viernes, 17 de octubre de 2014

We've talked in class about transfer.  As Spanish native speakers, an example of this, is how we tend to use the word "EXPLAIN". Let's see the examples: 

Source: Cork English Teacher. By Silvia :)

viernes, 3 de octubre de 2014

First Language Acquisition – By Silvia Gelosi. 

The aim of this essay is to express my thoughts about how children acquire their first language and to express my views on Chomsky’s theory of FLA. In order to do this, I will base my work on chapter 3 from Vivian Cook’s book Second Language Learning and Teaching.

Children can learn from the positive evidence that they encounter through the process of acquiring the language. I believe that imitation is a positive source of language acquisition. Children imitate what they hear from their parents or other people. However, they also create new utterances. In this process, children apply general grammatical rules. When they use the past form of an irregular verb, in English and Spanish, for example, an English speaker child might say “goed” instead of “went”; a Spanish speaker child might say “rompido” instead of “roto”. Parents correct their children’s errors by saying the precise form, but they do not explain the grammatical rule for verbs in the past form, because they are not aware of the rules for irregular verbs. I agree with the position that claim that in first language acquisition the explanation of the grammar is not very useful. Parents do not possess sufficient knowledge of abstract grammar to explain to their children why the sentence is grammatically incorrect. They simply say the sentence in the right way without providing grammatical explanation. 

I think social interaction is also a significant provider of language input. Children find in the interaction with their parents and other caretakers, examples of expressions and vocabulary to expand their own language. To create linguistic competence, children need to hear a variety of sentences from adults. According to Chomsky, UG is concerned with core grammar rather than with the periphery. Peripheral elements, such as polite expressions like please and thank you, can be learned in ways that are not connected to UG. They may be learnt through active communication with adults.  

When I first read about Chomsky’s theory, what caught my attention was the notion of the Universal Grammar (UG) present in the child’s mind as a system of principles and parameters, within their black box called Language Acquisition device (LAD) and the fact that this device allows all children to learn any languages.

In response to evidence from the environment, the child creates a core grammar that attributes values to all the parameters. This process ends by acquiring one of the allowable human languages. While interacting with their parents, children hear their tongue so UG parameters are set automatically. The input is vital to the process of acquiring the language. Without any evidence at all, they will acquire nothing. With evidence, they will acquire any human language they encounter.

Another aspect of Chomsky’s theory I would like to mention is the conceptualization of language acquisition in terms of initial and final “states” of the mind, which means progressing from not having any language to having full competence. In the beginning there is the mind of the new born-baby who knows no language, named the initial or zero state, and at the end, there is the adult native speaker with full knowledge of it. Competence is essentially complete at this stage.

The studies carried out by Chomsky and other researchers made me aware of the complexity of the process of first language acquisition. Before that, I had never paid attention to the way children construct their language. It is fascinating to see how they all go through the same steps during the process. Finally, and in my personal opinion, the fact that the child’s mind is open to any human language is one of the most interesting concepts of Chomsky’s theory.


 Listening to Chomsky 

First Language Acquisition by Elizabeth

Hello!!! Here I share two videos. I hope you enjoy them..

The speech sound project.

Stephen Krashen and Language Acquisition

First Language Acquisition essay by Elizabeth

How do you think that children acquire their first language? What are your views on Chomsky's theory of FLA?

According to Douglas Brown (2000; p.5)  “Language is a set of arbitrary symbols, which are primarily vocal and it is used for communication and acquired by all people in the same way”. All of us are born with a set of principles and parameters about language in our heads which Noam Chomsky refers to as “Universal Grammar”. We can say that First-language acquisition is innately determined. The purpose of this essay is to share my own view about children´ first language acquisition and Chomsky´s theory of First Language Acquisition.
The way children learn language follows a specific pattern and it is inherently systemic in nature. We can observe different children with the same age, and we are going to see that they produce the same sounds, phrases or sentences at the same chronological stage. The speech development is very similar in every child around the world, and it would not be possible without speech input; for that reason the presence of children´s parents or caretakers and the interaction with them is really important for this process to take place.
But how does the child exactly acquire his or her first language? Noam Chomsky has made a number of strong claims about language: he suggests that “language is an innate faculty” - that is to say that we are born with a set of principles and parameters about language in our heads which he refers to as the “Universal Grammar”. The universal grammar is the basis upon which all human languages are built.
For Chomsky, children are exposed to very little correctly formed language. Yet children manage to learn their language all the same.
Secondly, children do not simply copy the language that they hear around them. In fact,  they can produce sentences that they have never heard before. They do not learn a repertoire of phrases and sayings, but a grammar that generates an infinite number of new sentences.
Thirdly, children are born with Universal Grammar wired into their brains. This grammar offers a certain limited number of possibilities.
When children begin to listen to their parents, they will unconsciously recognize which kind of language they are dealing with - and they will set their grammar to the correct one - this is known as “setting the parameters”. (Brown, 2000: 36)
Research has shown that the child´s language is a legitimate system in its own right. The child´s linguistic development is not a process of developing fewer and fewer incorrect structures, not a language in which earlier stages have more mistakes than later stages.
Taking into account what has been mentioned, I believe that in spite of the fact that there are many theories about how children acquire their L1, Chomsky is the one who manages to explain in depth why children are capable of acquiring language without any effort, apart from that, I used to think that the mother tongue was acquired through imitation and reinforcement, but I changed my mind after having my daughter Ana Clara.  

miércoles, 1 de octubre de 2014

Learning vocabulary through pictures : If you are a visual learner, you may like this image :)

Source: via English with a Twist. By Silvia.