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Lecture 3


Peter (24 months) is playing with a dump truck while two
adults look on.

Peter: (finding a car) Get more.

Lois: You’re gonna put more wheels in the dump truck?
Peter: Dump truck. Wheels. Dump truck.
Patsy: What happened to it (the truck)?
Peter: (looking under the chair for it) Lose it. Dump truck! Dump
truck! Fall! Fall!
Lois: Yes, the dump truck fell down.
Peter: Dump truck fell down. Dump truck.

 Classical conditioning: Pavlov – dogs;
Watson & Raynor – little Albert
 Operant conditioning


 B. F. Skinner, Verbal Behaviour (1957)

 the same process in language learning –
imitation, habit formation

(at ages two and three)
 Are they silling? (= being silly) - children playing
 I tighted my badge and you should untight it.
(tighten and loosen)
 There’s a rocky house (= made of rocks)
 It’s very nighty (= pitch dark)
 No, it’s not poisony (= poisonous) – a flower
 Sky-car (airplane); cup-egg (boiled egg)
(in O’Grady, 2005)
 My bilingual cousin: papashoes (papuče) – 2 years
 I cutted her hair; I taked her to the doctor’s. – 4 y.

 Noam Chomsky - Review of Skinner’s book
 Language acquisition device (LAD)
 Principles universal to all human languages
 Universal Grammar – input needed
 ‘Critical period’ hypothesis: LAD – only if
stimulated at the right time (critical period)
 Strong version (after puberty nothing: Victor)
 Weak version (after puberty incomplete: Genie)
 Deaf signers

Eve’s utterance (18-27 months) Her mother’s recast

I don’t read no books. I know you are not going to read

any books.
A butter. You want some butter?

Man up there. There’s a man up there.

Papa buy some. Papa bought some for us.

It’s doing dancing. It’s dancing, yes.

That napkins. Yeah, they’re napkins.

Have two cracker. How many crackers?

 Slower speech
 Higher pitch
 Exaggerated intonation and stress
 Fewer words per minute
 More restricted vocabulary
 Three times as much paraphrasing
 More reference to the here and now
 Shorter, less complex utterances
(50% single words or short statements)
 More well-formed and intelligible sentences
 More repetitions (in O’Grady, 2005: 176)

 Child: Want other one spoon, daddy.
 Father: You mean, you want the other spoon.
 Child: Yes, I want other one spoon, please Daddy.
 Father: Can you say ‘the other spoon’?
 Child: Other…one…spoon.
 Father: Say ‘other’.
 Child: Other.
 Father: Spoon.
 Child: Spoon.
 Father: Other spoon.
 Child: Other..spoon. Now give me other one spoon?

 Learner characteristics:
- Knowledge of a language (language transfer)
- Cognitive considerations (maturity,
metalinguistic awareness, world knowledge)
- Affective considerations
 Learning conditions
- Modified input (caretaker talk /motherese
(L1) / foreigner/teacher talk (L2)
- Exposure to L2; error-correction
Linguistic Correct Positive
input repetition reinforcement HABIT

L1 habits
L2 habits ERRORS

 Contrastive analysis hypothesis (CAH)

L1&L2 similarity no difficulty
L1&L2 differences problems
 Analysis of learners’ errors (e.g. Dulay and Burt,
1974: Spanish- and Chinese-speaking children
learning English – similar errors to those made by
children acquiring English as L1)
 CAH failed to predict errors learners made;
predicted errors that didn’t occur
 Creative construction theory (Dulay, Burt, &
Krashen, 1982)
 Acquisition takes place internally, production
a result
 Stephen Krashen (1982)
- The acquisition-learning hypothesis
- The monitor hypothesis
- The natural order hypothesis
- The input hypothesis
- The affective filter hypothesis

 Implications for L2 teaching

 Michael Long
 Comprehensible input – necessary;
What makes it comprehensible?

Modified interaction:
- Comprehension checks
- Clarification requests
- Repetition or paraphrase
 Interactional modification promotes
 General principles of learning and cognition
account for language acquisition.
 Build-up of knowledge

Knowledge Progress
 Noticing