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UNIVERSIDAD ESTATAL A DISTANCIA VICERRECTORA ACADMICA ESCUELA CIENCIAS SOCIALES Y HUMANIDADES CTEDRA DE LENGUA Y CULTURA INGLESA

CENTRO UNIVERSITARIO DE SAN JOS ELEMENTOS DE LINGSTICA APLICADA EN INGLS CDIGO: 5189 TUTORA: KATALINA PERERA ESTUDIANTE: JOS VILLANEA PANIAGUA RESEARCH PROJECT: SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNING VS. SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION 20% I CUATRIMESTRE, 2011

Second Language Learning vs. Second Language Acquisition

Introduction English teachers are usually overwhelmed by the amount of contents they need to tech in the Second Language Classroom since there is a lot to teach to students who have never been exposed to English as a second language. Besides that, the short time teachers are given to fulfill their syllabus in the classroom is a fact that causes stress to them. Due to this fact, teachers are usually tempted either to teach the less the possible from each content to have time enough to teach the other contents or to cover only few contents from the syllabus each year. However, there is a solution for that situation. It is important to make more efficient the short time teachers have to develop the second language classes. Some concepts such as learning and acquisition may be very useful to be able to shorten the time needed to cover the full syllabus during the year. This essay pretends to describe learning and acquisition as different process a performer of a second language go through in order to encourage teachers to include acquisition in the classroom so the performers develop a higher accuracy of the second language in a shorter time. The reader will find different criteria which compare and contrast learning vs. acquisition to learn about the nature of both processes and the importance of acquisition above learning. The different criteria which compare and contrast learning and acquisition are the basic concepts and characteristics of each one, individual variation in the use of the monitor, attitude vs. aptitude, formal and informal linguistic environments, the domain of the conscious grammar, the role of the first language, the neurological correlates, routines and patterns, theory and practice, and the relevance of simple codes.

Language Acquisition

Language acquisition is the natural process that performers of a first or second language go through when they are exposed to a language. They get in touch with the language which they do not understand at the beginning. Later on, they are able to relate the words and expressions others use to refer to a specific object, feeling, thought, meaning, and so on. They understand the relationship between language and the use of it and they are able to follow instructions based on the commands they are asked to perform. After that, performers are able to use the same language they understand to express their own feelings and thoughts in different contexts. In this stage, they are able to use the language to communicate with others. Therefore, language acquisition is a process which performers of a language go through from the input to the output until they are able to communicate using the target language. These are some characteristics that Krashen (1981) gives to language acquisition: p It is very similar to the process children use in acquiring first and second languages. p It requires meaningful interaction in the target language. p It is concerned with the content not with the form of the utterances. p Error correction and explicit teaching of rules are not relevant to language acquisition. p There is an order of acquisition of structures in language acquisition. p Acquirers need not have a conscious awareness of the "rules" they possess, and may selfcorrect only on the basis of a "feel" for grammaticality. By far, acquisition is the ideal process to follow when being in touch with a second language. Since acquires are not to learn the rules of a language without knowing the language itself first, it is easy for them to develop accuracy in the language at an early stage. Also, it is easy for acquires to get to the production stage because their mistakes are not corrected and therefore they do not feel bad for their possible mistakes which make them be more self-confident at performing that language. Thus, acquisition is a great process to encourage in performers of a second language and it is also a great help to promote acquisition in the second language classroom.

Language Learning On the other hand, language learning is a conscious process performers go through in order to develop accuracy in a target language. They think of the target language as a goal to get to. They start learning the basic contents, structures, vocabulary, and rules of that language. They become better performing the second language through error correction. This is a process which may take more time since there are different rules and language variations to learn in order to become a good language performer. Finally, their language proficiency is based on the amount of rules they learn to manage which may change from time to time. Therefore, language learning is an endless process that performers go through when they want to be proficient in a target language and it depends on the amount of rules that learners know and manage about the target language. These are some characteristics that Krashen (1981) gives to language learning: p It is helped by error correction and the presentation of explicit rules. p Error correction helps the learner come to the correct mental representation of the linguistic generalization. p No invariant order of learning is claimed, although syllabi implicitly claim that learners proceed from simple to complex. Language learning is an exhaustive approach to become proficient in a second language. Since language learning consists on learning language rules in order to get a correct mental representation of the target language, it is necessary that performers get to manage many rules in theory and practice to become proficient in the language. Moreover, learners are usually reluctant to perform a second language because language learning is based on error correction and they might be very sensitive when they are corrected. Consequently, language learning takes more time to become proficient in a language for the amount of rules to manage and the emotional factor involved when a learner is corrected.

Although acquisition and learning are two different processes, it is said that they are both part of a performer process at becoming proficient in a second language. There are some times when acquisition seems just perfect to study a second language. For example, idioms and sayings are linguistic items that are part of a culture. The meaning of idioms or sayings is not literal but figurative; therefore, there is no evident rule to find out the meaning of an idiom or saying. This is why it is better to acquire an idiom or saying and start using it as other language users do instead of attempting to know the rules behind them. On the other hand, there are some times when learning becomes a better option rather than acquisition. For instance, it is better to follow the formal conventions used to write a letter when writing a formal letter so we can convey the intended meaning. Since there are some formal rules for writing a formal letter, final readers will expect these conventions to be respected when they read the letter. In other words, acquisition and learning are different but not exclusive processes. Individual Variation in the Use of the Monitor The Monitor Theory Krashen (1981) explains that both learning and acquisition are processes that interact with each other while a performer of a second language is exposed to the target language. At the beginning, performers are exposed to the target language as an input for them to process. The more input performers are exposed to, the more easily they will get to the production stage of the language. As performers are exposed to the target language, they will understand how language is used by other users (acquisition) and they will learn how language should be used (learning). Later on in the process, performers will produce the language based on both resources they have. In other words, performers will produce sometimes based on how other users produce the language and they will produce sometimes based on the rules they have learned about the target language. As a result, the author explains how performers of a second language use acquisition and learning in their process to become proficient in the target language.

Based on this fact, the author proposes a theory called the Monitor. He states that the monitor is related to the level of correctness of the target language performers internalize as they are exposed to the language. This process is like developing the habit of self-correction while they produce the language based on the rules they have managed. As performers are exposed to language use and rules of that language, they start applying the rules they learn to the way they produce the language. This is what he calls conscious learning. Therefore, the monitor theory consists on the process in which performers monitor themselves when they are producing the language they had acquired before and how they alter the output in order to improve accuracy. Although the monitor theory is very useful to apply in the second language classroom, there are some conditions such as time, focus on correctness, and previous knowledge of the rule that need to be present to apply this theory. First of all, performers must have time. It is important to understand that performers are developing two processes at the same time. They need to find the words and expressions to communicate what they intend to do and also they need to find out the right way to do it. If there is not time enough, performers will be tempted to only find the expressions to communicate their intended message no matter if the form of it is correct or not. Second, performers must be "focused on form", or correctness. Performers need to be conscious about the correct way to produce the language besides the content of their utterances. Finally, performers need to know the rule. There is no way performers can express in a correct manner unless they know that there is a rule for that and the best way to apply that rule to their message. Thus, time, focus on correctness, and knowledge about the rule are necessary conditions to apply the monitor theory in the second language classroom. Once the monitor theory was introduced, we can now distinguish the individual variation in the use of the monitor. Krashen (1981) categorizes the performers in three different groups based on the level of monitor they use when they perform in the second language. He proposes that there are monitor over-users, monitor under-users, and monitor optimal users. Monitor over-users are the performers

who focus more on the monitor than on the message. These performers are so focused on correctness that they sometimes forget about the right message to transmit. These performers are related to the learning process. They learn and use too many rules about the target language that they may forget that language is used to communicate thoughts, emotions, and other meanings instead of just transmitting correct utterances. This is why monitor over-users take more time to produce language and once they do, they do not use it efficiently. Thus, monitor over-users are more concern on the form than on content. Another category of performers are monitor under-users. They are more focused on content than on form. They understand that language is used to communicate their thoughts, feelings, and other meanings. In fact, they just look for the words that express what they want to that they forget that the form of the language helps a lot to convey meaning. These performers are related to acquisition. They use the language as others do. Although they produce language since the first stages, they may be misunderstood when they communicate if they do not follow any language rule at all. Hence, monitor under-users are more concerned on content than on form. Monitor optimal users are the third category of performers proposed by the author. Monitor optimal users are conscious about the importance of content and form in the language. They understand that both are necessary to convey the meaning they want to. As a result, they always look for the balance between content and form when they communicate using the target language. Regarding the second language classroom, these users take just the right time to learn the basic language rules in order to start using the target language. So, monitor optimal users are the language users who use the target language in a more efficient way than other users.

Attitude and Aptitude

Attitude and aptitude are two factors that play a great role in comparing and contrasting learning and acquisition of a second language. On one hand, attitude is related to acquisition. It has been said that acquisition starts by exposing performers with the target language. However, performers need to show a good attitude towards the target language so they can process the language and acquire the way other speakers use it. If performers have a good attitude towards the target language, it is easy for them to get to the production stage of the language. On the other hand, aptitude is related to learning. It shows the facility that performers have to learn the different rules of the target language and to apply them to the way they communicate in the second language. When performers do not show aptitude towards the target language, the teacher can help students to develop the necessary abilities to process the target language so they can be able to become proficient. Then, attitude is related to acquisition while aptitude is related to learning. Formal and Informal Linguistic Environments These variables are related to the context in which performers are exposed to the target language. Formal linguistic environments are contexts in which performers are conscious they will be exposed to the target language which will be formally used. They are willing to take advantage of the input they receive in these contexts in order to process the input and produce an output later on. For example, language classrooms are formal linguistic environments. The teacher provides students with input of the formal use of the target language and students learn it. In contrast to that, informal linguistic environments are contexts in which performers are exposed to the informal use of language. Performers can acquire the way language is used by other speakers. For instance, movies, music, and informal talks are examples of informal linguistic environments. Although some rules are applied in the communication, there are some other informal linguistic devises used such as expressions or language variations. Consequently, formal linguistic environments are related to learning while informal linguistic environments are related to acquisition. The Domain of the Conscious Grammar: The Morpheme Studies

As Parker and Riley (2005) state, there is a natural order in which children acquire the grammar of a language. In fact, they propose a specific order in which children will show some mistakes while they develop English grammar. Acquisition of a second language causes the same pattern while performers acquire the second language. They can be either children or adults. The only condition for this to happen is that performers use the second language without a conscious use of grammar. In other words, as long as second language performers use the language without a conscious grammar, they will follow the same path that children do when they acquire the first language. In contrast to that, learning causes that learners follow a different pattern while they learn a second language. Consequently, the fact that performers show a different pattern in developing English grammar as a second language show that they have learned instead of acquired the second language. So, the use of conscious grammar causes an unnatural pattern while performing a second language. The Role of the First Language in Second Language Acquisition The first language and silent period are two factors that interact while acquiring a second language. When performers are exposed to a second language, they will need what Krashen (1981) calls a silent period. It is the time performers take to process the input they are exposed to and to produce the language. First, they will be exposed to the language as an input for them to process. The more input they get about the same content, the shorter the silent period will be. After the silent period, performers are more likely to produce the language. However, if performers are not given input enough in the target language or they are not given the silent period they need to produce the language in an efficient manner, they will be tempted to use their first language when they need to express themselves in the second language. Thus, when performers use their first language to communicate in a second language, it indicates that performers have not acquired the second language, they have not received input enough in the target language, and they have not given the silent period they need to communicate in the target language. The Neurological Correlates of Language Acquisition

The completion of the development of cerebral dominance causes the differences between children and adult second language acquisition. It is said that children and adults acquire a second language in different way depending on the level of completion of their brain. On one hand, there is what is called the critical period. This refers to the early stage that children experience in which they are likely to acquire the language in an easy way. This critical period usually corresponds to children short age. That is the younger children are, the easier they will acquire a second language. On the other hand, the completion of the development of cerebral dominance refers to how the brain has developed through years and how it determines the way people learn a second language. It has been stated that the more complex the brain gets, the easier learning becomes and the more difficult acquisition becomes. This fact shows that it is easier for children to acquire a second language while it is easier for adults to learn a second language. Routines and Patterns in Language Acquisition and Performance Although routines and patterns are part of the performance of second language, they cannot be considered part of second language acquisition. Routines are related to the regular conversation patterns such as greetings and leave takings that speakers use. Patterns are related to sentence frames with open slots that can be used to talk about a regular structure of a language. For example, the pattern This is a ______ accepts different nouns such as table, pen, chair, and so on that can be useful when showing different objects. It is said that routines and patterns are memorized language because they are always used with the same structure and in the same context. Therefore, they do not show language acquisition at all since performers show language acquisition when they learn any expression that they understand the meaning and they can use it in different contexts with some variations in the structure. Consequently, the use of routines and patterns may show language learning but not language acquisition.

Theory and Practice

It is possible to acquire a second language through Krashens Input Hypothesis. Krashen (2008) develops a theory which explains how the input, to which performers are exposed to, has to be. The author claims that performers have some background knowledge of the target language. Based on that, it is important that the new input performers receive is one level more complex than their background knowledge. By following this principle in the second language class, performers will be encouraged to process the input as a challenge which will motivate them and at the same time it will teach them new content in the target language. It is still necessary to offer performers with a great deal of input for them to process and to provide them the silent period required so performers produce the target language at the right pace. So, Krashens Input Hypothesis shows how language acquisition takes place in the second language classroom as long as students are exposed to the right input. Nevertheless, learning is better processed through easy rules. While language acquisition takes place in the second language classroom, it is possible to develop the right learning process which has to be always a second source. The best way to teach the learning process is by showing students easy rules for them to process, remember and apply to their language acquisition. By teaching only easy rules of the target language, students will be likely to produce the target language using the rules they have learned without feeling bad about the possible error correction they might be exposed to. Therefore, learning only easy rules in the second language class allows students to produce the target language avoiding the negative emotional factor of error correction. The Relevance of Simple Codes Although a more difficult input is encouraged by the author, it is still necessary to provide second language performers with a stable classroom environment through simple codes. Students should find the second language class as a routine which changes little by little so they can feel comfortable and able to understand and participate with the input they are given. There are different ways that a teacher has to keep simple codes in the second language class. First, the teacher can use some

patterns and routines during the class. For example, they can use the same patterns when introducing new vocabulary and follow some routines such as greetings, praying, and leave taking. Second, they can use some expressions that are regularly used during the class. For example, teachers can encourage students to use the target language to express some repetitive talking such as May I go to the bathroom, please? or What page are we working on? Finally, teachers can adjust their intonation and speech pace to the proficiency level of their students so they can feel how they improve little by little and they get motivated instead of frustrated by the second language class. In sum, there are some simple codes such as patterns, routines, repetitive expressions, and speech intonation and pace patterns that teachers can use to make students feel comfortable about the second language class. Conclusions Learning and acquisition are two different but not exclusive processes to which performers of a second language interact while being exposed to the target language. By relating learning and acquisition to different factors the reader can conclude that: p Acquisition is a natural and easy process while learning is exhaustive and takes more time. p Acquisition and learning can be used in balance in order to communicate efficiently in the target language. p Attitude is more important that aptitude because aptitude can be developed by the teacher while attitude needs to be initiated by the student. Attitude facilitates acquisition while aptitude facilitates learning. p Formal linguistic environments are meant to promote learning while informal linguistic environments are meant to promote acquisition. Informal linguistic environments can be included in the second language classroom and therefore, the second language class can promote learning and acquisition at the same time.

p It is easy for children to acquire a second language more than to learn it based on their brain complexity. p The use of conscious grammar, the first language, routines and patterns might show learning but not acquisition. In fact, the use of these linguistic items show that second language performers need more input in the target language to process and an extended silent period so they can become more proficient in the second language. p Acquisition is possible to develop in the second language class as long as the right input is given to students. p Learning can be encouraged to students as long as they are asked to learn only easy rules. p Although the use of simple codes such as patterns, routines, repetitive expressions, and speech intonation and pace patterns do not show acquisition but learning, they promote students to feel more comfortable about the second language class. English teachers can feel confident that they will have time enough to teach the full syllabus during the year and students will become more proficient as long as teachers include acquisition in their second language class since it is a great complement to the classical learning process they are used to encourage in students.

Works Cited

Krashen, S. D. (2008, September). Krashens Input Hypothesis and English classroom teaching. Retrieved February 27, 2011, from http://www.linguist.org.cn/doc/uc200809/uc20080912.pdf

Krashen, S. D. (1981). Second Language Acquisition and Second Language Learning. Retrieved February 27, 2011, from http://www.sdkrashen.com/SL_Acquisition_and_Learning/SL_Acquisition_and_Learning.pdf

Parker, F., & Riley, K. (2005). Linguistics for Non-Linguists (Fourth ed.). Pearson Education.