Language Acquisition

Unconscious Acts

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It’s all well and good teaching language in conversation, but have you ever noticed you open your mouth when you are about to ask a question, or raise your eyebrows when surprised or expecting a question, or even rapidly inhale when you are ready to speak? It all adds to the flavour of practicing conversation and students’ nonverbal actions.

Chunking and phrases

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(300 words)

So, what is so important of moving from vocabulary to adverbial phrases, complements, and objects such as “on the way”, “one night”, “from outer space”, or even “a monster from outer space”. Here lie examples of chunking of words and the Lexical Approach. The principles of the Lexical Approach have been around since Michael Lewis published ‘The Lexical Approach’ in 1993. The principles of the Lexical Approach have [been around] since Michael Lewis published ‘The Lexical Approach’ [20 years ago]. [It seems, however, that] many teachers and researchers do not [have a clear idea of] what the Lexical Approach actually [looks like] [in practice].

All the parts in brackets are fixed or set phrases. Different commentators use different and overlapping terms – ‘prefabricated phrases’, ‘lexical phrases’, ‘formulaic language’, ‘frozen and semi-frozen phrases’, are just some of these terms. We use just two: ‘lexical chunks’ and ‘collocations’.

‘Lexical chunk’ is an umbrella term that includes all the other terms. We define a lexical chunk as any pair or group of words that are commonly found together, or in close proximity.

‘Collocation’ is also included in the term ‘lexical chunk’, but we refer to it separately from time to time, so we define it as a pair of lexical content words commonly found together. Following this definition, ‘basic’ + ‘principles’ is a collocation, but ‘look’ + ‘at’ is not because it combines a lexical content word and a grammar function word. Identifying chunks and collocations is often a question of intuition.

Here are some examples.

Lexical Chunks (that are not collocations)

by the way
up to now
upside down
If I were you
a long way off
out of my mind

Lexical Chunks (that are collocations)

totally convinced
strong accent
terrible accident
sense of humour
sounds exciting
brings good luck

Task Analysis / Educational Objectives 

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(1062 words)

Professionals in the teaching field have two main questions concerned with their educational practices: What to teach and how to teach it. Organizing for instruction provides the information that allows the teacher to determine what to teach. It is their analysis of their instruction and tasks involved that contribute to comprehensible education. This means that there are educational objectives that outline what will be learnt and what the students should be able to do at the end of the period of study. With respect to this I will, in this essay, outline what is contributed into this discipline and reflect from what I noticed from an initial assessment of my teaching. 

To begin with, I realized that education for each student has to be more than being in just being in school. It is being an active student in life. This means that students become natural learners and recognize not only their role in the learning world, but also the world as a whole. They can gain knowledge in the classroom but how do they apply it outside the classroom. This means that through education, within my objectives, there should be provisions for each individual with opportunities to develop abilities, so that each student is able to demonstrate that he or she can do a specific task to a reasonable standard. However, I must recognize that there are different types of objectives. They can be developed into separate areas. Three such areas exist. Each of the three areas or domains are of human functioning. There is the affective domain which involves feelings, the psychomotor area includes coordination and other physical skills. The cognitive domain includes those activities directly associated with doing academically relevant work. With these three domains each objective shows prominence as observable actions that are what I want to observe after having broadly educated the students. 

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Classroom based report on Second Language Learning

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(11970 Words)

Abstract

Learning any second language can be challenging. Lower level students, who are new to learning, are those students that need all the support and understanding for their acquisition of a new language. For this paper, I have produced a research plan for a new class of lower-level students. This was devised to create thinking on how students were learning their second language. I wondered how I could facilitate their learning and their classroom experience that would help make the English language easier for them to comprehend. My initial thoughts were on using as many different ways to reinforce a language point. My thinking was that if the students get to look at a specific grammar/language point, whilst using it and thinking about it, in different ways, the language will stay in their memory that much easier. I felt that if you used the language in various ways such as activities, methods of teaching, and games, their possession of the language could be helped.

I looked at my ideas for lesson plans and checked how I planned to use the time in class to vary my methods. I also looked on the internet for any information that would correspond with my area of interest. I tried reading as much material that honed in on my specific area of interest. This was the material that was related to different methods and activities. It was while I was acquiring my new knowledge that I got to read about an interesting theory where different activities were used regarding multiple intelligences. This I found on a website called ‘developingteachers.com’. The article in question that took my interest was called ‘Starting with multiple intelligences – activities for foreign language teachers’ by Rolf Palmberg. I immediately realised this article was very much linked in with my ideas, that I had proposed. I did a lot of preliminary reading on the subject until I felt that I should put my old and new ideas about how to get the students speaking more into effect. This paper and the theories within is helped by what I found from the initial article by Rolf Palmberg and increasingly by reading about American psychologist Howard Gardner who developed ‘The Theory of Multiple Intelligences’ documented in his book Frames of Mind: Theory of Multiple Intelligences.

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Language – In Time And Space

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A look at how the English language is constantly evolving. Words used, and the meaning of those words change over time. For example, in the 1940s a “wireless” was the word used to describe what we now call a “radio.” Today, “wireless” has taken on a totally new meaning, associated with “wireless headphones”, “wireless internet” etc..

Variation is a term used to explain the process whereby two native English speakers can understand each other but may not speak exactly the same i.e. Scottish, Australian etc. Variation is the product of change. Populations with common languages separated over time, the forms of speech changed independently and thus the languages separated. This variation is seen in the form of different dialects and accents.

There have been many studies relating to the variation of detail within the English language. An easy variation to identify  is that between English dialects when pronouncing words that end in “er.” From the 19th century onwards, local dialects in Northern England began to drop the “er” and replace it with an “a” sound. For example, “butter” became “butta” , “shiver” became “shiva” etc. This variation was also carried into forms of English that developed in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Studies have also illustrated that social status can determine language variation. Speakers with a higher social status and education are more likely to pronounce words in their full and proper form. Studied in the field of Sociolinguistics.

Another theory of language variation looks at the separation of human populations across the globe. Language (as a form of communication) is a naturally inherited characteristic of the human species. Particular forms of language are aspects of specific human societies. As these societies drifted apart over time, languages developed independently of each other. Studied in the field of cultural linguistics.

The mastery of speech develops in early childhood. Language structure is fixed before the teens. Other theories look at language change being consistent with societal changes. There is also the theory that language changes from one generation to the next, and the speech mastered is determined by that spoken in communities in which children grow up.