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Submitted as a Fullfillment of Psycholinguistics and Second Language

Acquisition Assignment

Complied by:

Nai Nurbaeti


Lita Tri Lestari





1.1 Background of Study

Language acquisition is the process by which humans acquire the capacity
to perceive, produce and use words to understand and communicate. This capacity
involves the picking up of diverse capacities including syntax, phonetics, and an
extensive vocabulary. This language might be vocal as with speech or manual as
in sign. Language acquisition usually refers to first language acquisition, which
studies infants' acquisition of their native language, rather than second language
acquisition that deals with acquisition (in both children and adults) of additional
Before children put together their first two-word sentences, at very
approximately 18 months of age, their language acquisition appears, in terms of
what strikes the investigators ear, to consist mainly in amassing a stock of words.
The period from the childs first word, at very approximately 9 months, to the
first sentences is then a conveniently delimited one for an essay on early
The capacity to acquire and use language is a key aspect that distinguishes
humans from other organisms. While many forms of animal communication exist,
they have a limited range of no syntactically structured vocabulary tokens that
lack cross cultural variation between groups.
A major concern in understanding language acquisition is how these
capacities are picked up by infants from what appears to be very little input. A
range of theories of language acquisition has been created in order to explain this
apparent problem including innatism in which a child is born prepared in some
manner with these capacities, as opposed to the other theories in which language
is simply learned.
Generative grammar, associated especially with the work of Noam
Chomsky, is currently one of the principal approaches to children's acquisition of
syntax. The leading idea is that human biology imposes narrow constraints on the
child's "hypothesis space" during language acquisition. In the Principles and
Parameters Framework, which has dominated generative syntax since Chomsky's
Lectures on Government and Binding in 1980, the acquisition of syntax resembles
ordering from a menu: The human brain comes equipped with a limited set of
choices, and the child selects the correct options using her parents' speech, in
combination with the context.
An important argument in favor of the generative approach is the Poverty
of the stimulus argument. The child's input (a finite number of sentences
encountered by the child, together with information about the context in which
they were uttered) is in principle compatible with an infinite number of
conceivable grammars. Moreover, few if any children can rely on corrective
feedback from adults when they make a grammatical error. Yet, barring situations
of medical abnormality or extreme privation, all the children in a given speech-
community converge on very much the same grammar by the age of about five
years. An especially dramatic example is provided by children who for medical
reasons are unable to produce speech, and therefore can literally never be
corrected for a grammatical error, yet nonetheless converge on the same grammar
as their typically developing peers, according to comprehension-based tests of
Considerations such as these have led Chomsky, Jerry Fodor, Eric
Lenneberg and others to argue that the types of grammar that the child needs to
consider must be narrowly constrained by human biology (the nativist position).
These innate constraints are sometimes referred to as universal grammar, the
human "language faculty," or the "language instinct."

1.2 Formulation of the Problem

Based on the background of study that has been explained above, the
writer idintifies the formulation of the problems that are devided into three points,
such as:
1) What are the characteristics and traits of first language acquisition?
2) What is social aspect of interlanguage?
3) What is discourse aspect of interlanguage?
1.3 Objective of the Problem
Regarding to the fomluation of the problem that has been stated before, the
writer determine the objective of the study. The objectives are devided into three
points, those are:
1) To know the characteristics and traits of first language acquisition
2) To know what the social aspect of interlanguge is.
3) To know what the discourse aspect of interlanguage is.

Over the last fifty years, several theories have been put forward to explain
the process by which children learn to understand and speak a language. They can
be summarized as follows:

Theory Central Idea Individual most often

associated with theory

Behaviorist/ Children imitate adults. Their correct Skinner
Imitation utterances are reinforced when they get
what they want or are praised.
Innateness A child's brain contains special language- Chomsky
learning mechanisms at birth.
Cognitive Language is just one aspect of a child's Piaget
overall intellectual development.
Interaction This theory emphasizes the interaction Bruner
between children and their care-givers.

1. Behaviorism
B.F. Skinner described learning as a behavior produced by learner's
response to stimuli which can be reinforced with positive or negative feedback to
environmental stimuli. Skinner added that learning can be observed, explained,
and predicted through observing antecedents and consequences. Both positive
reinforcement and negative reinforcement increase the probability that the
antecedent behavior will happen again. In contrast, punishment (both positive and
negative) decreases the likelihood that the antecedent behavior will happen again.
Positive indicates the application of a stimulus; Negative indicates the
withholding of a stimulus. Learning is therefore defined as a change in behavior in
the learner. Punishment is sometimes used in eliminating or reducing incorrect
actions, followed by clarifying desired actions. Educational effects of behaviorism
are important in developing basic skills and foundations of understanding in all
subject areas and in classroom management.
Skinner's Behaviorist approach contends that children learn language
through imitation, repetition and the reinforcement of the successful linguistics
attempts. Mistakes are considered to be the result of imperfect learning or
insufficient opportunities for practice. In such, that a child having a pleasant
learning experience (such as rewards or praise) is positive reinforced. Through
that positively reinforcing stimulus, a child's learning capacity is triggered.
However, unpleasant experiences (such as punishment) serve as negative
reinforcements, and cause learners to avoid undesirable responses to stimuli. As
such, continuous reinforcement increases the rate of learning, be it positive or
negative; a child will respond to different triggers and with experience, remember
what is to do and to avoid. Hence, intermittent reinforcement helps a child to a
longer retention of what is learned.
Skinner contends that both positive and negative reinforcement can shape
behavior, and this in turn affects their language acquisition capability, as such, a
lack of any reinforcement can also shape behavior. If people receive no
acknowledgement of their behavior, they will likely change that behavior until
they receive some kind of reinforcement.
Behaviorism gave birth to a stimulus-response (S-R) theory which sees
language as a set of structures and acquisition as a matter of habit formation.
Ignoring any internal mechanisms, it takes into account the linguistic environment
and the stimuli it produces. Learning is an observable behavior which is
automatically acquired by means of stimulus and response in the form of
mechanical repetition. Thus, to acquire a language is to acquire automatic
linguistic habits. According to Johnson (2004:18), "Behaviorism undermined the
role of mental processes and viewed learning as the ability to inductively discover
patterns of rule-governed behavior from the examples provided to the learner by
his or her environment". Larsen-Freeman and Long (1991:266) consider that S-R
models offer "little promises as explanations of SLA, except for perhaps
pronunciation and the rote-memorization of formulae" (Menezes, V. n.d.).
This view of language learning gave birth to research on contrastive
analysis, especially error analysis, the main focus of which is the interference of
one's first language in the target language. An important reaction to behaviorism
was the interlanguage studies, as the simple comparison between first and second
language neither explained nor described the language produced by SL learners.
Interlanguage studies will be present in other SLA perspectives, as the concern of
the area has been mainly with the acquisition of grammatical morphemes or
specific language structures.
Beside there some truth in Skinner's explanation, but there are many
objections to it, such as:
Language is based on a set of structures or rules.
The vast majority of children go through the same stages of language
Children are often unable to repeat what an adult says.
Few children receive much explicit grammatical correction.

2. Innateness
Language is not an autonomous system for communication. It is embedded
in and supplemented by gesture, gaze, stance, facial expression, voice quality in
the full array of options people can use for communicating (Clark, 2009).
Learning is complex and the context where it takes place is influenced by our
learning experience due to our different experiences. Clark (2009: 7) states that
in learning language, children may first rely on nonlinguistic options, both in
their initial understanding and in their own early use. The Innateness theory by
Noam Chomsky (Pinker, 1994) shows the innatist limitations of behaviorist view
of language acquisition in 1960s to the alternative generative account of
language. The main Argument in this theory is that children are born with an
innate knowledge which guides them in the language acquisition task. The
childrens ability makes the task of learning a first language easier than it would
otherwise be (Crain & Lillo-Martin, 1999). Pinker (1994, p.26) claims that the
universally of complex language is a discovery that fills linguists with awe, and is
the first reason to suspect that language is not just any cultural invention but the
product of a special human instinct. It is an innate biological function of human
beings just like learning to walk. On the other side, Clark (2009, p.2) poses that
even if children are born with a learning mechanism dedicated to language,
the main proposals is to focus only on syntactic. The rest has to be learnt. This
essay believes that children have the innate ability to learn language as Chomsky
believes, but this needs to be learn and develop by social interacting with
environments such as adults and in cognitive development. According to Clark
(2009) children beside their innate abilities; their acquisition of language could
also be affected by social interaction and cognitive development. Moreover,
Chomsky (2009) argues that Language learning is not really something that the
child does; it is something that happens to the child placed in an appropriate
environment much as the childs body grows and matures in a predetermined
way when provided with appropriate nutrition and environmental stimulation.
Furthermore, according to Crain and Lillo-Martin (1999), the innate
knowledge, known as the language Acquisition Device (LAD), includes principle
common to all human languages, called the Universal Grammar (UG). This is
similar to Pinker(1994, p.43) claims that the evidence corroborating the claim that
the mind contains blueprints for grammatical rules comes, once again out of the
mouths of babes and sucklings. For example, looking at the English agreement
suffix- s as in He walks Chomsky theorized that children were born with a hard-
wired language acquisition device (hereafter, LAD) in their brains (Pinker, 1994).
LAD is a set of language learning tools, intuitive at birth in all children (Pinker,
1994). Pinker (1994) further expands this idea into that of universal grammar, a
set of innate principles and adjustable parameters that is common to all human
languages. The language acquisition Device (LAD) is a postulated organ of the
brain that is supposed to function as a congenital device for learning symbolic
language (Chomsky, 2009). To Chomsky (1977, p.98) all children share the same
innateness, all children share the same internal constraints which characterize
narrowly the grammar they are going to construct
Therefore, Crain and Lillo-Martin (1999) pose that LAD explains human
acquisition of the syntactic structure of language; it encodes the major principles
of a language and its grammatical structures into the childs brain and enables the
children to analyze language and extract the basic rules of universal grammar or
generative grammar because it is a system of rules that generate or produce
sentences of the language. We are born with set of rules about language in our
brains and children are equipped with an innate template or blueprint for language
and this blueprint aid the child in the task of constructing a grammar for their
language (Chomsky, 2009). The universal grammar according to Chomsky
(2009) does not have the actual rules of each language but it has principles &
parameters in which the rules of language are derived from the principles &
parameters. In other words, the principles are the universal basic features of
grammar such as nouns and verbs and the parameters are the variation across
language that determines one or more aspects of grammar e.g. pro, drop and head
direction (Chomsky, 1977). Therefore, the parameters in children set during
language acquisition (Chomsky, 2009).
3. The Cognitive Theory
The Swiss psychologist Piaget (1990) placed acquisition of language in the
context of a child's mental or cognitive development. He argued that a child has
to understand a concept before she/he can acquire the particular language form
which expresses that concept.
A good example of this is seriation. There will be a point in a child's
intellectual development when s/he can compare objects with respect to size. This
means that if you gave the child a number of sticks, s/he could arrange them in
order of size. Piaget suggested that a child who had not yet reached this stage
would not be able to learn and use comparative adjectives like "bigger" or
Object permanence is another phenomenon often cited in relation to the
cognitive theory. During the first year of life, children seem unaware of the
existence of objects they cannot see. An object which moves out of sight ceases
to exist. By the time they reach the age of 18 months, children have realized that
objects have an existence independently of their perception. The cognitive theory
draws attention to the large increase in children's vocabulary at around this age,
suggesting a link between object permanence and the learning of labels for
According to the cognitive theorist all aspects that are learnt by an
individual are as a result of what learners have constructed or discovered their
own mental process and not through observable behaviour (Warren, 2012).
Wilburg (2010) asserts that children /learners come to school with knowledge,
skills and related experiences to the learning situations and this make them
actively involved in their learning process. Therefore, several studies has
shown that children growing up in polyandry situations are taking part in multi-
party conversation from an early age and in many of these cultures adults have
particular interactional techniques to help them do so. According to Wyatt (2007),
he describes the speech transmission between adult and child in Piaget theory
Psychological level: the feelings of speech partners for each other, their
relationship, their mutual expectancies, and the respective levels of
maturation, which determine the choice of words by the speaker and the
interpretation of their meaning by the listener.
Linguistic level: process of word finding; selecting the correct sounds and
putting them into correct sequences; putting words into correct
grammatical order to form sentences.
Physiological level: Neural activities affecting the speakers
perceptual and motor mechanisms and activating the hearing mechanisms
of speakers and listener.
Acoustic level: Sound waves travelling through the air between speaker
and listener.
There is not much evidence of the effects of the presence of siblings on
childrens language. On the other hand, Lieven (1994) reviews a report on
young childrens language in conversations which include their mother and an
older sibling as more complex than when alone with the mother.
4. Input or Interactionist Theories

In contrast to the work of Chomsky, more recent theorists have stressed the
importance of the language input children receive from their care-givers.
Language exists for the purpose of communication and can only be learned in the
context of interaction with people who want to communicate. Interactionists such
as Bruner suggested that the language behavior of adults when talking to children
(known by several names by most easily referred to as child-directed speech or
CDS) is specially adapted to support the acquisition process. This support is often
described to as scaffolding for the child's language learning. Bruner also coined
the term Language Acquisition Support System or LASS in response to
Chomsky's LAD. Trevarthen studied the interaction between parents and babies
who were too young to speak. He concluded that the turn-taking structure of
conversation is developed through games and non-verbal communication long
before actual words are uttered.
Scaffolding Theory was first introduced in the late 1950s by Jerome
Bruner, a cognitive psychologist. He used the term to describe young children's
oral language acquisition. Helped by their parents when they first start learning to
speak, young children are provided with instinctive structures to learn a language,
for example are bed-time stories and read aloud. Scaffolding represents the
helpful interactions between adult and child that enable the child to do something
beyond his or her independent efforts. The construction of a scaffold occurs at a
time where the child may not be able to articulate or explore learning
independently. The scaffolds provided by the tutor do not change the nature or
difficulty level of the task; instead, the scaffolds provided allow the student to
successfully complete the task.

One of the research related to first languge acquisition is conducted by

Opitz (2011) which is titled First Langage Attrition and Second Language
Acquisition in a Second Languge Environment. This thesis is concerned with the
outcomes of the parallel processes of first language maintenance and second
language acquisition in adult bilinguals resident in a second language
environment. Current perspectives on first language attrition and bilingualism
makes a strong case for considering L1 attrition as a feature of multi-competence
in bilinguals, and for taking into account changes across the range of languages
known by a bilingual in assessing proficiency. They suggest that the simultaneous
maintenance of several languages by a bilingual may result in trade-offs between
those languages, but also that dynamic interactions between languages and a host
of other factors will result in very different outcomes for individuals.
In a mixed between-group/within-group design, 27 native speakers of
German who emigrated to Ireland as adults (mean age at arrival = 26.8 years;
mean LOR = 19.5 years), and two matching control groups of 18 Irish and 20
German L2 users were tested on an extensive test battery of parallel German and
English language tests. Participants additionally attempted a linguistic aptitude
test and responded to several questionnaires, allowing the comprehensive probing
of a wide range of predictor variables for L1 attrition and L2 acquisition. The
thesis provides a comprehensive analysis of the between-group data, assessing
participants' L1 and L2 performance across three tasks. Participants' proficiency is
thoroughly investigated on quantitative and qualitative measures of complexity,
accuracy and fluency at the group and individual levels.
The results of the attrition study show that the bilingual group's
performance does not differ significantly from that of the German control group
on most individual measures, the exceptions being one fluency measure
(percentage of repetitions) and certain error types. However, when all measures
are combined in z-scores, differences do become significant. There are three
individuals who consistently show low performance, who can be considered L1
attriters, while others perform on a par with the native-speaker controls. There is,
however, considerable variability within each group, in line with the assumptions
of dynamic approaches to language attrition.
The L2 attainment study, on the other hand, shows that on measures
emphasising breadth of linguistic knowledge and accuracy the bilingual group
performs differently compared to the Irish control group, while on measures
focusing on fluency, lexical diversity and idiomatic language use it was
comparable. Over half of the bilingual participants have z-scores within the
control group's range, indicating native-like performance across the three tasks.
The significant group difference on the total scores is due to some bilingual
participants who have not overall achieved a similar level of proficiency.
However, even those participants perform in a nativelike manner on some of the
measures, and the bilingual group overall performs significantly better than the
other group of L2 learners, pointing to successful L2 acquisition on the part of the
bilingual group.
A brief consideration of some of the results of the within-group study
serves to point out future directions of research in relation to this study, and the
chosen line of enquiry.

4.1 First Language Acquisition

Dardjowidjojo (2008: 225) stated that the process of the child begins to
recognize verbal communication with its environment is called language
acquisition of children. The term used for the acquisition of British counterpart of
the term acquisition, namely the process of language acquisition by children
naturally when he learns his native language (native language).
Firthermore Sofa (2008) proposed that there were two notions about
language acquisition. First, the beginning of language acquisition has a squally,
suddenly. Second, language acquisition to have a gradual beginning that emerged
from the achievements of motoric, social, and cognitive pralinguistik.
Meanwhile, acccording to Syafrizal (2014: 8), first language acquisition is
the study of the process through which learners acquire languge. First language
acquisition studies the infants acquisition of their native language, whereas
second languge acquisition deals with acquisition with additional languages in
both children and adults. First language acquisition occurs when a child who from
the beginning without the language has acquired language. During the language
acquisition of children, more children leads to the communication function rather
than form of the language. Child language acquisition can be said to have the
characteristics of continuity, have a continuum, moving from simple one-word
utterance into a more complicated combination of words. Language acquisition is
closely related to cognitive development, namely, first, if the child is able to
produce utterances which, based on the grammar which are neat, does not
automatically imply that the child has mastered the relevant languages well.
Second, the speaker must obtain the cognitive categories that underlie the various
meanings expressive natural languages.
During the first language acquisition, Syafrizal (2014: 27-29) also
proposes four main stages which occur when a child acquire his first language as
1. Pre-speech: Much of importance goes on even before the child utters his first
word: infants learn to pay attention to speech, pays attention to intonation and
the rhythm of speech long before they begin to speak. Infants respond to
speech more keenly than to other sounds. Speech elicits greater electrical
activity in the left side of the 2 month old infant's brain than do other sounds.
Experiment with microphone and nipple showed that infants suck more
vigorously if the action triggers a human voice as opposed to music or other
Child learn to recognize the distinctive sounds, the phonemes of the language
they hear from birth long before they are able to pronounce them. Infants can
distinguish between /p/ and /b/ at three or four months (in an experiment
with /ba/ played vs. /pa/, a two month infant showed awareness of the change).
But children do not learn how to use these sounds until much later-- around the
second year or later--as shown by the experiment with /pok/ and /bok/. The
same is true for rising vs. falling intonation, which only becomes
systematically funtional much later. Infants know the difference between one
language and another by recognition of phonological patterns (Story of the
Russian fairy tale book.)
2. Babbling stage. Begins at several months of age. Characterized by
indiscriminate utterance of speech sounds-- many of which may not be used in
the given language but are found in other languages-- clicks. Many native
speech sounds may be absent-- some are naturally harder to pronounce-- /r/
/th/. Very few consonant clusters and repeated syllables are common.

3. One word (holophrastic) stage. Infants may utter their first word as early as
nine months: usually mama, dada (these words resemble babbling). Deaf
babies whose parents use sign language begin making their first word/gestures
around eight months. This stage is characterized by the production of actual
speech signs. Often the words are simplified: "du" for duck, "ba" for bottle.
When the child has acquired about 50 words he develops regular pronunciation
patterns. This may even distort certain words-- turtle becomes "kurka".
Incorrect pronunciations are systematic at this time: all words with /r/ are
pronounced as /w/. sick--thick, thick--fick. Children tend to perceive more
phonemic contrasts than they are able to produce themselves.
The first 50 words tend to be names of important persons, greetings, foods,
highlights of the daily routine such as baths, ability to change their environment-
give, take, go, up, down, open.
The meaning of words may not correspond to that of adult language:
overextension-- dog may mean any four legged creature. apple may mean
any round object. bird may mean any flying object. Child can still distinguish
between the differences, simply hasn't learned that they are linguistically
meaningful. Dissimilarities linguistically redundant.
Two patterns in child word learning
referential-- names of objects.
expressive-- personal desires and social interactions: bye-bye, hi, good,
This is a continuum. Child's place on this continuum partly due to parent's style:
naming vs. pointing.
The extra-linguistic context provides much of the speech info. Rising and
falling intonation may or may not be used to distinguish questions from
statements at the one-word stage. Words left out if the contexts makes them
obvious. At this stage, utterances show no internal grammatical structure (much
like the sentence yes in adult speech, which can't be broken down into subject,
predicate, etc.)
4. Combining words-- 18 mo--2 years. By two and a half years most children
speak in sentences of several words--but their grammar is far from complete.
This stage rapidly progresses into what has been termed a fifth and final stage
of language acquisition, the All hell breaks loose stage. By six the child's
grammar approximates that of adults.
Children learning any language seem to encode the same limited set of
meanings in their first sentences:
ownership-- Daddy's shoes; describing events-- Me fall; labeling-- That dog;
locational relations-- toy in box.
Sentences usually two words. Children can repeat more complex sentences
spoken by adults but cannot create them until later (called prefabricated routines)
not indicative of the child's grammar.
4.1.1 Characteristics and Traits of First Language Acquisition
1) It is an instinct. This is true in the technical sense, i.e. it is triggered by birth
and takes its own course, though of course linguistic input from the
environment is needed for the child to acquire a specific language. As an
instinct, language acquisition can be compared to the acquisition of binocular
vision or binaural hearing.
2) It is very rapid. The amount of time required to acquire one's native language
is quite short, very short compared to that needed to learn a second language
successfully later on in life.
3) It is very complete. The quality of first language acquisition is far better than
that of a second language (learned later on in life). One does not forget one's
native language (though one might have slight difficulties remembering
words if you do not use it for a long time).
4) It does not require instruction. Despite the fact that many non-linguists think
that mothers are important for children to learn their native language,
instructions by parents or care-takers are unnecessary, despite the
psychological benefits of attention to the child. (https://www.uni-

What is the watershed separating first and second language acquisition?

Generally, the ability to acquire a language with native speaker competence
diminishes severly around puberty. There are two suggestions as to why this is the
case. 1) Shortly before puberty the lateralisation of the brain (fixing of various
functions to parts of the brain) takes place and this may lead to general
inflexibility. 2) With puberty various hormonal changes take place in the body
(and we technically become adults). This may also lead to a inflexibility which
means that language acquisition cannot proceed to the conclusion it reaches in
early childhood.
4.2 Social Aspects of Interlanguage
4.2.1 Interlanguage as a Stylistic Continuum
Tarone in Ellis (1997: 37), has proposed that interlanguage involves a
stylistic continuum. She argues that learners develop a capability for using the L2
and that this underlies all regular behavior. This capability, which constitutes an
abstract linguistic system, is comprised of a number of different style which
learners access in accordance with a variety of factors. At the end of the
continuum is the careful style, evident when learners are consciously attending to
their choice of linguistic forms, as when they feel the need to be correct. At the
other end of the continuum is the vernacular style, evident when learners are
making spontaneous choices of linguistic form, as is likely in free conversation.
Collect samples of spoken English form a number of Japanese learners
over a period of time and under different conditions of language use-free speech,
reading a dialogue =, and reading lists of isolated words. One study found
Japanese learners produced /z/ most accurately when reading isolated words and
least accurate in free speech. This study also showed that over time he learners
improved their ability to use /z/ accurately in their careful style to a much greater
extent than in their vernacular style.
Tarone herself has acknowledged the model also has a number of
problems. First, later research has shown that learners are not always most
accurate in their careful style and least accurate in their vernacular style. L2
speakers show greatest accuracy in the vernacular style, for example, when a
specific grammatical feature is of special importance for conveying a particular
meaning in conversation.
A second problem is that the role of social factors remains unclear. Style-
shifting among native speakers reflects the social group they belong to.
Another theory , the theory of stylistic variation but which is more
obviously social is Howard Giles accommodation theory. The seeks to explain
how learners social group influences the course of L2 acquisition. When people
interact with each other they either try to make their speech similar to that of their
addressee in order to emphasize social cohesiveness or to make it different in
order to emphasize their social distinctiveness.
Accommodation theory suggests that social factors, mediated through the
interactions that learners take part in, influence both how quickly they learn and
the actual route that they follow.
4.2.2 The Acculturation Model of L2 Acquisition
A similar perspective on the role of social factors in L2 acquisition can be
found in John Schumanns acculturation model.
Acculturation is the way people adapt to a new culture. The Schumann
theory on acculturation is mainly based on the social factors experienced by those
learning English as their second language within the mainstream culture. The
factors determine the social distance between the second language learner and the
mainstream culture in which they are living in. this distance between the learners
and the mainstream culture in turn determine the rate of language acquisition.
Schumann states that the degree to which a learner acculturates to the target
language group will control the degree to which he acquires the second language.
There are several social factors that Schumann accounts for the rate of
second language acquisition:
1. Limited integration of cultural groups
2. Size of minority group-the group is more self-sufficient the larger they are
3. How tight-knit the group is
4. The variance of characteristics between their culture and the mainstream
5. Majority groups attitude towards the minority group
6. Language learner expects to stay a short time in the country
7. Motivation, culture shock and attitude of language learner
8. Language learner and mainstream culture both view each other as equal
9. Language learner and mainstream culture both desire assimilation
Definition: According to Schumann in Ushioda (1993), there is a taxonomy of
eight factors which control social distance that determine how close an individual
will come to becoming like the TL group:
1. Dominance/subordination: Relating to the perceive status of a group in
relation to another.
2. Integration pattern: Assimilation (giving up your own lifestyle in favor of
another) /acculturation/preservation (how much of your own culture you hold on
3. Degree of enclosure of both groups: Amount that the L2 group share the
same social facilities (low enclosure), or have different social facilities (high
4. Degree of cohesiveness of 2LL group: intra group contacts (cohesive), or
inter group contacts (non-cohesive)
5. Size of 2LL,
6. Degree of congruence of the two cultures: The culture of the L2 group
may be similar or different to the TL group.
7. Inter-group attitudinal evaluations: Positive or negative attitudes to each
8. Intended length of residence of 2LL group members: Whether the L2
group intends to stay a long time or a short time.

Schumann in Ushioda (1993) lists five affective factors that may increase the
psychological distance:
1. Language Shock: Disorientation caused by learning a new linguistic
2. Culture Shock: Stress, anxiety and fear caused when entering a new
culture, the routines activities suddenly become major obstacles.
3. Culture Stress: Prolonged culture shock, such as, homesickness, and
questioning self identity.
4. Motivation: Instrumental and integrative.
5. Ego permeability: The amount in which an individual gives up their
differences in favor of the TL group.
4.2.3 Social Identity and Investment in L2 Learning
Bonny Peirce has two views about the relationship between social context and
L2 acquisition:
1. The notions of subject to and subject of are central.
She has studied an adult immigrant learner of English in Canada named Eva.
The girl which is working with me pointed at the man and said:
Do you see him? I said
Yes. Why?
Dont you know him?
No. I dont know him.
How come you dont know him? Dont you watch TV? Thats
Bart Simpson.
It made me so bad and I didnt answer her nothing.
The theory of social identity assumes that power relations play a crucial
role in social interaction between language learners and target language speakers.
Eva indicated she had felt humiliated at the time. She said that she could not
respond to the girl because she had been positioned as a strange woman. What
had made Eva feel strange? The girls questions to Eva were in fact rhetorical. She
didnt expect, or possibly even desire a response from Eva: How come you dont
know him? Dont you watch TV? Thats Bart Simpson. It was the girl and Eva
who could determine the grounds on which interaction could proceed, it were
them who had the power to bring closure to the conversation.
Eva became subject to a discourse which assumed an identity she didnt
have. She was also the subject of the discourse had she attempted to continue on
which the interaction could proceed, for example, by asserting that she didnt
watch the TV program of which Bart Simpson was the star.

2. Language learners have complex social identities

Peirce argues that language learners have complex social identities that
only be understood in terms of the power relation that shape social structures. A
learners social identity is multiple and contradictory. Investment is required for
learners to construct an identity that enables them to get their right to be heard and
become the subject of the discourse. It is something learners will only make if
they believe their effort will increase the value of their cultural capital.
Successful learners are those who reflect critically on how they engage with
native speakers and who are prepared to challenge the accepted social order by
constructing and asserting social identities of their own choice.

4.1 Discourse Aspects of Interlanguage

The study of learner discourse in SLA has been informed by two rather
different goals. On the one hand there have been attempts to discover howL2
learners acquire to rules of discourse that inform native-speaker language use.
On the other hand, a number of researchers have sought to show how interaction
shapes interlanguage development.
1. Acquiring discourse rules
There are rules or at least, regularities in the ways in which native speakers
hold conversation. In the United States, for example, a compliment usually calls
for a response and failure to provide one can be considered sociolinguistic error.
Furthermore, in American English compliment responses are usually quite
elaborate, involving some attempt on the part of the speaker to play down the
compliment by making some unfavourable comment.
However, L2 learners behave differently. Sometimes they fail to respond
to a compliment at all. At other times they produce bare responses
There is growing body of research investigating learner discourse. This
show that, to some extent at least, the acquisition of discourse rules, like tha
acquisition of grammatical rules, is systematic, reflecting both distinct types of
errors and developmental sequences.
2 The role of input and interaction in L2 acquisition
A number of rather different theoretical positions can be identified. A
behaviourist view trearts language learning as environmentally determined,
controlled from the outside by the stimuli learners are exposed to and the
reinforcement they receive. In contrast, mentalist theories emphasize the
importance of the learners black box. They maintain that learners brains are
especially equipped to learn language and all that is needed is minimal exposure
to input in order to trigger acquisition. Interactionist theories of L2 acquisition
acknowledge the importance of both input and internal language processing.
Learning takes place as a result of complex interaction between the linguistic
environment and the leraners internal mechanisms.
Two types of foreigner talk:
1. Ungrammatically foreigner talk
It is socially marked. If often implies a lack of respect on the part of the
native speaker and can be resented by learners. It is characterized by the deletion
of certain grammatical features such as copula be , modal verbs and articles, the
use of the base form of the verb in place of the past tense form, and the use of
special constructions such as no + verb.
2. Grammatical foreigner talk
It is the norm. various types of modification of baseline talk can be
First, grammatical foreign talk is delivered at a slower pace.

Second, the input is simplified.

Third, grammatical foreigner talk is sometimes regularized.

Fourth, foreigner talk sometimes consist of elaborated language use

According to Stephen Krashens input hypothesis, L2 acquisition takes
place when a learner understands input that contains grammatical forms that + I.
Karenshen suggests that the right level of input is attained automatically when
interlocutors succed in making themselves understood in communication. Success
is achieved by using the situational context to make messages clear and through
the kinds of input modifications found in foreigner talk.
Michael Longs interaction hypothesis also emphasizes the importance of
comprehensible input but claims that it is most effective when it is modified
through the negotiation of meaning.
Another perspective on the relationship between discourse and L2
acquisition is provided by Evelyn Hatch. Hatch emphasizes the collaborative
endeavours of the learners and their interlocutures can grow out of the process of
bulding discourse.
Other SLA theorist have drawn on the theories of L.S. Vygotsky, a Russian
psychologist, to explain how interaction serves as the bedrock of acquisition. The
two key constructs in what is known as activity theory, based on vygotskys
ideas, are motive and internalization.
First, concerns the active way in which individuals define the goals of an
activity for themselves by deciding what to attend to and what not to attend to.

Second, concerns how a novice comes to solve a problem with the

assistance of an expert. Who provides scaffolding, and then internalizes the
Vygotsky argues that children learn through interpersonal activity, such as
play with adults, whereby they form concepts that would be beyond them if they
were acting alone. In other word, zones of proximal development are created
through interaction with more knowledgeable others. Subsequently, the child learn
how to control a concept without the assistance of others.

3. The role of output in l2 acquisition

Here we find conflicting opinion:
1) Krashen argues that speaking is the result of acquisition not its cause. He
claims that the only way learners can learn from their output is by treating is as
auto-input. In efeect, Krashen is refuting the cherished belief of many teachers
that languages are learned by practicing them.
2) Merrill Swain has argued that comprehensible output also plays in L2
acquisition. She suggests a number of specific ways in which learners can learn
from their own output:
First, output can serve a consciousness raising function by helping
learners to notice gaps in their interlanguages.

Second, output helps learners to test hypotheses.

Third, learners sometimes talk about their own output, identifying

problems with it and discussing ways in which they can be put right.

1. In general, first languge acquisition is defined as a process of children in

acquiring and learning his native languge for the first time from he was born.
First language acquisition includes four main stages in the process of its
occurence: Pre-speeech, babbling stage, one word stage, and combining word
stage, which in outline, the characteristics and traits of first language
acquisition are: It is an instinct; It is very rapid; It is very complete; And it
does not require instruction.

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