questions. The term nativist is derived Irom the Iundamental
assertion that language acquisition is innately determined, that we are born
with a genetic capacity that predisposes us to a systematic perception oI
language around us, resulting in the construction oI an internalized system
oI language.
Innateness hypotheses gained support Irom several sides. Eric
Lenneberg (1967) proposed that language is a "species-speciIic" behavior
and that certain modes oI perception, categorizing abilities, and other
language-related mechanisms are biologically determined. Chomsky (1965)
similarly claimed the existence oI innate properties oI language to explain
the child's mastery oI a native language in such a short time despite the
highly abstract nature oI the rules oI language.This innate knowledge,
according to Chomsky, is embodied in a "little black box" oI sorts, a
language acquisition device (LAD). McNeill (1966) described LAD as
consisting oI Iour innate linguistic properties:
1) the ability to distinguish speech sounds Irom other sounds in the
2) the ability to organize linguistic data into various classes that can
later be reIined,
3) knowledge that only a certain kind oI linguistic system is possible
and that other kinds are not, and
4) the ability to engage in constant evaluation oI the developing lin-
guistic system so as to construct the simplest possible system out oI the
available linguistic input.
McNeill and other Chomskyan disciples composed eloquent argu-
ments Ior the appropriateness oI the LAD proposition, especially in con-
trast to behavioristic, stimulus-response (S-R) theory, which was so limited
in accounting Ior the generativity oI child language. Aspects oI meaning,
abstractness, and creativity were accounted Ior more adequately. Even
though it was readily recognized that the LAD was not literally a cluster oI
brain cells that could be isolated and neurologically located, such inquiry
on the rationalistic side oI the linguistic-psychological continuum stimu-
lated a great deal oI IruitIul research.
More recently, researchers in the nativist tradition have continued
this line oI inquiry through a genre oI child language acquisition research
that Iocuses on what has come to be known as Universal Grammar.
Positing that all human beings are genetically equipped with abilities that
enable them to acquire language, researchers expanded the LAD notion
into a system oI universal linguistic rules that went well beyond what was
originally proposed Ior the LAD. Universal Grammar (UG) research is
attempting to discover what it is that all children, regardless oI their
environmental stimuli (the language |s| they hear around them) bring to the
language acquisition process. Such studies have looked at question
Iormation, negation, word order, discontinuity oI embedded clauses,
subject deletion, and other grammatical phenomena.
One oI the more practical contributions oI nativist theories is evident
iI you look at the kinds oI discoveries that have been made about how the
system oI child language works. Research has shown that the child's
language, at any given point, is a legitimate system in its own right. The
child's linguistic development is not a process oI developing Iewer and
Iewer "incorrect" structures, not a language in which earlier stages have
more "mistakes" than later stages. Rather, the child's language at any stage
is systematic in that the child is constantly Iorming hypotheses on the basis
oI the input received and then testing those hypotheses in speech (and
comprehension). As the child's language develops, those hypotheses are
continually revised, reshaped, or sometimes abandoned.
BeIore generative linguistics came into vogue, Jean Berko (1958)
demonstrated that children learn language not as a series oI separate dis-
crete items, but as an integrated system. Using a simple nonsense-word
test, Berko discovered that English-speaking children as young as Iour
years oI age applied rules Ior the Iormation oI plural, present progressive,
past tense, third singular, and possessives. She Iound, Ior example, that iI a
child saw one "wug" he could easily talk about two "wugs," or iI he were
presented with a person who knows how to "gling," the child could talk
about a person who "glinged" yesterday, or sometimes who "glang."
Nativist studies oI child language acquisition were Iree to construct
hypothetical grammars (that is, descriptions oI linguistic systems) oI child
language, although such grammars were still solidly based on empirical
data. These grammars were largely Iormal representations oI the deep
structurethe abstract rules underlying surIace output, the structure not
overtly maniIest in speech. Linguists began to examine child language Irom
early one- and two-word Iorms oI "telegraphese" to the complex language
oI Iive- to ten-year-olds. Borrowing one tenet oI structural and
behavioristic paradigms, they approached the data with Iew preconceived
notions about what the child's language ought to be, and probed the data Ior
internally consistent systems, in much the same way that a linguist
describes a language in the "Iield." The use oI a generative Iramework was,
oI course, a departure Irom structural methodology.
The generative model has enabled researchers to take some giant
steps toward understanding the process oI Iirst language acquisition. The
early grammars oI child language were reIerred to as pivot grammars. It
was commonly observed that the child's Iirst two-word utterances seemed
to maniIest two separate word classes, and not simply two words thrown
together at random. Consider the Iollowing utterances:
My cap All gone milk
That horsie Mommy sock
Linguists noted that the words on the leIt-hand side seemed to belong
to a class that words on the right-hand side generally did not belong to.That
is, my could co-occur with cap# horsie# milk# or sock# but not with that or
all gone3 ,ommy is, in this case, a word that belongs in both classes. The
Iirst class oI words was called "pivot," since they could pivot around a
number oI words in the second, "open" class. Thus the Iirst rule oI the
generative grammar oI the child was described as Iollows:
Sentence - Pivot word Open word
Research data gathered in the generative Iramework yielded a
multitude oI such rules. Some oI these rules appear to be grounded in the
UG oI the child. As the child's language matures and Iinally becomes adult-
like, the number and complexity oI generative rules accounting Ior
language competence oI course boggles the mind.
In subsequent years the generative "rule-governed" model in the
Chomskyan tradition has been challenged. The assumption underlying this
tradition is that those generative rules, or "items" in a linguistic sense, are
connected serially, with one connection between each pair oI neurons in
the brain. A new "messier but more IruitIul picture" (Spolsky 1989: 149)
was provided by what has come to be known as the parallel distributed
processing (PDP) model (also called connectionism) in which neurons in
the brain are said to Iorm multiple connections: each oI the 100 billion
nerve cells in the brain may be linked to as many as 10,000 oI its counter-
parts. Thus, a child's (or adult's) linguistic perIormance may be the conse-
quence oI many levels oI simultaneous neural interconnections rather than
a serial process oI one rule being applied, then another, then another, and so
A simple analogy to music illustrates this complex notion. Think oI
an orchestra playing a symphony. The score Ior the symphony may have,
let's say, twelve separate parts that are perIormed simultaneously. The
"symphony" oI the human brain enables us to process many segments and
levels oI language, cognition, aIIect, and perception all at oncein a
parallel conIiguration. And so, according to the PDP model, a sentence
which has phonological, morphological, syntactic, lexical, semantic,
discourse, soci-olinguistic, and strategic propertiesis not "generated" by a
series oI rules (Ney Pearson 1990; Sokolik 1990). Rather, sentences are
the result oI the simultaneous interconnection oI a multitude oI brain cells.
All oI these approaches within the nativist Iramework have made at
least three important contributions to our understanding oI the Iirst
language acquisition process:
1) Ireedom Irom the restrictions oI the so-called "scientiIic method"
to explore the unseen, unobservable, underlying, abstract linguistic
structures being developed in the child;
2) systematic description oI the child's linguistic repertoire as either
rule-governed or operating out oI parallel distributed processing capacities;
3) the construction oI a number oI potential properties oI Universal
/unctional (pproaches
More recently, with an increase in constructivist approaches to the
study oI language, we have seen a shiIt in patterns oI research. The shiIt
has not been so much away Irom the generative/cognitive side oI the
continuum, but perhaps better described as a move even more deeply into
the essence oI language. Two emphases have emerged:
(a) Researchers began to see that language was one maniIestation oI
the cognitive and aIIective ability to deal with the world, with others, and
with the selI;
(b) Moreover, the generative rules that were proposed under the
nativistic Iramework were abstract, Iormal, explicit, and quite logical, yet
they dealt speciIically with the forms oI language and not with the the
deeper functional levels oI meaning constructed Irom social interaction.
Examples oI Iorms oI language are morphemes, words, sentences, and the
rules that govern them. Functions are the meaningIul, interactive purposes,
within a social (pragmatic) context, that we accomplish with the Iorms.
-ognition and !anguage Development
Lois Bloom (1971) cogently illustrated the Iirst issue in her criticism
oI pivot grammar when she pointed out that the relationships in which
words occur in telegraphic utterances are only superIicially similar. For
example, in the utterance "Mommy sock," which nativists would describe
as a sentence consisting oI a pivot word and an open word, Bloom Iound at
least three possible underlying relations: agent-action (Mommy is putting
the sock on), agent-object (Mommy sees the sock), and possessor-
possessed (Mommy's sock). By examining data in reIerence to contexts,
Bloom concluded that children learn underlying structures, and not
superIicial word order. Thus, depending on the social context, "Mommy
sock" could mean a number oI diIIerent things to a child. Those varied
meanings were inadequately captured in a pivot grammar approach.
Lewis Carroll aptly captured this characteristic oI language in
Through the !ooking +lass (1872), where Alice argues with Humpty
Dumpty about the meanings oI words:
"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornIul tone,
"it means just what I choose it to meanneither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so
many diIIerent things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master
that's all."
Bloom's research, along with that oI Jean Piaget, Dan Slobin, and
others, paved the way Ior a new wave oI child language study, this time
centering on the relationship oI cognitive development to Iirst language
acquisition. Piaget (Piaget Inhelder 1969) described overall development
as the result oI children's interaction with their environment, with a
complementary interaction between their developing perceptual cognitive
capacities and their linguistic experience. What children learn about
language is determined by what they already know about the world. As
Gleitman and Wanner (1982) noted in their review oI the state oI the art in
child language research, "children appear to approach language learning
equipped with conceptual interpretive abilities Ior categorizing the
world. . . . Learners are biased to map each semantic idea on the linguistic
unit word3$
Dan Slobin (1971, 1986), among others, demonstrated that in all lan-
guages, semantic learning depends on cognitive development and that
sequences oI development are determined more by semantic complexity
than by structural complexity. "There are two major pacesetters to language
development, involved with the poles oI Iunction and oI Iorm: (1) on the
Iunctional level, development is paced by the growth oI conceptual and
communicative capacities, operating in conjunction with innate schemas oI
cognition; and (2) on the Iormal level, development is paced by the growth
oI perceptual and inIormation-processing capacities, operating in
conjunction with innate schemas oI grammar" (Slobin 1986). Bloom (1976)
noted that "an explanation oI language development depends upon an
explanation oI the cognitive underpinnings oI language: what children
know will determine what they learn about the code Ior both speaking and
understanding messages." So child language researchers began to tackle the
Iormulation oI the rules oI the functions oI language, and the relationships
oI the forms oI language to those Iunctions.
Social 1nteraction and !anguage Development
In recent years it has become quite clear that language Iunctioning
extends well beyond cognitive thought and memory structure. Here we see
the second, social constructivist emphasis oI the Iunctional perspective.
Holzman (1984), in her "reciprocal model" oI language development,
proposed that "a reciprocal behavioral system operates between the
language-developing inIant-child and the competent |adult| language user
in a socializing-teaching-nurturing role." Some research (Berko-Gleason
1988, Lock 1991) looked at the interaction between the child's language
acquisition and the learning oI how social systems operate in human
behavior. Other investigations (Ior example, Budwig 1995, Kuczaj 1984) oI
child language centered on one oI the thorniest areas oI linguistic research:
the Iunction oI language in discourse. Since language is used Ior
interactive communication, it is only Iitting that one study the commu-
nicative Iunctions oI language: What do children know and learn about
talking with others about connected pieces oI discourse (relations between
sentences) the interaction between hearer and speaker conversational
cues Within such a perspective, the very heart oI languageits
communicative and pragmatic Iunctionis being tackled in all its vari-
OI interest in this genre oI research is the renewed interest in the per-
Iormance level oI language. All those overt responses that were so careIully
observed by structuralists and hastily weeded out as "perIormance vari-
ables" by generative linguists in their zeal to get at competence have now
returned to the IoreIront. Hesitations, pauses, backtracking, and the like are
indeed signiIicant conversational cues. Even some oI the contextual cate-
gories described byoI all peopleSkinner, in /erbal 6ehavior# turn out
to be relevant The linguist can no longer deal with abstract, Iormal rules
without dealing with all those minutiae oI day-to-day perIormance that
were previously set aside in a search Ior systematicity.
The Social&biological theory
The basic content oI social-biological theory is that a child,
possessing an innate ability to symbolize (including language), and
receiving Irom adult material oI a language, "recycles" it, and with the
development actively and independently acquire successive systems
"childish" language, gradually bringing them closer to the adults` linguistic
The main -onditions necessary for the acquisition of language
Child must have a certain level oI Iormation (maturation) oI the
nervous system (central and peripheral), suIIicient Ior language acquisition
at concrete stage oI development. Herewith the Iollowing regularity oI
ontogenesis must be taken into consideration: development as a social
phenomenon (in particular, the process oI socialization) leads biological
maturation. It is known that many brain structures in humans are Iinally
Iormed only at the time oI "early adulthood" (approximately till the age oI
21). However, a person takes possession oI the language (all oI its Iorms),
much earlier than this age, namely: the "nucleus" oI oral and the kinetic
language at three years, "nucleus" oI writing language at the age Irom eight
to ten years. We should not Iorget that language acquisition requires
maturation oI well-deIined structures oI the nervous system and the
establishment oI certain relationships between them. This situation is
conIirmed, in particular, diIIerent Iorms oI pathology oI the nervous
system. For example, many children with cerebral paralysis master
language as a sign system, although usually have articular disorders,
sometimes heavy.
In addition, child`s peripheral articular and hearing apparatus should
be Iormed, which allows him to speak and understand directed speech.
However, even with signiIicant deIormation oI the peripheral articular
apparatus, the child learns language as a sign system (in this case child
expressed disturbances usually occur sound pronunciation and prosody). It
is otherwise happens in violation oI auditory Iunction. Moderate and severe
hearing loss naturally leads to abnormal development oI all components oI
language: not only the phonetic and phonemic, but also semantic and
syntactic, lexical, morphological and morph-syntax.
OI course, language learning is largely due to the mastery oI the
culture (spiritual and material), and above all - oI the people whose
language child learns. As mentioned above, especially ethnic cultures,
countries deIine certain Ieatures oI the language.
Necessary condition Ior language acquisition is the ability and need
to communicate. It is known that children with autism who have extremely
limited ability mentioned above develop abnormally, because oI this they
do not master language at all, or acquire language usually with signiIicant
It has been said that child must possess an innate ability to
symbolize, also in the language area.
In order to acquire language, the child must receive correct patterns
oI surrounding speech. Also verbal behavior oI surrounding people should
be correct: paying attention to child`s speech, providing them with an
unobtrusive aid in the production oI statements, the approval oI desire to
verbal communication, tactical error correction in speech, etc. Especially
we must mention the desire oI adults to supplement children`s vocabulary.
Usually adults surrounding child supplement his vocabulary by so-called
nominative vocabulary, by "sub"ective" words ("Say: home, rooster,
machine, male, shoes"), leaving the "aside$ predicative words (verbs,
adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, etc.). In the center oI separate statement,
as we know, is a predicate, in the expanded utterance (text) - the system oI
predicates. ThereIore, these words should take the main place in the child`s
Finally, one oI the most important conditions Ior language
acquisition - is a Iavorable social environment in which child lives:
benevolent attitude toward child, desire to communicate with child, proper
education and training. In communication the most important role is given
to mother.
AIter analyzing psycholinguistic research works we distinguished
three main stages oI native language acquisition:
The first phase (Irom 0 to 9-10 months). - Assimilation oI codiIied
impressive speech (verbal and kinetic), oI expressive kinetic and
uncodiIied oral expressive speech.
The second phase (Irom 9-10 months. Up to 11 years) - the
assimilation oI all Iorms oI codiIied oral and sign language. This stage, in
turn, consists oI 4 stages.
(a) the Iirst stage (Irom 10.9 to 18 months.) the start in acquisition
oI language system;
(b) the second stage (Irom 18 months. Up to 3 years) - the
acquisition oI "nucleus" oI language system;
(c) third stage (Irom 3 to 5 years) acquiring the "periphery" oI the
linguistic system;
(d) the Iourth stage (Irom 5 to 11 years and later) - Improving the
existing language system.
The third stage (usually - Irom 6 to 11 years) - acquisition oI written
language (reading and writing).
(a) the Iirst stage - acquisition oI initial reading skills (Irom 6 to 8
years old) and letters (Irom 6-7 to 9 years);
(b) the second stage (Irom 8-9 to 11 years later) - improving reading
and writing skills.
Several theoretical positions have been sketched out here. A
complete, consistent, uniIied theory oI Iirst language acquisition cannot yet
be claimed; however, child language research has maniIested some
enormous strides toward that ultimate goal. And even iI all the answers are
Iar Irom evident, maybe we are asking more oI the right questions.
Glossary & New Concepts
Speech activity
Psychological mechanisms of speech
-omprehension mechanisms
,emmorical mechanisms
interrelated speech acts aimed at achieving the
same goal. Speech activity is divided
into reading, writing, speaking, translation, etc.
the main PMs oI speech activity are: the
comprehension mechanism oI mnemonic
arrangement oI SA (Iirst oI all it`s the
mechanism oI speech memory), also the
mechanism oI the predictive analysis and speech
synthesis(the mechanism oI the speech
prediction or, what`s the same, the prediction oI
This mechanism provides intellectual analysis as
Irom the content side oI speech (Iirst oI all) so
the structural arrangement and language
i.e. mechanism oI speech memory
is a process whereby meaning is deIined and
shared between living organisms.
Communication requires a sender, a message,
and an intended recipient, although the receiver
need not be present or aware oI the sender's
intent to communicate at the time oI
communication; thus communication can occur
across vast distances in time and space.
Communication requires that the communicating
parties share an area oI communicative
.on&verbal communication
/erbal communication
7ritten communication
The peripheral nervous system
Speech unit
Developmental psycholinguistics
describes the process oI conveying meaning in
the Iorm oI non-word messages through
e.g. gesture, body language or posture; Iacial
expression and eye contact, object
communication such as clothing, hairstyles,
architecture, symbols and inIographics, as well
as through an aggregate oI the above.
is one way Ior people to communicate Iace-to-
Iace. Some oI the key components oI verbal
communication are sound, words, speaking, and
is a clear expression oI ideas in writing; includes
grammar, organization, and structure.
is a channel Ior the relay Ior sensory and motor
impulses between on the one hand and body
surIace and internal organs on the other.
is a language unit, which is able to serve speech
Iunctions listening and understanding oral
is the absorption oI the meanings oI words and
sentences by the brain
is when the character may be speaking his or her
thoughts aloud, directly addressing another
character, or speaking to the audience, especially
the Iormer.
is a literary and theatrical Iorm consisting oI a
written or spoken conversational exchange
between two or more people.
reIers to the way a word or a language is spoken,
or the manner in which someone utters a word.
II one is said to have "correct pronunciation",
then it reIers to both within a particular dialect.
is a mechanical wave that is an oscillation
oI pressure transmitted through a solid, liquid,
or gas, composed oI Irequencies within the
range oI hearing and oI a level suIIiciently
strong to be heard, or the sensation stimulated in
organs oI hearing by such vibrations.
(Irom the Greek: , phnma, "a sound
uttered") is the smallest segmental unit oI sound
employed to Iorm meaningIul contrasts between
studies children's ability to learn language.
( o , ontos present participle oI 'to
be', genesis 'creation') describes the origin and
the development oI an organism Irom
the Iertilized egg to its mature Iorm.
structurally organized sound production oI a
)ctive vocabulary
Passive vocabulary
is made up oI words that come to our mind
immediately when we have to use them in a
sentence, as we speak.
a rough grouping oI words person understands
when hears them
Topics & Questions for Study and Discussion
.ote0 1tems listed below are coded for either individual 1( work#
group2pair +( work# or whole&class -( discussion# as suggestions to the
instructor on how to incorporate the topics and questions into a class
1. (G) First language acquisition is a natural process common to all
human beings. In small groups oI three to Iive, share your own opinion
about natural and social sides oI Iirst language acquisition.
2. (I/C) Make your own classiIication oI Iirst language acquisition
and list major characteristic oI every period. Share your points oI view with
3. (C) Discuss in class the relation oI Iirst language acquisition with
development oI mental process in concrete period.
4. (I/C) As you understood language acquisition and communication
are leading activities oI toddlers and pre-school children. Work out game
tasks Ior children oI diIIerent age directed to develop speech activity.
5. (I/C) Now, think oI exercises and game tasks directed to
development oI child`s active vocabulary. Share with class.
6. (I/C) Think oI possible ways oI monitoring deviation in the child`s
speech development. In class by analyzing all proposals Iind out the most
reliable and the most early in monitoring.
References & Suggested Readings
1 A B. A. ut ]nt n //
u , 85-m
x .. V. , 1973. - c. 56 - 61
2 F . . B . .: ., 1930. - 256c.
3 Fm . A. u ] x
] . ., 1966. - 367c.
4 F P. M., .. u u
n u
//B u-t m
. 7 (10). ., 1939. - c. 25-31.
5 F] . //H
XIXXX . u u. H. 3-. .,
1965. 4/11. - c. 86-91
6 B . . H u
. ., 1956. - 386c.
7 B . . m u ]n.
., 1960. - 498c.
8 B . . // . u. 8 . .
1. ., 1982. - 359c.
9 B .. m ut // . u. 8 . . 2.
., 1982. - 269c.
10 B ., 3 .A. B
n n // B
. 1959. 2. c. 49-53
11 B.. ]
u u m mt
u . . . . . ., 1987.
12 B.. u mt
u . H. 2-. ., 2004.
13 t B. H m.
., 1984.
14 X .H. u. ., 1958.
15 X .H. H u
nt u // H. A . B. 113. ., 1960.
16 X .H. u
u // H m. 4. ., 1965.
17 X u. ., 1994.
18 X . , m E.., u .E. :
u mt. ., 1998.
19 X A.. 3 . ., 1991
20 .. n. ., 1990.
21 t A.A. u t. ., 1965.
22 t A.A. B ut n
u x // B x
u u . ., 1967.
23 t A.A. u n
x u . ., 1969.
24 A.. u ] t. ., 1950.
25 A.. ] //
u t. . ., 1968.
26 A..
. ., 1974.
27 E.H. u
u m. ., 1989.
28 m . . . H. 2-. .,
29 m .. . H. 2-.
., 1976.
30 m .. . .: .,
31 - .. ut
. ., 1948.
32 - .. u
. ., 1963.
33 ., x. / . . A.A.
t. H. 2-. ., 2003.
34 Vm .. u
] // u ]u
u. ., 1985.
35 Vm .. ut n
// . ., 1986.
36 Bu A.M., X. E
nt u // HA
m . . 37. ., 1978. 3. c. 123-129
37 Bu A.M., Rt . u
u. .,
38 3 .F. 3t ut +
u um // B u t
m mt. ., 1962.
39 3 .F. t u
u // X u .
. 1. ., 1978.
40 3 .F. u mt //
H u . ., 1989.
41 uu .A., x B.A. B u //
B u . ., 1969.
42 A.. B ut m. ., 1962.
43 .. . ., 2000.
44 Anivan, S. (Ed.). Current Developments in Language Testing.
Singapore: SEAMEO Regional Language Center. 1991.
45 Ausubel, David A. Introduction to part one. In Anderson
Ausubel .Bibliography 303. 1965.
46 Bachman, Lyle F. The TOEFL as a measure oI communicative
competence. Paper delivered at the Second TOEFL Invitational
ConIerence, Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ, October 1984.
47 Bachman, Lyle F. Fundamental Considerations in Language
Testing. New ork: OxIord University Press. 1990.
48 Bachman, Lyle F. What does language testing have to oIIer
TESOL Quarterly 25: 671-704. 1991.
49 Bacon, Susan M. The relationship between gender,
comprehension, processing strategies, and cognitive and aIIective response
in Ioreign language listening. Modern Language Journal 76:160-178. 1992.
50 Bailey, Kathleen M. Classroom-centered research on language
teaching and learning. In Celce-Murcia 1985.
51 Bailey, Kathleen M. Class lecture, Spring 1986. Monterey
Institute oI International Studies. 1986.
52 Baldwin,AlIred. The development oI intuition. In Bruner 1966a.
53 Banathy, Bela,Trager, Edith C, and Waddle, Carl D. The use oI
contrastive data in Ioreign language course development. In Valdman 1966.
54 Bandura, Albert and Walters, Richard H.. Social Learning and
Personality Development. New ork: Holt, Rinehart Winston. 1963
55 Bloom L. Language Development. Cambridge (Mass.), 1970.
56 Chomsky Noam Linguistic theory. In Mead. 1966.
57 Concise Columbia Encyclopedia, third edition. New ork:
Columbia University Press, 1994
58 Kimble, Gregory A. and Garmezy, Norman. Principles oI
General Psychology. Second Edition. New ork:The Ronald Press 1963.
59 Osgood, Charles E. Method and Theory in Experimental
Psychology. New ork: OxIord University Press. 1953.
60 Osgood, Charles E. Contemporary Approaches to Cognition.
Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 1957.
61 Pinker, Stephen. The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates
Language. New ork: William Morrow, 1994.
62 Piaget, Jean. The Principles oI Genetic Epistemology. New ork:
Basic Books. 1972.
63 Piaget Jean and Inhelder B. The Psychology oI the Child. New
ork: Basic Books. 1969.
64 Skinner, B.F. Science and Human Behavior. New ork:
Macmillan. 1953
65 Spivey, N.N. The Constructivist Metaphor: Reading, Writing, and
the Making oI Meaning. San Diego: Academic Press. 1997.
66 Twaddell, Freeman. On DeIining the Phoneme. Language
Monograph Number 166. 1935.
67 Twain, Mark. The Innocents Abroad. Volume 1. New ork:
Harper Brothers. 1869.
68 Vygotsky, Lev S. Thought and Language. Cambridge: MIT Press.
69 Vygotsky, Lev S. Mind in Society: The Development oI
Higher1978. Psychological Processes. Cambridge: Harvard University
70 Nyikos, Martha and Hashimoto, Reiko. Constructivist theory
applied to collaborative learning in teacher education: In search oI PD.
Modern Language Journal 81: 506-517. 1997.
71 imnjaja I.A. Psychology oI teaching Ioreign languages. M.,
3.2 Psychological features of differentiation in first and second
language acquisition; linguistic ability`s formation, diagnosing and
THE increased temp oI research on Iirst language acquisition in the
last halI oI the twentieth century attracted the attention not only oI linguists
oI all kinds but also oI educators in various language-related Iields. Today
the applications oI research Iindings in Iirst language acquisition are
widespread. In language arts education, Ior example, teacher trainees are
required to study Iirst language acquisition, particularly acquisition aIter
age Iive, in order to improve their understanding oI the task oI teaching
language skills to native speakers. In Ioreign language education, most
standard texts and curricula now include some introductory material in Iirst
language acquisition. The reasons Ior this are clear. We have all observed
children acquiring their Iirst language easily and well, yet individuals
learning a second language, particularly in an educational setting, can meet
with great diIIiculty and sometimes Iailure. We should thereIore be able to
learn something Irom a systematic study oI that Iirst language learning
What may not be quite as obvious, though, is how the second
language teacher should interpret the many Iacets and sometimes
conIlicting Iindings oI Iirst language research. First language acquisition
starts in very early childhood, but second language acquisition can happen
in childhood, early or late, as well as in adulthood. The main question,
which is actual, nowadays, is - Do childhood and adulthood, and diIIer-
ences between them, hold some keys to language acquisition models and
theories How diIIerent levels oI linguistic abilities development inIluences
on eIIectiveness oI language acquisition
Dispelling myths
The Iirst step in investigating age and acquisition might be to dispel
some myths about the relationship between Iirst and second language
acquisition. H.H. Stern (1970: 57-58) summarized some common
arguments that cropped up Irom time to time to recommend a second
language teaching method or procedure on the basis oI Iirst language
1) in language teaching, we must practice and practice, again and
again. Just watch a small child learning his mother tongue. He repeats
things over and over again. During the language learning stage he practices
all the time. This is what we must also do when we learn a Ioreign
2) language learning is mainly a matter oI imitation. ou must be a
mimic. Just like a small child. He imitates everything.
3) Iirst, we practice the separate sounds, then words, then sentences.
That is the natural order and is thereIore right Ior learning a Ioreign
4) watch a small child's speech development. First he listens, then he
speaks. Understanding always precedes speaking. ThereIore, this must be
the right order oI presenting the skills in a Ioreign language.
5) a small child listens and speaks and no one would dream oI
making him read or write. Reading and writing are advanced stages oI
language development. The natural order Ior Iirst and second language
learning is listening, speaking, reading, writing.
6) you did not have to translate when you were small. II you were
able to learn your own language without translation, you should be able to
learn a Ioreign language in the same way.
7) a small child simply uses language. He does not learn Iormal
grammar. ou don't tell him about verbs and nouns. et he learns the
language perIectly. It is equally unnecessary to use grammatical
conceptualization in teaching a Ioreign language.
These statements represent the views oI those who Ielt that "the Iirst
language learner was looked upon as the Ioreign language teacher's dream:
a pupil who mysteriously laps up his vocabulary, whose pronunciation, in
spite oI occasional lapses, is impeccable, while morphology and syntax,
instead oI being a constant headache, come to him like a dream" (Stern
1970). The statements also tend to represent the views oI those who were
dominated by a behavioristic theory oI language in which the Iirst language
acquisition process was viewed as consisting oI rote practice, habit
Iormation, shaping, overlearning, reinIorcement, conditioning, association,
stimulus and response, and who thereIore assumed that the second
language learning process involves the same constructs.
There are Ilaws in each view. Sometimes the Ilaw is in the
assumption behind the statement about Iirst language learning, and
sometimes it is in the analogy or implication that is drawn; sometimes it is
in both. The Ilaws represent some oI the misunderstandings that need to be
demythologized Ior the second language teacher. Through a careIul
examination oI those shortcomings in this chapter, you should be able, on
the one hand, to avoid certain pitIalls, and on the other hand, to draw
enlightened, plausible analogies wherever possible, thereby enriching your
understanding oI the second language learning process itselI.
As cognitive and constructivist research on Iirst language acquisition
gathered momentum, second language researchers and Ioreign language
teachers began to recognize the mistakes in drawing direct global analogies
between Iirst and second language acquisition. Some oI the Iirst warning
signals were raised early in the process by the cognitive psychologist David
Ausubel (1964). In Ioreboding terms, Ausubel outlined a number oI glaring
problems with the then-popular Audiolingual Method, some oI whose pro-
cedures were ostensibly derived Irom notions oI "natural" (Iirst) language
learning. He issued the Iollowing warnings and statements:
- the rote learning practice oI audiolingual drills lacked the
meaningIulness necessary Ior successIul Iirst and second language
- adults learning a Ioreign language could, with their Iull cognitive
capacities, beneIit Irom deductive presentations oI grammar.
- the native language oI the learner is not just an interIering Iactor
it can Iacilitate learning a second language.
- the written Iorm oI the language could be beneIicial.
- students could be overwhelmed by language spoken at its "natural
speed," and they, like children, could beneIit Irom more deliberative speech
Irom the teacher.
These conclusions were derived Irom Ausubel's cognitive
perspective, which ran counter to prevailing behavioristic paradigms on
which the Audiolingual Method was based. But Ausubel's criticism may
have been ahead oI its time, Ior in 1964 Iew teachers were ready to
entertain doubts about the widely accepted method.
By the 1970s and 1980s, criticism oI earlier direct analogies between
Iirst and second language acquisition had reached Iull steam. Stern (1970),
Cook (1973, 1995), and Schachter (1988), among others, addressed the
inconsistencies oI such analogies, but at the same time recognized the
legitimate similarities that, iI viewed cautiously, allowed one to draw some
constructive conclusions about second language learning.
"ypes o# comparison and contrast
The comparison oI Iirst and second language acquisition can easily
be oversimpliIied. At the very least, one needs to approach the comparison
by Iirst considering the diIIerences between children and adults. It is, in one
sense, illogical to compare the Iirst language acquisition oI a child with the
second language acquisition oI an adult. This involves trying to draw
analogies not only between Iirst and second language learning situations
but also between children and adults. It is much more logical to compare
Iirst and second language learning in children or to compare second
language learning in children and adults. Nevertheless, child Iirst language
acquisition and adult second language acquisition are common and
important categories oI acquisition to compare. It is reasonable, thereIore,
to view the latter type oI comparison within a matrix oI possible
comparisons. Table 3.1 represents Iour possible categories to compare,
deIined by age and type oI acquisition. Note that the vertical shaded area
between the child and the adult is purposely broad to account Ior varying
deIinitions oI adulthood. In general, however, an adult is considered to be
one who has reached the age oI puberty.
Table 3.1 - First and second language acquisition in adults and children
(L1 First language L2 Second language C Child A Adult)
L1 C1 A1
L2 C2 A2
Cell Al is clearly representative oI an abnormal situation. There have
been Iew recorded instances oI an adult acquiring a Iirst language. In one
widely publicized instance, Curtiss (1977) wrote about Genie, a thirteen-
year-old girl who had been socially isolated and abused all her liIe until she
was discovered, and who was then Iaced with the task oI acquiring a Iirst
language. Accounts oI "wolI children" and instances oI severe disability
Iall into this category. Since we need not deal with abnormal or
pathological cases oI language acquisition, we can ignore category Al. That
leaves three possible comparisons:
1) Iirst and second language acquisition in children (C1-C2), holding
age constant
2) second language acquisition in children and adults (C2-A2),
holding second language constant
3) Iirst language acquisition in children and second language acquisi-
tion in adults (C1-A2).
In the C1-C2 comparison (holding age constant), one is manipulating
the language variable. However, it is important to remember that a two-
year-old and an eleven-year-old exhibit vast cognitive, aIIective, and phys-
ical diIIerences, and that comparisons oI all three types must be treated
with caution when varying ages oI children are being considered. In the
C2-A2 comparison, one is holding language constant and manipulating the
diIIerences between children and adults. Such comparisons are, Ior obvious
reasons, the most IruitIul in yielding analogies Ior adult second language
classroom instruction. The third comparison, C1-A2, unIortunately manip-
ulates both variables. Many oI the traditional comparisons were oI this
type; however, such comparisons must be made only with extreme caution
because oI the enormous cognitive, aIIective, and physical diIIerences
between children and adults.
Much oI the Iocus oI the rest oI this chapter will be made on C2-A2
and C1-C2 comparisons. In both cases, comparisons will be embedded
within a number oI issues, controversies, and other topics that have
attracted the attention oI researchers interested in the relationship oI age to
"he critical period hypothesis
Most discussions about age and acquisition center on the question oI
whether there is a critical period Ior language acquisition: a biologically
determined period oI liIe when language can be acquired more easily and
beyond which time language is increasingly diIIicult to acquire. The
Critical Period Hypothesis (CPH) claims that there is such a biological
timetable. Initially the notion oI a critical period was connected only to Iirst
language acquisition. Pathological studies oI children who Iailed to acquire
their Iirst language, or aspects thereoI, became Iuel Ior arguments oI bio-
logically determined predispositions, timed Ior release, which would wane
iI the correct environmental stimuli were not present at the crucial stage.
We have already seen, in the last chapter, that researchers like Lenneberg
(1967) and Bickerton (1981) made strong statements in Iavor oI a critical
period beIore which and aIter which certain abilities do not develop.
Second language researchers have outlined the possibilities oI
extrapolating the CPH to second language contexts.The "classic" argument
is that a critical point Ior second language acquisition occurs around
puberty, beyond which people seem to be relatively incapable oI acquiring
a second language. This has led some to assume, incorrectly, that by the age
oI twelve or thirteen you are "over the hill" when it comes to the possibility
oI successIul second language learning. Such an assumption must be
viewed in the light oI what it really means to be "successIul" in learning a
second language, and particularly the role oI accent as a component oI suc-
cess. To examine these issues, we will Iirst look at neurological and phono-
logical considerations, then examine cognitive, aIIective, and linguistic
0eurological considerations
One oI the most promising areas oI inquiry in age and acquisition
research has been the study oI the Iunction oI the brain in the process oI
acquisition. How might neurological development aIIect second language
success Does the maturation oI the brain at some stage spell the doom oI
language acquisition ability
Femispheric !aterali5ation
Some scholars have singled out the lateralization oI the brain as the
key to answering such a question. There is evidence in neurological
research that as the human brain matures, certain Iunctions are assigned, or
"lateralized," to the leIt hemisphere oI the brain, and certain other Iunctions
to the right hemisphere. Intellectual, logical, and analytic Iunctions appear
to be largely located in the leIt hemisphere, while the right hemisphere
controls Iunctions related to emotional and social needs. Language
Iunctions appear to be controlled mainly in the leIt hemisphere, although
there is a good deal oI conIlicting evidence. For example, patients who
have had leIt hemi-spherectomies have been capable oI comprehending and
producing an amazing amount oI language. But in general, a stroke or
accident victim who suIIers a lesion in the leIt hemisphere will maniIest
some language impairment, which is less oIten the case with right
hemisphere lesions.
While questions about how language is lateralized in the brain are
interesting indeed, a more crucial question Ior second language researchers
has centered on when lateralization takes place, and how that lateralization
process aIIects language acquisition. Eric Lenneberg (1967) and others sug-
gested that lateralization is a slow process that begins around the age oI two
and is completed around puberty. During this time the child is
neurologically assigning Iunctions little by little to one side oI the brain or
the other; included in these Iunctions, oI course, is language. And it has
been Iound that children up to the age oI puberty who suIIer injury to the
leIt hemisphere are able to relocalize linguistic Iunctions to the right hemi-
sphere, to "relearn" their Iirst language with relatively little impairment.
Thomas Scovel (1969) extended these Iindings to propose a relationship
between lateralization and second language acquisition. He suggested that
the plasticity oI the brain prior to puberty enables children to acquire not
only their Iirst language but also a second language, and that possibly it is
the very accomplishment oI lateralization that makes it diIIicult Ior people
to be able ever again to easily acquire Iluent control oI a second language,
or at least to acquire it with what Alexander Guiora et al. (1972a) called
"authentic" (nativelike) pronunciation.
While Scovel's (1969) suggestion had only marginal experimental
basis, it prompted him (Scovel 1988) and other researchers (e.g., Singleton
Lengyel 1995) to take a careIul look at neurological Iactors in Iirst and
second language acquisition. This research considered the possibility that
there is a critical period not only Ior Iirst language acquisition but also, by
extension, Ior second language acquisition. Much oI the neurological argu-
ment centers on the time oI lateralization. While Lenneberg (1967) con-
tended that lateralization is complete around puberty, Norman Geschwind
(1970), among others, suggested a much earlier age. Stephen Krashen
(1973) cited research to support the completion oI lateralization around age
Iive. Krashen's suggestion does not grossly conIlict with research on Iirst
language acquisition iI one considers "Iluency" in the Iirst language to be
achieved by age Iive. Scovel (1984) cautioned against assuming, with
Krashen, that lateralization is complete by age Iive. "One must be careIul to
distinguish between 'emergence' oI lateralization (at birth, but quite evident
at Iive) and 'completion' (only evident at about puberty)." II lateralization is
not completed until puberty, then one can still construct arguments Ior a
critical period based on lateralization.
6iological Timetables
One oI the most compelling arguments Ior an accent-related critical
period came Irom Thomas Scovel's (1988) Iascinating multidisciplinary
review oI the evidence that has been amassed. Scovel cited evidence Ior a
sociobiological critical period in various species oI mammals and birds.
Scovel's evidence pointed toward the development oI a socially bonding
accent at puberty, enabling species (a) to Iorm an identity with their own
community as they anticipate roles oI parenting and leadership, and (b) to
attract mates oI "their own kind" in an instinctive drive to maintain their
own species.
II the stabilization oI an accepted, authentic accent is biologically
preprogrammed Ior baboons and birds, why not Ior human beings The
socio-biological evidence that Scovel cited persuades us to conclude that
native accents, and thereIore "Ioreign" accents aIter puberty, may be a
genetic leItover that, in our widespread human practice oI mating across
dialectal, linguistic, and racial barriers, is no longer necessary Ior the
preservation oI the human species. "In other words," explained Scovel
(1988: 80), "an accent emerging aIter puberty is the price we pay Ior our
preordained ability to be articulate apes."
Following another line oI research, Walsh and Diller (1981
concluded that diIIerent aspects oI a second language are learned optimally
at diIIerent ages:
!ower&order processes such as pronunciation are dependent on early
maturing and less adaptive macroneural circuits# which makes foreign
accents difficult to overcome after childhood3 Figher&order language
functions# such as semantic relations# are more dependent on late maturing
neural circuits# which may e4plain why college students can learn many
times the amount of grammar and vocabulary that elementary school
students can learn in a given period of time3
This conclusion lends support Ior a neurologically based critical
period, but principally Ior the acquisition oI an authentic (nativelike)
accent, and not very strongly Ior the acquisition oI communicative Iluency
and other "higher-order" processes. We return to the latter issue in the next
8ight&Femispheric Participation
et another branch oI neurolinguistic research Iocused on the role oI
the right hemisphere in the acquisition oI a second language. Obler (1981)
noted that in second language learning, there is signiIicant right hemisphere
participation and that "this participation is particularly active during the
early stages oI learning the second language." But this "participation" to
some extent consists oI what we will later deIine as "strategies" oI
acquisition. Obler cited the strategy oI guessing at meanings, and oI using
Iormulaic utterances, as examples oI right hemisphere activity. Others also
Iound support Ior right hemisphere involvement in the Iorm oI complex
language processing as opposed to early language acquisition.
Genesee (1982) concluded that "there may be greater right hemi-
sphere involvement in language processing in bilinguals who acquire their
second language late relative to their Iirst language and in bilinguals who
learn it in inIormal contexts." While this conclusion may appear to contra-
dict Obler's statement above, it does not. Obler Iound support Ior more
right hemisphere activity during the early stages oI second language acqui-
sition, but her conclusions were drawn Irom a study oI seventh-, ninth-, and
eleventh-grade subjectsall postpubescent. Such studies seem to suggest
that second language learners, particularly adult learners, might beneIit
Irom more encouragement oI right-brain activity in the classroom context.
But, as Scovel (1982) noted, that sort oI conclusion needs to be cautious,
since the research provides a good deal oI conIlicting evidence, some oI
which has been grossly misinterpreted in "an unhappy marriage oI single-
minded neuropsychologists and double-minded educationalists. . . . Brain
research ... will not provide a quick Iix to our teaching problems."
)nthropological *vidence
Some adults have been known to acquire an authentic accent in a
second language aIter the age oI puberty, but such individuals are Iew and
Iar between. Anthropologist Jane Hill (1970) provided an intriguing
response to Scovel's (1969) study by citing anthropological research on
non-Western societies that yielded evidence that adults can, in the normal
course oI their lives, acquire second languages perIectly. One unique
instance oI second language acquisition in adulthood was reported by
Sorenson (1967), who studied the Tukano culture oI South America. At
least two dozen languages were spoken among these communities, and
each tribal group, identiIied by the language it speaks, is an exogamous
unit; that is, people must marry outside their group, and hence almost
always marry someone who speaks another language. Sorenson reported
that during adolescence, individuals actively and almost suddenly began to
speak two or three other languages to which they had been exposed at some
point. Moreover, "in adulthood |a person| may acquire more languages; as
he approaches old age, Iield observation indicates, he will go on to perIect
his knowledge oI all the languages at his disposal" (Sorenson 1967: 678).
In conclusion, Hill suggested that -
the language acquisition situation seen in adult language learners in
the largely monolingual )merican *nglish middle class speech
communities 333 may have been inappropriately taken to be a universal
situation in proposing an innatist e4planation for adult foreign accents3
,ultilingual speech communities of various types deserve careful
study333 37e will have to e4plore the influence of social and cultural roles
which language and phonation play# and the role which attitudes about
language play# as an alternative or a supplement to the cerebral
dominance theory as an e4planation of adult foreign accents3
Hill's challenge was taken up in subsequent decades. Flege (1987)
and Morris and Gerstman (1986), Ior example, cited motivation, aIIective
variables, social Iactors, and the quality oI input as important in explaining
the apparent advantage oI the child. However, both Long (1990b) and
Patkowski (1990) disputed such conclusions and sided with Scovel in their
relatively strong interpretation oI an age-related critical period Ior Iirst and
second language acquisition.
The significance of accent
Implicit in the comments oI the preceding section is the assumption
that the emergence oI what we commonly call "Ioreign accent" is oI some
importance in our arguments about age and acquisition. We can appreciate
the Iact that given the existence oI several hundred muscles (throat, larynx,
mouth, lips, tongue, and others) that are used in the articulation oI human
speech, a tremendous degree oI muscular control is required to achieve the
Iluency oI a native speaker oI a language. At birth the speech muscles are
developed only to the extent that the larynx can control sustained cries.
These speech muscles gradually develop, and control oI some complex
sounds in certain languages (in English the r and / are typical) is sometimes
not achieved until aIter age Iive, although complete phonemic control is
present in virtually all children beIore puberty.
Research on the acquisition oI authentic control oI the phonology oI
a Ioreign language supports the notion oI a critical period. Most oI the evi-
dence indicates that persons beyond the age oI puberty do not acquire what
has come to be called authentic (native-speaker) pronunciation oI the
second language. Possible causes oI such an age-based Iactor have already
been discussed: neuromuscular plasticity, cerebral development,
sociobiological programs, and the environment oI sociocultural inIluences.
It is tempting immediately to cite exceptions to the rule ("My Aunt
Mary learned French at twenty-Iive, and everyone in France said she
sounded just like a native"). These exceptions, however, appear to be (a)
isolated instances or (b) only anecdotally supported. True, there are special
people who possess somewhere within their competence the ability to
override neurobiological critical period eIIects and to achieve a virtually
perIect nativelike pronunciation oI a Ioreign language. But in terms oI sta-
tistical probability, it is clear that the chances oI any one individual
commencing a second language aIter puberty and achieving a scientiIically
veriIiable authentic native accent are inIinitesimal.
So, where do we go Irom here First, some sample studies, spanning
two decades, will serve as examples oI the kind oI research on adult phono-
logical acquisition that appears to contradict Scovel's "strong" CPH.
Gerald NeuIeld undertook a set oI studies to determine to what
extent adults could approximate native-speaker accents in a second
language never beIore encountered. In his earliest experiment, twenty adult
native English speakers were taught to imitate ten utterances, each Irom
one to sixteen syllables in length, in Japanese and in Chinese. Native-
speaking Japanese and Chinese judges listened to the taped imitations. The
results indicated that eleven oI the Japanese and nine oI the Chinese
imitations were judged to have been produced by "native speakers." While
NeuIeld recognized the limitations oI his own studies, he suggested that
"older students have neither lost their sensitivity to subtle diIIerences in
sounds, rhythm, and pitch nor the ability to reproduce these sounds and
contours" . Nevertheless, Scovel and Long later pointed out glaring
experimental Ilaws in NeuIeld's experiments, stemming Irom the
methodology used to judge "native speaker" and Irom the inIormation
initially given to the judges.
In more recent years, Moyer and Bongaerts, Planken, and Schils
have also challenged the strong version oI the CPH. Moyer's study with
native English-speaking graduate students oI German upheld the strong
CPH: subjects' perIormance was not judged to be comparable to native
speakers oI German. The Bongaerts et al. study reported on a group oI
adult Dutch speakers oI English, all late learners, who recorded a mono-
logue, a reading oI a short text, and readings oI isolated sentences and iso-
lated words. Some oI the non-native perIormances, Ior some oI the trials,
were judged to have come Irom native speakers. However, in a later review
oI this study, Scovel careIully noted that it was also the case that many
native speakers oI English in their study were judged to be nonnative The
earlier NeuIeld experiments and these more recent studies have thus
essentially leIt the strong CPH unchallenged.
Upon reviewing the research on age and accent acquisition, as
Scovel did, we are leIt with powerIul evidence oI a critical period Ior
accent, but Ior accent only It is important to remember in all these con-
siderations that pronunciation oI a language is not by any means the sole
criterion Ior acquisition, nor is it really the most important one .We all
know people who have less than perIect pronunciation but who also have
magniIicent and Iluent control oI a second language, control that can even
exceed that oI many native speakers. I like to call this the "Henry Kissinger
eIIect" in honor oI the Iormer U.S. Secretary oI State whose German accent
is so noticeable yet who is clearly more eloquent than the large majority oI
native speakers oI American English. The acquisition oI the communicative
and Iunctional purposes oI language is, in most circumstances, Iar more
important than a perIect native accent. Scovel captured the spirit oI this
way oI looking at second language acquisition:
For me, the acquisition oI a new language will remain a phenomenon
oI natural Iascination and mystery, not simply because it is a special skill oI
such incredible complexity that it remains one oI the greatest achievements
oI the human mind, but because it also is a testimony oI how much we can
accomplish within the limitations that nature has placed upon us.
Perhaps, in our everyday encounters with second language users, we
are too quick to criticize the "Iailure" oI adult second language learners by
nitpicking at minor pronunciation points or nonintrusive grammatical
errors. Cook (1995: 55) warned against "using native accent as the yard-
stick" in our penchant Ior holding up monolingualism as the standard. And
so, maybe instead, we can turn those perspectives into a more positive
Iocus on the "multi-competence" oI second language learners. Instead oI
being so perplexed and concerned about how bad people are at learning
second languages, we should be Iascinated with how much those same
learners have accomplished.
Today researchers are continuing the quest Ior answers to child-adult
diIIerences by looking beyond simple phonological Iactors. Bongaerts et al.
(1995) Iound results that suggested that certain learner characteristics and
contexts may work together to override the disadvantages oI a late start.
SlavoII and Johnson Iound that younger children (ages seven to nine) did
not have a particular advantage in rate oI learning over older (ten-to
twelve-year-old) children. Longitudinal studies such as Ioup et al.'s (1994)
study oI a highly nativelike adult learner oI Egyptian Arabic are useIul in
their Iocus on the Iactors beyond phonology that might be relevant in
helping us to be more successIul in teaching second languages to adults.
Studies on the eIIect oI input, on lexical acquisition, on Universal
Grammar, and on discourse acquisition are highly promising domains oI
research on age and acquisition.
Cognitive considerations
Human cognition develops rapidly throughout the Iirst sixteen years
oI liIe and less rapidly thereaIter. Some cognitive changes are critical;
others are more gradual and diIIicult to detect. Jean Piaget outlined the
course oI intellectual development in a child through various stages, which
are presented in Illustration 3.1
A critical stage Ior a consideration oI the eIIects oI age on second
language acquisition appears to occur, in Piaget's outline, at puberty (age
eleven in his model). It is here that a person becomes capable oI abstrac-
tion, oI Iormal thinking which transcends concrete experience and direct
perception. Cognitively, then, a strong argument can be made Ior a critical
period oI language acquisition by connecting language acquisition and the
concrete/Iormal stage transition.
Illustration 3.1 - Stages oI intellectual development oI a child by J. Piaget
Ausubel (1964) hinted at the relevance oI such a connection when he
noted that adults learning a second language could proIit Irom certain
grammatical explanations and deductive thinking that obviously would be
pointless Ior a child. Whether adults do in Iact proIit Irom such explana-
tions depends, oI course, on the suitability and eIIiciency oI the explana-
tion, the teacher, the context, and other pedagogical variables. We have
observed, though, that children do learn second languages well without the
beneIitor hindranceoI Iormal operational thought. Does this capacity
oI Iormal, abstract thought have a Iacilitating or inhibiting eIIect on lan-
guage acquisition in adults Ellen Rosansky (1975) oIIered an explanation
noting that initial language acquisition takes place when the child is highly
"centered": "He is not only egocentric at this time, but when Iaced with a
problem he can Iocus (and then only Ileetingly) on one dimension at a time.
This lack oI Ilexibility and lack oI decentration may well be a necessity Ior
language acquisition."
oung children are generally not "aware" that they are acquiring a
language, nor are they aware oI societal values and attitudes placed on one
language or another. It is said that "a watched pot never boils"; is it possible
that a language learner who is too consciously aware oI what he or she is
doing will have diIIiculty in learning the second language
ou may be tempted to answer that question aIIirmatively, but there
is both logical and anecdotal counterevidence. Logically, a superior
intellect should Iacilitate what is in one sense a highly complex intellectual
activity. Anecdotal evidence shows that some adults who have been
successIul language learners have been very much aware oI the process
they were going through, even to the point oI utilizing selI-made paradigms
and other Iabricated linguistic devices to Iacilitate the learning process. So,
iI mature cognition is a liability to successIul second language acquisition,
clearly some intervening variables allow some persons to be very
successIul second language learners aIter puberty. These variables may in
most cases lie outside the cognitive domain entirely, perhaps more centrally
in the aIIectiveor emotionaldomain.
The lateralization hypothesis may provide another key to cognitive
diIIerences between child and adult language acquisition. As the child
matures into adulthood, the leIt hemisphere (which controls the analytical
and intellectual Iunctions) becomes more dominant than the right hemi-
sphere (which controls the emotional Iunctions). It is possible that the
dominance oI the leIt hemisphere contributes to a tendency to overanalyze
and to be too intellectually centered on the task oI second language
Another construct that should be considered in examining the cogni-
tive domain is the Piagetian notion oI equilibration. Equilibration is
deIined as "progressive interior organization oI knowledge in a stepwise
Iashion" (Sullivan 1967), and is related to the concept oI equilibrium. That
is, cognition develops as a process oI moving Irom states oI doubt and
uncertainty (disequilibrium) to stages oI resolution and certainty (equilib-
rium) and then back to Iurther doubt that is, in time, also resolved. And so
the cycle continues. Piaget (1970) claimed that conceptual development is a
process oI progressively moving Irom states oI disequilibrium to equilib-
rium and that periods oI disequilibrium mark virtually all cognitive devel-
opment up through age Iourteen or IiIteen, when Iormal operations Iinally
are Iirmly organized and equilibrium is reached.
It is conceivable that disequilibrium may provide signiIicant motiva-
tion Ior language acquisition: language interacts with cognition to achieve
equilibrium. Perhaps until that state oI Iinal equilibrium is reached, the
child is cognitively ready and eager to acquire the language necessary Ior
achieving the cognitive equilibrium oI adulthood. That same child was,
until that time, decreasingly tolerant oI cognitive ambiguities. Children are
amazingly indiIIerent to contradictions, but intellectual growth produces an
awareness oI ambiguities about them and heightens the need Ior resolution.
Perhaps a general intolerance oI contradictions produces an acute
awareness oI the enormous complexities oI acquiring an additional lan-
guage, and so perhaps around the age oI Iourteen or IiIteen, the prospect oI
learning a second language becomes overwhelming, thus discouraging the
learner Irom proceeding a step at a time as a younger child would do.
The Iinal consideration in the cognitive domain is the distinction that
Ausubel made between rote and meaningful learning. Ausubel noted that
people oI all ages have little need Ior rote, mechanistic learning that is not
related to existing knowledge and experience. Rather, most items are
acquired by meaningIul learning, by anchoring and relating new items and
experiences to knowledge that exists in the cognitive Iramework. It is a
myth to contend that children are good rote learners, that they make good
use oI meaningless repetition and mimicking. We have already mentioned
that children's practice and imitation is a very meaningIul activity that is
contextualized and purposeIul. Adults have developed even greater
concentration and so have greater ability Ior rote learning, but they usually
use rote learning only Ior short-term memory or Ior somewhat artiIicial
purposes. By inIerence, we may conclude that the Ioreign language class-
room should not become the locus oI excessive rote activity: rote drills,
pattern practice without context, rule recitation, and other activities that are
not in the context oI meaningIul communication.
It is interesting to note that C2-A2 comparisons almost always reIer,
in the case oI children, to natural untutored learning, and Ior adults, to the
classroom learning oI a second language. Even so, many Ioreign language
classrooms around the world still utilize an excessive number oI rote-
learning procedures. So, iI adults learning a Ioreign language by rote
methods are compared with children learning a second language in a nat-
ural, meaningIul context, the child's learning will seem to be superior. The
cause oI such superiority may not be in the age oI the person, but in the
context oI learning. The child happens to be learning language meaning-
Iully, and the adult is not.
The cognitive domain holds yet other areas oI interest Ior comparing
Iirst and second language acquisition. Now we are going to analyze what
may be the most complex, yet the most illuminating, perspective on age
and acquisition: the aIIective domain.
Affective considerations
Human beings are emotional creatures. At the heart oI all thought
and meaning and action is emotion. As "intellectual" as we would like to
think we are, we are inIluenced by our emotions. It is only logical, then, to
look at the aIIective (emotional) domain Ior some oI the most signiIicant
answers to the problems oI contrasting the diIIerences between Iirst and
second language acquisition.
Research on the aIIective domain in second language acquisition has
been mounting steadily Ior a number oI decades. This research has been
inspired by a number oI Iactors. Not the least oI these is the Iact that lin-
guistic theory is now asking the deepest possible questions about human
language, with some applied linguists examining the inner being oI the
person to discover iI, in the aIIective side oI human behavior, there lies an
explanation to the mysteries oI language acquisition.
The aIIective domain includes many Iactors: empathy, selI-esteem,
extroversion, inhibition, imitation, anxiety, attitudesthe list could go on.
Some oI these may seem at Iirst rather Iar removed Irom language learning,
but when we consider the pervasive nature oI language, any aIIective Iactor
can conceivably be relevant to second language learning.
A case in point is the role oI egocentricity in human development.
Very young children are highly egocentric. The world revolves about them,
and they see all events as Iocusing on themselves. Small babies at Iirst do
not even distinguish a separation between themselves and the world around
them. A rattle held in a baby's hand, Ior example, is simply an inseparable
extension oI the baby as long as it is grasped; when the baby drops it or
loses sight oI it, the rattle ceases to exist. As children grow older they
become more aware oI themselves, more selI-conscious as they seek both
to deIine and to understand their selI-identity. In preadolescence children
develop an acute consciousness oI themselves as separate and identiIiable
entities but ones which, in their still-wavering insecurity, need protecting.
They thereIore develop inhibitions about this selI-identity, Iearing to
expose too much selI-doubt. At puberty these inhibitions are heightened in
the trauma oI undergoing critical physical, cognitive, and emotional
changes. Adolescents must acquire a totally new physical, cognitive, and
emotional identity. Their egos are aIIected not only in how they understand
themselves but also in how they reach out beyond themselves, how they
relate to others socially, and how they use the communicative process to
bring on aIIective equilibrium.
Several decades ago, Alexander Guiora, a researcher in the study oI
personality variables in second language learning, proposed what he called
the language ego to account Ior the identity a person develops in reIerence
to the language he or she speaks. For any monolingual person, the language
ego involves the interaction oI the native language and ego development.
One's selI-identity is inextricably bound up with one's language, Ior it is in
the communicative processthe process oI sending out messages and
having them "bounced" backthat such identities are conIirmed, shaped,
and reshaped. Guiora suggested that the language ego may account Ior the
diIIiculties that adults have in learning a second language. The child's ego
is dynamic and growing and Ilexible through the age oI puberty. Thus a
new language at this stage does not pose a substantial "threat" or inhibition
to the ego, and adaptation is made relatively easily as long as there are no
undue conIounding socio-cultural Iactors such as, Ior example, a damaging
attitude toward a language or language group at a young age. Then the
simultaneous physical, emotional, and cognitive changes oI puberty give
rise to a deIensive mechanism in which the language ego becomes
protective and deIensive. The language ego clings to the security oI the
native language to protect the Iragile ego oI the young adult. The language
ego, which has now become part and parcel oI selI-identity, is threatened,
and thus a context develops in which you must be willing to make a Iool oI
yourselI in the trial-and-error struggle oI speaking and understanding a
Ioreign language. ounger children are less Irightened because they are less
aware oI language forms# and the possibility oI making mistakes in those
Iormsmistakes that one really must make in an attempt to communicate
spontaneouslydoes not concern them greatly.
It is no wonder, then, that the acquisition oI a new language ego is an
enormous undertaking not only Ior young adolescents but also Ior an adult
who has grown comIortable and secure in his or her own identity and who
possesses inhibitions that serve as a wall oI deIensive protection around the
ego. Making the leap to a new or second identity is no simple matter; it can
be successIul only when one musters the necessary ego strength to
overcome inhibitions. It is possible that the successIul adult language
learner is someone who can bridge this aIIective gap. Some oI the seeds oI
success might have been sown early in liIe. In a bilingual setting, Ior
example, iI a child has already learned one second language in childhood,
then aIIectively, learning a third language as an adult might represent much
less oI a threat. Or such seeds may be independent oI a bilingual setting;
they may simply have arisen out oI whatever combination oI nature and
nurture makes Ior the development oI a strong ego.
In looking at SLA in children, it is important to distinguish younger
and older children. Preadolescent children oI nine or ten, Ior example, are
beginning to develop inhibitions, and it is conceivable that children oI this
age have a good deal oI aIIective dissonance to overcome as they attempt
to learn a second language. This could account Ior diIIiculties that older
pre-pubescent children encounter in acquiring a second language. Adult vs.
child comparisons are oI course highly relevant. We know Irom both
observational and research evidence that mature adults maniIest a number
oI inhibitions. These inhibitions surIace in modern language classes where
the learner's attempts to speak in the Ioreign language are oIten Iraught
with embarrassment. We have also observed the same inhibition in the
"natural" setting (a nonclassroom setting, such as a learner living in a
Ioreign culture), although in such instances there is the likelihood that the
necessity to communicate overrides the inhibitions.
Other aIIective Iactors seem to hinge on the basic notion oI ego iden-
tiIication. It would appear that the study oI second language learning as the
acquisition oI a second identity might pose a IruitIul and important issue
in understanding not only some diIIerences between child and adult Iirst
and second language learning but second language learning in general .
Another aIIectively related variable deserves mention is the role oI
attitudes in language learning. From the growing body oI literature on atti-
tudes, it seems clear that negative attitudes can aIIect success in learning a
language. Very young children, who are not developed enough cognitively
to possess "attitudes" toward races, cultures, ethnic groups, classes oI
people, and languages, may be less aIIected than adults. Macnamara (1975)
noted that "a child suddenly transported Irom Montreal to Berlin will
rapidly learn German no matter what he thinks oI the Germans." But as
children reach school age, they also begin to acquire certain attitudes
toward types and stereotypes oI people. Most oI these attitudes are
"taught," consciously or unconsciously, by parents, other adults, and
peers.The learning oI negative attitudes toward the people who speak the
second language or toward the second language itselI has been shown to
aIIect the success oI language learning in persons Irom school age on up.
Finally, peer pressure is a particularly important variable in consid-
ering child-adult comparisons. The peer pressure children encounter in
language learning is quite unlike what the adult experiences. Children usu-
ally have strong constraints upon them to conIorm. They are told in words,
thoughts, and actions that they had better "be like the rest oI the kids." Such
peer pressure extends to language. Adults experience some peer pressure,
but oI a diIIerent kind. Adults tend to tolerate linguistic diIIerences more
than children, and thereIore errors in speech are more easily excused. II
adults can understand a second language speaker, Ior example, they will
usually provide positive cognitive and aIIective Ieedback, a level oI toler-
ance that might encourage some adult learners to "get by." Children are
harsher critics oI one another's actions and words and may thus provide a
necessary and suIIicient degree oI mutual pressure to learn the second
Linguistic consideration
A growing number oI research studies are now available to shed
some light on the linguistic processes oI second language learning and how
those processes diIIer between children and adults.
It is clear that children learning two languages simultaneously
acquire them by the use oI similar strategies. They are, in essence, learning
two Iirst languages, and the key to success is in distinguishing separate
contexts Ior the two languages. People who learn a second language in such
separate contexts can oIten be described as coordinate bilinguals; they
have two meaning systems, as opposed to compound bilinguals who have
one meaning system Irom which both languages operate. Children
generally do not have problems with "mixing up languages" regardless oI
the separateness oI contexts Ior use oI the languages. Moreover, "bilinguals
are not two monolinguals in the same head" (Cook 1995). Most bilinguals,
however, engage in code-switching (the act oI inserting words, phrases, or
even longer stretches oI one language into the other), especially when
communicating with another bilingual.
In some cases the acquisition oI both languages in bilingual children
is slightly slower than the normal schedule Ior Iirst language acquisition.
However, a respectable stockpile oI research hows a considerable cognitive
beneIit oI early childhood bilingualism, supporting Lambert's (1972)
contention that bilingual children are more Iacile at concept Iormation and
have a greater mental Ilexibility.
1nterference 6etween 'irst and Second !anguages
A good deal oI the research on nonsimultaneous second language
acquisition, in both children and adults, has Iocused on the interIering
eIIects oI the Iirst and second languages. For the most part, research
conIirms that the linguistic and cognitive processes oI second language
learning in young children are in general similar to Iirst language
processes. Ravem (1968), Natalicio (1971), Dulay and Burt (1974a), Ervin-
Tripp (1974), Milon (1974), and Hansen-Bede (1975), among others,
concluded that similar strategies and linguistic Ieatures are present in both
Iirst and second language learning in children. Dulay and Burt (1974a)
Iound, Ior example, that 86 percent oI more than 500 errors made by
Spanish-speaking children learning English reIlected normal
developmental characteristics that is, expected intralingual strategies, not
interIerence errors Irom the Iirst language. Hansen-Bede (1975) examined
such linguistic structures as possession, gender, word order, verb Iorms,
questions, and negation in an English-speaking three-year-old child who
learned Urdu upon moving to Pakistan. In spite oI some marked linguistic
contrasts between English and Urdu, the child's acquisition did not appear
to show Iirst language interIerence and, except Ior negation, showed
similar strategies and rules Ior both the Iirst and the second language.
1nterference in )dults
Adult second language linguistic processes are more vulnerable to
the eIIect oI the Iirst language on the second, especially the Iarther apart the
two events are. Whether adults learn a Ioreign language in a classroom or
out in the "arena," they approach the second languageeither Iocally or
peripherallysystematically, and they attempt to Iormulate linguistic rules
on the basis oI whatever linguistic inIormation is available to them: inIor-
mation Irom the native language, the second language, teachers,
classmates, and peers. The nature and sequencing oI these systems has been
the subject oI a good deal oI second language research in the last halI oI the
twentieth century. What we have learned above all else Irom this research
is that the saliency oI interIerence Irom the Iirst language does not imply
that interIerence is the most relevant or most crucial Iactor in adult second
language acquisition. Adults learning a second language maniIest some oI
the same types oI errors Iound in children learning their Iirst language
Adults, more cognitively secure, appear to operate Irom the solid
Ioundation oI the Iirst language and thus maniIest more interIerence. But it
was pointed out earlier that adults, too, maniIest errors not unlike some oI
the errors children make, the result oI creative perception oI the second
language and an attempt to discover its rules apart Irom the rules oI the Iirst
language. The Iirst language, however, may be more readily used to bridge
gaps that the adult learner cannot Iill by generalization within the second
language. In this case we do well to remember that the Iirst language can be
a Iacilitating Iactor, and not just an interIering Iactor.
Order of )cquisition
One oI the Iirst steps toward demonstrating the importance oI Iactors
other than Iirst language interIerence was taken in a series oI research
studies by Heidi Dulay and Marina Burt (1972, 1974a, 1974b, 1976). They
even went so Iar at one point as to claim that "transIer oI LI syntactic pat-
terns rarely occurs" in child second language acquisition (1976: 72). They
laimed that children learning a second language use a creative con-
struction process, just as they do in their Iirst language. This conclusion
was supported by some massive research data collected on the acquisition
order oI eleven English morphemes in children learning English as a
second language. Dulay and Burt Iound a common order oI acquisition
among children oI several native language backgrounds, an order very sim-
ilar to that Iound by Roger Brown (1973) using the same morphemes but
Ior children acquiring English as their Iirst language.
There were logical and methodological arguments about the validity
oI morpheme-order Iindings. Rosansky (1976) argued that the statistical
procedures used were suspect, and others (Larsen-Freeman 1976; Roger
Andersen 1978) noted that eleven English morphemes constitute only a
minute portion oI English syntax, and thereIore lack generalizability. More
recently, obl and Liceras (1994), in a "search Ior a uniIied theoretical
account Ior the LI and L2 morpheme orders," reexamined the morpheme-
order studies and concluded the generalizability oI morpheme acquisition
We have touched on several signiIicant perspectives on questions
about age and acquisition. In all this, it is important to maintain the dis-
tinction among the three types (C1-C2; C2-A2; Cl -A2) oI age and
language comparisons mentioned at the beginning oI the chapter. By
considering three logically possible comparisons, unnecessary loopholes in
reasoning should be minimized. While some answers to our questions are
less than conclusive, in many cases research has been historically
revealing. By operating on our collective understanding oI the eIIects oI
age on acquisition, one can construct one's own personal integrated
understanding oI that relationship, and how that relationship might hold
IruitIul implications Ior second language teaching.
Above all else, We call attention the balanced perspective recently
oIIered by Thomas Scovel (1999). "The younger, the better" is a myth that
has been Iueled by media hype and, sometimes, "junk science." We are led
to believe that children are better at learning Ioreign languages without
Iully considering all the evidence and without looking at all aspects oI
acquisition. On at least several planesliteracy, vocabulary, pragmatics,
schematic knowledge, and even syntaxadults have been shown to be
superior learners (Scovel 1999). Perpetuating a younger-the-better myth in
arguments about bilingual education and other Iorms oI early language,
intervention does a disservice to our children and to our educational enter-
prise. We have seen in this chapter that there certainly appear to be some
potential advantages to an early age Ior SLA, but there is absolutely no
evidence that an adult cannot overcome all oI those disadvantages save
one, accent, and the latter is hardly the quintessential criterion Ior eIIective
interpersonal communication.
Linguistic a&ilities
One more Iactor, which inIluence the process oI Iirst and second
language acquisition by children and adult learners is degree oI linguistic
abilities development.
The problem oI linguistic abilities interested many scientists both
domestic, and Ioreign. Research oI abilities to mastering Ioreign languages
in the most developing kind have Iound reIlections in works oI
Vedenyapina B. V. Gohlerner M. M., imnyaya I. A., Kabardov M. K.,
l J. B., Karpov A.F., KaulIers W.V. , Leontev A.N., Polyanskaya O.S.,
Pimsluer P., PinIield W., Solomon E., dd J.W. etc.
Not all authors understand special abilities to mastering Ioreign
language as linguistic abilities or language abilities. So, Ior example,
Leontyev A.A. determines language abilities as totality oI the
psychological and physiological conditions providing mastering,
manuIacture and adequate perception oI language marks by members oI
language collective
Judith L. Green examines language ability as something such, that
makes ability to speak in the given language. But the author doesn`t
speciIy, about which language there is a speech: native or Ioreign.
Chomsky N. considers that language ability is a congenital
knowledge oI grammatical system oI language, universal rules, comparing
semantic interpretation oI the sentence with its phonetic interpretation.
Mastering oI this system`s rules at a unconscious level the person corrected
acquires syntactic structures oI language.
Language ability is considered as speciIic human ability to mastering
the language, it is general, peculiar equally to each healthy person in all
these interpretations. Any individual distinctions in success and speeds oI
mastering in the given deIinitions are not allocated with language.
ThereIore it is more expedient to use terms speaking another language
abilities and linguistic abilities Ior allocation oI any individual
distinctions in speed and ease oI mastering oI Ioreign language more
There is also interesting Iact that existence oI speciIic abilities to
mastering by a Ioreign language admits not as all researchers. In particular,
Vedenjapina B.V. holds the opinion, that such Iactors, as skill to generalize
(to use receptions oI the analysis and synthesis), a level oI development oI
verbal intelligence, logic and eIIective thinking inIluence on the ability oI
teaching to Ioreign languages. Proceeding Irom this, the author oIIers to
diagnose the ability oI teaching to Ioreign language by Wexler tests
revealing a degree oI development oI the general mental Iaculties.
Foreign scientists Carrol J., KaulIers W.V., Pimsluer P. adhere to
other opinion, which emphasizing an essential role oI the general
intelligence in mastering Ioreign language, do not deny presence and other,
special abilities, such speciIic Ieatures which allow learning successIully
master language.
Abilities to studying Ioreign language diIIer cardinally Irom abilities
to mastering the native language. Mastering oI the native language and
Ioreign language occurs by means oI various ways, as proves this
The child seizes the native language in the early childhood during
dialogue with adults, unconsciously and unintentionally. It`s well-
known, that the period early ontogenesis is the most sensitive Ior mastering
by speech as this is Iavored with the certain physiological preconditions.
As show data PinIield U., the bark oI the big hemispheres oI a brain that
causes high rate oI mastering by speech skills is very plastic in this period
at the child. Besides PinIield U. emphasizes, that changes oI development
oI language abilities is identical absolutely at all people, that here there are
no speciIic Ieatures.
Otherwise the case is somewhat diIIerent with mastering by a Ioreign
language. First, starting to its studying, the person bases on the system oI
concepts oI the native language already available at him. Second, the
modern language, as a rule, is acquired by the individual not in natural, but
in educational conditions, without the constant communications with native
speakers. Here mastering by language is made absolutely in other plan,
than mastering oI the native language. Vygotskii L.S. believes that the
person studies a modern language since comprehension and intentionality.
Mastering oI Ioreign language goes in the way, opposite to a volume with
which goes development oI the native language. Development oI the native
language goes Irom below upwards while development oI Ioreign language
goes Irom the top downward. In the Iirst case there are elementary, lowest
properties oI speech earlier and only its complex Iorms connected to
comprehension oI phonetic structure oI language, its grammatical Iorms
and any construction oI speech develop later. In the second case the
maximum complex properties oI speech connected to comprehension and
intentionality develop earlier, and only there are more elementary
properties connected to spontaneous, Iree using by another's speech later.
Studying oI Ioreign language usually begin at such age when the
period special susceptibilities, sensitivity to mastering by speech was
already Iinished. However at the given age stage the maximum mental
Iunctions oI the person such as the perception, memory, thinking already
reach a high level oI the development and can become basic "means" oI
mastering by the individual speech activity in Ioreign language that true
data oI psychology and psycholinguistics prove.
Thus, all told proves existence oI speciIic linguistic abilities to
mastering by a Ioreign language. High rate and ease oI mastering oI Ioreign
language in advanced age are caused by other Iactors, rather than mastering
oI the native language in the early childhood. Thus mastering by a Ioreign
language occurs to a support on a known level oI development oI speech
ability on the native language.
There are various points oI view about structure oI linguistic
abilities. First oI all, it is necessary to allocate the diIIerent points oI view
oI domestic and Ioreign psychologists about essence oI linguistic abilities.
Foreign researchers develop a problem oI linguistic abilities with
reIerence to tasks in the Iield oI testing, in connection with necessity oI
distribution oI students Ior language classes, deIinitions oI inIluence oI
knowledge oI one Ioreign language on studying oI another, with the
requirement revealing oI individual distinctions and assignments oI
people Ior such work to which they are most capable, without a prodigal
trial and error method.
Existence oI special abilities to mastering Ioreign language which
sometimes name linguistic talent admits as the majority oI Ioreign
psychologists. However it is necessary to notice, that speaking another
language abilities are determined diIIerently. So, Carrol J. under linguistic
abilities understands amount oI time which is required to the student Ior
achievements oI the certain successes in training. Thus the scientist
assumes that the student has optimum motivation oI educational activity
and during training Iollows qualitative instructions.
Solomon E. in understanding oI essence oI linguistic abilities also
puts the Iactor oI time. She considers iI trained in comparison with others
Ior smaller or identical amount oI time acquires the greater volume oI a
material he has the greater ability to training. The author urgently
emphasizes, that any invented the linguistic talent does not exist, is
simple in some departments oI a brain there is original 'readiness, a
potential opportunity oI mastering oI Ioreign language in the work.
In work oI dd J.W. we Iind an explanation oI a nature oI linguistic
abilities, a source oI their Iormation and development. In the scientist`s
opinion, presence oI abilities to mastering Ioreign language is
predetermined by the Iactor oI heredity. Similarly to color oI hair, their
complete characteristic can be transIerred Irom generation to generation
only with little changes. The author approves that the special talent Ior
one language should be accompanied and ability to studying other
Foreign psychologists are unanimous that abilities to languages
represent set oI separate independent abilities closely connected among
themselves. With the help oI the Iactorial analysis researchers reveal those
qualities oI mentality oI the individual which are lawIul Ior including in
structure oI linguistic abilities.
Among works oI the given direction the special place is taken
researches oI Carrol J. In opinion oI the scientist, the model oI speaking
other language abilities can be presented as system oI the Iollowing
1.Phonetic coding - ability oI the individual to represent by means oI
the certain images the heard sound material so that was available an
opportunity through some oI time oI it to identiIy and recall. Carrol J.
considers, that pupils with a low level oI development oI the given ability
will experience diIIiculties as with storing a phonetic material (words and
their Iorms), and in imitation oI sounds oI speech.
1.Grammatical sensitivity - ability to Ieel Iunction oI a word in
diIIerent contexts. The high level oI development oI the given quality
correctly allows the pupil to operate with Iorms oI words, grammatically
correctly to make out speaking other language statements.
1. Mechanical memory - ability to storing a speaking another
language material Ior short time.
1. Ability to study language inductively that is to draw conclusions
on language rules on the basis oI several language Iorms and to carry out
their carry on new examples
Interesting ideas concerning structure oI linguistic abilities states
Pimsluer P. According to his theory, the given kind oI abilities includes
three Iactors:
1. The Iactor oI verbal intellect which is meant as knowledge
vocabulary oI the native language, skill to analyze a verbal material, to
deduce rules on the basis oI several speaking other language linguistic
1. Motivation oI studying oI Ioreign language.
3. The acoustical Iactor determined in two various directions: as
diIIerentiation oI similar sounds and as making oI sound-sign conIormity.
It is necessary to notice, that the role oI an audiotive component in
structure oI linguistic abilities is marked by many Ioreign researchers. So,
the structure oI abilities includes ability to distinction inside a word oI the
phonemes similar on sounding. Here, as scientists approve, it is necessary
skill to diIIerentiate height, a timbre, their duration, loudness. Besides it is
considered necessary Ior revealing a level oI development oI linguistic
abilities to measure sensory acuity.
Also many Ioreign psychologists speciIy the high importance oI
verbal memory. According ideas oI dd J.W., memory is the most
powerIul Iorce in purchase oI speaking other language skills. In opinion
oI the scientist, verbal memory is extremely important Ior mastering
speaking another language vocabulary, at studying conjugations oI verbs
and declinations oI names oI nouns. Work oI CliIIord J. it is devoted to
research oI mechanical memory which the author oIIers to measure with
the help oI a technique oI learning oI pair associations, using as a material
Ior storing artiIicial syllables. During research he comes to a conclusion
about existence oI positive correlations between high speed oI studying oI
units oI pair associations and ability to mastering languages.
The Russian scientists hold essentially other opinion in
understanding oI essence oI linguistic abilities. Their approach is based on
the characteristic oI speciIic Ieatures oI mental processes since Irom it, in
their opinion, successIul mastering by concrete operations oI speech
activity in Ioreign language depends.
As an example it is possible to consider realization oI the act oI
perception and understanding oI the speech statement on hearing and those
mental processes which Iunction thus. In activity oI audition 5 separate
operations are allocated: the identiIication oI sounds; the identiIication oI
words; association oI a sound with value; comprehension oI the logic plan
oI speech; preservation oI the understood previous contents in memory.
First two operations are carried out with the help oI Iunctioning oI
operative, long-term memory and phonemic hearing as trained should
remember a required linguistic material and to have ability oI distinction oI
phonemes on hearing. For Iormation oI adequate associations oI sounds oI
speech with values and comprehension oI the logic plan oI speech skill to
predict value oI a word or the statement in the given concrete situation and
skill to establish logic connections between heard is necessary. It is
provided with presence oI the certain level Iormation oI verbal-logic
thinking and ability to probabilistic Iorecasting. To keep in memory the
contents oI the statement, ability to keep the heard inIormation in
consciousness is required and to take advantage oI the saved up material in
a new situation that is provided with the advanced operative and long-term
Thus, Russian are understood as such speciIic Ieatures oI cognitive
processes which promote easy, Iast and eIIective mastering by speech and
linguistic skills with reIerence to Ioreign languages by researchers
linguistic abilities. As the basic mechanisms oI speech activity shown,
equally at mastering any Ioreign language are considered: verbal thinking,
quality oI operative, long-term and verbal memory, Ieature oI acoustical
perception, speech hearing and its compound components, phonemic and
intonational hearing, individual properties oI imagination and attention.
In the theory there is no uniIorm classiIication oI linguistic abilities.
Belyaev B.V. oIIers classiIication oI speaking other language abilities on
the basis oI various kinds oI activity on studying Ioreign language,
according to diIIerent aspects oI language and types oI speech activity.
Belayev B.V. allocates abilities to translation Irom Ioreign language on
native, abilities to mastering grammatical rules, to learning Ioreign words
in their correlation with Russian equivalents, abilities to reading, to the
letter, to in investigated language, to understanding oI speech oI the
interlocutor, ability to mastering by skills oral (speaking and
understanding) and written (reading and the letter) speeches, abilities to
mastering by phonetics, vocabulary, grammar oI investigated language. In
turn, each oI these kinds oI abilities breaks up to even more elementary
abilities. For example, grammatical abilities, on Belyaev B.V., it is possible
to divide into ability to change a word according to rules oI their grammar
and to unite them in complete oIIers; ability oI the correct use oI an article;
ability oI the correct coordination oI words etc.
The special place in a problem oI classiIications oI linguistic abilities
is taken with works oI Kabardov M.K. He subdivides abilities to languages
on communicative-speech (other language-speech) and cognitive-linguistic
(language), Iormal-dynamic characteristics which are expressed in rate oI
mastering oI means oI language, speeds oI transition Irom mastering to
their application, in speed oI overcoming oI a communicative barrier.
Cognitive-linguistic abilities are individual-psychological Ieatures which
promote Iast and strong Iormation oI skills and skills at mastering by
language system phonetics, vocabulary, grammar, reading.
Communicative-speech is psychophysiological Ieatures which provide Iast
and qualitative mastering by skills, and here the author possession and
paralinguistic by means - mimicry, gestures is included also. As, he
allocated the basic characteristics oI the individuals having this or that kind
oI abilities. So, at owners oI abilities communicative - speech high
parameters oI communicative activity are marked, namely: initiative in
dialogue in Ioreign language, ease oI understanding and speaking, high
Iluency oI speech. But trained the given category Irequently are at a loss at
a presence oI linguistic laws, rules in unIamiliar language; decisions them
oI linguistic tasks, as a rule, have stereotyped character. The individuals
described by presence oI cognitive-linguistic abilities, have an orientation,
Iirst oI all on studying oI theoretical bases oI language, its systems, but
experience diIIiculties understanding and speaking, that is practical using
But nevertheless, in Polyanskaya O.S. opinion, such classiIications
oI linguistic abilities are not absolutely exact since they allocate speech and
language knowledge Iaster, skills, but not abilities to mastering by
languages. For example, correctly to use articles, quickly and competently
make translation Irom one language on another the person with average or
even rather low abilities to Ioreign languages iI he can also and was
purposeIully trained in the given skills regularly during long time. As
excessive "crushing" oI linguistic abilities on their elementary components
complicates realization oI their diagnostics, makes practically impossible
creation oI test techniques Ior deIinition oI a level oI development oI this or
that kind oI abilities. She oIIers qualitatively other classiIication oI
linguistic abilities. The Iunctional-genetic concept oI human abilities is put
in its basis. For classiIication oI linguistic abilities Irom this position to
cognitive Iunctions and the processes making a basis oI the mechanism oI
perception and generation oI speaking other language speech, it is
necessary to approach not as to structural components oI the common
ability to mastering Ioreign language and to study them as separate kinds oI
this ability and to consider Irom positions oI studying oI individuality. So it
is possible to allocate perceptive, mnemonic, speech understanding
abilities to Ioreign languages (concerning mastering by skills oI speaking
other language speech), and also ability oI linguistic thinking (concerning
mastering by skills oI the analysis oI system oI investigated language).
Mnemonic speaking other language ability includes all kinds oI
verbal memory playing an essential role in mastering by skills oI Ioreign
speech. In particular: memory long-term and operative; acoustical, visual
both impellent; mechanical and logic. The importance oI memory Ior Iast
and easy mastering by a Ioreign language, it is especial at the initial stages
oI training, it is emphasized by all without exception by the researchers
engaged in this question. Mastering oI any language begins with storing
separate lexical units, it means, that well advanced mechanical memory
based on repeated recurrence oI a material as the word is remembered, Iirst
oI all, is necessary Ior Iast purchase oI a required lexicon not as semantic
structure and as set oI visual, acoustical and impellent sensual
According to Albina A.T.'s researches, verbal memory is the
important diIIerential attribute on which precisely diIIer capable and unable
to languages trained. The importance oI verbal memory is caused not only
necessity oI mastering by speaking another language lexicon. During
mastering Ioreign language in educational conditions Irom trained storing
and reproduction oI the whole texts (art, publicistic) Irequently is required
with the purpose oI development oI phonetic, intonational structures,
grammatical models oI investigated language. Memorizing oI texts is
considerably Iacilitated by use oI special receptions oI comprehension oI a
learnt material, namely exarticulation in it oI the certain semantic units,
allocation oI strong points with which the contents oI the given Iragment oI
the text easily associates. EIIiciency oI use oI such receptions just depends
on a level oI development oI verbal memory.
The role oI a high level oI verbal operative memory as conditions
and means oI successIul realization oI speech activity proves to be true that
success oI realization oI all kinds oI speaking another language speech
activity is inIluenced essentially with volume oI operative memory, i.e.
quantity oI elements oI the inIormation. Operative memory at realization oI
speech activity is closely connected to long-term verbal memory. The high
level oI development oI long-term memory as structural making speaking
other language abilities provides strong storing and long preservation oI a
plenty oI a speaking other language verbal material.
Well advanced impellent memory easily allows trained to remember
position oI bodies oI an articulation at pronouncing sounds oI speaking
other language speech and determines a level oI development oI so-called
articulation abilities.
Well advanced visual memory promoting Iast and strong storing oI
an alphabetic image oI a word and its exact reproduction is necessary Ior
correct perception, understanding and reproduction oI the written
inIormation, providing Iormation at trained to spelling vigilance.
First oI all, perceptive ability to Ioreign language is acoustical
perception. As the basic component oI the given ability it is possible to
consider the speech hearing providing perception and understanding oI
speaking other language speech, promoting Iast accumulation in memory
trained acoustical images oI lexical units and their combinations. To
audition belong to the greater densities in speech dialogue, than to other
kinds oI speech activity. Hence, one oI the most signiIicant elements oI
structure oI abilities to mastering by Ioreign languages is the acoustical
perception. It underlies speaking another language speech activity since is
the natural channel through whom the word will penetrate into a brain.
Speech understanding ability is ability oI the pupil to the eIIective
decision oI any verbal task, to successIul realization speech understanding
activity in Ioreign language which is considered as process oI Iormation
and a Iormulation oI idea by means oI language Ior its external expression
One oI components speech understanding abilities to Ioreign language
lawIul counts and a high level oI development oI the mechanism
probabilistic Iorecasting.
Ability oI linguistic thinking with reIerence to mastering by a Ioreign
language represents set oI the cogitative operations, allowing
comprehending laws oI construction oI system oI investigated Ioreign
Linguistic abilities play the important role in mastering by trades -
the teacher oI Ioreign language or the translator. In concept oI the linguistic
abilities necessary Ior successIul mastering by Ioreign languages include -
mnemonic abilities, perceptive abilities (Iirst oI all acoustical perception),
speech understanding abilities and ability oI linguistic thinking.
Thus, beIore to reveal the modern requirements showed to
proIessional and personal qualities oI the Iuture philologists, it is necessary
to understand, in the Iuture they will Iace which kind oI activity. The Iuture
philologists can become depending on specialization oI training either
teachers, or translators. Accordingly the requirements showed to students, it
is possible to divide into two groups - common and special requirements.
We have reIerred linguistic abilities to the common requirements. To
special requirements we have reIer personal qualities and the abilities
making a complex oI proIessionally important qualities, i.e. the
requirements showed by a separate trade.
Diagnostics o# language a&ilities
Diagnostics oI development oI linguistic abilities consists oI six
under methods. Each oI these methods is intended Ior revealing a degree oI
development oI the cognitive processes playing the important role in
mastering by Ioreign languages which were described earlier.
1) Installation oI grammatical rules in an artiIicial language.
The purpose oI a method: deIinition oI a level oI linguistic thinking,
ability to revealing grammatical laws in unIamiliar Ioreign language.
The essence oI a method consists that the cards containing words in
invented language are oIIered applicants, examples oI oIIers and their
Russian equivalents. It is necessary Ior applicants by the analysis oI oIIers
in invented language and, using the dictionary oI additional words to
translate oIIered oIIers Irom Russian.
On the basis oI the analysis oI the given oIIers grammatical rules oI
unIamiliar language are deduced, namely is established: the word order in
the oIIer as Iorms oI past (Iuture) time and plural numbers oI a verb are
Iormed, by means oI what means is expressed denying action as the Iorm
oI a plural number and an accusative case oI names oI nouns is Iormed.
At processing results the quantity oI grammatical mistakes is counted
2) Filling oI a phrase blank.
The purpose oI a method: revealing oI a level oI development oI
ability to the probable Iorecasting, providing an optimality and adequacy oI
perception and understanding oI speaking another language speech, and as
speed and an originality speech production. The essence oI a method
consists in Iilling the gap in the oIIer the greatest possible number oI
variants during limited time.
As a material Ior diagnostics the cards containing on two oIIers with
gaps, Ior example, the Girl.are used looked at him, Two workers.did
repair. The task consists in Iilling these misses as it is possible a plenty oI
words suitable on a context, word collocations, revolutions, parenthetic
clauses etc. within 10 minutes.
Results are analyzed in view oI two levels oI Iunctioning oI the
mechanism probabilistic Iorecasting - semantic and verbal hypotheses, i.e.
Iixed as quantity oI variants oI Iilling oI misses which the quality testiIies
to breadth and narrowness oI associative connections, and, testiIying about
Ilexibility and inertness oI verbal thinking.
All semantic hypotheses can be divided into the basic two groups: )
attributive; b) adverbial.
Each semantic hypothesis is realized by means oI a verbal
hypothesis. On each such semantic hypothesis are counted up amount oI
verbal hypotheses and it is calculated arithmetical mean value.
3) Volume oI operative verbal memory.
The purpose oI a method: scoping oI operative memory, i.e. quantity
oI correctly reproduced separate units oI the verbal inIormation.
For scoping operative memory on a visual modality 3 posters with
the written questions were oIIered, Ior example, What color it happens,
ice-cream, a strawberry . (only 13 names).
For check oI memory on an acoustical modality similar questions
have become engrossed in reading on hearing. BeIore the beginning oI the
test to applicants the instruction was given: Now to you 6 questions will
be given, 3 Irom which will be read aloud, and the others are written on
sheets oI a paper. In each question are listed on 13 words, Ior example,
What color it happens, ice-cream, a strawberry, . Answering on
questions it is necessary to write down these words in a column in the any
order and then to name appropriate to them quality all over again. It is
impossible to make notes during listening, it is necessary only to try to
remember 13 words contained in a question.
For an assessment oI works, under each task the quantity oI correctly
reproduced words is counted up, then deduced arithmetic under all
three answers, both on acoustical, and on a visual modality.
4) Interpretation oI proverbs
The purpose oI a method is deIinition creativity oI a degree oI
development, depths oI verbal thinking, and as speech activity which is
positively correlated with a level oI development oI linguistic abilities. The
high level allows thinking creatively, "untempletly" to express the ideas in
Ioreign language. A high level oI development creativity, the deep verbal
thinking and speech activity are shown in ability adequately to express in
diIIerent language Iorms an idea made in a proverb, thus as more as
possible m Irom an oIIered syntactic design and a set oI speech
For the given method the cards containing on two proverbs are used.
It is necessary to express the ideas made in the given proverbs by anyone in
other words as it is possible the big variant.
Answers are estimated by three criteria:
) By quantity oI variants oI interpretation oI proverbs. Examinees
with high linguistic abilities give the greater number oI variants that is
caused by their greater speech understanding activity;
b) On adequacy oI transIer oI sense oI proverbs. Applicants with
deep verbal thinking quickly and precisely catch the basic sense made in
proverbs, and design variants very IaithIul to a sample. Applicants, whose
verbal thinking is characterized by smaller depth, meet diIIiculties at the
analysis oI proverbs and not always adequately transIer sense to the given
proverb on other materials.
c) On originality oI the statement. A variety oI language means and
ways oI a Iormulation oI ideas is typical oI applicants with high-creative
verbal thinking at an explanation oI sense oI proverbs.
5) Reproduction oI the text.
The purpose oI a technique: deIinition oI a level oI development oI
visual and acoustical verbally logic memory and revealing oI a degree oI
distribution oI attention between the contents oI the text and its language
The essence oI a method consists that the examinee shows a
Iragment Irom the works oI art, equal on volume 233-267 words. The
predicate oI the Iirst order expressing the basic idea oI a Iragment, settles
down at the end oI the text, one Iragment is showed visually in the printed
kind within two minutes, the second will become engrossed in reading.
The received answers are analyzed by the Iollowing criteria:
) The volume oI the statement allows to judge eIIiciency oI verbal
b) The quantity oI correctly transIerred words oI the author
determines ability oI the examinee simultaneously to catch both the
contents oI the text, and its linguistic expression.
Albina A.T.'s researches have shown that examinees with well
advanced linguistic abilities reproduce the language Iorm oI originals
better. The aspiration to exact impressing author's statements, a cliche
Iorms Iigurative language, enriching vocabulary oI the person that is
equally Iavorable both Ior native, and Ior Ioreign language;
c) TransIer oI predications I and II orders means skill to separate the
main idea Irom minor and readiness oI logic memory Ior Iixation oI the
inIormation, important Ior correct understanding oI the text. Predication is
a reIerence oI the given text . a subject oI idea to the validity, carried out
in the oIIer. Each text can be submitted as structure oI predications, one oI
them are main and transIer the basic idea, an idea (predication I order),
others - minor, additional which reIlect occurring event, acts oI characters
(predication II order), the third - additional to additional, transmitting shape
and character oI heroes. The speech message is considered adequately
transIerred then when the basic idea oI the text is reproduced or by transIer
oI all predications the Iirst order, or by means oI reIlection not less than
75 predications the second order.
6) Phonemic hearing.
The purpose oI a method consists in revealing ability to recognition
oI sound elements oI unIamiliar language in the speech stream, allowing
adequately perceiving on hearing speaking other language statements. The
phonemic hearing is the lowest level oI perception oI oral speech. By
means oI phonemic hearing it is carried out, the initial analysis oI perceived
pieces oI speech and is estimated quality oI Iunctioning oI speech hearing,
a level oI the highest order, thanking oral speech is perceived as system oI
For diagnostics oI a level oI development oI phonemic hearing the
test Irom 50 pairs words in an artiIicial language is oIIered. The words
worth in pair are or identical in a pronunciation, or diIIer on one sound. The
list oI words and the description oI given phonetic units are placed in the
Appendix And. II words diIIerent that is put "-" near to number oI pair, iI
identical that "" near to number oI pair. At processing results the quantity
oI right answers is summarized and the estimations equivalent to the sum
are exposed.
The given tests were designed on the basis oI a spoken language Ior
examinees and the artiIicial languages specially developed Ior this purpose.
The given Iact is argued imnyaya I.A.'s with conclusions |64| that
displays oI Iunctions oI mental processes regardless to language, i. .
Iunctioning oI memory oI perception and thinking are caused
extralinguistic by Iactors, hence, studying language abilities probably on a
material oI any sign system. It allows to remove eIIect oI previous studying
oI Ioreign language and lays down all examinees in equal conditions.
All is higher the listed methods are estimated on 5 mark scale. The
level oI suitability to mastering and training by a Ioreign language
according to a method can be estimated on Iive levels:
- a high level oI development;
- the level oI development is above the average;
- an average level oI development;
- a low level oI development.
The applicant having a high level oI suitability to mastering by a
Ioreign language will be easy to acquire all oIIering a material without
additional eIIorts at level Intermediate level (a threshold level oI mastering
by a Ioreign language).
The applicant with an average level oI suitability to mastering by
Ioreign language training will be productive under condition oI strong
educational motivation and at the appendix oI eIIort both on the part oI
trained, and on the part oI the teacher.
Development o# linguistic a&ilities
In domestic psychology development oI any phenomenon oI human
mentality is accepted Ior determining as process at which on the basis oI
quantitative complication and changes arise qualitatively new Iormations
and all psychological system passes to a new level oI Iunctioning (L.I.
AncyIerova, V.G. Asv, A.V. Bruhshinskii, S.L. Rubinstein and others).
Basing on the given statement, under development oI linguistic abilities we
shall understand the natural change oI their components expressed in
quantitative transIormation and qualitative reorganization oI last which
result in that, that there is a perIection oI activity oI the individual, the
person as a whole.
Development oI speaking other language abilities, as well as in
general any development, represents Iorward transition Irom the lowest to
the highest Irom less perIect to more perIect. According to S.L.
Rubinstein`s statement, development oI abilities occurs on an ascending
spiral: realization oI an opportunity which represents ability oI one level,
opens new opportunities Ior the Iurther development oI ability more a high
Proceeding Irom the statement, that the central problem at
research... development disclosing laws transition Irom the lowest level oI
development to the highest in a context oI the present work consideration
oI sources oI development oI linguistic abilities and the major Iactors
inIluencing this development is represented essential. The given problem
includes the whole complex oI questions on biological and social ratio,
about abilities and inclinations, about driving Iorces oI development oI
linguistic abilities.
As it was already speciIied above, a problem oI development oI any
abilities including to mastering Ioreign language, can be solved Irom a
position oI a principle oI a determinism according to which the external
reasons at all stages oI development operate through internal conditions.
Proceeding Irom this, it is possible to approve that Iormation and
development oI speaking other language abilities occurs as a result oI
complex interaction social (training and education) and natural
(inclinations) oI Iactors.
During researches it was established that human abilities are Iormed
and develop due to Iastening in a brain oI that new that carries with
themselves liIe experience oI the person (Leytes N.S., 1961). On the basis
oI it, domestic psychologists Iormulate regulations about development oI
the common and special abilities during interaction oI the individual with
world around: abilities develop due to mastering oI public cultural
experience, by creation and development oI products oI historical
development oI human activity, during training and education on the basis
oI mastering by knowledge and expansion oI skills (L.S. Vygotskii, A.N.
Leontyev, S. L. Rubinstein, .A. Samarin and others). However, as it was
already marked by us earlier, all scientists converge on ideas about
illegitimacy oI an identiIication oI abilities with knowledge and skills
though emphasize their close interrelation and interdependence. So, S.L.
Rubinstein about this writes: Not coinciding in any way with abilities,
skills, the engineering oI the given activity, skills, knowledge, with it
connected, are an essential condition development oI the appropriate
abilities, just as presence oI the appropriate abilities is a condition Ior
mastering by these skills.
Relationship between skills and knowledge, habits and abilities has a
physiological basis, which is detailed in the work oI .A. Samarin (1954).
Relying on the doctrine oI I.P. Pavlov, material basis Ior all knowledge,
habits and skills is the system oI temporary connections, which is Iormed in
the cerebral cortex. Fast Iormation oI these bonds, their strengthening
depends on the characteristics oI the nervous system (the Iorce oI the
nervous processes, their mobility, balance between), which .A. Samarin
presents as a material basis oI abilities. In turn, the properties oI the
nervous system, as the scientist believes, depend on the wealth, strength,
and the relationship oI the neural circuits in the cerebral cortex, which are
due to all the liIe experience.
Inclinations, "the internal conditions oI development oI linguistic
abilities are, Iirstly, the general typological properties oI the nervous
system - power, agility, balance, aIIecting the Iunctioning oI all cognitive
processes, mental stamina, intellectual activity, Iocus on the object oI
cognition, selI-regulation oI cognitive processes in implementation oI
studying activities on language acquisition, and, secondly, Iunctions oI the
cerebral cortex areas serve as the inclinations (eg, auditory).
Kabardov M.K. (1983, 1996) describes the physiological basis oI
diIIerent kinds oI abilities to master a Ioreign language. So, the inclinations
oI speech-communicative abilities is the dominance oI the right hemisphere
oI the brain, the predominance oI the Iirst signaling system and the high
liability oI neural processes, whereas the material substrate oI cognitive-
linguistic abilities include, on the contrary, the inertia oI the nervous
system, leIt hemisphere dominance and the dominance oI the Iunctions oI
the second signal system.
Concluding the consideration oI the relationship between natural and
acquired linguistic abilities, we can say that the inclinations and Ioreign-
language speech and language skills in the aggregate constitute a "single
dynamic system and are necessary conditions Ior development oI abilities
in Ioreign languages.
L.S. Vygotsky (1960) highlights two main Ieatures oI the
development oI mental Iunctions. The Iirst oI these is the assertion that the
substrate underlying the growing phenomenon remains unchanged. In our
opinion, concerning the linguistic abilities oI it here could go on the
constancy oI their organic, natural base - inclinations. The second main
Ieature that is included in the concept oI development, according to L.S.
Vygotsky, is the existence oI internal communication between the last stage
oI development and perIormed change.
Similar ideas are expressed by S.L. Rubinstein as well; he assumed
that the Iormation oI a new stage oI mental development is not purely
external add-in. According to the scientist, "every preceding stage is always
a preparatory step to the next, inside oI her grow ... the Iorces and relations,
which having become the leading, give rise to a new stage oI development
". In this case, S.L. Rubinstein Iocuses on the Iact that each phase or stage
oI development oI the phenomena oI the psyche, 'being qualitatively
diIIerent Irom all others, is a relatively homogenous whole, so its
psychological characteristic as a psychological whole is possible"(1976).
On the basis oI the statements it seems to us extremely important to
consider the stages oI development oI linguistic abilities. In this regard,
three main stages should be deIined.
In the Iirst phase Iavorable conditions Ior early Iormation and
development oI the child's general abilities is Iormed, a certain level oI
which serves as a prerequisite Ior the next development oI special abilities.
This stage reIers to the period oI liIe Irom birth to 6-7 years.
Here takes place the preparation oI anatomical and physiological
basis oI Iuture capabilities, improving the operation oI all analyzers,
development and Iunctional diIIerentiation oI individual sections oI the
cerebral cortex.
On the second step in the implementation oI studying activities on
mastering a Ioreign language begins Iormation and development oI special
linguistic abilities. The main Iactor behind this development is the gradual
structuring oI natural properties in relation to the requirements oI the
activity (e.g., auditory sensitivity is related to speech motor regulation with
language acquisition in a Ioreign language). Thus there are the supporting
properties oI abilities (Kovalev A.G., 1970). In the Iurther process oI
Iormation and development oI Ioreign language abilities, these properties
are beginning to correlate with speciIic properties oI memory and thinking.
On the third stage at regular practicing the language linguistic
abilities reach the optimal level needed Ior easy and quick mastery oI
speech and language skills.
Separately can be identiIied also the Iourth stage oI the development
oI Ioreign language skills when there is a transition Irom educational,
reproductive level to the level oI proIessional skills, such as the ability oI
translation (Bondarevskaya O.I., 1998), or the level oI creativity - the
ability to implement research activities in Iield oI linguistics.
As it has been repeatedly noted, the Iormation oI new elements takes
place in the process oI mental activity. Consequently, the source oI mental
development is overcoming internal contradictions between the available
level oI development oI individual`s cognitive processes, the prevailing
characteristics oI his personality and the objective requirements oI activity
(Teplov E.M., 1961). According to the thoughts oI E.G. Aseev, "the
development process is speciIic by the Iact that the corresponding activity
is richer than its regulatory mechanism ... This mismatch, the discrepancy
between subjective and objective ... is an important Iact and is a necessary
condition Ior the development oI mental "(1978).
V.A. Krutetskiy (1972) Iormulates three basic principles according to
which activity aimed at developing the abilities should be organized:
1) it should not carry a reproductive meaning but a creative;
2) the studying should Iocus not on the already achieved level oI
development oI ability components, but stay ahead oI development,
Iocusing on those Ieatures oI the components oI ability, which is not yet
3) learning activity must be deeply positively motivated. For
stimulating the development oI abilities V.A. Krutetskiy (1971) proposes to
organize the learning process so that the students Iaced the problematic task
and encourage their attempt to solve these problems independently.
In the work oI O.P. Krichever (1989) in order to stimulate the
development oI Ioreign language skills a system oI language training,
organized in the Iorm oI a solution oI perceptual, mnemonic and speech
and thinking tasks aimed at the mastery oI rational methods and ways oI
mastering language material and mastering the skills oI Ioreign speech is
proposed. Improving the mnemonic component oI linguistic abilities,
according to observations oI the researcher, happens in the mastery oI
rational methods oI storing and playing back. Thus, the productivity oI
mechanical memory is determined by using the techniques oI integration oI
operational units, among which Iocus is on the organization oI words into
semantic complexes; oI the development oI the same logical memory
indicates quickness in remembering the inIormation, embedded in the
Ioreign language texts, the strength oI its retention, and accuracy oI
playback. Improvement oI auditory speech perception in the process oI
solving perceptual problem tasks implies simultaneity oI the processes oI
perception and understanding oI Ioreign language speech, a Iairly accurate
retention oI its linguistic Iorm and semantic content. Development oI
verbal thought component in progress oI speech and thinking targets Ior
annotating and abstracting Ioreign language texts is reIlected in the depth
oI understanding oI these texts, in the ability to distinguish the most
substantial connection in them and identiIy the main idea, as well as the
productivity oI verbal expression.
I.N. Lukashenko (1976, 1978, 1983) as a basis Ior the development
oI linguistic ability takes the Iormation oI the capacity Ior Iunctional-
linguistic generalizations, which in her opinion, then provides Ior the
development oI other components oI linguistic abilities - automatic
interverbal relations, probabilistic prediction oI words and their elements,
verbal memory. I.N. Lukashenko also is oI the opinion that the eIIiciency
oI the Iormation and development oI language skills depend on the
management oI educational activities Ior mastering a Ioreign language, and
presents basic principles oI studying organization.
This is, Iirstly, a systemic delivery oI the material in the Iorm oI a
generalized model oI its structural relations and the essential attributes
contributing to the Iormation oI linguistic concepts, actions, and, secondly,
the selection and description oI linguistic operations and generalized
methods oI Iorming the system oI linguistic actions, teaching selI-
compiling algorithmic requirements leading to the Iormation oI generalized
modes oI actions with language material and to a broad transIer oI
linguistic actions on new tasks.
Thus, the review oI the literature suggests that properly organized
learning activity to master the Ioreign language make students Iace
problems solution oI which requires Irom students a certain tension oI
mental Iunctions, "involved" in learning the language.
As can be seen Irom the above, the development oI linguistic
abilities can occur only when the demands oI Ioreign language exceed the
level oI existing capacities needed Ior their implementation, which
stimulates the emergence oI contradictions. In this regard, the student's
existing motives and goals oI educational activities` implementation Ior
mastering the language get an important meaning; this signiIicant role is
due to the Iollowing. According to V.G. Aseev, any motivation is speciIic
Ior it captures the desired Iuture state oI reality, which is not yet available.
"Motivation embodies a contradiction between undesirable reality and
desirable Iuture and only because oI this becomes a stimulus, driven Iorce
oI activity and activities aimed at ... the removal oI this contradiction
In psychological science, it is generally accepted that an individual
develops only by its own activity, regulating and directing the command. In
particular, mental activity, understood as the intensity, the greater or lesser
severity oI the mental activity oI the subject, is seen as a necessary
prerequisite Ior the development oI general and special abilities (Leites
N.A., 1970, 1972), including the ability to master a Ioreign language
(Krichever O.P. , 1989, Nazarenko N.A., 1986, Sibiryakova V.F., 1978).
This is due to the Iact that mental activity helps to enhance mental
processes that operate in a particular activity, and 'regulates the inclusion
into cognitive processes oI mechanisms, providing a higher level oI its
organization "(Telegina E. D., 1979).
"ypological #eatures and the success o# the e1ecution o# various
mental activities in language ac$uisition
Learning activity produces students not less diverse requirements. It
is thereIore diIIicult to expect the uniqueness oI link between typological
Ieatures and these activities. This is conIirmed by the research data, the
analysis oI which should be approached to taking into account the two
criteria oI the successIul learning activities: speed and accuracy oI task
accomplishment. It can be assumed that the successIul accomplishment oI
the learning tasks on these criteria will be used in diIIerent ways to
communicate with the typological Ieatures oI the nervous system
For example, M.R. Shchukin (1963) showed that slow assimilation
oI inIormation is inherent to individuals with inertness oI nervous
processes, while learning they oIten need the instruction to be repeated.
However, while losing at speed, the inerts, as shown in several studies, can
work more precisely, perIorm the task more careIully.
According to V.A. Suzdaleva (1975), the speed oI associative and
cognitive processes is linked with the lability and mobility oI the nervous
system (it was required to read only those words that make sense, call
objects; choose words oI opposite meaning, names oI young animals). This
is also conIirmed by S. A. Izyumova (1988), who Iound that the semantic
processing oI inIormation is carried out better by people with high lability,
weak nervous system and predominance oI the second signal system
according to I. P. Pavlov. Individuals with a weak nervous system play
more meaningIul text units and their connections, i.e. more Iully delve into
the meaning oI the text.
According to M. K. Akimova (1975), the "weak" are better at solving
logical problems.
However, the opposite typological Ieatures provide an advantage in
perIorming a series oI mental activities. Imprinting oI inIormation occurs
eIIiciently in individuals with a strong nervous system, the inertia oI
nervous processes and predominance oI the Iirst signal system over the
second (S. A. Izyumova, 1988). Quickness oI solutions non-verbal
intellectual tasks is higher in people with a strong nervous system (M. V.
Bodunov, 1975). They also have, as shown by A. I. Krupnoye et al. (1975),
higher spatial prediction (the ability to anticipate a given location oI the
points when searching diIIerent shapes on paper). Individuals with a strong
nervous system during this search made Iewer touches and samples spent
on the search Ior triangle.
E. P. Guseva and I. A. Levochkina (1988) Iound that among the
students giIted in mathematics people with a strong nervous system have
higher intelligence indicators. The authors explain this by the composure,
phlegm, rationality and discretion oI these students.
Obviously, students with a weak nervous system, which is oIten
accompanied with high neurotism in hard training conditions (time limits
Ior problem solving, etc.) lose to people with a strong nervous system. For
example, M.A. Akimova (1975) Iound that when time is limited mental
tasks are perIormed better by those with a strong nervous system.
According to the A.A. Bolbochanu (1982), children aged 9-10 years with a
weak nervous system can hold the attention Ior a shorter time than children
with a strong nervous system (the Iirst could count without distractions,
slightly less than halI oI speciIied columns, while the latter more than
EIIect oI limiting the run-time control tasks Ior students with various
typological Ieatures oI nervous system maniIestations was studied by V.G.
akharin (1975).
It was revealed that students with high lability oI the nervous system
spend less time to perIorm tasks, but at the same time, the success oI
achieving these goals were not signiIicantly diIIerent Irom that oI students
with inactivity oI the nervous system, iI the time Ior problem solving is not
In the more early study, where the time Ior solution was all the same,
labile sought more success than the inert ones. The author justly raises the
question oI the need Ior creating equal opportunities oI knowledge and
skills control Ior students, and this is only possible when the typological
characteristics oI students are taken into account.
Great inIluence on the success oI training activities can have
conditions that arise in students in the classroom. One oI them may be the
state oI monotony, which is a consequence oI the monotonous work and
associated with the emergence oI boredom, the weakening oI attention and
activity. So, V.I. Rozhdestvenskaya and L.B. Ermolayeva-Tomina note that
the general level oI success and intellectual touch monotonous activities
(counting oI the number oI letters given in the table oI AnIimova) weaks
are ahead oI those with a strong nervous system (the latter allow more
mistakes). However, as shown by V.I .Rozhdestvenskaya and I.A.
Levochkina (1972), in the absence oI monotony diIIerences between
persons with diIIerent strength oI the nervous system do not appear.
These data are to some extent due to the Iact that when solving
simple problems people with a weak nervous system have better results
than those with a strong nervous system.
The dependence oI the success oI mental activity on the situation
related to the level oI neuro-emotional stress oI the students is studied by
A.V. Kumchenko (1975). It was Iound that the situations not causing a
strong stress, increase productivity oI attention in individuals with a weak
nervous system, resulting in a typological diIIerences between the success
oI "strong" and "weak" leveled. At high stress in patients with severe
nervous system increases the productivity oI attention, while those with a
weak nervous system - reduces. Threat situation increases the errors in
both, but to a greater extent - in patients with a weak nervous system.
When discovering students' interest in the task, the diIIerences in
productivity oI attention among people with diIIerent strength oI the
nervous system disappeared.
M.V. Lasko (1975) notes that the typological diIIerences in strength
oI the nervous system in the maniIestation oI intellectual Iunctions are
maniIested mainly in the strong motivation. Then the perceptual (testing
attention) and mnemonic (encoding) Iunctions are more pronounced in
individuals with a weak nervous system, and structural problems (with
Kos` cubes) are better solved by people with a strong nervous system.
Thus, it becomes obvious that the success oI learning activities can
be determined by typological Ieatures in two ways: through its eIIect on
mental abilities (speaking in them as a deposit) and through the inIluence
on the occurrence oI certain mental states with existing methods oI
teaching, under certain impacts oI teachers on students.
M. K. Akimova and V. T. Kozlova (1988) have identiIied situations
in which there are diIIiculties in students with a weak and inert nervous
system (students with a strong and labile nervous system in these situations
have an advantage).
Difficult situations
For students with a weak nervous
1. long hard work students quickly get
tired, start to make mistakes, slowly
mastered the material;
2. responsible, requiring mental stress,
unassisted, control, or exam work,
especially with limited time;
3. situation when a teacher is at a high
rate oI asking questions, and requires to
respond immediately;
4. work in an environment where the
teacher asks an unexpected question, and
requires an oral answer, Ior these
students written response is more
Iavorable, rather than oral;
5. work aIter an unsuccessIul response,
evaluated negatively;
6. work in a situation requiring a
diversion (to teacher cues, the question
oI another student);
7. work in a situation requiring the
distribution oI attention or switching
Irom one mode oI operation to another
8. work in a noisy turbulent environment;
9. work aIter a sharp remark oI a teacher,
aIter a quarrel with a Iriend, etc.;
10. work at hot-tempered, unrestrained
11. situation where you want to learn a
great lesson in scope and diverse in
content material.
For students with inactivity of the
nervous system:
1. when the teacher gives the class
assignments, diverse in content and
methods oI solutions;
2. when the teacher gives the material at
a high speed and the sequence oI
questions is not clear, addressed to the
3. when time is limited and Iailure oI
making it in time is threatening with
poor grades;
4. when Irequent distraction (on a replica
teachers, etc.)is required;
5. when the teacher asks an unexpected
question and requires a rapid response;
6. when you need to quickly switch Iocus
Irom one type oI operation to another;
7. When the successIul mastering oI the
material in the early stages oI its learning
is evaluated;
8. when you want to perIorm tasks on
intelligence at a high pace oI work.
This situations are presented in the Illustration - 3.2
It should be noted that the current system oI lessons and interviews
with students is mainly Iocused on students with a strong and labile
nervous system.
This can be explained on the one hand, an abundance oI educational
material, so that a teacher is Iorced all the time "to hurry the syllabus, and
on the other - so that the teacher, by virtue oI his proIessional qualiIication,
becomes like a" strong and "labile " even iI he is not in reality. Hence, he
may subconsciously be set a high pace oI work. ThereIore, all school
education - is a kind oI competition in the run-time oI learning activities.
Illustration 3.2 - diIIicult situation Ior students with a weak and inert
nervous system
Research oI typological characteristics and academic achievement
should include the presence oI three patterns, which are presented in
illustration 3.3
Illustration 3.3 - Laws typological characteristics and academic achievement
There is no unambiguous results in comparison the intelligence with
typological maniIestations oI nervous system Ieatures. In the laboratory oI
B. G. Ananiev there was Iound a weak link between intelligence (the
Wechsler test), and activation: the intellect is higher in people with weak
nervous system (B. Oderyshev; I. M. Paley, M. D. Dvoryashina; V. D.
Balin , 1971). M. D. Dvoryashina and N. S. Kopeina (1975) also showed
that general intelligence is higher in individuals with high lability. At the
same time in the laboratory oI V. S. Merlin it was either not Iound
signiIicant correlation between the typological Ieatures in strength to the
level oI intellectual development by Wexler, or they were unreliable (L. A.
Vyatkina, 1970). However, E. V. Stimmer (1975) notes that among
individuals with a weak nervous system, higher verbal intelligence
(according to "Dictionary" text) occurred more Irequently than in those
with a strong nervous system.
In this same laboratory showed no correlation between overall school
progress and achievement in literature with the power oI the nervous
system (A.K. Baimetov, M.S. hamkochyan, 1978; L.P. Kalininsky, 1971,
A.I. Klimenko, 1967; N. S. Utkina, 1968). V.S. Merlin explains the lack oI
connection between the properties oI the nervous system and academic
perIormance by the Iact that students with diIIerent typological Ieatures
adapt to the activity through the Iormation oI action style (this is discussed
in Section 10.3).
But it's not just that. The main reason Ior the lack oI the required
connection may consist oI the negative motivation oI students to studying.
Let me remind you that according to the M.V. Lasko (1975) typological
diIIerences emerge only when there is a strong motivation. V.S. Merlin also
stressed that the style oI actions in the students is Iormed only with a
positive attitude toward learning. That's a negative attitude towards
learning in general or to speciIic subjects that many students have, as well
as non-extreme demands oI teaching programs to the capabilities oI
students, alignment with the worst in the process oI mastering the learning
material, and sometimes Irank stretching oI satisIactory marks lead to the
Iact that progress is not adequate measure oI intelligence.
Another Iactor hampering the elucidation oI truth, is the
psychological resistance oI students to the emerging doctrine in extreme
situations (the survey, exams, etc.), as described above. Individuals with a
weak nervous system are less resistant to mental stress and thereIore may
show poorer results in the survey, writing tests, taking exams. On the other
hand, they are more disturbing, while the latter Ieature leads to greater
responsibility Ior it. That's why the weak`s progress may be higher (which
is conIirmed to some extent by better progress oI girls who have higher
anxiety than boys). By the way, the disadvantage oI the majority oI works
on communication oI progress with typological Ieatures is the lack oI
separate boys 'and girls' analysis oI the data.
A number oI studies (M.D. Dvoryashina, N.S. Kopeina, 1975; V.G.
arhin, 1977; S.I. Moldavskaya, 1975), an association oI student
achievement with the typological Ieatures oI the properties oI the nervous
system: better grades, students have school students and students with a
high lability oI the nervous system. N.E. Malkov (1973) Iound that in
students with poor progress most common is weak nervous system,
combined with the narrowness oI their Iocus, with less short-term memory
and greater Iatigue. a. Strelyau (1982) cites the data oI the Polish
psychologist T. Levovitsky who examined 1500 students and showed that
their progress is determined largely by a strong and moving nervous
UnIortunately, in many cases, typological characteristics oI the
nervous system were determined by questionnaires, which, according to
some psychologists, can serve as a reliable tool Ior the diagnosis oI Ilow
characteristics oI the nervous processes. ThereIore, oI special interest are
the data oI those studies in which the typological Ieatures oI the nervous
system are determined by physiological methods (EEG - methods, motive
express - methods).
In the laboratory oI E.A. Golubeva (1993) it was Iound that progress
on both the humanitarian and the natural cycles is associated with the
properties oI strength, lability, and activation (accepted Ior the balance oI
nervous processes).
The best scores had people with a weak nervous system, a high
lability and high activation (predominance oI excitation).
According to A.M. Pinchukova (1976), high progress had pupils
dominated by the excitation oI "internal" balance, and with a predominance
oI inhibition on this balance.
This can be explained by the Iact that the Iirst characteristic is
associated with high activity, and the second - with perseverance.
Finally, according to N.A. Kurdyukova (1997), higher average
progress was in people with weak nervous system and with a predominance
oI excitation over the "external" balance.
Thus, according to all data progress has a unique relation with the
high lability oI the nervous system. The remaining properties didn`t give a
clear picture. Obviously, this is not accidental, since too many Iactors can
inIluence the students receive marks. Even iI the typological characteristics
and inIluence on the level oI intellectual development, it is hoped the
dependence oI the perIormance oI it is not necessary. History oI education
oI brilliant people gives enough examples oI this. On the other hand, it is in
proIessional teaching Iound the most stable connections between the
success oI teaching and typological Ieatures oI nervous system (V.A.
Troshikhin et al, 1978), which may be associated with a positive motivation
Ior obtaining a proIession. On a positive learning motivation is related, as
shown in the laboratory oI V.S. Merlin, the Iormation oI students' style oI
learning activities.
SigniIicant place in the domestic and Ioreign psychology is given on
studying the cognitive, or gnostic, styles oI activity, which began an
intensive study by Western psychologists in 1960 (G. Witkin et al |H.
Witkin et al., 1974|), and later - domestic (V.A. Kolga, 1976; Sokolova
E.T., 1976, etc.).
-ognitive style & this is a relatively stable procedural features of
cognitive activity# that characteri5e the uniqueness of methods of obtaining
and processing information# cognitive strategies used by sub"ects# as well
as the means of reproduction of information and control methods3 Thus,
cognitive styles characterize typical Ieatures oI intellectual activity. They
are understood as a Iorm oI intellectual activity oI a higher order than the
traditionally described Ieatures oI cognitive processes.
In Ioreign and domestic literature can be Iound about a halI dozen
diIIerent cognitive styles, main cognitive styles are presented in Illustration
- 3.4
Illustration 3.4 - Main cognitive styles oI intelligence activity
It was Iound that some subjects to evaluate the vertical rod using
visual impressions (Iocus on the position oI the Irame), and others -
proprioceptive senses (the orientation oI the position oI body). The
tendency to rely on external visual Iield is called Iield dependence, and the
tendency to control the visual impressions due to proprioception Iield
Further investigation showed that the method oI spatial orientation
associated with the ability to isolate the parts or the shape oI a holistic
spatial context (complex shapes). ThereIore Iield independence has been
regarded as the ability to overcome the apparent Iield and structure it in
him to provide the individual elements. Field dependence means the
opposite oI the quality oI cognitive activity, when all the elements oI the
visible Iields are tightly coupled, and the details - it's hard to be separable
Irom the space background. Hence there and diagnostics Iield dependence -
Iield independence such test pieces included in various versions. Fast and
correct detection oI the Iigure characterizes Iield independence and slow
and erroneous - Iield dependence.
In the Iuture the ability to successIully allocate a separate part oI the
complex image was associated with a number oI intelligent, and above all -
non-verbal, ability. On this basis it was concluded on the existence oI a
more general Ieatures oI cognitive style, dubbed "the ability to overcome
organized context. Depending on the severity oI it, have been providing
analytical, proactive, approach to the Iield and a global, passive, approach.
In the Iirst case in humans maniIests the desire to reorganize the Iield,
divide it into separate elements.
Thus, the cognitive styles oI Iield dependence - Iield independence
reIlect the Ieatures oI the solution oI perceptual tasks. Field dependence is
characterized by the Iact that people Iocused on external sources oI
inIormation and thereIore to a greater extent is inIluenced by the context in
solving perceptual tasks (e.g., isolating Iigures Irom the background) that it
creates great diIIiculties. Field independence associated with the orientation
oI a person on internal sources oI inIormation, so it is less inIluenced by the
context, to more easily solve the perceptual problem.
8efle4ivity & impulsivity. These styles were identiIied N. Kogan (N.
Kogan, 1976) in the study oI intellectual activity in a situation oI decision
making under uncertainty, when you need to make the right choice Irom a
set oI alternatives. Impulsive people tend to react quickly to a problem
situation, with the hypothesis put Iorward and accept without careIul
thinking through. For reIlective people, by contrast, is characterized by
slow response to this situation, the decision is made based on careIully
weighing all the pros and cons. They collect more inIormation about the
stimulus beIore responding, use more productive ways to solve problems
more eIIectively use the acquired learning strategies oI the new conditions.
According to some reports (S. Messer), speed oI response does not
depend on the level oI intelligence, as opposed to the number oI erroneous
8igidity & fle4ibility of cognitive control3 This style is associated with
the ease or diIIiculty oI changing Iashion business or switching Irom one
alphabet to another inIormation. The diIIiculty oI changing or switching
leads to a narrowness and rigidity oI cognitive control.
The term "rigidity" was coined by R. Cattell (1935) to describe the
phenomena perseveration (Irom Lat. Perseveratio - persistence), i.e., the
obsessive repetition oI the same thoughts, images, movements, when
switching Irom one activity to another. They revealed signiIicant individual
diIIerences in the maniIestation oI this phenomenon. Diagnosed these
styles by using word-color test, J. Stroop. ConIlict situation created by the
interIerence oI the situation when a process is suppressed by others. The
subject should call the color in which the written words Ior colors, the color
oI writing the words and the color denoted by the word, do not match.
.arrow & 7ide range of equivalence3 These cognitive styles show
individual diIIerences in scale, which is used by humans Ior assessing
similarities and diIIerences between objects. Some oI the subjects under
Iree classiIication oI objects shared by objects into many groups with small
volume (narrow range oI equivalence), while others Iorm little groups, but
with a large number oI objects (a wide range oI equivalence). The basis Ior
these diIIerences lies not so much the ability to see diIIerences in how the
degree oI "sensitivity" to the identiIied diIIerences and Iocus on Iixing the
diIIerences oI various types. So, Ior a narrow range oI equivalence is
characterized by reliance on the explicit physical characteristics oI objects,
and Ior a wide range - their hidden extra Ieatures. A number oI Ioreign
authors Iirst style is called "analytical" and the second - "synthetic" (V.A.
Kolga, 1976).
The relationship between these cognitive styles with personality
characteristics. "Analyticity" is accompanied by increased anxiety, it is
positively correlated with the Iactor oI selI-control by R. Kettle, and
negatively with the Iactor oI selI-suIIiciency. "Analysts" are trying to
perIorm well in social demands and Iocus on social approval. According to
Paley, AI (1982), the "analysts" is dominated by emotions oI Iear, and the
"synthetics" - the emotions oI anger.
Tolerance of unrealistic e4perience3 Tolerance (Irom Lat. Tolerantia -
patience) means tolerance, indulgence to something. As a stylistic Ieature,
it suggests the possibility oI making impressions, inappropriate or even
opposing views available to the person (Ior example, with Iast moving
pictures with the horse a Ieeling oI motion). Intolerant people resist
apparently, since it is contrary to their knowledge that the pictures depicted
a Iixed horse (MA Cold, 1998). The main indicator oI tolerance is the
duration oI the period in which the subject sees a moving horse. In Iact, we
are talking about the ability to receive inappropriate Iacilities available
inIormation and take external action Ior what it really is.
-ognitive Simplicity & cognitive comple4ity3 The theoretical basis oI
the data oI cognitive styles is the theory oI Personal Constructs J. Kelly.
The severity oI a style determined by the measure oI simplicity or
complexity oI a system oI personal constructs in interpreting, Iorecasting
and assessing the validity on the basis oI certain well-organized subjective
experience. Construct - a bipolar subjective measurement scale, which
serves as a generalization (to establish the similarities) and contrast (the
establishment oI diIIerences).
For the diagnosis oI these styles using the method developed by J.
Kelly repertory grid. Cognitive complexity oI some data related to anxiety,
dogmatism and rigidity, lower levels oI social adaptability.
Provision is also verbally - logical, i.e., the abstract, the style oI
inIormation processing due to the leading role oI the leIt hemisphere, and
Iiguratively - an eIIective, i.e., a particular style oI inIormation processing,
which is due to the predominance (leading role), the right hemisphere.
"ypological characteristics and styles o# learning activities.
Varied in content and complexity oI mental training activity gives
rise to diIIerent styles oI intellectual activity. Thus, N. Kulyutkin and G.S.
Suhobskaya (1971) identiIied three styles oI heuristic activity:
1) thinking is characterized by a search Ior risk (nominated by the
bold is not always reasonable hypothesis on which to quickly reject);
2) careIul search (careIully weigh each oI the grounds, shows a high
criticality, has slowed progress in the construction oI hypotheses);
3) hypotheses is Iast enough and reasonable.
The authors showed that speed and ease oI hypotheses depends on
the strength oI the nervous system and the dominance oI excitation over
inhibition. Note that both oI these typological Ieatures are included in the
typological range oI determination (I.P. Petyaykin, 1974).
We Iind diIIerent styles oI perception oI literary texts. G.V. Bystrov
(1968) studied the Ieatures oI perception and understanding oI literary texts
in individuals with diIIerent strength oI the nervous system. Emotional
perception oI the text on its data, is more pronounced in individuals with a
strong nervous system. However, the study L.P. Kalininsky (1971), these
data have not been conIirmed. The author Iound that Ior those with a weak
nervous system characterized by emotional, visual, more complex structure
oI the syntax oI writing a narrative, introverted installation in the awareness
oI the literary text. For those with a strong nervous system characterized by
generalized and descriptive aspects in the reproductive imagination, a
tendency to use less complex syntactic structures, the desire to avoid the
abundance oI various deIinitions and involved speed, extroverted setting in
the awareness oI the literary text.
At the same time, according to D.B. Bogoyavlenskaya et al. (1975),
individuals with weak nervous systems are more prone to reproductive
intellectual activity, and those with a strong nervous system - to be creative,
to more heuristic intellectual activity.
L.A. Vyatkina (1970) studied the styles oI decision tools on
intellectual tasks oI senior preschool children: "Open Wardrobe", "Get the
bucket Irom the well," opened the gates. " In children with a weak nervous
system, most oI the conditions oI the problem was isolated by pre-visual
orientation, mental action plan is created beIore the execution, in rare
cases, children make one or two samples. For children with severe nervous
system characterized by the alternation oI visual orientation and
perIormance. Prior to execution creates an incomplete tentative Iramework
Ior action which is speciIied in the problem solving process by means oI
individual samples and short visual orientation. Thus, the "weak" dominant
visual orientation, and the "strong" - the motor.
A.K. Baimetov (1967) studied the styles oI high school students`
training activities and identiIied three style groups: related to diIIerences in
the dynamics warming-up in training activities, Iatigue due to the volume
oI mental activity and the inIluence oI stress. Detailed characteristics oI
styles oI high school students` training activities are presented in
Illustration - 3.5
UnIortunately, A.K. Baimetov limited study oI the inIluence on the
stylistic Ieatures oI educational activities only Iorces the nervous system.
Hence, it remains unclear whether these stylistic Ieatures with other
typological Ieatures oI maniIestations oI nervous system and how it will
selI-organize training activities Ior various combinations oI typological
V.P. Boyarintsev (1982) studied the predictive Iunction in children
and teenagers, said the impact oI such properties temperament as
extroversion - introversion and plasticity - rigidity. In rigid introverts Iound
a better and deeper understanding oI all the changes in the situation, and
plastic extroverts perIorm better mobile comparison and collation oI data in
the analysis oI past and present in variable situations.
DiIIerent styles oI learning activities that perIorm adaptive,
compensatory Iunction, marked by M.K. Akimova and V.T. Gantry (1988).
Students with a weak nervous system, their Iatigue compensate Ior Irequent
breaks Ior rest, the reasonable activities oI the organization, compliance
with the planned mode oI the day. Lack oI Iocus and distraction oI attention
they compensate Ior increased control and veriIication oI work aIter their
execution. The slow pace oI intellectual work is compensated by a careIul
preliminary preparation work, which enables a "weak" in the early stages to
overtake the "strong", since the last slow warming-up. Preliminary careIul
preparation makes it possible to reduce the mental stress that arises Irom
them in crucial moments oI training activities.
Illustration 3.5 - Characteristics oI styles oI high school students` training activities
Students with inert nervous processes using the Iollowing techniques
to accelerate their activities:
- give an incomplete answer, Iollowed by the addition aIter a brieI
pause, this tactic allows you to cut out the Missing to reIlect the time when
the teacher asks questions in a Iast pace and demands an immediate
- anticipating the answers given - when a teacher at a high rate makes
the job, whose sequence is clear (Ior example, when questions are written
on the blackboard); inactivity may increase perIormance by executing the
next job, skipping the previous one. In this regard, V. P. Gerasimov (1976)
notes that precede the answers - it is a special organization oI the activities
inherent only inert, since the actual activity (solution only oIIered in the
current job) more oIten Ior them turns out to be unsuccessIul;
- perIorm preventive actions in preparing the answers - beIore you
answer the question, inert pre-prepared and responsible only aIter the
wording oI the answer is ready; design response during perIormances
makes them great diIIiculties.
Question about the Iactors that ensure successIul mastery oI a Ioreign
language, is solved diIIerently depending on the setting oI the author, the
theoretical platIorm oI a speciIic methodological Iramework within which
studies the capacity Ior language. Studying the motivational-emotional
personality talk about the prevailing importance oI this Iactor. The
researchers, introducing the IoreIront oI thought-speech process, talk about
the importance oI these processes. Students oI arbitrary or not the memory
argue that the Iundamental principle oI mastering a Ioreign language is the
process oI memorizing and conservation. Among the Iactors intensiIying
Ioreign language teaching are examined and communicative learning
system and the optimal organization oI pedagogical communication.
Kabardov M. K. studied individually-typical characteristics oI
trainees and determine their role in the successIul mastery oI Ioreign
languages. They had hypothesized that the possible diIIerent ways oI
learning a Ioreign language learners oI the same group that allows Ior a
selectivity with respect to any language or speech issues. The basis oI such
selectivity may be based on certain psychological and psycho-physiological
syndrome. Assumed that the greater propensity oI individual trainees to
their own linguistic material (despite the problem communicative gnostic
teaching) is a compensatory maniIestation oI certain abilities: especially the
visual or auditory memory, analytic-synthetical thinking, random
involuntary action, awareness-unawareness oI tricks learning Ioreign
languages. He identiIied two main ways oI mastering the Ioreign language
- communicative style, non-communicative (linguistic) type oI mastering a
Ioreign language.
Psychological analysis suggests that the physiological basis oI
communicative type mastery oI Ioreign languages is the lability oI the
nervous system, while non-communicative (linguistic) type has more to do
with the inertia oI the nervous system. Consequently, we can say that as a
natural prerequisite Ior communicative or non-communicative type oI
mastering a Ioreign language are the diIIerent poles oI lability, the inertia oI
the nervous system.
We can distinguish two possible directions oI mastering a Ioreign
language - through speech, an example oI this study demonstrate the
possibility oI such a person with a communicative type oI language
acquisition, through language, language system, which is more typical Ior
non-communicative (linguistic) type.
The practice oI observing and studying an experimental study
suggest that the gap, which is scheduled between well and poorly-achieving
learners Irom the beginning oI training, usually maintained throughout the
study, although they both rise to a higher level compared to the original.
Thus, the psychological characteristics oI these types diIIer not only
and not the opposite signs (poles), but rather a peculiar relationship oI
individual components, qualitative and quantitative parameters oI activity.
The characteristic Ieatures inherent in these two types are shown in
Illustration - 3.6
Illustration 3.6 - Characteristic Ieatures oI two types oI language acquisition
II the activity oI the Iirst can be characterized by the concept oI
"activity", then we can estimate the activity oI the second concept oI
"conscious selI-regulation." Researchers have identiIied weaknesses and
strengths oI both groups oI students. In the analyzed methodological
system more "capable" are persons with communicative type mastery oI
Linguistics. Non-communicative advantages in certain activities, i.e., their
abilities (analytic, verbal, actual linguistic abilities visual memory) is not
used enough in this system. It is assumed that these qualities are more
adequate to the requirements oI traditional methods oI teaching, which is
characterized by somewhat diIIerent methodological principles and a Iew
other time intervals oI study.
The basic contradiction between traditional and new intense, or
communication systems, language training is the priority oI "ownership" oI
Ioreign language speech on "knowledge" on the tongue or on the contrary,
the rule oI learning the basics oI the language oI the actual communication
process. In other words, the trajectory is denoted as: "the language - to talk"
or "through it - to the language."
On the basis oI this controversy emerged and new technologies oI
teaching Ioreign languages Linguistics, in which greater importance is
attached to either the cognitive processes in language learning technology,
or communicative process in educational work.
From a psychological point oI view we can distinguish two types oI
mastering a Ioreign language:
- the Iirst type consists oI methods, mostly Iocused on extremely
conscious way oI learning (random, phased absorption oI the language,
deploy, attribution oI speech on the second plan, analyticity and the
reliance on logic-grammatical and theoretical aspects). These methods are
based on rational-logical way oI mastering the language, they are known as
conversion, grammar, analytical, consciously comparative. By Kabardov
M.K. they are called cognitive-oriented technology, learning Ioreign
languages, because it reIlects the main Ieatures oI cognitive-linguistic types
oI mastering a Ioreign language;
- the second group oI methods, creating a situation close to the
natural conditions oI mastering their native speech a child, by contrast,
relies primarily on involuntary, not conscious ways to master, especially
speech, eliminates possible support in their native language. These methods
were called positive, direct or intense suggestopedical, communication, etc.
By Kabardov M.K. this technology is reIerred to as communication-
OI course, many authors and methodologists, teachers, psychologists
- have noticed and described the various types oI language acquisition,
diIIerent systems oI individual methods and techniques to master students
and because oI the great similarity oI structure types Ior Ioreign languages
(such as style, language acquisition) and types (methods) oI instruction ,
authors tend to put them in the chain oI causation. However, the main issue
in learning and mastering the language is not a training method and style oI
language acquisition. How else to explain the productivity oI mastering a
Ioreign language among students and the exact opposite - the inability to
learn a Ioreign language other students in the same group.
Thus, we can deIine two main types oI Ioreign language acquisition
'communicative (speech) and 'cognitive (linguistic)
Glossary & New Concepts
-ritical period for language
-erebral hemisphere
Figher&order language functions
!ow&order language functions
Peer pressure
-oordinate bilinguals
-ompound bilinguals
!anguage ability
a biologically determined period oI liIe when
language can be acquired more easily and
beyond which time language is increasingly
diIIicult to acquire.
is the process oI physical changes by which
a child's body becomes an adult body capable
oI reproduction.
(hemispherium cerebrale) is one oI the two
regions oI the eutherian brain that are delineated
by the median plane, (medial longitudinal
Iissure). The brain can thus be described as being
divided into leIt and right cerebral hemispheres.
Is a location in the right or leIt side oI the brain
such as semantic relations, are more dependent
on late maturing neural circuits, which may
explain why college students can learn many
times the amount oI grammar and vocabulary
that elementary school students can learn in a
given period oI time.
such as pronunciation are dependent on early
maturing and less adaptive macroneural circuits,
which makes Ioreign accents diIIicult to
overcome aIter childhood.
(Irom Ancient Greek: eq, phn , "voice,
sound" and oo, logos, "word, speech, subject
oI discussion") is the systematic use oI sound to
encode meaning in any spoken human language,
or the Iield oI linguistics studying this use.
is deIined as "progressive interior organization oI
knowledge in a stepwise Iashion
is a particularly important variable in considering
child-adult comparisons.
are people who learn a second language in
natural separate contexts, they have two
meaning systems
are people who have one meaning system Irom
which both languages operate.
is the act oI inserting words, phrases, or even
longer stretches oI one language into the other
is considered as speciIic human ability to
mastering the language, it is general, peculiar
Linguistic talent
Phonetic coding
Grammatical sensitivity
Mechanical memory
equally to each healthy person in all these
is a special abilities to mastering Ioreign
is an ability oI the individual to represent by
means oI the certain images the heard sound
material so that was available an opportunity
through some oI time oI it to identiIy and recall.
is an ability to Ieel Iunction oI a word in
diIIerent contexts.
is an ability to storing a speaking another
language material Ior short time.
Topics & Questions for Study and Discussion
.ote0 1tems listed below are coded for either individual 1( work#
group2pair +( work# or whole&class -( discussion# as suggestions to the
instructor on how to incorporate the topics and G( questions into a class
1. (G/C) Each group or pair should be assigned one oI the seven
common arguments cited by Stern (1970) that were used to justiIy
analogies between Iirst language learning and second language teaching. In
the group, determine what is assumed or presupposed in the statement.
Then reiterate the Ilaw in each analogy. Report conclusions back to the
whole class Ior Iurther discussion.
2. (Q) Are there students in the class who were exposed to, or
learned, second languages beIore puberty What were the circumstances,
and what diIIiculties, iI any, were encountered Has authentic pronuncia-
tion in the language remained to this day
3. (C) Is there anyone in the class, or anyone who knows someone
else, who started learning a second language aIter puberty and who never-
theless has an almost "perIect" accent How did you assess whether accent
was perIect Why do you suppose such a person was able to be so
4. (I) In your words, write down the essence oI Scovel's claim that
the acquisition oI a native accent around the age oI puberty is an evolu-
tionary leIt-over oI sociobiological critical periods evident in many species
oI animals and birds. In view oI widely accepted cross-cultural, cross-
linguistic, and interracial marriages today, how relevant is the biological
claim Ior mating within the gene pool
5. (G/C) In groups, try to determine the criteria Ior deciding whether
or not someone is an authentic native speaker oI your native language. In
the process, consider the wide variety oI "World Englishes" commonly
spoken today. How clearly deIinitive can your criteria be Talk about
occupations, iI any, in which a native accent is indispensable. Share with
the rest oI the class, and try to come to a consensus.
6. (G) In groups, talk about any cognitive or aIIective blocks you
have experienced in your own attempts to learn a second language. What
could you do (or what could you have done) to overcome those barriers
7. (C) Do you think it is worthwhile to teach children a second
language in the classroom II so, how might approaches and methods diIIer
between a class oI children and a class oI adults
8. (I/C) Find out all deIinitions oI 'linguistic abilities. ClassiIy them
and work out your own understanding oI this notion. Share with the rest oI
the class
References & Suggested Readings
1 B . . H u
. ., 1956. - 386c.
2 B.. ]
u u m mt
u . . . . . ., 1987. - 265c.
3 t B. H m.
., 1984. - 198c.
4 X .H. u. ., 1958. - 285c.
5 X .H. H u
nt u // H. A . B. 113. ., 1960.
- 361c.
6 X A.. 3 . ., 1991 - 169c.
7 .. n. ., 1990. - 258c.
8 t A.A. B ut n
u x // B x
u u . ., 1967. - 341c.
9 t A.A. u n
x u . ., 1969. - 397c.
10 A.. u ] t. ., 1950. -
11 E.H. u
u m. ., 1989. - 200c.
12 m .. . .: .,
13 - .. u
. ., 1963.
14 ., x. / . . A.A.
t. H. 2-. ., 2003.
15 Vm .. ut n
// . ., 1986.
16 3 .F. 3t ut +
u um // B u t
m mt. ., 1962.
17 3 .F. t u
u // X u .
. 1. ., 1978.
18 3 .F. u mt //
H u . ., 1989.
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56 imnjaja I.A. Psychology oI teaching Ioreign languages. M.,
In this book, we have considered diIIerent points oI view oI domestic
and Ioreign scientists on such controversial and complex issues oI
Psychology oI Ioreign language teaching and acquisition as - Psychological
content oI Ioreign languages teaching and its relationship with
psycholinguistics, psychology and pedagogy; Foreign language as a school
subject, its Ieatures and contents; Psychological and pedagogical Ieatures
oI teaching Ioreign languages; Theories and types oI teaching Ioreign
languages; Styles and strategies oI learning Ioreign languages; Personality
and speech; Speech development at various age stages; Psychological
Ieatures oI diIIerentiation in Iirst and second language acquisition;
Linguistic ability`s Iormation, it`s diagnosing and development.

PreIace.......................... 3
1 Psychological Ieatures oI teaching Ioreign languages....... 4
1.1 Psychological content oI Ioreign languages teaching and its
relationship with psycholinguistics, psychology and pedagogy.... 4
1.2 Foreign language as a school subject, its Ieatures and contents.
Psychological and pedagogical Ieatures oI teaching Ioreign languages 30
2 Theoretical basis oI Foreign language teaching.......... 53
2.1 Theories and types oI teaching Ioreign languages......... 53
2.2 Styles and strategies oI learning Ioreign languages.......... 83
3 Psychological Ieatures oI speech activity and learning Ioreign
languages at various age stages................ 105
3.1 Personality and speech. Speech development at various age stages... 105
3.2 Psychological Ieatures oI diIIerentiation in Iirst and second language
acquisition; linguistic ability`s Iormation, diagnosing and development. 141
Conclusion....................... 201